A Little Time With The 1689: Day 287

Day 287

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

Chapter 22, Paragraph 7.

As it is the Law of nature, that in general a proportion of time by God’s appointment, be set apart for the Worship of God; so by his Word, in a positive-moral, and perpetual Commandment, binding all men, in all Ages, he has particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto him,…

Scripture Lookup

Exodus 20:8

Reflection

Birthday.

Thanksgiving Day.

Memorial Day.

Notice a pattern?

We don’t have Thanksgiving hour or sing “Happy Birth Minute.” Naturally, we set aside a whole day when we want to pause and observe an occasion, even in the secular world. One day, out of the ordinary, to commemorate, gather, and remember.

God has instituted the acceptable way of worshiping Him. Through His word we learn who is to be worshiped, where we may worship, how we are to worship, and even why we are to worship. Naturally we are told when we are to worship God as well. One day in seven we are to stop and devote to God. Not a minute or a morning, but a whole day reserved for Him.

Setting apart a whole day for the worship of God may seem tiresome and inconvenient. But what commandment isn’t tiresome and inconvenient to the corrupted soul? Thankfully, the Holy Spirit enables the regenerate believer to “cast his soul upon the truth thus believed” and to yield “obedience to the commands…of God” (LBCF 14.2).

Questions to Consider

  • Are you setting aside one day to worship God, or simply one morning?

 

 

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A Little Time With The 1689: Day 286

Day 286

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

Chapter 22, Paragraph 6.

“…so more solemnly in the public Assemblies, which are not carelessly, nor willfully, to be neglected, or forsaken, when God by his word, or providence calls thereunto.

Scripture Lookup

Hebrews 10:25

Acts 2:42

Reflection

“All of life is worship.”

You may have heard that phrase before. It is usually spoken by someone chafing at the idea of a structured time of corporate worship. On the surface, it sounds great. After all, God is worshiped without ceasing in heaven, and all of creation is created to bring Him glory. God is always deserving of our worship. That doesn’t stop, so it makes sense that we should worship Him at all times.

However, the problem with making all of life an act of worship is that when you don’t set aside specific time for the explicit worship of God, it becomes difficult to separate actual worship from everyday occurrences. If you’re late to a meeting and have to wolf down a cheeseburger, is that an act of worship? No, it’s not. There has to be a distinction between times of worship and ordinary time. The public assembly of the saints is time specifically set aside for the worship of God.

Most Christians do not have a problem with attending church – when it is convenient for them. Yet when presented with more appealing options, church is quickly dismissed. Attend a wedding the night before so you’re groggy the next day? Sleep in instead of attending church. On vacation on a Sunday? Didn’t research churches in the area, so you don’t go anywhere. Have a chance to attend a sports game/play/whatever? Can’t miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when you can go back to church next week!¬† Such thinking is sadly the norm. Whether she realizes it or not, the Christian that chooses to miss the weekly assembly for the sake of other pleasures, no matter how rarely they occur, demonstrates the truth of Matthew 6:21:

“…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Worshiping with the body of Christ is to be a more formal occasion than our own private devotions or family worship. It is once again laying aside our conveniences and pleasures for the sake of worshiping God and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is submitting ourselves to God’s command to meet together to worship Him. Obey His command, meet with your church for worship, and do not be so quick to forego the assembly.

Questions to Consider

  • Do your actions show you treat church attendance as nice, but not necessary?

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 285

Day 285

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

Chapter 22, Paragraph 6.

“…and in secret each one by himself,…”

Scripture Lookup

Matthew 6:6

Reflection

Private devotions are the hot thing in evangelicalism right now. It is the ultimate in Christian self-care: get your mocha nice and hot, your essential oil diffuser going, colored pencils sharpened and at the ready, maybe throw in a spa treatment and – oh yeah, almost forgot about the Scripture and prayer! Such visions of a peaceful, comforting quiet time light up Instagram and make money for booksellers and coffee vendors. But despite what the Christian bookstore wants you to think, while a cup of tea with your Bible reading may be nice, it is not necessary.

To worship God individually is to set aside time to pray and praise Him. This is the Lord who “searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Jesus, who knows the thoughts and intent of the heart, warned against publicly displaying private piety for all to see. Consequently, our times of devotions ought not to be ostentatious. When we come before God as the sole worshiper, all pretense is gone. We have nothing to boast about, for nothing we do can make us acceptable before Him. All is owed to God alone.

What if you do not have a time to be by yourself? Mothers of little ones (and sometimes bigger ones too!) do not often get a break. The expectation of sitting down for uninterrupted prayer can quickly lead to frustration and sin when we resent those who can have a mocha and five minutes’ quiet. Yet Christian women throughout the centuries have been able to spend time worshiping God individually without coffee, babysitters, or sometimes even a copy of the Bible. Reflecting on the passage preached on at church, pausing throughout the day to offer up prayer, singing a hymn unto the Lord in your mind, are ways to worship God alone without removing yourself from everyone around you.

Everywhere God is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. He is to be worshiped with the body of believers, and in our own families. He is also to be worshiped in secret by ourselves. May we intentionally set our minds on things above no matter where we find ourselves.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you publicize your private devotions? If so, why?

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 284

Day 284

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

Chapter 22, Paragraph 6.

