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January 16, 2007

Our Worship

In Matthew 13:22, Jesus explains that in the Parable of the Sower, "the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." The original word there for worry is merimna, which means distraction. It comes from the word merizo, which means to divide. When we worry, we are quite literally divided within ourselves. That's bad and can lead to unfruitfulness.

However, on a corporate level, that kind of division or allocation is a good thing.

God loves to divide up his abundant blessings among his people. He did this with the promised land for the children of Israel, giving each tribe its portion. He does this with his spiritual gifts for the Church today. "God has allotted to each a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). In the rest of Romans 12, he goes into the distribution of spiritual gifts among the members of the Body.

The gathering of believers completes or perfects the distribution of the gifts. Spiritual gifts are divided and distributed out among the brethren. We are a people so that he can gather together in us through love the blessings and gifts he has scattered among his people. That's what is different about our worship when we are together! We help each other put aside our distractions and instead together form the complete image God intended us to form of Himself.

Our reason for being together is to "put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (Colossians 3:14-17).

That word admonish is interesting. It's noutheteo which literally means to know your place! That could mean both know what your place is--our gifts--and what your place isn't--the distractions! I think that's why He called us to community. We sing to admonish one another, and it's easier to admonish each other when we are together!

Our gathering is about worshiping God for Who He is, what He has done, what He is doing, what He is doing in us, how He has scattered his blessings, and why He is gathering us together as we present ourselves as a living sacrifice! That is our spiritual worship.

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