Making Our Worship More Acceptable

This material is designed to help us each worship more acceptably. It is aimed not only at the men who lead us in public worship, but each of us who are commanded to worship from our heart are going to be reminded of how and why we are to worship.

This booklet is not designed to "pick apart" the worship. However I will be very blunt about those mistakes I have witnessed here at Paris Avenue and at other places where I have worshiped.

Some of what I say here will be "judgement" on my part. I hope to give us some things to think about. Your discussion of these things will help us all to consider our worship.

Most of what I present in this booklet is not judgement, it is what God demands. In these things we have no option. If you see that you are out of harmony with God..... It is you who must change.

One of the most challenging aspects of our Christian life is worship. Why is it so challenging? Because it takes concentration.

We must train ourselves to focus our attention on Him whom we glorify; especially in public worship.

This booklet is designed to assist those who take a public part in the services of the Lord's church. But we need to remember that each of us have a responsibility to worship as we are being "led" by these men. They are not doing the worship for us. This material will also help each of us to understand more completely WHY we do WHAT we do. This should make our worship more edifying and uplifting.

What does God teach us by His admonition, as well as by the examples of His dealings with His worshippers, about His attitude toward those who would try to worship Him outside of His instructions? (Consider Leviticus 10:1-7 and Acts 5:1-11)

We will be studying worship from three different views.

1. What are the responsibilities of those who conduct our worship when we assemble?

2. What are the responsibilities of the church when we worship in the assembly?

3. What are our responsibilities with regard to our private, daily, worship?


A congregation needs to study about the worship from time to time. We always have new converts; or those who have been Christians for a while but are just growing to the point of wanting to understand more about the worship. We ALL need to be reminded so that we "..... worship Him ..... in spirit and truth." (John 4:24). One of the biggest problems that a church faces is that we fall into the practice of certain things and accept them. They then become a habitual practice and accepted without question. Some of these things may be highly questionable, distracting, or misleading.

Let's enter into this study with open minds, open Bibles, and open hearts.

Are We "True Worshippers?"

Our Lord said that "true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23). These, then, are the two necessary components of true worship. We need to examine ourselves whether we are true worshippers.

"Worshipping in Truth"

A little further in this chapter, Jesus identified the source of religious truth: "If you abide in ____ ______, then you are truly _______ of Mine; and you shall know ____ ________, and _____ _______ shall make you _______."

Any meaningful search for "the truth of Christian worship" must finally resolve itself down to this question: "what is revealed in the word of truth?"

Most of those who claim to be a part of that large body the world calls "Christendom" are admittedly not too concerned with the true form of Christian worship. They use phrases like, "So long as you're sincere, what does it matter?" or "Follow your conscience, that's the important thing."

But Jesus said that the Father is interested in "TRUTH" as well as "SPIRIT."

The religion of most people can be described as a "not" hole religion. Most of the things they do in worship and other phases

of their "church activities" have been brought in through the "not" hole. "The Bible doesn't say not to do it."

It's a peculiar method of logic that finds authority for things because the source of authority does not specifically condemn them.

In Rom. 15:4, we are told, "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

What do we learn from the following examples?

A. Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1ff and Hebrews 11:4) - OMITTED

B. Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1ff) - WENT BEYOND

C. Saul (1 Samuel 15:1ff) - SUBSTITUTED

You'll recall that in 1 Sam. 15 Saul intended to sacrifice the livestock that was saved alive (v.15, 21). It wasn't as if his motives were selfish. But Samuel's words (as he spoke for God) ring clear even until now: (vv 22-23) And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much _______ in burnt __________ and _________ as in ________ the ________ of the LORD? Behold, to ______ is better than _______, And to _______ than the fat of rams. For __________ is as the sin of __________, And __________ is as ________ and __________. Because you have _________ the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king."

Zeal in religion is not enough (Rom. 10:1-3). Fervency in worship is required ---- but it is not sufficient. A big show in worship is enticing; but it's not important; nor even desirable.

"Worshipping in Spirit"

We can give the chapters and verses for our activities in worship; and we strive not to go beyond what is written. But we must also strive to practice what is written in regard to the proper spirit in worship if we are to please God.

One of the points of issue in the contemporary rebellion against "organized religion" is formalism in worship. But formalism is really a relative term. A certain degree of formality is necessary to an orderly service. Consider what Paul admonishes concerning the worship of the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 14:40. "But let ____ _____ be done _________ and in an _______ manner."

Just because there is a degree of formalism in our worship does not mean that there is no emotion. There ought always to be deep feeling and emotional response as we engage in such meaningful activity.

True Worship

Worship is a private exchange between the worshipper and God. When a public prayer is led and you bow your head and close your eyes, no one but God and you know whether you are really praying, or if your thoughts are elsewhere. When the bread and fruit of the vine are passed and you partake, no one can know whether you are meditating upon His sacrifice and what it means, or if you're thinking of something else. These activities can be edifying and uplifting experiences or they can be dead forms of ritual. The choice is up to the worshippers.

Helpful Suggestions

How can we help create more fervor in our public worship? Would it help to have a rousing "pep talk" before every service or to station "amen"-ers around the audience?

These things would become routine as well. Display and uncontrollable emotionalism are not necessary to fervency. We cannot create a situation in which everyone will easily and naturally get maximum benefit out of worship; but we can help.

Men who serve in various portions of public worship should be conscientious and do their best.

Others must realize that they will get out of the worship according to what they put into it. When one feels that he or she got nothing out of worship, then they should first examine their own heart.

Worship is not something that others can perform for you. You must be fully consecrated to the Lord to be able to worship with fervency. Those who feel no responsibility and no involvement will obviously feel no fervency.

Too often our worship is not what it should be because we're not what we should be.

Let's strive to be "true worshippers."

Questions for Discussion

1. What does the word "worship" mean?

2. Is worship restricted to certain times when brethren are assembled?

3. What applications may we make concerning the sins of Cain, Nadab and Abihu, and Saul so far as our worship today?

4. What responsibility does each individual have in the public worship?

5. What responsibilities do those who take a leading part in public worship have toward the congregation?


Praying in Spirit and Truth

Communion with God is a two-way street. God communicates to us through His revealed word. We are privileged to speak to Him in prayer. What does the His word teach on this important subject? What does it mean to pray "in spirit and in truth?"

"Praying in Truth"

This implies that there may be some false doctrines believed and practiced in regard to prayer, and in fact this is the case.

1) WE NEED TO KNOW AND BELIEVE THE TRUTH ON WHO CAN PRAY ACCEPTABLY. The popular notion is that everyone enjoys the privilege of prayer. Regardless of how wicked or unrighteous a person may be, he can call on God. He needs only to get into a bind and he can call on the Lord to come to his rescue.

What point is made by Peter in 1 Peter 3:8-12 concerning righteousness and prayer?

The Bible teaches that God is pleased to hear prayers only from those who are pleased to hear His words. That does not mean that God CANNOT hear the prayer of the unrighteous. It means that He WILL NOT hear (honor) his prayer.

