SUNDAY IS ABOUT JESUS
Over the past few weeks we’ve written a few posts on how when we gather to worship on Sundays there is a war going on in our souls and how to prepare our hearts for corporate worship on Sundays. This week, I’d like to focus our aim on why the church of Jesus gathers on Sunday.
For those who haven't figured it out already, the America of today is no longer a Christian nation. Christianity in America has been on the decline for quite sometime, there are folks who are very aware of this, and yet some who are still quite oblivious. Being a Christian no longer has any social benefits and is becoming more polarizing as the culture around us is becoming increasingly non-christian.
Many Christians I interact with are caught in the social and work pressures of a post-christian culture. Meaning, the cultural norm isn’t to follow Jesus, believe the Bible, repent of sin, and talk about the life changing love of King Jesus. Instead, the narrative culture is preaching is, “follow your heart, do what you love, believe in yourself, all humans are good, be the change you want to see." This means that if Bible believing, Jesus loving Christians hold to their biblically formed world-view they will find themselves continually swimming upstream, often leaving them tired, worn out, and discouraged.
When we gather on Sunday, rest is offered for whose who come to Jesus and worship. When founding His church Jesus said, “come to me, all those who are weary and I will give you rest.” John Calvin the great Protestant reformer said, “The church is the gathering of God's children, where they can be helped and fed like babies and then guided by her motherly care, grow up to manhood in maturity of faith.” The author of Hebrews also encourages us not to neglect gathering together because one of the blessings of the church gathering is to encourage and equip one another. Sadly, like in the first-century, many Christians have neglected the Sunday gathering of corporate worship and are still discouraged and ill equipped (Hebrews 10:25).
SUNDAY WORSHIP IS ABOUT JESUS
There are masses of millennial bloggers who list multiple reasons why people are leaving the church and how the church has failed them. On the other end of the spectrum, you have conferences and courses devoted to reaching millennials as if they were some sort of alternative species that needs particular studying, and aren’t infected with the same sickness everyone else is — namely being a normal sinful human. In most cases, I think people have forgotten why the church even gathers on Sunday.
Far too many people come to church to receive the benefits of worshiping Jesus without coming to actually worship Jesus. While being encouraged and equipped are benefits of worshipping corporately, the primary reason we gather is to worship Jesus. Sunday is not a social gathering or a therapy group. Sunday is not about being entertained or anything else you hope to “get out” of your Sunday morning experience. Sunday is not consumeristic in nature. Sunday is about Jesus. Sunday is about worshiping Jesus. The beauty is, when we gather to truly worship Jesus, the benefits of drawing near to Jesus will inevitably be encouragement, equipping, care, and enjoyment.
I’ll be the first to admit that the church is messed up and prone to fail people. The Bible would admit that too. Just read 1 Corinthians and you’ll see that the first-century church was just as jacked up as we are today. This is why we must keep Jesus the object of our worship and the center of our worship gatherings. The real fruit God intends His children to enjoy is reserved for those who worship Him. When we focus on worshiping and adoring Jesus, the Holy Spirit will rework, refocus, and reform our hearts to love Jesus, His word, His will, and His ways. This changes everything. The Sunday gathering isn’t about you or me, it’s about the God who made us.
WHY DO WE GATHER ON SUNDAYS?
The New Testament is clear that God’s people are to regularly gather for corporate worship. This is apparent by the frequent use of the Greek word ekklesia, which simply means, “the gathered assembly of God’s people.” But why on Sunday?
Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday (John 20:1)
Jesus rose from the grave proving he was God, conquering sin, satan and the grave, and sealing our salvation for eternity.
The Christian church gathered on Sunday (1 Cor. 16:2, Rev. 1:10).
God’s people used to gather on Saturday in fulfillment of the Jewish Sabbath. When Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, it became recognized as the Christian Sabbath.
We are a part of a historic tradition that Jesus started (Acts 2)
The church was founded on a Sunday, when the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2 on the first day of Pentecost.
Sunday is a big deal for us as Christians. Jesus rose from dead on Sunday, the greatest event in human history. We gather on Sunday to celebrate the fact that King Jesus is alive. In addition, we have the incredible opportunity to carry on the historic tradition of meeting corporately for worship that has existed for literally thousands of years, so that in true worship of Christ Jesus we might experience encouragement and equipping for His glory and our good. Stay tuned for next week’s post on how we are directed by God’s word in specifically structuring our corporate worship services.