Liturgical Worship

A climatic time for those in Christ and a foretaste of the eternal glory to come.

Hebrews 8:2 calls Christ the “Minister of the Sanctuary.” The term minister is literally “Liturgist” from where we get our term “liturgy,” referring to worship. When a sinner is saved to be a worshiper of God, Christ seats the believer in the heavens with Him (Ephesians 2:6). It is from here we offer all our worship to God. All true worship given to God by us must be mediated by Christ. When God’s people gather for worship, we come into a glorious company who are already worshiping, and we merely join in with them in their glorious activity. 

Music

In Leviticus 19, the Bible gives us regulations for Israel that were for setting them apart unto Himself. The term “holy” (or “sacred”) means to “be set apart.” When God sanctifies His people, He sets them apart from sin and the world to Himself as holy and sacred. Throughout Leviticus, when something common in everyday life was taken and sanctified, it then became “holy.” The same principle applies in the worship of God. The music that carries the weighty themes of God and His glory ought to be “set apart” from the “commonness” of the world. 

The text we sing to the Lord must be theologically accurate and relevant to the worship. The subject matter of our singing is God Himself, and therefore, the truths we sing are weighty, lofty, and transcendent. Since the only acceptable worship is in spirit and truth (John 4:24), we should take great care in what we sing to ensure it accurately reflects truth.

Old Testament worship was further developed under David when musicians and singers were given a permanent position in the corporate worship of God. There is no indication that the use of these musical forms was any part of the ceremonial law that passed away in the Old Covenant. The establishment of choirs and musicians was some 400 years after the giving of the law, and are good patterns for us to follow in our New Covenant worship.

Communion

In Leviticus 19, the Bible gives us regulations for Israel that were for setting them apart unto Himself. The term “holy” (or “sacred”) means to “be set apart.” When God sanctifies His people, He sets them apart from sin and the world to Himself as holy and sacred. Throughout Leviticus, when something common in everyday life was taken and sanctified, it then became “holy.” The same principle applies in the worship of God. The music that carries the weighty themes of God and His glory ought to be “set apart” from the “commonness” of the world. 

In the New Covenant, Sabbath observance has been changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week. Likewise, Christ has instituted the Lord’s Supper which is the Covenant meal of the New Covenant worship to replace Passover which was the Covenant meal of the Old. The Lord’s Supper is an important element in New Covenant worship. In Acts 2:42 the Bible reveals to us the practices of the early Church, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers”. The breaking of bread is a common phrase referring to Communion. In Acts 20:7, we see again an apostolic pattern for corporate worship, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread . . .” We see the public gathering of God’s people to worship being on the first day of the week (the Lord’s Day) and one of the things they did each Lord’s Day in corporate worship was to receive the Lord’s Supper. It makes sense that if worship is a covenant renewal ceremony, then the covenant meal ought to be present. In the Old Testament, no one ever came before God to commune with Him without sacrifice and the conscious awareness of their need for atonement for their sins. Likewise, in the New Testament, no one can rightly come before God without reference to a sacrifice for atonement. This sacrifice is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we commune with God in the sacrament of Communion, we by faith remember Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) as our sole necessary atonement for our sins. We identify ourselves with His Person and Work by faith. And by faith through the work of the Holy Spirit, we meet with Christ at His Table and receive the benefits of His redemption and saving grace. Therefore, as part of our weekly Sabbath worship, we partake of Communion as an important element of our corporate worship. The text we sing to the Lord must be theologically accurate and relevant to the worship. The subject matter of our singing is God Himself, and therefore, the truths we sing are weighty, lofty, and transcendent. Since the only acceptable worship is in spirit and truth (John 4:24), we should take great care in what we sing to ensure it accurately reflects truth.

Old Testament worship was further developed under David when musicians and singers were given a permanent position in the corporate worship of God. There is no indication that the use of these musical forms was any part of the ceremonial law that passed away in the Old Covenant. The establishment of choirs and musicians was some 400 years after the giving of the law, and are good patterns for us to follow in our New Covenant worship.

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