BIG IDEA: To borrow a theatrical metaphor, when we think about church, we often think of the people on stage (pastor, band, etc.) as actors, God as the director, and the congregation is the audience. But is that the right way to think about it?
SCRIPTURES to CONSIDER: 1 Cor 3:16-17, 1 Peter 2:9-10
16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (ESV)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (ESV)
- What if we changed the way we think of our role as audience/congregation? What if instead, the audience (congregation) was the actor (performer), the actors (performers) were the directors (leaders), and the true audience is God? This might be a more accurate metaphor for how we view our roles in worship.
- 1 Cor. 3:16 – the temple is where worship happened, it was the place people went to offer sacrifice.
- 1 Peter 2:9-10 – we are a priesthood, and the priests offered sacrifices to God. They were the ones who performed the offering. We are gathering primarily to offer something to God. Are we actually doing this? Do we actually gather in order to offer?
- When we look at Jesus, he continually refers to himself as an offering. In Luke 24, during his ascension, Jesus was “carried up” into heaven, which means he was offered up.
- We become like Jesus when we offer ourselves up to God as a pleasing sacrifice, and when we gather together, we offer up a collective offering, a unique type of offering that cannot happen when you are by yourself.
- “To be or not to be” a part of the Sunday gathering: Is it really worth the trouble of connecting and becoming a part of a gathering of Believers?
- Church is not a matter of personal edification only: It’s a communal creation that is diminished if we are absent in body and in spirit.
- That’s not to say that you don’t receive something when you come to church: You do! But this is a back and forth, it’s dialogical. God is involved, communicating with us as we communicate with him.
- Though God is the audience, he is also the author. When we walk into fellowship with him, we walk into the story that he has authored. He is all over and through everything as we perform, re-enacting the redemptive gospel.
- …don’t have to find the perfect place (the perfect preacher, music, building, etc.) to maximize your gathering in worship.
- …don’t have to come up with your own story to tell.
- …will not lose your salvation based on how well you worship – it’s not related in any way to your salvation.
- …are never performing alone. Your life as a believer isn’t a one-person show. It’s a group effort. We’re a full cast, and we are never on our own.
- Rest in the Lord by relaxing whatever muscles you use when you sing to God to hold back your voice. Relax and worship so that you may give fully of your praise. Let go and let your offering rise up to God.