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Back to Normal

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Covid 19 has changed our world. 53 people in VT have lost their lives to this virus and almost 82,000 in the United States. 220,000 people have recovered from the virus. Over 20 million people are out of work.
For the church, we have changed the way that we worship, meeting by means of various online services and other electronic modes of meeting. Many Christians have grown comfortable with this new normal, some used it as a way to escape from following Christ by not meeting at all, and others even prefer to log in to worship wearing their pajamas.
These methods have been necessary because of our situation. Desiring to worship God together when we cannot physically be near each other is honoring to God. But is this new normal, well normal? Is it OK to continue like this even after the virus has gone? To answer that question, let’s look to God’s Word to see what corporate worship is and how we as disciples should honor God as we crawl out from under this virus.

I. Practice Corporate Worship

Acts 2:41–47 NASB95
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

1. Baptism

Acts 2:38 NASB95
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is the first command after placing our faith in Jesus Christ. It is a public act of worship that identifies a soul to the triune God and therefore to the visible church in that location. Baptism cannot be done online. Yes, it could be broadcast online live or recorded to that other can see, but it takes, at minimum, real water, a live baptizer, the one getting baptized, and witnesses.

2. Apostle’s Teaching

3. Fellowship

4. Communion

John 13:14 NASB95
14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
Luke 22:17 NASB95
17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;
Matthew 26:26 NASB95
26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
Matthew 26:27–28 NASB95
27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

5. Prayer

II. Obey God’s Command

Hebrews 10:21–25 NASB95
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

III. Understand Our Relationship to Jesus

A. We Are Christ’s Body

metaphors - be careful no to take them too far.
1 Corinthians 12:27 NASB95
27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
Christ is in heaven, His Spirit is in us, and we are hear on the earth. We are the physical presence of Jesus on this planet. He touches people through you. He hugs people though you. He serves people through you.

B. We Are Christ’s Wife

2 Corinthians 11:2 NASB95
2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
I was talking with a man who claimed to be a christian, but didn’t go to church anywhere. He said to me, “I love Jesus, I just hate people.” That’s impossible! Christianity is a social religion. It is a religion of love; such deep love that the only human comparison is that of husband and wife.
Conclusion:
Since the church is like Christ’s wife and it is His body, the fullest expression of a Christian’s love for Jesus Christ can only be realized when we physically gather together as the church in a location.
I like to challenge people who say they love Jesus but just don’t want to go to church. I tell them to imagine saying to their spouse, “I love you, I just don’t want any where near you!”
The same could be said if we made this new “normal” a permanent way of life. It would be like saying to Jesus, “I love you, but lets only talk over Zoom or prerecorded love notes.”
Our relationship with Jesus should be a joy. A Christian who loves Jesus will desire to be with His church every chance he/she gets.
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