CHURCH OF CHRIST BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

LESSON 13

WORSHIP OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

    
The history of man reveals the fact that he is sure to worship the object of his devotion, even if it be an idol. The Old Testament is a commentary on false and misdirected worship. Because men were wont to worship the work of their own hands or the works of nature, Moses directed the children of Israel in the book of Exodus 20:3 that "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;..." It is imperative, therefore, that a man be devoted to God. Jesus said, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:10). The conception of the world as to the way God may be worshiped is a misconception of the truth. In action, men are saying, "God may be worshiped acceptably in various ways." But our ways are not the ways of God. Jesus taught us the true way in which to worship God acceptably. "God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)

I. THE FIVE KINDS OF WORSHIP MENTIONED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

     A. VAIN WORSHIP.
Jesus declared in Matt. 15:7-9,"{Ye}hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, (8) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honors me with{their} lips; but their heart is far from me. (9) But in vain they do worship me, teaching {for} doctrines the commandments of men."
1. Were the Pharisees and scribes worshiping God?
2. Did the fact that they worshiped God mean that their worship was acceptable?
Fill in the following things that make worship vain:
         (1) People draw nigh with their .
         (2) Honor the Lord with their.
         (3) Their is far from .
         (4) They teach for doctrines the of men.

The Pharisees worshiped God, but their worship was in vain. This kind of worship is useless, empty and void. They had sought to substitute for the ways of God the ways of men. There are many who are guilty of the same mistake. Such worship is vain because they observe the doctrines and commandments of men. The public is not to be deceived, even though vain worshippers praise God with their lips, their hearts are far from Him.

     B. IGNORANT WORSHIP (Acts 17:23)
Paul declares, "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you."
The Athenians were guilty of ignorant worship because they were uninformed of the true God. There is absolutely no justification for ignorant worship. The apostle Paul declared: "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by {that} man whom he hath ordained; {whereof} he hath given assurance unto all {men}, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31).

Jesus speaks plainly about God and instructs men that they should worship Him in truth, so we must learn the truth.
1. Were the Greeks at Athens worshiping sincerely?
2. Did the fact that they sincerely worshiped make their worship acceptable?

     C. WILL WORSHIP. (Col. 2:23)
Paul described this type of worship when he says,"Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh." The "shew of wisdom" seems to be the dominating feature in many places. Contrary to "will worship" and a "shew of wisdom" the Christian, magnificent in his profound faith in God, is determined to worship God according to Him that leads to profound devotion will spurn every false way. The true Christian is interested only in pleasing his Creator. He thinks more of the Creator than he does of the creature, and refuses to exchange the truth of God for a lie. Paul speaks of some who "exchanged the truth of God for a lie," and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever (Rom.1:25).

     D. MOCKED WORSHIP. (Mark 15:19-20)
"(19) And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing {their} knees worshipped him. (20) And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him." This action on the part of the soldiers is the height of contemptible mockery. For more than nineteen hundred years men have looked upon this scene, some with indifference, others with sincere regret because of the blasphemy and scorn that was heaped upon the Son of God. Human nature has never changed. There are men who mock, ridicule, and blaspheme the sacred precepts of the scripture. The Christian must not be guilty of mock-worship. When we bow the knee before God may we do it in sincerity. Like David, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer."(PSA 19:14)

     E. TRUE WORSHIP. (John 4:24)
"God {is} a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship {him} in spirit and in truth." Our heavenly Father has ordained that some things must be done in the worship service. God requires nothing so complex that He makes it impossible for any man to worship Him in an acceptable manner. On the other hand, that which God requires is so plain that any man is without excuse in his failure to follow the Lord's plan. The simplicity of scriptural worship makes it possible for the Christian to worship God in the beauty of holiness. There are "true worshipers" in the land and they can and may be identified. Their worship is according to or in keeping with the teachings of the Scriptures. Jesus said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." (JOH 4:23). The "true worshipers" of the Lord met upon the first day of the week. "And upon the first {day} of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."(ACT 20:7)

II. THINGS THE CHRISTIAN IS TAUGHT TO DO IN THE WORSHIP ON THE LORD'S DAY:

     A. TEACH
1. Acts 20:7, "And upon the of the week, when the disciples came together to , Paulunto them.
2. Matt. 28:20,"them to observe things whatsoever I have you...."
After a believer is baptized, Jesus instructs that they are to be taught the commandments of Jesus.
3. John 6:45, "It is written in the prophet, And they shall be all of God."
In the Christian dispensation the prophet declared that the followers of Christ all would be taught of God.

     B. PRAY
1. Eph. 6:18, "always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
2. Acts 2:42, "And they continued steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in.
The Jerusalem church was a praying church.
3. Phil. 4:6,"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by andwith thanksgiving let your requests be make known unto God.
There is a lot of comfort in telling Jesus about our troubles.

Christians should thank the Lord daily for all of His marvelous goodness. All prayer must be offered in Jesus' name.

     C. SING
1. Eph. 5:19, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and and spiritual songs, and making in your heart."
2. Col. 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and and songs, with grace in your unto the Lord.
3. A close study of the foregoing scriptures reveal the fact that the Lord has told us what to do--sing; what to use--psalms, hymns, spiritual songs; and how to use them--make melody in the heart.

How can we improve on the Lord's plan? He who presumes to do so is guilty of a presumptuous sin. Instruments of music in the worship service are a sure sign of a departure from the original instruction as to the way the Christian should worship the Lord in song.

     D. LORD'S SUPPER
1. Acts 2:42, "And they continued steadfastly in the doctrine and fellowship and in of , and in prayer." The Jerusalem church partook of the Lord's supper.
2. Acts 20:7 (Please read and fill in)
         (1) What did the Christians assemble for at Troas?
         (2) When God told Israel to remember "the Sabbath Day to keep it holy, how often did he expect them to keep the Sabbath Day holy? Every Sabbath or any Sabbath that they chose?
         (3) In the same connection, when the disciples at Troas came together on the first day of the week to break bread, how often did they take the Lord's supper (break bread)? Any first day or every first day?

Then, too, there are others who declare that it is unnecessary to observe the Lord's Supper once a week.
The only time element stipulated as to frequency (how often) is the first day of the week. The first day of the week comes every week to the Christians just as the Sabbath Day came every week to the Jew!

     E. CONTRIBUTIONS
1. 1 Cor. 16:2, "Upon the first day of the week, let everyone of you in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no when I come."
The foregoing passage declares,"...let each of you..." The fact of personal responsibility is here emphasized. Each Christian is to give as he or she has been prospered. Very naturally, the amount given will vary in amount, depending on the extent to which the Christian has been prospered.
2. 2 Cor. 9:7, "Every man according as he in his heart, so let him ; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a giver."
3. God has planned that each Christian should give as he or she has been prospered and according as he or she has planned in the heart. God has never authorized His children to go from door to door to solicit money from local business men or to raffle off a quilt or to have a bingo party. God wants His people to support His kingdom on the first day of the week as they have been prospered and after they have purposed to give out of a cheerful heart.

***All Bible texts and quotations are taken from the King James Version.




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