God’s character shapes Christian worship. In 1 Corinthians 14, it seems that for all the charismaticism in Corinth, there was a great deal of confusion in the exercise of the many gifts present. Paul blows apart this church’s chaos in several ways, but the most telling is in verse 33a, where he says, For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. In other words, one further reason Corinthian disorder had to stop was it was incommensurate with the character of God. So disorder is outlawed from Christian worship because of the character of God, but it staggers the mind to consider how many more ways in which God’s character ought to shape our worship. As I lead our assembly in worship, I strive (imperfectly, to be sure) to put this principle into practice on a weekly basis. It is a joy to do so. I hope that we as a congregation, as we gather together for worship, will image in that worship the God we know and adore. As we do so, we also take on the very shape of that worship personally. So may holiness, love, order, knowledge, joy, truth, goodness, beauty, and glory be among the things that we can discern in both the content and forms of our worship. As our God is the God of truth and sincerity, may that too characterize our very hearts as we worship him.
In the prayer service, we will look at the next of Jesus’ prayers from the cross in Luke 23. We will once again sing “Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me.”
As I said above, the sermon is about the orderliness of Christian worship. One thing we see right away is that word order. Even as I play and order our service, it is a representation of the character of God, who is not a God of confusion, but of peace. The fact that God is a God of peace not only has implications for how we structure our worship, but that attribute of God is the very ground of our grace before him. Had God not been a God of peace, we would be surely lost, for he sent Christ Jesus to be our peace and the one who restored our fellowship with God. So praise God that he is not a God of confusion! Praise God that he is a God of peace! He himself is our peace.
Call to Worship: Psalm 5:11-12
Hymn 305 [Red] Holy, Holy, Holy
Congregational Reading: Psalm 5:1-3
Doxology: Doxology, Red 437
Congregational Reading: Psalm 5:4-8
Hymn 74 [Red] I Waited for the Lord
Hymn [Insert] The SolidRock This hymn by Edward Mote, set to the superb hymn tune MELITA by John Dykes, is a great attestation of the peace we have God. Because of our sin, we have no interest in God. We deserve his judgment and condemnation. But Jesus Christ is our “Solid Rock,” the fount and ground of our salvation. The third verse says it well: “His oath, his covenant, his blood, support me in the whelming fllod; when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the solid Rock, I stand: all other ground is sinking sand.” What greater peace is there than to know that we are “dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne”? What surer Rock, what surer anchor for our soul is there than this precious Jesus Christ, the God of peace? Praise be to God for the grace and peace that has come to us in Jesus Christ!
Scripture Reading: Job 12 & Mark 1:1-20
Hymn 343 [Red] Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word
Sermon: Worship and the Character of God from 1 Corinthians 14:26-32a
Hymn 158 [Red] Before Thee Let My Cry Come Near
After the fellowship dinner, we will gather together again for a communion service. In that service, we will sing the following hymns: “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”; “Ah, Holy Jesus” (Red 255); “Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured” (Red 261); and “The Song of Simeon” (Red 425).