“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” — Psalm 95:6‑7
We worship God because we were made to worship Him.
Paul in the letter to the Ephesians tells us this (Ephesians 1:3-6). This prayer shows the consciousness of the first Christians in their worship. They understood that they had been destined and appointed to live to the praise of God’s glory (Ephesians 1:12). The Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechism teaches the same truth when it reminds us that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” It gives witness to the same principle that God created us to worship Him. True worship serves above all else the praise of God’s glory.
We worship God because He commanded us to worship Him.
When God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai concerning his people’s worship he solemnly charged them, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20). The implication is that God’s people ought to worship him and him alone. Jesus reminds us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of our heart, all of our mind, and our strength (Matthew 22:37).
The second, third, and fourth commandments teach us to worship God in the way that he requires, without using his name in vain but rather sincerely, and to do so by setting apart the Sabbath day.
We worship God according to his Word.
Christian Worship should be in obedience to God’s Word as revealed in Scripture (Hebrews 12:28). As Martin Bucer (1491-1551) put it, “it is only the worship which God asks of us which really serves Him.” The elements of our worship service include the preaching of the word, administration of the sacraments, and prayer.
The preaching at Fourth Presbyterian Church aims to be expositional, unpacking the content of God’s Word verse by verse throughout a book of Scripture. It is to be Christ-centered, illuminating how much Christ is the center of the Bible and its interpretive key. It is to be gospel-empowered, telling us of what God has done in Christ Jesus for the salvation of his people. We also hope that the preaching is experiential and pastoral, speaking in likeness with the Lord Jesus himself.
We worship God in the name of Christ.
It is in the name of Christ that the Christian Church is assembled, remembering the promise that where two or three are gathered there He is amidst them (Matthew 18:20). Jesus frequently told His disciples to pray in His name (John 14:14-16ff). When we pray in the name of Christ, we do so by merit knowing that he is making intercession for us before the Father. All of our Christian obedience is to be done according to the merit and for the praise of our Lord and Savior (Matthew 18:5; Mark 9:38-41).
Christian worship is a function of the body of Christ. The church is his body and our worship is to be a part of the worship which the ascended Christ performed in the heavenly sanctuary to the glory of the Father (Hebrews 7:23-25; 10:19-22).
We worship God by the Holy Spirit.
Every aspect of our worship is done to the Father, in the Son, and by the Spirit of God. In the preaching of the Word and administration of the sacraments, the promises of the Father fulfilled in the person and work of the Son are brought about and applied to us by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8). The Spirit of God is mightily active in Christian worship. The Bible tells us that our prayers are “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:15-27) and that our praises are “songs of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:25).
Even Jesus promised us that when we present our testimony before the world it is not we who speak but the Holy Spirit who helps us (Mark 13:11; John 15:26). Christian worship is inspired by the Holy Spirit, directed by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, purified by the Spirit and bears the fruit of the Spirit.
As Christians, we pray that the Holy Spirit will make every aspect of our lives to be pleasing to our Heavenly Father and show forth the fruit of our union with Christ. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29).