Worship in the Light of Jesus’ Coming

“The author of Hebrews adds one more incentive for gathered assemblies of God’s people: ‘all the more as you see the Day drawing near’ (Heb.10:25).

“Why should gathering for worship on Sundays bring to mind the second coming? It may not be intuitive, but the reason lies in something the writer of Hebrews has mentioned earlier in his letter. Warning of the possibility of apostasy in chapter 6, he adds that the covenant community experiences ‘the powers of the age to come’ (Heb.6:5). When we worship together, we join our worship with angels and archangels and the church ‘on the other side.’ Jesus sings alongside us in worship.

“Think of it like this: there is another dimension where the saints triumphant are alive and reigning with Christ. Something of ‘the end’ has broken through into the ‘now.’

Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. (1 Cor.10:11; cf. Heb.9:26)

“As Christians we sit ‘in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph.2:6). The world to come has broken through into our world. And as we worship, we do so in anticipation of what is to come. Here and now, we see only dimly; but there we shall see Jesus ‘face to face’ (1 Cor.13:12).

“Earlier in the letter, the author quotes from Psalm 22:

For he who sanctifies, and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” (Heb.2:11-12)

“It is as though he is saying to us that every time we worship together, Jesus is singing along with us, as if He were standing next to us, sharing a hymnbook! Imagine how that image might radically alter the way we approach worship.

“Assembling together as a church body is a reminder that this world is not our home. Jesus is coming again, and when He does, He will usher in the new heavens and new earth. But the author sounds a fearful alarm. With the dawning of ‘the Day’ comes the reality of a day of judgment: ‘For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries’ (Heb.10:26-27).

“Great restaurants may offer a range of culinary experiences: ‘A Taste of Mexico,’ ‘A Taste of Italy,’ ‘A Taste of America.’ Sunday worship should advertise a similar experience: ‘A Taste of Heaven.'”

Taken from the new book by Derek W.H. Thomas, Let Us Worship: Why We Worship the Way We Do (Ligonier Ministries, 2021), pp.19-20.

I received this as a review copy. If any reader would be interested in reading this and writing a short review for the Standard Bearer, send me a note.

Published in: on May 8, 2022 at 7:26 AM  Leave a Comment