“How do you view our worship service each Lord’s Day?”
That was the question posed to us by Mike Rasmussen In October when he preached his sermon from 1 Corinthians 14 titled “Why Do Christians Meet?”
In answering that question, there were five reasons he gave. I’d like to remind you of them and make some comments about each, especially the last one.
1. We meet to worship God: This answer trumps all other answers! Our God is worthy of all blessing and honor and glory and He delights when His people delight in Him!
2. We meet to celebrate the sacraments: The Lord’s supper and baptism are given to the church, the body of Christ, not to us individually. Therefore, participating in and receiving the benefits of these things can only be done in the context of our worshiping community.
3. We study and apply the Bible for a Biblical worldview: This of course can, and ought to, take place in our families and as individuals. But there is something uniquely helpful and edifying when brothers and sisters gather under the preached Word to hear it, digest it, and live it out together.
4. We meet to pool resources: Many parts working together to accomplish one goal is a powerful reality. Coming together each week to align our hearts and our hands together for the work of the Kingdom is part of God’s design.
5. We meet in order to more effectively love and serve one another: We need each other. We aren’t designed to exist in isolation ,and therefore coming together to know and be known is so important. We all, to some degree, should be carrying the burdens of another — whose burden at APC are you bearing?
6. We meet so that our “not-yet Christian friends” can become Christians in the meeting.
It’s this last reason that was really the thrust of his sermon. It was the reminder that this work of evangelism that we are called to is not something that you need to do on your own — in some sense, it is a team effort. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a responsibility on your part to live before, and proclaim the gospel to, your unbelieving friends / neighbors / co-workers / family. But it does mean that your brothers and sisters in Christ can (and ought to) participate in their encounter with Christ.
Two challenges flow from this…
First of all, are we inviting people to worship?
Sure, that may not be the first thing we lead with when meeting our neighbors, but it is certainly an aim that we can have in the back of our minds. And perhaps worship isn’t the first step. One of the hopes for our Open Door Fellowship lunches that have been popping up is that those might be a venue for unbelieving friends to come to.
Secondly, are we ready to welcome and receive?
There is a responsibility that I have: to make what I say and what we do in morning worship as accessible as I can to someone who isn’t a Christian. But there also is a responsibility for you, the Body: to be poised to interact with visitors in such a way that assumptions are not made and judgments are not cast.
Let’s pray for, anticipate, and work to the end of having unbelievers in our midst!