Why We Do What We Do When We Meet to Worship

By | September 12, 2021

Some churches host elaborate programs to entertain an audience. (Or some churches try this but do it very poorly.) Other churches have a liturgy so formal that only its ministers understand what is going on. Yet other churches may sing hymns, read Scripture, and do biblical things, but only for the sake of connecting with a tradition and not from a love for the gospel. At our church, we seek to obey the Scriptures in simplicity when we meet together, and I hope and pray it is because we truly want to worship the Almighty God who has saved us through His Son.

A handful of passages indicate what we do when we meet together. In short, we do what the Scripture tells us for the sake of building up the church (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:5b, 12, 26b, 40). Unbelievers are certainly welcome to attend our services, and we hope that God uses His truth and our love to draw them to saving faith in Christ (cf. John 13:34–35; 1 Corinthians 14:22–25).

First, Hebrews 10:24–25 commands us to encourage one another when we meet the together. We do not abstain from meeting together but physically meet together in order to stir one another to love and good works. Our time with one another in the aisle and lobby is important.

Second, 1 Timothy 4:13 commands Timothy in his capacity as a pastor to lead the church in reading Scripture, exhortation, and teaching. So, our pastors offer a pastoral prayer, read the text from which to preach, and use this text for teaching and exhortation. Men in general may participate and help in leading the assembly (cf. 1 Timothy 2:8, 12), so we extend our Scripture readings and prayers to the men.

Third, Colossians 3:16 commands us to teach and admonish one another in song. We obviously sing first and foremost to the Lord, but we do so as a congregation. Music is not meant to entertain but to worship God and build us up in the faith.

Fourth, Acts 4:35, 37 and 5:2 each mention public contributions to the church’s financial needs (i.e., laying funds at the feet of the apostles as they stood before the congregation). This public practice of collecting funds was apparently for all the churches on the first day of the week (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1–2). We give from the heart and according to our means as an act of worship to God (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:3; 9:7).

Fifth, we observe the two ordinances. We baptize those who come to the faith and observe the Lord’s Supper together. Jesus commands us to make disciples, baptizing them as they are made (Matthew 28:19), and the apostles instructed us to remember our Lord’s death by observing what we call the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:17–34; cf. Matthew 26:26–30a).

More could be said, but these texts at least give an introduction and overview to what we do as a church.