Living the Christian Life
Lesson 10 w/AnswersThe Discipline of Worship
We continue our Christian Living study of the Corporate Disciplines by looking at the Discipline of Worship. We will examine what worship is and how we should apply it in both our individual lives—as well as our corporate lives, that is worship within the congregation of believers each time we meet.
The Holman Bible Dictionary defines worship as "human response to the perceived presence of the divine, a presence which transcends normal human activity and is holy." It is at those very moments when we experience the presence of God, His son Jesus, and/or His Holy Spirit, that worship occurs.
Let’s look at the following scriptures and see what we can learn about individual and corporate worship.
- In terms of individual worship, read Genesis 28:16-17 and Mark 14:32-35, and note below what we can learn about individual worship.
- ANSWER 1: Individual worship is the result of a very personal interaction with the divine, and it is unmistakable when it occurs.
- ANSWER 2: Individual worship moves us to prayer or celebration, depending on the moment.
- ANSWER 3: In conjunction with the previous answer above, many times our worship turns to heart-felt prayer as we turn to God to lift a burden too heavy for us. This is a time of prayer that we only enter in when we sense God’s presence.
- ANSWER 4: Everyone experiences and worships God differently.
- Read the following scriptures and identify what they tell us regarding corporate worship, i.e., worshipping together with others: Psalm 44, Hebrews 10:25, Matthew 18:20, Acts 2:43-47 and Acts 4:32-37.
- ANSWER 1: We are encouraged to worship together, and even more during the period of time leading up to Christ’s return, as this period will require us to be strong in the Lord.
- ANSWER 2: At Creation, man was created to fellowship and worship with others—there are relationships and blessings found there that we cannot experience from just individual worship.
- ANSWER 3: Worship certainly involves praise, but it can also involve repentance and prayer for God’s forgiveness—both for us as individuals, as well as for the church body as a whole.
- ANSWER 4: When we come together in corporate worship, we become a single body, we become like Christ, and we desire to serve him in any way needed. As a congregation in worship, we are a single corporate being or entity seeking to know and do God’s will.
Much discussion surrounds worship practices in general, as well as the traditional Sunday worship practiced by so many Christians today. For example, why are we not worshipping on the Sabbath (Saturday) instead? And what about keeping the Sabbath Holy? In answer to this question, it is apparent from John's record in John 20:19 that the church began to meet on the first day of the week, Sunday, as it celebrated Christ’s resurrection on that day. In the beginning, the "church" was made up primarily of Jews who would keep the Sabbath holy and attend either a Synagogue or the Temple in Jerusalem on this day; they would then gather in people’s homes early in the week to study and pray about Christ.
As time went on, and the church separated itself from the Judaizers (those who continued to live according to Jewish customs), a purposeful attempt was made to set themselves apart from this "Jew-first": group; this included specifically meeting on Sunday rather than the Sabbath. Further, the Emperor Constantine encouraged this, as did the Nicene Council, and so nowadays we worship on Sundays.
What is most important is that we recognize God’s commandment that a day of rest and worship be set aside, and that we keep it holy. As the Church waits for its coming King, it does so by worshipping on Sundays. Again, our task is to keep it holy, to keep God and His son Jesus at the center of worship, and to meet together more often as we see the day of Jesus’ return approaching.
Have a great week everyone, and thanks for studying with us.