God is to be worshiped the way God said we are to worship him.
Over the last ten weeks of this We Are the Church, we have looked at many different areas of the church.
- Meaningful Membership:
- Intentional Relationships:
- Ministries of the Church:
- Celebrating with the Church:
- Prayer & the Church:
- The Bible & the Church:
- Preaching & the Church:
- Leadership & the Church:
- Discipline & the Church:
The week's study, the Gathering of the Church, is probably the most thought about, misunderstood, and underestimated part of the church.
- Most thought about - When people think about the church, they usually think about the Sunday morning gathering of the church - the people of God meeting at a specific location at a specific time.
- Misunderstood - As we have been learning, the church is much more than this. The gathering of the church is a critical part of the church family.
- Underestimated - People, even many church people, underestimate the importance of believers regularly gathering together with the purpose of worshipping
In this Gathering of the Church study, we will examine why this gathering time is essential. That reason is one word - worship.
We gather together NOT for entertainment and NOT merely to learn. We gather together to worship God.
We glorify him through meaningful membership, intentional relationships, and all church ministries.
We do this as we celebrate, pray, and learn God's Word through preaching and many other ways.
We do this as we work together as a congregation. The elders serve the congregation by leading, and the deacons serve the congregation by serving (H.B. Charles Jr).
We seek to grow together as Christ-followers through discipleship and discipline.
Let's begin by looking at what worship is not, with a look at the Pharisees.
Why did Jesus reject the worship of the Pharisees?
"Jesus rejects the worship of the Pharisees, saying their worship was futile because they were teaching their doctrines rather than God’s doctrines. They were worshiping according to their will rather than according to His will." (The Regulative Principle of Word by Banner of Truth)
Read Matthew 23 for reasons why Jesus rejected the Pharisees.
In what ways do people “worship” incorrectly?
Selfishness is the primary way people "worship" incorrectly. While the idea of entertainment-focused, attractional, seeker churches might come to mind, we must carefully evaluate our motives. If the church gathering time must be the way I like it, we are moving towards or steeped in selfishness.
Another path to incorrect worship is focusing on minor things instead of major ones.
How are we to worship God?
Trinity's website says, "We believe that God’s pleasure, not our own, is our greatest goal. We invite you to worship with us. As we study the Bible God’s Word, we are both challenged and encouraged in our relationship with Him and with each other."
Committing to other believers - Meaningful Membership.
Looking to the Bible as our guide - the Regulative Principle - The Bible & the Church. “The acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself and limited by his own revealed will” (Westminster Confession of Faith 21.1).
Preaching and living out the preaching of God's Word - Preaching & the Church. Preaching in which the text's meaning is the sermon's point.
Singing the Bible - Standards for Edification through Music. Questions to ask about the songs we sing:
1. Is the song biblically true?
2. Is the song God/Christ-focused?
3. Is the song clear?
4. Does the song reflect the breadth of Biblical expression?
5. Is the song singable by the congregation?
6. Does it bring unity to the church? Remember, unity does not mean conformity.
Praying the Bible—Praying & the Church - Prayer is not one of many ministries. Pray, a dependence on God, should be part of EVERYTHING the church does. While we should pray for physical needs, the church's prayers should focus on spiritual growth and salvation.
An Additional Resource:
Book: God Made Me for Worship. is an excellent resource to help parents talk to their children about the gathering of the church for worship.
Website: 10 Reasons Why the Church Gathers
As Christians, we should all desire to gather with one another as often as possible. As motivation, here are ten reasons why gathering regularly with the church is important:
- To obey God’s command (Heb. 10:23-25).
- To be equipped for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-14).
- To have our minds renewed through the preaching of the Word (Rom. 12:1-2).
- To employ our spiritual gifts to benefit the church (1 Cor. 12).
- To evangelize the watching world through our love for one another (John 13:35).
- To be held accountable by other mature brothers and sisters in the Lord (Acts 18:24-26).
- To be discipled by older, godly men and women (Titus 2:2-6).
- To ease the mind of your shepherd so he is not worrying about your soul (Heb. 13:17).
- To grow in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as we are taught His Word (1 Pet. 2:2).
- To be encouraged to persevere in the faith by other believers (Heb. 3:12-14)