What does Eph. 1:3-4 teach us concerning "all spiritual blessings?"

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has ________ us with every ________ _________ in _________ places

___ ____, just as He _______ us ___ ______ before the foundation of the world, that we should be _______ and ____________ before Him in love"

In the model prayer of Luke 11, Jesus instructed His disciples to address God as their Father in Heaven. Quite obviously, a child of the devil could not properly do this (John 8:44; Rom. 6:16).

Some point to Cornelius as an example of one who was not a Christian praying to God and being heard. Cornelius was not a child of God and there is no indication that he prayed as such. But he was desirous of Divine instruction and his prayers served as a memorial before Jehovah (Acts 10:4, 31).

Consider Psalm 66:18:

"If I regard _______ in my ______, the Lord _____ _____ ______ ____" (Psalm 66:18).

Though any faithful Christian can pray any time he or she desires, leading public prayer, such as in our assemblies, is to be done only by the men.

"Let a woman ______ receive instruction with entire _______. But I do not ______ a woman to _______ or ________ ____________ over a man, but to remain _________" (1 Tim. 2:11-12)

Does this mean that women and children can never pray aloud? or in public? No. When women are together they should pray for and with each other. When families pray together in their homes this is a perfect occasion for the father, the spiritual leader of the home, to teach each member of his family to pray.

Some religious groups regularly have women who lead in prayer over men in the audience. This violates God's instructions as well as God's order (1 Cor. 11:1-3).

2) WE NEED TO BE COGNIZANT OF WHEN WE SHOULD PRAY. The children's song says, "It isn't any trouble just to P-R-A-Y pray. So whenever you're in trouble, it will vanish like a bubble, if you'll only take the trouble just to P-R-A-Y pray."

There isn't anything wrong with the song, but that's not all of it. We are not to pray just when we're in trouble.

1 Thess. 5:17 says, "Pray without _________." This doesn't mean to pray all the time. I don't believe that it can be reduced to simply have a prayerful attitude, though such is certainly a worthy objective. It really means to pray regularly and frequently. Pray when it is easy and when it is difficult.

We need to have regular intervals of prayer. We should pray when we need something and know it, but we should also pray when we feel no urgent needs. Sometimes our prayers will be in the form of petitions -- and at other times they will consist mostly of

thanksgiving and praise. We need to keep on praying.

What do we learn from Daniel concerning his prayer habits in Daniel chapter 6?

When did David say that he prayed? (read Psalm 55:16ff)

There is no specific instructions in the New Testament concerning how many times we go to God each day, but wouldn't the examples of these godly men serve as a good indication of what God expects of us today?

It should be noted that the Christian may have an audience with God for as long as he desires. God is never too busy. It would probably be impossible for you to get an audience with the President. It would not be easy to get one with the Governor. But

the God of the universe has literally all the time in the world.

The Christian can pray anywhere he happens to be, whether in a church building, a factory, a car, bus, airplane, or anywhere else.

3) WHY SHOULD WE PRAY? God tells us to. That's enough for the faithful child of God. If it were no more than a command and if no blessings were connected with prayer, the fact that God commands it would be sufficient reason. But, prayer is also a glorious privilege. In prayer we commune with God.

Prayer provides the opportunity to GIVE THANKS. If we feel gratitude for the gracious, bountiful hand of God, we should be anxious to say, "Thank you."

What are some of the things that we should be anxious to thank God for on a regular basis?

We can also ask God for His help and Divine guidance. God wants us to appeal to Him for help rather than depend on ourselves. God expects us to depend upon Him now that we are His; and He has promised to take care of us.

What are some Bible examples of men petitioning God?

Read Psalm 86. What was David praying for in this Psalm?

It seems the men of the Bible prayed more prayers of praise and devotion than for God to bless them with fulfilling their needs. Look at some of the prayers of the Bible and see what you think. If this is so, how should we change our prayers (both public and private)?

4) TO WHOM SHOULD WE PRAY? Many today have the wrong concept concerning who we are to pray to. Some teach that we are to pray to, or through, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Some teach that we can talk to a special "saint-hood." Still others believe that we can pray to anyone who has died. They talk to their husband, wife, mother, or father who has died.

There is no example or instruction in the scriptures to pray to anyone but God. It is only God who has the POWER to hear the prayers of the whole world. It is only God who has the POWER to individually consider and answer those prayers. The state of being God is so high above man that it cannot even be compared.....

"Because the __________ of God is _______ than men, and the ________ of God is ________ than men." (1 Corinthians 1:25)

Consider 1 Corinthians 2:11-16.

inspired instructions of God's Word concerning prayer to worship Him in "truth."

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all referred to as God.

Galatians 1:1 and 2 Corinthians 1:2 (and many other passages) teach that _____________ is God.

Acts 20:28 and Romans 8:9 (and many other passages) teach that ______________ is God.

Acts 5:3-4 teach that ______________ is God.

We have examples of prayer being made to the Father (Colossians 1:3). I know of no one who would deny that we can pray to the Father.

We also have examples of prayer to the Son (2 Cor. 12:7-10; Acts 7:58-60; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 John 5:13-14). Some Christians believe that since Jesus taught the disciples to pray to the Father that all prayer must be addressed to the Father. However, we must keep in mind that when Jesus taught His disciples to pray (Matthew 6 and Luke 11) in what is referred to as "the Lord's prayer," He, as well as they, were living as Jews under the Old Covenant.

Since there is no example or mention of prayer to the Holy Spirit we have no authority to do such.

Our worship must be "in spirit and in truth." We must follow the

"Praying in Spirit"

In Luke 22:44 the scriptures tell us that Our Lord "was praying very fervently." Do you suppose that this prayer was one that was emotionless? as if being recited?

In Acts 12, when Peter was in prison, the scriptures tell us, "So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God."

This is an area in which we fall short. Especially is this true in our public prayers. Not often do we hear real fervency expressed in our assemblies.

I do not want to make anyone self-conscious. Nor am I judging the hearts or sincerity of anyone. And I know that when a man leads in prayer that he is sometimes nervous. But we must deal with this important Bible topic. We certainly do not want to "generate" insincerity by suggesting that we "fake" what we do not feel. However, when we pray we should express ourselves with fervency and the proper emotion. I fear that we have run so far from the "out of control" emotionalism that is common among the Pentecostal denominations that we are afraid to express our true emotions.

Our new Christians (and our children) copy what they hear. If we have become "cold" to expressing genuine fervency. They will learn to stifle their zeal as well.

You and I can take steps to remedy this poor situation. The first step is to recognize the need, the second is to become more fervent in our prayers. Here are some suggestions:

1) PRAY TO GOD We should never forget that God, not man, is the object of our prayers. We should approach the Almighty God in a spirit of humility. We should always remember that prayer is one of the greatest privileges and spiritual blessings that He gives us. Therefore, God should not be addressed as if we were talking to our neighbor. He is God and deserves our respect.

