The fundamental activity in our discipleship is to gather together with our brothers and sisters in corporate worship. In Hebrews 10:23-25, we read:
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Based on our worship of Jesus and the confession of our hope as found in Jesus and His Word, we stir up one another but we cannot stir up one another if we are not together with each other. Thus, the Spirit commands us to meet together, but some neglect this most basic of discipling activities. As we gather together, we encourage one another, no matter where we are in our Christian walk, and we do so with urgency “as you see the Day drawing near.”
We cannot grow in our worship of Jesus and in our maturity in Jesus if we fail to gather together in corporate worship. What is included in our times of worship?
- The preaching of the Word: ARBC is committed to expositional preaching, where the meaning of the text becomes the meaning of the sermon. The points of the sermon are found in the text of Scripture. And as we journey through every verse of Scripture, we will make sure to cover all that God reveals in His Word. Our aim is to unleash the lion of the Word, knowing that God will accomplish all He seeks it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11-12).
- The ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two activities that Christ ordained (thus the word ‘ordinance’) as a picture of the gospel. Baptism serves as a witness of a willingness to fully identify with Christ; the Lord’s Supper serves as a remembrance of Christ’s substitutionary atonement by way of the bread (representing his flesh) and the cup (representing the spilling of His blood).
- Singing: using all types of styles to reinforce what we believe but also to encourage those around us. We need both “Holy, holy, holy!” as an example of singing praises to God, as well as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” as an example of singing to encourage and evangelize those around us. We need the ancient “Doxology” (i.e., Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”) as well as the modern “In Christ Alone” and “Soul on Fire.”
- Giving: When Jesus said, “As you give….” (Matthew 6:2) and when Paul said, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), this told us that part of our worship of Jesus is giving back a portion of what He gave to us. Why? As a tax write-off? As a way to show approval of how things are going? No, but to give to fund ministry so others can know Jesus!
- Praying: When Jesus said, “When you pray” (Matthew 6:5), it’s understood that prayer would be a part of our personal as well as our corporate life. We must beware not to “heap up empty phrases like the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7), but to pray as a way for us to connect with the throne room of God!
- Sending: Our congregation is not dismissed, but sent into their sphere of influence, sent into their Monday through Saturday; into groups and plants; into relationships with friends, relatives, co-workers, and neighbors.
As Tony Unzinger of Summit Church in Durham, NC, told our Colorado Baptists, we must not come to church as an audience, but as an army ready for equipping and deployment.