Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Worship in the New Testament church

Worship and the Believer
Is the New Testament church supposed to engage in liturgical worship like the Old Testament worship system?
Should the New Testament church conduct liturgical services?
Should the New Testament church limit worship to specific buildings or times or authorities?
Should the New Testament church worship be conducted or spontaneous?
Should there be efforts during corporate worship times to inspire or generate worship expression in the worshipper?

These are questions that are asked and pondered by theologians and church leaders conducting worship services for the believer(s) who attend centers for corporate worship.

John 4:19–24 (KJV 1900)

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 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. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The woman engaged by Jesus in the passage obviously recognizes his authoritative position concerning spiritual matters and calls Him a Prophet. Obviously, she was so impressed with His wisdom; she listened to his message. It would be wise for all who are seeking answers to questions about worship to study the passage for answers concerning proper worship.

Liturgical Worship is based in a location

The first question raised by this poor woman was the accurate place of worship. This was more important to her than the actual content or method of her worship. She was the product of a society which defined worship based upon ancestry or national origin. For her, worship of God could not be separated from loyalty to her heritage or ethnicity.

Although the modern definition of “separation of church and state” in our country is incorrect, it is certain that the state not encroach on the worship expression of any individual seeking to be responsible and sincere. The infringement in even the location of worship is too much encroachment. She was obviously so shallow a worshipper that her nationalism was an acceptable limitation of her belief and worship.

Although we are admonished to live in accord with human government, we must never be so deceived as to believe that the combination of politics and worship are acceptable. The fear is that “a Pharaoh my rise up that knows not Joseph.” Worship must never be supported financially by government funds. Worship must never be held hostage to political concerns or agendas. True worship of God should always be according to the Word of God.

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