Tuesday, March 01, 2005

What, Why, and How We Do

We recently challenged our own attitude toward worship by comparing it to the attitude of those in Lystra who worshipped Paul and Barnabas as if they were Hermes and Zeus. The story of their devotion to false gods is a wake-up call for us. Are we so devoted to the true and living God?

In the worship assemblies of the South Yukon Church we practice the same things weekly. We practice these things because we are convicted that they are what we should be doing to worship God as he wants to be worshipped. Some of you are new additions to the body of believers here and to the church of Christ. Here is what you will see each Sunday here when we gather to worship.

We sing. We sing a cappella. Musically, that means purely vocal. Literally, that means in the style of the church. We sing without instruments because that is the only kind of music mentioned in the New Testament associated with spiritual singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), and it is the kind of music that the early church closest to the time of the apostolic teaching employed. It is likely that instruments were not used because of the highly spiritual nature of New Testament Worship.

We pray. Privately and in community, God’s people pray. As we come together, our common adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplications go before God’s throne. We communicate what is in our hearts for God in this way.

We read and focus on God’s Word. The Bible is the communication of God’s heart toward us. Part of sacred scripture is read a couple of times in our assemblies. Comment is made on the word. While the comments are not the Word, they are considered that seriously before they are delivered because the speaker has been instructed: If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God” (1 Peter 4:11)

We give in proportion to our blessing through the week. God’s people have always brought their first fruit to God. Accordingly, following the example of the Corinthian Church (1 Cor 16:2), we give so that when the time comes to meet a need the funds are collected and ready.

We also eat the Lord’s Supper. We commune with the Lord weekly because that was the practice of the early church in response to apostolic teaching. We will also only eat the Lord’s Supper on Sunday – no other day. The significance of Sunday is that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday – we eat the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day.

These are not activities unattached to hearts and lives. We sing with all of our hearts to God and with the goal of teaching and building up each other. In fact, everything we do together has the goals of glorifying God in our devotion to him and mutual strengthening. We pray because prayer brings closeness to God and prayer in community brings us close to each other as we join with others in their rejoicing and sorrow. We give generously, feeling good about giving to God and others. We read and focus on the Word because we love the Word and want the worship experience to bring a change for good to our lives. We eat together, remembering our oneness, remembering the sacrifice given for us, and declaring our belief that Jesus will return to take us home.

And all of this is done in the clothing of love, because it is by our love that the world will know that we are his disciples (Col 3:14; John 13:35). That's Life at Work!

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