In the first lesson of this short series, we noted the difference between a crowd, an audience, and a participant.
- A crowd is a large number of people who may or may not have intentionally gathered together.
- An audience is a group of spectators who have gathered to listen or to view and are providing the opportunity to be heard or seen.
- A participant is a person who takes part in, has a share in, or participates.
What does this mean for our assemblies of worship?
“Acceptable” Worshipers are Participants
- “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Matt 4:10).
- “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
- “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” (Rom 12:1-2).
- “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…” (Heb 12:28-29).
When We “Come Together as a Church” … What Does Participation Involve?
As we sing together?
- The modern religious landscape is dominated by the Performer-Audience model.
- The Spirit of God calls us to “address” one another (Eph 5:19), “teach” and “admonish” one another (Col 3:16), “singing and making melody to the Lord” with our hearts.
As we pray together?
- My head can be bowed, my eyes can be closed, and my heart can be “far from” God (Matt 15:8).
- Supplications, petitions, intercessions, and thanksgivings are made by participants in prayer (1 Tim 2:1; Acts 12:5; James 5:16).
As we listen and study together?
- Crowds and audiences all too often “turn away from listening to the truth” (2 Tim 4:3-4).
- Participants “receive” (Acts 17:11) the teachings and urgings (1 Tim 6:2) of the Word with “all eagerness”; they respond to reproofs, rebukes, and exhortations (2 Tim 4:1-2).
As we commune together?
- We may say we are observing the Lord’s Supper, but… (1 Cor 11:17-22).
- Participants remember, proclaim, examine, and discern (1 Cor 11:23-34).
As we give together?
- I can use and misuse money in ways that reveal my heart is not right with God (Acts 8:21).
- Participants don’t give reluctantly, but “cheerfully” (1 Cor 16:1-2; 2 Cor 9:6-7).
Participants take part in, share in, participate as “fellows.” Participants enjoy fellowship. (1 Cor 1:9; 2 Cor 6:14; 1 John 1:3-7; Phil 2:1-11)
This sermon was delivered on September 28, 2014.