V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear [r], the sound preaching [s] and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence [t], singing of psalms with grace in the heart [u]; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God [w]: beside religious oaths [x], vows [y], solemn fastings [z], and thanksgivings upon special occasions [a], which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner [b].
The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear [r],
[r] Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
the sound preaching [s]
[s] 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence [t],
[t] James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Acts 10:33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
Isaiah 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
singing of psalms with grace in the heart [u];
[u] Colossians. 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God [w]:
[w] Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: Ver.24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. Ver.25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. Ver.26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Ver.27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. Ver.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
beside religious oaths [x],
[x] Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
With Nehemiah 10:29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes.
[y] Isaiah 19:21 And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it.
Ecclesiastes 5:4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Ver.5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
solemn fastings [z],
[z] Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.
Esther 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Matthew 9:15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
and thanksgivings upon special occasions [a],
[a] [Psalm 107 throughout]
Esther 9:22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner [b].
[b] Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Westminster Larger Catechism
Q.155. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening [m], convincing, and humbling sinners [n]; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ [o]; of conforming them to his image [p], and subduing them to his will [q]; of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions [r]; of building them up in grace [s], and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation [t].
The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening [m],
[m] Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God, distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Psalm 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
convincing, and humbling sinners [n];
[n] 1 Corinthians 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: Ver.25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
2 Chronicles 34:18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, "Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book." And Shaphan read it before the king. Ver.19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. Ver.26 And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, `Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard: Ver.27 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God when thou heardest His words against this place and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbled thyself before Me, and didst rend thy clothes and weep before Me, I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. Ver.28 Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, etc.'"
of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ [o];
[o] Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Ver.41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 8 from verse 27 to 39 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority — Ver.28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Ver.29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. Ver.30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Ver.35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. Ver.36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? Ver.37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Ver.38 — and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
of conforming them to his image [p],
[p] 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
and subduing them to his will [q];
[q] 2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Ver.5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Ver.6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions [r];
[r] Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Ver.7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Ver.10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Ephesians 6:16-17 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ver.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Psalm 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
of building them up in grace [s],
[s] Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Ver.16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Ver.17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation [t].
[t] Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
1 Thessalonians 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow-labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: Ver.10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. Ver.11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. Ver.13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 10:13-17 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ver.14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Ver.15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Ver.16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? Ver.17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
End of Lesson, Day 85
For Further Study:
- What is "Worship?"
- What are the elements of "worship?"
- Where should we "worship?"
- When should we "worship?"
- Who should "worship?"
[The following chapters or audios refer to the entire chapter of the Confession, including the Sabbath, which we will cover later:]
CHAPTER XXI. - Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day - Commentary by Gordon H. Clark
Chapter XXI. Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath-Day - Exposition by Robert Shaw
Chapter 21: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath-Day - Commentary by A.A. Hodge