After several weeks of worshiping from home, we are going back to church. Gathering together again with brothers and sisters in Christ.
The individualistic streak in America balks at the importance of corporate worship. Corporate worship---the weekly gathering together with other Christians helps to move us closer toward a loving God. Corporate worship is a gathering that anticipates the worship believers will experience in heaven. In eternity, believers will worship with all of God's people before the Lord. Corporate worship on earth allows us to participate together in a way that looks forward to this time of eternal glory. Corporate worship is a vital part of our spiritual growth.
Many say, "As long as my relationship with Jesus is good, I am good." But the New Testament does not allow for that. Fulfilling even the basic commands of loving others, bearing one another burdens' burdens, and forgiving others cannot be accomplished alone. When we become Christians we are vitally connected to Christ ( like a branch to a vine), we become part of a body with other Christians that is connected to the head--Christ.
As members of the body, we need the rest of the body to have a connection to the vitality of Christ.
"Worshiping Jesus together may be the single most important thing we do."
"Our own awe is accentuated and our own joy doubled when we worship Jesus together."
David Mathis is executive editor for desiringGod.org and pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The more we are alienated from other Christians the more we will be alienated from Christ himself. We need to gather with other Christians to sing, pray, and hear God's word, to receive the Lord's Supper, and be sent back into the world full of peace and good news. It's a mystery, but that is how God has put it all together. We simply cannot depend on a personal prayer life for a healthy spiritual life-or even an adequate one.
Oh, come let us sing to the Lord;
Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs and praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
And a great King above all gods
( Psalm 95:1-3 )
The central point of corporate worship is the presence of Christ. The promised glorious future is not just the hope we talk and pray about but something we can taste and see by the real presence of Christ when we worship.
So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of the Lord Jesus is present.
(1 Corinthians 5:4)
So corporate worship is not just an escape from the monotony or hastiness of real-life but the Spirit in the midst of his people is more intensely real than ordinary life. When we gather together our first act is to acknowledge this reality.
The power, life, and vitality of Christ comes to us personally through the presence of Christ and corporately through the body. We need both.