Gathered Worship: the heartbeat of the Christian life

By November 13, 2012Uncategorized

Worship is what creation and redemption are all about. God’s grace in Jesus Christ creates worshippers of God in all of life. We worship as individuals, alone with God. We worship as families around the kitchen table. We worship as small groups over a coffee table. And, best of all, we worship together as a church Sunday mornings and some evenings.

Some think private worship is most important. But the New Testament is written in the plural. The grace of gathered worship works its way IN to our groups, families and private devotions and OUT to the watching world.

Worship–together as a church — is the heart-beat of the Christian life.

Gathering for worship is the instinct of grace. Look at the first Christians. Hungry for grace they gathered at every opportunity – “and abundant grace was upon them all.”

Gathered worship is the full shower of God’s grace and presence.  Christ gives us grace through Scripture, prayer, worship, fellowship, and the sacraments. Only when the whole church gathers for worship do  all these “graces” come together. It’s the difference between bathing with a water pistol and stepping under the full stream of a hot shower! Television, internet and radio are mere water pistols.

Gathered worship is a key encouragement to other members of the body. In Hebrews we are instructed to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” When you are a “no show” for gathered worship, others suffer. Part of the fullness of blessing for the church is the fullness of the membership together worshipping, serving and supporting one another.

Gathered  worship is a key encouragement to visitors, too. During Sunday worship visitors judge (properly so) whether or not the church is vital, healthy and helpful.

Sunday worship tells your unbelieving friends that Christ and His church have more value than anything else you might do on a Sunday. Otherwise, your witness reduces Christ to one option among many offered every Sunday in our community.

One of the first signs of an anemic relationship with God is the drift away from (neglect of) worship with the whole church. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The devil  hates it when you get to Sunday worship. See how much effort the devil puts into keeping you out of God’s most important meeting of the week! He throws every encumbrance but the kitchen sink at us on Sunday mornings: fatigue, anger, doubt, a breach of domestic tranquility — everything! And that is just one more reason to wake up and know that gathered worship is God’s best for you.

Christ is the real Rest, the real Repairer. When you abandon gathered worship because you “just need a break”, you expose an underlying assumption that Christ and the gospel are not the answer to the demands of life. He says, “Come to Me and I will give you rest.”

See these verses:  Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42-46, Acts 15:21, 2 Tim 4:2, Westminster Confession 21.5

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