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Views on Worship

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:45 pm
by churchmouse
I have been trying to organize my thoughts so I can present my quandaries on interrelated topics as clearly as possible. So, I apologize if this post seems too disorganized or circuitous.

I wrestle with the many different beliefs among various denominations/divisions in the Church, even among congregations within the same sect, and furthermore within each individual congregation - mainly in regard to what defines worship that is acceptable to God. Following are my questions and observations about differences in interpretation of doctrine.

There are churches that consider Jesus’s instructions to his disciples in Luke 10:1 a command requiring the ministry to work in pairs, and to travel from city to city preaching the gospel. Most churches, though, dismiss this detail of scripture while the churches (that I know of) which do consider Luke 10:1 a ministerial mandate ignore certain apostolic directives. So, who determines which scriptures apply perpetually to the New Testament Church and which scriptures applied for only a brief time? How is that determined?

Some church leaders object to meeting in private residences for worship and yet claim to meet in public buildings designated for worship only because it is convenient. Yet, the same people label worship outside of the assembly of an established congregation “convenience worship.” If the building itself is not the church and, by admission, a church building is only a matter of convenience, wouldn't assembling in a public building designated for worship be a form of convenience worship, too?

Other churches insist that a worship service cannot take place in a public building designated for worship, citing Romans 16:5, I Corinthian 16:19, Colossians 4:15 and Philemon 2 which refer to churches meeting in private residences. Those believers equate church buildings with pagan temples and the temple in Jerusalem which was destroyed. Jesus abolished any need for a temple since he has given the only sacrifice acceptable to God and is our great high priest who alone intercedes between God and mankind, so there is no longer a need for commandments written on tablets of stone, as His commandments are to be inscribed upon our hearts. However, Christians in the early Church did meet in synagogues on the Sabbath (Acts 13:5, 14;17:1-2, 17; 18:4). Paul, Silas and Luke also attended a prayer service in Philippi that seems to have taken place out of doors (Acts 16:13), although they might have met in a synagogue along the riverside. A prayer service, too, might be differentiated from a worship service.

This leads to the topic of the Sabbath. Obviously, members of the New Testament Church did worship God on the Sabbath (Acts 13:5, 14;17:1-2, 17; 18:4), although it might be argued that only the prophets and teachers in the Church did so (Acts 13:1), with the intention of converting Jews (and Gentiles who assembled with them) to Christianity, and was separate from their assembly for worship. This notion, however, contradicts the objections of some church leaders to preaching to digressive congregations.

There are also present-day believers who maintain God must be worshiped on the Sabbath according to the Ten Commandments, which they consider separate from the Old Law/Law of Moses; the Old Law being necessary because of disobedience to the Ten Commandments. But, Paul said, “if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?” (2 Corinthians 3:7-8). So, Paul does clearly speak of a transition from the ministry of the Ten Commandments to a new ministry. Yet, the purpose of the new covenant in Christ was not to revoke the principles underlying the Ten Commandments, as Jesus summed them up in two commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40). All of Jesus’ teachings revolve around those two commandments which are not engraved on tablets of stone but upon the hearts of his followers.

Hebrews 4:1-11 does refer to a rest for God’s people, defined as ceasing from our own works as God ceased from His work (the creation) on the seventh day. Hebrews 4:9 says, “So there remains a Sabbath rest (Gr., “sabbatismos”) for the people of God” (NASB). Does this verse imply that the Sabbath is literally still in effect for God’s people, or that a Sabbath for God’s people is reserved for the future? From the context of Hebrews 4, it is my understanding that we, as Christians, observe the Sabbath when we rest (cease) from our own works to obey God in our daily lives. The context also suggests another, pending Sabbath for God’s people when we cease from the cares and labors of this life as we pass into eternal life. But, does Hebrews 4:9 also imply that we are to observe a specific day of the week as the Sabbath? While some churches insist that we must continue to observe the Saturday Sabbath set forth in the Ten Commandments, other churches claim that Sunday is the new Sabbath instituted by the Lord.