"......the Lord your God is in your midst, a ________ and _______ God." (Deut. 7:21)

"And I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, 'Alas, O Lord, the ________ and _________ God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments..." (Dan 9:4)

In our private prayers we should be fervent. When we pray together as a family our prayers should be fervent. Then when we assemble it will be only natural for us to be fervent

Men, before leading others in prayer we should consciously resolve (if necessary) to pray to Him and not so as to impress people. It is hard not to consider how we "sound" to our brethren. But, it is vital that we consider how we "sound" to God.

Those leading prayer should focus their attention upon God and His "greatness" and "awesomeness."

2) LEAD IN PRAYER. When leading in prayer, we should strive to do just that. Speak distinctly and loudly enough to be heard. Much of the time when men lead prayers from their seats they cannot be heard by all of the congregation.

Men, it has been asked of you to come to the front of the auditorium to word the prayer for us. This is so that we can all pray with you. If for some reason you cannot come to the front of the auditorium, turn toward the audience, speak loud enough for your voice to carry to the other side of the room, and hold your head so that you are not speaking into the floor.

There are matters about which one might pray privately that would not be appropriate in the assembly. It is better in leading prayer to speak in the plural, "We pray," rather than the singular, "I pray..."

3) AVOID CLICHÉS. We should strive for more freshness and originality of expression. It's not that there is anything unscriptural about such phrases as, "Guide, guard and direct us;" or "if we have been found faithful;" or "that we partake in a way and manner that is acceptable in Your sight;" or "Go with us to our respective places of abode;" or "Bless those for whom it's our duty to pray", etc., but these phrases, and many others, have become so repetitious that they tend to attract attention to themselves rather than the concepts they represent. They tend to make our prayers empty and boresome instead of fresh, edifying, and uplifting.

A good rule to follow is to just be sincere and natural when praying. Speak to God with the same terms and expressions that are familiar in your normal speaking patterns.

4) BE COGNIZANT OF SPECIFIC NEEDS. Too many times someone will ask for the prayers of the church because of some need in their life. When the prayer is prayed there is no mention of that need. If we know of some need within the congregation, (i.e. members who are ill, bereaved families, some program of work that the church is engaged in or will be engaged in, etc.) then pray for these.

Perhaps we should be in the habit of writing those specific needs down as they are requested. If we know we are to word the next prayer, we should be very careful to remember those prayer requests. (Each one of us should make note of those requests so that we can continue to pray for them after we leave the services.)

5) KEEP IN MIND THE PART OF SERVICE THAT YOUR PRAYER IS IN. If you are called upon to dismiss with prayer, say words appropriate to that part of the service. If called upon to give thanks, give thanks. It isn't necessary to reiterate everything that has been said in a previous prayer.

Many times there is little difference between the opening prayer, the closing prayer, and sometimes the prayer of thanksgiving at the Lord's Supper.

What are we praying for at the beginning of our worship services (opening prayer)? Make a list of those things you feel are important to be included in that prayer........

What do you think should NOT be included in that prayer?

What are we praying for at the end of our worship services (dismissal prayer)? Make a list of those things you feel are important to be included in that prayer........

What do you think should NOT be included in that prayer?

What should be included in the prayer at the Lord's Supper?

What should be excluded?

6) LEARN TO PRAY. Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus is still the master teacher and His word is the only adequate textbook for the Christian. Those who are called upon to lead public prayers should give some thought and study to the subject. Anything worthwhile is worth spending a while on, and anything worth doing is worth doing well.

7) LIVE A GODLY LIFE. This is the secret of true, fervency. The reason some cannot offer public prayers is because they do not pray in private. They cannot pray fervently that the work of the church go forward because they are not concerned enough about it to help it go forward.

If we are really involved in the work, it will be easy to pray "IN SPIRIT" as well as "IN TRUTH." Jesus said, "Were your treasure is, there is your heart also."

8) BE REASONABLE IN LENGTH. The occasion of the prayer may dictate to an extent just how long "reasonable" is. The application of common sense will probably help as much as anything else.

Many times the prayer continues too long because the man who is leading that prayer cannot find the words to end the prayer. There is no set cliché or format in closing a prayer. Simply say, "Amen."

When a man knows he is to be called upon to pray, and he prepares himself; there is rarely trouble with the prayer "running on" and being repetitious.

9) BE DOCTRINALLY SOUND. A prayer MUST conform to the truth just as a sermon should. It's just as wrong to pray false doctrine as it is to preach false doctrine.

Let's look at some examples. What is wrong with each of the following.....

A. The prayer throughout is being prayed to the Father. ("Our Father, we pray for.....") then the prayer is closed with, "In thy name." - Col. 3:17

B. Prayer is made to the Father at the Lord's Supper .... Thanking Him for dying on the cross for us.

C. Prayer at the Lord's Supper consists of the following.........

1) Thank You for sending Jesus 2) Help us each to look back at our own lives as we look at Jesus' life 3) We pray that we each partake in a way and manner that is pleasing in your sight. d) amen. (Compare to Jesus' prayer at the giving of the Lord's Supper -- Matt. 26:26ff; Mk. 14:22ff; Lk. 22:14ff)

D. "We pray that the Christians in other denominations will have a chance to hear the truth....."

10) BE HUMBLE AND SINCERE AND TRY TO SOUND LIKE IT. Some pray as if they are talking down to God and telling Him what to do. Some others seem to display indifference in their tone and delivery. It may be that such attitudes are not actually in the hearts of all who seemingly manifest them, but certainly it is difficult for those who listen to pray sincerely when it sounds as if he who leads the prayer is not sincere.

11) THE USE OF "THEE," "THOU," & "THY." Some contend that these old English phrases should be deleted from our prayers. Others say that they represent the most beautiful poetic expression and should be used in addressing Deity.

It's significant that in the Greek scriptures the same pronouns are used in addressing man that are used in addressing Deity. It seems that this fact would destroy the contention that special language must be used in addressing Deity today.

Probably the best advice is to do what seems most natural and comfortable for you. This is not something that is bound by God's law. However, if you chose to use the pronouns, you should make sure that you use them properly. Many times the wrong tense, or even the wrong word is used because the one praying is unfamiliar with these archaic terms.


We must keep in mind that according to John 4:24 there are two essential elements to proper worship. It must be in truth (i.e., according to the proper form and teaching) and it must be in spirit (i.e., with the right attitude).

In practically every congregation there will be some who "honor (God) with their lips but their heart is far from (Him)" (Matt. 15:8). This fact should not hinder YOU and me from worshipping. Worship is an individual responsibility and privilege.

It may be that someone leading a public prayer will make a mistake. He may state an unscriptural fact or make a request for something that is not exactly right. Such may be done through nervousness or ignorance; but such should not keep me from praying.

Every person who takes a public part should do his very best to conduct his speech and actions according to the truth. But if a mistake is made, God knows our frame and frailties. The end of the world has not come. He who has erred should simply resolve to profit from the mistake and not repeat it in the future.

Our concern should be in making sure that our worship of God is according to His word. If someone makes an error, it should be pointed out to him in love. If being corrected, we need to be thankful that someone cared enough to help us serve God more carefully.

Questions for Discussion

1. Is it important for men to come to the microphone to word the prayer? Why?

2. What "prayer clichés" can you think of that were not mentioned in this lesson?

3. What unscriptural things have you heard said in prayers?

4. Do you believe that it is necessary that each prayer contain the words, "in Jesus' name" or words to that effect? Why?

5. What suggestions do you have that would help the men to better lead in prayer better?

(NOTE: More will be said in the section on the Lord's Supper concerning the giving of thanks for the bread and cup.)


Partaking of the Lord's Supper

in Spirit and Truth

The Lord's Supper is one of the authorized elements of worship. It was instituted by our Lord before His crucifixion (Matt. 26; Mark 14, Luke 22). After the establishment of the church, we read that Christians "continued steadfast in .. breaking of bread..." (Acts 2:42). In 1 Cor. 11:20-34 the saints at Corinth were reproved because they were not observing the supper according to the established order.

Let us consider some things involved in partaking of the communion IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH:

"Partaking of the Lord's Supper in Truth"

First, what is the correct action? What is the proper form? Our authority is the Word of God, the Bible. Our goal should be to understand and apply all that it reveals and then stop.

1) DESIGNATIONS In the New Testament we find this memorial supper referred to as {A} The Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:20), {B} The breaking of bread (Acts 20:7), and {C} The Communion (1 Cor. 10:16).

Other names are unscriptural. The word "sacrament" is used by the Roman Catholic Church with reference to seven items including their version of the Lord's Supper. The term "Eucharist" (which is derived from a Greek word meaning the giving of thanks) is also of Catholic origin and is not a scriptural designation. We should use scriptural terminology in our remarks and prayers concerning this act of worship.

2) ELEMENTS. Read Matt. 26:17ff; Mark 14:22ff; and Luke 22:14ff. Identify the elements used by our Lord in His institution of the memorial supper. It was to these items He referred when He said, "This is My body.. this is my blood."

The elements were:



What "recipe" for each must be maintained? Give your reasoning.

3) TIME. In Acts 20:7 we learn that the early disciples "came together upon the first day of the week to break bread." The Apostle Paul was present in that city and assembled with them, so the passage would certainly constitute an approved apostolic example for partaking upon the "first day of the week."

Apparently this was a regular day of assembly for those disciples in the first century. In 1 Cor. 16:1-2, the saints in Corinth were commanded to "lay by in store upon" this day. Some English translations render this passage, "upon the first day of EVERY week..." This is the import of the original language.

Those disciples assembled on the first day the week. They assembled on the first day of every week. When they assembled they were said to have come together to "break bread." It stands to reason, then, that they came together every Sunday to "break bread." A parallel in the Old Testament is the command to "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8) Though the children of Israel were not told to "keep every SSabbath day holy" in so many words, they realized that they were to keep the

Sabbath holy as often as it came. Likewise, we assemble upon the first day of the week, as often as it comes, to "break bread."

Some modern paraphrases and translations of the Bible (such as Today's English Version and the New English Bible render Acts 20:7, "upon Saturday evening" instead of "upon the first day of the week," This is based upon interpretation and not translation.

The same words in the original Greek found in Acts 20:7 are also found in:

Matt. 28:1, "Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward ____ _____ ____ __ ____ _____, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave."

Luke 24:1, "But on ____ _____ ____ __ ____ _____, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared."

1 Cor. 16:2, "____ _____ ____ __ ____ every _____ let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come."

Those who would interpret Acts 20:7 to be Saturday accept the fact that the above passages refer to Sunday. The same words cannot mean Sunday in one place and Saturday in another.

This mistranslation in Acts 20:7 is based upon the assumption that Jewish time was being used in translation. The days were reckoned from sundown to sundown according to Jewish time. Thus, the first day of the week would begin on our Saturday at sundown.

The context shows that Roman time (same as ours, midnight to midnight) was being used. If they had come together on our Saturday (Jewish time), then Paul would have had to wait until the next evening to "depart on the morrow" (v. 7). But he left the following morning (v. 11). Had they come together before sundown on Saturday, it would not have been the first day of the week by either Jewish or Roman time.

4) PARTICIPANTS ARE CHRISTIANS. Non-Christians have no fellowship (communion) with the Lord. (2 Cor, 6:14-18) However, churches of Christ do not practice what is called "closed communion". We should realize, however, that though anyone may eat bread and drink the fruit of the vine, one cannot really commune with the Lord, have fellowship with Him, and receive spiritual blessings unless he is a member of the Lord's Kingdom.

What did Jesus teach in Matt. 26:29 concerning WHERE He would partake of His memorial with His disciples?

What is the kingdom of Christ? (Be prepared to prove your answer from the scriptures.)

5) WHAT IS THE LORD'S SUPPER? I feel that if we can grasp the seriousness of the answer to this question it would resolve many issues about its observance in the church today.


1. Why is it called "The Lord's Supper?" (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-27)

2. Why is it called "to break bread?" (Acts 20:7; Acts 2:42)

A. Does "to break bread" always refer to the Lord's Supper?

B. What about Acts 2:47?

3. Why is it called "Communion?" (1 Corinthians 10:14-22)

(The word that is translated communion is the same word from which we get "fellowship." This same Greek word is also translated "sharing." [see 1 Cor. 10:16])

A. With whom are we communing?

1.) John 6:52-58; Matt. 26:26; 28

2.) Consider the text (and context) of 1 Corinthians 10:14-22.

B. Some might say that we are only communing with each other in the local church. What do you think? Why?

C. Some might say we are only communing with Christ. What do you think? Why?

D. Some might say we are communing with Christ and all others who are in fellowship with Him, wherever they may be. What do you think? Why?


A. To the bedfast in their homes?

B. To the elderly Christians in nursing homes?

C. To your family while on vacation?

D. Four Christians in a fishing boat on Sunday morning?

Let's consider the particulars of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.

1. What is the problem that Paul is addressing? (vv. 18-19)

2. How was this problem manifesting itself? (vv. 20-21)

3. Where did Paul say that the common meal should be eaten? (vv. 22 & 34)

4. Where did Paul say that the Communion should be eaten? (vv.17-18, 20, 22, 33-34)

A. What does Paul mean, "When you come together as a church?"

1.) Is he speaking of the church in the distributed sense (all the saved on the earth)? How do you know?

2.) Is he speaking of the local assembly of Christians? How do you know?

B. What are the properties a local church?

1.) In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst." In this the church?

a.) consider vv. 15-17, does two or three people coming together for a common purpose make a local church?

b.) consider also WHO Jesus is talking to. Consider all of vv. 18-20

2.) Does the local church have an ONGOING mission (work)?

3.) Does the local church have a treasury to work from?

4.) Does the local church have permanency in a locale?

5.) Does the local church have regular meeting times?

6.) Does the local church have an organization?

C. Now let's consider again the questions on the previous page?

Where can the Lord's Supper be served? (Remember; Paul said, "when you come together as a church" [v. 18] and when "you come together" [v. 17 & 33] and "when you meet together" [v. 20])

To the bedfast in their homes?

