Propriety In Worship Is Needed In Our Churches
I always believe that we need to be proper in facing God especially if we believe that he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Honoring God is a valuable thing to learn in the way we speak, act, and even present ourselves before him.
In our world today, younger generations already took for granted what it means to be proper in God’s sight. Many of them just face Him without giving due respect. I hope this sermon will in somehow open the eyes of many especially our young generation.
Propriety In Worship
Text: 1 Corinthians 11
Last week, we talked about things that happened to Israelites to be an example for us. And in the evening, we have talked about one of those things, which is idolatry.
Today, we will be talking about testing the Lord in terms of propriety in worship. Many Christians nowadays have already neglected propriety in worship. Today, you will see the young generation who comes in the church lacking some respect in the way they present themselves to God.
It is very important that at younger age, we have to learn how to respect God in every way, even in the way we dress and in the way we look.
Propriety In Praying and Prophesying (v.2-16)
The main context of verses 2-16 is all about being proper in praying and in prophesying. Paul here is discussing all about the proper things to do when we pray or in worshipping God.
The passage seems to be affected so much by customary practices of the Jews. However, there are many truths in the passage that tells us somewhat on the propriety in praying and prophesying. There are several principles that we can learn from here.
Keeping The Traditions (v.2)
The traditions that Paul has been talking about here are the things that he taught them at first hand, “just as I delivered them to you”. These are not the traditions that was taught to us without solid Biblical foundation. The traditions that Paul taught these people are the things that honors God, not idols. The tradition that is based on the faith in Christ Jesus and not based on the faith to the saints and all other personalities that were instuted by men.
Some of the traditions that we can see from the Bible that we still practice in our time are; singing praises and worshipping God, praying for one another, gathering together to pray, laying of hands, worshipping God corporately, listening and reading God’s word.
Some of the traditions that Christians now practice are the following: The form of praise and worship that we have today in churches, church polity and administration, church councils, various unbiblical religious practices that originated from paganism, etc.
Some of these new traditions are helpful, yet some are destructive. Some formalized the existence of Christianity, while others went as far as heresy. Therefore it is very important that we will become more careful in adopting traditional practices. We have to test it first and go back to the Bible whether or not this tradition is not against the Biblical standards and Biblical sound doctrines.
Customs Should Show Honor and Respect To God
The main issue that Paul was raising here is the issue of the head covering of women and the proper hair for men which symbolizes respect and honor to our God. Though Paul’s teaching about this area is not universal by nature since this is again is influenced by culture, here we see that still Paul was able to deliver the real message, that is to honor and respect God even in the issue of our hair.
Part of Paul’s culture is the use of head covering of women especially in praying and in prophesying. This symbolizes the wearing of authority (v.10).
In our time, most evangelical Christians no longer practice head covering though there are still some who do this like the Mennonites. Some people still use head covering not because they know its real meaning, but because it was just a custom that were passed to them.
It is also very important to take note verses 13-16. Paul is making an argument about the propriety of hair for men and women. For the men, it is a disgrace to have a long hair. For women, it is only proper for women to have a long hair. And I think the most significant verse in this passage is in verse 16 that says; “But of anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.” This passage is very important because though there are several customs that is out there concerning hairs, Paul is making a statement that this teaching is generally accepted in most culture and especially to the Church of God.
Propriety In The Lord’s Supper
For the past 17 years of my life as a Christian, one of the most neglected and most of time abused practices that we are doing is the Lord’s supper. It seems that many Christians now especially the young generation doesn’t know how to respect the partaking of the Lord’s supper.
But this might not be a new problem, because if it is, Paul would probably not mention this in his letter. The Lord’s supper is a practice of Christ’s followers as a Jesus told them to do this in remembrance of his death and of what he did at the cross of calvary. And in doing this, Paul explicitly left a warning for Christians in the propriety in practicing ordinance.
In verses 17-22, Paul exposes that some of the Corinthian Christians are no longer honoring the Lord’s supper, instead they do it in selfish ways. Here are the things that they do:
- They proceed for their own supper instead of doing it corporately.
- Some attend the Lord’s supper but not because they want to honor God, but because they are hungry.
- Some attend the Lord’s supper to get drunk.
- They try to shame those who have nothing to bring.
Similarly in our own time, some people thinks that the Lord’s supper is a snack instead of remembering the Lord.
But What is The Lord’s Supper? (v.23-26)
Let us summarize the things about the Lord’s supper based on our passage:
- It was passed by the Lord and is intended to be passed also. (v.23)
- It is to be taken with thanksgiving (v.24)
- The elements are symbols of Christ’s body and blood (v.25-26)
- We are to do this in remembrance of Jesus (v.25-26)
How Then Should We Practice the Lord’s Supper?
Therefore, we are to partake the bread and drink the cup in a worthy manner (v.27). Partaking the bread and drinking the cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord . We ought to examine ourselves first before partaking the elements.
This has become one the reasons why some are weak and sickly. And in Paul’s case, some are even dead (v.30). This only shows the seriousness of the offense of dishonoring the body and the blood of Christ, and all the things that he did at the cross of calvary. Those who have been guilty and suffers from judgment (or any discipline from God), then we need to ask for forgiveness.
When we do the Lord’s supper, we ought to do this as to honor Christ, and giving due respect to him.