A Kingdom of Priests

It is widely recognized that Revelation provides the church with a theology of history, however what is of great importance for our study is that this theology of history is built around the theme of worship. The action of the Son in shedding his blood to free us from our sins (1:5b) was so that we, the redeemed, would be made “a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1:6) The goal of redemption is worshipful service.

—Noel Due, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 221

Defining Worship 4

Christian worship consists both in obedient service to God and in the joyful praise of God. Both of these elements are brought together in Hebrews 13:15-16, a passage that comes close to giving a definition of Christian worship: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” The sacrifice of praise and the sacrifice of good works are two fundamental aspects of the Christian way of being-in-the-world. They are at the same time the two constitutive elements of Christian worship: authentic Christian worship takes place in a rhythm of adoration and action.

—Miroslav Volf,”Reflections on a Christian Way of Being-in-the-World” in Worship: Adoration and Action, ed. D. A. Carson, 203,207

Priority Number One

If your heart is not amazed by the grace of God,
and your mind is not gripped by the truth of God,
and your sense of right and wrong is not permeated by the justice of God,
and your faith is not resting in the power of God,
and your imagination is not guided by the beauty of God,
and your life is not steadied by the sovereignty of God,
and your hope is not filled with the glory of God,

then the service of God will be what Paul calls works of the law, and not the fruit of the Spirit. Work for God that is not sustained by wonder at God is a weariness of the flesh. Priority Number One is the cultivation of hearts that stand in awe of God.

—John Piper, “The Sacrifice of Praise (Hebrews 13:8-16” (sermon)

Serving God

To worship God means to serve him. Basically there are two ways to do it. One way is to do things for him that he needs to have done—run errands for him , carry messages for him, fight on his side, feed his lambs, and so on. The other way is to do things for him that you need to do—sing songs for him, create beautiful things for him, give things up for him, tell him what’s on your mind and in your heart, in general rejoice in him and make a fool of yourself for him the way lovers have always made fools of themselves for the one they love.

A Quaker Meeting, a Pontifical High Mass, the Family Service at First Presbyterian, a Holy Roller Happening—unless there is an element of joy and foolishness in the proceedings, the time would be better spent doing something useful.

—Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life, 182

God’s Mercy Bestowed

“If you find me short in things, impute that to my love of brevity. If you find me besides the truth in anything, impute that to my infirmity. But if you find anything here that serves to your furtherance and joy of the faith, impute that to the mercy of God bestowed on you and me. Yours to serve you with what little I have.”

–John Bunyan (Works, 1:336)