Preaching from First Peter 2:1-8 and other verses, Pastor Babij teaches that Christians together are a new, spiritual temple and priests offering sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise to God. Pastor Babij, therefore, exhorts Christians to present themselves as a living sacrifice, bringing everything in life to Jesus Christ in worship.
In 1 Peter 2, we are continuing through this great epistle. We are learning many things about salvation. Let us pray:
Lord, as we come before You, we want to come with humble hearts and teachable spirits. We want You, Lord, to break us down and build us up. We want You to take out of our life the things that ought not to be there, and replace them with righteous behavior, right thinking, and things that are worthy of praise and that honor You. I pray, Lord, that You would make us strong in our salvation, so that Satan cannot come along with his lies and cause us to doubt and fear. I pray, Lord Jesus, that You would enable us every day to receive the ingrafted Word of God, and that it would build us to be soldiers of Jesus Christ. Knowing, Lord, that we are in a spiritual battle. We don’t have a privilege of taking off our armor, but, Lord, help us to learn how to put it on and keep it. Lord, make us the people that honor You, speak for You, and if need be, to die for You. I pray this, in Christ’s name, Amen.
We ended with the passage 1 Peter 1:25:
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.
By way of review, we saw that we are living a new principal of life, and that new principal of life started when the seed of the Word of God was planted in our heart. 1 Peter 1:23:
for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
The instrument of the implanting of the seed is the Word of God, and the Word of God is enduring, living, and everlasting. Whatever gets planted in our heart cannot perish and is permanent. As noted last time, the temporal was contrasted with the eternal. Also noted, the impermeant nature of the human being. 1 Peter 1:24:
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
Meaning, it is limited, short, uncertain, and full of trouble from the time of our birth through our life. Thus, the natural man will fade, wilt, and dry up. It’s always the case that man will perish and pass away. Man is not eternal in this world, but his soul will go to an eternal place. The glory of the natural man will pass away way. In this sense, glory is referring to all the mans achievements and greatness, and all these glories will be like the grass that withers and the flower that falls off. Therefore, this is always the conclusion of our temporal life.
In contrast with the new life we are given in Christ, we know that the Word of God endures forever, which is the Word that we heard preached. It is the Word that brought us the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that same Word, being preached today, is the same Word that Peter was talking about. That same Word is the very Word that brings new life, and that new life lasts forever. Therefore, we must stop centering our attention on this life, which will so quickly end, and focus our attention on serving God and the new life that is given us, which starts now into eternity.
Already, we saw all these principles that the Christian is to exhort. The Christian is exhorted to have a fixed hope in the future, a holy life, fear God, love one another, and crave the Word of God. To do this, we strip off the sinful desires that stifle spiritual growth. 1 Peter 2:1-3:
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Secondly, we set our heart on the uncontaminated and unadulterated Word of God, which continues our spiritual growth. We cannot get saved or continue to grow without the Word of God. In the process of being a believer, if you are not involved with the Word of God, you will not grow. In fact, you must look for your sin when that happens, especially since sin will stifle and quench your desire for spiritual things.
This craving metaphor is not just for new or infant Christians, but it is always a craving for all Christians, and who are at all levels of spiritual growth. The desire for the Word should increase as you learn more of the Word, not decrease. If it is not there at all, then you must question if you are saved at all. If this new life has been planted in you, it will create that desire.
In a new believer, the first thing you notice is that they get right to the Word of God. If you have no desire for that and your desire is for other places, then you really must question where you are or what sin is stifling and quenching your desire. Therefore, Christians are to exemplify this intense yearning for the uncontaminated, unadulterated, and pure spiritual milk of the eternal Word of God.
Furthermore, it starts at salvation and will continue forever, not end. When we are released from this life into the presence of God, our desire for God will increase incredibly. The purpose of this nourishment, the pure milk of the Word, is for the believer to grow into the full experience of their salvation. Literally, the Word of God will grow you. Therefore, the Christian should take no spiritual nourishment aside from the Word of God. We don’t have to settle for anything less, especially spiritual junk food that is out there and all over the place.
Leading to seeking the satisfier of our soul. It is not just the Word of God, but it is the One who is giving us the Word of God. So far, we have learned several things that brings us to the place where we want more of the Word of God. When we know the goodness, mercy, and kindness of God, we want more of God, not less of Him. To know God’s will, the Word of God is the criterion and measuring stick for knowing what is good, well pleasing, and advancing in spiritual maturity. There is no other source that is perfectly safe and reliable to produce real spiritual growth and godliness than the unadulterated Word of God.
