Let’s drop our guards, put away our silly rebuttals, commit to intellectual honesty and spiritual authenticity. Of what am I speaking? Let’s acknowledge that God intends for His children to regularly celebrate Him together. Let’s agree that our culture is highly individualistic and has engaged in revisionist theology in order to submit the hypothesis that God doesn’t mind when we forsake the assembling together of the saints. Let’s refuse to pretend that the first 19 centuries of church history were populated with unenlightened people who missed the mark by affirming that corporate worship was both a blessing and mandate of New Testament truth. Forgive my bluntness but…we aren’t that dumb. We certainly are to worship God as individuals when we are alone because we spend most of our time un-gathered with one another. Yet to conclude that it is insignificant how we regard our opportunities to gather with one another for worship and instruction is just plain silly. You must work very hard to conclude that distancing ourselves from one another is either admirable or permissible. By the way, should we not conclude that something is wrong somewhere inside of us if we fight to remain away from the very ones whom Christ died to make near? My friends, the beauty of the body of Christ is earth’s specially entrusted treasure – a foretaste of Heaven’s populace. We protest about the corruption of the modern church as if it was some new phenomenon - I can’t go there with those people, that place has hypocrites and some of what is said and done is not altogether genuine! Friends, the very first church gatherings were marred by scandalous sin – selfishness, division, deceit, pride, sexual immorality, gossip, control-freaks, drunkenness, competitiveness – yet Peter, John, Paul, Timothy, Barnabas and countless others did not declare the church defunct. Are we more discerning than they? Do we have a license to abandon the church because of her imperfections? Our Groom, who is perfectly holy and impeccably discerning, does not do this. He stays by us. He walks among us. He works upon us. He loves us in spite of what is wrong with us. He is our relentless Redeemer. How could we forsake in our pride that which attracts Him in grace and love?
It’s quiet out there today.
I’ll just leave us with some inspired words from the Psalms which express the believer’s delight at corporate worship. We not only have the doctrine of corporate worship in our bibles…here we have the clarion call amidst the joyful example. Notice how each verse is written in plural form, signifying the expectation that there is great substance in sharing worship together. This is a delightful part of being His…of being Us.
Ps 34:3 – “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!”
Ps 95:1-2 – “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!”
Ps 95:6 – “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
Ps 122:1 – “I was glad when they said to me, ”Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Ps 132:7 – “Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool!”