This is essential in understanding the church. We are primarily a covenant community brought together by the gospel. We are Spirit formed. We are Son bought. We are Father loved. We are a unique and visible picture of the gospel (Eph 5). Not only are we a picture of the gospel, we are rehearsing the gospel when we meet together. We are hearing the story told (Deut 6) and telling the story. We are hearing God’s call to worship. We are confessing our sin. We are receiving the promise of forgiveness. We are hearing the Spirit as the word is preached. We are eating the body and blood of our Savior in the Supper. We are watching as God covers people with the waters of promise in baptism.
All of this is worship. It’s not primarily for us. It’s not primarily for our learning. It’s primarily Godward. We do receive blessings from this gospel rehearsal. We do receive grace. It’s not all for naught. But once we make it about us. Once we make it about our preferences. It ceases to be about God and proclaiming the gospel. Now many of you may be reading this and thinking, “My church doesn’t do many/any of the things mentioned above.” The solution to that problem isn’t to stop attending a local church. It’s not to form your own quasi-intentional spiritual community. It’s not eat brats and drink beer in some old, vintage, hipster building and calling it the Lord’s Supper. It’s to find a church who loves the gospel and is doing these things.
Now one quick side point. [Tweet “All of our life is worship. All of our life should be rehearsing the gospel.”]
I wrote a book about that exact point. You can live in community, fellowship, and worship outside of the four walls of a local assembly. As a matter of fact, if you’re not the Apostle Paul would probably give you the stank eye. But he would also give you the stank eye, if you were only doing the all of life worship without entering into the formal, covenant, local church to gather for worship.
The two are intertwined. [Tweet “We gather for gospel rehearsal so that we can scatter to do the daily gospel rehearsal.”]
That’s the final and most important. You have no mission. You have no authority unless you are sent out by God on mission and that happens in the weekly assembly of believers. God calls us to worship, rehearses the gospel in our hearing, and sends us out on mission to our families, communities, cities, countries, and world. The local assemblies who meet weekly are the court of the throne of grace. We sit at the feet of the rise Jesus. The God-man enfleshed who reigns in the heavens. We meet spiritually and receive the divine mission–go preach, teach, and baptize.
Mathew B. Sims authored A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and We Believe: Creeds, Confessions, & Catechisms for Worship (as well as worship guides for each Protestant tradition) and contributed in Make, Mature, Multiply (GCD Books). He completed over forty hours of seminary work at Geneva Reformed Seminary. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and the project manager for CBMW’s journal. Mathew offers freelance editing, book formatting, and cover design services. He is a member at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.