A Guide for Everyone

 

If you visit with us, you will be joining with us in the most important of all human activities: the worship of the living God. Our worship philosophy is to have Biblically based worship that pleases God, facilitates expression of reverence and joy from believers, and manifests appropriate sensitivity to the unchurched.

 

Our Worship is:

  • Through Christ

    • Biblically based worship is offered through Christ, the perfect worshiper and our true worship leader. It is through His finished work alone that we come before the throne of God as a corporate body.  It is through His gospel of grace that we and our worship are accepted by the God we worship.  Thus, Christ must be central to our expressions in worship and it should be clear that we worship through Him, as His body, and under His kingship.

  • God-centered

    • God is the seeker of our worship and He is the audience for whom we worship.  Our worship should revolve around pleasing Him and should be structured so as to draw as little attention to man as possible and as much attention to God as possible.  The fullness of the nature of God and the beauty of His relationship with us should be prominent in what is said, preached, sung, and confessed.

  • Gospel-centered

    • The gospel should not be one part of our worship, but should be set forth as the basis for our worship and should permeate our corporate gatherings.  Its purpose is to make us true worshipers of God, and we should highlight the fact that we can worship God because of the gospel of His grace in Christ.

  • Adherence to the Regulative Principle

    • Worship is to be governed by Scripture; and specifically, we are to do in worship those things that God commands us to do (and those only).  We should not minimize the importance of doing things the right way and we should avoid elements in corporate worship that God has not commanded for that purpose. Yet we should not view the regulative principle merely as a negative restriction. Rather, we should view it as a positive call to sing, pray, read, and preach the word of God in corporate worship – to do the things God commands and desires, not just to avoid the things He forbids or has not commanded.

  • Dialogical

    • The principle of dialogue with God filters many of the instances of worship recorded in the Scriptures (see, for example, Genesis 28:10-22, Exodus 24, Isaiah 6, and Revelation 19).  In addition, Hebrews 1:1-2 indicates that God has spoken in Christ, and in reality all of life is an offering of response to the revelation of God in Christ (Romans 12:1).  While no set order of worship is prescribed in Scripture, an order of worship elements that reflects, as far as possible, God speaking and His people responding, is consistent with the principle of dialogue.  Keeping our services structured along these lines is another means to assist us in our pursuit of worship that is biblically based.

  • Pleasing God in Corporate Worship

    • Primarily by seeking to be the type of worshipers that God Himself seeks.  John 4:24 says that God seeks worshipers who worship Him “in spirit and truth”.

  • Worship in Spirit and Truth

    • Worship in spirit involves worshiping God with inward devotion and not just with outward form. Our hearts are to be regulated by His word and Spirit.  As the truth of God transforms us personally, it will then positively transform our worship.  Worship in spirit also involves the engaging of our emotions in worship.  While sentimentality, mere emotion, or emotionalism need to be avoided, possession of emotions or expression of emotions in worship is not wrong.  Joy, sorrow, holy fear of God, and gratitude are only a few of the heart emotions that can be expressed in legitimate ways in corporate worship. 

    • God also seeks those who worship Him in truth.  Worship in truth involves worshiping through Christ (“the way, the truth, and the life” – John 14:6).  Ultimately only He can worship properly, and only through Him does God accept worship (but, positively – it is accepted through Christ!).  Worshiping God in truth also means worshiping according to His truth, set forth in Scripture.  His prescribed manner of worship shows us what true worship is and what He desires from us in the particulars of worship elements as well as in our heart devotion. Here, we see the usefulness of the regulative principle as it guides us toward elements and structures of worship that are clearly mandated by Scripture or that can be derived from Scripture by good and necessary consequence. 

  • Worship Reverently

    • We also should seek to enable believers to express those personal qualities with which God indicates He desires to be approached.  Thus a proper philosophy of worship includes worship that facilitates expression of reverence and joy from believers.  Hebrews 12:28 calls upon God’s people to worship Him “with reverence and awe” since “our God is a consuming fire”(Hebrews 12:29).  Yet, we are also called to come before Him with joy (Psalm 47:1 and Psalm 100:1-2).  Our forms should not drive us in worship, but a biblically based philosophy of worship should.  Such a philosophy involves a balance of joyful reverence.  The forms we use then allow for expressions of that balance.  Worshipers should express seriousness and awesome reverence for the God who is infinitely above us and utterly pure. Yet they also should express great delight in that same God who is our Father, has loved us with an everlasting love, and is intimately involved in the details of the lives of His people.  We should approach our King with reverence, even as we also joyfully recognize and praise Him for His mercy and grace.  Our pursuit of reverent worship can help maintain proper seriousness and guard us from a flippant approach to God.  The pursuit of joyful worship can help us avoid an approach in which we are merely trying to be correct in our worship. Our overall tone in worship, while serious, should not be so somber that it fails to reflect God’s reconciliation of us to Himself in Christ through the gospel.  To help facilitate the expression of reverence and joy, we must be intentional regarding what is read, sung, affirmed, and preached in corporate worship.  We also will help facilitate this balanced expression when we intentionally make Christ and the gospel prominent in our worship.  Christ and the gospel present God in the fullness of His character and of His relationship to us, both of which engender reverence and joy before God. 

  • Sensitive to the Unchurched

    • There is an appropriate sensitivity to the unchurched who visit our services, and a proper philosophy of worship must take this into consideration.  It is true that unbelievers will not understand the gospel and the things of Christ until God opens their hearts.  In this more strict sense, our worship will be unintelligible to them.  Yet our members should welcome unchurched people, and our services should be as intelligible as we can possibly make them for the sake of the unchurched who visit.  In addition, with sensitivity to those who visit as well as with a desire to give God our best, we must seek excellence in the things we do in worship.  Excellence does not mean professionalism or perfection. However, while we can truthfully affirm that Jesus adds His worship to ours and makes it acceptable to the Father, what takes place in worship should not be an unnecessary or avoidable hindrance to people returning to the church.

Contact us at

706-863-8978 or

wpcmartinez@knology.net

© 2016 Westminter Presbyterian Church