Scriptural Worship-Part Four

Man with hands folded on a Bible

In no way should The Lord’s Supper become a common meal.  Apparently, that is what happened amongst the congregation in Corinth.  Some members of the congregation were not observing the memorial appropriately.  The brethren there were told, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.  For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper:  and one is hungry, and another is drunken.  What?  have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?  or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?  What shall I say to you?  shall I praise you in this?  I praise you not” (1 Cor. 11:20-22).  Also, Paul mentioned, “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.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.  And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation.  And the rest will I set in order when I come” (1 Cor. 11:27-34).

          There is also a need to mention when The Lord’s Supper should be observed.  Unfortunately, there are some who believe that it is satisfactory to observe The Lord’s Supper at any time.  This is contrary to what the church did in the first century.  It is written, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7).  This was the regular practice of the church.  Each week has a “first day”, and on every “first day”, The Lord’s Supper was taken.  Today, we should follow that Scriptural example.  It would be inappropriate to offer The Lord’s Supper at a Wednesday Night Bible Study.  Also, it would not be correct to skip certain weeks and only partake on a couple of occasions a year.

          The next act of worship that is authorized in the New Testament is singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).  By inspiration, Paul explicitly stated, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19).  There is no authority given for any other kind of music than vocal singing.  Adding mechanical instruments, clapping, humming, whistling, etc. have no Scriptural authority under the Law of Christ.  When a person refers to the Old Testament as basis for adding such, we should remember that the Old Testament is not our standard of authority today (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:1-11).  The Old law has been nailed to the cross and taken away (Col. 2:14).  The melody is to be made inwardly, in the heart.  It should not be made by any outward addition to singing.  Also, the term, “speaking”, specifies what God wants.  In similar fashion, Paul wrote that the Colossian brethren were to “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” (Col. 3:16). 

          When the church worships in song, each member should be actively singing.  The instruction is “speaking to yourselves”.  This is a process that involves more than just a soloist or a choir.  By refusing to participate, a brother or sister willfully disobeys God’s command.  We should remember that God did not command that we sing with precise vocal talent, but rather that we simply sing.  Our singing is not meant to entertain us, but it is to give glory and praise to God.  With that being understood, our singing should not teach anything contrary to the Word of God.  On another occasion, Paul wrote the Corinthian brethren, “What is it then?  I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:  I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Cor. 14:15).  I should have a reasonable understanding of what I am singing.  Sadly, there are some who have decided to sing certain songs that teach false doctrines.  This is just as wrong as the preacher teaching such from the pulpit.  (to be concluded)
~ Corey Barnette