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WG 09 – Session 4: Thabiti Anyabwile, The Church of Worship

August 7, 2009

One Word: Thabiti Anyabwile just socked one to Satan, Jesus style!

Pastor Thabiti, whom I’ve grown to love the last few years through his shared passions with Mark Dever and his blog Pure Church, brought it big time this morning!

Of course, like the rest of us, he was freshly renewed with joy after hearing Shai Linne do his beautiful lyrical theology. It was, uh, awesome! Who would’ve thought that one could enter into worship with hip-hop. Joshua was even raising his hands during the triune praise song.

Then Shai Linne helped lead worship with some weighty and classic hymns. He was humble and a joy to watch. It brought much grace seeing him step down from his gifts to humbly lead us.

Thanks Shai and Deejay Essence (josh) also for giving us 12 minutes of an interview. That was a huge blessing just hearing their heart in a more private, intimate setting. I will premier that to church in the ‘Boro first and then upload it to YouTube for enjoyment and edification.

* Anyway, back to Pastor Thabiti. He ripped us a new one this morning. Truly. I’ve never heard (that I’m aware of), apart from my pastor (Pastor Rob Wilkerson), anyone ever say that our salvation and status in Christ was to be primarily understood in the context of the local church. People have said things close to that, but never to that degree or exaltation. In other words, I cannot understand my relationship to Christ apart from my membership and involvement in the local church as an expression of the universal body of Christ.

Typically, people are so used to the independent terminology of “My savior and my Lord and My treasure” or “my sanctification, my gifts, my church, etc.”. But what I’ve seen these last several years and more with Pastor Rob (praise God for him) and now people like Pastor Thabiti, Mark Dever, and others is that my individual salvation is actually corporate. Yes, God elected me, Jesus redeemed me, and the Holy Spirit regenerates me. But I can’t forget too quickly that God elected a people, redeemed a people, and the Holy Spirit regenerates a people. They are called the church. The bride of Christ.

Enter, Thabiti!

———————————-Sermon Notes————————————-

August 7th

Thabiti Anyabwile

The Church of Worship

Common misconceptions of the church:

  • Divisive
  • a club

Some emphasize one aspect of the church:

  • local church —> visible
  • universal church —> invisible

Question: Does local church membership/involvement matter to you? If not, why?

Do you see any connection between your spiritual life and your local assembly?


church = gathering of a called out, covenant community of people

worship = all of life

Thabiti’s Thesis: The local church and our involvement is essential to our growth.

Local church involvement is essential/critical for two reasons:

  1. souls prosper individually
  2. churches prosper corporately

*Negative way to state it: If membership in a local church is NOT central/essential to your spiritual life, then you may be starving imperceptibly!

Why should we love the church?

I.  We should love the church because it is God’s workmanship.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

It is God who composes the church.

The Trinitarian composition of the church:

  1. Jesus – vs. 12
  2. the Spirit – vs.13
  3. God the Father – vs. 18,24

The word “member” is an inherently Christological word. The church owns it. Culture has stolen it and used it for the Lion’s club. We need to claim and reclaim it. It is uniquely Christian.

Indictments on God’s Church:

The evidences of our own fall come as indictments against God.

Similarly, in Christian counterpart, we often have a negative view of the church.

What does the world say when it sees the church? What will they say?

Ephesians 3:6-10 “manifold wisdom”

II.  We need to love the church because we need the church.

Why build your life around the covenant people of a local church?

Answer: Because we need to be cared for. 1 Corinthians 12:24

*Danger: those who think they can stand independent of the church.

Preferences are a danger as well. Christian love must go over the bounds of natural affinity.

*Is it our personal goal as members to show equal care/concern for members? We need an entire church to care for us, for our souls.

III.  We love the church because we need to be equipped and mature in the local church.

Ephesians 4:1-16

Paul’s emphasis: vs. 11&12 focus on the equipping nature of the church for the work of ministry

World: build oneself up alone

Church: build up by another, by one another

*One CANNOT mature in Christ apart or separate from the local church; it’s impossible!

decapitated – separating the head from the body

decorpulated (as per DeYoung and Kluck) – separating the body from the head; cutting off the body from the head

The local church must remain attached to its head.

IV.  We love the church because we need God’s grace.

1 Peter 4:10 administering God’s grace to others

*If we worship regularly, we won’t depent so much on Sundays to fill up our soul with the body.

We must be cultivating relationships of care to continually impart grace, throughout the week.

V.  We love the church because we need God’s love.

1 John 4:19-21

John 13:34-35

Final quote:

*”To reject the church is spiritual suicide, to take your own spiritual life” – Thabiti Anyabwile

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