Dear Church Family,
Why do we assemble together as a church every Lord’s day for corporate worship? Some of you have difficulty driving. Some of you have pressing time constraints on your hands. Some of you have health issues that make it very difficult for you to climb stairs, stand and sit, and even listen for extended periods. The list could go on and on, but the beauty of this church is that you still come—regardless of what it costs you. Your steadfast commitment to gather together with this body is enough to move me to tears. Your attendance is such a marvelous testimony of your love for God and His people. I thank God for you.
So, why do you do it? Maybe you grew up going to church and you have been in the habit ever since. Maybe you relish the opportunity to be with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe you have taken to heart the command of Hebrews 11:24-25 not to neglect to meet together. All of those are wonderful reasons and all of them are important. However, the Scriptures speak of another, over-arching reason for why we regularly come together that is true about you—even if you don’t know it.
The Lord said to Moses in Exodus 31:13, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.’” Now is not the time to go into all of the details, but by perfectly fulfilling the Law, Christ established the first day of the week, Sunday, to serve similar purposes as the Sabbath. We gather together on the Lord’s day to be sanctified by God.
And how does He do it? God has chosen to make us more like Himself through His Word. This was Jesus’ prayer for all Christians before going to Calvary in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” So, our church is no different from the churches throughout the ages who have gathered together to pray the Word, sing the Word, preach the Word, and respond to the Word. His Word, and only His Word, is what God has promised to use to accomplish His purposes in our lives. “[His Word] shall not return to [Him] empty, but it shall accomplish that which [He purposes], and shall succeed in the thing for which [He] sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
When we assemble together around His Word each Lord’s day, God is at work in us through His Word. He is making us more like Himself by the power of His Spirit. Ordinarily the increments of this work are unnoticeable to us, but whether or not He is working is never in question. Rest assured, loved ones, God is using your faithful participation in weekly corporate worship to accomplish His purposes for you.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).