God’s word makes clear that genuine worship which pleases Him is that which is “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:22-24), and that which encompasses all of life, all the time (Rom. 12:1-2). With slight modification to a definition of worship offered by David Peterson in his excellent book Engaging With God, we can say that genuine worship is “faith in God through Jesus Christ, expressing itself in adoration, dependence, and obedience” (pg. 283).
Because genuine worship of God is “all of life, all the time”, and not just something that happens on Sundays from 10:30am-12:15pm, we might ask: why do we need to gather together weekly at all? Isn’t it enough for me to just read my bible on my own, listen to sermons online, play Christian music on my iPod, and worship God through all my life, all the time?
Here’s the short answer: no, it’s not enough. When God brought you to faith and life in Christ, He joined you to Christ and His people. He made you a part of His church…a member of His body (see 1 Cor. 12:1-31). And God’s purpose in gathering His people weekly in local churches, around His word, is to encourage and strengthen our faith in God through Jesus Christ. All of this so that together, we might adore, depend on, and obey Him all the more, giving glory to Him. This is why the writer of Hebrews has so much to say about the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ for His people (Heb. 1:1-4), and why His people must not neglect meeting together, so as to encourage one another in the hope of Christ:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.” (Heb. 10:24-25)
Beloved, God has given us great privilege and responsibilities in our corporate and weekly gatherings as His people! What a joy to share life in Christ together with you at RCG – I can’t wait to gather again with you this coming Lord’s Day!