I want to exhort us all, as a congregation, to worship this morning with two diametrically opposed thoughts.
The first is this: as we enter into worship we need to beware thinking too highly of ourselves. We are a small church that is part of a small denomination, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches. I did a quick guess-timation and figured that there are no more than 7 or 8,000 people in the churches associated with the CREC. Compare that for a moment to a larger Presbyterian denomination like the Presbyterian Church in America, which has over 330,000 people in their churches. And then compare that to the largest Protestant denomination in America, the Southern Baptist Convention, which (by their own estimation) has around 16 million members. But then consider this: there are, in the smallest province in Western China, more Muslims than there are Southern Baptists in the whole world. The estimate I pulled off the internet this morning was a population of 6,697,120,321 people in the world, all of whom bear the image of God and most of whom have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to take heed not to think too highly of ourselves, not to overestimate our own importance in a very large world where there is a lot going on that is a lot bigger than us.
But then here is my second thought, which is the direct opposite of the first: as we enter into worship we also need to beware thinking too lightly of ourselves. At the very same time that we cultivate humility by considering how small we really are, we need to cultivate humility by considering just how significant we are in the mind and purpose of God. Hebrews 12:22-24 says, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.” Jesus Christ is building His Church, capital C, and He will not be deterred.
Remember that this is what is going on as you come to worship today. You are the church, the elect of God, the people of Christ marked out with His special favor, who know His presence and are blessed with His Spirit, to fulfill His Great Commission purpose in the world. God has decreed that you and your worship will be His instrument to proclaim His glory in all the earth. That makes our significance all out or proportion to our relative size.
So tremble and rejoice! You are smaller than you think, and yet you are infinitely more important than you think.
Come, let us worship our great God who is three in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit