Character of Worship.

A sweet simplicity marks a Scripturally-gathered assembly of saints for worship. No human minister or leader or presiding elder are ordained to guide the proceedings. The worshippers are gathered together by Divine appointment to meet their risen and glorified Lord, once crucified for them. A table is spread with a loaf and a cup of wine—simple emblems of His body given and His blood outpoured. The purpose is to show the Lord’s death and to remember Him. All are wholly dependent on the Holy Spirit, who is the Revealer of Christ to the soul, and who brings to remembrance the things concerning Him. He leads forth the worship.

In the Book of Revelation, chap. 5, we see the redeemed multitude worshipping before the Lamb; occupied with His worthiness, the death He died, the results of His redemption; while praise, thanksgiving and adoration flow from their hearts. This indicates the nature of acceptable worship.

First, we contemplate the Son of God in the past eternity—His glory, majesty, excellence, absolute perfection; Himself the object of the Father’s love and delight, the alone worthy One. Behold Him from Heaven’s side. See the Son in the bosom of the Father, before the world began. The sight fills our vision, expands our conception of His transcendent glories and supreme worthiness.

Next, we meditate on the amazing stoop from the “excellent glory” to Calvary’s suffering and shame. We consider the emptying of Himself of the outward display of glory and majesty, taking the form of a bondservant, making Himself of “no reputation”; yet fully retaining His attributes as God, though in a truly human body. Deity and humanity united in His person, but not fallen humanity (Phil. 2:6-8). We think of Him upon the Cross, “The Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29); we think of the “waves and billows of God’s wrath going over Him, the Bearer of our sins; we see Him enduring the terrors of the Almighty to save us from the “vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

“Oh hear that sad, expiring cry,
‘Eli lama sabachthani’;
Draw near and see the Saviour die,
On the Cross!”

Now we turn to the blessings which flow to man from the sacrifice He made: “Hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood…hast made us kings and priests…we shall reign.” There is in all this the Godward side of the Cross, likewise the manward; an equal balance of the truth is essential to a full standard of worship. God has been glorified; we have been saved. All we have and are we owe it to His blood. It is this personal touch that begets our gratitude and calls forth adoration, praise and thanksgiving. “He loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

This holy contemplation of our Lord fills the heart, finding expression in hymns, in audible or silent thanksgiving, and by selections from the Word. “Whilst the King sitteth at His table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof” (S. of S. 1:12). The Lamb who was slain is alive for evermore (Rev. 1:18). He whose death we commemorate is coming again, to receive us unto Himself. Then the emblems on the table will be needed no longer, for we shall behold the pierced hands and feet of our Redeemer. But till He comes we show His death in the appointed manner.