In the last entry it was proposed that mankind was created by God primarily for worship. Where do we get this idea?
From the first pages of the Bible we find that God created Adam, the first man, for worship. That is, Adam’s job and the purpose of his being was to glorify his creator by obeying Him and communing with Him and listening to His word and following it. And Adam was given a liturgical helper, Eve, who would worship with him. Out of their worship and obedience together would flow their dominion over the whole earth. God gave them children who they were to train up to be worshipers. They were to fill the earth with a race of worshipers and that purpose and calling do not change after the Fall.
After the Fall the first thing God does is restore them to fellowship so that they can continue worshiping Him. Later, through the Flood God preserves a family who loves Him, and the first thing that Noah does on the other side of the flood is to worship God. God and Noah renew covenant together, and all creation is represented at the altar, and thus all of creation is brought back into fellowship.
Further on in the story, God calls Abraham to stop worshiping false gods and start worshiping the God of creation. Therefore Abraham goes to the land of promise and begins worshiping there. He builds altars throughout the land.
Later Moses is going to stand before Pharaoh to ask that he let the children of Israel go. Why? What do they want to go do? They want to go out and worship the living God. Why? That’s why they were created. So they are delivered from Egypt and called out to Mt. Sinai to hear and obey God’s word, to offer sacrifices and to eat and drink in His presence, and ultimately to renew covenant with their God. They do this because that’s who they are. They are worshipers. They are a priestly people. And when they are gathered together before God’s presence they are called the great assembly.
That is a word that is used throughout the OT and the Psalms – the Qahal – the congregation of the righteous that is called together over and over again, separated for worship. They had been called out, delivered from bondage, brought to the presence of God at Mt. Sinai to assemble there, offer praises and sacrifices, hear His word, eat and drink before Him.
When we get to the New Testament that word Qahal is translated into Greek to describe the church – the ekklesia – “the called out assembly”. It is the same thing. The word used to describe the church is the same word that described Israel when they gathered together before God to renew covenant. The church is the transformed and glorified Qahal. Just like Israel at Sinai, we have been called out, delivered from the bondage of sin, brought before His presence to offer praises, to hear His word and to eat and drink in His presence.
What this means, then, is that the Church is not merely some non-profit charity organization, or some club of people who all agree on a certain philosophy of life. The word “church” is a liturgical description. It identifies us as a worshiping people. What distinguishes the church from the world and all other groups or organizations of men is her worship.