“…daily,…”

Scripture Lookup

Matthew 6:11

Psalm 55:17

Reflection

The Confession states that family worship is to occur daily. Honestly, the first reaction to such a directive is to throw up my hands in frustration. There is so much going on each day, what with work, school, chores, extracurriculars Рhow can a time of family worship be managed every day? Such thinking may be common, but it fails to recognize the proper place God should have in our lives.

When Jesus instructed His disciples to pray in Matthew 6, He didn’t say, “Give me this day my daily bread.” Instead, the prayer is to be the prayer of a group of people. They are not praying for a irregular provision, but a daily one. Families are to ask together that God would provide for them, and they are to praise Him and ask for His blessing each day. When you stop and take the time to gather together to worship God, you are stating that He is a priority in your family’s life. You demonstrate your dependence upon Him to provide what is necessary for that day. No longer do the world’s priorities dictate how time is spent.

Christian wife and mother, you are called to worship God. Not only with your local church, but with your family. And your family is called to worship Him daily. Set aside time to worship Him together.

Questions to Consider

  • If family worship is not happening regularly, what may have to change to make it a priority?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 283

Day 283

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

Chapter 22, Paragraph 6.

“…as in private families…

Scripture Lookup

Acts 10:2

Reflection

Everyone everywhere is called to worship God. Each man, woman, and child is called to offer prayer and praise to the Creator of all things. As individuals we are to spend time worshiping Him, and also when we gather as the church to formally worship Him. There is another group that should gather together to worship God, and that is the family.

Family worship is not a term that is heard much in mainstream evangelical churches. Often the extent of worship done by the family is in the church setting on Sundays, and then through individual times of devotions. But parents are instructed to raise their children in the instruction and discipline of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Gathering together as a family to worship God is an opportunity to do just that. Children are shown that worship is not just a “me and God” thing during the week, but a time to learn who God is and what He requires of us.

When we worship as a family, we are also to worship in spirit and in truth. It does not need to be elaborate. A sincere, heartfelt simple song, chapter of Scripture, and brief prayer is enough. Don’t run through it to get it over with so you can move on to the next thing. Also, we must be careful not to add anything to that time that God has not permitted. For example, lighting candles and bowing before statues are not parts of acceptable worship. Why would they be part of your family devotion time, then? That is an extreme example, but it is important to keep in mind lest you be tempted to add “visuals” to keep your children’s interest.

God has established families so that they might worship Him together. As a parent, you have a responsibility to teach your child to worship God. Take the time to worship Him together in your home.

Questions to Consider

  • Are there any parts of your family worship that you may need to stop doing?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 282

Day 282

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

Chapter 22, Paragraph 6.

Neither Prayer, nor any other part of Religious worship, is now under the Gospel tied unto, or made more acceptable by, any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in Spirit, and in truth;…”

Scripture Lookup

John 4:21

Malachi 1:11

1 Timothy 2:8

Reflection

It doesn’t matter where we meet for worship. A church can gather under a tree, in a fancy building, or on a second floor. It doesn’t matter if we face the east, west or north in our worship. We do not need to face Jerusalem when we pray.¬† There is a tremendous amount of liberty granted the Christian when it comes to where we worship God. We are merely called to worship Him in the places we find ourselves.

While Christians have been given great liberty with regards to the circumstances of worship, God has given some guidelines concerning the nature of worship that are to be followed carefully. In this present Gospel age, we are to worship in spirit and in truth. Both are to be pursued in order for worship to be acceptable to God.

When we worship in spirit, we are relying on the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and increase our faith. We worship with “understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear” (LBCF 22.5). God is not pleased by an ignorant, haughty, faithless worshiper. We come to worship realizing our place as creature and He as Creator. We realize our sin, and the price He paid to redeem us. We acknowledge the work He is doing in our life, and how utterly incapable we are of doing it on our own.

As important as the inward aspects are, though, the outward form of our worship matters as well. We worship in truth; we align ourselves with the truth revealed in God’s word. The worship service directly reveals our view of God. Do we carefully seek His will in how we are to worship? Or do we worship in a manner that we choose? The elements of worship prescribed by Scripture are to be part of a worship service no matter where it is held.

When we worship in spirit and in truth, we can know with certainty that God is pleased with our worship.

Questions to Consider

  • Which needs more improvement: your attitude in worship or the content of your worship?

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 281

Day 281

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

Chapter 22, Paragraph 5.

“…and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.

Scripture Lookup

Exodus 15:1-19

Psalm 107

Reflection

There is a time when special religious services are appropriate. Fasting and thanksgiving are special parts of religious worship. There are times that call for deep prayer and supplication before the Lord, where we put aside those things that are lawful to more earnestly seek the Lord’s face. There are also times that call for joyous thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving should always be a part of our prayers, but there are occasions where thanksgiving should be the primary focus of our worship. In this time of thanksgiving we praise God especially for what He has done for us. The Israelites, after their deliverance from the Egyptians, paused and thanked God for how He cast the chariot and the driver into the sea. While we might not have such a miraculous deliverance from our enemies, there may be times when He delivers us from a great danger. There may be times of unprecedented blessing. Setting aside time to praise God specifically for those things are acceptable parts of religious worship.

Coming together as a church for a time of thanksgiving is an appropriate part of religious worship. When your church calls for such a time, prepare yourself through prayer for the service. As His redeemed people, we have much to be thankful for.

Questions to Consider

  • Are you setting aside special times of thanksgiving?