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7. Biblical Worship
The seventh discipline in biblical worship. The church gathers together to worship God. Gathers together to hear the word of God. Gathers together to pray, to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to one another. In Ephesians 5, the church gathers together to spur one another towards Christ. In Hebrews 10, we are an assembly who comes together to give glory to God through our songs through our prayers through our confession of sin through fasting together. We worship God.
8. Biblical Ordinances
There are two practices that God has ordained for the church to do. As part of our worship, one is baptism and one is the Lord's Supper. So we baptize as the church. As people come to know Christ. We celebrate their identification with Christ through baptism. We see this in the great commission in Matthew 28:19. We see this in 1 Corinthians 1. We see Jesus modelling this in Matthew 3:16-18. We see Paul talk about the picture of baptism and what it represents in Romans 6. So, baptism and then the Lord's Supper. 1 Corinthians 11 talks about how we gather to celebrate the body and the blood of Christ through taking the bread and taking the cup. Just like Jesus instructed us to do we do this as a church every week when we gather together. We take the bread and take the cup and we remember Jesus' death on the cross for our sins. We reflect on our need for his grace and we rejoice in the salvation he has made possible for us and in the reality that he is coming back for us one day. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11, whenever you celebrate the Lord's Supper. You proclaim the Lord's death until He comes again. So, we give ourselves to these ordinances i.e. Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
9. Biblical Fellowship
There are 59 different commands that involve one another in the New Testament. Love one another. Care for one another. Restore one another. Serve one another. Edify one another. Encourage one another. All of these different things that we do with one another. This is what Acts 2:42 says, the church was devoted to the fellowship. Sharing life together. We don't just sit next to one another in a weekly worship gathering. We share life with each other. All week long, we lay down our lives for one another in the church like family as brothers and sisters. I think about one new member in our church whom we have over 100 different countries represented in our church and this man comes from a country where it's illegal to be a follower of Jesus and as soon as he became a follower of Jesus, his family disowned him. So, I brought him up in front of the church and I just said to him we want you to know we are your family and we will be your family. We will be your brothers and sisters and we will love you like family. This is what the church is called to do. This spiritual discipline of a church is the biblical fellowship that leads to spiritual discipline number ten.
10. Biblical Accountability and Discipline
Biblical accountability and discipline meaning in Matt. 18:15-20, kind of the way we help one another when someone is caught in sin. Galatians 6 says we restore one another. When we see a brother or sister struggling in sin then we go to them and we call them back to Christ. We help them follow Christ and not to continue to wander in sin. And if they refuse to follow Christ then Jesus outlines a process through which we take others along and we as a church go to that person. But if they still not follow Christ then there comes a point where we put them out of the church and we say we don't see that you are actually a follower of Christ and because of your actions in this way, in your unrepentance when it comes to sin this is what happens. In 1 Corinthians 5, there is a man in the church who is guilty of unrepentant sexual immorality and Paul says remove him from the church. Church accountability and discipline is what Church practices.
11. Biblical Giving
In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul talks about an offering that the church at Corinth was taking up for the church in Jerusalem at the time of famine. It's the same offering he talks about in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, it's a picture we see all over the New Testament. Think of Acts 4 and 2, the church is giving to each other bringing their offerings together for the building up of the church, for the support of the poor, and the spread of the gospel. All of this happens to the church sharing resources together giving to one another. Giving sacrificially and generously and cheerfully. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 show the way in this spiritual discipline.
12. Biblical Mission
Biblical mission, now, you might say wasn't that just evangelism or discipleship we were talking about earlier. No, a biblical mission is saying we don't just share the gospel right around us. We share the gospel in places far from us. We don't just focus on the community right around us. We focus on places far from us. Why? Because Jesus has told us to make disciples of all the nations. Jesus has not told us just to focus right where we are. Jesus has told us to go to places where the gospel has not yet gone. For me as a pastor, for you as a pastor or as a church planter, or as a leader to look at the church. We're a part of and to say how we can together be a part of spreading the gospel to places where the gospel is not yet gone. There are billions of people in the world today. Two or three billion people in the world today including many in India and many beyond India. I’ve been praying over recent days specifically for groups of people in Pakistan who have never heard the gospel and Jesus has told us to go to them. Jesus has told us to go across ethnic barriers, geographic barriers, and linguistic barriers for the spread of the gospel to people and places where it has not yet gone and if we're not giving ourselves to that spiritual discipline then we are disobeying the great commission as the church.
So, I hope that offering these 12 spiritual disciplines of a church might help you and me. To be able to look at this list and say how our church is doing in this area and this spiritual discipline. How our church is doing in this spiritual discipline. And I’m guessing some of our churches might be doing well in this discipline but maybe not very well over in this discipline and based on 1 Corinthians 3 and 4, God is calling us to build his church in all of these ways according to his word. So I pray that based on what we heard in 1 Corinthians 3 and 4, this overview of spiritual disciplines of a church that God will help you, me, and us together to lead His church wisely according to his word in such a way that one day when you and I stand before Jesus to give an account for how we've led his church, He will say to us well done good and faithful servants.
O God, I pray that I would hear those words on that day and I pray for every single person who's listening to this right now there in India. I pray that they would hear those words on that day. By your grace that we would hear you say with how we have led in your church well done good and faithful servants. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen!
This article is the final part of the three-part article series of the transcript of the Session 1 preached by David Platt in Online AIPC 2020 Conference held on Sep 15-17, 2020.
Please click here to see the video.