Word-Shaped Liturgy

30 October 2015

A lot of Christians have forgotten that the Bible actually says quite a bit about corporate worship. It could even be argued that Scripture gives us a pattern for how we worship. And out of reverence for God, we have to be careful that we do nothing more and nothing less than what God has prescribed for us in His Word.

It’s been said, in jest, that the two sacraments for most evangelicals are singing and the sermon. Yet, there is more to our worship! And, a church that takes seriously what is laid out in Scripture, will be enriched by the spiritual formation that comes from corporate worship.

Most scholars agree that what we see in Acts 2:42 is a sample of the early church’s worship. They devoted themselves to…

* the apostles’ teaching (ie. the Word)

* the fellowship

* the breaking of bread (ie. Lord’s Supper)

* the prayers.

At Mount Hope Church, we want to commit ourselves to what Scripture calls us to. The classic Protestant articulation of this was in what was called the “Regulative Principle.”

We hear the Word (in Scripture Readings and Preaching – 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2)

We sing the Word (in congregational singing – Col. 3:16)

We pray the Word (responding to Scripture and praying back to God in line with His truth).

We see the Word (sacraments – visible pictures of invisible realities; believers baptism and a weekly Lord’s Supper)

In general, liturgy has a shaping effect upon us as God’s people. And not only that, but all of these elements declare God’s Word, and therefore spiritually shape and form us as Christians. And yet, we don’t see the Word as a set of ideas or commands. At the center of God’s Word is the gospel – the grand story of what God done to bring us back to Himself through the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ is the Key who unlocks all of Scripture. And when Christ, the living Word, is at the center – we will become more like Him.

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