1 Peter 2:9

Sermon preached on January 25, 2015 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

At the end of your life, if you look back on it and have time to evaluate it—I'm sure there will be certain things that you did that you will consider significant, that those things made life worthwhile. At such a time some people look at their family and they say that that was good, that that was important. Or perhaps they'll look back at the friendships that they had and look back on them as one of the significant things that made their life worthwhile. Or perhaps you'll look back on your job, that you've made a difference in the world. Steve Jobs of Apple Computer tried to inspire people who he was trying to hire with the sentence,

"Come down here and make a dent in the universe."

Sometimes people do great work that changes the world or changes people's lives. Maybe in your work you've helped people and when you look back on your life you'll get a certain satisfaction from that.

But all of those things, as important as they are, are nothing compared to the worship of God. For those of you who are Christians, it's the great reason you are here. Consider what Peter wrote in verse 9. (1 Peter 2:9)

"But you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises
of him who called you
out of darkness
into his wonderful light"

If you can look back on your life and say that you've spend a great part of your life among God's people declaring his excellences—there's nothing greater than that. Your life has been worthwhile. You've done the greatest thing that anyone can do. That's what Peter tells us here.

In the context here he's talking about corporate worship. He's not talking about private worship. We can and should worship God privately, or with our family. But what is in view in our text is the people of God together. This is about God's chosen people, the royal priesthood of believers, the holy nation, the people that belongs to God. This is about our activity as a group. So I ask you,

"Do you appreciate the gathering together with other Christians to worship like you should? Do you delight in celebrating the greatness of God with other people and confessing before all that He is your joy and your reason for being? Do you like telling people about the greatness of your God? Do you like thanking Him publically, with God's people for how good He has been to you? Do you declare His praises to others declaring who He is and what He is like?"

These things should be your joy and delight. The worship of God with His people ought to be the highlight of your week. It is a time like no other. It is one of the main reasons you are here.

One of the greatest pictures of heaven is given to us in Revelation chapters 4 and 5 and those scenes are all about different groups worshiping God, with each group responding to the other—resulting in choruses of praise and adoration to God.

One of the points that our text makes is that our worship here below is to be like that. One of the main activities you are to do, as God's people, is

to declare God's praises.

The worship of God is the number 1 priority and purpose of the church. The church exists for God, for His glory, for His praise.

This time that we spend together each Sunday is so important. One of the great purposes of your existence, the primary reason you are here on earth is to declare God's praises with the people of God. Why are you a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God—is that you may declare God's praises. Another way of translating our text is found in Holman Christian Standard Bible. It says that we are a chosen people, etc.,

"that you may proclaim
the excellencies of him
who called you out of darkness
into his marvelous light."

This is your great purpose in life. This should be your great aim in life—to proclaim the excellencies of your great God.

Now let's break this down a little. What does Peter mean when he tells us to proclaim the 'praises' or the 'excellencies' of God? We are to declare—

the excellencies of God.

The Old Testament background here is Isaiah 43:20-21. God said to His ancient people,

"The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the desert
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise."

God wanted His people to praise Him for His deliverance of them from exile and His care for them. We are certainly to praise God for His goodness to us. We have an example of this in Psalm 103. It says,

"Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being,
praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and
crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires
with good things so that your youth
is renewed like the eagle's."

We must praise and thank God for His goodness to us. Remember the 10 lepers that Jesus healed and only one of them came back to thank Jesus. We must not be like the nine. No matter what your situation God has been good to you—so much better than you deserve. As Lamentations 3:22 says,

"Because of the Lord's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail."

What brutes we are if we don't praise God for all His kindness to us.

But apart from God's kindness to us—there is much to praise God for. All His perfections call forth praise. For example, in Revelation 4:8f we read of the four living creatures who surrounded the throne of God. Day and night they never stop saying,

"Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is,
and is to come."

They praise God for His holiness, His power and His eternity. God is praised for Who He is, what He is like. Psalm 150:2 tells us to praise Him,

"for his surpassing greatness."

Psalm 149 tells the angels, the sun, moon and shining starts to praise God for His power in creation. We are to praise Him for His perfections. John Calvin writes, (Commentary on 1 Peter)

"by excellencies, he understands wisdom, goodness, power, righteousness, and everything else in which the glory of God shines forth."

Everything in which the glory of God shines forth is to be a reason for us to praise and extol God.

The second thing we see from our text about the excellencies of God is that

you are to proclaim them.

We're not to just meditate on them privately. As we read in Psalm 66:1–2,

"Shout with joy to God,
all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!"

