New Horizons

Helps for Worship #2: The Principles of Public Worship (Part 1)

William Shishko

1. Since the Holy Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice, the principles of public worship must be derived from the Bible, and from no other source.

2. A service of public worship is not merely a gathering of God's children with each other but before all else a meeting of the triune God with his chosen people. God is present in public worship not only by virtue of the divine omnipresence but, much more intimately, as the faithful covenant Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

3. The end of public worship is the glory of God. His people should engage in all its several parts with an eye single to his glory. Public worship has as its aim the building of Christ's church by the perfecting of the saints and the addition to its membership of such as are being saved—all to the glory of God. Through public worship on the Lord's Day Christians should learn to serve God all the days of the week in their every activity, remembering, whether they eat or drink or whatever they do, to do all to the glory of God.

4. Public worship is rightly said to be divine because God is its beginning and its end. It is of him and through him and unto him.

5. Public worship is Christian when the worshipers recognize that Christ is the Mediator by whom alone they can come unto God, when they honor Christ as the Head of the church, who rules over public worship, and when their worship is an expression of their faith in Christ and of their love for him.

(From the Directory for Worship)

For Reflection

  1. How is your worship changed by knowing that it is "first of all a meeting of God with his chosen people"?
  2. How can you best glorify God as you worship today?

The author is pastor of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Franklin Square, New York. Reprinted from New Horizons, November 2005. First article in series. Next article. Index.

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