A Christian enjoys a special relationship with God. Having been added to the body of Christ at baptism, each member becomes part of a large family--the church. Everyone who has obeyed the gospel is part of that spiritual family, for whom Christ died.
As individuals, each of us can worship God when we are alone, all by ourselves. We can also worship Him together as a family at home. We are free to sing praises and offer up prayers to Him any time of the day, any day of the week. But God has set aside the first day of the week (Sunday) as the time for the church to meet. In fact, it was the first day of the week when 3,000 souls were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38-41) and were added to the church (Acts 2:47). From that day nearly two thousand years ago until now Christians have met upon the first day of the week to remember Jesus' death on the cross for our sins, to study God's word, to pray, to give part of their money or goods back to God, and to sing. We will discuss each of these after a look at the nature of true worship. Consider carefully each of the Scriptures quoted below.
The Nature of True Worship
The first three Bible passages quoted on the preceding page are all very similar to each other. All three use the word truth. Worship, if it is to be correct, must be according to truth. We must do those things (and only those things) that God has commanded. The fourth verse cited also makes this point. Whatever we do in deed (including worship) and whatever we do in word (teach) must be in the name of Jesus, which means by His authority. If God does not authorize the worship we give Him, then it is not true worship.
Genuine worship must also be "with all your heart" or "in sincerity" or "in spirit." Worship that is without love cannot be offered to Almighty God. He would be insulted just as He was by those of old who offered Him their worship but said, "Oh, what a weariness" (Mal. 1:13).
The Lord's Supper
When the church was established in the first century, the disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7; 2:42). That phrase refers to the Lord's Supper, a memorial to what Jesus did for us on the cross. Paul reminds the Corinthians of its purpose.
The unleavened bread Christians use in this remembrance represents the body of our Savior who was crucified for our sins. The fruit of the vine represents the blood that was shed for us. Each week we gather together to remember and honor Jesus for sacrificing Himself so that we could be forgiven of our sins.
God loves "a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7), and one of our privileges as Christians is to give back to God some of what He has blessed us with. Paul commanded brethren to give on the first day of the week as they had been prospered (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
Continuing in the Apostles' Doctrine
When the three thousand were baptized on the day of Pentecost, they knew their sins were forgiven, but they needed to learn the teachings of the new kingdom. Therefore, the apostles taught them the things that had been revealed to them by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:42). Whether they spoke or wrote through inspiration, their words were Truth, the Word of God (1 Thess. 2:13). Like the Bereans, we should search the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11) to make sure that we are being taught the Truth. We also need to study God's Word so that we may grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2).
Paul says that we are to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). Each Christian should approach the Father through Jesus every day (as well as in the assembly on the first day of the week); God must continually be in our thoughts and in our hearts. We thank Him for His greatness and His gracious salvation. We may also make requests of God, but they should not be for purely selfish things (James 4:3).
Christians also have the responsibility to speak to one another "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody" in our hearts to the Lord (Eph. 5:19). We are also to teach and admonish one another with songs (Col. 3:16). The New Testament authorizes us to sing to God and one another; it never tells us to use instruments of music to accompany that singing. Remember, we are to do only that which Jesus authorizes (Col. 3:17). Neither He nor His disciples ever sang spiritual songs with musical accompaniment.
A man named Jeroboam changed the way God said to worship (1 Kings 12:25-33). This decision caused him and the people to sin "a great sin" (2 Kings 17:21). No one has the right to add to what God has commanded for worship; no one has the right to take anything away, either. We must be content to worship as God has commanded us.
QUESTIONS FOR LESSON #7: WORSHIP
FILL IN THE BLANKS WITH THE PROPER ANSWER
1. The ________ day of the _______ (Sunday) is the time Christians are to meet to offer up their ______________ to God.
2. The bread represents Jesus' _______, which was broken on the cross; the cup (containing the fruit of the vine) represents His __________.
3. Paul commanded Christians to give on the ________ day of the week as we have been _______________.
4. The apostles spoke through the _________________ of the Holy Spirit.
5. We should __________ the Scriptures ________ to make sure that we are being taught the ____________.
6. Christians are taught to pray without _______________; our requests should not be for purely ______________ things.
7. Christians should speak to each other in ____________ and ________ and ________________ songs.
8. A king named _______________ changed the way God said to worship. In doing so the nation committed a ___________ sin. No one has the right to ______ to or take _______ from God's rules for worship.
MARK THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS TRUE OR FALSE
2. Truth is not an important part of worship; sincerity is all that is needed. ______
3. To "break bread" may refer to the Lord's Supper. ______
4. Christians should observe the Lord's Supper once a month. ______
5. God does not expect His children to enjoy giving. ______
6. Studying the word of God will cause us to grow spiritually. ______
7. God does not want to hear our requests. ______
8. The New Testament never authorizes us to use musical instruments to accompany our singing. ______
9. Christians do not need authority for what they teach or practice. ______
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