The Church of the Bible
The church is made up of the saved. Its purpose is to worship and serve God through Jesus Christ. Paul said, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).
There are three kinds of worship in the New Testament. First, we read of ignorant worship. When Paul was in the midst of Mar's hill in Athens, he saw many idols around him. He then said, "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing (ignorantly), Him I proclaim to you" (Acts 17:23). Those people worshiped ignorantly then. Many do the same today. Millions bow down to idols and images. Many millions more are following various religious practices out of ignorance of the Bible.
Second, the Bible speaks of those whose worship is vain. Christ said, "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). The majority of people worship in this way today. They worship the Lord, it is true, but their worship is vain or void. Why? Because it is according to the teachings and traditions of men. It is not according to the will of God.
Third, the word of God speaks of true worship that is, worship which is in spirit and truth. We read the words of Christ, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). This is the only kind of worship that God will accept. This was true in the days of Christ and it is true in our present day. To worship God in spirit means to do it in humility and understanding. To worship in truth means to worship as it is written in the New Testament. God does not force anyone to worship Him. Those who worship Him must do so on His terms.
What kind of worship is the Lord's church to engage in? Not ignorant worship. Neither can it be according to the doctrines and commandments of men. It must be in spirit and in truth to be acceptable to God. The New Testament shows us from direct commands and examples that the early church engaged in these five acts of worship:
The worship of the church is simple and to the point. Yet many stumble at its simplicity. They think it should be long and drawn out. They think there should be much tradition and formality. They believe in going through monotonous actions, and the repetition of prayers. But this is not so. God has revealed His will concerning worship. It is not given to man to change it at all. It cannot be added to or subtracted from. The Lord pronounced a curse upon those who do so (Revelation 22:18-19). God has spoken. His people must obey. Then, and only then, can God be worshiped, praised, and honored.
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