To the elderly Christians in nursing homes?

To your family while on vacation?

Four Christians in a fishing boat on Sunday morning?

7) THE SUNDAY EVENING COMMUNION QUESTION has plagued churches for many years. Should the church serve the Lord's Supper at the evening service? We are at peace over this issue at Paris Avenue though we don't all agree. Someone might ask, "Why then do you open the 'can of worms?'" Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment." Certainly, we are to continue to study this issue from time to time.

I am confident that we will remain at peace.

basically there are three views:

A. There is no authority for a second serving of the Lord's supper on the first day of the week. If someone misses the morning service for reasons that are acceptable to God, they He excuses them from partaking of the Lord's Supper.


B. The Lord's Supper should be offered at each service of the church on the first day of the week. Since it is still the first day of the week, and the Lord's Supper is to be partaken of in the assembly, and we are once again assembled, then the church has the obligation to offer it to those who had not already communed with the Lord.


C. This third view is very rarely held. It states that the Lord's Supper is to be offered and taken by all who are assembled at each meeting of the church on the first day of the week.

The Problem as I See it.......

Why has this been such a problem in the Lord's church over the past several decades? I believe the problem involves the fact that we have no record of the first century church meeting on more than one occasion on the first day of the week. We, then, are left with the question, "What would they have done?" The response is obvious..... We don't know! We each may have OUR ideas and conclusion on what they probably would have done, but we would each have to admit that WE HAVE NO INSPIRED REVELATION to guide us.

What each church must do, then, is to decide for themselves what they should do. No other church should interfere.

Let's look at each of the three conclusions and try to determine which conclusion is more logical.... keep in mind, though, that we may not all agree.

What SCRIPTURAL principles need to be considered with each? Give those scriptures that you feel would authorize each (if any) or what scriptures you feel would be violated by each (if any).

FIRST: There SHOULD NOT BE a second serving of the Lord's supper on the first day of the week.

---------What SCRIPTURAL principles need to be considered?

SECOND: The Lord's Supper should be offered at each service of the church on the first day of the week.

---------What SCRIPTURAL principles need to be considered?

THIRD: The Lord's Supper is to be offered and taken by all who are assembled at each meeting of the church on the first day of the week.

---------What SCRIPTURAL principles need to be considered?

8) THE SERVING PROCEDURES have also been called into question. As we study God's Word together let's examine how we should carry out the serving of the elements.

A. How many cups should be used? (Consider Luke's account carefully)

B. Should the bread be "broken" by the men who are serving it? (Read all three accounts before you answer)

C. What is the purpose of the statement made by the one who is directing the worship at the Lord's Supper table? (We will get into the particulars of what is said in the next section)

D. What should be the content of the prayers at this part of our worship? Look at the example left by our Lord in all three accounts.

"Partaking of the Lord's Supper in Spirit"

We have tried to cover HOW we should partake of the Lord's Supper in TRUTH. Now let's examine what attitudes are we to possess as we engage in this spiritual activity. Some answers are given in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 as well as Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22.

A. What are we to be thinking about (remembering) as we partake of these emblems?

B. What did Paul mean by telling us that we should "examine ourselves" we partake? (1 Cor. 11:28).

C. What does it mean to partake in an "unworthy manner?"

(1 Cor. 11:27)

D. What are the consequences of partaking in an "unworthy manner?"

Some Suggestions for those Men Who

take a Public Part:

No one can do another's worshipping for them. But those who accept the responsibility of taking a public role in this part of the service should realize that they may either help or hinder the worship by the things they say and do.

1. Before we partake a short statement of what we are about to do, and its significance, can be very helpful. There are almost always visitors in the audience who are not familiar with the New Testament practice. Also, there are new Christians who may not be fully aware, and need to be reminded.

2. A short scripture reading can be helpful. It doesn't have to be from Matt. 26 or 1 Cor. 11 every time. A reading from one of the accounts of the crucifixion, or of the resurrection, or of any of the numerous statements in the epistles that speak of those events, or a short reading from Isaiah 53, or Psalm 22, etc., concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus will help the congregation to worship in the proper spirit. Be prepared with what you are going to say well in advance of your getting before the church. Read the scripture to yourself several times services so that you will be fully aware of its content.

3. Prayers should be a simple, short, giving of thanks. Compare the three accounts and you will see that Jesus "took bread and gave thanks" (Luke 22:19). This is not the time to thank God for the beautiful day and to pray for the leaders of the land and for the forgiveness of our sins. This is the time to thank God for the bread and to thank Him for the cup. Other petitions that are

connected with this act of worship may be in order, but make sure that you give thanks for the bread and the cup. That is the pattern that we are following. I've noticed that many brethren give thanks for everything including the opportunity to partake of the bread and cup and never do get around to expressing thanks for these elements of the Lord's supper.

Also, it seems that it is almost universal that each prayer ends with, "that we partake in a way and manner that is pleasing in Your sight." There is nothing wrong, per se, with that statement; however, that statement being made EVERY TIME we partake leaves the impression with the new Christians that it MUST be said. Also, when a phrase is overused, stated the exact same way by each one leading in prayer, it appears to be by rote rather than from the heart.

3. Be dignified and quiet in the moving of containers. In most cases it is nervousness that causes brethren to crash and clang the Communion trays around. Even so, I believe that a reminder may help us to remember to move a little slower and to be more careful.

4. Be doctrinally sound in your comments and prayers. It seems that more questionable and false statements are made in this part of the service than any other. I don't say these things to embarrass anyone. But, this situation needs to be improved, who of us has not heard brethren thank the Father for the giving of His life or for the cup which represents His blood? Surely we know the difference between the Father and His Son. Too many times scripture is alluded to and totally misstated. Many times stating things as fact that are not a part of God's Word. One man stated, "Jesus pulled the beard from His face.."

Questions for Discussion:

1. Most of the denominations are "Premillenial" (believe that the Lord is coming back to establish His kingdom). Since the Lord's Supper is to be partaken of with Him in His kingdom, does it seem odd that they partake at all?

2. Do you feel it is more advantageous to have the Lord's supper before the sermon or after the sermon? Do you feel that it makes any difference?

3. Are there seldom used scriptures that you feel would be especially suited to this occasion?

4. What about songs preceding the Lord's Supper? Do you believe that some have been overworked? Are there some that are seldom sung at this time that would be appropriate?

5. Why do we not take the same time and care (singing of a song, scripture reading, etc.) with the evening communion service as we do the morning service?

6. What unscriptural or questionable statements have you heard in prayers and remarks in this part of the worship?


Giving of Our Means

in Spirit and Truth

Giving of our means to the Lord is one of the most personal acts of worship that we engage in on the first day of the week. It is one of the ways in which we bow before our God. Let us consider what is necessary in order to give in "spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).

It is here that we have an opportunity to show the Lord how much He means to us.

