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The Worshiping Church Scattered and Gathered

This morning’s message focuses on the role we as individual worshipers play during our corporate worship gatherings, but I wanted to also take some time to see how we can apply what we’ve been learning about biblical worship to our lives outside the church. Here’s a preview: You don’t stop being a worshiper when you walk out the doors after Sunday church!

That said, the weekly assembling together on the Lord’s Day is the highlight of the week for the believer, so let’s look first at some really practical ways that our worship throughout the week prepares us for our worship together.

A Life of Worship Prepares Us for Corporate Worship

“We do not go to church to worship, but, already at worship, we join our brothers and sisters in continuing those actions that should have been going on—privately, family, or even corporately—all week long… we are never not worshiping.”
– Harold Best

Most Christians would likely agree with this statement: Our entire lives are worship, therefore we should live all of our lives to the glory of God.

Sadly, many Christians I’ve spoken with struggle to know what that looks like, or how to do it. We tend to have all these lofty ideas about everything from family worship to personal study, and can easily become intimidated to the point of giving up. So let’s see if we can’t make striving for a life of worship a little more attainable through this helpful rubric. You may notice that this looks an awful lot like what we’ve been talking about in the context of Sunday worship!

Read the Word. Just as in our corporate worship, our family & private worship is a matter of Revelation & Response. The most basic aspect of a life of worship is a life devoted to reading the Word. Not sure where to start? The very best place will be in your Growth Group guide. If you’re not in a Growth Group, I highly recommend it for the sake of your discipleship, accountability, and fellowship! You can get started at fbchurch.org/findagroup Beyond that, there are a ton of reading plans out there that are very helpful. Feel free to start small… it’s more important to develop the discipline of daily reading than it is to bite off large chunks of Scripture all at once.

Pray the Word. If you’re wondering how to pray, you’re in good company. Jesus’ own disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. Prayer is a discipline that will get better with practice. For starters, read the Psalms; many of these can be read as prayers, and will help fuel your own prayer life. Keep a journal of prayer needs that you write down as you hear them, or as the Holy Spirit brings them to your mind. Pray for the church, the preacher, and for our time together in the Word. Or read a book of prayers; there are recommendations at the end of this article!

Sing the Word. I can’t overstate the value of singing the songs of the church as a part of your week. This is especially true if you have children in the home! Hymns are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for discipling your family. Don’t play an instrument? Don’t feel you have a good singing voice? There’s nothing wrong with making use of the many resources the Internet makes available! We have a Spotify playlist with all the songs we sing at Faith that’s a great place to start. Google the lyrics, print them out, and sing along! You can also find virtually anything you want to sing on YouTube. Pick a hymn of the month and set a goal of memorizing it each week. Before you know it you’ll have a vast resource of theological knowledge and encouragement for your soul readily available at any time.

Preach the Word. Wait, doesn’t preaching only happen on Sundays? Nope! One of my favorite authors, Jerry Bridges, writes this in The Discipline of Grace: “When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.” Preach the gospel to yourself every day! But beyond that, the New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:4-9). As the gospel begins to saturate your life, you will have many opportunities to preach the Word in your home, your school, your workplace, etc. Be ready! (2 Timothy 4:2)

See the Word. The better you know the Word, and the more attuned you become to seeing the gospel patterns in our gathered worship, the more you’re going to notice those same patterns in all of life. God has written truth in Creation (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:19-20) and on the human heart (Romans 2:15). Look for opportunities to see the Lord at work around you, and your life of worship will be immeasurably richer.

Corporate Worship Prepares Us for a Life of Worship

As with most other aspects of life, there is a certain rhythm to our worship. And just as a life of worship prepares us for Sunday, so Sunday becomes a time of rejuvenation and fuel for our week. Life between Sundays can be lonely at times. Over and over, Scripture speaks of the ministry of mutual encouragement that believers share (Hebrews 10:25, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Romans 1:12). We need that gathering together to sustain us throughout the week!

Moreover, the Sunday gathering provides us with content for family worship conversations, personal devotions, and water cooler discussions. A worship service so filled with Scripture serves to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

May your week, and your life be one of worship of the God who is supremely worthy of it!

“Sunday may be the high point of our week, but it’s not the only point. During the week we live lives of worship when we love our families, resist temptation, courageously speak up for the oppressed, stand against evil, and proclaim the gospel. In all these things we are the worshiping church scattered. But we grow weary in our battle against the world, our flesh, and the devil and need to be strengthened and encouraged by God’s Word and the care of other saints. We want to fellowship with those to whom God has joined us through his Son’s blood. So we meet to become the worshiping church gathered.”
– Bob Kauflin

Resources

Prayer Resources

  

Music Resources

   

Other Resources

  • FBC Sermon & Article Archives – Find sermons, articles, podcasts, and a wealth of other resources on our website!
  • The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges – An excellent and commendable book for learning the discipline of preaching the gospel to yourself, and growing in holiness through a life of worship.