What is corporate worship? It is believers gathering for the express purpose of giving praise to God. As people were created, and Christians were redeemed, in order to worship. This is what Paul expresses in Ephesians 1, saying that everything in God’s plan of salvation is meant to lead up to our being “to the praise of his glory.”
What’s the Reason?
We worship God because He created us to worship Him. Worship is to be at the center of our existence, and at the heart of our reason for being. For God created us to be His image, reflecting His glory. In fact, the whole creation was brought into existence to reflect the divine glory. The psalmist tells us that “the heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1).
What is our Aim?
Our aim, as the congregation gathers to meet with God in public worship on the Lord’s Day, is to glorify and enjoy God, in accordance with His written Word. That is, the very purpose of assembling together as the people of God in congregational worship is to give to the Lord the glory due His name and to enjoy the blessing of His promised presence with His own people.
What is to be Expected?
As Christians, we believe it is important that we worship corporately, for God has made us His family, and corporate worship is a family meeting with God. It is the covenant community engaging with God, gathering with His people to seek His face, to glorify and enjoy Him, to hear His Word, to revel in the glory of union and communion with Him, to respond to His Word, to render praise back to Him, to give unto Him the glory due His name.
The New Testament makes clear that the congregation of Christians, this family, is the place where God is especially present in this world. In the days of the old covenant, the place where God manifested His special presence was “the tabernacle” or “the temple.” In the new covenant, that special “place” is now wherever the Lord’s house, that is, His people, is gathered.
Jesus stresses this to the Samaritan woman (John 4:21) and to his disciples in addressing congregational discipline (Matt. 18:20). The place of new covenant worship is no longer inextricably tied to a geographical location and a physical structure but to a gathered people. This makes corporate worship extremely important.
For more helpful resources, check out:
Matt Merker – Corporate Worship