Christian Worship: Are You Aware of the Purposes and Parts?
by Robert Baines
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Christian worship is a reference to a Christian expressing admiration for and allegiance to God. It is a key element of Christian growth.
There seems to be so much "people focused" entertainment and performance, in what we call worship services. The following are insights about the purposes and parts of corporate expressions of admiration of God:
Purposes. There are three purposes in Christian worship. The first is to glorify God. That is, we strive to express to God that we have a sense of His greatness, and we are committed to living according to His will.
We do this by saying things that make biblical sense and then strive to live by what we say.
A second purpose of worship is to edify believers. What I say and do should help you be a stronger Christian, at least not offend you. And what you do and say should help me be a stronger Christian, at least not offend me.
I Corinthians 14 is a marvelous text on this subject. Attitudes are contagious. When we leave worship, we should feel as if we left a pep rally for Jesus.
A third purpose of worship is to evangelize non-believers. Non-believers may not understand all that is said and surely not agree with all that is said.
However, the energy of the worshipers should be contagious and the Gospel should prick the heart of non-believers who are sensitive to the call of God.
Notice that performing or showing off for one's own ego is not one of the purposes. Notice further that entertaining the pew is not a purpose. Those who make no effort to obey God's Word should feel more conviction than joy from Christian worship.
Parts. Every since the first century church, prayer, singing, preaching, giving, and interacting have been key components of Christian worship.
In prayer, we praise God for His greatness and thank Him for using His greatness for our benefit. We confess our sins. We ask God to bless others and bless us. Prayer is a believer initiated communication with God.
In singing, the lyrics may be directed towards God, which would make it a singing prayer. Sometimes the lyrics are focused on the listeners. The song may urge Christian living, hope, or the remembering of how God has kept His people.
As important as music is, the lyrics are more important. It is the lyrics that communicate the message. Sound without substance misses the aim of communicating admiration and allegiance to God.
That is why choir rehearsal should always include teaching both how to sing the song and the message of the song.
In preaching, the Word of God is explained and applied to the lives of those who listen. The aim of Christian preaching is to persuade the listeners, including the preacher, to obey the Word of God.No wonder, it is so important to pay attention and take notes.
In giving, we show that our hearts are really into what we are singing, praying, and preaching about. Matthew 6:21 teaches that where our treasurers are is also where our hearts are.
In other words, if you sing, pray, and preach but keep God's money (i.e., tithes and offerings) in your pocket, the genuineness of your worship is suspect.
In interacting with one another, we demonstrate that we are really striving to obey God's will. Jesus taught that the greatest evidence of really being in tuned with Him is to love one another (see Jn. 13:34-35).
Our worship is off, when we sing, pray, preach, and even give but do not demonstrate love towards one another and, worst, act ugly towards one another.
In summary, every believer should be aware of the three purposes and five parts of Christian worship. Such awareness keeps us from wasting our time with vain religious entertainment or boring routine.
Make sure you read the article on "Christian Worship: Are You Prepared, Participating, and Practicing"?
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