All of the congregations I've attended worship on Sunday, but I've searched the scriptures at times about Saturday (Sabbath) worship. Many people interpret “the Lord’s Day” spoken of by John (Revelation 1:10) to mean Sunday because it’s typically equated with “the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2). Others dispute any correlation of the Lord’s Day to Sunday, noting that the alternate interpretation of “the Lord’s Day” (kyriake hemera) is “the Day of the Lord,” a reference in Old Testament prophecy to the Day of Judgment, which is the period of time John foresaw while “in the Spirit.”

Jesus said that he (“the Son of Man”) is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8). Sabbatarians also explain that the assembly in Acts 20 was a meal traditionally shared at the end of the Sabbath in a house decorated with candles. According to Acts 20:7, the disciples were gathered to break bread on the first day of the week. A problem with the Sabbatarian view in this passage is that 6:00 P.M. was the beginning of a new day in Jewish society, whereas our society recognizes midnight as the cut-off point separating one day from another. Likely, the assembly in Acts 20 gathered no earlier than 6:00 P.M., as Paul’s discourse continued past midnight. In the Sabbatarian view, however, Paul’s discourse was not a sermon but a conversation with the brethren over the shared meal. The assembly didn't break bread until after Paul finished speaking, though, which indisputably occurred on Sunday.

Sabbatarians postulate, too, that the collection was taken on the first day of the week in respect for the Sabbath. This seems a possibility to me. I have wondered if the idea was that Church members should set aside money from their wages earned on the first day of the week, to then be placed in the collection on the Sabbath, so as to be giving the first fruits of their labors rather than waiting until the end of the week to give whatever remained of their resources. The Bible speaks nothing of ceremoniously passing around an offering plate to take up the collection.

Another topic of controversy is whether working on Sunday, or Saturday (supposing the Sabbath to still be in force), is ever acceptable. In some churches, missing an occasional Sunday on account of work or travel is tolerated. Those churches consider a strong work ethic to be a Christian quality, and members tend to be highly respected in their professions (while sometimes viewed with consternation by coworkers with less of a work ethic), which often leads to discussions with colleagues about religious beliefs. Many members of those churches also tend to be in helping professions which frequently require working sometimes on Sunday. Some members routinely miss every third Sunday, as mandated by their employers. The same churches discourage unnecessary labor on Sunday - such as performing lawn work and home maintenance chores, filling the car’s gas tank and shopping. Some people regard shopping on the Sabbath or on Sunday (depending on their day of worship) as sinful not so much because it is considered work, but due to the idea of patronizing businesses that do not recognize a day of worship.

Other churches frown on absences, except for serious illness, whenever the congregation assembles and expect members to hold jobs that don’t interfere with church attendance. Generally, these churches consider employment an incidental aspect of our lives, necessary only for survival. The members insist that anyone who misses an assembly of the church to work, particularly on Sunday morning, does so for money and cannot fathom anyone doing so for any other reason. They deem any activity (e.g., household chores, shopping, etc.) on Sunday that does not interfere with worship attendance acceptable. Some members of the same congregations deem only Sunday morning worship (the communion service) necessary, while routinely missing evening and/or weekday services - either because of conflicting work schedules or distance from a faithful congregation.

Hebrews 10:24-25a says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (KJV). Many Bible versions translate the last part of verse 25 “as the custom of some is” (ASV) or “as is the habit of some” (ESV, NAS, NIV, NRS, RSV). So, the connotation is that people were habitually neglecting the assembly of the Church. In the same chapter, the writer urged Christians not to fall away from their faith, warning that there would be no more sacrifice for their sins if they willfully sinned after receiving the gospel. My understanding of the writer’s caveat is that we should desire the fellowship of other Christians with whom we can worship God and be exhorted to daily worship God in our bodily temple in the form of obedience. I.e., love for the brethren and for God, coupled with the fear of falling into disobedience, should be our motivation for assembling as the body of Christ.

The first Church likely met before daybreak on Sunday (or, what today would be considered Saturday evening), as in Acts 20, since Sunday at that time was a normal work day. Now congregations assemble to worship at varying times, each set to accommodate an individual or a small group of church leaders within the congregation. Modern work schedules vary widely and fewer employers are taking Sunday worship, let alone weekday worship, into consideration. God’s people would be precluded from helping professions since most jobs require varied work schedules. Even doctors and nurses in private practice had to start out working long shifts with erratic schedules.

