I have been attending Sunday worship since I was a little kid. I don't say this to pat myself on the back. In fact, many of those years my parents would have to drag me out of bed and into my Sunday best. Even after all these years of following Jesus, I will still have those Saturday nights where I think I'd rather sleep in the next morning instead of showing up to worship. It is on those days that I have to remind myself how crucial worship is. Here are three of those reminders for why it is so important for us as believers to be in worship on Sundays
Worship Is a Means of God's Grace
For a long time I had an improper understanding of what worship was. As a high school student I thought we were all just showing up to sing songs for God because he really liked good music and that we were going to hear someone talk about how to live a good life. I knew the Gospel but I had a very low and misguided understanding of what worship was. Yes it is good for us to consider worship as a means by which we can please God. Though, this isn't because he's some music aficionado but because by worshipping God we are declaring that he is great and giving him glory. With the pursuit of his own glory be the chief objective (if we were to put it so crudely) of God, we are going with the grain of his will by entering into this practice of glory giving in worship. We become the Psalmist of Psalm 126 as we recount his good works and direct all glory to him.
Not only is this the case that the chief end of worship is God’s glory but also that in the event of worship, we encounter the living God. In worship, we experience the fulfillment of the promise found in Exodus 25:8 that God would make his dwelling with us. We experience God’s relational nature when we worship and this itself is an act of his grace.
We Need To Be Around Fellow Believers
I have said this before and I will continue to say it: a christian who is alone will have stunted and misshapen growth. We are not created to live this christian life in a solitary manner. We are meant to be around one another and worshipping with one another is one of the means by which we experience gospel community. The consequences are great (Heb 10:23-25). In fact, it is here that we understand another component of what is going on in a Sunday service. The chief end is the glory of God which we just discussed. However, an important proximate end is the building up of one another in love. As we sing songs on Sunday morning we not only are singing praises to our God but we are reminding one another of this great treasure we have all found, Jesus Christ the savior. We are reminding one another of this great balm we have encountered, the grace of God.
This is something that occured to me while I was in my first year of study at Moody after a lecture from Dr. John Koessler. I began to look around during the singing portions of Sunday worship and it dawned on me that we were all here because we have been found and established by Jesus Christ. On weeks when I was doubting God's love for me, I had a room full of believers singing the message of grace all around me.
It is at this point that I must share a rather controversial view that I have. Especially in our Covid/Post-Covid world, this opinion is often not welcome. However, as we have already seen, the consequences are great and so I feel the need to hold this conviction all the more firmly in light of God's Word; watching live-streaming worship is not a substitute for attending a worship service in-person. You cannot supplement the directive to worship by watching a service online even if it is in-person. Now, one must be sensitive to certain obvious constraints to this such as those who are physically incapable of attending a service whether by illness, imprisonment, or the lack of a Gospel-preaching church anywhere near them. My response... the exception proves the rule.
We Need To Hear the Word Preached
Receiving solid Gospel preaching, though not the only means, is a crucial means for growth in the christian life. We need to be challenged when we are timid, convicted when we are haughty, encouraged when we are saddened, and comforted when we are hurt. All things things and more take place on a steady diet of Gospel preaching.
I recalled in a previous post my time sitting under the preaching of Jon Dennis at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. I recall a particular Sunday that I heard a sermon on John 16:16-33. Though I don't recall the circumstances of my life at that time, I do remember feeling saddened and burdened. Though I didn't immediately know it, I desprately needed the Word that morning. That sermon encountered me in an incredibly powerful way and demonstrated to me how much I need to sit under solid preaching week after week. I feel it when it has been too long. We kid ourselves when we say that we can just do a quick devotional and that replaces our need for sitting under solid preaching. Friends, in light of Hebrews 10:25, we need to crucify that thought.