Let’s be honest. Attending a service at a new Church can be more than a little intimidating. Actually, it can be downright scary. Yet if we have a general idea about what we might encounter, much of the unnecessary fear can be eliminated.
Let me just say that it is definitely worth the effort to find a good Church home. The fact is, God never intended any individual believer to live the Christian life in isolation. We were never meant to “do Christianity” by ourselves. The Bible tells us that the members of the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
WE NEED ONE ANOTHER
It is true to say that God saves each of us individually but He immediately sets each of us as Christians in a family, called “the Body of Christ” and in a visible expression of it called the local Church. This is where we can be equipped, nourished and strengthened in our faith and is the primary place where we can grow in our walk with God as disciples of Christ. Its also a place where we can use the gifts God has given us to help and serve others. Being a member of a local Church is an indispensable part of God’s intended will for each individual Christian.
A HIGH PRIORITY FOR CHRIST’S TRUE DISCIPLES
As followers of Christ, our lives should be built around the commands of Christ. As the Lord of the Church, through His Apostles, Christ summons His people to gather to worship Him together each Lord’s day, in the assembly of the saints. In obedience to Christ, participation in the weekly gathering of the saints on the Lord’s day needs to be a very high priority and focus.
Although there are many benefits for us in our assembling together, the chief reason for doing so is because He tells us to.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
As the return of Christ draws near, Scripture tells us to meet together “all the more.” This being the case, Sunday morning Church should be the first thing scheduled on our weekly calendars and not merely something that may happen if we can fit it in (after scheduling all sorts of other activities). This is both the duty and delight of His people, if indeed Christ is Lord in more than name only.
As God’s beloved children we can trust that He has only the best of intentions in instructing us to gather together to worship Him, to hear His word, fellowship with His people, and to partake of His supper. These in fact are the very ‘means of grace’ Christ has ordained to bless, feed, protect, nurture and beautify His precious bride.
JUST A THOUGHT….
If we really think about it, part of our Lord’s day worship could even be the fact that we plan ahead and seek to get a good night of sleep the night before (Saturday night). That way, our minds can be in the best possible shape to be ready and attentive to listen to His word as it is ministered in the service. I realize that this is not always possible for many different reasons outside of our control (e.g. our next door neighbor decides to throw a loud party until the early hours of the morning), but nevertheless, it is something well worth thinking about as true disciples of Christ. As much as it depends on us, each of us should do all that we can to regard worship on the Lord’s day as special, set aside, different, unique and holy – in a word, “sacred.”
Our purpose in meeting together is to worship our great God, to be equipped and strengthened by the word of God, and to serve and encourage one another as disciples of Christ.
Because of these convictions, you are likely to see the following components in a Sunday morning worship service at the King’s Church:
A CALL TO WORSHIP
We start with a call to worship. A passage from the Bible is read and we are exhorted to worship our great God, in spirit and truth.
Then we enter a time of praise and worship as we come into God’s presence with singing, celebrating who He is and His amazing grace towards us in the gospel. Our music is contemporary in style as we sing both new songs as well as more familiar hymns.
We then include a short time to welcome our first time guests and make announcements.
We then take a few moments to greet one another as we prepare to listen to the word of God.
Our worship continues as we hear a portion of the Bible read to us and then through preaching, its meaning and life application is made clear to us. We call this “expository preaching” and it constitutes the main part of our service.
THE MEANING OF THE TEXT, THE MESSAGE OF THE SERMON
An expositional sermon takes the main point of a passage of Scripture and makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to life today. This is important because it is God’s Word that convicts, converts, builds up, and sanctifies God’s people.
VERSE BY VERSE
Though on occasions a sermon can be topical (given to a particular Biblical subject or theme) we believe a normal, healthy diet for the Church comes by teaching verse by verse through entire books of the Bible. This is also a great aid in making God’s agenda rule the church, rather than the preacher’s.
Our worship continues as we give in the offering to honor God and support the work of the local church as well as mission projects locally and around the world.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a communion in the body of Christ?” – 1 Cor. 10:16
The Didache (a late first century document) 14:1 says, “On the Lord’s own day gather together and break bread and give thanks.” (Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers, 365. Interestingly, the Greek text reads Κατὰ κυριακὴν δὲ κυρίου (literally, “And according to the Lord’s of the Lord”). Κυριακὴν (“the Lord’s”) is the same word (an adjective) used in 1 Cor. 11:20 of the Lord’s Supper and Rev. 1:10 of the Lord’s Day. Holmes’ translation assumes an ellipsis, supplying “day” to complete the thought. It appears that The Didache is connecting the Lord’s Day with the Lord’s Supper.)