In our study of 1 Peter, we should be grasping so far this: since He who begotten us is holy, His children are required to be holy, which the Word of God produces by the Spirit of God. Secondly, since He is our judge and has ransomed us at such a great price, we must conduct ourselves in reverential fear before God. Since we are born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, we are brethren and our relationship to each other must be one of sacrificial love since we are children of one father in one family.
Now, we are in one community, or one temple, where we are to work and worship God. Since we have been begotten by means of the eternal Word of God, we should long for the milk of the Word as our true and proper nourishment, which leads us to 1 Peter 2:4-8. In this passage, there is an important message for this living church and those who belong to the true church, which is described in the term togetherness. Because we belong to Christ, we are now connected and belong to each other.
New life has been injected into the church by the living Christ. We are begotten by the eternal Word of God, and by the Word, we grow spiritually. Therefore, Christians are living stones being built into a spiritual house. Christians meet in the church, which constitutes a temple. The church is a temple, and we are all filled with the permanent indwelling of the Spirit of God. When we meet, that is the church, which is synonymous to a temple. However, what happens in the temple in the Old Testament and what should happen in the temple in the New Testament?
First, it is where there is the presence of God. Wherever there was a temple, that’s where the presence of God was, where the priest ministered, and where the people came. Secondly, it is where God communicates with His people through the eternal, enduring Word of God. When the Word of God is open, God is communicating to us something that we all need to know and learn, especially for our continued spiritual growth. Also, it is where God receives gifts, sacrifices, worship, and prayer from His people. This was done in the Old Testament and is done today, but in a different way.
Here, we’re talking about practical holiness, which is how we practice our relationship as a new believer in this new community called the church. The church is equal to a temple where God dwells. Together, Christians are living stones. In the same building, we are royal priests serving in the same temple, worshiping the same God, and belonging to the same community. Therefore, we’re talking about practical holiness and the connection between the verses of 1 Peter 2:1-3.
In our text, the sematic thought is between having children that are alive, living, and begotten by the Word of God to now coming into a family, which of course constitutes a building – a place to meet with each other. Having children and building a house go together. The imagery is coming from the Old Testament, which is a metaphor of God building the church into a temple. The church is being built as the new temple of living stones upon the cornerstone, which is Christ.
Talking in terms of a building, a building must be built right to be strong. In a stone building, a key stone is a cornerstone, which keeps everything in its place, all measurements, and strength to the building. When considering the practice of holiness, there are three things to ponder concerning a Christian’s new place in God’s temple.
Together, Christians are living stones assembled into a spiritual house. In the Old Testament, when people approached God, they had to approach Him in a certain way. They couldn’t just willy-nilly approach God, which could have resulted in a person’s death. 1 Peter 2:4:
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God
In 1 Peter 2:4, “and coming to Him,” is a very significant phrase. Now that we are living stones, we can approach God, and our approach to God is important. Frequently, this phrased is used in the Old Testament for drawing near to God. Either to hear Him speak, or to come into His presence in the temple to offer sacrifice. Usually, it is a sacrifice for sin. Leviticus 9:7:
Moses then said to Aaron, “Come near to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, that you may make atonement for yourself and for the people; then make the offering for the people, that you may make atonement for them, just as the LORD has commanded.”
Drawing near to God was dangerous. If people were not approaching God in the right manner and with the correct sacrifice, it was even deadly. In fact, the ironic priesthood were the only ones who could approach God in behalf of the people. The people brought their sacrifices to the priest; then, the priest went before God. The priest was the mediator between God and the people. The people could not go into the presence of God or they would die immediately.
When a person wanted to approach God, the first step was to bring a burnt offering to the Lord. They gave it to the priest and the priest would offer it properly before the Lord, so preparation was done both by the people and then by the priest. The purpose of the burnt offering is that it was an offering that really changed God’s attitude towards the people. Leviticus 1:10:
But if his offering is from the flock, of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer it a male without defect.
The person was to bring it to the tabernacle, kill it, dismember it, and then watch it go up in smoke before his eyes. Apart from the skin, the priest burnt everything. When the worshipper came, they were convinced that something very significant was achieved through these acts, and they knew that their relationship with God was profoundly affected by bringing an offering before God in the proper way.
Second, the burnt offering was to be brought in a way that was accepted by the Lord. Leviticus 1:3:
If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD.
This offering was brought in the right way so that it was accepted by God, not rejected or put to death by Him. Thirdly, the burnt offering was pleasing to the Lord. Leviticus 1:9:
Its entrails, however, and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar for a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.
In other words, it was an offering that was pleasing to God. Meaning, the person bringing it was pleasing to God. In their heart, they wanted to be pleasing to God, so that is why they were to be obedient. Lastly, the most important thing was to make atonement. By shedding the blood of the animal, a person’s sins could be covered. The day of atonement is that one time of the year where the high priest was able to come into the presence of God. The high priest couldn’t come into the presence of the holy of holies, expect for one time a year.
Of course, the burnt offering is what makes fellowship with a sinful man and a Holy God possible. In other words, you cannot come before God without an offering. Even today, you cannot come before God without an offering. However, the offering we come with before God is Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate and last offering. Hebrews 4:16:
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Because of Jesus Christ, we are able now to come into the very presence of God and into His throne room. Our priest, Jesus Christ, has made that new and living way for us. The only burnt offering that has atoned for sin forever has been made by Christ. True worshippers no longer bring their lambs to the alter to receive forgiveness of sins. Instead, they bring a sacrifice involved with praising God for His grace and declaring one’s attention to love God and keep His commandments.
Now that the animal sacrifices have been obsolete, praise and good works constitute a proper sacrifice accepted before God from a Christian who is now part of this new and living community. Together, Christians are living stones that assemble in a spiritual house. In 1 Peter 2:4, this living stone is Christ himself. From the Father’s perspective, this living stone is a stone that is choice and precious. Stones are dead and lifeless objects, so to say Jesus is the living stone links Him back to the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 32:18:
You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.
The stone imagery points to Jesus as being the strong and living stone. Christ is not a dead idol, a lifeless monument, or a dead principle, but the living, resurrected, and life giving One. Now, Christ is that living stone, and that living stone to the Father is very profitable. Jesus is the one who gives life to those who come to Him, believing in His death and resurrection. However, not all who encounter Jesus come with the same conclusion.
In fact, in 1 Peter 2:4, it states that the living stone has been rejected by men. The glorious message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as our sacrifice on our behalf so that we can come into the presence of God is not always a welcomed message to people. Some examine Jesus and deem Him useless; for instance, like apostate Israel. John 1:11:
He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
Here, he is talking about the Jews. However, others examine Him, hear the message of Jesus Christ, and they find Him very profitable. Whatever the world or some religious systems thinks of Christ, God the Father sees the suffering Christ as the living stone. He is seen as costly, precious, and extremely useful in His plan of redeeming humanity. Christ is God’s chosen and honored servant. John 1:12:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name
Now, we can approach the living stone, Jesus Christ, and assemble in the church to worship God. The church being the temple of God and where God dwells amongst His people. Concerning the practice of the holiness and new place we have in God’s temple; all believers are priests. 1 Peter 2:5:
you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In looking at that passage, when I became a believer, it was an odd concept to think that I was a priest. However, the point is: we are priests that come before God with something. We come with a worshipful heart and with a sacrifice that has already been made on our behalf. The picture being drawn is that of God building the church into a temple. As living stones, being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood.
The purpose of the temple was for the work of the priests, but here, the Bible is telling us that all believers are priests. If you are a believer, you are a priest. As a priest, you have access to God, and you must come before no one to have access to God. Even more so than the Old Testament priests. Only the high priest could enter the holiest place in the temple, and only one day a year.
The Word of God tells us that we are a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. Hebrews 10:19:
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus
True believers, in Jesus Christ, are exhorted to go directly into God’s presence with confidence. Meaning, we have freedom of speech when we enter the presence of God. In the presence of God, we have courage to express ourselves and to bring before God our petitions, prayers, and very presence. That is a vast difference compared to the way people approached God in the Old Testament. We are the New Covenant people and we approach God as well, but without all the priestly duties that must be performed.
New Covenant people’s approach to God is confident and joyous while Old Covenant people were cautious and fearful. New Covenant people are to draw near always. Old Covenant people were frequently exhorted to keep their distance only approaching God regulating by the law. All followers of Christ are urged to come at any moment of peace or trials before God while only the high priest could enter the holiest of all in one day of the year. Therefore, followers of Christ are entering the holy of holies, in which under the Old Covenant the people were forbidden to enter.
We enter, not ignorantly, but mindful of the cost it took God to give believers this awesome privilege. To enter mindful of His blood that was shed and the way He opened. He opened a way where we are all excepted in the beloved. We become mindful of the work that He has done and continues to do, and we are helped. We can come before the throne of Grace knowing God’s presence is there, especially since we are living stones in His temple, where He is the cornerstone.
When we come before Him, the aspects of redemption may stir us to a full adoration, time of confession, and thanksgiving all equaling worship that is pleasing to the Father. Hebrews 10:20:
by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.
