Summary: What are some of the elements found in a worship service.
Part of being led by the Holy Spirit is active participation in weekly worship services. We gather together to sing, play music, pray, give, preach and read Scripture. It is also a time to exercise our Spiritual gifts so that the church can be built up.
As a missionary I found it fascinating to see how varying people expressed their worship to God. Their cultural background heavily influenced how they prayed, sang, and ministered to each other.
The Bible never gives us a specific prescription for the structure of a church service. God is too wise to have included this type of specific plan. (Maybe He knew we would make an idol out of the order). Why? Because His creation is too vast and unique to be pidgin holed into this type of specifics. A certain form of expression in one worship service in one part of the globe may not make sense, or possibly be offensive, in another.
(TRANSITION) This does not mean, however, God has given us some common elements to be expressed (in unique and various ways) as we gather as a body to serve the Lord. Let’s look at what these elements are…(note: I am not putting these in any specific order)
PREACHING & PUBLIC READING OF SCRIPTURE
One key element of a worship service is preaching. Paul told the young pastor Timothy
1 Timothy 4: 1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
One man described preaching as something that “afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.” In reality, to preach is to proclaim. It is to herald the message of Christ and His Kingdom.
But it is not to simply tell people about the death, burial and resurrection. To preach is to proclaim but it is also to call someone to something. The Christian preaches Christ and calls hearers to repent of sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
In the case of Timothy, Paul “charges” him to preach the word (the Scriptures). Through his preaching he was to “challenge, warn and urge” those he lead as pastor (cf. MSG). He was to do this “in” and “out” of season. Basically Paul is telling Timothy to NEVER quit “challenging, warning, and urging” the flock. Why was he never to cease preaching “the word?”
Because not all preachers hold themselves to the standard of God’s word. Instead they preach what makes people comfortable – they do not challenge, warn or urge – for fear of offending others or being persecuted. But what happens when preaching the word ceases?
People replace God’s word with fables and myths and religious superstitions. That is why preachers are to constantly call people to repentance and faith. We are to call them away from sin to salvation. We are to call them to flee a kingdom of darkness to enter the Kingdom of Light.
If we cease to preach the word then those we are called to lead will perish. They will be carried away with every wind of deceitful doctrine.
Every time we gather together someone should be proclaiming the word – challenging, urging, and warning us to live our lives in obedient surrender to our Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise we will fall away.
Again, the Apostle Paul tells the young pastor Timothy…
1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
But why is Paul urging Timothy to call those he leads to pray and intercede for all people and those in authority? We find that answer by looking at the end of 1 Timothy 1 (vv. 18-20).