Summary: This is the third in a series entitled :What Makes A Great Church
TITLE: The Churches Priority: Worship
P.S. As we seek to fulfill this purpose then our priorates will become clearer and less self serving.
Illustration: In any construction project there is usually a question of priorities, which determines the eventual outcome. Responding to the increasing destructiveness of high winds in the Midwest, one developer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, offered an optional tornado-safe room in the new homes he was selling. Nine of the first ten buyers opted to pay the extra $2,500 for the room——which can also be used as a closet, bathroom, or vault when not needed for safety. According to the developer, the 10th couple was 75 years old and opted for a hot tub instead.
A question of priorities finds itself into the debate regarding possible reconstruction of the WTC complex. Certain factions consider ““ground zero”” to be sacred ground, which should honour the memory those 2850 people, who lost their lives. Others have a different viewpoint. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., says the federal government should do "whatever is necessary" to help rebuild the World Trade Center to ““show the world we are not afraid -- we are defiant.”” Making reconstruction of New York City’’s 110-story twin towers a federal project ““underscores our nation’’s purpose”” and is a ““matter of honour,”” says Kerry
From Dr.Lukes account of the infant churches activities and involvements, we can catch a glimpse of their priorities. There were four that we find recorded in Acts 2:42,...”The believers devoted themselves to the
• Apostles doctrine
• The fellowship
• Breaking of bread
To keep things simple to remember, someone has developed this easy to remember acronym: WIFE!!!
As we read verse 42, we see all four priorities emerge. In verses 43-47, these priorities are practically applied to their every day lives and ministry. These priorities are still relevant today and comprise the ministry of the church. Last week we learned that our main purpose was the glorify God. As we seek to fulfill this purpose then our priorates will become clearer and less self serving.
In today’s message I want to focus on the churches priority of worship.
They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer.(NLT)
If you were able to take a trip in a time machine, and travel to the first century, I wonder what the early church would have looked like.? We do not have any recorded worship service or agenda. Nor were any instructions given by the apostles as to how a worship service should be conducted. However, the new Testament provides us with clues as to what a first century church worship service might have looked like:
1. First, The early church by and large met on the first day of the week, Sunday. 1 Cor.16:2
3. Local gatherings were relatively small in number, with 12-20 on average in each meeting house. Acts 19:7
4. Each church was lead by a pastor/elder and deacons who gave oversight to the spiritual and material needs of the members.- Acts 6; 1 Tim.2
5. There was no set order of service, but on any given meeting you could expect the following:
• They would share a common meal together. 1 Cor.11
• There would be singing or reciting of Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Eph.5:19; Col.3:16
• A teaching elder would teach the word. Acts 5:42; 19
• prayer was paramount!!!! Acts 4:31
• The exercise of spiritual gifts was a normal occurrence. Especially tongues and prophecy. Acts 13:1; 1 Cor.12-14
• Breaking of bread and communion was held every time the believers met together. Acts 2:46; 1 Cor.11
• Giving of tithes and offerings. Acts 5; 2 Cor.8
There is no recorded agenda or order of service. I believe the Holy Spirit deliberately kept this a secret because He did not want the successive generations to feel in bondage to form. As we endeavour to seek Gods will in worship, there are 4 convictions we need to hold on too as priorities in worship.
1. Firstly, There is no ‘correct style of worship. The statement the woman at the well made to Jesus has been an issue the church has debated for 2,000 years, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but the Jews say Jerusalem is the place where the Father is to be worshipped” The interpretation of her statement is simply, “Jesus where is the right place to worship and what is the proper form.?”
It is not the form of worship the Lord is seeking, it is the heart!
Jesus reply was firm and simple. “An hour is coming, and now is come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”