I understand that we must put God first in our lives, but does this imply neglecting the needs of others? Would God be honored if we passed a stranded driver or a severe accident en route to a worship service instead of stopping to help? Would He be honored if we abandoned our job in the event the next shift failed to report on Sunday morning, especially if our job entails caring for elderly, ill or disabled populations? Some would answer in the affirmative, reasoning that people outside of the Church constitute the World, which we are not to serve. They believe that our acts of charity need be manifested only toward members of the Church, perhaps reflecting Luke 9:60 (“Let the dead bury their dead”). But, many of the people Jesus healed were not even practicing Jews. My understanding of Jesus’ response to the man who said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59) is that there is no excuse for delaying to follow him.

Since the number of faithful congregations has declined in this country, some congregants are also precluded from visiting distant family, even when a family member is ill or has died. I can’t think of any examples in the New Testament that would either support or oppose the idea that ministering to people in need, which is encouraged in the New Testament scriptures, is prohibited one day a week. While the religious leaders condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-2; Matthew 12:9-10; Luke 6:6-7), Jesus’s actions did not appear to interfere with the worship service. Nor did the actions of Jesus’s apostles when they were condemned for breaking off ears of corn to eat on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-24). Jesus did say, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27) and asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil” (Mark 3:4a)? But, these verses would not apply today if there are no longer Sabbath days to be observed. I considered the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35) because in it two religious men neglected the needs of the man beaten by robbers, but it appears they were heading toward Jericho, away from Jerusalem, so I presume they had already worshiped God or performed their religious duties at the temple.

I have many other questions, but I think I first need the issues surrounding the assembly of the Church resolved. Whenever I am confident that I have gained a solid understanding on these subjects, my understanding is subsequently frustrated by the projected views and expectations of someone with conflicting beliefs. I have read articles and posts on this website, but I can often understand opposing perspectives when they appear lucidly supported by scripture. I hope you can understand my points of confusion and offer a clearer view. Thank you in advance!

Re: Views on Worship

Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:12 pm
by m273p15c
Hi churchmouse,

Those are a LOT of really good questions. I think we have discussed some of them previously, but I understand you have some new ones and feel they are related.

I would be happy to individually examine your questions in the light of Scripture, but there are too many for me to examine at once. Do you mind picking out the most important question to you? Maybe we can work through it first, and then we can work through the others - one at a time, as we have time?

Thanks!

Re: Views on Worship

Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:22 am
by churchmouse
I'm sorry my post is so long. Some things seem resolved in my mind until another question arises and I feel like I'm back where I started because everything is interrelated. Maybe we could start with this:

Some church leaders object to meeting in private residences for worship and yet claim to meet in public buildings designated for worship only because it is convenient. Yet, the same people label worship outside of the assembly of an established congregation “convenience worship.” If the building itself is not the church and, by admission, a church building is only a matter of convenience, wouldn't assembling in a public building designated for worship be a form of convenience worship, too?

Other churches insist that a worship service cannot take place in a public building designated for worship, citing Romans 16:5, I Corinthian 16:19, Colossians 4:15 and Philemon 2 which refer to churches meeting in private residences. Those believers equate church buildings with pagan temples and the temple in Jerusalem which was destroyed. Jesus abolished any need for a temple since he has given the only sacrifice acceptable to God and is our great high priest who alone intercedes between God and mankind, so there is no longer a need for commandments written on tablets of stone, as His commandments are to be inscribed upon our hearts. However, Christians in the early Church did meet in synagogues on the Sabbath (Acts 13:5, 14;17:1-2, 17; 18:4). Paul, Silas and Luke also attended a prayer service in Philippi that seems to have taken place out of doors (Acts 16:13), although they might have met in a synagogue along the riverside. A prayer service, too, might be differentiated from a worship service.

Obviously, members of the New Testament Church did worship God in synagogues/the temple on the Sabbath (Acts 13:5, 14;17:1-2, 17; 18:4), although it might be argued that only the prophets and teachers in the Church did so (Acts 13:1), with the intention of converting Jews (and Gentiles who assembled with them) to Christianity, and was separate from their assembly for worship. This notion, however, contradicts the objections of some church leaders to preaching to digressive congregations. Is there an established place acceptable for worship?

answering attempts to restrict generic authority

Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:48 pm
by m273p15c
Hi churchmouse,

It is good to hear from you again!

churchmouse wrote:I'm sorry my post is so long. Some things seem resolved in my mind until another question arises and I feel like I'm back where I started because everything is interrelated.

