To begin my exhortation to worship this morning I want to announce to you these facts:
• In April new home sales were up 16%.
• Last year there were more than 6 trillion work-related emails that were sent among employees in America.
• In the years 70-80 A.D. an estimated 292,000 cartloads of stone were used to build the Roman Colosseum.
These are three facts that I learned in the past couple of weeks. To the best of my knowledge they are true statements. But as I join you in assembling to worship the Living God, do these facts have any effect at all?
Consider these facts, however: In around the year 30 A.D. a Jewish rabbi named Joshua was crucified by Roman and Jewish authorities after being heralded by some as Messiah, and then he is reputed to have risen from the dead.
That is likewise a statement of fact, a true statement. But do these facts have any bearing at all on your joining together in this assembly to worship the Living God?
You receive facts and statements of truth in your experience almost constantly. You are inundated and overwhelmed by advertising every day. We live in an era of information overload. The media, the internet, abundant intellectual capital, and easy travel and communications make it so that we have ready access to information in never-before-imagined quantities. We hear stories and process facts and hear truth mixed with untruth and half-truth all day. In the midst of all of it, however, are there some facts that are most needful, that are without equal in importance, that have ultimate bearing on our gathering here in this assembly to worship the Living God?
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
The gospel is the announcement of a series of essential facts. It is this gospel in which we stand and thus worship God, and by this gospel we are saved and thus constituted as God’s worshiping people. The gospel is good news of the highest order, the all-important series of facts that we cannot live without and without which we cannot worship.
We are gathered here today as the people of God in Christ Jesus, this crucified and risen Lord. We are made presentable before God because we have been washed in the blood He shed in 30 A.D., and we have life in Him because He rose from the dead for us three days later. Our sins are swallowed up and are no more because we are in Christ, and so we have every confidence that God is our Father in heaven who delights in our praise and receives our prayers.
Praise the Lord! Jesus Christ died for our sins and was buried and rose again. Let us worship God in Him by the power of the Spirit.