Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Worshiping the right One in the right way

Kevin DeYoung is pastor of the University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. Here he explains "Why We Worship the Way We Do":
.... Increasingly, the normal evangelical worship services consists of 25 minutes of singing, a brief prayer, 30-40 minutes of teaching, then a closing song (with the offering and the announcements somewhere in between). Many good churches worship in this way, and I have no doubt God is sincerely and faithfully worshiped with this order of service. But it’s not the way Christians have historically worshiped. And, I would argue, it is not as rich and deep and gospel-shaped as a service can be. ....

There is nothing more important in life than worship. We all worship something or someone. The only question is whether we will worship the right One in the right way. At URC we want all of life to be worship to God (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 10:31). He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power (Rev. 4:11). In particular, we want our worship services on Sunday to be pleasing to Him. ....
A few of DeYoung's considerations:
1. Glory to God – Worship is ultimately for Him. He is the most important audience at every service.

2. Edifying to God’s people – Corporate worship must build up the body of Christ. Believers should be equipped, comforted, and exhorted. ....

6. Expositional preaching – The central act in the worship service is the preaching of God’s word. We believe this is best accomplished through the careful, Spirit-filled exposition of Scripture. Normally, this means we work systematically through a book of the Bible, verse by verse. No matter the approach, every sermon should flow from Scripture and proclaim the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection. ....

7. Thoughtful – Every church has a liturgy (an order of service). Our service has four parts: praise, renewal, proclamation, response. We see this pattern in the covenant renewal ceremonies of Scripture and in various divine encounters. In Isaiah 6, for example, Isaiah comes before God and praises him; then he confesses sin and seeks renewal; God then speaks his word to Isaiah; and finally Isaiah responds with commitment to God. This is also a gospel pattern: approach God in awe, see our sin, hear the good news, respond in faith and obedience.

8. Historical – The Church has been thinking about how to worship for centuries. We want to learn from our spiritual ancestors and build on their models. To that end, we regularly employ creeds, confessions, catechisms, responsive readings, and other forms that have been common in church history. .... [more]
Why We Worship the Way We Do – Kevin DeYoung