Sunday worship reminds us that we are a people who are living in-between. There is an already-but-not-yet reality to the Christian life and our gatherings on Sunday punctuate this in various ways. We gather and rejoice over an already-completed salvation through the life and offering of Jesus Christ. Yet we cannot deny that experiencing our complete deliverance from the very sin which has been removed from our record has not been our 100% experience. The bible speaks of us as being raised up and seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6) but we awoke in our beds, got in our cars, drove down our streets, arrived at our local church-house and sat in chairs or pews. I am seated in the heavenly places with Jesus but I am also sitting next to Richard in Lawrenceville. When we sing and pray and love one another on Sunday mornings there is a clear dynamic, an atmosphere of powerful good all around us and also within us. I call this a foretaste and the flavor of it all is so beautiful. Yet my heart longs for the fullness of the banquet in Glory and the foretaste seems so small compared to what has promised us in Christ. This living in-between is encouraging because it signals something better to come. But, man, how I want that better to come NOW. Sunday worship gloriously baits me for the next world, for the age to come. God is preparing you and He is preparing me. He is preparing us together in all of life’s fires and flares, celebrations and satisfactions, conundrums and conniptions – today’s blessings and battles are all designed to bring us more fully into Him until we will be finally brought fully unto Him.
God allowed David to experience the paw of the lion to prepare him for the bear. God allowed David to experience the bear to prepare him for Goliath. David allowed David to experience Goliath to prepare him for the madman, Saul. God allowed David to experience Saul to prepare him for his own treacherous son, Absalom. God allowed all of these challenges, battles and agonies to prepare David for the biggest challenge that David could ever face: the taming of his own heart before the God who called David unto undivided allegiance. That war took David a lifetime to win.
Yes, Sunday worship is a healthy escape from the battle. We meet in a room that is often called a sanctuary, a place of rest and refuge from the blasting of life on earth. Each challenged step is still a step alongside of the Savior, the Sovereign and the Shepherd. Sundays remind me that I cannot walk alone – He is with me and I am with Him, but you and I are also together. The Body of Christ has a common enemy and it is not us. There is no civil war within the Body and if there appears to be so, it is an anomaly which will put down by the Head of the Body. When Sunday worship takes place we are reminded of our beloved smallness, precious and needy before His omnipotent eyes. We are a dependent people who look to a generous Master. He loves to bless us and to build us – and He is not above allowing the lions, the bears, the madmen, the betrayers and the crucible to tame our fiercely independent hearts. His power moves toward us in selfless love. His aim is to bring you fully into Himself before He brings you fully unto Himself. Salvation is not so much about getting you into Heaven as it is about getting Heaven deeply inside of you.
He is mightily working on this. He is not quite done. A little more deeply in you. A little longer with all of us. Rest assured, He who began the good work will see it through unto the Day of Jesus Christ.
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