8.30.2006

Thoughts on Corporate worship

Pastor Mark Balthrop has a post he titled "Outreach vs. Worship". It is a good post, and I'd like to post some thoughts on the subject here.

Indeed it is disheartening to see the church in America miss the priority of worship in scripture. When I first began to see things from a reformed perspective, I found that the purpose of man, according to the shorter catechism, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I wasn't sure where that came from, but it was the first time I had heard something concrete regarding man's purpose. At that point I began noticing and often underlining the numerous times in scripture that God says He is doing something to make His name known. I then found Ephesians 1 where God says 3 times that the purpose for Christ's death and resurrection, our adoption, and our salvation is to praise His glorious grace.

It has become very clear that God desires to be worshipped. Take this in light of Romans 1 where Paul tells us that the problem with mankind is that we refuse to worship God as creator and trade the truth for a lie. Paul says we worship the creature, and this is the underlying issue of sin. The Holy Spirit's regeneration removes the hunger to deny our knowledge of God and to not worship Him as He deserves to be worshipped.

With all this being said, the main movement in America seems to be focused on making people turn their lives over to Jesus Christ, but the full message isn't articulated. Isn't faith in Christ an outworking of God's grace in our lives. We are saved by faith alone and even faith is a gift. God predestines, calls, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and glorifies. The regenerated heart is looking to worship and rich public worship overflows into a lifestyle of worship where God is all in all and people see this in the regenerated believer.

Yes, the gospel call to repent is needed, but the message must be purely one that calls us to repent of our denial of God as Lord and creator. We should be called to turn to God trusting that our very being is in His control. We must be called to repent of our sin and become active worshippers of God. Corporate worship encourages us and spiritually moves us to be Holy and Blameless, but the church today tries to make Holy and Blameless evangelists without emphasizing the importance of corporate worship.

Evangelism is an outflowing of a heart that truly recognizes God's power, holiness, and grace. Evangelism is praise of God in that we pass on the good news of God's mercy. The message of grace and mercy flows out in our thoughts, actions, and conversations when we truly believe the word of God and experience God's renewal regularly. This renewal comes through interaction with God through prayer, sacraments, and the word read and preached. So, I agree that corporate worship is extremely important in the life of the believer.

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