Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 26, 1957


George P. Estes, Maplewood, Missouri

"Worship" is defined by Thayer, "to kiss the hand towards one, in token of reverence." Worship is either "to express respect or make supplication." It is "homage rendered to God and the risen Christ." (Lexicon, pg. 548)

"Church" is the rendering in the New Testament of the Greek word "ekklesia, the original meaning of which was that of an assembly of citizens convened by the civil authority. The Greek word is employed by the New Testament to denote the body of christian people, the christian community, the followers of Christ, and the place of assembly for purposes of worship. (Dictionary, Dickson Bible Pg. 87)

From the above we note that the main and primary purpose of worship is to recognize God as God and reverence Him; that worship is by the entire congregation or assembly. Anyone who is truly converted and is physically able will be present in the assembly to pay his respect to God and ask for blessings and favor. If he is willfully absent, he is saying by his action, "I have no respect for God, I do not appreciate what God has done for me in Christ."

Worship to be valid must be performed "in truth." (John 4:24). Truth is God's word. God has ordained the way to worship and the acts of worship. To attempt to worship otherwise results in vain worship or worship that is void of meaning and effect. "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:9). One cannot worship God in truth by manmade forms or acts. From the same verse, Jesus says God must be worshipped " in spirit." This certainly teaches us that one must come to the assembly with the right purpose, attitude or frame of mind. Every act of worship is conditioned as being valid on this basis: "Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord UNWORTHILY, shall be guilty of the body and blood of Christ." (1 Cor. 1:27). "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the understanding also." (1 Cor. 14:15).

In 1 Corinthians, chapters 11 through 14, the apostle Paul is dealing with the abuse and misuse of the assembly. The church is the "house of God" (1 Tim. 3:15) which simply means the congregation must afford the right environment for the members. No one could worship God in reverence with all the disorderliness and confusion as existed in the Corinthian church. So, "let all things be done decently and in order." (1 Cor. 14:40) God is the object of worship through Jesus Christ. Those who come together must assemble in the spirit of reverence, not in confusion, strife or boisterous noise. The purpose of the assembly on the first day of the week is not to belittle others, to engage in strife or debate. The assembly is the place where all unite in worshipping God.

Some do not attend unless a certain preacher is speaking. These are not assembled to worship God but to follow a man. In the Corinthian congregation there was strife and division, envy and coveting spiritual gifts, several speaking at once, improper manner and conduct by women, lack of love and many other defects. But the figure of the body (chapter 12) must signify and teach that each member should and must be active in the worship. The general context deals with the conduct of the church or whole congregation. Since this figure is placed in the midst of verses dealing with attitude and conduct in the assembly and it teaches each part has a place and function, then it must follow that one cannot be passive in worship. Each must be active and take part in the acts of worship, entering into worship with the understanding that God demands respect that He can bless that man is lacking and stands in need of Him. Worship is to praise God and is for man's good.