Praise The Praiseworthy

Lessons On Communication From The Life Of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  52:59
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Recognizing and thanking people for what they have done is a vital part of relationship. Praising others will always lead to blessing and growth.

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Every week I am going to remind us of the same reality.
The goal of communication is different for men and women.
This is important to know in marriage, parenting, and friendship.
Men communicate to give and receive information.
Export and import.
Women communicate to connect.
Awareness of this reality is going to impact all of our relationships.
I want to give to us another example from Scripture of communication not going well.
Acts 12:12-16
Rhoda is clear, she is concise, she is truthful.
But no one believes her!
They think she is crazy!
Or that she has seen a ghost!
Here is what we learn from Rhoda.
Communication is not easy.
Because it is not easy we must engage in consistent and persistent work at communication.
We must always seek to improve in this area.
That is the purpose behind our study.
With that in mind, let’s get into our passage for tonight.
Go with me in your Bibles to Matthew 8:5-10.
Matthew 8:5-10
Today our topic is

Praise The Praiseworthy

Praising the praiseworthy is a three step process.
We are going to look at those steps tonight.
But first, a story.
While mom and dad were gone, the kids cleaned the entire house.
I mean, the entire house.
They washed all the dishes, scrubbed the counter-tops, vacuumed, swept, dusted, thoroughly washed the bathrooms and showers, they even wiped the cupboard doors and baseboards.
They were so excited.
Mom and Dad were going to love it.
They were going to be so grateful and so appreciative.
Eventually the time arrived, the car pulls into the garage, the door opens and in they come!
They look around, take everything in, and mom says “why didn’t you run the dishwasher?”
Instantly crushed, the children slowly go to their rooms.
The end result of this whole affair, is that they will never again try to surprise mom and dad.
This is the kind of scenario that brings us to our topic for tonight.
While we may recognize that the mom’s response in the story was not right, we need to understand what could have been done differently and how that would have impacted the outcome.
With all that in mind, we are going to follow the same pattern as last week.
Observe what Jesus did
There are three ways we want to copy Jesus in this passage.

Be Approachable

A centurion comes to Jesus.
That is significant.
Jew vs. Gentile.
Rabbi vs. Roman soldier.
From a human perspective, Jesus had every reason to just ignore the guy.
But He didn’t.
Jesus does not blow this man off because of who he is.
This teaches us an important lesson.
See past the exterior to the deeper need.
This is necessary if we are going to communicate well.
There is a second part to this.
See past the irritant to what’s going on inside.
Both of these are necessary.
Don’t focus on the exterior, and don’t be distracted by something that is irritating.
Look for the deeper need, look to what is going on inside.
Each of us has a deep need to be appreciated.
If you love language happens to be words of affirmation, this is even more important.
See past the exterior.
Here’s what that looks like.
The friend who won’t leave.
Growing up we had a friend who would stay at our house until dad would tell him it was time to go home.
Now, when something like that happens, we have two options.
We can get irritated, or, we can see the deeper need.
This particular friend felt very unsafe and unloved at home.
At our house, he was fed, talked to, and valued.
His need to feel safe manifested in an unwillingness to leave.
Try to see the deeper need.
The child who always resists.
You tell them to go left, they go right.
As an adult, you give them advice, and they do the opposite.
You feel like they are always pushing you away.
This behavior is highly frustrating and irritating.
There is something we must always remember.
There is a deeper need here.
They want to know that you will pursue them!
They are resisting to see if the love is still there even when they do not perform.
Will we love them when they are irritating?
The spouse that shuts down.
You want to talk about something and they walk away.
You try to connect or converse and they are not interested.
What is going on here?
Chances are, there is a deeper need that is not being met.
This centurion had a surface need, the healing of his servant, but it seems that he also had a deeper need to be recognized and praised by Jesus!
Our spouses need to know that when they talk with us, when they share with us, they will be safe.
Here’s what I mean.
When a spouse shares, listen.
Don’t problem solve.
Don’t belittle, minimize, or put them down.
We create safety when there is love and acceptance regardless of performance.
If we are going to be approachable, we must see past the exterior to the deeper need and we must see past the irritant to what’s going on inside.
Here’s the connection, we cannot praise the praiseworthy if we are not around them and do not know anything about them.
If we are always irritated with someone, we cannot see the positive qualities that they have!
To praise the praiseworthy, we must be approachable.
A relationship of connection and encouragement requires that we be open and approachable.
There is a second thing we want to copy from Jesus in this passage.

