to the absolute authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, which centers on the Word of God become flesh – Jesus Christ.
We embrace the teachings of historic, orthodox Christianity: the Trinity, the deity and humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his substitutionary death on the cross and bodily resurrection, the doctrines of free and sovereign grace, and salvation by grace through faith, just to name a few.
We believe that an accurate and comprehensive summary of the teaching of the Bible is to be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith .
Guide to worship in Christ Presbyterian Church: a Covenant Renewal Service
God has made a three-part covenant declaration to His people throughout Biblical history: “I will be your God, you shall be my people, and I will dwell among you.”
When the assembled people of God hear this word regarding themselves, God is assuring them that they belong to Him, and that He is indeed their God, and that He will dwell in their midst. God is renewing His covenant with His people as we assemble for corporate worship.
The prelude is a time to settle the hurried and anxious soul as we prepare for worship. It is a time to draw away from the world and turn our thoughts Heavenward in anticipation of worship.
God calls us
Trinitarian Confession and Salutation
A traditional measure to remind us that our worship is trinitarian. We worship the triune God, but even our worship is done in reliance upon, and with the guidance of, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Call to Worship
Always taken from a call to worship recorded in the Bible, this is God Himself seeking His redeemed people and calling us to worship, to glorify His holy name. As in all aspects of grace, it is God taking the initiative.
Psalm or Hymn of Praise and Adoration
We respond to God’s call with a song of praise and adoration.
Prayer of Petition and Adoration
God has called us to worship, and we have praised Him; now we petition that we can respond Biblically and appropriately.
However, knowing that God is Holy, and we are sinful creatures, we must confess that we are unworthy of entering into the presence of God without His cleansing.
God cleanses us
Call to Confession of Sin, Corporate Confession of Sin, and Supplication for Mercy
We recognize our sinfulness and what God has done for us, by His grace, through the work of Christ. This is a time of corporate confession of sin as the people of God; we should, of course, be confessing our personal sins at all times and in all places in our walk with God. By confessing our sins to God, we demonstrate a heart that seeks to become more obedient to God’s Word, and less inclined to follow the desires of our flesh and the sinful allurements of our sensationalistic culture.
We enter this portion of worship on our knees (if physically able) as a sign or respect and awe before God.
Declaration of Forgiveness
The assurance of pardon is an affirmation of our confidence that we are indeed forgiven, through the infinite love of God received through faith in Christ. The pardoning of our sins allows us to worship; it allows us to enter into the presence of God.
God has called us, received us, and cleansed us, so we respond with a traditional trinitarian song of praise.
God consecrates us
Prayer of Illumination
In this prayer we seek God’s gracious presence to prepare us to hear His Word, to open ears, to enlighten minds, and to apply His covenant Word to our hearts.
Reading of Scripture
We read a passage of Scripture that supports the themes and lessons of the sermon. God uses both the reading and the hearing of Scripture as a means of grace. When God’s Word is read, we not only affirm that God has spoken through the Prophets and the Apostles, but that He is speaking to us today through His written word.
Psalm or Hymn of Preparation
This is a song to assist us in preparing to hear God’s Word preached.
Our preaching is expository. It is God-centered, exegetical, and an authoritative exhortation or call to do or to be something. It will remind us that we, as sinful creatures, cannot do this on our own. We are also reminded that Christ fulfills the exhortation, and does it in our place. Finally, we are reminded that we can do or be what He calls us to do, or to be, through Christ.
Prayer of Intercession
Corporate prayer, led by the Pastor, to apply the sermon, and to lift up the needs of the world, the nation, the local community, the church, and other physical and spiritual needs.
Psalm or Hymn of Response
We sing in response, praising God for His word and His call to obedience in our lives.
God communes with us
Affirmation of Faith: Apostles’ Creed
A public statement before the church and the world of what we believe as Christians. The Apostles’ Creed is an ancient statement of the Christian faith, confessed by countless Christians over the centuries, often at the cost of their lives.
The Gloria Patri
A traditional trinitarian song of praise to the eternal, unchanging, triune God.
The Lord’s Supper
We take communion weekly. This sacrament is a sign and seal of God’s covenant promises, signifying and sealing to God’s elect the redemptive work of Christ. It engages our senses and props up our faltering faith, and leads us to fix our eyes on the perfect life, sacrificial death, and hell-conquering resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication
We give thanks for the shed blood of Jesus Christ through whom we have the forgiveness of sins. We also reaffirm the covenant and recommit ourselves to Christ.
God commissions and blesses us
The Collection of Alms and Tithes
Returning a portion of our material blessings to the God who provides is a good and natural response to worship. The generous, cheerful, and sacrificial giving of God’s people is one of the clearest evidences of their love for God and commitment to the extension of His Kingdom.
Psalm or Hymn
A closing song of praise to God.
Like the call to worship, the benediction comes straight from Scripture, thus giving our Heavenly Father the first and last word in the worship service. The word “benediction” comes from the Latin verb “to bless.” Thus, it is the authoritative pronouncement of God’s diving blessing upon His people before they are dismissed. It should be received by God’s people as a life-changing, comforting truth.
Christian worship must be fervently reverent, gloriously dignified, exceedingly joyful, thoroughly God-centered, and ardently focused upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Here are eight characteristics of authentic, Biblical worship:
- Christians are to do nothing in worship except that which has been prescribed, or commanded, in Scripture.
- Worship is God-centered, not man-centered. God, not man, is the seeker toward whom we are to be sensitive in worship. We do not change our worship to accommodate the shifting desires and fads of the unbelieving culture.
- Worship is a holy dialogue between God and His redeemed people. God speaks through His call to worship, assurance of pardon, reading of Scripture, preaching, sacraments, and benediction. His people respond with prayer, singing, confession of faith, and offerings.
- Worship is simple. The reading and preaching of God’s word, prayer and praise, and sacraments are central. We have no pomp and ceremony.
- Worship in all of life flows from biblically regulated worship on the Lord’s Day.
- Worship is to be reverent, and filled with awe.
- Worship is trinitarian; our worship is directed to the Father, through the mediation of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Worship sets forth the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
For further reading:
Payne, Jon D., In the Splendor of Holiness: Rediscovering the Beauty of Reformed Worship for the 21st Century (Tolle Lege Press, 2008)Ryken, Philip, Derek Thomas, and J. Ligon Duncan, Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship (P&R Publishing, 2003)