Saturday, January 29, 2011

Heaven on Earth - What is Worship?

One of the things that has really changed for me of the past couple years is my understanding of worship.  Until recently I had never really questioned what should be included or what should happen during worship.  When I went to a Church, just about anything was acceptable to me and any music that mentioned God or how I am serving God was just fine.  I uncritically accepted whatever - occasionally something would bother me or I would question what I heard.  This changed when I really began questioning what should happen at Church.  Does it really matter?  Does God care what we do? What should worship music look like?

How do we know if God cares what happens during a Church service?  Looking at Scripture, we can see that God had a specific way He was to be worshipped from Genesis on.  Abel's sacrifice was acceptable, Cain's was not.  The People of God when they worshipped in the desert while awaiting Moses' return from the mountain (with the 10 Commandments) determined to worship the God who brought them out of Egypt by creating a golden calf to represent Him - and they were punished for worshipping in a way that God did not ordain.  They did not claim to be worshipping another god - they were using the worship practices of the culture from which they came to worship the true and living God.  Sacrifices throughout Scripture were only to be offered where and how God had ordained, and ultimately only in the temple in Jerusalem - God was not pleased with sacrifices offered elsewhere, even when they were offered to Him.

What did God give to the Church as a model for worship?  Is there any indication in Scripture of what we should be doing during a worship service?

Over the next few posts I am going to take a look at worship:

1) Jesus at the center of worship
2) God's gifts to us - what the New Testament says we should be doing
3) Music - what should worship or Church music look like
4) Where is the Church today?

Some of the main sources I have been reading regarding the Scriptural foundation of worship, and what Christian worship has looked like for the past 2000 years is Heaven on Earth by Arthur A. Just, and the online radio show White Horse Inn along with another radio show that is available on demand - Issues Etc. (see their link in my sidebar).


  1. Hey this is a great blog!

    I found you from the veith site where I am fws.

    If you want to find the liturgy in the confessions , you will find it in the context of law and gospel, which is this:

    everything we can see and do in our bodies which is 100% Old Adam (FC art I) vs...

    alone invisible faith , alone, in christ , alone. Which is where the heart again loves God in response to the promise of and in christ.

    and you should note too that the doctrine of the two kingdoms plays into this directly too.

    we modern lutherans make this divide as being beweeen the two tables of the law. 1st table that is about god and worship of him, and the second table that is about our social/civil life.

    This would be a grave error. the left hand kingdom fully includes anything you can do in church. this means that the administration of the word and sacraments including the holy liturgy are outward earthly civil good works that we do that will all perish with the earth, along with all who trust in baptism or liturgy or supper and think that they can do these truly good works and deal with God on the basis of them.

    I hope this helps!


    frank william

  2. Thank you Frank for your kind comments. Jesus death on the Cross is the center of the Christian life. The means of grace I understand to be how God creates faith/draws us to Himself. One means God uses (and this is accepted by almost all Christians) is His Word -faith comes by is God's doing from beginning to end. From what I have come to understand, Baptism and the Lord's Supper are God's gifts to us and should not be viewed as works.

    I am not sure I have a full understanding of all the terms you use, and I am still trying to fully grasp the 2 kingdoms. Law and Gospel has been indespensible to my understanding of Scripture.