"Giving in Truth"

1) WHO IS TO GIVE "upon the first day of the week?" When you read 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 who is it that is to "put aside and save" (NAS) "lay by in store" (KJV)

A. Who is Paul speaking to?

B. Are we to solicit non-Christians to give? Why?

C. What should we do if a non-Christian is in our assembly and puts money in the collection plate?

D. What must one first give to the Lord? (2 Corinthians 6:5)

(When this is accomplished, the other gifts will follow naturally.)

E. Does the phrase "...let every one of you..." demand that both husband and wife drop something into the plate?

F. Should they discuss with each other and plan the amount that is being given by them?

2) WHEN SHOULD WE GIVE? We recognize that most religions take up a collection every occasion that they meet. The only example we find in the New Testament of when a collection was taken up was "___ ______ _____ __ ____ ______."

A. Some, in recent years have questioned the authority of 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 as applying to us today. Since this was a collection for the "needy saints," and it was to be sent to Jerusalem, should we apply this as our pattern for the collection? (Be ready to explain your answer.)

B. What other times do the scriptures teach that we could give?

3) HOW MUCH SHOULD WE GIVE? Many religions assess a "tithe." Some even bill their members based upon their income. What is the pattern that we should follow?

A. How much did Paul say we should give in 1 Cor. 16:1-2?

B. What does the New Testament teach about "tithing?"

C. Who then, is to make the decision on how much we give?

Tithing (assessing ten percent of all that one has to be given to the Lord, Lev. 27:30ff) was required under the law of Moses, and at least a couple of things are usually overlooked in regard to that Old Testament law: 1) The Jew gave much more than ten percent when all tithes, freewill offerings, sacrifices, and thank offerings are counted; 2) The tithes of the Jews not only constituted religious contributions, but civil taxes as well. The Jews lived under a theocracy and their tithes helped maintain their civil functions.

I have heard teaching that would almost dictate that if we didn't give a MINIMUM of ten percent of our gross income, we were cheating the Lord. Though I believe this principle could be a logical guide, we cannot impose such on anyone.

God is more concerned with HOW we give, rather than HOW MUCH. If we give with the right understanding and attitude....the HOW MUCH takes care of itself.

"Giving in Spirit"

1) WE MUST GIVE WILLINGLY. What must be present in our giving to make it acceptable to God? (2 Corinthians 8:12)

If one has a willing mind, the rest is easy. If he does not, he may as well not give. Someone may ask, "Should I give 'till it hurts?" Our Lord would respond, "No, give 'till it feels good."

What two words in 2 Corinthians 9:7 show that we should not be "pressured" into giving? "not ________________, nor under _____________.."

2) WHO ARE WE GIVING TO? If we can clearly understand this truth, there it will be easy to give willingly. We understand that the Old Testament is a "shadow" of those things in the New Testament (Hebrews 10:1). We cannot understand the principles of the New Testament without understand the purpose behind God's teaching in the Old Testament. (Romans 15:4)

A. To whom was the offerings of the Old Testament given?

1. To whom was given the Sabbath gifts? the votive (vowed) offerings? the "free will" offerings? (Lev. 23:38) em>

2. To whom was the "dough" (meal) offerings given?

(Num. 15:21)

B. The priesthood was to be supported from the gifts and offerings of the people. But, to whom were these gifts and offerings first given? (Read carefully Numbers 18:8-20)

Today, when some people get angry because of some decision that the church has made, or something that the preacher says, they determine they will not give; or they will cut back on their giving. Who are they taking it from? THE LORD!! They may be mad at someone in the church, but they take it out on the One who sacrificed so much for them. THEY ARE PUNISHING THE WRONG PARTY!!

Why do we say, as we are about to take up the Lord's collection, that we are "giving to the church" or "giving so that the work of the church may continue?"

Our giving is FIRST to the Lord, the church follows HIS DIRECTIONS in how it is to be administered. BUT OUR "OFFERING" is to Him. It's intention is to show our love for Him.

We need to guard what we say and the impression that we leave. When we think that we are simply giving into the treasury of the church... we are not worshipping Him as we should. When we can say with our hearts as we give, "Thank You Lord, This is how much I love You." Then we will be giving with the right motives and spirit.

3) WE MUST GIVE PURPOSEFULLY. What does Paul say about "purposeful" giving in 2 Corinthians 9:7?

A. What does it mean to "purpose in your heart?"

B. When is the decision of how much you will give made?

C. Should a loving gift be given, on the spur of the moment, without any forethought?

4) WE MUST GIVE ACCORDING TO LOVE. From John 3 and Gal. 2:20 we learn that the gift is commensurate with the love that one possesses. But, isn't that the purpose of giving, even in the fleshly realm?

A. Why did the churches of Macedonia give so bountifully, even above their means? (2 Cor. 8:1-5)

B. With what attitude did they give? (v. 2)

C. Why wasn't this a burden to them?

D. What kind of a "giver" does God love? (2 Cor. 9:7)


Even though our gifts are to be freely given, with love, and not under compulsion, God warns us of what will happen if we fail to show our love for Him in this regard. This is not because He NEEDS our gift; nor is it because He is covetous for what we have. It is because He knows that WE NEED to give to grow.

A. Where do our good things come from? (James 1:17)

B. What did God say concerning the "tithes" of the Jews in Malachi 3:5-10?

C. Read the context. What had the Israelites done wrong?

D. How does that revelation of God's heart relate to what Paul says in 2 Cor. 9:6-12?

6) A SUGGESTION - Even though our giving is to the Lord, we need to be informed about the work that the church is engaged in. We need to be working in it; praying for it; encouraging others to be involved, etc. We can't do this if we don't know what's going on. This can be accomplished by a monthly report being made to the church by one of the men; printing a report to be passed out; or any number of other ways. But it is YOUR responsibility to find out. Make it your business to ask. We are to be co-laborers together with our Lord. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Questions for Discussion:

1. How often do you feel the subject of giving should be preached on?

2. Since God required 10% (tithing) in the Old Testament, should that be any kind of a guide for us today?

3. When we sit down with our family to discuss how much our contribution should be for the coming year, what factors should be taken into consideration?

4. If we figure our giving based upon our "take home pay" (after taxes), then what should we do when we get a tax refund check?

5. When going out of town on vacation what should we do with our offering?

6. Should vacations, holiday spending, or the desire to make a major purchase cause us to lower our offering to the Lord?

7. What should cause us to lower our offering? to raise it?


Singing in Spirit and in Truth

This is an area in which most of us have been guilty of emphasizing the negative to the almost utter neglect of any positive exhortation. Our teaching on singing has been primarily against the unauthorized use of mechanical instruments of music. This is because so many in the religious world have accepted error with regard to this part of our worship. We then, feel we need to emphasize the truth so that they might be taught; and many times to defend the Lord's church against their accusations; and to instruct the new Christian who has "come out from among them." In this chapter we will examine some positive instruction from God's word on this subject.

"Singing in Truth"

1) THE NEW TESTAMENT REVEALS WHO IS TO SING IN WORSHIP. Ephesians 5:19 says, "Speaking to yourselves in

psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs..." (KJV)

A. Does this mean that each person is to speak to himself or herself?

The NAS translates this passage more clearly. "Speaking to one another in Psalms, hymns, and spiritual song..." Also Col. 3:16 commands us to teach and admonish one another in singing.

