Worship and Liturgy (02): Models of Heaven

Date: 3/9/2008
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Worship and Liturgy (2): Models of Heaven
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * March 9, 2008

Hebrews 8:5 - They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

The Heart of Worship - It must be emphasized - Worship is a matter of the heart . . . Unless a person is individually cultivating a heart for God and doing His will, then the grandest and most powerful corporate worship actions and ceremonies condemn rather than redeem. Yet, there are people who are trying to be Lone Ranger Christians with no accountability to a congregation and the corporate aspect of our relationship with God. These people “forsake the assembling of themselves together” in the language of Hebrews 10:24-25. They miss the significance of the Meeting of Heaven and Earth on God’s appointed day to have Christ revealed in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35). Corporate worship needs individual spirituality and individual spirituality needs corporate worship.
The Meaning of Worship - 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). One key term in the NT 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.” Thus, all churches have a “liturgy” - even churches which “wing-it” (tech. term) every week still create an “order” of events. Scripture says we should plan a biblical liturgy (1 Cor. 14:40).
The Model of Worship - The “man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one,” says Hebrews 9:24. The term for “copy” is the word “tupos” or “antitupos” (type or antitype). The environments of worship in the Bible “model” or copy the heavenly sanctuary wherein God the judge of all is seated. The “order” of sacrifices and rites helped the worshiper approach God. In our day, we have moved beyond the era of an actual “model” temple of metal, stone and wood. Now Jesus has entered the real sanctuary as a Man and we through Him, following the pattern that has been established. Our service reflects this pattern, the rite of passage to the heavenly sanctuary. We follow the same pattern as was given to Moses, constructed visibly in the Tabernacle, and was ordered as their leitourgia (Luke 1:23): Call, Confession, Consecration, Communion, & Commission.
Gregg Strawbridge 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