Putting God first…herein lies the stifling of the passions that defeat us. Herein lies the quietness that calms our tumults. Herein lies the peace of knowing that our sins are forgiven and forgotten by God and so they can be forgotten by us.
When men seek things before they seek God, they throw themselves into what has come to be known as the ‘rat race’. An earlier phrase described it as ‘the pace that kills’. But it was never the pace that killed, it was the fear of tomorrow that made the pace necessary.
The devil has never praised God. He can make people happy. But whisky can make people happy. The fact that a thing can make you happy doesn’t prove it’s right. There are drugs that can make you happy. You see, the devil can come, and he can counterfeit all these things. If a man says “I am happy”, it doesn’t prove he is a Christian. It can be counterfeited. There is only one thing I know of that the devil cannot counterfeit:
praising God. The devil never does that. Never. The devil has made anybody praise God.
He can counterfeit a belief in God. But that’s a very different thing. The Apostle James tells us in his epistle, ‘the devils also believe, and tremble.’ The devil has never praised God. He can persuade people that they believe in God. If it suits his purpose he can transform himself into an angel of light, and encourage people to believe in God and to be religious. He is doing that to large numbers today. But there’s one thing he’s never done and he can’t do it, and that is to make people praise God.
He can give you a counterfeit intellectual interest. He can give you a counterfeit interest in God’s people. A counterfeit interest in communion service. A counterfeit interest in prayer, a counterfeit joy and gladness. He has never made anybody praise God. Why? Because he hates God.
But these people [in Acts 2] were praising God. That is why I say in many senses it is the ultimate test of the profession of the Christian faith - praising God! My friends, are you praising God? I’m not asking if you believe in Him, or if you try to worship Him. I’m not asking if you make requests of Him. I’m asking one thing only. Do you praise God?
It occurred to me that this would apply to a false teacher. Someone who teaches about God but is not saved, (2 Timothy 3:5) and who is the son of the devil will never praise God. Sons of the devil, those who are energized by satan and are in bondage to satan, cannot praise God because the devil cannot praise God. His minions can't either. Use it as a test, as MLJ noted. Not that a false teacher can't say the words, though oftentimes they can't, they choke on them. They might say off handedly, "Praise God that it rained!" but a life lived in praise to Him, sincere, thorough, zealous praise, will never pass their lips. Look for it...or in this case, the absence of it.
MLJ Sermon: Praising God, Acts 2:46-47