Day 82: Religious Worship, part 2

Westminster Confession of Faith
Chapter 21, section 6

VI. N[o] part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed [c]: but God is to be worshipped everywhere [d], in spirit and truth [e]; as, in private families [f] daily [g], and in secret, each one by himself [h]; so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or wilfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by His Word or providence, calls thereunto [i].

N[o] part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed [c]

[c] John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

The Mountain of the Lord -- select verses

but God is to be worshipped everywhere [d],

[d] Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.
1 Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

in spirit and truth [e];

[e] John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. Ver.24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

as, in private families [f]

[f] Jeremiah 10:25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.
Deuteronomy 6:6
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: Ver.7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Job 1:5
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
2 Samuel 6:18
And as soon as David had made an end of offering burnt offerings and peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts. Ver.20 Then David returned to bless his household.
1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Acts 10:2
A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Extra Credit:

In Christ we are children of Abraham, heirs of the promise made to Abraham.

  • Galatians 3:7
    Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
  • Galatians 3:9
    So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
  • Galatians 3:14
    . . . that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
  • Galatians 3:28-29
    There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. {29} And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
  • Galatians 4:28
    Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
  • Romans 4:16
    For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
  • Romans 4:13
    Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.
  • Romans 9:8
    That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
  • 1 Peter 1:23
    . . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
  • Galatians 6:16
    And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Abraham's Family - Evangelism In The Old Covenant

  • Based on the data in verses like Genesis 14:14, Folker Willeson estimates that Abram's household in may have numbered near 12,000 people: The Yalid in Hebrew Society, 12 STUDIA THEOLOGICA 192-210 (1958).

Abraham as a Model of Community and Government

There was no centralized place of worship in Abraham's day. There was no levitical priesthood. Abraham dealt with the Melchizedek priesthood. Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek. In the New Testament (post AD70), the Household, not the temple is the paradigm for worship.

  • Acts 2:46
    And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
  • Acts 5:42
    And daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 20:20
    and how I kept back nothing that was profitable for you, but have shown you and have taught you publicly and from house to house,
  • Romans 16:5
    Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
  • Romans 16:10
    Salute Apelles, approved in Christ. Salute those who are of the household of Aristobulus.
  • Romans 16:11
    Salute Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:11
    For it hath been reported unto me about you, my brethren, by those who are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:16
    And I baptized also the household of Stephanas. Besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
  • Colossians 4:15
    Salute the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church which is in his house.
  • 2 Timothy 4:19
    Salute Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.
  • Philemon 1:2
    and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house:
  • 2 John 1:10
    If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed;

Back to the Confession of Faith:

daily [g],

[g] Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

More Extra Credit:

  • Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: {7} And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. {8} And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. {9} And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
  • Psalm 5:3 My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.
  • Psalm 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.
  • Proverbs 8:30,34 then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, {34} Blessed is the man that heareth Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at the posts of My doors.
  • Isaiah 50:4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens-- wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
  • Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
  • Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
  • Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
  • Acts 19:9 When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
  • Luke 19:47 And He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy Him,
  • Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
  • Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
  • Luke 9:23 And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

and in secret, each one by himself [h];

[h] Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Ephesians 6:18
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or wilfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by His Word or providence, calls thereunto [i].

[i] Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Ver.7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Hebrews 10:25
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Proverbs 1:20
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: Ver.21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying. Ver.24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.
Proverbs 8:34
Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
Acts 13:42
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
Luke 4:16
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Is worship a momentary, weekly ceremony -- or a daily lifelong commitment?

End of Lesson, Day 82

For Further Study:

"The Holy Mountain"

"Mountain of the Lord"

"mountain of His holiness."

