Why is Sunday So Important?
This past Sunday, I read a paragraph from Joe Thorn’s The Life of the Church at the beginning of our service. It reads, “Corporate worship is one of the primary means by which disciples are made. It is not a show to observe, nor an event to attend. It is the centerpiece of the Christian life where God’s people gather together as one ascribing glory to our great God. The whole of corporate worship revolves around the Word of God. Here the Word is read, preached, prayed, sung, and seen. It not only forms and fills the service, but also forms the souls of God’s people. While the ministry of the Word is seen in the lives of all God’s people in a variety of ways, its presence in corporate worship is where it is seen most beautifully and powerfully.”
This concise description of corporate worship reminds us how important Sunday really is in the life of the Christian. It is the time when Christians come together and set aside all their baggage, and let’s face it some of us have a lot, and worship the Almighty God. How important is this task? Well, according to the Westminister Shorter Catechism it is the core of who we are, it is our chief end to “glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” This is exactly what we do on Sunday.
Yet, this short paragraph from Thorn also reveals how we worship God. We do not worship Him with the creativity of our minds. We do not worship Him with the philosophies of the world. How do we worship God? Through the Word. This is to the method of our worship in every aspect of our time of cooperate worship. If you’re thinking that’s too rigid or too narrow of a view of worship let me ask you this, can you better explain God's splendor and awesomeness then He can? Of course not, God is the ultimate herald of His own glorious nature and He does this through His Word. So let’s look at those avenues of worship.
We Read the Word
Since God’s Word is the ultimate source for all truth about God then it stand stop reason that worshipping Him must be through His Word. This is why we read the Word in our corporate worship. Paul tells Timothy as much in I Timothy 4:13, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…” We read God’s Word to worship Him, but also in reading it we are preparing our own hearts to give Him glory.
We preach the Word
Preaching is an absolute necessity in corporate worship. When the preacher opens up the Word of God to the church, He is standing in the place of Christ and declaring what God has spoken. This is why it is so important for preachers to properly explain the Word of God, because it’s not about the preacher, it’s about God and what He wants to communicate to His Bride - the church. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said it this way, “[Preaching] is the primary task of the Church, the primary task of the leaders off the Church, the people who are set in this position of authority; and we must not allow anything to deflect us from this, however good the cause, however great the need.”
We pray the Word
This might sound odd for some of us, as we often think about our hearts’ desire in prayer. Yet, in corporate worship we are to focus on God and His glory. Yes, often we request things of God, but think about the words we use in prayer. Often we follow the structure given to us by Christ in what is called the Lord’s prayer. We use terms like “If it be Your Will” and “glorify yourself through this situation.” Where do we find all of these ideas and others like them? In the Word. Let us continue to base our prayers off of the Word of God in worship.
We Sing the Word
Christianity is rich with beautiful songs of worship, whether they are old like Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is our God” or newer like “In Christ Alone.” Yet, there is a common theme in good worship songs, they are true to God’s Word. We know what words to put in our worship songs, because of God’s Word. This does not mean that we only sing Psalms, but that all of our songs flow from the Word.
We See the Word
Corporate worship is meant to change us. Gathering together with other believers and focusing on worshipping God through His Word being enabled by the Spirit should cause us to repent of sin, grow in faith, and reach out to others. One of the most beautiful aspect of corporate worship is that it’s all about God, but God is so loving that while He is receiving His due glory He changes us. This living out of the Word is also glorifying to Him.
That’s why Sunday is so important. Because it’s the time when God’s saints gather together to lift His Name high and worship Him with all of their being and we do this through the Word. Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Joe Thorn - The Life of the Church p. 69
Dr. Martyn LLoyd-Jones- Preaching & Preachers p. 30