All of creation cries out that there is but one true and living God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all His creation. He is good and does good unto all; and He is, therefore, to be feared, praised, and served. He is worthy to be trusted, and His Word calls all people everywhere to love Him with their heart, mind, soul, and strength.
In the Scriptures, God's written Word, the one true God has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit both in the works of creation and of redemption. The only acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by God Himself. The way is limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and inventions of men. The right way of worship is prescribed in the Bible alone. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is to given to Him alone and not to angels, to mere men, or to any other creature.
The worship service is above all a meeting between God and His people. Man's chief end is to give glory to God and to enjoy Him. In worship, we ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name. In worship we come before Him with thankfulness and praise for who He is and what He has done. And in worship God blesses us and even ministers unto us. He has promised to uniquely meet with His people in worship and though we cannot see Him, He has pledged Himself to walk among us and to dwell in our midst. We behold His glory by faith and enjoy Him.
These two dynamics determine our worship. Therefore, our worship is dialogical – it is a dialogue between God and His people. God speaks to us first as He greets us with His grace and peace. God speaks to us as He calls us to worship Him and Him alone. We respond to Him in singing and in prayer with thanksgiving. The Lord then reminds us that He is holy and righteous and that those who come to Him must come with humility and reverence. He dwells with those who are contrite and broken before Him. He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. We therefore confess our sins before Him, seeking His grace and forgiveness. How sweet it is to hear from His Word the assurance that all those who rest in and trust Jesus Christ as Savior are justified and stand spotless before the holy God.
To this we respond again with joy for God's mercy and grace poured out upon us in Jesus Christ. Our God also commands that we come before Him with prayers and petitions. What a joy it is to pray for others and for one another. Our God then speaks to us in His Word through its reading and through the preaching. Having heard the Word of God we are compelled to give of our selves to Him who has given us all thing in Christ Jesus. We are then dismissed with His blessing as His grace and love remain on us.
Because worship is a dialogue between God and His people– a covenantal meeting, our order of service attempts to portray this reality:
- The Lord's Greeting – the Apostolic Salutation
- The Lord's Call – the Call to Worship
- Our Response – Hymn of Praise and Adoration and Prayer
- The Lord's Holiness – the Reading of the Law
- Our Response – a Prayer of Confession
- The Lord's Love and Grace – the Reading of the Gospel
- Our Response – a Hymn of Praise and Prayer
- The Lord's Word – the Sermon Text and Sermon
- Our Response – Prayer, a Hymn of Praise and the Reception of Offerings
- The Lord's Blessing – the Benediction
- Our Response – the Doxology