We continue our study of Ephesians this week with a look at how God loves us. As part of our study, we took a look at how this affects us to participate in corporate worship with a group of questions:
Are you faithful and active in corporate worship? Does Paul’s teaching on corporate worship challenge your thinking? Which of the four actions is most challenging for you?
1) Speaking to one another in song?
2) Singing and making melody to God from your heart?
3) Thanking God always and for everything?
4) Submitting to one another throughout the day?
Corporate Worship by John Peavy
Growing up, I had family members that were adamant that they could be as close to God out on the lake or in the woods as they could in church. As a child, it made sense to me. Before my own salvation, I did not know any better.
There are many reasons why this thinking is wrong. First, and where many biblical students turn in response to this statement, there is Hebrews 10:25 where we are told to come together specifically for the purpose of encouraging one another. But, just like a toddler, we are not content with “because I said so” as a reason to do anything. Simply attending in order to obey the rules is legalism instead of the natural result of our love for Christ and therefore our fellow man. Christ calls us into a relationship of love. When we love someone, we seek the opportunities to be with them. Christ was clear that where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there with them (Matthew 18:20).
Second, we are each given spiritual gifts for the purpose of ministering within the church (1 Corinthians 12). These gifts work in conjunction with one another to meet the needs of believers and act as a witness to non-believers. The apostle Paul compared them to parts of the body. This makes it easy for us to understand what it means for part of the body to be missing. Just like a missing limb would hamper you, your spiritual gift missing from the church body hampers the church in its purpose.
Third, in gathering with other believers, we are able to learn of needs we can meet through our spiritual gifts and God-given resources. I am often reminded of the parable about the talents when this topic comes up. Failing to use what God has given you puts you in that parable as the servant that the master called wicked and slothful.
Fourth, it is in the shared life with other believers that we learn about how God is answering prayers. By taking an active interest in others, praying with and for them, and hearing how God meets their need, we know that He has taken action and our faith is strengthened.
Fifth, the church is the bride of Christ. We are the church. Declining to be part of the bride is the equivalent of rejecting the groom. It is difficult to understand how anyone can claim to love Christ and not have a longing to be with other believers. Our love for Christ should translate into a love for others, especially other believers.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that anyone who does not regularly attend church will read this. This makes it all the more important that we invite and are able to witness to those who do not attend. Who can you invite this week?
Things to Know: