* God created the heavens and earth as a temple in which to rest.
* Adam and Eve were created to be images of God, displaying his nature in the midst of his temple.
* Adam and Eve were also created to be priests of God in his temple
* Today, the church, as the body of Jesus, is the temple of God.
* Christians are being transformed by God’s Spirit into the image of Jesus, who is the image of God. We Christians are charged to display the nature of Jesus in his temple, the church. We are also created to be priests in the body of Christ — a priesthood of believers.
* At the end of time, the Creation and the Church will be one — one temple, with all of humanity fully transformed into the image of God/Christ.
* Until then, the church/Kingdom is charged with expanding its borders until one day the world has been transformed into the image of Jesus. One day, it all comes together. Until then, our mission is to work alongside God to bring this about.
* The temple is where God is worshiped, and God is only worshiped in the temple. At one time, this meant all of Creation, but when sin entered the world, worship was limited to the tabernacle and, later, the Temple — which were built as microcosms of the Creation. But because of sin, God’s worship was only allowed in the microcosm — in the Holy of Holies where God and the earth were not separated — unlike the rest of the Fallen Creation.
* Today, however, the temple is Jesus and his body — the church. We are returning to a world where worship may be anywhere, because God and man, heaven and the earth, are being rejoined everywhere the Kingdom is. The Kingdom is itself the rejoining of God and man, as shown by God’s indwelling within the Church through his Spirit — individually and corporately.
* Therefore, the entire Kingdom is a proper place of worship, because worship may take place anywhere that God and man are joined — which is true of all Christians everywhere, every time.
* Worship is no longer limited to a particular physical location or building.
* Worship is no longer about “regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness” (Heb 9:1 ESV).
* To worship “in Spirit and truth” requires the presence of the Spirit and submission to the gospel. Therefore,
— Worship is exclusively in the presence of the Spirit. After all, the Spirit himself brings about a joining of heaven and earth.
— Worship is exclusively in Jesus. There is no worship outside of Jesus.
* Worship is always about sacrifice, and sacrifice is always costly.
* Our sacrifice emulates the sacrifice of Jesus: we sacrifice ourselves as living sacrifices on Jesus as the altar (Rom 12:1).
* As living sacrifices, we submit to the Spirit’s leading (Rom 12:2-6) and we submit to one another in Christ-like love (Rom 12:7-15:7).
* In general, what the Bible calls “worship” is all about self-sacrifice, modeling the death of Jesus. Worship is therefore necessarily cruciform. It’s not so much praise as an offering of oneself. Nothing less will do. No longer are the firstfruits and a lamb without spot or blemish enough. Sunday morning is not enough. It’s everything or it’s nothing.
* Therefore, to grasp the significance of the Sunday morning assembly in terms of worship, we have to stay strictly within this paradigm. We can’t just assume that because our preachers call it “worship” that it is — or that “worship” is even a particularly helpful construct for discussing the assembly. It might be. But it’s not to be assumed.
So does the assembly have anything to do with worship?
Well, no. And yes.
We’re headed there.