Christ Jesus has made worship a 24/7 reality for the Christian. Romans 12:1 teaches that due to His purifying work on the cross our lives are now “living sacrifices.” In response to His mercies we present our very lives to God as our “spiritual service of worship.” In Christ, all of life is sacred and offered as a priestly sacrifice of praise. We worship God, through Christ, by the Spirit, all the time – everywhere. Indeed, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
There are 168 hours in a week. For approximately 166.5 of those hours we worship God as an individual believer, and on occasion, with a few others. On Sunday we will gather to worship God as a community of faith for 1.5 hours. We will participate in corporate worship in tandem with other blood-bought precious brothers and sisters. We are like a team of horses under one harness. We need to be conscious of how our speed, direction and attitude effects the entire team.
To do this, with godly order and love, we gladly and joyfully set aside our personal preferences—be it the time, length, text, songs, seat, liturgy, location, etc., and remember that its all about HIM. He is the audience of one. We are worshippers not consumers. After all, we worship HIM not our preferences or tastes.
We set aside our personal preferences because He has called us in humility to “consider others more important than” ourselves and to look to “the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). This is one way we present our lives as a living sacrifice. We set aside our personal preferences because the visible unity of the church glorifies Christ and exhibits the invisible power of the gospel. In Christ “there is ONE hope, ONE body, ONE Spirit, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6). These invisible realities become visible in corporate worship.
It is one of the distinctive beauties of the Church that it brings together a body of worshippers in one harness of praise. It is a family comprised of people of various ages, ethnicities, color, education, socio-economic status, and personal tastes. The Church is a kaleidoscope of God’s saving grace that extends across the globe and centuries.
[A word to our own congregation].
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to corporate worship this Lord’s Day. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the selflessness and intensity of love and praise you displayed these last few weeks is still the exception or becoming the rule.
Your brother in the harness.
For background to this exhortation consider listening to the sermon of April 3, 2016 – Worthy of the Name: A Brief Theology of Christian Worship.