Exodus 12:26 . . . What mean ye by this service?
God prepared the children of Israel to answer this question. He has prepared us also to answer questions about the worship services of the Lord's church.
I. One of the most striking things about the Church of Christ to an outsider is the worship service.
A. It usually but not always, occurs at a building bearing the name "Church of Christ" or "the Church of Christ meets here."
1. Some have complained that no religious body is good enough to wear that name. They complain that we are presumptuous in taking it.
2. Well, it's not that we are trying to be arrogant or "horsey" about it. It's just that if we are going to let the Bible be our guide, we have no other choice.
a. Acts 4: 12--"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby which we must be saved."
b. Ephesians 4: 4-6--"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all."
c. Some say, "We are Christians, but our assembly has another name besides the Church of Christ." What are the permissible names for the Church?
"the church"-Eph. 5: 25 "Churches of God"--I Cor. 11: 16
"body of Christ"--Eph. 5: 29 "the Way"--Acts 24:22; 9: 2
"bride of Christ"--Rev. 21: 9 "church of Christ"--Romans 16:16
Believers are Christians--Acts 11: 26
d. These are the permissible names to call ourselves. Would you say, "I'm Mr. Smith's wife, but call me Mrs. Jones?"
II. The music of the Lord's church.
A. Christians are accustomed to singing in the Lord's church. Visitors frequently marvel at the quality of singing they hear. Part of the reason is that the singing is not covered up by instruments. And, lacking the support of instruments, we try harder to sing since that is all there is. The result is a cappella (with voices) singing that is very good.
B. The Bible commands us to sing. Colossians 3: 16; Ephesians 5: 18-20.
C. The Bible makes no mention of playing an instrument as part of worship.
1. Nadab and Abihu offerred strange fire to God in a worship service--we read their obituary in Leviticus 10: 1-2.
2. God favored Abel because the giving (worship) was more in line with his expectations than was Cain's.
D. We see instruments as additions to God's plan for worship.
1. It wasn't done in the early church. Secular history tells us that.
2. God will add the plagues of the Revelation to those who add to the Bible--see Revelation 22: 18, 19.
III. The prayers of the Church
A. Public prayer has already been mentioned in the readings from Ephesians and Colossians. We are to be thankful.
B. We are told to "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
C. What are some guidelines for public prayer?
1. Communication with God is the goal--not attention from men. Matthew 6: 5-15
2. Most of our requests should be about spiritual matters, as they were in Christ's prayer. Matthew 6: 9-13. We are reminded to "seek ye first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."
3. We should pray in faith. Matthew 7: 7-12.
4. We should pray in Jesus' name. "If you ask anything of the Father, He will give it to you in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full." John 16: 23-24.
IV. The giving of the church.
A. Congregational giving is done on Sunday, the first day of the week. I Corinthians 16: 1-2.
B. Giving is to be done liberally and cheerfully. II Cor. 9: 6-8.
C. Giving is not to be done for show. Matthew 6: 1-4.
D. Other giving may be done as individuals see the need and have opportunity during the week. "Acts of kindness."
V. The Lord's supper.
A. The Lord's supper is done on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). It is not repeated in meetings that happen at other times during the week.
B. The instructions for doing the Lord's supper are summarized in I Corinthians 11: 17-34.
C. This is the only ceremony or date that we are commanded to observe. Easter--Christmas--All Saints' Day are all inventions of men. We have no authority to observe them as religious holidays. Weddings and funerals are civil ceremonies, not religious observances.
1. Because weddings and funerals are not religious services, we could use instruments as part of them. We usually don't because of the confusion in teaching about this that could result.
2. "All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient."
All things are lawful; but not all things edify." I Cor. 10: 23 ASV.
VI. Preaching and teaching.
A. This is the means by which new souls are converted and older ones are edified.
B. It is the means of showing the gospel to people.
1. Romans 1: 16-17
2. II Timothy 3: 16-17
C. Preaching and teaching fulfill the Great Commission of Christ Matthew 28: 18-20
D. Preaching and teaching may be done anytime--not just limited to Sundays.
VII. Other comments about the worship service
A. Women do not preside over men in worship. I Cor. 14: 33-36.
B. Things are to be done in a serious and sober manner. I Corinthians 14: 26-33a, 37-40.
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