The early church (until the fifth century) apparently celebrated the Supper weekly (Maclean, The Lord’s Supper, 101). Whatever the case, it is important to think through the issue of frequency with the fact that the Lord’s Supper, like the word of God and prayer, is a means of grace. We therefore receive communion together as a church family each Sunday morning.
WHO QUALIFIES TO PARTAKE
1. Sinners, convinced of their sin before a holy God.
2. Repentant sinners who believe the Gospel of Christ.
3. Those water baptized upon a profession of faith.
4. Those not currently living in known sin (known and open defiance of God’s word) and are not under Church discipline in a local Church.
5. Those who see the full sufficiency of Christ to save by His life, death, burial and resurrection (by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) and come to His table to fellowship and commune with Him.
CONCERNING THE LOCAL CHURCH
Rev. Michael G. Brown writes, “The necessity of the local church for the making of disciples can hardly be overemphasized. This is our Lord’s chosen means for gathering His redeemed people, feeding them with His Word, receiving their worship, nurturing their faith, and bonding them as a community rooted and established in love (Rom. 12; Eph. 4; Phil. 1:27–2:11). The local church is a manifestation of the people who belong to Christ, and also the place where He meets them through the means He has ordained: an ordinary ministry of Word, water, bread, and wine.
Those means do not appear spectacular to the world. There is nothing particularly exciting or novel about a ministry of preaching, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. It is the same routine each week. We hear the Scriptures proclaimed, we come to the table, we sing, we pray, we enjoy fellowship, and then we go home. There are no halftime shows, no rock concerts, and no celebrity personalities. It is plain, ordinary, and even boring at times. Truth be told, it is about as exciting as watching a tree grow. But then Jesus said that the coming of His kingdom is like the growing of a tree (Luke 13:18–19).
A tree doesn’t grow by big and marvelous events but through the slow, steady diet of sun and rain year after year. The same is true with the kingdom of God. More often than not, it does not grow by what the world considers a mark of success: big buildings, big budgets, and big names. Instead, it grows in simple and often small services where the gospel is proclaimed. It grows where believers… are baptized into the covenant community. It grows where repentant sinners come to a holy meal that appears tiny and insignificant. It grows where ordinary members of a congregation love and serve one another. It grows in those late-night, unglamorous meetings of the elders as they seek to tend faithfully to Christ’s sheep.
We do not need more movements, more conferences, and more celebrities. We do not need the next big thing. What we need are more churches committed to the way disciples have been made since the Apostles planted a church in Jerusalem two thousand years ago: the slow-going, unspectacular, ordinary ministry of Word and sacrament, where God is raising dead sinners and creating a living communion of saints.”
Our Sunday morning service lasts approximately 80 – 90 minutes. Prayer and personal ministry is always available.
We hope the above comments are helpful to you. By the way, you can come in casual or smart clothes – either is fine with us. We look forward to seeing you at one of our services very soon.
A TWO HOUR DRIVE – The following is a transcript taken from the first question and answer session at the 2014 Ligonier National Conference.
Questioner: “This couple writes, ‘we live in a rural area without access to solid Biblical teaching, let alone Reformed teaching. The nearest Church with such teaching is two hours drive away. How should we choose a group to meet with and serve when we disagree with the things taught from the pulpit?’ What would you say practically to this couple?”
Questioner: “Drive two hours?”
Dr. R. C. Sproul: “Lots of people do. Its that important. If you had to go to the hospital and it was a two hour drive you wouldn’t stay home. You would go to the hospital. You wouldn’t go to a dog pound because it was convenient. Would you?
Seriously! I mean its the old thing. I learned this from a former coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chuck Noll. His phrase was ‘whatever it takes!’ and the spiritual nurture of your soul and of your children’s souls are so important that if you have to drive two hours for worship, and for instruction in apostolic truth, then that’s an obvious decision. You drive two hours, or move! But it has to be a priority in every Christian family to be somewhere where there is true worship, true gospel, true doctrine, for the sake of eternity.”
Our generation is so blessed. In contrast to former generations where access to the word of God was very rare, there are many good Bible translations available to us in the English language today. How we thank God for this. It is simply a fact of history to say that many have paid the ultimate price (forfeiting their very lives) so that we would have access to the word of God in our native tongue. Yet now, because there are so many translations available to us, if the version used from the pulpit is not the same one we have brought to the service it is often difficult to follow a preacher’s sermon. Therefore, it may be helpful to know that we mainly use the English Standard Version of the Bible (ESV) in our services.
Which Study Bible is most recommended? Again, there are a number of good ones available, but in terms of accurate translation and helpful study notes, we most recommend The Reformation Study Bible (ESV) – (the ESV text along with very helpful study notes – available in a number of formats at ligonier.org)