Monday, November 26, 2012

The Development of The Church Service

A man named Justin Martyr - born about 100 AD, after exploring the various philosophies of life as presented by the Greek culture of the time, became convinced that the writings of the ancient prophets and the Apostles were more reliable than those of the Greeks. 
After becoming a Christian, he spent the remainder of his life spreading the philosophy of life in Christ. 

We have two works of Justin - 1st. and 2nd. Apology of Justin.  He was martyred around age 65 for his stance as as Christian which was against the law at that time.

In his first apology he gave a description of the gathering of Christians (ie:  order of service)

Here is a Breakdown of the early Christian church service: 
#1.  They gathered - A) at home (first church building was around 240 AD.
                                B) on the "Lord's Day" - (contrast 1st. day - a Jewish term/ Sunday - pagan terminology - day of the Sun.   "Lord's Day" = day of Resurrection, day of separation - Gen. 1:3-5 - light from darkness

#2.  They read scripture - "memoirs of the apostles.../writings - of the prophets" - because
A) was the Inspired Word
B)  the Rule Book
C)  few owned by individuals

#3.  They heard a sermon - ie: application of the text which was personal and practical,  2 Tim. 3:16-17

#4.  They prayed  (corporately/ led prayer)
3 phrases used:  "send up, "stand up" - showing freedom/boldness as a result of understanding what Jesus Christ did in their lives, "sing out" assent - "Amen" - (I agree, so be it)

#5. They celebrated the Lord's Supper - bread and wine and water - signifying the body and blood of Christ.  (water used to dilute wine from normal strength for the Lord's Supper)
Note:  the Un-baptized were asked to leave.  They saw the Lord's Supper as a testimony of receiving Christ as Savior and unbelievers had no part in that.  Were outside the family.

#6.  They received the offering - freewill/for benevolence/in keeping with the prophets and Apostles - 1 Cor. 16:1-2

Not mention here, but
#7.  They sang praises - psalms, chants, songs = praise plus!!! - Adoration spilling over.

So, on one hand, today's worship service is not much different.
But, on the other hand, it needn't be!!

IF - your view of church is guided by scripture (memoirs, writings), THEN your worship will look something like this.

Obviously = variations - singing/instruments, mode of baptism, serving the Lord's Supper, church property, building, government, etc.
BUT the basic format remains.  IE:

#1.  Gather (though not mandated, it is assumed) - it was the thing to do.
Gather to:
#2.  Worship - declare His worth - corporately, publicly - through praise, thanksgiving, singing, Lord's Supper, etc.
#3.  Petition - ie. prayers of request - Heb. 4:16
#4.  Listen - the content of Scripture
#5.  Learn - the Application of Scripture   Eph. 4:1
#6.  Give - (Give back, share)
#7.  Scatter - (go) - on one hand the gathering is very important, but, time-wise, it equals a very small percentage of the Christian life. - We are to be Christians in the outside world and spread the Word.

So, when you gather at a typical church worship service, you are participating in an ancient tradition based on eternal truths.

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