B. Is singing, then, for our entertainment?

C. Is singing an option that one may choose not to engage in?

So all are to sing. He who opposes instrumental music in worship because it is unauthorized, and yet fails to do what is authorized and commanded is not only inconsistent in their teaching, they are just as rebellious as those who would seek to praise God in unauthorized ways.

Some seek to be excused on the grounds that they "cannot sing." What does one mean by such a statement? The fact that he can't sing like Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra means nothing to the Lord? When one is concerned about how they will sound to others; or if others will recognize that they have no talent, is not worshipping God as they should. Our worship should be from the humility of our heart. (Read Philippians 2:1-8; Colossians 3:1-3; etc.)

2) WE ARE ALSO TOLD WHAT TO SING. "Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16).

In order then, for a song to be suitable for worship, it must contain a spiritual and scriptural message. We should not be primarily interested in the melody and parts. This is secondary. We should place our greatest interest in the message.

A. Are we worshipping as we should if we are more concerned about how the song sounds that the words we are singing?

B. Should we be concerned if a song contains doctrinal errors? What should we do if we find that is the case?

3) WHEN SHOULD WE SING? We should certainly engage in singing when we assemble, for here we have opportunity to "speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" (Col. 3:16). Worshipping God in song, however, should not be limited to the assembly. James wrote: "Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises" (Jas. 5:13). Paul and Silas sang at midnight in the inner prison (Acts 16:25).

A. Is God's instructions any different for our private worship in song than for our public worship in song?

B. Should we use mechanical instruments of music to worship in private?

"Singing in Spirit"

1) DETERMINATION TO DO OUR BEST is the is a basic principle of true worship. Under the Old Testament, a Jew was not to sacrifice an animal that was no good for anything else, and keep the finest for himself. He was to offer his best. When it comes to our worship, certainly the same principle should apply. Our singing may not be very pretty, but we are to still do the best we can. If a Jew determined he was going to disobey God and not make his sacrifice because his neighbor's animals were much better than his, he would be cut off from God. Our best may not be much sometimes, but it's all God requires.

2) SING WITH THE SPIRIT AND THE MIND (UNDERSTANDING). Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 14:15, "I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind, also."

A. How do we sing with the "spirit?"

It will help us to recognize our spiritual blessings as we sing. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has

blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)

Many do not sing with fervency because they forget to have appreciation for such blessings. Without such appreciation, they probably have no such blessings.

B. What did Paul mean when he said to "sing with the mind (understanding)?"


(Adapted from a compilation by Raymond Harris)

1. ALWAYS USE AN OLD, WELL-KNOWN SONG FOR THE FIRST SONG. Why? 1) The entire song service will be better if the congregation is allowed to limber up and open up their lungs on the first song. If the church has to struggle through a song they are uncertain of, right off the bat, they often are subdued for the whole service. 2) In singing heartily an old song first, the church can immediately get into the spirit of the worship, rather than the frustration of a singing lesson.

2. DO NOT CALL THREE OR FOUR SONGS ALL WITH THE SAME TIME. Vary them 3/4, 4/4, 6/4, etc. The variation will put life into the service.

3. NEVER SING AN UNKNOWN SONG AS A INVITATION SONG. Also stay away from invitation songs that are too short, too long, or ones that are hard to sing with many parts. This will distract from the "call to gospel obedience".


5. THE LEADER SHOULD ANNOUNCE THE SONG TWICE. First, as one hundred thirty-four, and then as one-three-four.

6. GIVE A LITTLE TIME BETWEEN SONGS. Be sure everyone is ready to start with the leader.

7. THE SONG LEADER SHOULD SING OUT AS LOUD AND STRONG AS HE CAN. The church over the country has a lot of song starters, but a limited number of song leaders.

8. DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER FOR THE SONG THAT WILL FOLLOW THE PRAYER AND/OR BIBLE READING. Call the number when you get back up. Otherwise half of the audience is hunting the song page instead of listening to the reading. However, calling the number of the invitation song before the sermon is a good idea. The audience can be marking the song while the preacher takes the pulpit. They will then be ready to sing when the Lord's invitation is extended.

9. THE SONG LEADER SHOULD BE UP IN THE PULPIT. The congregation should be able to see his mouth and his hand.

10. NORMALLY A CLOSING SONG SHOULD BE LIMITED TO ONE OR SOMETIMES TWO VERSES. Think of the babies, mothers, the travelers, and the old or sick.

11. USE FAMILIAR SONGS DURING GOSPEL MEETINGS. A special effort to win the lost is no time to learn or practice a new song.

12. USE GOOD JUDGMENT IN THE SELECTION OF SONGS WITH BASE OR ALTO LEADS. Unless there are in the group strong bases or altos who know the songs, don't use them.

13. WATCH THE CLOCK AND CHOOSE STANZAS ACCORDINGLY. Sometimes when there have been more announcements, etc. than usual, it might be wise to eliminate a few verses of a song.

14. GIVE THOUGHT TO SONGS AND STANZAS TO INCLUDE. Don't get into the habit of leading the first, second, and last stanzas of every song. The third stanza just might contain some thoughts more meaningful than any of the others. There are some songs that contain A progression of thought throughout the song. It's best to lead all the stanzas in such cases. If you wish to just lead one stanza of a song, it may be that the second, third, or fourth one will be more applicable to the occasion than the first one.

15. ALWAYS COME PREPARED. There are too many song leaders in the Lord's church who do not understand how important their work is. The heart is prepared for the sermon by the songs we sing. Sometimes one can be moved to repentance by the song service when the sermon would not.

We all need to be concerned about the quality of singing. We should sing, not murmur and whisper. We should sing out--make a joyful noise. Our singing would improve about 100% if people

would start making a noise. We have particularly poor acoustics, therefore we need to each sing out. It would also help if we concentrate on keeping our heads up rather than singing down into our book or the floor.

We should take advantage of opportunities to learn to sing better. Just because we know that God will accept our best efforts doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to improve. When special services or classes are arranged, take part.


Questions for Discussion:

1. Should we "hire" someone who knows music well as a "minister of music?" Why/why not??

2. Is the pitching of the song with a pitch pipe music?

3. Why do we not have instrumental music?

4. Could we use instrumental music if it is on tape?

5. What about the use of instrumental music in conjunction with a wedding or a funeral in the church?

6. What should we do when in an audience (such as a P.T.A. meeting) where a religious song is being accompanied by instrumental music and all are asked to sing?

7. What do you think God's purpose is in having us sing?

8. Is it scriptural to have singing "practice?"

9. What do you think would help our singing at Paris Avenue?


Edification in Spirit and in Truth

The church has a responsibility to edify the saints. But it is also the responsibility of the saints to seek edification. Too many in the church today expect edification to be DONE TO THEM. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let's spend some time talking about edification.

"Edification in Truth"

1) WHAT IS EDIFICATION? Paul said in Romans 14:19, "So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. This "building up of one another" in the NAS is rendered "edify another" in the KJV.

