Therefore by Him, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to GOD, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15
The phrase “let us” is found 13 times in the book of Hebrews. It is known as a hortatory subjunctive. It is used to encourage the reader or hearer to do something or engage in some action. It should be noted the hortatory subjunctive is very different than issuing a command for someone to perform an action. Rather it is an encouragement to join the speaker in performing the action. Instead of “you go do something” it is “let us go do something”.
The last time we find the phrase in the book of Hebrews is the 15th verse of chapter 13. Here we should make several notes regarding our worship.
First observe it is through Jesus that we worship. The text notes it is by Him that we offer our worship.
Secondly, the worship of the New Testament Christian is noted. Many times throughout the book of Hebrews one will see the New Law contrasted with the Old Law. Under the New Law, our sacrifice today is different from the animal sacrifices of the Old Law. Our sacrifice today is identified as a sacrifice of praise to GOD, that is, the fruit of our lips.
We are reminded to be thankful and to express our thanks to GOD and to do all in the name of Christ, i.e. by His authority.
Let us (pun intended) observe briefly what constitutes the fruit of our lips. I would like to suggest there are at least 3 ways we can praise Him with our lips.
- Singing – Col 3:16; Eph 5:19
This is probably what we would think of first as a means of praising Him with our lips. It should be noted that New Testament worship is participatory. No one can sing for me. We are all to sing. Let us sing and praise Him with our lips.
- Prayers – Scripture records at least 25 times in which Jesus prayed. 3 times in the book of Revelation, prayers are symbolized by incense (Rev 5:8; 8:3, 4). Daniel prayed 3 times each day (Daniel 6:10). Paul prayed 3 times to have his thorn in the flesh removed (2 Cor 12:8). Jesus prayed 3 times in the Garden prior to His crucifixion (Matt 26:36ff). Maybe it would be a good practice for us to pray at least 3 times each day, praising Him with our lips.
- Mark 5:19 – To the man whom He had healed, Jesus said, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”
Go home and tell them. This is what He expects of us. We can, on a daily basis, proclaim the Lord by our manner of speech. Deut 6:7 describes just such daily conversation. James 3:9 notes we bless our GOD and Father with our speech. As we go about our activities each day, let us bring honor and glory to GOD the Father, and praise Him with our lips.
Thus our sacrifice to GOD today is not the bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament but rather our singing, our prayers, and our telling our friends of the great things the LORD has done for us; all of this constitutes the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips.
Let us (hortatory subjunctive, pun intended) offer the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips and give thanks to His name today.