This week and the next three weeks, the sermon will consider one of the four facets of the congregation’s vision statement. The notes below lift up exemplifying passages from the Bible and the Book of Confessions.
Matthew 4:10 – You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
Ephesians 4:4-6 – There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
The Second Helvetic Confession:
5.023 GOD ALONE IS TO BE ADORED AND WORSHIPPED. We teach that the true God alone is to be adored and worshipped. This honor we impart to none other, according to the commandment of the Lord, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Matt. 4:10). Indeed, all the prophets severely inveighed against the people of Israel whenever they adored and worshipped strange gods, and not the only true God. But we teach that God is to be adored and worshipped as he himself has taught us to worship, namely, “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23 f.), not with any superstition, but with sincerity, according to his Word; lest at any time he should say to us: “Who has required these things from your hands?” (Isa. 1:12; Jer. 6:20). For Paul also says: “God is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything,” etc. (Acts 17:25).
5.135 And those who are such in the Church have one faith and one spirit; and therefore they worship but one God, and him alone they worship in spirit and in truth, loving him alone with all their hearts and with all their strength, praying unto him alone through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator and Intercessor; and they do not seek righteousness and life outside Christ and faith in him. Because they acknowledge Christ the only head and foundation of the Church, and, resting on him, daily renew themselves by repentance, and patiently bear the cross laid upon them. Moreover, joined together with all the members of Christ by an unfeigned love, they show that they are Christ’s disciples by persevering in the bond of peace and holy unity. At the same time they participate in the sacraments instituted by Christ, and delivered unto us by his apostles, using them in no other way than as they received them from the Lord. That saying of the apostle Paul is well known to all: “I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you” (I Cor. 11:23 ff.). Accordingly, we condemn all such churches as strangers from the true Church of Christ, which are not such as we have heard they ought to be, no matter how much they brag of a succession of bishops, of unity, and of antiquity. Moreover, we have a charge from the apostles of Christ “to shun the worship of idols” (I Cor. 10:14; I John 5:21), and “to come out of Babylon,” and to have no fellowship with her, unless we want to be partakers with her of all God’s plagues (Rev. 18:4; II Cor. 6:17).
5.220 THE METHOD TO BE EMPLOYED IN PUBLIC PRAYERS. As in everything, so also in public prayers there is to be a standard lest they be excessively long and irksome. The greatest part of meetings for worship is therefore to be given to evangelical teaching, and care is to be taken lest the congregation is wearied by too lengthy prayers and when they are to hear the preaching of the Gospel they either leave the meeting or, having been exhausted, want to do away with it altogether. To such people the sermon seems to be overlong, which otherwise is brief enough. And therefore it is appropriate for preachers to keep to a standard.
The Westminster Confession of Faith:
6.012 2. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself;(23) and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them:(24) he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things;(25) and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, ori upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth.(26) In his sight all things are open and manifest;(27) his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature;(28) so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain.(29) He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands.(30) To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.(31)
6.112 1. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is good, and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.(1) But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.(2)
6.113 2. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone:(3) not to angels, saints, or any other creature:(4) and since the Fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.(5)
6.114 3. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,(6) is by God required of all men;(7) and that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,(8) by the help of his Spirit,(9) according to his will,(10) with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance;(11) and, if vocal, in a known tongue.(12)
6.115 4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful,(13) and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter,(14) but not for the dead.i (15, 16)
6.116 5. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear;(17) the sound preaching,(18) and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence;(19) singing of psalms with grace in the heart;(20) as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:(21) besides religious oaths,(22) and vows,(23) solemn fastings,(24) and thanksgivings upon special occasion;(25) which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.(26)
The Larger Catechism:
7.214 Q. 104. What are the duties required in the First Commandment?
A. The duties required in the First Commandment(1) are: the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God;(2) and to worship and glorify him accordingly;(3) by thinking,(4) meditating,(5) remembering,(6) highly esteeming,(7) honoring,(8) adoring,(9) choosing,(10) loving,(11) desiring,(12) fearing of him;(13) believing him;(14) trusting,(15) hoping,(16) delighting,(17) rejoicing in him;(18) being zealous for him;(19) calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks,(20) and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man;(21) being careful in all things to please him,(22) and sorrowful when in anything he is offended;(23) and walking humbly with him.(24)
The Confession of 1967:
9.36 The church gathers to praise God, to hear his word for mankind, to baptize and to join in the Lord’s Supper, to pray for and present the world to him in worship, to enjoy fellowship, to receive instruction, strength, and comfort, to order and organize its own corporate life, to be tested, renewed, and reformed, and to speak and act in the world’s affairs as may be appropriate to the needs of the time.