Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunday morning is for the church

Sunday morning is for the church.... it's a phrase I have heard many, many times over the past year or two, and it's a phrase that carries a ton of weight in my mind.

When Christians gather into their local churches on a Sunday morning, they are doing so to worship, exalt, and praise the risen Lord Jesus Christ. We gather so that we may be filled, that we might empty ourselves of all the accumulated filth of the week so that the Spirit can then refill us with Himself. We gather to sing holy songs to God, to raise our hands in surrender to His will. We gather to meet with fellow believers that we can lay down our burdens, and multiply our joys. We gather to hear the Word of God proclaimed that we might better grasp His unfathomable grace towards sinners like us. We gather to learn His will that we might better love and serve. We gather to fulfill the words of Hebrews 10:23-25 that we might better hold fast the confession of our faith, that we will assemble together that we might stir up one another to love and good works. We gather so that by the deepening of our understanding of God's instruction and will for our lives we can better become not only hearers of the Word but also doers of the Word.

We gather to be edified, encouraged, filled, equipped, trained, sharpened, rebuked, and ultimately to be sent out. We gather for the glory of the Father, and that it may be manifested through the faithful obedience of His people. That we would leave, having been witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, that we may then go into all the world, proclaiming His gospel to people of every tribe, tongue, and nation. We gather that we can fulfill the call of the church.

That is why Sunday morning is for the church. It is also why Sunday morning is not for those who are not of the church. This is not to say that we should not be open, welcoming, loving, missional, and intentional with those who visit our churches on Sunday morning. But it is to say that the primary goal of the church on a Sunday morning is not to be singularly evangelistic. Too many of our churches have gotten this priority out of focus and out of order, creating an "experience" on Sunday morning that is tantamount to a spectator sport. We file the people into the seats, we put on a show, they drop their payment in the offering, and they go about their lives... unchanged. These churches have traded deep, theological, powerful exegesis of Scripture for anecdotes and story-telling. We have traded preaching for evangelizing. In turn, we have traded pastors for evangelists. In turn, we have traded local bodies of equipped saints for morally self-righteous social clubs.

Evangelists are amazing people, given a supernatural gift of proclaiming the gospel in a way that is easily understood that the Spirit is able to work through to call out to sinners that they will hear the effectual call of the Savior and will come to Him and be saved. God gifts such people for a very powerful and wonderful purpose... to proclaim, and bring unbelievers to Jesus. In short, to bring sheep back into the fold. But once they are in the fold, who is there to watch over them, to lead them, to protect them? A flock needs a shepherd, a pastor. These men are gifted, primarily, to do exactly the job of watching over the sheep. They are teachers, protectors, leaders, and they are to be placed among the flock that the sheep may learn the way to follow Christ, to obey His command, and to live. The church needs these men, and we need them on Sunday morning, when the flock gathers together.

We, as the church, need to take back Sunday morning for what it is intended to be. By doing so, we will be filled and equipped to go out into the world, using our own unique giftings from God to reach out. We need the evangelists to be there, out, with us that we can be used by the Spirit, to be doers of the Word that God can be glorified through the obedience of His people.

We need to be the church, the collection of the saints, the collection of the called. I am grateful to serve in a church that strongly proclaims this truth, and thankful that within this body of believers we have strong shepherds, evangelists, and multitudes of others. Let us be filled, let us go out and fulfill the command of the God we worship on Sunday morning.

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