We’re given the information that this is a life-giving way, and a new way, especially since no one could directly enter God’s presence under the law of Moses. The term “new” indicates to be freshly slaughtered. Fresh means not only taken in a sense that it was unknown before, but also as one that retains its freshness and cannot grow old. Although His sacrifice for our sins was a once and for all sacrifice over two-thousand years ago, it never grows old. It is always fresh and current for all who come to receive it, and for all who come to confess their sin. 1 John 1:7:
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Meaning, the power of the Blood of Christ is fresh for all believers to make them clean so that they can approach God on a regular basis in a new and living way. It is living because the way provides life for believers and continual access to God. Also, it means that all other ways to God are dead ways. There is no other living way than coming through Christ.
In the latter part of Hebrews 10:20, the veil was the place in the temple where the high priest can only go once. On the other side of the veil, it was the mercy seat where he came in once a year. In this passage, the veil is the flesh of Christ, so the veil had to be torn in two before this old, Jewish culture could be done away with and the physical temple closed. Therefore, everything ended when Jesus inaugurated for us through the veil, which is his flesh, this new and living way. God was pleased to crush him. Isaiah 53:10:
But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
As the priest was in the holy place, what he was doing there is in Hebrews 9:2:
For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.
The priest ministered in that area all the time. Where the curtain was in the back, it had to be removed so a person could have access without having to go through a priest to the mercy seat, which is where someone’s sin would be completely forgiven and washed away by the onetime sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:3:
Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies
On that day, when Jesus Christ was on the cross, we notice that this is the language used in a passage of Scripture, especially in other Gospels. Mark 15:37-39:
And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last. 38And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
This is the background of what Peter is bringing up in these passages of Scripture. The Lord had to remove a whole religious system and priesthood so that we may have a complete, total, and free access to God. In doing that, priests are those who bring sacrifices and offerings to God. It is not changing with us, but what changes is what we bring, how we bring it, and how often it is brought.
In 1 Peter 2:5, we are to come to offer up spiritual sacrifices, not literally animal sacrifices, and we are to do it through Jesus Christ. There is no way we could bring our sacrifices to God unless we come through Jesus Christ. You cannot bypass Jesus Christ. Jesus must be dealt with and responded to. Therefore, Christ is the instrument by which we can approach a holy God to worship, to serve, and to live in His presence.
In this house, is a temple or sanctuary in which God dwells and receives spiritual sacrifices from us as His priest in His temple. The corporate community, with their transformed lives, are to offer up acceptable sacrifices to God. As a holy priesthood, what are Christians to do and bring to God?
We are to offer to God acceptable sacrifices. Christ has opened a way right into the Holy of holies where only a handful of Old Testament priests where ever allowed to come. Now, we stand before the mercy seat because we have been accepted in the Beloved. The more we know God, from Scripture, and as we taste His goodness and kindness, we want more and more. Then, we have a greater desire to worship Him, but to worship Him properly, not flippantly or haphazardly. Also, to know we are doing so, which is what Peter is getting at in our text. Romans 12:1-2:
Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Meaning, acceptable worship is to bring ourselves. In this passage, mercies of God are the compassion of God and the pity He had on us when He saw us as unholy, unrighteous, and rebellious. Because of His mercy towards us, the motivation is to offer myself as a living sacrifice.
As a priest coming into His temple and as we fellowship corporately with His people, we are to offer our body, not as a dead sacrifice to be slaughtered, but as a living sacrifice. As we give our life to God because of the mercy He had towards us, His mercy motivates us to say everyday to the Lord, “Lord, I am giving myself up to you as a sacrifice so I can live my life the way you want me to, and I want my life to be acceptable since I know this is my reasonable service of worship.”
When God saves us, He wants all of us, not part of us, so we are conscious that we are giving ourselves to God as a holy, separated, and different person, who is now living. We must give ourselves, which is part of our worship as a priest before God. This is a conscious thing we do, especially since we are very selfish and don’t want to give everything to God. We want to keep little compartments for ourselves. Until we do that, we really cannot worship God, especially since we’re not loving Him, we’re loving other things, things we like to do, and ourselves.
Somehow, we think giving it all to the Lord will be stifling to our life, which is not true at all. We learn to have life when we give it all to the Lord. All our service, thinking, doing, and planning is to be giving to the Lord, “Whatever you want, Lord, I want to do it, but I want to do it serving you, not sitting by the sidelines.”
Secondly, in Hebrews 13, the same language is being used that Peter is using in his text, which explains more what it means for us as priests to come before God with acceptable worship. Hebrews 13:15:
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
In offering up acceptable worship to God, the second thing we do is give our words. How we speak tells you and God what is going on in your heart. The words that come out of your mouth are not a mistake. However, these words are directed to God and these are words that offer up a continual sacrifice of praise to God about the great things God has done for us and given us, in Christ Jesus, of which we would have never deserved in a million or trillion years. Therefore, it loosens up our lips so that our mouth begins to bare fruit of giving thanks to the Lord.
