Worship at Westminster
Worship is the opportunity for the church, the body of Christ in the fellowship of the Spirit, to meet with her God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We meet with God in terms of the covenant that God has established with his people, whereby He promises to be our God and He summons us to be His people.
Westminster is committed to worship services that honor our majestic God and that build up his redeemed and needy people.
... is God-Centered
Worship ought to be God-centered. God is the object of worship and devotion and is the source of life and all good things. Public worship is a meeting between God and his people.
... is Joyful
Because God is a God of joy and he has redeemed us for himself, we seek to worship him with joy in singing and in praising him. “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” (Psalm 100:1-2)
... is a Dialogue
In our worship, we hear God’s words to us, and we respond to him, so our service is a dialogue or holy conversation. God speaks to us in the call to worship, the greeting and benediction, the reading and preaching of His Word, and in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We respond to God’s word with hymns that adore him, glad prayers of adoration & confession, requests for God’s blessing, and statements of faith.
... is Regulated
Because God appointed and is present at the public worship of his people, he tells us how to worship him in the Bible. We include in our worship only those things which God has commanded in his Word.
... is Founded on the Truth and Work of Christ our Savior
Jesus has provided the sacrifice that makes us right with God so we can come to the Father with confidence in him. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”(John 14:6). Jesus also promises to be with His people as they gather for worship. He said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). True worship is spiritual, and it is through faith in Christ that we experience true worship. The Apostle Paul encourages the church in Ephesus saying, “ For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). We have great encouragement that our worship is pleasing to God through faith in Christ. The Bible says, “he (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Therefore, God’s people are to engage in all the elements of worship with a single- minded focus on God’s glory and an expectation that the exalted Lord Jesus Christ himself will edify them and build his church through his appointed means of grace—all to the glory of God.
... is Covenantal
God has always included the children of believers in his covenant promises. So we worship as families and encourage parents to bring their children to worship as they are able.
... Seeks to Build Up
God promises in his word to be at work when the gospel and the work of Christ are preached as the only way of salvation. Sinners are called to embrace him and to walk with him in new obedience. We share in the Lord’s Supper twice a month because God promises and assures us in the Supper that his promises and grace are for us. In the Supper, believers feed on Christ by faith and share together in him.
Our worship is structured by this covenant relationship.
- The apostolic salutation, also known as a greeting, such as “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:3) opens our worship services. With these words God Himself greets His gathered people through the minister.
- The call to worship bids you to enter solemnly and joyfully into the high privilege of worship. God Himself through His minister calls you to give Him the glory that is due to His name.
- God calls us to confess our sins throughout His Word; we do so in unison as a body corporately and privately.
- The assurance of God’s pardon usually follows a public confession of sin. The pardon is based upon God’s own words to His people who humbly trust in Christ by faith alone for the forgiveness of their sin.
- The Scripture readings set before the people of God His holy and infallibly inspired words to them; we usually read from the Old Testament and the New Testament so that the whole counsel of God is heard with regularity.
- In the ministry of God’s Word, Christ Himself speaks to us by His minister who opens the Word of God faithfully. And in the celebration of the sacraments, the gospel of Jesus Christ is before the congregation so that she may taste and touch the real presence of Jesus by faith (as in the Lord’s Supper) or see and feel the cleansing of a sinner being brought into fellowship with Christ by faith (as in Baptism). The sacraments are signs and seals of God’s covenant of grace with His people.
- In response to God’s words to us either directly or through the minister, the congregation offers itself as a living sacrifice with psalm, hymns, and spiritual songs, prayers of confession, thanksgiving, and petitions, and offerings, all of which are a fragrant aroma unto our God in Christ Jesus.