Worship: Excerpts from Everett Ferguson

Ferguson, Everett. Church of Christ. Baker, pp. 53ff

The Object of Worship
Worship is offered to the glory of God, in Christ, by the Spirit for the edification of the church. This statement contains four significant truths.

Worship Defined
Worship may be private, that is individual, in devotions, singing, or meditations. Worship may be within a smaller group such as a family, or group of young people. Worship in its fullest expression is a group act. The church identifies itself fully in worship. In the context of worship the church sees itself correctly, and is seen by others. The church, however, must avoid becoming a mere worshiping society. When worship is biblical, such will not happen. True worship will not permit the church to find sole identification in the assembly for worship.
So we have before us two options. The church can overemphasize worship. The church can under-emphasize worship. Such distortions should not blind us to the importance of worship for the life of the church, for in worship the very essence of the church is expressed. The church expresses its fellowship, mutuality, sharing, togetherness. The church expresses its humility and dependence upon God and upon one another. Therefore the church expresses need in prayer and praise in worship. The church expresses its gratitude. The church celebrates, and primary celebration centers on what God has done, is doing, and will do. The church in worship anticipates. The church experiences the presence of God in their lives with the promise that God's presence continues beyond the assembly. This occurs because the church remembers that God has been present in the world previously, in the lives of the patriarchs, in the Mosaic age, throughout history, and especially in the person and cross of Jesus Christ. A preeminent purpose of worship is to let God in, in fact, to invite God into our lives. The church listens to God, the church is edified and built up.
This occurs to empower the church to go forth into the world as the presence of Christ, the power, the influence, salt, light, leaven. Worship alters life.

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Last updated March 21, 2001.