"the mountain of Thine inheritance"


  1. Sometimes I react intuitively to both sides of the "church" debate. I react to the high church, pseudo-Catholicism in vogue because of the implications of mind/life control (by the pope or synod), insistent pro-state advocacy, dead liturgy and church politics. I luckily never had to experience that much in a congregationalist-type setting (we had internal revolutions and church splits). At the same time I feel like Frank Shaeffer who wants apostolic succession, community, order, structure and uniformity that he found in the EOC (which sometimes isn't offered in congregationalism). Sometimes it seems that if I reject "liturgy" that I'll just generate it randomly and naively or chaotically. My experience with the house church movement has been negative. My wife's mom was involved in that (now isn't going to church at all) and it was the weirdest, most gnostic thing I've ever seen. It was more like baptized new age. These people were nuts!! My experience is that everyone everywhere is nuts!!! But so am I! hahaha. I am so confused with ecclesiology its sickening! I have everyone, everywhere telling me every which way to go on this subject! I certainly can't in good conscious, bring myself to full preterist ecclesial tendencies (which seems to lead to a no-church conclusion), and I certainly can't not want to be in church every Sunday with my family (not that you advocate leaving church commitments). I just wish God was more clear on these seemingly important/unimportant ideas.

    I really do think the "liturgical enterprise" has failed horribly, weather its EOC, RCC, Lutheran, OPC, PCA, Baptist churches or whatever... Everyone fails me right now. :P I must not be able to have what I want, and maybe what I want isn't what I need. Maybe I just have to live with the "messy room" world I live in.

    So the point of this rambling, which is hard to see (haha), is that I have a desire for a Christian world put together and I feel stuck in the middle of high church desires/hates and low church desires/hates.

    Are there any historical writers on your side of the anti-church debate?... I don't know why I have a desire for historical continuity in my thought... I just hate enlightenment tendencies.

  2. Comment Part 1:

    If we could "beam up" all the Apostles into a room, and connect them to all the churches in America via live satellite transmission, and say to the Apostles, "Gentlemen, please tell America's churches what they should and should not be doing in their regular Sunday morning worship assemblies," the Apostles would turn to each other quizzically, and then ask, "What's a 'regular Sunday morning worship assembly?'" I say that because I find no mention of "regular Sunday morning worship assemblies" in the Bible. There's one or two mentions of get-togethers that happened to be on the first day of the week, in the evening after work. I couldn't prove to you that these meetings were regularly-scheduled, or that they were more "special" than any other meetings of churches that seemed to meet "daily" in the New Testament. I can't think of an argument to support the idea that "exhort one another daily" (Hebrews 3:13) has been changed to "exhort one another on Sunday."

    So what is our purpose in gathering together on Sunday morning?

    Is the meeting itself our duty, and have we discharged our duty as Christians once the meeting is over, or is the meeting supposed to help us discharge our duties during the rest of the week? Some say it is our duty to perform a certain liturgy or worship sequence, and that's why we're there.

    I know people who left their church when drums and guitars were added to the music. There are others who believe it's a sin to have ANY musical instruments in church. There are people who have strong opinions about preachers wearing robes, some for, some against, both equally dogmatic.

    I suspect that most of these people, if they were transported through time back to Acts 20, to the home church where the Apostle Paul was preaching, would be very dissatisfied with the whole "worship service." They probably would not have stayed as long as Eutychus did.

  3. Comment Part 2:

    Is there a checklist in the Bible of things we should be doing and not doing on Sunday morning?

    Here is the checklist that comes with the edition of the Westminster Standards advertised on this page. Less than one in a million church-goers in 2010 would voluntarily join any church that followed this checklist. (Which may explain why this checklist had to be imposed by an Act of Parliament.)

    That might explain why so many home-churches are nuts: people leave churches for flimsy reasons. 2 Timothy 4:3: "Some will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

    The chapter on Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience says: God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship.

    This means I'm not only free from the commandments of men if they are contrary to the Bible, but in the case of worship, I'm free from the commandments of men if they are merely "beside" the Word, even if they are not "contrary."

    99% of all church squabbles strike me as being "beside" the Word. Musical instruments, robes, "order of worship," etc.

    So if you won't impose your personal worship preferences on me, I won't impose my personal tastes on you.

    People who sell stuff want you to believe that you can't live without their stuff. People who sell stuff have to feed their kids. We know this is true in the business world; we don't want to admit it's also true in the church world.

  4. Good point. I see what you mean.