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Growing up, when I was little, there was a show, that I believe is still on today, called Thomas the Train. I never got to watch it. First, because we didn’t have cable. But also, Second, it seemed to always be on a Sunday Morning.
It bugged me.
I often would ask my Dad, why we had to go to church. His response was always with another question: What would you do instead?
The answer was always telling for me. I’d rather stay home and watch Thomas the Train. But there were still questions: why go to church? What was the big deal? What was it all about? Why is it important? Especially more important than watching a TV show.
So here is the question for you: Why do we gather together as a church? And what do we do when we gather together? Do you know the answer to these? How does going to church help us be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ?
You’ve heard me say many times, that we aim to be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ. But how? How are we faithful learners of Christ who tell other people about Christ? For the next three weeks, we will be looking at three words that help guide us in how we are disciples of Jesus Christ. Pulpit. Table. Square.
Pulpit. The church gathered.
Table. The church being in community.
Square. The church being in the community.
As we look at the church gathered, we will look at 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 and John 4:16-27 for two things we do as a gathered church.

Making much of Jesus in preaching

As we gather as the church we aim to exalt Christ through preaching.  Specifically, we do want to preach sermons that take the main point of a passage in the Bible and make that point the main point of the sermon and seek to apply it to life today.  To help answer that question: "So what?"
It's God’s Word is what convicts, converts, builds up, and sanctifies God’s people (Heb. 4:121 Pet. 1:231 Thess. 2:13Jn. 17:17). So preaching that makes the main point of the text the main point of the sermon makes God’s agenda rule the church, not the preacher’s, not mine. It means when I get to a hard passage, I am seeking to see what God has to say and applying that to my life and not taking what I want and applying it to the Bible.
This is really what the Apostle does in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Co 2:1–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Everything we do as a church and as people should come out of this. God’s Word is what convicts, converts, builds up, and sanctifies God’s people (Heb. 4:121 Pet. 1:231 Thess. 2:13Jn. 17:17). Preaching that makes the main point of the text the main point of the sermon makes God’s agenda rule the church, not the preacher’s, not mine. This comes down even to how we give wisdom to people. So often you and I come up and say, “Yes, I trust what the Bible says.” We say we believe that we can allow God’s Word to teach, rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness so we can be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). But we offer wisdom that comes from a Facebook post rather than what God has said.  If the Bible is God’s inspired Word, then it is true. If it is true, we should follow it.
But then someone comes to me and asks for wisdom on marriage or finances or raising kids or time management, and I completely ignore what God has said. We need far more than cliches, we need wisdom that comes from the living God. If it’s God’s Word that convicts, converts, builds up, and sanctifies his people, let us not come to people with lofty speech or wisdom. Let us “decide to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

Making much of Jesus in our singing

In John 4, Jesus is interacting with the woman at the well and having a conversation about what worship is.  SO Jesus says to her in verses 23 and 24, 

23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 4:23–24). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

In Deut. 6:4-5, our worship of God is directed by our love for Him; as we love, so we worship. Because the idea of “might” in Hebrew indicates totality, Jesus expanded this expression to “mind” and “strength” (Mark 12:30Luke 10:27). So when Jesus says that we worship in spirit and truth, it means you need to love Him with heart, soul, mind and strength. But also, true worship must be “in spirit,” that is, engaging the whole heart. Unless there’s a real passion for God, there is no worship in spirit.
At the same time, worship must be “in truth,” that is, properly informed. Unless we have knowledge of the God we worship, there is no worship in truth. Both are necessary for God-honouring worship. Spirit without truth leads to a shallow, overly emotional experience that could be compared to a high. As soon as the emotion is over, when the fervour cools, the worship ends. Truth without spirit can result in a dry, passionless encounter that can easily lead to a form of joyless legalism. The best combination of both aspects of worship results in a joyous appreciation of God informed by Scripture. The more we know about God, the more we appreciate Him. The more we appreciate, the deeper our worship. The deeper our worship, the more God is glorified.
“I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections [emotions] of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth.” - Jonathan Edwards
What Jonathan Edwards is saying is that only truth can properly influence the emotions in a way that brings honour to God. The truth of God, being of infinite value, is worthy of infinite passion. So when Jesus says that God is looking for a people that worship him in spirit and truth, he is saying that our worship can't be void of an appreciation for him that comes from his truth.  
What we sing is important, It should flow out of the exaltation of Christ that comes out of the word. Our goal is to exalt Christ through songs that reflect how God has revealed himself in his Word. Because we worship in spirit and truth we seek to songs that have good theology and good doctrine.
Through our songs and through the preaching, we want to be able to say, “Is not our God great?” Not talk about how great the music was or how good the sermon was, but how great our God is.
So how do the gatherings of the church help us to be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ? Practically, Five things:
  1. By gatherings, we remind each other of who we are and whose we are.
  2. By gathering, we remind ourselves that temporal trails we will face will have a joyful end.
  3. By gathering, it allows us to encourage growth and fight stagnation.
  4. By gathering, we are spending time with family.
  5. To remind us of our living hope. (From Why Should I Go to Church?)
It’s through preaching and singing songs that are rooted in God's Word that we can go out and proclaim the hope we have through Jesus Christ. Knollwood is a church that is gathered. We gather together as a whole community to exalt Christ through preaching and singing so that we can be faithful disciples who go out and make disciples of Jesus Christ.