Friday morning dawned bright and early. Well, since it was already bright when I woke up, I presume it was early. The first general session for Friday was in a word – awesome. I know, I’ve used that word quite frequently lately, but I really can’t think of any other word to describe the service. Shai Linne, Christian (and Reformed to boot!) rapper opened with a couple of his songs that you could have used to write doctrinal statements. The songs we sung afterward were focused on praising God even in suffering and trials. As I mentioned earlier, we ended the music part of worship with “It Is Well With My Soul” – and it was incredible. To sing of the wonderful truth that no matter what life brings, no matter what Satan throws at us, we can still say with the utmost confidence “It is WELL,” our sins having been fully and completely nailed to the cross. We can look with eager anticipation to the return of our Lord. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Thabiti Anyabwile spoke during the Friday morning general session on the Church of Worship. There is in some circles the thinking that the church as an institution or an actual gathering of the body of believers is unnecessary. Anyabwile pointed out that this is exactly the opposite of what the Bible teaches. He gave five reminders of why the local assembly of believers as a church is (or should be!) important to us based on 1 Cor.12:12-27:
1. We should love the church because it is God’s composition. Our proper response to the wisdom of God in building the church as He has with the people He has should be “Wow! What a God! What wisdom!”
2. We need the church because we need to be cared for. “It takes a church to raise a Christian.”
3. We need the church in order to be equipped for the Christian life. We cannot mature in Christ independent of the local church body.
4. We need the church because we need God’s grace.
5. We need the church because we need God’s love.
The local church body is absolutely essential, composed by each member of the Trinity. This was an excellent reminder of why our gathering together is vital for our Christian faith.