Re-Telling the Gospel.

Every church tells a story.

When we, as a community of believers, get together to worship God, we tell a story.  Hopefully, the message we proclaim is the one where a holy, sovereign God redeems His people from their sin through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The punishment we deserve, the wrath of an almighty God, is placed on the shoulders of Jesus, nailed to a cross.

Forgiven. The debt is paid. No more yearly sacrifices in the temple.  One final sacrifice for your sins and mine.

Every time the church gathers to worship, we tell that story.

Maybe.

We are made with an innate desire to worship…something.  Our worship says a lot about what’s important to us.  In truth, what’s most important to us is what we worship.  It can be your spouse, your kids, your hobby, your cars, your climb up the social and corporate ladder, your lifestyle, and on and on.  Bob Kauflin says this:

Jesus said the greatest commandment is this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).  While it’s simplistic to say that worship is love, it’s a fact that what we love most will determine what we genuinely worship.

So, it follows that, if we worship something other than God, we, as believers, are not telling the right story.  Putting it differently, if you love something more than God, and your existence is consumed by the love of that something, instead of God, your life is proclaiming the wrong story.  We are idolaters…placing something or someone else above God.

John M. Frame says this:

To praise God – indeed, to praise Jesus! – is to recognize him as unconditionally superior to ourselves in every respect, as one whose true greatness is beyond our poor power of expression.  He is the ultimate object of praise.

Our lives should tell the story so that it is clear and obvious that God is our total and comprehensive existence.  We must live so that the gospel is clear.

That’s us.

Now, what about worship in the church.

It should be no different.  And, while you may wholeheartedly agree, I get the impression often that our churches are more about personal preference and self-service than telling the story of the gospel.  We are idolaters of the worst sort because we place our own preferences and desires above our call to tell the gospel in our corporate worship meetings.

Don’t agree?

I don’t like the music we sing.

I wish we sang more of the old hymns.

I wish we sang more of the new choruses.

I’m sick of the preacher going so long.

I think we should sing less and let the preacher have more time.

I don’t like what he’s preaching on.

I want us to be more expressive.

I think we’re too irreverent.

And, it goes on and on.

You’ve said some of those things, and I have, too.  Notice that every comment, critique, observation, and plea begins with the personal first-person pronoun ‘I’.  When we’re not focused on telling the gospel story, we’re focused on ourselves…what we want.  And, when we do that, we place our desires and preferences above God’s preference and desire.

Bryan Chappell, in his book Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice, states, “Gospel priorities will force us to consider both God’s glory and his people’s good.  We cannot simply impose personal preference without idolizing our glory and good.”

Chappell goes on to say, and I agree wholeheartedly, that our worship must re-present, or present again, the gospel.  We should never be “disgusted by worship testifying of God’s love.”  It’s clear.  God’s love for us is shown in his sovereign will and grace for us through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  Our worship must re-tell that story every time we gather as the church to worship.  Nothing else.

Chappell points out clearly:

We love God because he has revealed the gospel to us, so it is natural that our expressions of love would be framed by the contours of his redemptive work.  Worship is our love response to his loving provision, so nothing is more honoring of his grace than making its themes our own.  We honor God, confess the need of his Son, claim his pardon, bolster our obedience, bless our neighbor, and testify of our Savior when our worship echoes the gospel that saves and sustains us.

As we live our lives and gather to worship in community, let us rejoice in living and re-telling the gospel.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.  Hebrews 13:15 ESV

2 Comments

Filed under Worship

2 responses to “Re-Telling the Gospel.

  1. Andy Waites

    Some very valid and potent points! I think the hardest part of worship to convince others of is getting them to realize it’s not about THEM, it’s about HIM! Corporate worship is always one of two things: either a sweet aroma to the Lord or wasted time.

  2. Oh how I feel the words leap from the page and testify to my feelings exactly! I have never read any comments by Bob Kauflin (I have listen to his songs) nor have I read Bryan Chappell’s book, “Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice”. When I come to worship God in a corporate setting, I come expecting God to be there as well as my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. My soul cries out to be closer and closer, knowing as long as I am in this fleshly body I can never achieve the goal my heart desires without the finished work of Christ Jesus. People may see my tears that flow from my cheeks and I don’t care, because to me, those tears are of joy. I know I am a sinner and as Paul said, the worst…and the only thing that sets me free is the blood of Christ who saves me by grace. I also know that I can do nothing to earn this grace. I am asking for mercy. “It Is Well (With My Soul).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s