Monday, March 28, 2016

Worship vs Service

Lucas Necessary writes:
I think that two words are important: worship and service. Old covenant worship was in Jerusalem, and occurred when the non-priest presented himself to the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem. Old covenant service was the activity of the priest in presenting offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. Hence the people of Israel collectively worshiped and served God. And if the hearts of the worshipers were not right, then the offering of sacrifices was in vain (see Isaiah 1). Acceptable service thus flows from worship.

But worship under the new covenant is not in Jerusalem, nor in any other physical location - it is internal; it is in Spirit and in truth (John 4:20-24). Just as old covenant service of the priests flowed from the worship of the people, new covenant service is derived from new covenant worship. Rather than flowing from people to priest, new covenant worship moves from external to internal. Worship is in spirit; in service the body is offered as a living and holy sacrifice (Romans 12:1). Worship is the internal devotion of the individual; service is the outward expression of that which flows from within. If the heart is not right, then that which is offered externally is in vain. "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled" (Titus 1:15).

Let us consider, then, five acts of service - spiritual sacrifices of a spiritual priesthood, which are misnamed worship in denominational, unscriptural terminology.

Singing and Praying

These two can be considered together in that they are both audible expressions which ascend to God. "Through Him [Christ] then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15). Sacrifice of praise is the offering of a priest; it is service.


"Do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Hebrews 13:16). Again, sharing or giving is a sacrifice; it is a service.

Preaching or Bible study

Paul wrote that he was "a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the Gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:16). Preaching the gospel, as well as the fruit of that preaching, is an offering of a spiritual priest. It is a sacrifice; it is service.

The Lord’s Supper

"Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?" (I Corinthians 10:16). The participation in the body and blood of Christ is compared to the Levitical priests sharing in their offering. "Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the alter?" (I Corinthians 10:18). Thus the participation in the Lord’s Supper is participation in a spiritual sacrifice offered on a spiritual altar. "We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat" (Hebrews 13:10). Those who participate in the Lord’s Supper, participate in a sacrifice, it is service.


Worshiping in spirit and truth - internally and continually - results in spiritual service - external actions - from a spiritual priesthood. This is what is acceptable to God. "You also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5).

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