Distinctive Doctrines (02) - Covenant Renewal Worship
2 Chronicles 29:1–35
In the previous sermon series, we studied a few themes and episodes in Kings. We are transitioning to a new series from our studies in Kings to a topical series on our Distinctive Doctrines. The elders requested that I address several key topics that are important for our community and our community of churches. I have chosen several loci: worldview (last week), worship (today), children, headship, and eschatology. Last week I used 1 Kings 20 as an illustration of worldview issues: “‘Because the Arameans have said, “The LORD is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’” Yahweh God is Lord over all. The Triune God of Scripture revealed incarnate in Jesus Christ is the only foundation for truth, righteousness, and life. His truth is unified and only by starting our thinking by this acknowledgement will we know reality. I emphasized that this is the only defensible view of reality.
Another distinctive doctrine for us is worship. If the Triune God is our foundation what is our response to Him? There are three contexts for worship: private worship (one’s devotional life); family worship (what one does to inculcate the faith the family), and corporate worship of a congregation. The purpose of this study focuses on corporate, congregational worship on the Lord’s Day and these principles apply to private and family contexts. As we we see in the text above, there is an order to the sacrificial system. The sequence of our worship follows from the “service” (leitourgia/latreia) of the old covenant.
Our word, “worship” in old English was, “weorthscipe” or “worthship” - as in giving worth or respect to Something. The Bible’s term “worship” literally means “to bow down” or “to kiss the hand,” (Greek word proskyneo, Hebrew saha). A key term in the NT addressing the corporate aspects of worship is leitourgia - literally “work of the people” (laos + ergon). It is used of the temple service and order of sacrifices (Heb. 10:11) in the tabernacle (Ex. 28:35) and the temple (2 Chr. 31:2). Our word, liturgy, is based on this and means, “an order of events observed.” All churches have a “liturgy,” an “order” of events. Scripture says we should plan and execute a biblical liturgy/”order” (euschemenos, 1 Cor. 14:40).
Hezekiah renewed a covenant relationship with the Lord and when he did so he followed the prescribed order of sacrifices. The same basic order of sacrifice is emphasized in Lev. 9: “Aaron then brought (qoreb) the offering (qorban, “near bringing”) that was for the people. He took the goat for the people’s sin offering (chattat - “hiding”) and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering (yechatte - “hiding/offering”) as he did with the first one. He brought (yaqrev, “near”) the burnt offering (olah, “ascension” Greek is holocaust) and offered it in the prescribed way. He also brought the grain offering (mincha, “gift”) took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning’s burnt offering (olah, “ascension”). He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship (shelem) offering (zevach, “offering/feasting”) for the people . . . . Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. (Lev 9:15-23 NIV). Lev. 9:22 summarizes: “And having sacrificed the sin offering (chattat), the burnt offering (olah) and the fellowship offering (shelamim), he stepped down.” Better translations would have it: Sin Offering, Ascension Offering, then Peace Offering. “The order of the last group [of sacrifices] was significant...” (IVP NBC). The NT describes what new covenant believers in their assembly as the “liturgy” (leitourgeo/latreia) of “near-bringing” in terms of the tabernacle/temple “service.” (Heb. 10:11/Rom. 9:4- Acts 13:2, Rom. 12:1). We do this now by grasping the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus by faith and by renewing covenant through these same steps on the Lord’s Day (Day of the Lord). This pattern of actions is as follows: Call, Confession, Consecration, Communion, & Commission.
The NT describes what new covenant believers in their assembly as the “liturgy” (leitourgeo/latreia) of “near-bringing” in terms of the tabernacle/temple “service.” (Heb. 10:11/Rom. 9:4- Acts 13:2, Rom. 12:1). We are Called into His presence to Confess sin (Sin offering, 1 John 1:9) so that we Consecrate ourselves (Burnt offering, Rom. 12:1) by committing to
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more