The original church of the New Testament has five distinct parts of worship. The first one is found in 2 Timothy 2:15 and 4:2 which explain that the sermon should be preached from the Scriptures. This may sound obvious but I once listened to a preacher go on and on about family and friends and read jokes and lots of unnecessary chatter, never once mentioning any scripture or Christ during his “sermon”. I was amazed that the congregation had nothing to say to this man who obviously was not there because of a calling to serve Christ.
Warnings about false teachers can be found in Romans 16:17, 1 John 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Matthew 7:15-20, 2 John 1:7-11, 1 Timothy 6:20-21, Galatians 1:8, Revelation 22:18, Colassians 2:8, Titus 3:9, Acts 20:29, and Matthew 6:1-4 to name a few. We have to be actively looking for them and questioning what we hear in order to keep from being decieved. If you find a preacher teaching one thing that is not in God’s Word, how can you trust anything he is preaching?
Financial giving, which is actually linked to fellowship, is another part of authentic worship. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 he instructs the perishioners in Corinth to collect charitable gifts the same way and level of expectation he instructed the Galatians in their letter. He mentions his instructions to Galatia in hopes of encouraging them to do the same or better in collecting their gifts.
Years ago a member of our church challenged me to give 15% of my pay each week. He quoted the scripture in Malachi 3:10 where God promises he will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings with not enough room to receive it. I was so blessed as I struggled for several months to achieve my goal of 15%. I was blessed because I prayed up my struggles and God was faithful to bless my effort. He never left my side. Even during times where there wasn’t enough money to buy gas to go to work, something always came along to satisfy the need. A few years later I was blessed to challenge a young man whose wife had recently left him to take care of their home and their two small children. He was convenced it couldn’t be done. I shared my doubts about my challenge and how I overcame them and he was encouraged to try the same. I saw him a month later and he was elated. It was working for him too. He asked how he could ever thank me and I told him to keep it up and share with someone else who needs the blessing.
When we said “we are to be a cheerful givers”, our children thought we were crazy. But as they got older and had the means to give and watch their gifts bring smiles and tears to those they gave to, they finally understood. If you’ve never felt what it is like to give someone a financial gift, you should try it. Even if it is only five bucks, I promise you, you will feel the Spirit stir inside your heart. My favorite thing to do is to give the cashier extra money as I leave the drive through and instruct her to give it to the person behind me. They smile and pass on the blessing.
There are different names for Breaking Bread. This is the next part of authentic worship. Whether you call it the Eucharist, Holy Communion, Lord’s Supper, or something else; it is correctly referred to in Scripture as the Breaking of Bread. Scripture also explains in Acts 20:7 that the Breaking of Bread should be performed on the first day of the week; every week. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 he describes the manner in which it should be performed. Some preachers say the elements of the bread and wine take on the very presence or essence of Christ himself, which is in error. Scripture clearly explains it is to be done in “remembrance” of the sacrifice that Christ made. He also explains when it is not to be taken. We are to have our hearts right with God, having no unbelief or anger toward Him. Also not to treat it as you would a common feast but instead with reverence and awe.
Praying should be a part of every sermon as well. In Acts 12:12 and 1 Thesselonians 5:17 it explains how prayer was a vital part of the original church services. Some preachers get so wrapped up in their sermon or finishing up on time that they don’t pray with their congregation. Scripture is clear that praying during the course of the service is a vital part of authentic worship.
The last part of authentic worship is to make a time for everyone present to sing praises to God. Acts 2:42, Ephesians 5:19 and Colassians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 14:15 and Hebrews 2:12, all have examples of how this should take place. They sang without any musical instrument accompaniment…only the voices of those singing. Other scripture talks about instruments being in existence and used at festivals and weddings but nothing was played during the church services.
There you have it…the five distinct parts of worship of the original church of the New Testament. As always, I welcome your comments or discussions but please reference Scripture since God’s Word is our source of truth.