Summary: The Study Of The Worship Of The Church
The Study Of The Worship Of The Church
John 4:24 (KJV)
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The church is made up of the saved. Its purpose is to worship and serve God through Jesus Christ. Paul said, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).
There are three kinds of worship in the New Testament.
• First, we read of ignorant worship. When Paul was in the midst of Mar's hill in Athens, he saw many idols around him. He then said, "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing (ignorantly), Him I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:23). Those people worshiped ignorantly then. Many do the same today. Millions bow down to idols and images. Many millions more are following various religious practices out of ignorance of the Bible.
• Second, the Bible speaks of those whose worship is vain. Christ said, "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). The majority of people worship in this way today. They worship the Lord, it is true, but their worship is vain or void. Why? Because it is according to the teachings and traditions of men. It is not according to the will of God.
• Third, the word of God speaks of true worship that is, worship which is in spirit and truth. We read the words of Christ, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). This is the only kind of worship that God will accept. This was true in the days of Christ and it is true in our present day. To worship God in spirit means to do it in humility and understanding. To worship in truth means to worship as it is written in the New Testament. God does not force anyone to worship Him. Those who worship Him must do so on His terms.
What kind of worship is the Lord's church to engage in? Not ignorant worship. Neither can it be according to the doctrines and commandments of men. It must be in spirit and in truth to be acceptable to God. The New Testament shows us from direct commands and examples that the early church engaged in these five ways of worship:
1. They assembled to study. Timothy had been taught the Bible from childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). Paul exhorted him as a young preacher, "Be diligent (study) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). This would apply to all Christians and especially as they gather for worship. This is a time in which God speaks to His children through His Word. In Acts 20:7 we read of Paul preaching to the brethren as a way of studying the Word of God.
2. They prayed. After the people had obeyed the Lord on the day of Pentecost, we read, "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). Through prayer, the Lord's people have the opportunity to speak to their Father in heaven. What Christian would think of assembling with other Christians for worship and not engaging in prayer?
3. They sang praises. Paul wrote to his brethren, "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). Also read Colossians 3:16 and Hebrews 13:15. There are two kinds of music. One is vocal and the other is instrumental. Psalm 150:1-6 (KJV)
1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
4. They assembled to partake of the Lord's Supper. We have an example of this in Acts 20:7. In Matthew 26:26-28 and 1 Corinthians 11, we are taught to partake of the bread in remembrance of the body of Christ. We then are to partake of the cup, or fruit of the vine, in remembrance of the blood of Christ. Even now we are to do this every Sunday.