SCRIPTURAL WORSHIP WITHIN THE CHURCH.
I. WORSHIP. The word means:
1. Act of paying divine honors to deity, religious reverence and homage.
2. To perform acts of homage or adoration.
3. To perform religious service. People throughout the world worship many things, beings, movements, etc.
A. THIS WORSHIP IS TO BE DIRECTED TO GOD OF HEAVEN.
When we say this worship, we are referring to scriptural worship. Mt. 4:10; Rev. 22:9. The context of the last passage cited shows that John had fallen at the angel's feet to give him adoration. When he did this, the angel made the statement indicated in the verse. To worship the God of heaven is to worship the only true and living God. Eph. 4:6.
B. THIS WORSHIP AND GIVING GLORY TO GOD IS TO BE DONE IN THE CHURCH.
Eph. 3:20,21. The church of our Lord, is the institution that has been established by our Lord through which worship might be offered unto him acceptably. The saved ones make up the church, the called out of God.
C. THIS WORSHIP IS TO BE RENDERED IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH.
Jno. 4:23,24. To worship in spirit, is to approach the God of heaven in the right frame of mind with the right attitude. The mind must be drawn away from the things of a worldly nature and be zealously placed upon the spiritual things that are then at hand. To worship in truth, just simply means to worship as the truth directs. The truth is the Word of God. Jno.8: 32; 17:17. So, in order to worship God in spirit and truth, one has to be in the right frame of mind and use the right pattern, the Bible.
D. THE ELEMENTS OF THIS WORSHIP ARE CLEARLY SET FORTH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
Acts 2: 42. We will notice these elements one by one. If we are doing these things, we will be pleasing God but if we fail to engage in them regularly, decently and orderly, we will not be pleasing unto God. Let's please Him.
1. THE APOSTLES' DOCTRINE OR TEACHING. This was and continues to be a preached and taught doctrine. Let us now look at some scriptures concerning this doctrine: 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16-4:2; 1 Tim. 3:15. The above given script;ures, show us that the doctrine that is to be used in the church is to be taught to all for by it all will be saved. We are to be zealous in our teaching, but we must be very sure that the thing we teach is that which will save. Rom. 1:16,17. The methods that we use to teach this doctrine are not speci- fied, but regardless of the method used, only the gospel is to be taught. Matt. 28:19,20; Mk. 16:15,16.
2. THE FELLOWSHIP MENTIONED IN OUR TEXT, Acts 2:42, is not primarily referring to meeting together and talking. But rather it means a providing of the physical resources so that this doctrine or gospel might be spread abroad, and that the physical expenditures of the church might be met. 1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 9:6,7; Phil. 1:3-6; 4:14-19.
Paul said in the Philippian Letter, that the word fellowship had to do with giving and receiving. In his case, the giving and receiving of physical goods to him as a preacher of the Word of God, as it partained to the church at Philippi. Read what he has to say in: Phil. 1:3-6; 4:14-19. Fellowship here nor anywhere else in the New Testament, means a coming together to drink coffee and eat doughnuts, but it has a spiritual significance. A working together in spiritual matters, supplying one another's needs, etc. A co-operative effort with respect to carrying out the will of God in the proclamation of His Word. So, if we speak of coming together to have fellowship in the Bible sense of the word, let us mean that we are meeting together to combine our efforts in serving the Lord.
