encouraging a unified worship experience

Church Unity and Worship Part 1; You Can’t Have One Without the Other!

It is the church for which Christ died (Eph. 5:25). His passion and love for the church is immeasurable. Following the ascension, the earthly church was birthed through the Holy Spirit.

According to Millard Erickson, the term “church” is “derived from the Greek word kuriakos, ‘belonging to the Lord.’”[1] The Baptist Faith and Message defines the church as, “An autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.”[2]

Thus, the church is bound together, as a body, by the thread of Jesus Christ.

Unity Within the Church

Jesus desires that His church be one in Him (Jn. 17:21). Because of the common thread of Christ, worship should be the most unifying corporate act of the church. Unfortunately, this often is not the case. Cain committed the first murder recorded in scripture due to jealousy over an offering of worship (Gen. 4:2-12).

In 1 Cor. 1:10 the apostle Paul writes, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” In John 17:21-22 Jesus himself is praying to the Father, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” As evidenced through these verses and multiple others, God desires for His people to be unified.

This unity should be most evident in corporate worship where the ultimate goal is the glorification of God. By focusing on the commonality (redemption in Christ), churches can overcome stylistic hurdles.  Rom. 15:5-7 summarizes this thought process; “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

To Be Continued....

These are my thoughts, what are yours?

Ronnie

[1] Erickson, 1041.

[2] Lifeway, Baptist Faith and Message 2000. 14 June 2000; available from http://www.sbc.net/bfm/default.asp.

 

4 Responses »

  1. Agreed! Sometimes the mindset of worship becomes what appeals to us personally. However, the question we should be asking is: What pleases the Lord? And we can't just limit that to music style - hymns, contemporary praise songs, I believe either can be worshipful. But what about the attitude of our hearts during worship, isn't that more important? I know sometimes songs have too frequently become just words on a page. But when our hearts are united in one focus, God, then we can be united no matter what the style. God bless!

  2. Ronnie and Daniel,
    I could not agree with you more. Music is simply God's instrument to bring His people into a time of worship to Him (Psalms 100:4). As you said, we need to keep our eye on the goal and that is not music style but the glorification of our God!
    Thanks for the great articles. Please keep them coming! God bless you both in your ministry to our Lord and His people!

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