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Corporate Worship As Training Christians For Daily Life (via Ray Van Neste)

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The Bible has led the Christian church to understand its corporate gatherings as directed by God, directed to God, with blessings for Christians, and a witness to unbelievers.
When the order is reversed that which God has directed for Christians to offer to him, along with the blessings they receive from obedience can be jettisoned when a reductionistic principle of communicating the Gospel to unbelievers.
When content deliver is king, elements like corporate confession lapse because unbelievers can’t relate.
But then unbelievers never witness the elements of that God directed his people to offer to him, they never witness the blessings and benefits that God conveys to his people.
In making the Gospel central, the fullness of the Gospel as Christians are meant to experience it is impoverished on the grounds of inconvenience.

From Ray Van Neste:

A guided time of corporate confession has been a staple for Christian worship through the ages though it has fallen out of use in many churches today. A basic idea behind the practice is that in order to draw near to God we must confess our sins (Psalm 66:18; Hebrews 10:22; 1 John 1:9). This reminds us again of the holiness of God, our sinfulness and the pardon available in the gospel. Without this, we too easily tend to drift into worship taking God lightly. In such confession together we experience the gospel afresh, facing our sins and receiving the cleansing forgiveness which Jesus provides. This gracious pardon is the central reason driving our worship. Even if we bring many other sorrows and burdens with us, being reminded that our greatest problem–the wrath of God because of our sins–has been dealt with will enable us to praise God.
In addition, our forebears thought of our corporate worship as training us for daily life. Thus, singing gospel truths was not a “Sunday thing” but gave us songs to sing throughout the week in order to shape our hearts and minds. The proclamation of the Word gave us truth to contemplate and apply throughout the week as well as training us to study the Bible ourselves. And the prayers modeled for us the way to pray. Thus, corporate confession of sin helped shape us into a people marked by regularly acknowledging our sins and seeking forgiveness. I am grateful that our church follows this practice for many reasons, including the fact that it is shaping me and my children. That comment from my son was an early indication that God was at work showing him his need for forgiveness. About a month after the dinner table conversation, I had the privilege of baptizing him as he had come to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins.

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