August 29 – LD 35, Day 3: The Regulative Principle of Worship

Read: Psalm 27

The modern church is extremely permissive in its worship of God. In the last couple of decades, many inventions have been introduced into the worship services of “Christian” churches that were never dreamed of before. The modern church says that you may worship God as you please, so long as it is an expression of who you are.

In history, some churches have said that if something is not expressly forbidden in Scripture, then it is acceptable in worship. The Reformed churches, however, have insisted from the time of the Reformation that if something is not expressly commanded in Scripture as a part of worship, it is forbidden. This is called the regulative principle of worship, and is stated more clearly in the Heidelberg Catechism than, perhaps, in any other Reformed creed. The Catechism says that the Second Commandment requires “that we in no wise … worship (God) in any other way than He has commanded in His Word.” This means that God's Word should regulate and stipulate every aspect of our worship.

This is what Jesus means, in John 4, when He says that the Father receives such as worship Him in “truth.” Truth is that which God has revealed in His Word. The truth must not only be the content of our worship, but it must also be the rule for our worship. The Scriptures not only regulate what we teach in worship, but also what we do and how we do it.

Because of this, the Reformed churches have carefully followed a liturgy, or form for worship, which includes only those elements that God's Word has expressly commanded. From the Scriptures, the elements of worship are prayers, singing, giving, reading and hearing of the Word. Central to worship is the preaching and hearing of God's Word.

Preaching is central because of what worship is. Worship is not simply man bringing something to God, but worship is firstly, God coming and speaking to us. The whole worship service is a holy conversation between God and His saved people. During worship, God speaks to us and then we respond with praise to Him. God's speech is primary, and that's why preaching must be central. During worship, we respond to God in song, prayer and confession, the things that He has first revealed to us. Worship is God condescending to speak to us, and we responding to Him. Psalm 27:8 puts it this way, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”

What a wonder, a miracle of grace, worship is. We are sinners, and, God almighty and holy, condescends to speak to us. How glad and ready we should be to worship Him as He commands.

Last modified on 25 August 2015

Additional Info

  • Date: 29-August
Kleyn, Rodney

Rev. Rodney Kleyn (Wife: Elizabeth)

Ordained: Sept. 2002

Pastorates: Trinity, Hudsonville, MI - 2002; Covenant of Grace, Spokane, WA - 2009

Website: www.reformedspokane.org/

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  • Address
    4006 E. Buckeye Ave
  • City
    Spokane
  • State or Province
    WA
  • Zip Code
    99217
  • Country
    United States
  • Telephone
    509-926-0372
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