All Communities exist on the basis of shared values. Ours is no exception. It is also true that we live among a culture that emphasises the individual.
This means that, as a culture, the world is stuck. It can’t prosper without shared values, and yet, by and large we are told to, “do whatchya wanna do.” Of course, if you are interested in a totalitarian society, this is particularly handy. It means that, having frozen the values of any community – especially that of the family – you are now free to reshape it’s values with very few objections. Just about anything to get us “unstuck” will do.
As a church we have our non-negotiable values. Regardless of the world’s attempt to “pop us in the freezer, we must maintain these core values in order to exist.
(Romans 12:1) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Faithful Worship makes Jesus visible. Each Lord’s day we ascend into the heavens in order to lay ourselves at the Saviours feet. We do it publicly and we do it together. Through worship, we engage in warfare. We sing Psalms. rejoicing in our God and calling upon Him to renew His Covenant with us and break the powers and kingdoms of those who hate Him.
In worship, we confess our sins, offer ourselves up to God and feast with Him. Our worship has form (liturgy). In worship, God speaks and we respond. We hear and declare God’s word over our lives in order to return to earth transformed.
(Romans 12:3-5) “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
In coming together for worship, we are also becoming a community that reflects the one we worship. God is calling us to live life as citizens in a Godly community. Here then are the non-negotiable marks of the godly community that God has called us to enjoy.
Humility. We seek to elevate others above ourselves. One way we can do this is to acknowledge that: You are not the answer to this worlds problems; You do not have every gift needed for the task; You are arguably not the best person for the job and, If you leave, the church will not come crashing to a halt.
Unity. We speak with one voice in our town. We uphold one another in conversation and we reject falsehood and slander regarding one another. Where our theologies differ, we don’t abandon love. Instead, we work all the harder in the business of study in order to find the will of God.
Submission. We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. One of the ways we display that submission is by prompt confession to God and each other when we fail to submit biblically.
Hospitality. We make room in our life and at our table in order to bless others. We demonstrate our love for one another by our welcome and in the willing sacrifice of our needs for theirs. We welcome the stranger in – not as approval of their wickedness – but as opportunity to see them delivered them from it.
You cannot truly ascend into the heavens each Lord’s day and come back without having been seriously affected. As we strive toward Faithful Worship and Godly Community, let these be the non-negotiables of our life together with Jesus and with one another.