Our final study in the series on the Lord’s church will focus on the pattern that God has given us for worship. In His Word, God has very clearly expressed what He expects from His disciples. God is the One who commands worship. He is the One we are honoring in worship. And so naturally, He is the One (and only One) who gets to determine what is involved in worship. Those who claim to follow Him will honor Him by worshiping in the way that pleases Him. Let’s mark our Bibles! This is what the front of your Bible should look like now:
The Lord’s Church
It’s Establishment- Dan. 2:44
It’s Illustrations- Rom. 12:4,5
It’s Organizations- Matt. 28:18
It’s Pattern for Worship- John 4:23,24
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
Underline “those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” “Spirit” is our attitude and “truth” is authority. At the end of the verse, write Phil. 3:3.
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh…
For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry…
God is interested in more than just sincerity and proper attitude. He expects all things under the new covenant to be done “according to the pattern.” Underline the phrases “divinely instructed” and “according to the pattern.” Draw a line from those phrases down to verse six, to show that there is also a pattern under the new covenant. At the end of the verse, write Acts 20:7.
Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
First, we observe the pattern for when the disciples gathered for worship. Underline “the first day of the week.” At the end of the verse, write 1 Cor. 16:1, 2.
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week, let each of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
From this verse, we see a pattern for the day they met, and that their worship included giving. This command was for all churches. Circle the word “churches” (to show that the command wasn’t just for one congregation) and underline “so you must do also.” In the margin, write “giving is part of worship.” At the end of the verse, write Acts 2:42.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Here we get insight into what the disciples did when they assembled together. Their services included teaching/ preaching, the Lord’s Supper (see also 1 Cor. 11:23b-24), and prayer. Underline the phrases “apostles’ doctrine,” “breaking of bread,” and “prayers.” At the end of the verse, write Col. 3:16, 17.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through HIm.
Notice the pattern Paul presents. Singing in the assembly (“one another”) had spiritual purpose (teaching and admonishing) and was done acapella (vocally; see also Eph. 5:19). It is interesting that this command is connected to the idea of all being done by Jesus’ authority. Circle the words “teaching,” “admonishing,” and “singing.” Underline “in your hearts” and “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” At the end of the verse, write Acts 17:23.
For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you…
Here we see the consequences of patternless worship. But, we can learn God’s will for worship. Underline “proclaim” to show that we do indeed have a pattern for acceptable worship, and “without knowing” to show that it’s possible to be ignorant of that pattern.
How can you know if you are worshiping with the Lord’s church? The New Testament clearly reveals the who, what, why, and how of worship. It is our pattern and authority for all that is to be done in worship. God’s Word must be the standard. To make sure you are worshiping with the Lord’s church, check to see if all that is done in worship is what God requires, not what man desires. Make sure there is New Testament authority for all that is done when you meet together.