“A Basic Question”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
If you are a regular attender of a Christian Worship Service on each Lord’s Day, I pose the following basic question: Why do you attend Corporate Worship on Sunday? I’ve asked this question to professing Christians over the years. I’ve received several typical answers. One of the most representative answers is, “I go to church to be fed.” Other more obscure answers are: “I go to “feel” good. I go to be encouraged. I go because of my children.” These answers are obscure because the answer given is actually hiding the “real” answer. Each of these obscure answers are centered on “self.”
As opposed to these self-centered answers, God commands His people to “keep holy the Sabbath Day.” The Christian Sabbath is Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the Day of His resurrection. Jesus said that He is Lord of the Sabbath. He said that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27-28
God made us to worship Him. It is deeply imbedded in each of us. We will worship. The question is, “Who will we worship?” Jesus’ final response to Satan’s temptation in the wilderness was, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Matthew 4:10
There is only one biblical reason to worship God on the Lord’s Day. We, His creatures owe worship to Him. We gather with God’s people to worship Him!
May we all be honest with ourselves. Those of us who think that worship is for us, may we repent of this self-centered idolatry! Jesus said that the Father is seeking true worshipers to worship Him in spirit and truth, John 4:23.
If you have been raised from death to life, you will desire to worship the One who extended such grace to you. You were once dead in your sin, but God made you alive with Jesus Christ. Therefore, worship Him! This desire is not a feeling. It does not depend upon whether you feel loved by the people in the church or that the music is what you’re used to hearing in concerts or Christian radio. The desire to worship is part of being a new creation in Christ. That is, if your truly are!
Being a new creation in Christ does not depend upon saying the “sinners’ prayer” or doing some special ministry in the church. It is not about settling things with God and getting on with your life. No. Being a new creation is a change in our very being wrought only by the sovereign grace of God. It is being different and knowing that God has set you apart in Christ to be like Him! It is knowing that you are a sinner saved by God’s grace alone through the Person and Work of Christ alone. Being a new creation is to be a genuine Christian. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,” 2Corinthians 5:17
Christians, new creations have been saved by God from God. The only response to being God’s adopted child in Christ is to bow down and worship Him! The idea that corporate worship is one thing in a list of things, is simply not biblical. Our entire life is worship. That is, Christians live in submission to the sovereign God. Christians have received God’s grace to live for Him, Romans 6:11.
I am dismayed when I hear a professing Christian give excuses for not joining God’s people to worship Him on the Lord’s Day. All of the excuses, save physical illness that is debilitating, are grounded in a love for self over a love for God.
To all those who fail to gather on the Lord’s Day for worship and profess to be Christians, I can only say what God has said. “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus… let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…” Hebrews 10:19,24-25 And, Therefore, brothers., be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election…” 2Peter 1:10
Psalm 122:1 expresses the depth of a new creation’s desire. “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”’ It is an oxymoron to claim to be a child of God and not desire to worship Him with His people.