How We Worship At Emmanuel Baptist Church
We live in a day and age where the word “worship” has taken on meaning that it was never intended to have. Many people talk about the experience or feeling they have when they worship. They never think that the word “worship” speaks about another. The core meaning of the word is that someone has worth and is worthy of honour, therefore we worship that person.
So when you enter Emmanuel Baptist for a Sunday service we call it a worship service for two reasons. One is that it is about honouring and reflecting and praising and rejoicing in God. God is worthy of worship. God calls his people to worship Him. And secondly, God has chosen a way to be worshipped. There is a way that we approach and have meaningful interaction with the great Creator God. He does not leave the most important aspect of life (which is worshiping God) for us to decide how he wants to be worshiped. But he has decided. We believe what the Reformers used to say, “sola scriptura.” The Scriptures are sufficient for life and godliness (2Tim. 3:16-17), and in this case, are sufficient to guide us in worshiping God as he wants to be worshiped. When the people of God worship Him properly, He is glorified and His people are edified. The way that he has decided to be worshiped is through several elements He has commanded:
One element is prayer. Prayer is communing with God, and God has commanded that when his people meet they should pray (1Tim. 2:1).
God also commands the public reading of His Word (1Tim. 4:13). When the Bible is read, the truth of the Scriptures are directly mediated to our minds. This is God’s word. His production. He has a direct message in his Word of who He is and how we can approach Him.
We also worship God through the preaching or the exposition of the Scriptures. The Pastor will take a portion of Scripture and explain the text and carefully apply it to the lives of those present. We read the command quite clearly in 2Tim. 4:2 to “preach the word.”
Another aspect of worship that God has commanded is singing. Our singing is about the one we worship, and what he has done to save sinners. We are again commanded to sing what we believe about God and celebrate the God of our salvation (Eph. 4:19).
We also can see the significance of what Jesus has done for us through what is known as the ordinances. The ordinances are visual representations of what God has done, and God’s people are commanded to practice the ordinances with the church. There are two: baptism – which is done once in the believer’s life to demonstrate in a public way the believer’s identification in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The other ordinance is the Lord’s Table, which is a memorial that remembers the body that was given and the sacrifice Jesus gave for our salvation. As we partake we commune with God and announce our hope in Christ. These two ordinances are only for believers.
So as you come into our church, you will see a regularity in our worship services to God around these commands. This is what you can expect:
- A call to worship: there might be a few announcements, but followed by a reading of a text of Scripture that focuses our minds on God and His grace. We sing about the truths that we have just read. This is followed by prayer where we seek to honour God and seek his grace to change us for his glory.
- We sing hymns of praise that focus on the passage of scripture being preached that day. God wants his people to rejoice in his goodness. This prepares our hearts and minds for the receiving of God’s Word.
- We read an elongated text of Scripture. God’s Word is mediated directly through the reading of the Scripture. It is God’s pure word that is read and received as such. This is followed by singing.
- This is followed by the main aspect of our service, which is the preaching of God’s Word. The text that will be preached is read first to set in our minds the truth of God. God’s Word needs to be understood in its context, so we practice expository preaching.
- We end with a response to God by singing about the truth exposited, and then prayer that God would be magnified in our lives through an application of the text preached.
(We celebrate the Lord’s Table on the first Sunday morning service of the month, and baptisms as individuals come to Christ and follow Him.)
Praise God that He has chosen how to be glorified and how believers in Christ can grow and magnify Him through our congregating together.