I think most of your questions relate to Bible authority and how to establish God's will for us (also called, hermeneutics, the study of interpretation). Until those things are settled - or are mostly settled - you are correct; questions will continue to arise. I think you are doing the right thing by trying to find God's will on these matters. I pray these answers will help. Feel free to disagree or question. That's why I'm here. :)

churchmouse wrote:Some church leaders object to meeting in private residences for worship and yet claim to meet in public buildings designated for worship only because it is convenient. Yet, the same people label worship outside of the assembly of an established congregation “convenience worship.” If the building itself is not the church and, by admission, a church building is only a matter of convenience, wouldn't assembling in a public building designated for worship be a form of convenience worship, too?

Yes, you are correct. You have detected an inconsistency in the presented logic. However, maybe even more importantly, I see no Scripture in anything you quoted. If these leaders assert something is wrong, they must prove it from Scripture. Just because one feels or judges that something is dangerous, they have no right to press that upon the assembly or teach it (Romans 14:1-6). They must keep such scruples to themselves. Those who press their scruples upon others are to be rejected as divisive and heretical (Galatians 2:3-5; Romans 16:17-18). Church leaders certainly make decisions within the realm of expediency (i.e., deciding what is most helpful among multiple authorized options (for example, II Corinthians 11:7-12)). However, no one has the right to make scruples as a test of fellowship!

That assertions must be proven (i.e., not gullible, I John 4:1) and that scruples must not be used as a test of fellowship (Romans 14:1; Galatians 2:3-5) are 2 huge fundamental principles of resolving disagreements over Scripture, which have broad application to many issues!

churchmouse wrote:Other churches insist that a worship service cannot take place in a public building designated for worship, citing Romans 16:5, I Corinthian 16:19, Colossians 4:15 and Philemon 2 which refer to churches meeting in private residences.


This is but one set of examples. If others contradict, then obviously this was not intended to be a pattern; otherwise, God contradicted Himself or provided an indiscernable revelation, both of which are clearly wrong (Titus 1:2; Ephesians 3:3-5; II Timothy 3:16-17).

churchmouse wrote:Those believers equate church buildings with pagan temples and the temple in Jerusalem which was destroyed. Jesus abolished any need for a temple since he has given the only sacrifice acceptable to God and is our great high priest who alone intercedes between God and mankind, so there is no longer a need for commandments written on tablets of stone, as His commandments are to be inscribed upon our hearts.

This is an unnecessary, unwarranted conclusion, and it is also internally inconsistent. Jews also worshipped in synagogues. That has nothing to do with the destruction of the temple. Furthermore, the disciples met regularly in the temple after the Jesus died on the cross ("with one accord" indicates harmonious worship, not just preaching or disputing, Acts 2:46; 5:12-13). The NT example of the apostles flatly contradicts this unjustified assertion.

churchmouse wrote:However, Christians in the early Church did meet in synagogues on the Sabbath (Acts 13:5, 14;17:1-2, 17; 18:4). Paul, Silas and Luke also attended a prayer service in Philippi that seems to have taken place out of doors (Acts 16:13), although they might have met in a synagogue along the riverside. A prayer service, too, might be differentiated from a worship service.

But, they are our example to follow (Philippians 3:17)! Anyone who asserts that we must follow the pattern of the apostles, and then reject their example, just because they were apostles, is glaringly self-contradictory and therefore in grave error!

The command to assemble is generic with regards to location (Hebrews 10:24-25). It says nothing about location. In fact, Jesus Himself denied that location was of any specific relevance (John 4:21-4). The example provided by the apostles included homes and large structures, further indicating that location does not matter.

churchmouse wrote:Obviously, members of the New Testament Church did worship God in synagogues/the temple on the Sabbath (Acts 13:5, 14;17:1-2, 17; 18:4), although it might be argued that only the prophets and teachers in the Church did so (Acts 13:1), with the intention of converting Jews (and Gentiles who assembled with them) to Christianity, and was separate from their assembly for worship. This notion, however, contradicts the objections of some church leaders to preaching to digressive congregations. Is there an established place acceptable for worship?

