(The following are Matt's speaking notes. They are not a direct transcript of the audio linked here)
HERE’S WHAT I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU
The purpose of corporate worship is to remind each other of The Gospel, instruct each other in the way of life that flows from The Gospel, and to freshly send each other out on Gospel Mission.
HOW DOES GOD DESIGN OUR WORSHIP GATHERINGS TO ACCOMPLISH THIS?
First of all we have to ask IF God designed our worship gatherings. The way we answer these sort of questions, (and any question about Christian practice) is by studying the Scriptures to see what they have to tell us, studying History to see how our brothers and sisters have worked this out over the centuries, by examining our current cultural surroundings in light of these things, and doing these things together in community.
As we do so, we see that God doesn’t lay out a single, clear script, structure or style, but He does give us some clear guiding principles, as well as some clearly prescribed things to do.
It all starts with the example of the early church in Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Fellowship around the reading and teaching of God’s Word, Breaking of Bread, and Prayer.
The purpose of Corporate Worship is to help us Grow!
1 Corinthians 14:26 (ESV)
What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
HOW DO THESE HELP US GROW?
Paul gives us a clue in the “bookends” of his letter to the Romans
(Romans 1:11-12 ESV)
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.
(Romans 16:25 ESV)
Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ...
We are strengthened, built up, grown by The Gospel!
Worship grows us through The Gospel.
There is a rather popular idea in our circles that Church is not about what you get out of it, but what you give. That you don't come to a worship gathering to get, but to give. In many ways this is true. It's not about you, and it's not about your personal felt needs being met. But in another sense, this can be misleading. God is perfect and lacks nothing. He is not a needy, He does not need anything from us.
We come to worship in order to receive from God. We come, believer and unbeliever alike, young and old in the faith alike, to be reminded and refreshed in The Gospel. In some ways, we come to receive fresh Grace from God that will empower us to live out our walk with Him.
This Grace comes through hearing The Gospel message. And this is what our worship services are supposed to be all about.
And it turns out this is is how the Church has been conducting it’s corporate worship for centuries.
Back to Acts:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Word, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread, and Prayer
Liturgy just means “order of the service”, and is talking about the order in which we put songs, prayers, scripture readings, the sermon, communion, etc. And here’s the punch-line: following historical patterns of the church’s liturgy, (painted in broad strokes), the flow of the service itself has always served to communicate the Gospel story.
THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, WORSHIP HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO REMIND US OF THE GOSPEL.
I see God as He is, and so see myself rightly.
BUT WHY TOGETHER??
We need to meet together because sometimes
Most of all, I need to remember that our Great God made us, and redeemed us. We fell, and we still fall, so we confess our sin. And because of the redemption He provides through Jesus we can claim His Grace, ask Him for the provision of Grace we need for everyday life, get instruction in His Commands, and then GO and live for Him, loving as he loves, loving what he loves, and having a Mission in the world.