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

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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A Weekly Routine Wearing Daily Tracks Of Grace On The Soul (via Zac Hicks)

Zac Hicks writes about corporate worship training and equipping disciples of Jesus for their day to day life following Christ.

Part of [the church Hicks was attending at the time] weekly service structure was a rehearsal of repentance, a Confession of Sin and an Assurance of Pardon. Week in and week out, we would have a time in our service where we publicly spoke out a congregational confession, followed by a time of silent confession for each individual. These confessions were followed by the pastor declaring a scriptural assurance of our pardon, telling us our sins were forgiven because of the work of Jesus. Over time these weekly routines wore ruts into my soul, and I’d find them graciously haunting me the other six days of the week. I noticed that when I would stumble into sin, I had new instincts and a new inclination to confess my sin to God and preach to myself – really, to hear the Spirit preach to me – one of the verses the pastor would recite. I’d hear in my head and heart the words from our Sunday service: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 ESV) Our weekly worship gatherings were teaching me how to repent and apply the gospel to my daily life any and every time the waves of guilt would hit me.

The Worship Pastor, Zac Hicks, Zondervan, 2016, pp 57-58.


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Confession – A Word From The Dead Surrendering To Life

From Robert Farrar Capon:
Confession is not the first step on the road to recovery; it is the last step in the displaying of a corpse.
Between Noon and Three, pg 74.
Confession is not a transaction, not a negotiation in order to secure forgiveness; it is the after-the-last grasp of a corpse that finally can afford to admit it’s dead and accept resurrection.
Kingdom, Grace, Judgment, pg 297.


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Confession Of Sin In Corporate Worship (via Marc Brown)

At mgpc we’ve included corporate prayers confessing sin and repentance as part of our corporate worship.
This is followed by a verse from the Bible that announces absolution.
It’s taken a while to get folk used to reading a prayer in unison as that hasn’t been part of our tradition.
But for some it may be the only time all week they confess their sin to God in prayer and receive assurance of His forgiveness.
This article both commends the practice and describes some of the other forms a corporate confession of this type can take.
From the post:

One way some churches address this need is by scripting a time of congregational confession. Because many churches who use this element of worship choose to utilize formal approaches, some see this time in the service as either stale or insincere. If that is your opinion, you should not give up so easily.
There are fresh and creative ways to help the Body of Christ confront themselves and their sin, embracing humility and submission to Holy God through a time of corporate confession and repentance.

Read the whole post, What’s Missing From Our Worship at Mark 12:30.