Again, the location does not matter. Jesus Himself specifically released us from such concerns:

John, an inspired apostle, wrote:"Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:20-24)

What do you think? How do you read?

Re: Views on Worship

Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:49 pm
by churchmouse
Thank you for your reply! I agree that where a congregation meets is not important. John 4:21-24 was a passage that eventually grabbed my attention while attending a church that held worship services in private homes. I was struggling with the myriad beliefs that were expressed - even the outright rejection of scripture - but the insistence that there was unity based upon recognition that their church worshiped in the "biblical" manner. I began to consider that God's people, the faithful, were scattered throughout various churches.

But, when I researched churches, I found that doctrine in the churches of Christ was the most scripturally sound and I even found a congregation whose teachings were the most scripturally sound among all of the local congregations. So, I was confused when I started hearing that services held anywhere other than a building designated for worship was not acceptable - especially while people were also claiming that they assembled in a public place only for convenience.

But, I believe (based on bits and pieces I've picked up from the pulpit as well as comments made following services) this teaching arose from a concern that some people in the congregation were taking vacations away from the local church and conducting their own private worship services with family if there was no faithful congregation nearby. Also, if my understanding is correct, some families may have missed services with the local congregation for other reasons (a conflict with work, school or after-school activities, illness, etc.) and held private services within their home.

I guess this leads to another part of my original quandary:

Another topic of controversy is whether working on Sunday, or Saturday (supposing the Sabbath to still be in force), is ever acceptable. In some churches, missing an occasional Sunday on account of work or travel is tolerated. Those churches consider a strong work ethic to be a Christian quality, and members tend to be highly respected in their professions (while sometimes viewed with consternation by coworkers with less of a work ethic), which often leads to discussions with colleagues about religious beliefs. Many members of those churches also tend to be in helping professions which frequently require working sometimes on Sunday. Some members routinely miss every third Sunday, as mandated by their employers. The same churches discourage unnecessary labor on Sunday - such as performing lawn work and home maintenance chores, filling the car’s gas tank and shopping. Some people regard shopping on the Sabbath or on Sunday (depending on their day of worship) as sinful not so much because it is considered work, but due to the idea of patronizing businesses that do not recognize a day of worship.

Other churches frown on absences, except for serious illness, whenever the congregation assembles and expect members to hold jobs that don’t interfere with church attendance. Generally, these churches consider employment an incidental aspect of our lives, necessary only for survival. The members insist that anyone who misses an assembly of the church to work, particularly on Sunday morning, does so for money and cannot fathom anyone doing so for any other reason. They deem any activity (e.g., household chores, shopping, etc.) on Sunday that does not interfere with worship attendance acceptable. Some members of the same congregations deem only Sunday morning worship (the communion service) necessary, while routinely missing evening and/or weekday services - either because of conflicting work schedules or distance from a faithful congregation.

Hebrews 10:24-25a says, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (KJV). Many Bible versions translate the last part of verse 25 “as the custom of some is” (ASV) or “as is the habit of some” (ESV, NAS, NIV, NRS, RSV). So, the connotation is that people were habitually neglecting the assembly of the Church. In the same chapter, the writer urged Christians not to fall away from their faith, warning that there would be no more sacrifice for their sins if they willfully sinned after receiving the gospel. My understanding of the writer’s caveat is that we should desire the fellowship of other Christians with whom we can worship God and be exhorted to daily worship God in our bodily temple in the form of obedience. I.e., love for the brethren and for God, coupled with the fear of falling into disobedience, should be our motivation for assembling as the body of Christ.


And:

I understand that we must put God first in our lives, but does this imply neglecting the needs of others? Would God be honored if we passed a stranded driver or a severe accident en route to a worship service instead of stopping to help? Would He be honored if we abandoned our job in the event the next shift failed to report on Sunday morning, especially if our job entails caring for elderly, ill or disabled populations? Some would answer in the affirmative, reasoning that people outside of the Church constitute the World, which we are not to serve. They believe that our acts of charity need be manifested only toward members of the Church, perhaps reflecting Luke 9:60 (“Let the dead bury their dead”). But, many of the people Jesus healed were not even practicing Jews. My understanding of Jesus’ response to the man who said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59) is that there is no excuse for delaying to follow him.

