Corporate Worship (Part 3 of 4)
Corporate Worship – Part 3 of 4
We continue this month looking at essential elements of our corporate worship liturgy. Last month I examined Isaiah’s encounter with God as recorded in chapter six of Isaiah. It began with praise and adoration of God and then flowed directly into confession, just like our worship gatherings begin each Sunday at Trinity. Let’s look and see what happens to Isaiah next for insight into what should follow confession in our corporate worship.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’” (vv.6-7)
Can you just imagine the relief and joy that flooded Isaiah’s soul when he heard and experienced this response from God? Guess what, you don’t have to imagine! We all who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ have experienced this same good news – that our guilt is taken away and our sin atoned for, because Jesus took it on Himself for us. In response our joyful shout of gratitude, our sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise, is all that should follow, and how could it not? Our declaration of salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus isn’t just something we acknowledge when we are first saved, but is something that should characterize our everyday life and especially our local church gatherings each week. After all, we worship on Sunday to remember Jesus’ resurrection on that glorious Sunday in the hills of Judea so long ago. Our corporate worship, like our faith, is rooted entirely on this saving gospel of grace! So when we offer thanksgiving for the forgiveness of our sins each Sunday in worship together, we do so on purpose, and that is what makes our worship true and right before God. Any corporate gathering that clearly lacks this element of thanksgiving must be called into question – is it really Christian? Is it true worship?
In addition to this, God’s Word is filled with commands to be thankful (Ps. 100; 107; 136; Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:16-17 to name a few), and so often the command to be thankful or to give thanks to the Lord is paired with acts of worship, such as singing or praise, both private and corporate. Our God doesn’t just value thankfulness highly, He demands it of us, and often, but particularly when we gather for worship. This thankfulness is not generic either; it is rooted in the atoning and sacrificial work of the Son of God. It also helps to shape our hearts’ postures in such a way that we will worship God more properly - with gratitude for Him and all He is and has done for us in Christ.
I spent this entire month’s article on this one element of our worship for the simple reason that it is so very important and crucial to making our worship distinctively Christian and unashamedly evangelical. Adoration. Confession. Thanksgiving. Next month we’ll look at the final two or three elements a typical worship service should include and wrap up our series on corporate worship!
See you Sunday!
In Christ Alone,