3. SINGING: The music that God requires of Christians, in worship to Him, is vocal music. The melody is to be made in the heart and not upon a mechanical instrument. If mechanical instruments are to be used in worship, it would not suffice for only one or two to play such instruments, but every member would be required to play. For we are all required to sing. Read what Paul has to say in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16. But, no doubt, someone is ready to say, "But preacher, it does not say not to use mechanical instruments of music in the worship." No, not in so many words, but neither was Noah told not to build the ark out of pine, oak, or balsam wood or some other wood, in so many words. Since this is true, I wonder why he decided to use only gopher wood? We all know why he used gopher wood, don't we? Because God specified gopher, and if Noah had used any other type of wood, he would have sinned. Since God did not say in so many words, "Don't use mechanical instruments of music in worship," then why don't we use it? Because God said "Sing". Just like He said, "Gopher wood". If there is authority for using mechanical instruments of music in our worship today, there is also authority for Noah to have built the ark out of any wood he chose. But someone will say, "Preacher, David used mechanical instruments of music in worship". He also killed animals and offered their blood and then burned them. He burned incense. He couldn't go more than about a thousand yards from his dwelling place on the sabbath day. He could not light a fire on that day. He could not pick up sticks, or he would have been stoned to death. He could not wear cotton cloth and wool cloth mixed together. He had to do so many things that are not required of Christians today. The law of Christ is now in effect and supersedes the Mosaical law that governed David and all the other Jews of his day in their worship. Col. 2:14.
4. BREAKING OF BREAD: The Lord's Supper: Was established and instituted by the Lord Himself while upon the earth. Matt. 26:26-29. Since this was during the week of the Passover, only unleavened bread could be used, thus showing by example and necessary inference the type of bread used. There is no indication as to the fruit of the vine, as to whether it was fermented or unfermented (unless one considers fermentation as a form of leavening). The frequency of partaking of the Lord's Supper is also shown by approved apostolic example as is found in Acts 20:7. Jesus, when He instituted the Supper, said, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup..." 1 Cor. 11:26. He did not tell HOW often, nor upon WHAT day to partake. But remember that Christ promised the apostles that He would send them a Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, to direct them into all truth, Jno. 14:16,26; 16:13-15. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ and begin to guide them in their teaching. Under His guidance, the apostles taught in three different ways:
If a teaching is not found in the New Testament, in one of these ways, it is not authorized by God, Christ, nor the Holy Spirit. The TIME of partaking of the Lord's Supper, is mentioned in one place in the New Testament, and this is by approved apostolic example. Note once again a scripture that was pointed out and quoted yesterday, and has already been mentioned today. This scripture is Acts 20:7, "And upon the first day of the week (Sunday) when we were gathered together to break bread..." Sunday, is the first day of the week and every week has a first day; therefore, we are to partake of the Lord's supper every first day of every week. When, under the law of Moses, God instituted the laws governing the Sabbath Day, He just said, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." He did not have to go into a lot of detail to explain that He meant every sabbath. The Jews understood from what He did say, that He had reference to every sabbath as often as it rolled around. So it is with partak- ing of the Lord's Supper. The Holy Spirit did not have to explain to those early Christians that He meant for them to partake of the Lord's Supper every first day of the week, they understood that this was the thing they were to do and they did it faithfully. The were not trying to get out of doing it, therefore they did not say, as religionists say today: "Let's just take the supper every quarter, simi-annually, annually, or on special holy days."
THE REASON FOR PARTAKING OF THE SUPPER is stated by Jesus and restated by Paul the apostle, Mt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-26. It is a matter of "showing forth" or commemorating the Lord's death and suffering until He comes again. Christ stated, that through this means He would commune with us and we with Him, Mt. 26:29. It is upon this occasion that we commune with the Lord around His table, not with one another. So, when the argument is made that a person cannot partake of the Lord's supper, because there are hypocrites present and are partaking at the same time, then he is saying that he is communing with them rather than with the Lord. For shame! From the standpoint of HOW to partake, I think the first thought should be, that we do so decently and orderly 1 cor. 14:40. Next, we should note the case of people adulterating the supper by their actions and thereby making it impossible for them to really partake of the supper in a scriptural way. Read, 1 Cor. 11:20-22. These people had brought their own supper or meal to eat along with or just prior to the Lord's Supper. In doing so, they shamed or embarrassed those that had no supper of their own, and besides that, they became drunken in the process. Under these circumstances they wanted to partake of the Lord's Supper, which Paul said was impossible for them to do. Paul further says the following: Read 1 Cor. 11:27-29. Many brethren get from this the idea that if they have done any sin during the week, they are not worthy to partake of the Lord's Supper on the Lord's Day. But this is not the teaching of these verses of scripture. Repentance and prayer are for the purpose of forgiveness of sin, not the Lord's Supper. So, if we sin during the week and do not repent and pray God to forgive us, and then we come to services and refuse to partake of the Lord's Supper, because we have sinned, we have thereby committed our second sin by not obeying the command of the Lord to partake of the supper every first day of the week. Besides this, just how much faith do we put in the prayer led by a brother in the worship where he requests forgiveness of sin for all present even before the Lord's Supper is served? Paul just plainly tells us what he is talking about, when he says, "...if he discern not the body." v. 29. A person has to have his mind upon what he is doing and the reason for it. This is what is meant by discerning the body. If a person has his mind upon other matters while he is partaking of the supper, he is not discerning the body of Christ. Brethren, where is your mind and what are you thinking about when you partake of the supper? It behooves me to warn you to shut out the things of a worldly nature from your mind while you are partaking of the supper. Bring your mind to bear upon the cross of Christ and why He is there. At no time during the supper let your mind wander off of that glorious occasion back there when the Precious Lamb of God took upon Himself to hang suspended between heaven and eart, giving His life for the sins of the world.
