What was included in the public worship services of the first century church?

Or, is everything that we do worship? While serving as the local preacher at Clayton, Oklahoma in 1962 or 1963, another young preacher and his family of the independent Christian Church came by and visited my family and me on a Sunday afternoon and evening. In our discussion that afternoon he presented the concept that everything that we do in life is worship. I said, “Do you mean that when I am washing my car that that is worship?” He said, “Yes!” I did not believe that concept then and I sure do not believe it now! If everything that we do is worship then such passages at Genesis 22:5 would not make sense. That passage states: “…Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Their worship was one thing and their traveling to and from worship was something else. Also, words of Jesus recorded at John 4:24 stresses that when we worship God there is an essential manner and way to do so. Here is what the verse says: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Two implications of that passage are as follows: first, not everyone worships God; and secondly, some who do do not worship acceptably. The basic conditions of acceptable worship, which are stated in this context, are that we MUST worship God in spirit and in truth. That is, it must come from the heart and it must be in truth. The truth in consideration is that taught in God’s Word pertaining to worship (John 17:17).

Since we are not living in the Old Testament era then we do not offer animal sacrifice or pattern our worship as they did under that period of time (Gal. 5:4). Nor are we to go beyond the pages of the New Testament to find ways to worship God (2 John 9). Within the New Testament we learn how we are to worship God in a way and manner that is pleasing unto Him. The five acts of public worship are: Singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Col. 3:16); partaking of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-29); prayer (1 Thes. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:1-4); giving upon the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:7); the study and meditating of the inspired Word of God (Acts 20:7; 1 Thes. 5:27). These are the ONLY acts of public worship! To add any other acts of worship is to do so without authority, and is being presumptuous (Psa. 19:13).

--Dub Mowery

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