The Worship of the Church #2

The Doctrine of the Church - Lesson # 10


I. The Lord's day and the assembly

A. Remember that everything the church does in the assembly is not worship in the narrower sense of praise and adoration of God. Also, the church as a corporate body and Christians as individuals can worship at other times than the assembly on the Lord's day. Nevertheless, there is a special significance to worship in the assembly on the Lord's day.

B. The importance of assembling

1. "The New Testament has a rich doctrine of the Christian assembly and shows that the coming together of believers is important. Faith may be private or individual in the sense that someone cannot believe for another, but faith has a community expression and involves a group. If one can sustain one's faith without the support of common worship, then it is not the Christian faith that is held" (Everett Ferguson, The Church of Christ, 231-32).

2. "come together" - 1 Cor. 11:17, 33-34; 14:26; "in church" - 1 Cor. 11:18; "in the same place" - 1 Cor. 11:20; notice all three expressions in 1 Cor. 14:23; "gather together" - Acts 4:31; 11:26; 1 Cor. 5:4; also see Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor. 14:23; Acts 2:44, 47

3. "The assembly exemplifies the doctrine of the church....To be a church [assembly], it must meet....A family is not a family if it is never together or at least bound in memory of past gatherings and hope of future reunions. The church may survive where there is a poor program of religious education, little evangelism, virtually no benevolence; but it will not survive where it does not meet. In assembly, the church becomes itself. It becomes conscious of itself, confesses itself to be a distinctive entity, shows itself to be what is ita community (a people) gathered by the grace of God, dependent on him, and honoring him" (Ibid., 235).

C. The day of the assembly

1. Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10; 1 Cor. 16:1-2

2. Why was the first day of the week chosen as a day for assembling rather than the Sabbath day of Judaism? - Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:1-2; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1; Acts 2:1

D. Acceptable behavior and the assembly

1. "Not everything acceptable in other contexts has a place in the church meeting....Paul makes a distinction between behavior that is appropriate elsewhere and what can be done in the assembly, between outside activities and assembly activities....Paul does not support the idea that if something is right or good at other times it may be done in church" (Ibid., 243) - 1 Cor. 11:20, 22, 33-34; 14:19, 34

2. What implications might be drawn from this principle? Can you think of some activities which are appropriate in other settings but would not be appropriate for the Christian assembly?

II. Some assembly activities

A. The Lord's Supper

1. 1 Cor. 11:20-34

2. Some people call the Lord's Supper the "eucharist." Try to find the background for this designation.

3. What is the background for the term "communion" for the Lord's Supper? - 1 Cor. 10:14-21

4. What are some proper attitudes for a person to have while participating in the Lord's Supper?

5. What ways can you suggest for our improving our communion service?

B. Prayer

1. 1 Cor. 14:14-15; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Col. 4:2; Mt. 6:9-13

2. What are some different forms or types of prayer? E.g. praise, thanksgiving.

3. How can we improve our public prayer service?

C. Singing

1. 1 Cor. 14:15; Jas. 5:13; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16-17

2. Discuss some different types of songs, e.g. songs addressed to God, songs of confession, and songs to teach or encourage one another. What sort of balance is needed between these various types of songs? Note: The different types of songs in Eph. 5:19 are not clearly distinguished. These words are virtually synonymns.

D. Giving - 1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8, 9

1. What attitudes should be present in our giving?

2. How much should we give?

E. Bible reading, teaching, and preaching

1. Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27; 1 Tim. 4:12-16; 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:1-2; 3:10, 16; Rev. 1:3

2. Some New Testament books (e.g. Hebrews, 1 Peter) may be a sermon in written form adapted into an epistle.

3. What are the chief purposes of Bible reading and teaching in the assembly? - 1 Cor. 14:3, 5, 6, 19; Heb. 10:24

III. Memory verse - Heb. 10:25