Study Guide
by David Chadwell

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Lesson 7  |  Lesson 8  |  Lesson 9  |  Lesson 10  |  Lesson 11

Lesson Eleven

If only the public assembly to worship is considered:

For Israel to worship in public assembly:

  1. The proper geographical site was necessary.
  2. The proper facility constructed in the proper manner and furnished with the proper furnishings was necessary.
  3. A high priest wearing the proper clothing was necessary.
  4. A priesthood wearing the proper clothing was necessary.
  5. The proper animal sacrifices offered in the proper manner for the proper purpose was necessary.
  6. The proper rituals were necessary.
  7. On specified holy festival occasions, the proper date was necessary.

For a Christian worship assembly to occur:

  1. There is no required geographical site.
  2. There is no proper facility properly constructed and furnished.
  3. There is no human high priest who must function on their behalf.
  4. There is no priesthood who function on their behalf.
  5. There are no animal sacrifices.
  6. There are no necessary rituals.
  7. There are no date specific special holy occasions.

The contrast is astounding. The simplicity of Christian worship is astounding. For Christian worship to occur, all that is required are:

  1. People who chose to be a part of God's family.
  2. Hearts that trust what God did and does for them in Jesus.
  3. Voices that honor and praise God.

Because of simplicity, Christian worship can occur among any people in any culture in any circumstance in any geographical location on earth. The most primitive people who become Christians, the least educated Christians who become Christian, the poorest people who become Christians, and the most illiterate people who become Christians can as acceptably and certainly worship God through Christ as can the developed, the educated, the prosperous, and the widely read Christians.

In the prevailing concern for authority, we are blind to simplicity. In the search for authority, we often "find" things that were unknown in early Christianity. In concern for authority, our "creative reasoning" often projects our concerns, our focus, our preferences, our desires, our traditions, and our culture. "Doing the right things" in the "right way" is declared to be all important. Praising God in genuine faith with a godly heart is rarely considered "of major importance and significance."

So, congregations in one region often "find" and emphasize things not "found" by Christians in other regions. Because of "authority concerns," one group of Christians often try to impose their "findings" on other Christians. To often we dare measure the faith of fellow baptized believers by our criteria created by our findings and emphasis.

Our failure to remember the simplicity of Christian worship has transformed our assemblies into something quite different to early assemblies. Too often worship is a ritualized function to be observed. It occurs when we do the "right things" in the "right way." To many, it is something that we are "required to do" instead of a meaningful interaction between family members who praise and honor our Father. Being in the building "counts." If the preacher "performs well," members come. If communion is "conducted properly," members come. If the traditional methods for performing rituals are followed, members come.

Because we left simplicity, we transformed worship into an act of observance instead of meaningful interaction and participation.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

  1. Paul could not talk to them as what (verse 1)?

  2. Why did he give them milk to drink (verse 2)?

  3. Did Paul regard their situation to be a "now" situation (verse 3)? Explain your answer.

Hebrews 6:1-8

  1. List the "elementary teachings" that Christians must grow beyond to mature (verses 1 and 2).

  2. Who had fallen away (verses 4-6)?

  3. Why was it impossible to renew these Christians to repentance (verses 6-8)?

Dare to be spiritually mature. Do not foolishly think that God's concerns are confined to the limits of your understanding. Read Romans 11:33-36.

David Chadwell

God's Contrasting Approaches Study Guide (lesson 11)
Wednesday evening Bible class, Spring Quarter 1999
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Copyright © 1999
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute with text unchanged, including author's name.
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