The Purpose of the Church (2024), Pt.1: Worship
Passage: Romans 12:1–2, 1 Corinthians 11:1– 14:36
The purpose of the church – the proper end for a local congregation’s life - is three-fold.
And these three purposes, in turn, serve the glory of God.
Big Picture: The individual worship of God occurs in the context of one's daily life (all-of-life worship) while the corporate worship of God occurs in the context of the assembled congregation. Shaping and encouraging both individual and corporate worship are significant aspects of a local church's purpose.
Worship definition: Worship is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God, ascribing all honor and worth to their Creator-God precisely because he is worthy, delightfully so. This side of the Fall, human worship of God properly responds to the redemptive provisions that God has graciously made. While all true worship is God-centered, Christian worship is no less Christ-centered. Empowered by the Spirit and in line with the stipulations of the new covenant, it manifests itself in all our living, finding its impulse in the gospel, which restores our relationship with our Redeemer-God and therefore also with our fellow imagebearers, our co-worshipers. Such worship therefore manifests itself both in adoration and in action, both in the individual believer and in corporate worship, which is worship offered up in the context of the body of believers, who strive to align all the forms of their devout ascription of all worth to God with the panoply of new covenant mandates and examples that bring to fulfillment the glories of antecedent revelation and anticipate the consummation. (D.A. Carson)
All of Life Worship (Romans 12: 1-2)
Key Thought: The way we live, in response to the mercy of God lavished upon us in the gospel, lies at the heart of Christian worship. Do not conform. Be transformed by the Spirit, through the word.
- Corporate worship is in the context of the gathered church.
- Elements, forms, and circumstances.
- Elements are the modes of worship explicitly set forth in scripture. (Congregational singing, the public reading of scripture, etc.)
- Forms are decisions about how to best carry out these elements, such as whether to accompany congregational singing with instruments or not. Decisions here are informed by biblical principles, but there is no express New Testament command.
- Circumstances are incidental matters of prudence and preference that simply require a decision. (what time we meet on Sunday.)
- The elements of corporate worship are constrained by express biblical warrant.
- Read the bible
- Preach the bible
- Pray the bible
- See the bible in baptism and the Lord’s Supper
- Sing the bible
- Why corporate worship matters.
*This sermon owes a massive debt to Don Carson’s Worship By The Book, Matt Merker’s Corporate Worship, and Mark Dever’s The Church: The Gospel Made Visible
*It is also a melding together of two previous sermons by John Bell in 2019.
More in The Purpose of the Church
February 4, 2024The Purpose of the Church (2024), Pt.3: Evangelism
January 28, 2024The Purpose of the Church (2024), Pt 2: Edification
March 10, 2019What Does a Healthy Church Look Like?