A. How did Paul say the church is edified in 1 Corinthians 14:3-4?

B. Does "edification" have only to do with the content of the message? (consider Rom. 15:2; 1 Cor. 8:1; 10:23)

2) HOW ARE WE TO BE EDIFIED? There are many ways for the Christian to grow; personal study, private classes, Bible classes provided by the church, gospel preaching

3) WE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO LEARN THE TRUTH of God's word. Error might make us feel edified, but error can only destroy.

A. What did Jesus say was the source of truth? (John 17:17)

What responsibilities do we have in light of this fact?

What about reading denominational religious books?

B. Explain John 8:32.

C. Read Psalm 119:160. How can we come to complete understanding of truth?

D. What examples can you give the class about someone who made the wrong decision because they based that decision on error?

E. How can we be SURE that we are following the truth?

F. From where do we get "understanding?" (search Psalm 119)

"Edification in Spirit"

1) WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OURSELVES. We are responsible to edify one another. But one cannot be edified who does not want to be.

A. How is a person to "build themselves up" (be edified) in his daily living? (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:16-22)

B. What responsibility do we have for our own edification in Bible classes on Sunday AM and Wednesday PM? (Hebrews 10:25; Isa. 1:18-20; Psalm 119:103-106)

C. What must we do to be edified during the worship assembly?

(Psalm 119:169-176; 1 Cor. 14:15)

2) WHAT CAN WE DO TO BE EDIFIED? Let's consider each of the areas of our edification. Are we doing what we can? Are we doing what God expects of us?

A. In our DAILY edification:

1. How should we begin our Bible study? (James 1:5; Consider also Col. 1:9-12)

2. How often should we study the Bible? (1 Tim. 2:15; Prov. 2:1-5)

a. What is the advantage of a regular Bible study schedule?

b. How can we change our Bible study "habits."

3. What are some of the WAYS we can study the Bible?

B. In our BIBLE CLASSES when we assemble:

1. BE there..... Can we please God and choose to regularly be absent from the planned Bible study with the saints? (1 Peter 2:2)

a. Does Hebrews 10:25 apply to Bible study?

b. How might Hebrews 13:17 be applied to this point?

2. BE prepared..... You will not get much OUT of a class that you don't put much IN to. You are actually hurting others, as well as yourself, when you come to class unprepared. The teacher, as well as the rest of the class, becomes discouraged; and others are influenced by your obvious lack of concern. (Hebrews 6:1, 9-12; 1 Cor. 3:2)

3. BE ready to answer..... When one has prepared himself for class, he is anxious to share what he has learned. A class is only as interesting as we make it. Speak up ... and speak out. Don't be afraid to state your understanding. If you are wrong, you will gain from being corrected (and others will learn as well). We are all in class to learn. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

4. BE courteous.....HOW we correct one another is also important to one's edification. (1 Cor. 8:1; Rom. 15:2)

5. BE easily corrected ....... We are in class to learn. We won't learn much if we always have to be "right." Be humble. Be anxious to admit when you are wrong. THEN BE WILLING TO CHANGE your view; or your practice. (James 1:21-25)

C. During the SERMON:

1. Do YOU actively participate in the sermon? It is vital that the truth is taught. Who is responsible to make sure that truth is taught here at Paris Avenue?

a. How might we apply 1 John 4:1 today?

b. Why did Paul compliment the Bereans? (Acts 17:11)

2. Do YOU take notes? Are you prepared - with pen & paper - to take notes? I am sure that you may not want to take precise notes on EVERY sermon. But I am equally sure that there are some points worth remembering and studying further on later. Taking notes is also a good way to remember those things that were taught.

3. Do you encourage the speaker with an "amen" from time to time? I am not encouraging disruption of services by outward displays. However, we should be actively agreeing with the speaker, if we do whole-heartedly agree. Consider the following passages:

a. Deuteronomy 27:15-26

b. Psalm 106:47-48

c. 1 Cor. 14:15-19

The following was not written by me. I believe it was written by Ken Thomas, but I did not have the author's "signature" in my notes.



Do you realize that your behavior during the time that God's (Christ's) word is being expounded upon is very important not only to your spiritual needs and edification but also to those who observe your behavior? Well, it is!

Whether or not you follow along in your Bibles while one is speaking is a matter or personal choice. Some find a practice such

as this distracting to them, while others believe it enhances their appreciation of what is being presented. At any rate, your attention should be solemnly on the message being presented. You do not suddenly become only a spectator when the preacher gets up to preach. Your worship continues as you think on the words of truth

being presented.

Some tend to settle down for some rest and relaxation the moment the preacher takes the floor. It appears that others take this time as the time to play & make goo goo eyes at babies or to pass notes etc. This ought not so to be! Parents should be careful to see that their children either sit beside them, or in front of them so they may observe their conduct.

On rare occasions any one of us may need to leave the assembly to go to the rest room. This, however (unless there is a medical problem), should not be a common place occurrence. It is up to parents here too, to not allow such. The time between services

should be used for this.

Then there are some who appear to just plain go to sleep while one is up there pouring out his heart in preaching the gospel. You can't know just how distracting this can be. When talked to about this the culprit will almost always disavow being really asleep. Such are most always only resting their eyes. They haven't missed a word the preacher has said. Pshaw!!

This kind of misbehavior causes one to miss out on the edification that was intended for them. But we also need to be reminded that such behavior leave the wrong influence on our visitors as well as our children. But more importantly they are displeasing the Lord.


Questions for Discussion:

1. Read Nehemiah 8:1-8.

A. What kind of active participation do you see by the listeners?

B. Do you believe they were "out of order" for saying, "amen?"

2. What tips can you share that would help us to get more out of the sermons?

3. What should you do if you find that error was taught from the pulpit or Bible class?

4. What should you do if you hear something in public teaching or preaching that you have never considered before?

5. Is it a sin to choose to miss Wednesday night Bible class?

6. Can you recite all the books of the Bible in order? Is that important? What might be indicated if you can't?

7. What can you do to edify others:

A. During Bible classes?

B. During worship services?

C. In private?

Brethren, I feel that many of us can do a better job of worshipping our Lord. It is so easy to get bogged down in the affairs of this life. How many days have we looked at ourselves and wondered why we are not as studious, or as devoted, or as involved as we once were? I certainly do not claim to have all of the answers. I do know that our enemy, Satan, works hard at distracting us. It is up to us to make the changes in our lives that will benefit our growth. I believe that working harder at worshipping God is vital. I hope that you have gained from the discussions that we have had throughout this book. But it will all be for nothing if we do not apply the things that we have learned.

In our daily lives we need to be more devoted to prayer, praise, and study. We need to take advantage of every opportunity to study His Word. We need to talk to others, both Christian and non-Christian, about our faith in our Savior.

In our times of assembly we need to make sure that we are there at every occasion that we possibly can be. We need to prepare ourselves beforehand, concentrate on our worship, and look for ways to grow and help others to grow.

David A. Beck