|Volume 23 Number 8 August 2021
Martha Lynn Rushmore
My question is, in the five items of worship that are taught in the New Testament, which is the most important? These acts of worship are commanded to be done during the worship service on Sunday, the first day of the week. We are to sing, pray, preach or teach, observe communion and give of our means or money. Singing, praying, teaching or preaching and giving can also be done at other times as well; one can read of these acts of worship occurring on days in addition to the first day of the week. However, the Lord’s Supper is authorized in the New Testament for observance on the first day of the week.
Let me explain why I say giving can be done other times, too. If a person needs help on Monday, do you tell him or her to wait until Sunday because that is the only day of the week I am allowed to give? Of course not! This is silly. When Christ taught in Matthew 25:32-46 about dividing the sheep from the goats, He used the example of the needy that those on the right hand or the sheep helped. Nothing in this parable says anything about the first day of the week. We are commanded to give on Sunday by collection in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, but that is not the only day we can give to the Lord. We are told to give cheerfully as we have been prospered in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. [Giving that occurred in Acts 4:32-5:10 does not appear to have occurred during worship on the first day of the week. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Colossians 3:16 instructs us to teach and to admonish one another by singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We are also to have thankfulness in our hearts to God. We are told to speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in Ephesians 5:19. There is nothing in any verse in the New Testament that says anything about singing beautifully, but we are told to sing and to teach others.
The Scripture does not anywhere teach or authorize playing an instrument in Christian worship. We are told to “sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). If we were instructed to play an instrument, then all would have to play, not just one or a few playing instruments. This verse says all are to sing.
Another item of worship is prayer. We are to pray through Jesus to God the Father. Jesus is our Mediator between us and our Heavenly Father (1 Timothy 2:5). Our prayers are to be fervent or sincere to God (James 5:16). Note Philippians 4:6-7, which reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
God commanded preaching. On one occasion, Paul preached until midnight, ready to depart on the morrow (Acts 20:7). In 2 Timothy 4:1-4, Paul told Timothy to preach the Word. He was to preach the truth even if the people did not like what the Scriptures said. He was not to tickle the ears of those who listened. Preachers, today, are also commanded to preach the whole Truth, even if others do not agree with what the Word of God says.
Acts 20:7 says Paul stayed with brethren about a week so they could commune together in Christian worship. What do we eat and drink during the communion? The apostle Paul cited 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 about when Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper with His apostles prior to His crucifixion. He prayed and broke unleavened bread. Then, He told those present, “This is my body which is broken for you.” Secondly, in the same manner, they were given the fruit of the vine, of which Christ told them, “This is the cup of the new covenant in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death til He comes.” We are also to examine ourselves and to take the bread and the cup worthily. Worthily (an adverb, referring to the manner) does not mean worthy (an adjective, referring to the quality of something). They are two different words.
Sing, pray, preach or teach, commune and give are all commanded in the New Testament for our worship to God. Do we read anywhere that one activity of worship to God is more important than another? Each item of worship is just as important as another. We are told in John 4:24 that God is a spirit, and we must worship in spirit and in truth.
[Editor’s Note: Doubtlessly, Catholic influence has indirectly led some members of the Lord’s church to presume that the Lord’s Supper is more important than other acts of worship, but the Scriptures do not teach such. Perhaps other Christians revere the vicarious, sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to the extent that they elevate Communion in their own minds. All acts of Christian worship, though, ought to be embraced fully, worshipping in spirit (emotional devotion) and truth (according to the Scriptures). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
All of This Is Mine
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines “mine” as “a form of the possessive case of I as a predicate adjective; that or those belonging to me.” We have no problem understanding the meaning of “mine” when something or someone belongs to us. Somehow, that is totally lost in our understanding when God Almighty declares to all of us what is His possession.
Jehovah God began declaring early in His interaction with His people that they – everybody and everything – belong to Him. That is still an irrevocable divine truth. However, humanity with breakneck speed and determination is doing everything in its power to live and to act as though all belongs to it. How tragic! This mindset is totally unsustainable and doomed to failure.
The passages used for the purpose of this article do not begin to touch the hem of the garment in terms of the number there are in which God essentially says, “It is Mine.” The ones cited are but a few in which God has spoken directly or through one of His prophets. Note the following.
Exodus 9:29 – “So Moses said to him, ‘As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s.’” Moses spoke to Pharaoh in further answering his question about the identity of God.
Exodus 13:1-2 – “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying ‘Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.’” God consecrated the firstborn to Himself.
Exodus 19:5 – “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine.” God was speaking to the children of Israel after He freed them from Egyptian bondage.
Leviticus 25:23 – “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine, for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.” God was speaking to the children of Israel about property rights.
Numbers 3:11-13 – “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore, the Levites shall be Mine, because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the LORD.’” God was speaking to Moses regarding the Levites serving in the tabernacle.
Deuteronomy 10:14 – “Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.” Moses declared God’s sovereignty over heaven and earth.
Job 41:9-11 – “Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? No one is so fierce that he would stir him up. Who then is able to stand against Me? Who has preceded Me, that I should pay Him? Everything under heaven is Mine.” God spoke to Job about His creation of leviathan, a large sea creature, the exact identity of which is unknown.
Psalm 24:1 – “The earth is the LORD’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” David, the sweet psalmist of Israel forthrightly gave exalted honor, distinction and recognition to God as the Creator and Sustainer of all.
Psalm 50:10-12 – “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you for the world is Mine, and all its fullness.” God declared His rightful ownership.
Isaiah 43:1 – “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” God proclaimed Himself to be the Redeemer of Israel.
Isaiah 45:12 – “I have made the earth, and created man on it. I – My hands – stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts I have commanded.” God stated His sovereignty over all creation.
God made His most concise and boldest declarations of Who He is and what He possesses in Job 38-41. God peppered Job with some 60+ questions according to some writers, and Job could not answer even one question! It would serve every living being well to read those four chapters to get an external understanding of Who God is and how He deals with us!
Job 42:1-2 reads, “Then Job answered the LORD and said: ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.’” Job repented in dust and ashes. God told Job’s three friends exactly where they stood in His sight – in need of forgiveness. Job 42:7 reads, “And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” God continued by telling Eliphaz exactly what they had to do to appease His wrath, which was to offer up a burnt offering and Job would pray for them. In Job 42:8b God bluntly said, “For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” Verse 9 reads, “[They] went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job.” Oh, if all of humanity had the humility exhibited by these three men to accept that all of this and that all of us belong to Jehovah God! Our part in all of this is to trust and obey. God reigns!