Since the number of faithful congregations has declined in this country, some congregants are also precluded from visiting distant family, even when a family member is ill or has died. I can’t think of any examples in the New Testament that would either support or oppose the idea that ministering to people in need, which is encouraged in the New Testament scriptures, is prohibited one day a week. While the religious leaders condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-2; Matthew 12:9-10; Luke 6:6-7), Jesus’s actions did not appear to interfere with the worship service. Nor did the actions of Jesus’s apostles when they were condemned for breaking off ears of corn to eat on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-24). Jesus did say, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27) and asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil” (Mark 3:4a)? But, these verses would not apply today if there are no longer Sabbath days to be observed. I considered the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35) because in it two religious men neglected the needs of the man beaten by robbers, but it appears they were heading toward Jericho, away from Jerusalem, so I presume they had already worshiped God or performed their religious duties at the temple.


I hope this is not too much at once. Again, my thoughts tend to be circuitous, so my brain has trouble separating ideas that can perhaps be addressed by one or two scriptures. ](*,) Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Re: Views on Worship

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:20 am
by davidedmorn
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. It is founded on the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and those who follow him are called "Christians."
http://spiritandtruthrevival.org/

Re: Views on Worship

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:26 am
by Orion
Hello Churchmouse,

Worship is a state of your heart in thankfulness and respect for God. Don't get caught up and enslaved to a particular place or time for worship. When you pray, where ever you pray, thanking God for life, the world He gave for you to live in, the circumstances your going through that is growing you, what ever. That is worship. Giving God time of day and doing what you can to have Him a part of your life has got to be as pleasing to God as children to parents.

God should not be seen as a Creator entity that you must do a weekly duty, an exact certain way, to appease or be punished and cursed. True Christianity is not a rigorous enslavement to rituals and rules. If you read the bible closely, you do find a lot of instruction but that instruction is so that all goes well in life you live with the people around you. If you love your enemies and pray for them, they will most likely not remain enemies.

The basic idea of your big question gives me the impression your trying to find a way to best please God but also gives the impression at how you can please man in the way you please God. It's like you want people approval of how to worship. If you give God time of day, He'll be pleased. What I've found over the years, is because I've given God time of day during the times that are good, He's been there for me when times are not. On the other hand, God has purposely put me through trials to grow me and you don't necessarily see it till after the fact. You look back and find that, no, I was not being cursed for some sin, but because of those experiences, I am now a much more understanding and less judgmental person.

So thank God through the good times and as hard as it is... and it is hard... thank God through the bad times also and that is worship.

Ryan

Re: Views on Worship

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:54 pm
by churchmouse
The basic idea of your big question gives me the impression your trying to find a way to best please God but also gives the impression at how you can please man in the way you please God. It's like you want people approval of how to worship.

I can assure you I am not looking for the approval of people. If that were important to me, I would have continued in the previous "church" I attended, accepting their ministry as God's chosen messengers and accepting whatever they decided was right. It was very much like a family and I still have friends in that church. But, I could not disobey God in order to please people.

I just want to understand what God expects of us in the way of assembling together. In various churches I have attended I have experienced conflicting views. The previous church I attended was focussed on methodology in aspects surrounding the ministry and the place of worship. In my studies of the scriptures, I realized that the Scribes and Pharisees were focussed on minute (man-ordained) details concerning worship on the Sabbath, while lax regarding observance of the commandments the remainder of the week. Jesus said that they "weigh(ed) men down with burdens hard to bear" (Luke 11:46).

As I debated on whether to leave the previous "church," I considered Jesus's words to the Samaritan woman in John 4:21&23 -- "an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father...the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers." I decided it didn't matter where we worshiped on Sunday as long as we obey God throughout the week. I reasoned that we can learn God's will even by hearing something false on Sunday morning if we search the scriptures to see if what we hear is sound doctrine.

As I searched for a church to attend on Sunday (planning to simply sit in the back and leave immediately at the end of the service), I found a congregation that adheres very closely to God's word. At first, there were things I thought they were wrong about but by listening to and following along with sermons and in continuing to study the Bible on my own, I have come to realize that they are right in those matters. Yet, in other matters I am not convinced they are rightly interpreting scripture. I want to make certain I have a rightful understanding and am worshiping with a congregation that is perfectly in line with God's word, so I am interested in what others believe, using NT scriptures to support their views.