Yesterday, we saw that displaying God’s glory is a 24-7 lifestyle of worship.
But there is another element to this. When we gather on the Lord’s Day as His people for corporate worship, the degree to which we have been preparing ourselves all week will be the degree to which we experience the presence and power of the Lord together.
The Bible teaches that God is omni-present, but there is also something called the “manifest presence” of God where He shows up in power when His people gather together for worship.
We not only exist to display God’s glory in our individual lives as Christians, but we are called to display God’s glory together as a church family.
Read 1 Peter 2:9
Notice what Peter calls us? A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession.
These descriptions for the church were taken directly out of the Old Testament descriptions of the nation of Israel.
Deuteronomy 14:2 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
This word “possession” has many nuanced meanings. The word possession in the original language means bought at a valuable price. It also means that God preserves us. He keeps us safe. He holds us tightly in His grip. That He is guarding us. He is ensuring that we have our inheritance.
This same word “possession” is used elsewhere in the New Testament to speak of Jesus buying us with His blood. He has bought us with His precious blood as His unique possession.
Why? Why did God do all of this? Why are we chosen? Why are we set apart as holy? Why has God caused us to be born again? What is our purpose?
The bottom line answer is that we are saved by God to worship Him. The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
The word “proclaim” is only used here in the Scriptures and it means to “publish abroad, advertise, publicize, publicly declare.”
We are not to be silent about God but to boldly and publicly announce, declare, and tell of His excellencies.
This word “excellencies” means His mighty acts of power. We are to declare that God is a mighty God who is able to save to the uttermost.
We are called out as the church to be worshippers, but also to be bold in our witness. We are to announce the mighty acts of God in salvation. We are to be God-glorifying, gospel-centered, Christ-fixated, Scripture-saturated people.
What is your attitude when you come to worship on Sunday mornings? Do you walk away evaluating the service based upon your likes and preferences? Do you “grade” the service on how it made you feel?
Do you find yourself saying something like these: “Worship was okay today. That song was okay. The praise team was a little off. That message was okay. Pastor Sean was not at his best today. I didn’t get anything out of the service today. It didn’t move me. I didn’t feel anything. Worship today was just. . . okay.”
And my question would be: “How did God Himself respond to our worship? What did He think of our worship? Was He pleased with what He saw? What did you put into worship when you came in?”
Were you expecting to experience a me-centered atmosphere that fit into your selfish paradigm, or did you come in prayerful and expectant because you spent time with Christ all throughout the week in personal worship?
J.I. Packer said, “We must never, therefore, let our Sundays become mere routine engagements; in the attitude of mind we shall trifle them away by a humdrum formality. Every Sunday is meant to be a great day, and we should approach it expectantly in full awareness of this.”
How are you preparing today for meeting with the Lord this Sunday? Are you expectant? Are you praying for the power of God to be manifest? Are you praying for sensitivity to the Word?
Spend some time in prayer right now focusing on how you will engage when you come on Sunday. Pray for the power of God this Sunday. Pray for me as your pastor that I would clearly and boldly explain the Bible. Pray for yourself to be prepared for corporate worship because you have had a 24-7 lifestyle of worship all week.
J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 240.