Revelation and Response

No one can claim, of course, that every God-human encounter in Scripture follows this clear pattern; even if it did, there is no forthright command to fashion Christian worship using this deep structure. Nevertheless, with such a consistent pattern of divine-human conversation seen in Scripture, it suggests a normative approach—even a solid rationale—for seriously considering this pattern for the divine-human encounters of corporate worship.

—Constance Cherry, The Music Architect: Blueprints for Engaging Worshipers in Song, 82

The Sacrifice of Praise

The sacrifice of praise [Hebrews 13:15] . . . is offered to God through the Lord Jesus. All our praise and prayer passes through Him before it reaches God the Father; our great High Priest removes all impurities and imperfections and adds His own virtue to it:

To all our prayer and praises
Christ adds His sweet perfume;
And love the censer raises
These odors to consume. (Mary B. Peters)

The sacrifice of praise is the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. The only worship that God receives is that which flows from redeemer lips.

Believer’s Bible Commentary, 2nd Edition (on Hebrews 13:15)

An End In Itself

In worship, the members of the church focus on God; in instruction and fellowship, they focus on themselves and fellow Christians; in evangelism, they turn their attention to non-Christians.  

—Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 1066-1067

All evangelistic activities of the church have as their goal finding more worshipers for God; all edification activities of the church have as their goal making better worshipers for God.

—Ron Man

The only parochial [church] activities which have any real justification are those which spring from worship and in their turn nourish it.

—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Worship: Its Theology and Practice, 55-56

Worship is the only Christian activity which is an end in itself.

—John Piper

All of Life

The entire worship life of the Old Testament has been radically refocused onto Jesus Himself and has become a radically spiritual thing, as opposed to an external thing. The external is still important, but now the spiritual is so radically pervasive that virtually all of external life, not just church life, is the expression of worship. “Present your bodies as living sacrifices which is your reasonable service of worship” (Romans 12:1). That’s all the time and everywhere. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31): all the time, everywhere.

—John Piper, “Our High Priest is The Son of God Perfect Forever” (sermon, December 8, 1996)

Our Priesthood

Through Christ’s priestly work Christians become priests (10:10, 14; 2:10 f.). As priests they have access to God and can approach Him without having to make an offering for their sins (10:22); in coming they receive grace and mercy rather than give (4:16). But though the Christian priest need not bring sacrifice as a condition of approach to God, yet in thankfulness for that access he presents the sacrifice of praise and service (13:15, 16).

Ernest Best, “Spiritual Sacrifice:  General Priesthood in the New Testament,” Interpretation Journal 14 (1960): 286