What is Worship? (Part 2)
Why have we chosen singing, praying, preaching, the Lord’s Supper, and giving as our five acts of worship? These are the only five things we find in scripture as acceptable New Testament worship that are directed as praise to God. Idol worship is something that fits the definition of worship, but this is obviously condemned by scripture.
To sing is commanded in Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:17, and Hebrews 13:15-16 (this passage also applies to prayer and notice the distinction between worship and service in verses 15 and 16). Singing is directed toward God as praise.
To pray is commanded in I Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 6:9ff, and I Timothy 2:8. This prayer is directed toward God through Christ (Colossians 3:17). These means that while it is perfectly acceptable to worship Jesus (Luke 24:52), we only have authority to pray to the Father through Him. Prayer is praise to God in that we are giving Him thanks and recognizing Him as all powerful and all loving to hear us.
To have preaching during our worship is commanded through example in Acts 20:7. Notice it is Sunday, the first day of the week. Paul waited so he could worship with them in two explicit ways, preaching and partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Preaching is to be done by one man as he instructs others with God’s word (I Corinthians 14:34, 40). This praises God as being the One who has all authority and speaks through His word to us.
To partake of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week is commanded in Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 11:17-29. This proclaims the Lord’s death till He comes and is in remembrance of Him. This praises Christ for His sacrifice.
To give of our means on the first day of every week is commanded in I Corinthians 16:1-2. This was a collection to help in the work of the church. In this instance it was going to support the church in Jerusalem. We have Biblical examples to give to help those in need, to send others to preach, to pay a local preacher, and other various items. While the specific need in Jerusalem no longer applies, the obligatory principle of taking up a collection every first day of the week applies.
While some want to change what worship means today to fit the modern culture, God has set aside these five acts and deemed them as the only acceptable worship for the New Testament age. While some add to and take away from these simple commands, let us remain steadfast in observing these which God has given.