Reformed Baptist Fellowship

“Attending Wholly upon the Worship of God”

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on February 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

Worship is the primary duty of every man toward God. Think about that statement for a moment: “Worship is the primary duty of every man toward God.” Do you agree? Probably you do. But do you live your life consistently with such a claim? Is this priority of worship reflected in your everyday life? Is it reflected in the way that you approach the public worship of God every Lord’s Day?

As Dr. David VanDrunen has pointed out in his book Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture, many Christians today view the public worship of the church as if it were a huddle in the middle of a football game or like a gas station stop on a road trip: it is a time to regroup or refuel for the “real action” which occurs elsewhere. Worship is seen as a means to another end, a mere preparation for the “real action” of the Christian life that occurs out in the world during the rest of the week. But as Dr. VanDrunen argues, “The church’s worship and fellowship are ends in themselves. Nothing that we do in this world is more important than participation in these activities” (p. 133).

John Calvin made the same point in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. He observed that in the summary of God’s absolute, unchanging Moral Law, the Ten Commandments, the first four Commandments all have to do with worship. That the duty of man to worship God is stated first is no accident: God was revealing by that order that “the first foundation of righteousness is the worship of God” (II. viii. 11).

But worship is not just the primary duty of all men; it is also the highest privilege of all believers. Standing as they do in Christ’s perfect righteousness, Christians have access to God’s holy presence in which they can even now rejoice (Rom. 5:1-11). And the best part about worshiping God under the New Covenant is that we can enter into that presence of God directly and with confidence, with no need for any mediator, any priest (Israelite or Roman Catholic), other than Jesus Christ Himself (Heb. 10:11-25).

But if all of this is true – that worship is both our primary duty and our highest privilege – then we need to ask ourselves, “Do we take our worship of God as seriously and engage in it as whole-heartedly as we should?” The Puritan “Directory for Public Worship” states that it is the responsibility of every person present, once the public worship of the church has begun, “wholly to attend upon it,” that is, to give it his undivided attention and to participate in it fully. Pastors are not priests: they cannot worship God for us. They can only lead us in worship: it is the duty of each one, then, to follow and to worship God for himself.

May God help us all to be more intentional and more engaged in every aspect of our corporate worship, to “wholly to attend upon it”; and may He draw out from our churches and from each one of us worship that is true and heartfelt, for such worship is indeed our primary duty and our highest privilege.

Jason Walter, Pastor
Christ Reformed Baptist Church
  1. Lots of food for thought. And as the Puritans pointed out so well what we do and who we are in this life is in essence a forerunner of what we will do and who we will be in the next. May God in His infinite mercy help us all to live up to who and what He calls us to be.

  2. I hope many pastors will beat this drum, not only the need to see the great privilege (as recipeants of His amazing grace) it is to meet with God in this special way, but also the need to keep the whole Lord’s day a day of rest in Him, a special time of joy.

    I really appreciate this blog especially the point made about how people feel it’s just a pit stop for the rest of the race. It’s so true, that many dear saints feel that way! When I try to talk to people about the importance of the Lord’s day it can be frustrating, dear saints who have walked with the Lord for 30, 40 years will say it’s no longer a commandment from our Lord, makes me sad, it’s almost impossible to get them to see otherwise.

    I hope and pray that the Lord will revive in the hearts of His people a great love and reverence for this special time of worship, a time to meet with our God in the assembly of the redeemed to praise, honor and glorify Him, in a way that we can’t do the rest of the week. It is indeed an act of obedience to the fourth commandment, of the law of God, the law that is holy, righteous and good. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

  3. Thank you so much for this. It is good to be reminded of what we already know but are so prone to forget.

    Coming to church on the Lord’s Day is an optional extra for so many Christians today. Very sad! As you remind us, failure to do so is not only an act of disobedience but an abuse of privilege.

  4. We would love to be able to worship with true believers in a Reformed Baptists church, but (a) there are none in our area, and (b) I am very ill and disabled, and cannot take any noise, and seldom can speak either. We know that it is right to fellowship with the saints and to worship God together, but we cannot. So, what is the alternative? We do what little we can do at home, and trust that the Lord will accept it.

    The computer has to be my worship to God, with my heart, and fellowship with the saints all around the world. My husband is my carer.

  5. I dread the day I can no longer go to church and worship God with fellow believers. It has been a very important part of my life.

  6. Dear English Rose, how wonderful it is that you are Reformed Baptist, it shows that your doctrine is pretty sound 🙂 And, how wonderful that you have your husband to care for you, that is a great blessing. Although there are no Reformed Baptist churches in your area I would encourage you to join a church that you can most agree with. Be at one with them by listening to the same messages that are preached each week. If they are a good church they will send visitors, with each weeks message, and encourage your heart. I say all this because it is God’s way of blessing His people. Being part of a local church even if it’s not the best of churches, and even if you can’t be there physically, will not only bless you but you will be able to minister to others as well, as the Lord leads. And, although you don’t speak much or can’t take noise, perhpas it would be a great blessing to George to speak the truth in love to those who come to meet your needs, both spiritually and physically. Something to consider, pray about, and wait on the Lord to lead you to a local body of believers, it is my prayer for you.

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