Jesus gave the requirements for acceptable worship of God: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
Worshiping God in spirit means worshiping him in “genuineness” or “sincerity” which means having the right attitude when coming together to worship God (cf. Joshua 24:14; 1 Corinthians 5:8)
Worshiping God in truth means using his word as the correct pattern to determine how he wants us to worship him (John 17:17).
There are five ways that God has authorized us to worship him upon the first day of the week which are enumerated below.
The Lord's Supper
Paul said to the church at Corinth that information about partaking of the Lord’s supper was delivered to him by the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:23)
The night that Jesus was betrayed was when he instituted the Lord’s supper and on that night it was shown that the Lord’s Supper consisted of bread and fruit of the vine (1 Corinthians 11:24-25 cf. Matthew 26:26-29).
Paul also said to the church, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26)
How “often” should they have eaten the bread and drunk the cup?
Acts 20:7 gives the answer, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”
Notice, the “disciples” came together to break bread on the first day of the week. Thus it was the first day of the week when the Lord’s Supper was taken.
“When the disciples came together” shows the frequency of this coming together to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Whenever the first day of the week occurred one would find the disciples coming together to eat of the Lord’s Supper.
So, the disciples (who are also known as Christians Acts 11:26) came together every first day of the week to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
Does the church where you attend partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week just like the church did in the first century?
According to the scriptures, the church gets its authority to worship from the New Testament.
That means it does not get its authority to worship in the Old Testament since the church was not established upon the earth in the Old Testament.
Under the Old Testament system, worship first took place in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8-9) and then in the temple constructed by Solomon (1 Kings 8:62-64).
Under the Old Testament, there was instrumental music in the worship (2 Chronicles 29:25), but there were also animal sacrifices made in conjunction with the music (2 Chronicles 29:21-24). Furthermore, only the Levites and priests were authorized to play those instruments (2 Chronicles 29:25-26).
In the New Testament, we never find instrumental music being used in the worship of the church. There are 12 verses in the New Testament that mention singing (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; James 5:13; Revelation 5:8-9; Revelation 14:2-3; Revelation 15:2-3). In none of these scriptures is the church said to use any instrumental music.
Furthermore, history shows that people who claimed to be Christians recognized that instrumental music was not authorized in the worship of the church. Attempts to get it accepted into worship were resisted for many centuries after Christ built his church.
The first credible record of any kind of instrumental music being used in a “church worship service” is not until the twelfth century AD.
So, if instrumental music in the church’s worship was scriptural, why did it take 1100 years for it to be accepted in any “church’s” worship?
Only singing is authorized when it comes to music in the church’s worship.
Does the church where you attend sing without instrumental music just like the church one reads about in the Bible?
Much like the issue of instrumental music, folks often use the Old Testament as a guide to giving in the church and thus follow the system of tithing.
However, since the New Testament is where the church gets its authority in worship, we must look to what the New Testament says about giving.
Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the church participating in the Old Testament system of tithing.
Jesus issued a command to give in Luke 6:38.
In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, we find an example of when the churches gave: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.”
In these verses, we find that the church at Corinth gave “on the first day of the week” and they gave as they prospered—not according to a system of tithing.
Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 there are some basic principles about giving mentioned: “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudginglyor of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
These verses indicate that the giver is to give “bountifully,” “not grudgingly,” or “of necessity” but rather as one “purposes in his heart.”
Again, there is no mention of the amount or of tithing, but the principles involved in giving show that it is to be done with “purpose” and as one “prospers” upon the first day of the week.
Does the church where you attend give according to the directions given to the church of the Bible upon the first day of the week?
From the New Testament, we know that whenever churches came together to worship God there was prayer involved in their worship.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” (1 Corinthians 14:15-16)
While Paul was addressing a problem that the Corinthians were having in this context of scripture, he nevertheless addresses them as a congregation and shows the importance of praying properly within the setting of the whole congregation being assembled together (see 1 Corinthians 11:18, 20; 14:23).
They were to pray in a way that could be understood when the prayer was offered so that “Amen” could be said by those who heard the prayer.
Furthermore, the Bible indicates that prayer in the assembly was to be led by the men of the congregation (1 Timothy 2:8; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:11-12).
Does the church where you attend follow the pattern of prayer that the church of the Bible followed?
In the same scripture that indicates the frequency of partaking of the Lord’s Supper, we also find that preaching was going on in the assembly, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7)
Although the length of the sermon is not of importance, the content of the sermon is of utmost importance as indicated by the instructions given to preachers.
Timothy was told, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).
When a preacher preaches the word, he must make sure he declares “the whole counsel of God” and not the counsel of men’s traditions and opinions (Matthew 15:9).
A preacher has no authority to preach anything but the word of God.
Does the church where you attend believe that a preacher can only preach and teach the word of God or does he preach and teach the traditions of a denomination?
St. Andrews Road Church of Christ | 425 Saint Andrews Road Columbia, SC 29210 | 803.772.0102
Visit us on Sundays at 10 AM for Bible Study and 11 AM and 6 PM for Worship.