Worship Ought to be Reverential
Worship in our church must reflect utmost reverence for the most High and Holy God (Leviticus 19:30). In times of worship, we come before the Almighty God who commands us to gather to worship Him. It is not merely a mutual meeting of God’s children; worship is conducted in acknowledgment of the presence of God to whom we gather (Psalms 27:4; 48:9b; 63:2; 77:13; 135:21). From beginning to end, the public worship of God must be characterised by total reverence for His greatness, holiness and glory, and by humility before God that yields repentance, faith, submission and service unto His glory and truth.
Worship Ought to be Biblical
God instituted His worship by His people, so it ought to be conducted according to His revealed will. Public worship on the Lord’s Day must reflect the biblical truths about worship, as made known in God’s Word. Everything about the worship service must be God-centred and theologically sound for it to please and honour God. As a result of the Corinthian church’s irreverential and inappropriate partaking of worship and the Lord’s Table, Paul pointed out that “many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:30). Concerning worship, he sternly admonished: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Only scripturally warranted activities can be permitted in the worship (Deuteronomy 12:30-32; John 4:23-24), which must be in accordance to truth as revealed in God’s Word. Nothing unscriptural should be introduced in the church worship service; it should only consist of divinely sanctioned elements of worship. It must also be ensured that all the scriptural elements and orderliness affirmed in the Scriptures are not neglected. Only then can we be sure that we are led by the Spirit to worship God.
Biblical Guidelines for Orderly Worship
Paul has laid down much-needed principles for orderly worship services. Sadly, the Corinthian church had been conducting their worship services as they felt best – a kind of free, spontaneous worship service, where any individual could sing a hymn, prophesy or speak in tongues. However, Paul sharply rebuked such a disorderly, chaotic conduct of worship, and instructed the church with some guidelines. Paul insisted on orderliness and purpose in the church’s public gatherings, as attested to in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.
1. Worship must not consist of free-for-all, spontaneous activities: The Corinthian church had not maintained order when they gathered for worship. Apparently, everyone did as he liked – hence, Paul asked, “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying” (v. 26). Our conduct should not distract other worshippers from truly worshipping the Lord in spirit and truth.
2. Worship services must be edifying: Everything done during the public worship must be intended to bring about the building up of the church. Promoting spiritual growth and maturity of the church must be the chief concern of all in the worship services. Nothing should be done with personal promotion or prominence in view, but with others’ edification. “Let all things be done unto edifying”!
3. Worship services should not be haphazardly put together: Even if there are several people who are equipped with the same spiritual gifts in a local church, Paul did not permit all of them to exercise their gifts. Paul urged that each service element should not be haphazardly thrown together with no order, but with meticulous deliberateness so that there will be no confusion (vv. 29-33). We are reminded that “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” Disorganised services can distract the worshippers from fully focusing on God. Those who plan the worship services must be deliberate in what they include and how they order them.
4. Worship services should be led by those who are in the church leadership: Women in the church are advised to submit to men of leadership and not to speak in public worship (vv. 34-38). Paul’s principle of prohibiting women from questioning their leadership applies to all the leadership realms of the church, especially as it relates to the worship service. Neither men nor women in the worship should challenge or disrupt the church leaders who lead the worship service. Public worship services and other activities of the church must be planned and led by church leaders, and all the worshippers and members should respect and submit to their authority regarding the worship service.
5. Worship services should be Word-focused: In vv. 36-38, Paul emphasised on the declaration of God’s revelation. Today the divine revelation received through prophecy is complete and is given to us in the Bible. So, the declaration and practice of the Word in the church worship service are paramount to God-honouring worship service.
Photo News from the Philippines
(Rev Reggor recently visited our mission stations in Bohol and Anda to encourage and minister to the brethren there. He has provided some photo updates for us here.)
Home Visitation and Bible Study in Anda
Children in the Bohol Mission Church
Cebu Youths in fellowship with Pastor Reggor