We now come to the last item mentioned in our worship to God as recorded in Acts 2:42. This item is PRAYER. Take time to read 1 Thes. 5:17,25; Lk. 18:l; Eph. 6:18; and 1 Tim. 2:;8.
WHAT IS PRAYER?
A heart's desire, Rom. 10:1. It is a heart's desire made known to God, including: desires or petitions, praise, adoration, thanksgiving, intercession, supplications, etc.
TO WHOM SHOULD WE PRAY?
Col. 1:3; Rom. 1:8.
THROUGH WHOM SHOULD WE PRAY?
Rom. 1:8; Col. 3:;17.
WHO HELPS IN OUR PRAYING?
We are to ASK -- it is there to be HAD. We are to SEEK -- it is there to be FOUND. We are to KNOCK -- it is there to be OPENED. We should pray in FAITH, and pray in PRACTICE. Prayer is the KEY to God's treasures, and it is our fault if we do not become rich toward Him.
PRAYERS SHOULD BE:
WATCH AS WELL AS PRAY:
EACH IMPORTANT DECISION OR ACTION, SHOULD BE PRECEDED BY FERVENT PRAYER.
1. Christ prayed in Gethsemane, prostrating Himself, showing a need for body participation.
2. In many places in the Old and the New Testaments, we find holy men of God taking humble bodily positions before the Lord in their prayers.
3. They were not ashamed to kneel or to bow low or to prostrate themselves before the Lord.
NOTICE A GROUP OF CHRISTIANS AT PRAYER.
Read Acts 4:24-30. In this prayer, we find that they were:
TYPES OF PRAYER:
PRAYER WITHIN THE ASSEMBLY OF THE SAINTS:
Should be voiced by a brother on behalf of the whole congregation. In such prayer, the considerations of the congregation as a whole should be considered. This is not the time for private, personal prayers. These prayers should be spoken loudly, clearly and distinctly. This should be done, because it is actually the prayer of the whole congregation and not just for the one that is doing the speaking. Sometimes a brother speaks so lowly or softly that I sometimes wonder if he can even hear himself. How can the rest of the congregation pray along and give their A-men, if they cannot hear and understand what is being said? Paul rebuked the Corinthians for using tongues that could not be understood in their prayers in the assembly. He told them that it was alright to use the Spirit in their praying, but it was also most necessary to use understanding as well. He goes on to say that he could speak in more tongues than they all, but if the tongues could not be understood, what good were they going to do? In other words, how can he that is listening give his Amen (let it be true) if he didn't understand what was being said? 1 Cor. 14:12-19. Even though we are not lead directly by the Spirit as they were in Paul's day, we still have information and examples of prayers given in the Bible to direct us in our prayers whether publicly or privately. So, brethren, we need to give more earnest heed when we pray, especially in the assembly, that others of the congregation may hear, understand, and give their A-men.
Go To The Next Section
Return to the Index Page