Worship According to Jesus
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their hearts are from from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:8-9
Dear church family,
One fruit of our spiritual genealogy is devotion to Scripture as the only rule for what we believe and practice. King Jesus shapes his Church in what she believes, how she is governed, and how she worships. The Wonderful Counselor exercises this rule by his Word. A divine warrant is required for our doctrine, church structure, and corporate praise. Over everything we do as a church, the question ought to be: what does the Bible say? What would our Lord have us do, and how would he have us do it?
As Christians, we love to worship because we love Jesus. Our praise of Christ is regulated by his Word. Christian worship is to be according to divine rule: “God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). This key principle of Biblical Christianity is taught from Genesis to Revelation. Consider these Biblical testimonies: “Remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them: and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes.” (Numbers 15:39) “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” (Exodus 25:40) “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32) “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their hearts are from from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9) These citations barely scratch the surface.
Our doctrinal standards give such rich expositions of the Scripture on so many themes. Worship is no exception to this copious instruction. Hear their concise explanation of what God requires in the 2nd commandment: “The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath established in his word.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism 50) What would they say are pillars of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day? The reading, preaching, praying, and singing of the Bible, the right administration of the sacraments, collection of tithes and offerings, and special occasions such as oaths, vows, fasts, and thanksgivings. What would they say is forbidden by the 2nd commandment? “The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.” (Shorter Catechism 51) How refreshingly simple! We have everything we need in the Bible! The sword of the Church is sheathed in the Word!
God alone is Lord of the conscience. We enjoy freedom from the restraints of human innovation and man-made traditions. Worship is to include only those elements which God has commanded. We proceed along paths he has marked. We are forbidden the indulgence of beating our own trails. As the Lord’s people, why would we bend our ear to any other master?
This is among the most precious of Scriptural doctrines. What do we want to be as a distinct branch of Zion? May it be our ambition as a congregation to warmly yield to the One who spoke as no man ever spoke.
Yours in Christ,
Posted on Thursday // October 2, 2014 // 9:30 PM
by Chris Thomas