“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let you speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:5-6, ESV)
DON’T WALK WITHOUT WISDOM
We Believe: worship of God should be Spiritual. Therefore: We remain flexible and yielded to the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.
We Believe: worship of God should be Inspirational. Therefore: We give a great place to music in our worship
We Believe: worship of God should be Intelligent. Therefore: Our services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching of the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshiped
We Believe: worship of God is Fruitful. Therefore: We look for His Love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshiping Him
The above list of beliefs was found on a page that was titled “What We Believe.” Yet, there was nothing on the page that confesses the God in whom they believe; instead, they list five different things that they believe about worship. Each one of these components is ambiguous. Any church could squeeze herself into this mold. In fact, even non-Christian groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons could embrace this five point belief system of worship.
Point 1- Spiritual
The main problem with this point is the need to be certain that one is being led by the Holy Spirit. The only way to be certain that a service is of the Holy Spirit is to utilize the means of grace instituted by our Triune God. These means are tied to the written word of the prophets and the apostles who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The emphasis of the Divine Service should be upon Jesus Christ who is our Eternal High Priest who promises to be present with us in His means of grace. Thus, we gather to receive the means of grace which are holy baptism, holy communion, and holy absolution. These are three different ways through which we received the benefits of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. These gifts grant to us the promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation. Thus, the primary emphasis should not be placed upon our ability to be flexible and yielding, but rather, upon our receiving of the gifts of God.
Point 2- Inspirational
When we use the language and concept of inspiration, we are diving into the realm of feelings and emotions. The purpose of the Divine Service is not to move us. Instead, the purpose is to deliver the gifts of God to us through which the Holy Spirit is at work in us. We must be careful not to associate music with the vehicle through which the Holy Spirit comes to us. We do not induce God’s presence by performing inspiration music. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit is bestowed through the gospel.
Point 3- Intelligent
The purpose of preaching is not to teach us how to worship God. Rather, the purpose of teaching the word of God is to us assure us that for the sake of Jesus Christ we have found favor with God. In order to accomplish this goal, the law is preached which exposed our sin. It teaches us how we have failed to obey what God requires of us and forbids us from doing. Then, the gospel is proclaimed to take our sin away. It teaches us how Christ was obedient to the point of death in our stead. Our sin was declared to be His sin. His righteousness is declared to be our righteousness. This is a gift from God promised to us in the gospel connected to water (baptism), connected to the body, blood, bread, and wine (Lord’s Supper), and/or connected to the ink, paper or the voice of God’s chosen proclaimer (absolution).
Point 4- Fruitful
How can one look for the love of God in His life apart from the love of God declared to us in the gospel? According to this understanding presented above, one won’t know for certain if God was truly worshiped until love is made manifest. Faith is that worship which receives God’s offered gifts in the means of grace. Our Triune God gives forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. We respond by saying, “Thank you and amen.” These gifts are promised by God and as with any promise they can only rightfully be received by faith.
This is an example of how not to walk. In the place of identifying themselves as believers in the Holy Trinity tied to the historic Christian church, they want to be recognized as worshipers. Therefore, they end up confessing thier actions and neglecting to profess Christ’s actions for them and those who read their statement. This is a classic example of those who boast in deeds and not creeds.
We should walk in wisdom and make the best use of our time. Rather than confessing what we believe about worship, we should confess what we believe about the God whom we worship. Only when we correctly understand who Christ is and what He has done of us to atone for our sins, can we rightly worship God. True worship is believing in the promises of God found in Christ. Thus, it would be better to post the Nicene Creed on the internet under the title “What We Believe.”
THE NICENE CREED
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church, we acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life + of the world to come. Amen.