Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Church's Proclamation and a Few Thoughts on 'Building Up'

“ If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. 26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:23-26

“When there is a proper apprehension of the value of the truth and a sincere appropriation of the promises of God to ourselves, there will be the desire to acknowledge his goodness and proclaim the truth to others.”
- Charles Hodge, 1 Corinthians, p. 261

“What is mandatory is that everything aim at edification.”

- Gordon Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, p. 691

Hi Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

I’ve been thinking…and that’s always a dangerous thing. As I’ve been thinking about COR’s worship I’ve been thinking about everything we do on Sunday morning. I’ve been thinking about the purpose for everything we do in the context of Sunday morning worship. I think there is something significant here that I’ve not paid close attention to, especially as we consider the presence of both believers and unbelievers within the context of COR’s Sunday worship.

In the context of Corinthian worship there was a self-conscious effort given to the elements of worship that pointed to the believer’s relationship with Christ and union with him. In the context of ‘building up’ the church the unbeliever was made aware of his distance from God and what came was conviction of sin. The secrets of his heart were disclosed by those around him by calling attention to the grace of God in a hymn, revelation, tongue, or interpretation. This seems to be amazing - edification or building up the body results in encouragement to the church and conviction of sin for the unbeliever.

I think what this means is that our worship must be more self-consciously God conscious. This comes by building up the church, and this through drawing attention to the gospel and the grace of God shown to us. Too often worship has been self-focused and not God-focused. What this looks like for COR is an intentional magnification of the gospel in everything we do. Worship, proclamation, giving, communion, fellowship, set-up/take-down, all must be done with a self-conscious awareness of the grace of God that has been shown to us in the gospel. May God give us all a strong desire to ‘build up’ the church by drawing attention to the amazing grace of God in our own lives and in the lives of others.

I will miss you all this next weekend as we’re travelling on vacation


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