The priority of worship is what God’s people are for and about. Worshipping God makes room for Him to do things more powerfully, readily and gloriously than anything we can do on our own. The more closely we align to God’s ways, His will and His Word, the more freely it opens the door for Him to work toward us.
Four things constitute our worship
Four portions of the text of 1 Peter 2:1-10 characterize a believer’s way of life wherever we go:
1. Praise - v. 9 – a royal priesthood proclaiming praise: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light...”
2. Worship - v. 5 – a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices: “...you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
3. The Word of God - v. 2 – desiring to grow in the Word: “...as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby...”
4. Ministering to one another - v. 10 – speaks of us as a special people, God’s people, who know His mercy: “...who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy...”
Praise and worship are often intermingled. The basic idea behind praise tends to be very “up,” bright, and positive, whereas worship tends to be more intimate, subdued, and devotional. Praise is a declaration: worship is a devotion. People often mix them up, but they both still count before God. Praise is a means of entrance with boldness into God’s presence and, in Psalm 22:3, the Bible says that the Lord inhabits, or is enthroned in, the praises of His people. Praise invites my entrance into His presence. It’s the welcome of His throne into my circumstance. This text says we are a royal priesthood—with access to the Kingdom privilege we have to proclaim King Jesus’ praise.
This text also refers to “a holy priesthood” (v. 5). Holiness is that trait of God’s nature that promises and guarantees He will never be any less than He is. The basic idea of holiness is completeness or wholeness. Unholiness is not so much sin as it is the incompleteness in us; our brokenness renders us incomplete and incapable of all we were meant to be. It is in our attempt to compensate for that brokenness that we sin. Sin isn’t what makes people unholy; it’s peoples’ unholiness that makes them sin. An illustration of that is when a person steals something they don’t have. Sin is an effort to compensate for what we aren’t. When we worship the Lord and ascribe glory to Him, His wholeness (holiness) begins to fill our unwholeness (unholiness). That’s what the Bible means in 2 Cor. 3:18:
But we all, with unveiled face [that means an open heart or open countenance], beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Not only is Jesus worthy of our adoration, and devotion, but when we worship, a change takes place in us. I have the guarantee that He is capable of changing whatever I need changed in me, if I will let Him. When I come with worship and ascribe worthiness to Him, I open to that completeness of His Being happening in me.
The Word of God
Verse 2 of this passage says: “…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..” Nearly all of my life I heard that verse applied to new converts. But Peter wasn’t just writing to new converts. He was writing to everybody. We’ve all either fed a baby or watched a baby being fed. Mom or Dad’s mashing up that food, and baby is right there watching, ready! And as soon as you get that spoon up to them, they grab on. The Word of God is food. It gets into our system. We are what we eat. And hosts of believers are exactly that; some are strong, and some are weak, in direct correlation to what they do with the Word of God.
We need to stop trying to do things our way, and take hold of God’s promises and then begin to wait on them. Waiting doesn’t mean sitting down and doing nothing. It means we partake of His Word, feed on it, and let it fill our soul. The Word will never fail you. God will never violate His Word.
Ministering to one another
We come together as people of the promises of God who have learned the mercies of God in our own lives. So we are to show merciful care and concern for one another. The ministry power of what we do when we pray together isn’t resident in us; it’s in the promise of God, and we apply it as people who have come to know mercy.
Praise puts us into a stream. When we enter that stream with praise, the answers God has are waiting for us downstream. If we don’t praise, we become stagnant; we don’t move on to what He has. Worship becomes transforming. The promises of God are to be taken and applied. Knowing we are God’s people, we are to share that in the love of Jesus Christ.
Copyright 2014 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries