The DIALOGUE of GLORY, GRACE, GRATITUDE- Tri Pres’ Order of Worship

click on the picture above to view the video of Jeanne’s description of the blessing of biblical worship.

WHAT IS WORSHIP ANYWAY? Today, much confusion exists over worship. Many Christians have been robbed of their glorious right to biblical, reformed worship. The great blessing of biblically mandated, corporate Lord’s Day worship has been traded for pennies on the dollar for seeker-sensitive “evangelistic” gatherings or market-driven color by numbers worship for dummies. This is not the case at our church. Trinity Presbyterian Church is a reformed church. As a reformed church, we reject any definition of worship that is not reformed according to God’s word.

Rather than asking what God says worship should be, generations of American Christians have been conditioned to shop for church services that meet their subjective needs. One might think with all the emphasis on the people attending worship, then attendance at worship services would be sky-rocketing, right? Well, not exactly, by any metric, worship participation in the Western world has flat-lined and declined. Rather than becoming more relevant, worship has become dangerously irrelevant and optional for many who profess faith in Jesus.

How can this be? I believe many do not understand worship at all. Worship does not begin with the creature, but with the creator. It is not a performance or a commercial product but rather a conversation between two worlds! As one worship textbook describes it, “Worship is a time when heaven and earth meet; it is a holy conversation between the Creator of heaven and earth and his redeemed creatures.” – Hart & Muether, With Reverence and Awe.

Worship should be crafted according to God’s design in a way that is orderly and consonant with his revealed will. Worship should meet our needs. Worship does not meet our subjective needs, first and foremost, but our objective needs. Objectively, all people are made to know and worship God “(Genesis 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 10:31).” Our church’s order of worship is crafted to facilitate our objective design to glorify God.

WORSHIP AS DIALOGUE: The Bible/Word of God is the basis of our order of worship and our order of worship follows a dialogical pattern of communication from God to us, and from us to God. God leads the “dance” or worship by his written word, and we respond according to his word. See the brief outline of the dialogue below:

GOD DECLARES OUR OBLIGATION TO WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH: Each Sunday, we gather for worship by being called by God in His Call to Worship. We use a passage of scripture in the subjunctive mood to communicate God’s demand upon us to worship Him.

WE CONFESS OUR DEPENDENCE UPON THE LORD: We then pray prayers of invocation and the Lord’s prayer. In the invocation prayers, the redeemed call upon their God to bless the service and be especially present in the meeting. God is, of course, present everywhere, but as is seen in scripture, especially fills certain places with his glory.

GOD DECLARES HIS GLORY: Next, out of reverence and awe, upon God’s call and with the promise of God’s blessing, we sing hymns, psalms, or spiritual songs as prayers that describe God’s glorious attributes to Him. We’ll not only sing God’s truth back to him, but we will commonly read a lengthy passage of scripture at this time of the service, in order to be further reminded of who God is according to His Word. We let God speak to us, about himself.

WE CONFESS OUR SINS: At the manifestation of God’s holiness and majesty heard from the word of God, the next component of our order of worship is to confess our sin. We will discuss general and particular sin both publicly (with a model prayer) and privately (individually and silently).

GOD DECLARES HIS GRACE: After we have spoken back to God about our sin, we hear God’s word back to us from a scripture passage that focuses on God’s pardoning grace and mercy.

WE DECLARE OUR GRATITUDE: In this portion of the order of worship, in light of God’s mercies (Romans 12:1), we, therefore, speak again to our redeemer, offering up intercessory prayers for the needs of the church and the world; confessing our faith through creeds and a hymn of grace, and offering tithes and offerings.

GOD SPEAKS HIS WORD IN THE SERMON & THE SACRAMENT: We continue the order of our worship, following our expressions of praise by hearing again as God speaks to his people through the preaching of His word contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament and through one of the two sacraments given to the church: baptism or the Lord’s supper. These sacraments instituted by Jesus were nicknamed by Augustine as “visible words,” whereby we proclaim the death of Jesus until he returns (1 Corinthians 11; Matthew 28).

WE DECLARE OUR COVENANTAL COMMITMENT BY SINGING: Once more, in the order of worship, we all say, “Amen!” to God’s words, expressing our Amen through a hymn, spiritual song, or psalm appropriate to the theme of God’s word revealed during this particular Lord’s Day.

GOD BLESSES HIS PEOPLE BY BENEDICTION: With the last word, the dialogue of worship concludes with God’s redeemed people receiving a spoken blessing.

WE DEPART WITH DOXOLOGY: As we depart we sing praises after our gracious meeting with our God.

AN INVITATION (to Eternal Life): Trinity’s worship service may appear odd to you, at first, if you are unfamiliar, but I appeal to you to commit yourself to it, and in it you will be blessed with eternal life. Eternal life as the scripture defines it is not the escape from hell, but it is a holy conversation with our God: knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:3). We meet each Sunday at 10:30 AM at 428 W. Lindsey.

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