JeremyHouck.com

Dreamers Meeting - Worship

“True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” John 4:23-24

When we talk about worship what comes to mind?

If you grew up in a Church of Christ you probably learned the “5 Acts of Worship”

The Lord's Supper or communion  - 1 Corinthians 10:16

Prayer - 1 Timothy 2:1,2,8

Preaching and Teaching God's Word - Matthew 28:19,20 

Giving - 1 Corinthians 16:2

Singing - Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:19

Is there problem with these 5 acts?

1) These acts are usually provided to show a pattern of worship, but if you will look back at the passages used to form this pattern, you will notice that they are formulated from jumping around (picking and choosing) from various letters.

2) It perpetuates the idea that we can only worship God properly during the assembly on Sunday and the other 6 days are excluded from worshiping Him.

This type of thinking causes division in the body. We use one hour a week to determine who is saved and who is lost. If you don’t worship like I do, then you are a heretic and we cannot have fellowship with one another. But if we will go back to the scriptures we will find that Jesus is far more interested in how we spend the other 167 hours in our week.

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells what we call The Three Kingdom Parables. One of those parables deals with Sheep and Goats. Have you ever noticed the criteria that Jesus uses to decide who get’s to receive Heaven and those who receive hell? The basis of judgment is the way that each person reacted to those in need. I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house. 36 I was without clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ … Then the King will answer, 'I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.’ (35-36, 40)

While I understand the desire to point to Acts 2 and 20 as our proof texts for our time and style of worship we have to make a lot of assumptions. 

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread (klásis literally the Lord’s Supper like in verse 46) and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Acts 2 tells us that the Early Church met every day to worship, and we are told that their worship consisted of the apostles teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer.

And we need to be careful, because Acts 20:7 says On the first day of the week, we all met together to break bread… we can make a few assumptions with this passage to fit our preferred style of worship, like they only met on the first day of the week.

Relevant Magazine, The Barna Group, and Lifeway Research do survey’s about every six months where they ask various people why they don’t go to church? While the answers change from time to time, over the last 10 years the top two answers that have been given are 1) Church is just too boring. 2) It doesn’t meet a need.   

Think for a moment about those people who are coming to worship for the first time. They don’t have a worship experience besides what they have seen on television. Does our worship look like something you would see on Television? So when they get here, they are already concerned and feel very out of place. And then our worship seems weird. So how do we handle that?

Embrace the fact that we use a low church method of worship.

High Church is patterned after the Catholic Church, with lots of ritual, emphasis on the sacraments and full priestly authority.

Low Church has traditions instead of rituals, no sacraments, and every member is a priest. 

Since we have traditions instead of rituals, we need to admit that there are several things we do because we like doing them that way. God allows us to have our preferences, to show our personalities, when we worship Him. But He must remain the focus of our worship.

In Psalm 150 the Psalmist tells the Jews to worship God with ram’s horn, lyre, harp, tambourine, strings, flutes, and cymbals

But In Psalm 137 we read that while they were in Captivity, they hung their harps in the trees and refused to play their instruments when they worshiped God. 

So which worship was God pleased with? IT seems that he was pleased with both.

Secondly, we need to search the Scriptures so that we can explain what we are doing and why we are doing it.

What should worship look like?

It is amazing that Jesus and the Apostles talk an awful lot about worship, but we are never given a pattern to follow. While I would appreciate an order of worship detailing how long and what we are supposed to do, what we received is quite different. Here are a few things that we know about worship:

God is the audience. We are the ones who gather to worship God, so it’s never about "getting my needs met." In a time of worship, the ministers are not the actors while you are the audience. God is the audience, and we are the ones offering worship.

The Psalmist says "Give to the Lord the glory due to His name." Psalms 29:2 We are in church to give. Not to get. and we are giving glory to God. Not to man.

Worship is the theme of the book of Revelation.  This is seen clearly in Revelation 5 

• "Who is worthy?" (5:2) 

• "You are worthy...for you were slain, and have redeemed us" (5:9). 

• "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (5:12).

We we turn the focus from God and put the focus on us, or what we want, we have ceased to worship. When we become the focus we have taken our eyes off of God.

We must always remember: Worship is a verb.  Worship is something we do, not something done for us.

Freedom in worship?

There are two schools of thought in the Churches of Christ. In the South silence means no, on the other side of the Mississippi River and in the north east silence means freedom.

Just because something is right does not mean it is right here.

What kind of freedom do we want to have at our congergation? What are we free to do? What are some elements that we want to incorporate into our combined worship of God.



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