Prayer and Worship Service
February 21, 2021 Series: 1 Peter: Unshakeable Hope
Passage: 1 Peter 2:9–2:12
Today we had a praise and worship service. Although there is no audio available, here are the three movements of prayer that we worked through:
IDENTITY (Scotty Cameron)
Who are you? Really, when you are looking at yourself in the mirror, who do you see? Maybe on your worst days all you see is your faults. You see your sins, all the same old nasty sins you have struggled with your whole life. You see the idolater, the drunkard, the liar, the glutton. Not only that, maybe you see your past hurts, and the scars of life. You see the emotional wounds and all the baggage you carry within you. Then again maybe not, maybe today your winning. Maybe you see all your success, and accomplishments. You see your status, your career, your title. You see a good Dad, or a loving Wife, a good employee or perhaps a respected boss.
Certainly, these are parts of who we are, but do these parts define who we are?
What does Peter have to say about our identity?
1 Peter 2 (9)But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (10)Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Do we really believe that? Noah - set apart. Abraham and his descendants - set apart. Moses - set apart. Israel - set apart. The levitical priests - set apart. The Apostles - set apart. Us?..... Do we really believe that we share this blessed lineage? That the creator of the Universe, the King of Kings, that HE who is and was and is to come sees us not in our faults or our success, in our sins or in our accomplishments… but in HIMSELF? He, Jesus Christ, our beloved savior, He IS our identity. WE are GODS people. Because of HIS mercy, we may proclaim His Excellencies…. Wow.
Father, speak to us now. Help our unbelief Lord. Help us understand how rich your mercy is, how heavy the shroud of darkness was around us. Let us bask in your radiance, in your presence as people of God, in your marvelous light. Let us see our identity in you and you alone….
CONFESSION (David Macomber)
1 Peter 2:11 (NET)
Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul.
Our home is Eden. The holy mountain, walking with our Lord our creator. Until we reach that home - We are foreigners AND ambassadors. We are light in the darkness.
When we were spending some time in Greece, we saw and participated in some of their cultural traditions. One day I was walking past an orthodox church and a bunch of ladies were out front giving out cake to everyone who walked by. They were smiling and cheering and just breaking off hunks of cake with their hands and handing it to people. You know what I did? I took that cake and ate that cake and it was delicious. I don't know if that lady had even washed her hands. I am assuming this was some sort of Greek festival or tradition, but I have no idea what it was about - because I was not from there. That cake was not for me to eat.
But as we think about our identity as foreigners and ambassadors for Christ, Peter is instructing us how to conduct ourselves to be most effective.
I love what Paul says about this in Ephesians 4:22-24
to put off your old self,
Repent and flee from your sin
renewed in the spirit of your minds,
Seek the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
put on the new self, created after the likeness of God
Replace those sins with the “Holy Opposite” and be filled with and walk in the Spirit.
If your proud, seek to be humble
If you feel anger because you’ve been wrong - seek to forgive and show grace
When you are feeling to be filled by anything in this world, food, lust, drink - drop to your knees and pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit.
- At your table, out loud or to yourself ask the Lord to reveal unrepentant sin to you
- Repent (which means to turn and run from) that sin
- Ask the Lord to show you a “Holy opposite” to fill that habit or sin.
Let someone know the repentance and commitment to seek the Holy opposite you made today
ACTION (Pastor Bill)
In Psalm 51, after an inappropriate encounter with one of his best friend’s wife and then the crime of murder to cover it up, King David asks for forgiveness. He is aware of his sin, but he is also aware of God’s faithfulness and grace. He doesn’t hide behind his crown, thinking that he has the right to do whatever he wants like a crooked politician. He doesn’t hide behind the veil of night, thinking that what happens in the dark stays in the dark. He acknowledges what he has done and ask God to change him, purify him, forgive him, and hold on tight to his soul. Then he pens this:
 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
Notice the structure of “if you do this, then I will do that.”
- If you restore the joy of salvation and uphold me, then I will teach other sinners your path
- If you deliver me from guilt, then I will sing of your righteousness
- If you open my lips, then I will declare your praise
The root of confession like that is an understanding of identity - a knowledge of God’s identity and a knowledge of self. As we are more aware of those truths, positively and negatively, we are driven by the Spirit to the cross where we lay ourselves down, pleading for mercy.
But the gospel isn’t oppressive; it is uplifting. We come, burdened with backpacks of sin, and God snips the straps, tosses the bag aside, and removes the baggage. God puts us on our feet, and puts a new robe on our backs and a ring on our fingers. God adopts us into his family, and makes us co-heirs with Christ. He replaces our old identities with new ones, but we forget. We start acting out of those old identities and then he woos us to the cross again where he repeats the process. Not that he repeats the process of salvation, but he repeats the process of daily sanctification, like only needing to wash your hands after you just took a shower this morning.
And those concepts of identity and mercy, coupled with the wonder and glory of God, spur us on to stop looking down and look up. It makes us want to shout his name. It forces us to sing his praise. It compels us to teach sinners his narrow way. Why? Because we’ve changed, and with our eyes fixed on him, as we grow in our own understanding of our new identity and this glorious King, we fulfill what we were created to do (Eph 2:10).
In 1 Peter 2, after encountering glorious identities built upon the goodness and mercy of God, Peter gives us clear action steps.
- Abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war for your soul.
- Keep your conduct honorable among people who do not believe.
- Proclaim his excellencies.
If I were to summarize, Peter is saying, “Be a person who’s life reflects the gospel and who’s proclaim the gospel, and be on guard for all that would try to derail you from that path!”
O Father, we have prayed to know our new identities in Jesus. We have asked you to reveal anything that remains within us that is grievous to you and hindering our own growth or choking out the Spirit. We have expressed our desire to walk out of our new identities and honor you in all that we say and do. But Father, we are weak. We cannot do this of our own ability. We are desperate for a fresh filling of your Holy Spirit to accomplish your purposes. Jesus prayed, in John 17, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Lord, we want to be able to say that same thing when we are on our death bed or at your return. We want to be faithful to live the life that you have for us. Father, we are scared to surrender to your purposes, and we lack the courage to obey. It is so much easier to do our own will rather than Yours. Yet, with Lord Jesus, we pray, “Not my will, but Yours!” With clarity, remind us what Your will is and how we can best serve it. We surrender our fears to You, our uncertainties in the unknowns. We know you will answer every question in due time. We know that you will walk with us every step of the way. We know that we will find joy as we follow you. With Jesus, we proclaim, “My food is to do Your will and to accomplish Your work” (John 4: 34).