If you visit with us, you will be joining with us in the most important of all human activities: the worship of the living God. Worship is the profound expression of our love to God, as well His love to us in Jesus Christ. When we worship God, we partake of the divine commandment to “love God with with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mk. 12:30) Even more, it is in worship and through worship that we come to know His unspeakable love for us, both personally and corporately, as He fits us for the glory of eternal life. It is our sincere hope and prayer that you will find worship at Providence OPC renewing you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. Most of all, though, we hope that God will be glorified by the worship we render to him. Below are a few thoughts about how we are to understand Christian worship:
Our worship at Providence OPC is regulated by the Word of God, and directed toward the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Properly speaking, our worship is given to God the Father, through the mediation of God the Son, in the power of God the Holy Spirit. Yet all three persons of the Godhead are to be worshiped and adored as the true and living God.
From the Bible, we recognize that true worship, like all else in time and eternity, is initiated, sustained, and perfected by God Himself. We would not seek God, if He did not first seek us. (Rom. 3:11) Nor does God accept human worship until the worshipers themselves are made acceptable to Him, that is, justified, through faith in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. (Rom. 3:21-26; 5:1-2) Nor is faith possible apart from the new birth, which is a sovereign act and gift of the Holy Spirit given to God’s elect at a particular moment in their earthly lives. Our Lord taught, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (Jn. 3:3) Until the elect of God are born again, they are no more disposed to worship the true and living God than any other unbeliever, as the Apostle Paul also makes clear: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Cor. 2:14) The natural man, unless he is born again of the Spirit, cannot “accept the things of the Spirit of God,” principal among them being His witness to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
We believe that God has commanded us to worship Him by no other rule than His holy Word. This means, first, that the elements of our worship are explicitly found and commanded in the New Testament. (Old Testament worship contains patterns or types that looked forward to their fulfillment in Christ; however, it is clear that the principle of worship strictly regulated by God’s Word was already set down in the Old Testament under the Second Commandment.) We are commanded to praise God through “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” We are commanded to hear the Scriptures read and to hear them expounded, that is, preached, in accordance with the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and “the whole counsel of God.” We are commanded to approach boldly the throne of grace and pray, as we have a great High Priest in heaven who ever lives to intercede for us. We are commanded to offer God our gifts for the support of the gospel ministry and to provide for the needs of the saints. We are commanded to confess our faith in Christ publicly. Finally, we are also commanded to observe the holy ordinances instituted by Christ Himself, which are two: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Second, we are not to worship God by the vain doctrines and imaginings of men: neither by unscriptural rites, nor under any images of God or Christ, nor by any means that would be foreign to Scripture, however pleasing they might be to men.