The Need to Worship Together: Trinity Baptist Church
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” – Acts 2:41-45
Imagine you were creating a recipe for the healthiest church ever – or maybe just since the days of Acts. What would you add to your ingredient list? What does a healthy church look like to you? Does it have a guiding mission, strategic goals, or both? Clarity about these factors is critical for a healthy church.
At Trinity Baptist Church, our mission is “Helping everyday people experience extraordinary life with God.” We accomplish this using the following strategies:
- Come Together in Worship
- Grow Together in Groups
- Serve Together in Ministry
- Go Together on Mission
A mission answers the “what” question while strategy answers the “how” question. Mission is what we are doing, strategy is how we do it. Strategy in church life is about a discipleship path, it includes where you go, and what you are called to do. As we move throughout the weeks, we are going to walk through each of the four strategies we use to achieve our mission. Our first strategy is rooted in worship and our need to do it together.
To understand where we are today, we need to look back. Acts notes that the early church (first Christian community) was born out of a prayer meeting in the upper room and was brought to life supernaturally in a worship gathering where the Spirit of God came down. They committed themselves to living out their faith and devoted themselves to worship. They prioritized worshipping together and were deeply committed to it. Often misunderstood, worship is not asking for something from you, but rather something for you. If we fully commit to engaging in worship the way that the early church did, we could see radical transformation not only personally, but in a broadening and deepening of our relationships, unity in our church community, and an impacted city –– while God is still magnified throughout it all.
Given that, we must come together in worship, but why? Worship is centered on God’s word as a solid foundation (v. 41), forms a deep relationship between God and those we share the experience with (v.41), is built around the gospel celebration of baptism and communion (v.41), and is designed for spiritual communion with God (v.42).
The Wonder + Unity Factor
Now that we have defined worship, let’s dive a little deeper. As a human, we often feel we must have purpose to live our life to the fullest. As a unique creation by and for God, our worship is our offering. According to verses 43 and 44, engaging in worship with God inspires wonder and unity.
Wonder: Awe and Reverence
The people of Acts were blown away by the fact that they could really know God and see God moving. The God who demonstrates his love for you can and should be worshipped. By standing in a place of wonder and awe of God, we allow ourselves to value, love, and respect God. When we fail to worship, it is because we are not in awe or standing amazed in the presence of God for who he is and what kind of power he has shown.
Unity: Community with God, Community with Others
The idea of “together” and “all things common” referenced in Acts showed how they were being pulled toward communion with God and community with one another. The people were infused with a radical generosity toward others. They were giving, caring, and sharing at sacrificial levels because they had experienced radical grace from God.
The Secret Sauce (To Worshiping Together)
Yet, how is it possible to experience life transformation through a worship gathering? What’s the secret sauce? It starts with anticipating encounters with God (v.42) and celebrating the evidence of God (v.47).
Anticipation: Meet God with Worship
On the day of Pentecost, God came down accompanied by fire and wind. God has always demonstrated his willingness to come and meet with his people; think about Moses and the burning bush, Joshua before Jericho, and Elijah in the cave. These all serve as reminders that God comes to meet us, but we have to anticipate the encounter – by coming to God in worship.
Celebrate the Grace of God
Worship is more than anticipation; it is also a celebration. The people in Acts were praising God in celebration of what they saw God doing. Worship helps you to resist the natural tendency of becoming self-absorbed and self-centered. Instead, it recenters your focus on the grace God extends to you each day.
Summing It Up
We have learned a lot today. Let’s sum it all up in a few, short points:
- As a unique creation by and for God, our worship is our offering.
- We should desire to become great worshippers, radiating wonder, unity, anticipation, and celebration of the amazing God we serve.
- “If we haven't learned to be worshipers, it doesn't really matter how well we do anything else.” – Erwin Lutzer
- We must devote ourselves to worshipping together¬¬––it is the key to building a church that brings hope and healing to our city and to growing as followers of Jesus.
- Remember, worship is not asking for something from you, but rather something for you.
- Worship will radically change you when it moves your mind (what you know) to your heart (how you feel) to your will (the decisions you make).