Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
This week we have been talking about feasting and the great feast that God invites us to now and for eternity. Yesterday, Pastor Mark reminded us in his blog that God will invite us to a great feast when he finishes his work of restoring all of creation.
I don’t know about you, but I really love to feast! I love good food. I really love incredible coffees. I love the way a perfectly cooked steak melts in your mouth. Who doesn’t love an incredible dessert? But what makes these things even greater is when you get to enjoy them with others and talk about how amazing they are. C.S. Lewis says it this way in his book Reflections on the Psalms: “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”
I really enjoy delighting in God’s good gifts. But I also realize that all of those good gifts are marred by the Fall and sin and yet they still can be greatly enjoyed. When I think about the fact that one day God will finish restoring all of creation and we will be able to enjoy all of His creation uninhibited by sin I am sometimes overwhelmed with joy and excitement. The beauty of this reality is that God invites us to begin to partake in this feast now and one of the greatest ways that we have to do that is through weekly corporate worship with our fellow church members.
The Bible reminds us in many places that the Christian life is not and will never be just about “Jesus and me.” Yes, saving faith is very personal. We must personally realize our desperate need for God and believe that he personally died for us. But when we are born again by the Spirit of God we are also born into a new family – the family of God, the church. When we come together to worship God we get to experience him in a far greater and more meaningful way. We get to “stir one another up to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). We get to “consummate our enjoyment” by praising our Great Creator and Savior together. In short, we get to practice for heaven.
Practice for Heaven
Think about it. When we gather together to worship God corporately we are getting a small glimpse of what our eternity fully in the presence of Christ will be like. We are getting to feast on God together with our family. We are getting a taste of the picture in Revelation 7 where John sees a “great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” worshipping together around the throne of God. Do you know what it says next?
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:15-17)
That’s incredible! There it is again, imagery of eating and drinking. These verses are telling us how the Great Story of God’s Redemption ends (or begins!). We will rest for eternity in the shelter of God’s wonderful presence. All of our longings and desires will be finally fulfilled and we will hunger and thirst no more! When we worship God corporately we remind each other in a very real and tangible way that this is how the story ends.
Church, don’t believe the lie that Satan wants all of us to believe – that worshipping God corporately is not worth your time and energy. That it’s not worth the sacrifice week-after-week and year-after-year. Corporate worship is a great gift that our gracious God has given us to experience Him and see a foretaste of heaven. Do you believe that?
For this Sunday:
As we look to our corporate gathering this Sunday I would like us to look at the command of Hebrews 10:24: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”
Notice the command of this verse: “let us consider how.” My challenge for you this weekend is to spend some time in prayer considering how you can stir others up to love and good works as we gather to worship. What part can you play in reminding your brothers and sisters of the way the Great Story of Redemption ends (or begins) – of the picture in Revelation 7? You can view the order of worship HERE. I would also challenge you to spend some time praying through the service that God allow us to see his glory as we meet him through this service.
See you Sunday!