Pay Attention

Jesus does two very interesting things here.
We need to do the same.
Understand the need
The centurion does not ask a question.
He makes a statement.
Jesus listens to this man and He understands what is needed.
As we pay attention in relationships we are going to understand the needs of others.
There are days when I walk in the front door of our house and, if I am paying attention, I can immediately sense that something is off.
If Jess is in the middle of making a meal and I see that she has a spoon in one hand and a child in the other, I know right away that there is a need.
I can take the child or the spoon.
Since Jess is a way better cook than I am, I would probably take the child.
If I’m not paying attention, I may come in and do or say something that makes her even more stressed.
Jesus hears what the centurion says, and He understands the need.
This requires actually listening to what is said and thinking through why it is being said, and what we might do about it.
For example: The car doesn’t fit in the garage.
That is an informational statement, but there is definitely a need behind it.
Especially, if the car doesn’t fit in the garage because all my projects are in the middle of the floor.
This is a situation I can do something about.
Jesus understood the need of the centurion.
He didn’t stop there.
Understand then need, then…
Express the need
Jesus speaks the need back to the man.
To make sure we have understood, we say it back.
This allows the person we are addressing to know we have heard and understood the need.
“I washed several loads of laundry today.”
That is a need.
We can respond with “can I help you fold it.”
I have a big test coming up.
Can I help you study for it.
I don’t understand my homework.
Can I help explain it.
These are statements people can and have made that express a need.
If we are paying attention to the need we can understand it and repeat it back to them.
When we pay attention we will be able to hear a need expressed and do something about it.
There is a third thing we want to copy from Jesus.

Give Praise

All of those other things come before praise is given.
We have to be approachable and pay attention if we are going to give praise that is meaningful.
This centurion demonstrates an incredible depth of knowledge about who Jesus is.
Jesus praises him.
Three important facts about this praise.


- Said to those following
Be willing to praise those in your life in public settings.
Sometimes this is done through social media today.
I believe I heard a story about a man taking out a full page ad in a newspaper to praise his wife.
Your children, no matter their age, need to know you are proud of them.
They also need to hear you express that to others.
When a friend has a victory, a win in life, praise them!
When your spouse has an achievement, praise them for it.
Even if that achievement was just putting up with you for another year!
Public praise encourages and strengthens a relationship.


- great faith
This is where the paying attention really helps.
Jesus praises this man specifically.
We are to do the same in all our relationships.
This needs to be genuine.
You cannot just make something up.
As we are around people and paying attention, we need to be on the lookout for things to praise them for.
This can be for something they have done to our for us, or it can be for a character trait or something else.
The point is that we do not praise generally.
For example: You are a kind person.
That is a great affirmation, but it is not specific.
You showed great kindness today when you did ________.
I saw when you did _______ that was really kind.
This is also not praising someone for a physical characteristic.
Rather we are praising them for inward character expressed through action or word.
If you know your friend, spouse, or child has something they are working on, pay close attention so you can praise them for it.
For example: If your child is working at not getting angry, watch.
When there is a chance for them to get angry and they don’t, praise them for it!
Specific praise shows our attention and care.
The last one is very interesting and somewhat unexpected.
But it will make sense when we explain.


- not in Israel
Not to an individual.
A blanket comparison.
Proverbs 31:10, 29
Proverbs 31:10 NKJV
10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
Comparison statement, but not to another person.
Proverbs 31:29 NKJV
29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”
Again, comparison, but general.
Proverbs 10:5
Proverbs 10:5 NKJV
5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.
This needs to be honest as well.
Can’t be like, you are the best knife sharpener in the existence of the world, if they really aren’t. :)
The purpose of this comparison is simply the encouragement of the individual.
Worth is far above rubies, no benefit, just encouragement.
You excel every other woman in the world! Just an encouraging statement and a statement of value.
The important people in our lives need to know they are valued.
That’s what this is about.
Copy what Jesus did
Write down what you are going to do about this.
To be someone who praises and encourages others, what changes do I need to make?
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