Just how important is our worship to God? Must we worship God, and does it really matter how we worship God as long as we are sincere? The Scriptures provide the answers for these questions (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Yes, we have an obligation to worship God. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25). "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Further, our worship must be from the heart as well as in truth, that is, according to his Word (John 17:17). God did not leave Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Abraham or David without worship instructions. Likewise, neither has God failed to provide worship instructions for the Lord's church.
Not all worship is acceptable to God. Cain's worship may have been sincere, but it was not by faith; his worship was not the result of hearing and doing God's will (Hebrews 11:4; Romans 10:17). Jesus rebuked the scribes and the Pharisees for their vain and useless worship.
"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8-9).
Worship today also becomes vain and useless when human worship practices are substituted for divine worship.
We live under the New Testament law of Christ. Therefore, we must observe the pattern of worship that is found in the New Testament. We, too, must faithfully observe "the apostles' doctrine." "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).
There are five acts of worship given in the New Testament for us to follow today. Divine worship today consists of preaching, singing, partaking of the Lord's Supper, giving of our means and praying. Let's look at each one for your consideration that we may be able to give God divine worship.
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14). In our worship to God, we are taught God's will as we all learn together. The apostle Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy,
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
The New Testament assigns the role of public preacher (and prayer) to Christian men (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:8, 11-14; 1 Peter 4:11).
The New Testament authorizes singing in worship. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). ". . . I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (1 Corinthians 14:15). "Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee" (Hebrews 2:12). "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" (Colossians 3:16).
Though popular today, God has not authorized instrumental music in worship. The New Testament teaches singing in worship and is silent about instruments.
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:26-29).
"And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:19-20).
When: "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight" (Acts 20:7). Additional information about the Lord's Supper occurs in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.
How Much and When:
"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
"Every man according as he purposeth in his hart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). ". . . It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
"Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).
Not only should we pray in our worship, but also we should pray daily. Many bible verses address prayer; please take time to turn and read these: Ephesians 5:20; Hebrews 13:15; 1 Timothy 2:1.
It is our prayer that you will take the worship of the divine church very seriously. Worship must be in spirit and in truth. Please come and worship with the churches of Christ. ". . . the churches of Christ salute you" (Romans 16:16).