As image-bearing creatures we were made to worship that which we most value. Because of our sinful condition, the Bible tells us we value the things of creation more than our Creator (Rom. 1:21-23). This leads to idolatry—the worshiping of things other than the one, true, and living God. The world around us everywhere evidences such false worship, bowing at the altar of self, money, sex, and power.
The reality, however, is that idols will never satisfy our souls because God has created us for Himself. We were created to value and treasure Him as the infinitely glorious God that He is. And this is precisely what God re-creates us for in Christ. Through the preaching of the gospel, He causes us to turn “from idols to serve the living and true God” (Thess. 1:9). He then unites us to a local body of believers where we can worship Him together Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day.
At Cornerstone OPC we believe in the regulative principle of worship. This simply means that the Bible, as God’s inspired Word, regulates and defines every part of our worship. We don’t have the right to worship God in any way we choose. It is God’s worship, and therefore He gets to determine how it is done (Deut. 12:32; Lev. 10:1-4).
If God has not expressly commanded something in His Word to be a part of His worship, we simply don’t do it. And whatever He has revealed to be done in the public worship of His people, we seek to do with all of our hearts. According to the revelation of God’s will in the Bible, we seek to worship God through the following means.
PREACHING THE WORD
The proclamation of God’s word is the primary element of public worship as it is the means by which God speaks to His people and calls them to Himself (Rom. 10:14-15). Paul commanded Timothy to preach the Word in the public assembly as an example of what all ministers are to do on the Lord’s Day (2 Tim. 4:2).
READING THE WORD
Not only are the Scriptures to be preached, but they are also to be read. Again, the apostle called young Timothy to “devote [himself] to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Tim. 4:13). Ideally, both testaments will be read so as to saturate the minds and hearts of God’s people with the whole Bible.
PARTAKING IN THE SACRAMENTS
God not only speaks to us audibly, but also tangibly and visibly by way of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:41-42). By these two ordinances, God visibly sets His promises before us and confirms them to our hearts, thereby strengthening our faith in Him. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the 2nd (AM), 4th (PM), and 5th (AM) Sundays of the month.
SEEKING GOD IN PRAYER
While God speaks to us through the preaching and reading of His word and the sacraments, we speak God’s word back to Him in prayer. The early church devoted herself to corporate prayer (Acts 2:42) and Paul commands us to do the same (1 Tim. 2:1-3). In prayer, we express our utter and complete dependence upon God.
SINGING PSALMS AND HYMNS
When we think of worship we often think merely of singing. While corporate worship entails far more than singing, it does not entail less. According to the apostle, the various members of the body ought to be “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with [their] heart” (Eph. 5:19).