What to Expect
Why do we worship God in the public services of First Baptist Church in the way that we do?
We read the Bible in our public worship
Paul told Timothy “give attention to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Tim. 4:13) and so, a worship service influenced by the teaching of Scripture will contain a substantial reading of Scripture (and not just from the sermon text!). The public reading of the Bible has been at the heart of the worship of God since Old Testament times. In the reading of God’s word, He speaks most directly to His people.
We preach the Bible in our public worship
Preaching is God’s prime appointed instrument to build up his church. As Paul said “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:14,17). Faithful biblical preaching is to explain and apply Scripture to the gathered company, believers and unbelievers alike. This means expository and evangelistic preaching, squarely based in the text of the word of God.
We pray the Bible in our public worship
The Father’s house “is a house of prayer” said Jesus (Matthew 21:13). Our prayers ought to be permeated with the language and thought of Scripture. The call here is not for written and read prayer, but studied free prayer. Our ministers spend time plundering the language of Scripture in preparation for leading in public worship.
We sing the Bible in our public worship
(Psalm 98:1, Revelation 5:9, Matthew 26:30, Nehemiah 12:27, 46; Acts 16:25; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). This doesn’t mean that we can only sing Psalms or only sing the language of scripture, though this tremendous doxological resource of the church should not be overlooked. What we mean by “sing the Bible” is that our singing ought to be full of the theology of the Bible. It ought to reflect the themes and proportion of the Bible, as well as its substance and weightiness.
We “see” the Bible in our public worship
That is, we are to observe the appointed visible ordinances or sacraments in public worship. When we say that we are to “see” the Bible, we do so because God’s sacraments are “visible words” (so said Augustine). The sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) are the only two commanded dramas of Christian worship (Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38-39, Colossians 2:11-12, Luke 22:14-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).