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What Are the Parts of Scriptural Worship?

Acts 2:42 describes the first worship of the church: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." In other New Testament verses the parts of Christian worship are described as: (1) preaching, (2) singing, (3) communing, (4) praying, and (5) giving.

How Do Christian Worshipers Participate in the Preaching "In Spirit”?

As all true worship must be "in spirit and in truth," every part of Christian worship must be done "in spirit" or from one's heart. Preaching the Word of God must be done "in spirit." The preacher must preach the truth "in love" (Ephesians 4:15). If he speaks with the tongues of men and angels and has not love, he is like sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1). Listening to the preaching must also be done "in spirit" or in a spiritual manner. Jesus said, "Take heed therefore how ye hear" (Luke 8:18). We must give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard (Hebrews 2:1). A spirit of reverence must prevail during the preaching of God's Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The preacher is preaching from the Bible, that is from words of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13). Spiritual worship cannot be practiced by a person who is talking, laughing, or sleeping during preaching.

How Is Singing to Be Done "In Spirit”?

1 Corinthians 14:15 says singing must be done with the spirit and with the understanding. It must not be a formality or an empty ritual. It must come from the heart. Eph. 5:18-19 commands worshipers to be filled with the Spirit, to sing spiritual songs, and to make melody in one's heart to the Lord. Col. 3:l6 says to sing with grace in one's heart to the Lord. Christians must sing meaningfully in praise and devotion to God. Thoughtless or meaningless singing is vain. Our heart and understanding must be in each song, and we must live the truths we sing.

How Do We Commune "In Spirit”?

1 Corinthians 11:27 says, "Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup unworthily (in an unworthy manner) shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." Verse 29 says, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily (in an unworthy manner), eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." These verses have nothing to do with whether we are worthy or "feel worthy" to eat and drink. They are talking about a worthy or proper manner in partaking. They stress the kind of attitude or spirit in one's heart during communion.

How Does One Pray "In Spirit”?

1 Corinthians 14:15 tells us to pray with the spirit and with the understanding. Prayers must be sincere, not formal. The thoughts must come from a real sense of longing and need in one's heart. They must not come from a prayer book or memorized and meaningless phrases. Neither must the one leading prayer try to use big words or vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7-8).

How Is Giving Done "In Spirit"?

As giving is a part of Christian worship, it must be done "in spirit and in truth." Scriptural giving is done every first day of the week out of gratitude for how God has blessed us (I Corinthians 16:2). We prove the sincerity of our love by our giving (II Corinthians 8:8). A Christian's giving must not be done grudgingly or of necessity. This means that giving must be counted a privilege or joy rather than a duty or chore. It must first be purposed in one's heart; it is a heartfelt gift. It must be done cheerfully and gladly (2 Corinthians 9:7), It is more blessed (more joyful) to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). If we give all our goods to feed the poor, and even give our body to be burned, and have not love, it profits us nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). Giving is a heart-searching spiritual experience. It is done cheerfully and joyfully with thankfulness in one's heart. It is done "in spirit" or sincerely with one's heart.