In this brief article we will consider the immense privilege of God’s people to worship collectively at the breaking of bread service, the preparation or readiness required and finally the presentation at the gathering itself.

Privilege

As the title indicates, this has to be the highpoint of spiritual service directed to God in spirit and truth.(1) The unique privilege of ascending into God’s presence ought to fill us with joy and anticipation.(2) Paul contrasts the fear and trembling that was associated with Moses ascending a physical mountain to meet with God, with the blessedness and wonder of God’s people ascending into heaven surrounded by myriads of angels.(3) We need to grasp this compelling truth to experience the reality of what we are commanded to do in remembering the Lord Jesus on the first day of the week: bring, come and worship.(4) In holy priesthood service we come to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.(5) The prospect of this ‘out-of-this-world’ experience will elevate our thoughts above the ordinary and ensure our priorities are right.

Preparation

Our worship is motivated by love towards God and His unlimited grace towards us. Consequently, God’s love in our heart moves us to bring an offering of thanksgiving that is prepared prior to the gathering. That doesn’t rule out spontaneity as moved by the Spirit, but the norm is to come prepared, exercised to present our offering to God (silently or spoken) out of appreciation for the Lord Jesus Christ. This will cost us something in terms of our time and effort. King David would not accept what was to be offered to the Lord without it costing him something.(6) Again David delighted to give to God from his own personal treasure over and above all that he had already provided for the temple offerings.(7) Week by week Mary saved up from her earnings an amount that grew to become the purchase price of that costly perfume poured over the feet of her beloved Lord Jesus given out of appreciation for her Saviour’s love for her.(8) This also suggests the putting aside of an amount from our income to give to the Lord as we are blessed and as our heart moves us to give. An important aspect of our preparation, too, is examination of our personal holiness and putting right any matter that would obstruct or distract from our participation.(9)

Presentation

We are entering heaven and coming before the King of kings and Lord of lords. How should that make us feel about our readiness and presentation? Thankfully, because our Lord Jesus is there already, in His office of great high priest,(10) our acceptability is not in question. In coming through Him, we are covered by His blood.(11) Moses spoke to Israel regarding the males of Israel that “they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.”(12) The following verse states that “every man shall give as he is able.”(13) What is in our hand on a Lord’s Day morning and how should we present it to our great God? It’s important to realise that God accepts the worship of His people, however feeble, through the Lord Jesus.(14) Our words might not come out as we intend some of the time. How thankful we should be, then, that the Lord Jesus makes up fully for our inadequacies of expression and endeavour. Malachi spoke of the carelessness of the priests in allowing blemished animals to be offered, communicating the Lord’s pointed response “Should I receive that from your hand?”(15) Our aim should be to present our appreciation of the Lord Jesus from the scriptures to the best of our ability; Christ-centred and scripture-based. That gives us a wide canvas from Genesis to Revelation. Our worship will converge on the lofty themes of our Lord’s appearings in humiliation as Son of Man,(16) in resurrection as Son of God,(17) in the presence of God for us as High Priest(18) and in splendour and glory as our returning Lord.(19)

The highpoint of our week is the highpoint of our spiritual service which takes us as a worshipping people into heaven before God in spirit and truth. Can you imagine a better prospect and aspiration than that?

References: (1) John 4:23 (2) Heb. 10:19; 9:24 (3) Heb. 12:18-24 (4) Ps. 96:8-9 (5) 1 Pet. 2:5 (6) 1 Chron. 21:24 (7) 1 Chron. 29:3 (8) John 12:3 (9) 1 Cor. 11:28 (10) Heb. 4:14 (11) Heb. 12:24 (12) Deut. 16:16 (13) Deut. 16:17 (14) 1 Pet. 2:5 (15) Mal. 1:13 (16) Titus 2:11; Heb. 9:26 (17) John 21:1 (18) Heb. 9:24 (19) 1 Cor. 11:26; Heb. 9:28

Graham Schleyer, Liverpool, England

Bible quotations from NASB