Again, you don’t see any grumbling or complaining here, or anything negative here such as, “Oh, Lord, you don’t really understand my situation or what I am going through.” In fact, the Lord has gone to the limits of suffering way farther than we could ever go, and He understands our deep suffering.
Everyday, we get up and learn how to praise God. We thank Him for our health, for our food, for a place to sleep, for our salvation, for the people in our life, for the body we are a part of, for Christ himself, and for His word. We can read it and hear what He has to say. In other words, it starts cleaning up what comes out of our mouth.
As we grow in Christ likeness and holiness, most of what comes out of our mouth is praise and thankfulness to God, and we shut off the bitter words that come out. You cannot have bitter and fresh water coming out of the same fountain. Therefore, our worship is our words, which comes from our heart. As a believer, our heart is full of affection for God since we have something new and living going on inside of us. We know what God has done and who He is, so we don’t have to wonder about His plans. We want to live for Him and give ourselves to Him.
Though, this doesn’t mean you leave everything and go off to Bible college. Right where you are and in your sphere of life, you serve God. Therefore, what comes out of your mouth is not bitterness, cursing, grumbling, complaining, but praise and fruit of thankfulness. Being so thankful that you cannot help yourself, which is worship. God knows your heart, and He knows if you’re doing that every day.
You can come to church, put on a good face, fake it, and then as you get back in the car, you spill it in the parking lot. Didn’t you learn anything? Do you think we can get away with those things? As calling ourselves believers and not have repercussions. Look at your words. Your words are to be words of praise and thanksgiving. When they are not, look for your sin and what is going on in your heart that is not right. This is what a priest does, who is a believer and has new life in his heart. Then, in a third passage of Scripture, Hebrews 13:16:
And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
This language is all tied together from 1 Peter. Our works and service are how we worship God. As a believer, you don’t sit on the sideline, but are involved in the game. Therefore, we should not neglect doing good. Any time you have a chance to do good, we ought to do it. Two things he mentions there: doing good and sharing. Giving of what we have and sharing it with others who possibly don’t have.
While we are here on this earth, God is concerned with our relationship with one another in doing the ordained works that God has given us to do. God notices all of these. God is pleased, He sees the works we do, He knows what’s coming out of your mouth, and He knows if you’re giving yourself over to live for Him or not. However, He wants you to know that you do that. You don’t do it perfectly, but you do it and should do it consciously. Worship is not something that you are not conscious of what is going on. Worship is being very conscious of Who you are worshiping and how you are worshiping. Philippians 4:18-19:
But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Basically, Paul is saying, “when I am well fed, I am not going to let my wealth change my attitude towards God and forget God. If my stomach is growling, I am not going to reject God because He hasn’t supplied something I think He should supply.” Paul is content with whatever God has for him in that point in his life. The Bible says that godliness with contentment is great gain.
Through Jesus Christ, we offer these spiritual sacrifices, and what God desires most of all is the love of our hearts and the service of our lives. To be clear, we are not giving offerings for sin. The Old Testament offering for sin such as the burnt offering has been fulfilled and completed in Christ Jesus, our High Priest forever, from the Melchizedekian priesthood. Therefore, through Christ our mediator, we have acceptance and access to God. Through His word, we gain a greater and clearer knowledge of God, which means a more conscious understanding of how to worship.
Again, Peter is bringing out these things to let us know that this is who we are in our new life. Let’s pray:
Lord, we Thank You again, for the awesome Word of God. Lord, it is convicting, and it does tear us down, but it also is life giving and it builds us up. Lord, I Thank You for what we find in the Word of God. Lord, in it, we see that You have done something that no one else could do. You have made a way for us into the Holiest place as priests coming into your presence to offer You worship that is acceptable in your sight. Only through Christ could this ever be. I pray, Lord, as we consider that, we would examine ourselves to see and to evaluate whether our worship is worship that is lining up with Scripture and comes out of our growth from understanding the Word of God. I pray, as we see that, Lord, as we are honest with ourselves, Lord, let our worship be worship that is real and comes from the depth of our heart due to our great affection for You, so that it is based on all that You have done for us and the great mercy You had offered to us, and by not allowing the wrath of God to fall on us. You have pity on us and rescued us by the sacrifice of Your son. Thank You for that. I pray that You would make us this kind of people for Your sake, the building up of Your church, and the advancement of the Gospel. I pray, in Your name, Amen.