Why Do We Do What We Do in Worship? #1 - The Order of Worship
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us
offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.
Whether printed or not, viewed as “contemporary” or “traditional”, considered “formal” or “informal”, every church has a liturgy. The word liturgy refers to a standard order of events observed during a religious service. Every church does what it does in a worship service because of what it believes about God, man, and salvation.
Here at Grace and Peace we follow an “Order of Worship” that is designed for the purpose of keeping before us two essential realities: First, corporate worship has as its audience the one true and living God. Second, because we are prone to forget the good news of the gospel, corporate worship should, by its very structure and Biblical content, remind us of the gospel week after week after week.
Just as the gospel shapes the individual life of a believer, so also the gospel should shape the corporate life of the church and in particular the corporate worship of the church. As for structure, worship is a dialogue between God and his people. God speaks, and his people respond. God’s people speak, and God responds. Worship is not so much what we do (although, of course, it is that), but it is first and foremost what our triune God does. Because God, in His Word, has set forth how He wants to be worshipped, we are not free to worship Him as we think best but rather only as He directs.
Ordering our worship based on God’s directions allows the “how” and “by whom” of worship to fade into the background while the “for whom” of worship takes center stage. The basic pattern of worship is given by God, not so that we would focus on the structure, but rather so that we would be better able to place the attention of our hearts on Him, whom we are called to glorify and enjoy forever.
We will explore this important question, “Why do we do what we do in worship?”, in more detail by providing explanations for the various elements included in our worship service, things such as the call to worship, the invocation and other prayers, the singing of hymns, the confession of sin, the public reading of Scripture, the offering, the congregational prayer, the sermon, the confession of faith, and the benediction.
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 not only by virtue of the Divine omnipresence but, much more intimately, as the faithful covenant Savior . . . The end of public worship is the glory of God. His people should engage in all its several parts with a single eye 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. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
The PCA Directory for the Worship of God 47-2, 47-3