|Volume 23 Number 1 January 2021
Ronald D. Reeves
The ideal congregation faithfully supports the various public services of the church. Even though multiple weekly services have not been mandated by the divine will, the availability of multiple services provides valuable opportunities to both worship and to be spiritually edified. Motivations to obey the biblical mandate of Hebrews 10:24-25 are abundant. By so doing, one (1) obeys the command to study (2 Timothy 2:15), (2) better possesses the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), (3) is better able to always give an answer for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15), (4) has opportunity to express thanks to and faith in our Father (Philippians 4:6; Hebrews 11:6), (5) is more diligent (2 Peter 1:5), (6) is better able to grow spiritually (2 Peter 3:18), (7) may deepen fellowship with brethren (1 Corinthians 12:14), (8) is edified (Ephesians 4:12), (9) may exorcize the love of the world (1 John 2:15-17) and (10) will be present in the habitat of the Lord (Matthew 18:20). Though biblically mandated, let us assemble regularly because of our responsive love unto the Lord (1 John 4:19), which compels us unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
The Correct Attitude
for Public Worship
When worshiping the Almighty Creator of the universe, we would do well to follow the examples of the saints in the Holy Bible. God has made it very clear in His Word that He requires specific acts of worship towards Him. These divinely ordained precepts must be adhered to, or we will be guilty of offering Him vain or profane worship that is unworthy of His station.
God is holy, and as such, He must be approached with the utmost reverence. Failure to do so is a serious matter, as we can see many times in Scripture. Nadab and Abihu were consumed with fire for their disobedience, and Cain was rejected for not doing what God commanded. Upon King Josiah’s discovery of the Law (2 Chronicles 32), he was so upset at the people’s failure of correct worship of God that he led the nation in repentance and did not rest until all was done according to God’s will! These examples should spur us to offer God our utmost in service to Him.
So, let us ask ourselves. “What is our attitude in our worship to our Heavenly Father?” “Are we failing Him on any level?” “How can we improve our worship to show God the honor He is due?” First, we are told in John 4:24 that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Elsewhere, we are also told how to worship Him. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).
How does our attitude affect reverence toward God? If we are flippant in our service to Him, it means that He is somehow less worthy of respect than mere men who may hold political or royal office. Does He not deserve more honor than them? In Psalm 95:6, we read of the standard God expects from us. “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.” We see in Scripture the telling action that kneeling proclaims. For example, consider when John knelt before the angel, who rejected the honor, and then, consider Thomas, who knelt before the Lord Jesus, who received the honor due Him. Do we understand that to kneel to God is an act of adoration and blessing? Therefore, when we adore Him, we kneel, at least figuratively. Of a truth, it is no small thing to worship God, and worship is nothing to be taken lightly.
Knowing this, how should we conduct ourselves during worship? Wise King Solomon wrote that the faithful should “keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil” (Ecclesiastes 5:1). Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:15, “Know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” We must remember during public worship that others are there to honor God, too. Others see how we act, and that informs them of our devotion to God and each other. By arriving early for worship, we show the priority that services have in our lives, and by bringing a reverent attitude, we show others the love we have for the Lord in our attendance. During worship, we must resolve to fix our minds totally on honoring God. Everyone has an active role in worship, such as hearing, singing, praying, partaking of the Lord’s Supper and encouraging others by our loyal attendance. Hebrews 10:25 and Psalm 100 tell us to come together in joyful union and to seek to praise Him with thanksgiving. Worshippers must demonstrate correct and reverent attitudes in every way. Remember that Christ’s presence is not limited to only large congregations. He said in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” [Though the specific application was to the small band of apostles, in principle, one can extrapolate its application to even small groups of disciples in any century. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Some have asked if God takes notice of our worship. If the worship is done according to His ordinances, then He most certainly does notice our worship approvingly! We read in Malachi 3:16-17, “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” [As already noted, God also notices and disdains faulty worship. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Let us think about biblical things and consider how we may show God and others how important He is to us. We show it in our attitude, our reverence, our love for one another and our respect for Him. Public worship is no casual act. It is a special occasion and should always be regarded as such. Let the world see our devotion in our manner and dress, in our practical care, and in our desire for others’ souls. Above all, let us be pleasers of God, holding His Word as the only authority in all our ways. Never let us share the fate of those who disrespected God by offering what they wanted, rather than what God required.