Foreword: The Basis of Our Worship

Christ laid down the foundation of Christian worship in John 4:24.  Jesus stated, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  In the Old Testament, the formal worship services of the Temple were laid out in detail, as in the days of king Hezekiah of Judah (2 Chronicles 29).  In the church Christ established (Matthew 16:18), the worship assemblies are mentioned in passing.  It is vital to understand that their examples in worship become our pattern, if we are interested in pleasing God and His son, Jesus the Christ.

So often we tend to feel what is pleasing to us, is bound to be pleasing to our Maker.  To illustrate in the area of morality, consider the disastrous reasoning that often takes place in our culture today.  God created us, God loves us, and God wants us to be happy - all too true.  However, some reason: I am happiest in a same-sex marriage, therefore God condones my homosexual life style and I am looking forward to spending eternity in Heaven - wrong!  Or, I know my divorce violates the principals laid down by Jesus in Matthew 19, however, I cannot be happy in my present marriage, therefore my loving heavenly Father will condone my second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth marriage - wrong again! In our worship of our Creator, we must not substitute our think-sos for His says-sos.  This principle is stated by Isaiah and cited by Jesus in Mark chapter seven.  The Jews had been guilty of honoring God with their lips, (7:6) but their hearts were from him.  They had substituted the traditions of men for the commands of God - therefore they worshiped Him in vain (7:7).  In both the Reformation movement beginning in the 1300s and the Restoration movement with the Campbell and Stone in the 1800s it was understood that to have the unity Jesus prayed for (John 17:21), our doctrine and worship must be sanctioned by the Scriptures.

The Lord's Supper (Communion, Eucharist, etc.) on the Lord's Day illustrates the evolution of understanding among Bible students.  Many religious groups observed the Communion annually, while others did so quarterly or even monthly.  Because the Restoration Movement was intent on doing Bible things in Bible ways, they found the early church observed the Lord's Supper every Lord's Day.  The evidence is found in 1 Corinthians 11:20-34 coupled with 16:2 and also Acts 20:7 as well as the universal practice of the church in the second and third centuries.

 The Lord's Supper did not commemorate His resurrection but rather was to proclaim or show forth His death till he come (1 Corinthians 11:26).  The cup is the new covenant or testament in his blood (vs 27).  It is a blood covenant.  It is done in remembrance of Him and the sacrifice He made on the cross for the sins of mankind.  To observe it in an unworthy manner is to be guilty of the body and blood of Christ (vs 27).  The seriousness of this act of public worship is the fact that we can eat and drink damnation to ourselves in not discerning the body of the Lord (vs 29).

Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK