A couple weeks ago in our Community Group meeting, we were having a discussion about what is means to be human and to have faith, and Jon Fuehrer, who was leading the discussion asked two questions. First, he asked what it means to be human, and we all talked about that. And then, second, he asked whether humans are mainly good or bad.
And what was interesting, and Jon pointed this out, is that when we all discussed the first question, we said good things.
To be human is to have an intellect and an amazing capacity for the creative. We’ve built things like the pyramids, and we’ve sculpted portraits in the sides of mountains. And we’ve walked on the moon. And we’ve invented cures for all kinds of diseases. To be human, we said, is to have a soul and the ability to empathize and show compassion. All of these are mainly good things.
But then Jon asked whether we were mainly good or bad, we said mainly bad things. Everyone agreed that we are mainly bad, and it was easy agreement. It doesn’t mean that humans can’t do good things, but if we look around, if we’re honest, there is corruption and oppression, and greed and evil. We, humans, have vehemently despised one another because of our skin color. We, humans, have founded and popularized whole industries that are rooted in the enslavement and exploitation of the vulnerable. Despite all our modern progress in technology, the previous century was the bloodiest in the history of the world. We humans, for all our decency as humans, have experienced, seen, and done terrible things to one another. We are the perpetrators of our own victimhood. Humans are mainly bad.
And so we’re stuck. To be human is a glorious thing. And yet when it comes to our behavior, to our hearts, we are messed up. Every one, to some degree, if we are honest, understands this.
The real question is Why? Why is there such a disparity between the glory of being human and the brokenness of human behavior?
Fundamentally, the problem comes down to worship. One thing I mentioned in last week’s sermon is that sin is always a worship problem. God created us to resemble and reflect and enjoy his glory. He created us to worship him, to find our soul’s satisfaction in him. To find our rest and peace and joy in him. But, we have rebelled against him. The theological word for this is the Fall. It’s means that we have abandoned God, that we have rejected the worship of him and instead tried to replace him with other things, and that is why we’re broken, why we’re are sinners.
And the good news, the gospel, is that Jesus came to save sinners. He came to die for sinners. He took the punishment that we deserve and he suffered God’s wrath in our place, and then, three days later, he was raised from the dead, and exalted, and he’s coming back. And when we put our faith in him, we are united to him and he forgives us and declares us righteous before God. And Jesus did this — does this — not just to rescue us from our sin, but to rescue us to relationship. He brings us back into the relationship with God that we were created for. Or, in other words, Jesus saves us to transform our worship. He saves us so that we worship rightly. He saves us to resemble and reflect and enjoy God’s glory. He saves us so that we find our soul’s satisfaction in him, that we find in him our rest and peace and joy.
This is why worship is the first essential of Cities Church. Our mission is to make disciples. And we define disciples as worshipers, servants, and missionaries. Our essentials, then, the things that we really care about, are that we worship Jesus // we serve one another // and we seek the good of the Cities.
And worship is first because worship is the most important, the most fundamental. If we don’t get worship right, none of the other stuff matters. And that is why we make a big deal about this weekly gathering. It really matters. This gathering, our coming together to worship God, rooted and centered in the gospel of Jesus, this is discipleship. This is shaping and forming us.
Right now. What we’re doing. This is shaping our hearts. We we are reminded then, to confess our sins. Pray with me.
Prayer of Confession
Father, you are abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. You always do what you say you will do. And you tell us that if we confess our sins to you, that you will forgive us and cleanse us. And so Father, we bring our many sins before you this morning. We bring the sins we recognize and remember, and we bring the sins that are hidden, the sins that we don’t even know. We bring all of these before you now, and we ask that you would lead us as we confess them to you in silence.