Or as David said in Psalm 35:28,

"My tongue will speak
of your righteousness
and of your praises all day long."

In Psalm 105:1-3 we read,

"Give thanks to the Lord,
call on his name;
make known among the nations
what he has done.
Sing to him,
sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those
who seek the Lord rejoice."

We are to declare God's praises. We are to do it to one another, to stir up each other to praise God and delight in Him. We are to remind each other of the promises of God and our relationship to Him because of the great work of Jesus.

We are to worship so that the sun, moon and starts bear witness to our praise of our great Creator. We worship in front of the angels and show them how great our God is in saving us. We worship in God's presence for Him to be glorified by us. As Ephesians 1:11-12 says,

"In him we were also chosen,
having been predestined
according to the plan of him
who works out everything in conformity
with the purpose of his will,
in order that we,
who were the first to hope in Christ,
might be for the praise of his glory."

The third thing we should see from our text is that

worship is about God, His glory, His honor, His praise.

Too often Christians talk about church as if the primary purpose of the church was to please them. We say things like,

"I didn't get anything out of it."

Do you realize how wrong that statement is? It's 180 degrees wrong. The Puritan, Stephen Charnock, wrote of worship, (The Existence and Attributes of God, Vol. 1, p. 241)

"When we believe that we ought to be satisfied rather than God glorified, we set God below ourselves… as though we were not made for him but he that a being only for us."

I've never heard anyone say about going to church,

"I didn't put much into it today. I really have to repent of that. God must be really disappointed in me."

I've never heard anything like that. Our whole thinking about worship is often wrong. But a comment like "I didn't put much into it," would be a lot more appropriate than,

"I didn't get anything out of it."

What you get out of worship is not the primary thing. The vital thing is what God gets out of it. Is God pleased by our worship? Is God pleased what you put into it? Is your heart into worship? Is your mind involved, thinking about what we are doing? Are you celebrating God's greatness and encouraging others to do so?

How important our time of worship is. In our singing we declare God's praises. In our readings we recite the greatness of the Lord and the wonders of His works. Hopefully the sermon is filled with reasons for your to praise God. Our prayer are expressions that give praise, glory and honor to God. Everything we do in worship is to honor God. It's the greatest thing we do.

This means three things for us.


worshipping God with other Christians ought to be one of the absolute priorities of your life.

Our text is about group worship. There's something about corporate worship that is different than private worship. In addition to our private worship God demands that we worship Him as a group. It's what we're here for.

Why are you here on this earth? You are here to declare God's praises. So many Christians think that we're here to enjoy the good things of this life. They think that if you're faithful to God you'll be healthy and things will go well for you, that you'll have financial success.

God may have some of those good things for some of you. But I know He doesn't have those plans for all of us. But I do know that God has placed you here on this earth to declare His praises with other Christians in whatever situation you find yourself in.

Hebrews 10:24–25

"And let us consider how we may
spur one another on
toward love and good deeds.
Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another—
and all the more
as you see the Day approaching."

Secondly, even though I've been focusing on our worship time together, our text is about more than that.

Our whole lives should be about declaring God's praises.

John Calvin writes,

"It behoves us to declare these excellencies not only by our tongue, but also by our whole life. This doctrine ought to be a subject of daily meditation, and it ought to be remembered by us every moment that all God's blessings with which He favors us are intended for this end, that His glory may be proclaimed by us."

As Colossians 3:17 says,

"And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father
through him."

Do you live so that you declare God's praises?

If you get downcast when troubles come and you don't have great faith in God—does that declare God's praises? Does that show forth His amazing love to you? Does that celebrate His faithfulness and commitment to you? If we give in to temptation when it comes our way—does that celebrate God's power that is available to us? If you are proud, rude, unkind, angry toward others—does that declare God's praises and show others what God is like? No. No. If you give in to fear when you get bad news about your health—does that declare God's praises? No.

Christians, your behavior says something about your God. And the question is—what does it say? Does your behavior give a false impression of God? We need to seriously consider this—your behavior paints a picture of your God. We need to make sure that it paints an accurate picture. The God that we serve is great, there's no one like Him. Father, Son and Holy Spirit—He is love. He is good. He is holy. He is righteous. He is wise. May your lives, how you live show others His greatness. Make sure your behavior shows forth the excellences if God.

Lastly, for those of you who are not Christians. If you're not declaring God's praises, and you're not if you're not in Jesus,

your life is good for nothing.

It's a total waste. Whatever you're doing with your life it's worse than nothing. It would be better for you if you were never born.

Wake up! God has given you incredible talents and gifts. You're wasting them. Go to Jesus and find true meaning in life.