Works of Piety: Public Worship
1 Corinthians 14:26-40 1 John 5:18-20 March 21, 2010
I really don’t like using the word “should” when preaching. But today is an exception. God is the one we should be worshipping. There are things that we could worship. There are people that we do worship. But it is God alone who is worthy of all of our praise and adoration.
We have looked at public worship when we talked about prayer, Holy Communion, and searching the Scriptures. Those are the three means of grace that John Wesley listed in his sermon, “Means of Grace.”
Public worship was a task that Wesley encouraged the early Methodists to avail themselves of. John Wesley wanted each Methodist to attend their local Anglican church. As it was, many Methodist societies began to meet during regular Anglican services! This, coupled with John Wesley ordaining ministers for America, Methodism became its own denomination.
Now, as United Methodists, we see public worship of a sign of grace. Means of grace are those items that show an outward sign of an inward gace. It is when we worship God in public that His grace moves amongst us. God’s grace stirs many when we are together. It is one of many times the church can be the Body of Christ.
Paul lets us know that when we are worshipping together, we each have a part. The body of Christ is built when we worship. When the saints are gathered, like today, the God of peace is amongst us. So then if God be in attendance, then we can worship in a decent and orderly fashion.
A. Things done for building up (v. 26)
1. Ushers, musicians, choir, congregation, & preacher have parts
2. Not done all at once – confusion
3. We hear praises & concerns
4. We do sing. We do pray. We do speak praises. You may have noticed that the scripture has been changed this week. 1 John 5:18-20 was to be the passage. But as I was preparing, I said to myself, what does this passage have to do with worship? Once I remembered that it is the text that John Wesley used when he preached on public worship, the bulletin was already complete. It is this passage that simply states who we worship – God and His Son! What a God we serve!
B. A God of peace (v. 33)
1. Prophecy is to be given in worship
2. Tongues and their interpretation can be given in worship
3. Each of us has to control what we say & do in worship
4. What is happening in worship? God is working in our midst! God’s peace is trying to break into our lives. John Wesley records on May 7, 17 – “I went on to Selkirk. The family came to prayer in the evening, after which the mistress of it said, “Sir, my daughter Jenny would be very fond of having a little talk with you. She is a strange lass; she will not come down on the Lord’s Day but to public worship, and spends all the rest of the day in her own chamber.” I desired she would come up; and found one that earnestly longed to be altogether a Christian. I satisfied her mother that she was not mad; and spent a little time in advice, exhortation, and prayer. “ Is it into your life that God is trying to bring his peace?
C. All things should be done in decently and in order (v. 40)
1. Women – 1 Corinthians 7, 11 – who was talking to them anyway in worship?
2. Worship is evident from Genesis to Revelation
b. Bowing to God
c. Giving of self – financially and for work
3. Many things can be worshipped. We are here to worship God. We worship in an orderly fashion –so others may know our God. We worship decently – so all people can have access to God. There is something powerful when we say publicly that we will serve God.
We do come to together to worship God. We can be built into the body of Christ when we are together. We can have peace in the body of Christ when we are together. We can worship God decently and in order.
“Let us not then trouble and embroil ourselves & our neighbors with unprofitable disputations, but all agree to spread, to the uttermost of our power, the quiet & peaceable gospel of Christ. Let us make the best of whatever ministry the Providence of God has assigned us. Near fifty years ago, a great & good man, Dr. Potter, then Archbishop of Canterbury, gave me an advice for which I have ever since had occasion to bless God: “If you desire to be extensively useful, do not spend your time & strength in contending for or against such things as are of a disputable nature; but in testifying against open notorious vice, & in promoting real, essential holiness.” Let us keep to this: Leaving a thousand disputable points to those that have no better business than to toss the ball of controversy to & fro, let us keep close to our point. Let us bear a faithful testimony, in our several stations, against all ungodliness & unrighteousness, & with all our might recommend that inward & outward holiness ‘without which no man shall see the Lord!’”
Let us continue to worship together until by God’s grace we are holy through and through.