Sunday School @ 9am • Sunday Service @ 10am
The case has been made that God, not us, gets to regulate His worship; after all, He is the One being worshiped (see previous posts). John Knox, the Scottish reformer, understood this: “All worshiping, honoring, or service invented by the brain of man in the religion of God, without His own express commandment, is idolatry” (Works, Vol. III). John Calvin called our brain an “idol factory” (Institutes, I.xi.8). If these two John’s got it right; lots of little evangelical brains have been forging away on Sunday morning for some time now.
So if God gets to regulate His worship, how has He done so? “And I want chapter and verse,” I hear someone scream. Here are six basic elements difficult to disagree with: Preaching of God’s Word (Acts 2:2:42, 20:7-12, 1 Corinthians 14:26, and 2 Timothy 4:2); Reading of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 14:37, Colossians 4:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 1 Timothy 4:13, and 2 Peter 3:15); Prayer (Acts 2:42, Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, and 1 Timothy 2:1); Singing (Exodus 15:1, Psalm 7:17, 96:1, Ephesians 5:19, and Colossians 3:16); Administering the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19, Luke 22:14-20, Acts 2:42, and 1 Corinthians 11:17-34); and Giving Tithes and Offerings (1 Corinthians 9:3-12, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, and 2 Corinthians 8-9).
A case can easily be made for a seventh and eighth element, too; a Call to Worship and a Benediction (Numbers 6:22-26, Romans 1:7, 15:33, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 16:23-24, and 2 Corinthians 13:14).
I know it would be nice if we had a bulletin left over from the First Church of Corinth, but we don’t. But, when we start snooping around the Scriptures, we can start piecing their worship service together. And when we start typing what we find into our bulletin; we are well on our way to a very nice Order of Worship—one that has biblical warrant, too.
There is more to say about these worship elements and how they work together. We will do that next time in our continuing series, “Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering”.Pastor Rich Hamlin November 18, 2010