The Corporate Testimony of the Worship of Christ

The central work of the congregation in praising the name of the Lord in regular, corporate, public worship

A biblical understanding of worship sees every Lord’s Day corporate gathering as an extraordinary event where the people of God come into the presence of the Almighty and through His blessed gift of the means of grace grow spiritually in their understanding of His attributes and the thorough and perfect nature of the sacrifice of the Son of God for the sins of His sheep. This is something that we cannot receive in any other way than through the ordinances that God has graciously given to us.

 

It seems as if I have kind of pigeon-holed myself into writing about worship all the time, yet pursuant to other things I guess it could be worse. It was in the midst of working on the sermon for this coming Lord’s Day that I was struck by something (not hard enough some would say) that regards the central work of the congregation in praising the name of the LORD God in regular, corporate, public worship that I thought to jot done and think through a bit if you will bear with me in this.

David in Psalm 9 begins with a clause that declares he will give thanks in praise for the way in which God has delivered God’s enemies out of the land of Israel. The likely context for this psalm is the victories of 2 Samuel 5 over the Jebusites who inhabited what would become the holiest city in Israel and the home of the temple of God, Jerusalem, and the Philistines who had gained a foothold in the land through the defeat of Saul. David makes abundantly clear in the following verses that this was by the LORD’s hand, and His alone. It is in response to this glorious day that the following directive for the people of God comes from the Psalm writer.

This command of Psalm 9:11 for all of Israel to join publicly to proclaim in worship together the goodness and majesty of the creator of the Heavens and the Earth is interesting. David goes from praising God Himself to calling upon all the people to give thanks for God’s merciful provision. It is worthwhile to notice that David wants all of the people to share in rejoicing, for it is clear that he understands that is not for David that these things were accomplished, or even for Israel per se, but it was so that the glory of the LORD might be shown to triumph over those who thought themselves to be much bigger in their britches than they actually were.

One of the ways in which we understand David is that he was a type of who was to come. This call to corporate thanksgiving praising the name of the LORD God is likewise given by the God-man who fulfilled this typology, Jesus Christ. In the well-known passage in John 4 where Jesus explains to the woman at the well that in the days to come that the people will no longer need to go the temple in Jerusalem, but shall worship in Spirit and in Truth no matter their present location, because of course Jesus Christ is the “Temple” in the New Covenant, and wherever His people are present for worship there He is also, our savior is underlining this importance that His Church gather with one another for adoration of the Holy. Like other teachings of Christ when we implicitly or explicitly (whatever the case may be) deny it by our actions and our intentions, we only do damage to our spiritual health. It is a wise thing to heed the counsel of the Lord.

There is a prevalent attitude in the church today that says, “Well I can miss this week, and just go next time” that is antithetical to the biblical witness of the importance of regular, public worship with brothers and sisters in Christ in the Lord. My concern is that what should be treated as anything but common is far too often used as a common thing, which can just be skipped like one might receive an excused absence for missing a Lions Meeting.

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