Sometimes you may wonder why we worship the way we do. Over the next number of weeks, at this point in the service, I will highlight some part of our service, explain what it means, and use it to call you to worship Jesus.
So I want to begin with the big picture: you should understand that our worship service basically consists in five parts. There is the Call to Worship, the Confession of Sin, Consecration to God, Communion, and the Commissioning. You can call it the five C’s for short if you like. We describe this pattern as Covenant Renewal worship. We didn’t just make this up. This wasn’t decided by a popular vote or happen to be my favorite style. As Christians we base our lives on the Bible. We don’t want to meet with God and then just make it up as we go along. We want to worship God the way He wants us to. In the Old Covenant, God dedicated an entire book to worship. It’s called Leviticus. It’s about how someone can draw near to God through sacrifice. We know that in the New Covenant in Jesus we don’t kill animals anymore because Jesus is the final, perfect sacrifice for sin.
But the New Testament still describes our worship as sacrificial. Paul says in Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Or Hebrews says: “Therefore, by [Jesus], let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” So we don’t kill animals anymore, but somehow through Jesus, God still wants us to worship Him sacrificially. And this brings us back to the five C’s. In Leviticus, there are many sacrifices, but the big three are the Sin Offering, Ascension Offering, and Peace Offering. Whenever the people of Israel renewed covenant with God, they offered these three sacrifices in that order. They would confess their sins in the Sin Offering, consecrate themselves completely to God in the Ascension Offering where the whole animal was burned and became smoke ascending to God, and then they sat down and ate a meal with God in the Peace Offering. That’s how God has invited us to draw near to Him. So that’s why we Confess our Sins, Consecrate ourselves completely to God through hearing the Bible read and preached, and then we sit down and share a meal together in Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
When we do this, we are renewing covenant with God. That means, we are remembering that we belong to God. He is our God, and we are His people. He loves us and we love Him. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we worship this way. So “let us drawn near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”