Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Life and Worship

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on June 15, 2013 at 10:04 am

Throughout the various debates and friendly arguments I’ve had about the Sabbath, perhaps the most annoying line of reasoning I have heard is the fellow who says, “I don’t need to observe a Sabbath; every day for me is a Sabbath!”  Whether or not you are a Sabbatarian, I hope you can see that this is simply rubbish.  The essence of the Sabbath is (or was) differentiation.  For six days do all that you must do to live.  Do it to God’s glory, yes, but do it in six days, and then – on the seventh day – do something completely different.  Anyone who pretends to have seven Sabbaths a week actually has none – and that should be evident even to those who believe that we should have none.

Regardless of where you stand on that question, every Christian ought to at least understand that God has called His people to assemble together to worship Him.  This is as clear in the New Testament as in the Old.  The Jerusalem church is described again and again as being together.  Paul and his cohorts established local assemblies, not rogue Christians who saw no need of assembly because they were in the church universal.  Christians are urged not to forsake the assembly.

The rather obvious reality is that we are meant to gather regularly to read God’s Word and to hear it preached, to sing praises and offer up prayers together as one body, to meet with God and to edify one another.  This is called “worship.”  It is, according to Hebrews 10, an entering into the presence of God through Christ – something which requires assembling together.  It is a formal audience with God.  Like Sabbath, it is something which by definition is differentiated from the rest of life.

Now it is obviously true that in all of life we serve God and glorify Him.  “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”  Paul meant “whatever choice you make in matters of liberty of conscience,” but his point is the same.  Something as mundane as eating or refusing meat can be an act of service to the Creator and should be done with His glory in mind.  But it is not worship.  There is a differentiation which comes in the assembly – that formal audience with the Almighty.

So what are we to think of the Christian who says that all of life is an act of worship?  It sounds nice, but it is unrealistic.  Replace “worship” with “service” and you have a great truth, but retain “worship” and you lose something precious by flattening the contours of the Christian life.  When you worship, your sisters and brothers – who share in the Spirit – enable you to approach God in a unique manner which should not be defined away.  That uniqueness is critical in the Christian life precisely because it cannot be duplicated.  The Christian does not duplicate it in his prayer closet; neither does the pastor duplicate it in his study.

All of life really is not worship, but consider: if life is lived in the service of God and to the glory of God, and if in that life the assembly of the Saints is our opportunity to approach God in a unique way and worship Him, is not that time of worship the crowning moment of life?  Is it not the reason for which the Christian lives?  Should not public worship be the central reality of every Christian life?

All of life is not worship; all of life is crowned by worship.

Tom Chantry, Pastor
Christ Reformed Baptist Church
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  1. Pastor Chantry,

    First Peter 2:4-10 – “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God though Christ…you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

    We are redeemed FOR worship, as we gather on His holy day, as royal priests, a single house, a special people, to proclaim His praises!

    “All of life is not worship; all of life is crowned by worship.”

    Amen!

    Thanks,

    Mike

  2. Pastor Chantry,

    I’m not sure I agree with this. Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” I could be wrong here but it seems this verse is saying worship could be somthing other than corporate worship. Your definition seems rather narrow and fails to give a full definition of Worship. I agree that the Sabbath is set apart from the other six days of the week because the Bible clearly says so. I also agree its imprtant to gather on the Lords day for worhip. But I think perhaps we need to step outside of the Reformed when trying to give an absolute definition of what Christian worship is.

    Mark Waters,

    It sounds like you seperated 1 Pet 2: 4-10 from its context. If you really believe that this verse is talking about a literal church building on such and such street, then I guess I can understand how the author of this post came to the conclusion that he did.

  3. Tyrese,

    Please forgive me if I failed to make myself clear. I do not believe 1 Peter 2:4-10 is speaking about a “literal church building,” but to the church, as a gathered assembly of royal priests, to offer up spiritual sacrifices of praise.

    Thanks, dear brother.

    Mike

  4. Tyrese,

    I’m sorry, but I don’t quite know what you mean by “step outside of the Reformed.” Do you mean we should
    1) abandon one hermeneutical grid and adopting another in order to deal with a difficult verse?
    2) ignore five centuries of theological and exegetical tradition and winging it on our own?
    3) retain a “Reformed” approach only to soteriology but adopt some other approach to the rest of theology?
    Because frankly, none of those make much sense to me, and I would need to be given a strong reason to do so. If, on the other hand, you mean we should
    4) examine all of our convictions by Scripture,
    well, then, you really need to adopt different language to express that, because such a process is solidly inside “the Reformed.”

    As for my article, at no point did I say that all worship is necessarily public and corporate, only that public and corporate worship are the main use of the concept in Scripture and are wholly indispensable. Further, I argue that “worship” (especially public but you can also apply the principle to private and family worship) is by definition a focused act, and that to imagine that we are worshiping when we wash our cars and mow our lawns is needlessly confusing. We certainly may and should do such things to God’s glory, and if we do so we are serving God, but He calls us away from our daily pursuits to focused times of prayer, praise, and preaching. We ought to use language in a way which is 1) biblical and 2) not likely to confuse us as to the central place of public worship in our lives.

    Romans 12:1 certainly urges the individual to present himself as a sacrifice to God. Exactly what is it about this verse that makes you assume that this has nothing to do with times of focused worship, or for that matter that it has nothing to do with public worship? Is your assumption perhaps the result of a modern American Evangelical hermeneutical grid? Because I would suggest that a more strictly biblical notion of worship would lead you to read Romans 12:1 a bit differently.

  5. Reblogged this on 1689reformedbaptist and commented:
    A useful post by the reformed baptist fellowship on the sabbath and Christian worship.

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