Why Do We Worship?
We are made for worship but not just worship in general. We are made specifically to worship the Triune God as He is proclaimed in the Scriptures. The Scriptures show us how this Triune God saves His people by grace alone so that we might worship Him. Out of infinite love and free grace, the Father chose a multitude of people in the Son (Eph. 1:4) to be saved so that they might worship. The Father sent the Son to save that multitude of people (Jn. 17). The Son lovingly came down to purchase the salvation of all God's people (Jn. 19:30; Gal. 3:13-15; 1 Pet. 1:19). The Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to apply that salvation to all God's people (Jn. 14:25-31; Rom. 8:9-15). All of this is so that by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone we might worship God to His glory alone according to the Scriptures alone.
In his book Reformed Worship, Jonty Rhodes says, "The Son of God took on flesh, became man, and dwelled among us so that we might worship. The Son of God walked in perfect obedience to his Father, fulfilled all righteousness and resisting the assaults of Satan, in order that we might worship...The Son of God was torn apart, soul from body, buried in the ground before rising again, so that we might worship."
Worship of the Triune God is what we are made for and given the privilege to partake in.
What Is Worship?
In itself, the word "worship" means to show reverence to something or someone. Worship of the Triune God is ascribing worth, honor, and glory that is rightly due to Him alone. Worship of God is not like a microscope where we make small things appear bigger than what they really are. Worship is like a telescope where we see how big things actually are. Worship of God is treating God as what and who He really is--God!
People often speak about worship in two ways. The first is one of a worshipful posture. They mean this when they say things like, "We worship God in all of life." This is true! But, there is also another sense in which we must use the word worship. This is more particularly the time of gathered corporate worship. This is when we put aside everything else to worship God in the ways He regulates in His Word. Corporate Worship is central to our lives. It is not the only thing we do but it is the most important thing we do. It is because of corporate worship that we can then go forth into our vocations to have a worshipful posture in all of life.
This is why Jonathan Landry Cruse says, "Worship is the most important thing you will ever do. Period. We can never consider worship too often; we can never study this topic too much. The most important thing you will do every week, no matter what your week looks like, will be to come to worship on Sunday."
How Do We Worship In Corporate Worship?
If worship is the most important part of our week then it must matter how we worship God in corporate worship. Something so important would certainly not be left up to our imagination or freedom. The way we worship shapes us just as much as the content of the worship. This is why we believe in what's called the "regulative principle".
The regulative principle means that we worship God according to the ways He has recorded in Scripture (Ex. 20:3-11). We don't add to it nor do we take away from it (Lev. 10). Rhodes says, "Elders are not free to make God's people worship in ways other than the ones he has laid out in the Bible. Even if those things are not sinful in and of themselves, if they're not part of God's plan for corporate worship, we have no right to bind the consciences of people in the church by asking them to do things God hasn't required."
This regulative principle can be applied in any age, to any ethnicity and language, for any church. While the circumstances of worship change (instruments, seating arrangement, bulletin style, location, etc.), the elements of worship do not change because God does not change (Mal. 3:6). What are these elements? The call to worship (Ps. 118:24) reading the Bible (1 Tim. 4:13), preaching the Bible (2 Tim. 4:2), praying the Bible (1 Tim. 2:1), confessing our sin and hearing the assurance of pardon (1 John 1:8-2:2), giving of tithes and offering (1 Cor. 16:2), singing God's Word (Col. 3:16), confessing our faith (1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:13), baptism (Mt. 28:18-20), the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:42), and the benediction (Num. 6:22-27).
What Are Some Consistent Themes Of Our Worship Services?
First, we proclaim the gospel of grace. 1 Corinthians 2:2 says, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." This is always our main message. Jon Payne says, "The gospel is the heralding of Christ's good works, not ours. We are never the gospel. Our good works are never the gospel. Christ is the gospel, and with the apostles we bear witness to him. To be sure, there are many implications of the Gospel for the church and the world. Nevertheless, we must never confuse the fruit of the gospel with the Gospel itself."
Second, the Word of God saturates everything we do. We preach the Word, pray the Word, read the Word, confess the Word, and see the Word. Each element of our service is centered around God's Word.
Third, we believe corporate worship is precisely that--corporate. This is not a time of just "me and Jesus". This is less about "me" and more about "we". The Father through the Son by the Spirit has come to meet with us through the means of grace (Word, Sacraments, and Prayer). You will notice at one of our services that there will be corporate confessions of sin and confessions of faith. There will be corporate singing. Our relationship with God is always personal but never private.
Fourth, we worship with confessional integrity. Payne says, "Yes, the Bible alone is our divine rule of faith and practice. However, what we, as ordained PCA leaders, avow to believe (and teach) about the Bible is found in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms...Confessional integrity [is] an honest and sincere commitment to uphold, defend, and teach the system of doctrine as set forth in the Westminster Standards."
Fifth, our worship services are evangelistic. 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, "Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Worship is discipleship and evangelism. This means that we invite unbelievers. We love when unbelievers, regardless of their sins, come to gather with us to hear more about the gospel of grace. We show hospitality, enter in conversations, and seek to follow up. We believe that the good news of Jesus Christ means that anyone regardless of any sin can come to Jesus and be saved by grace alone through faith alone and progressively grow in their walk with Him.
Sixth, this is not last because it is low on our priority. Rather, it is last in light of the common saying: "Last words are lasting words." Ultimately, we strive by God's grace to make our worship first and foremost about our Triune God. It is first about Him before it benefits us. Our biggest desire to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. This is not only what every Christian needs but what every non-Christian needs.
Does It Matter What I Wear?
No! As long as it is appropriate it does not matter what you wear. Each Sunday you will see people in suits, t-shirts, hoodies, dresses, jeans, scrubs, etc. We would rather you gather with us for worship than refrain from coming due to not feeling adequately dressed.
How Often Do Y'all Celebrate The Lord's Supper?
Currently, we celebrate the Lord's Supper on the first and third Sundays of the month.
Who Can Take The Lord's Supper At Y'all's Church?
Any believer in the Triune God who expresses a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ, has been baptized with water in the name of the Trinity by a minister of the gospel, and is seeking to live a life of faith and repentance. If you have any questions or want more details then please come talk with an elder.
If you are a member of our church and think your covenant child is ready to begin Communicants' Class then we would love to talk more with you!
How Often Do Y'all Baptize?
Whenever it is needed! Come talk to one of the elders to learn more about our process for membership, children's baptism, and adult baptism.
When & Where Do Y'all Worship?
We gather at 1220 S Blakely St. every Sunday at 9:15am for Sunday School, 10:30am for Corporate Worship, and 6:00pm for our Sunday Evening Large Group Teaching.
Recommended Resources To Learn More About Worship:
- Reformed Worship by Jonty Rhodes
- Devoted to God's Church by Sinclair B. Ferguson
- What Happens When We Worship by Jonathan Landry Cruse
- On Reforming Worship David W. Hall & Jonathan L. Master
- Let Us Worship God by Derek W.H. Thomas