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An Explanation of the Celebration (Order) of Worship



In the Call to Worship, we are invited to draw near and to worship the living God.  God has the first word to us, and by responding, we acknowledge that God has called us into His presence as a worshipping assembly.


One aspect of biblical worship is acknowledging that we are sinners and constantly in need of Christ.  Thus, as a part of our celebration (order) of worship, we read a portion of Scripture that reminds us of our continual need to confess and forsake our sins and to trust in Christ for forgiveness.  The reading also includes the assurance that we have received God’s full pardon.  Since God has pardoned us, we now experience no more shame, all guilt is gone, and God’s mercy is ours.  As a result, we have peace with God and we can worship Him with joy and thanksgiving.


As we gather corporately in worship, we are to acknowledge who God is and why He is to be feared and trusted!  In the Corporate Acknowledgement of God’s Attributes, we hear the testimony of Scripture concerning one of God’s attributes with the goal of addressing all of His attributes over time.  By acknowledging these things about God, our confidence in God is strengthened and our determination to serve Him is renewed.


The public reading of God’s Word is an important element of worship to God.  As the God’s inspired Word is read, God speaks and we hear His will for us revealed!  As the Word is read, if able, we stand out of respect for the Word and as an expression of our readiness to obey it.  This practice is based on the response of God’s people when they heard Ezra, the scribe, read the Book of the Law.  For we are told in Nehemiah 8:5 that, “Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.”  After the Word is read, and the reader declares, “This is the Word of the Lord,” we as a congregation declare, “Thanks be to God,” as an expression of our gratitude for God’s word.


Of all the means of grace that Christ has given to His church, we believe that the preaching of God’s Word is of primary importance.  Through the preaching of the Word, sinners are made aware of their need for Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, and believers are built up in their most holy faith!  “For faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)  Today, when the preaching of God’s Word is being neglected by some, we believe that God’s people and churches are only as healthy and strong as their commitment to hear and obey God’s Word as it is openly preached and explained.


Since we believe that Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper to be observed as often as His church gathers, we observe this ordinance of the gospel every Sunday morning.  Through the Lord’s Supper, we not only recall the sacrifice of Christ for us, but we are also confirmed and nourished in all the benefits of His death. Our weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper testifies to our communion with Christ and with one another as members of His body.


In worship, we not only have the opportunity to receive from God, but to give back to God, out of the resources from which He has blessed us.  Thus, we take an offering in our service to facilitate this important element of worship.  This offering is not taken to put pressure on people to give, but to give God’s people the opportunity to follow the biblical instruction expressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:2, which states:  “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper.”  Giving is to be done willingly and cheerfully for Paul further instructs us in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”


With the Scripture benediction, God has the final word in our worship service.  This benediction is not just a conclusion to the service, but it sends us forth with the assurance from God that we are forgiven, instructed and blessed!  It assures us that God will give us the grace in the coming week to do what He has called us to do.

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