Over the last year, the global pandemic forced decisions by churches to worship in-person or online. I do not want to debate what individuals should be doing right now. I do, however, want to discuss the blessings of in-person worship, which we can’t experience online.
1. Proclamation of Salvation through Communion
Communion is a corporate participation and proclamation of the saving sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross. Those who have put faith in Jesus Christ participate in communion at church. Communion has the word “commune” in it, which means it is done in community. I have written about “What is Communion” and “The How of Communion.”
As we weekly take communion, we are proclaiming salvation to those who are watching. I Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” If we are doing this in a group, we are proclaiming it to each other. Salvation is being proclaimed to those at church who haven’t accepted the forgiveness of Christ yet. It is being proclaimed to remind those who are discouraged, but saved, that they are forgiven.
2. Corporate Singing to Encourage Believers
A second blessing of the corporate gathering of God’s people is to encourage each other in singing. When we sing, we are not just singing in a vacuum, worshipping in a box. But our worship affects others, and it encourages them. As we hear others proclaim God’s Word, and truths, it should move us.
Ephesians 5:19-20 says, “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice, we are singing to God, but we are doing so in part to “address one another.”
Some argue that they can do so by listening to a radio station or watching worship videos online. While I think those are helpful, I do not think it is the end-all-be-all. It is much different to hear music live than online. This is why billion$ are spent a year on concert tickets.
Live music can be great, but it is still not the local church. It is good to hear those we know and trust proclaim these truths – our local believers who we are personally living our Christian lives with.
3. Stirring Other Believers to Love and Good Works
The other two blessings come from Hebrews 10:25-25. The third thing we are called to do is meet together “to stir one another to love and good works.” As we meet together, we can personally encourage each other in the love of God, and to take that love, and do good works to those in our local churches and families. The local church provides accountability for those things. As we meet locally at church, we have fellow believers to keep us accountable.
4. Encouraging Each Other to Continue in the Faith
The last thing we have the blessing of when meeting as a local church physically is encouraging each other to continue in the faith of Christ. It is difficult to live the Christian life. There are inner and outer onslaughts of our faith. As we come together locally with the body of Christ we encourage each other in Christ to stay in the faith.
There are many blessings to an in-person church service. These were just four that stood out as weekly blessings. I pray that we do not take advantage of the blessing of the local church.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.