God calls His people to specific times of worship. “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations ? My appointed times are these…'” (Leviticus 23:2). Here God speaks of appointed times. He stipulates holy convocations. That is, God calls His people to assemble as a congregation. These assemblies are to be holy, set apart from the world.
The first holy convocation God mentions is the weekly Sabbath. “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings” (Leviticus 23:3). We find the principle of the weekly Sabbath in the New Testament. “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). Literally, there remains a Sabbath keeping for the people of God at the present day. In addition, God continues to connect the Sabbath and His special dwelling place. “You shall keep My Sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:30).
This being the case, it is appropriate for the elders of the church to call God’s people to assemble and to call them to Sabbath worship. The Order of Worship therefore begins with the Call to Worship. “O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (Psalm 95:1-2). Notice this call signals our entrance into the special and gracious presence of God dwelling with and among His assembled saints.
We should therefore respond positively to the call to worship our Lord. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord'” (Psalm 122:1). We should anticipate meeting with God. We should expect God to meet with us. His plan is to confirm His covenant promises to us. Look again at what Paul tells the assembled Corinthians. He reminds the people what they are. He refers to God’s basic covenant promise. “We are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.'” (2 Corinthians 6:16 quoting Leviticus 26:12).
God’s design for the Sabbath and assembling on the Sabbath is similar. “You shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you “(Exodus 31:13). One of God’s purposes for the Sabbath is to assure you that Jesus Christ actually does set you aside for His service. If you want to meet with God and know God better, you will highly regard corporate worship and the Sabbath. You will respond to the call to worship in Sabbath worship with real anticipation.
Perhaps you lack assurance. Although you know the great doctrines of Scripture, you are unsure of your status before God. Heed the call to worship. Do not forsake the assembly of God’s people on the Sabbath day (Hebrews 10:25). God’s day of worship and corporate worship itself offers you special opportunity to meet with God. When your pastor calls the gathered assembly to worship using Psalm 95 or some other portion of Scripture, ask God to draw you into His presence. Ask Him to use the day and the place to assure you He is the One who sanctifies you.