The Elements of Our Worship
Liturgy comes from the Latin, leitourgos; leitos – public, and ergo – working. Worship is a public work, in fact the highest and holiest work given to man. Serving the Triune God in worship is not left to speculation or creative thinking. God has shown us in His Word what worship is and what is to be included in His corporate worship.
No matter what the church or tradition, every worship service involves some sort of form or “liturgy”. Even those services that seem devoid of a plan have a plan.
Christ the King Presbyterian Church makes use of an historic liturgy stemming from the theology of the Reformers. This liturgy includes historic confessions of faith, prayers of the Reformers and Puritans, responsive readings, theologically sound hymns and psalms and the best of historical church music. This liturgy is designed with one main purpose: to reveal and revel in the Glory of God by creating an environment where He is at the center of everything. This gives His people the opportunity to enter into the very throne room of the Almighty.
No matter what the church or tradition, every worship service involves some sort of form or “liturgy”. Even those services that seem devoid of a plan have a plan. Our plan is to make use of biblical elements and to structure them is such a way that there is a theological progression, moving through four basic stages: Praise, Confession, Means of Grace and Covenant Renewal.
Below is an outline of the four stages of the Lord’s Day liturgy at Christ the King, Seminole, including a brief explanation of the various sections of our service and its significance, meaning and purpose. Download and sample of our Sunday Worship Folder.
First Stage – Praise
Call to Worship
Our liturgy begins by acknowledging God as God and giving Him His due. We begin with a “Call to Worship,” a responsive reading usually from the Psalm. With this we focus our hearts and minds upon the task at hand – worship.
Next comes the invocation, the pastoral prayer that calls upon God that He might inhabit the praise of His people. This is concluded with the Lord’s Prayer.
Hymn of Worship
The hymn of worship is specifically to call to our attention the greatness of God, magnifying His glorious attributes as we sing to Him. Another distinction between this service and many others is the recognition that in worship, God is the audience and the congregation gives to Him a sacrifice of praise. Many modern churches seem to act as though the congregation were the audience.
Second Stage – Confession
Prayer of Confession
It is on the basis of the grace of God through faith in Christ that sinners are able to enter into the presence of a holy God. The grace of repentance not only removes the barrier of sin leading to reconciliation with God in our conversion, but is an ongoing grace whereby God’s people continue to confess their sins to God, receiving from Him pardon for sin and peace of conscience.
Assurance of Pardon
The assurance of pardon is a Scripture reading focusing upon the work of Christ on behalf of His people, for whom He made satisfaction for sin through His life, death, resurrection and ascension. This assurance belongs to such as truly repent.
Hymn of Praise
In response to the grace of God in forgiving sin, this Hymn of Praise gives the people of God the ability to praise the Lord Jesus Christ as their great Prophet, Priest and King.
Confession of Faith
Christ the King PCA is part of a denomination which is characterized as confessional. “We believe in God the Father…” We make use of the great historical creeds in our services. These creeds serve as anchors to our faith. They are the means by which we practice catholicity with other churches – the creeds unify us on our beliefs and standards and tie us directly with what our fathers in the faith believed. The Apostles’ Creed is believed to be based upon an ancient baptismal confession and the Nicene Creed was formulated in AD 321 by the early church in response to heresies concerning the nature of Christ and the Trinity. We also make use of the Westminster Confession of Faith as a part of our worship services which also serves as a part of our constitutional standards.
The name Gloria Patri comes from the first two Latin words of this ancient hymn of praise. It has be used in most traditional worship services since around AD 380. By means of this simple hymn of praise the glory of the Triune God is extolled as everlasting.
Third Stage – Means of Grace
It is our conviction that God has given to the church all the “means of grace” Necessary for believers to grow into Christ-likeness. These means of grace are: worship, preaching, the communion of believers, the sacraments and prayer.
Hymn of Preparation
We begin the Means of Grace cycle of worship with a Hymn of Preparation. This hymn is chosen as a means to prepare our hearts to hear His Word.
Central to our worship service is the sound, expositional preaching of the entire inspired, infallible and sufficient Word of God. It is here, more than anywhere else, where God speaks truth to His church.
Communion of the Saints
Through the Gospel, God is creating a new humanity from the old. The world is passing away, and all those who are born are born into a relationship with Adam, the first man, who as our federal head sinned and plunged his progeny into ruin. God sent a new Adam – another federal head – in order to bring about a new creation and form a new humanity who are reconciled to God. This new humanity has the Lord Jesus Christ as its head, and exists to glorify Him and enjoy Him through holy living and service. This body and bride of Christ are gathered together to create a greater temple than those of ancient Israel, as each individual believer becomes a living stone fitted by God to be His living temple and holy habitation. Therefore, we need each other and love our King and each other as members of His body.
The sacraments are ordinances given by God to identify the church as His special people. These ordinances have a certain continuity with that of the old covenant and its ordinances. God gave what amounts to two sacraments to His old covenant church: Circumcision and Passover. To the new covenant church he further developed these two sacrament in the form of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism serves as the sign of initiation, where people are formally brought into the communion of the saints. The Lord’s Supper is the sign of commemoration, where we, by faith, feed upon Christ and remember what He has done to redeem us.
Our services offers several opportunities for corporate prayer. In fact, the entire liturgy is really a form of communication with God. Specifically, we pray to ask God to forgive us in the Prayer of Confession, and further, the pastor leads the congregation in prayer for the church, our relationship with the world, our leaders, missionary activity and so forth.
Fourth Stage – Covenant Renewal
In this last stage of the liturgy God’s people, having been in the presence of the Almighty, and having been changed by that experience, leave with a renewed interest in the things of God, and a desire to live for His glory.
As an act of worship, we give back to God from what He has graciously given to us. Through the offering, we give of our treasure. Along with our treasure, we ought also to give of our time and talent. John Calvin’s motto is instructive: “My heart, aflame, I offer to You.” For the believer, giving of one’s treasure is not an option, but a vital part of worship to God, and the means by which He advances His kingdom as the church supports missions, provides for the needy and pays the bills for local ministry.
The word comes from the Greek – doxologia, a word (logos) of glory (doxa). The doxology is an ancient hymn of praise – and has been a part of the worship service in many churches for centuries. It is sung in response to the Lord’s overflowing grace.
Hymn of Response
The Hymn of Response focuses upon God’s covenantal faithfulness and our response to it. In this hymn thank God for His grace, and offer ourselves to Him as we seek to live out the implications of the Gospel.
The benediction is God’s good word to his people – His blessing upon the church conferred through a Scriptural benediction selected for that purpose. It is given by the minister and closes the Corporate Worship Service.
Find out more about the distinctives of our theology.