At Faith Presbyterian, we believe worship is an act of offering sacrifice and praise to God, according to how He commands. We also believe, according to the Scriptures, worship must be gospel-centered and consciously designed to point individuals to Christ and His completed work for us in His life, death, and resurrection.
Accordingly, we strive to observe the regulative principle in our order of worship, incorporating only what we believe God has commanded in His Word. The Regulative Principle of Worship states that the corporate worship of God is to be founded upon specific directions in Scripture. In the public worship of God, specific requirements are made, and we are not free either to ignore them or to add to them. Only after serious consideration and prayer will the pastor and the Session add anything to, or subtract anything from, the liturgy.
At Faith Presbyterian, we believe that the worship of God should be done corporately by the people of God. Consequently, our liturgy is designed to maximize participation by the congregation consistent with reverence and order due to a holy God. We confess our sins together, affirm our faith together, praise God together in song, read the Bible, and pray together.
What follows is a list of the elements of the liturgy for the Sunday morning worship service at Faith Presbyterian Church, click on each heading for a brief explanation for the inclusion of each element.
Our triune God is omnipresent. Therefore, wherever His people are they live coram Deo, in His presence. However, there is a sense in which God is present with His church in a special way when they gather to worship on Sunday, the Lord’s day. The instrumental selection which opens the liturgy is the beginning of the transition from the world with all its distractions to the place of corporate communion with God. The prelude is a time to be prayerful and reverent in preparation for the worship of our holy God.
The pastor continues the transition of the congregation from the world to worship with a welcome to all whom the Lord has brought together, with an especial emphasis on visitors to the church.
The pastor presents to the congregation announcements and prayer needs concerning missionaries whom our church sponsors and lists opportunities of service to the world, the community, to one another, and of fellowship within the body.
The transition from the world is complete. The choir sings an invitation for the congregation to turn their attention toward God and prepare to praise and worship Him.
The pastor extends the invitation to direct our attention toward God by reading selected scriptures which call us to worship. He then prays to God on behalf of the congregation to prepare our hearts and minds to worship in spirit and in truth.
In preparation for the corporate confession of sin, the pastor reminds the congregation of why we need to confess and what we need to confess. He does this by reading a statement of God’s law from the Old Testament or a summary or restatement of the law from the New Testament. Thus God’s standard of perfect righteousness is set before us.
Throughout the liturgy, the scriptures are read in the English Standard Version, the pew bible of Faith Presbyterian Church.
Understanding that, apart from Christ, we cannot meet God’s standard of righteousness as revealed in His word, we pray to God, confessing our sins together as a congregation, both sins of commission and sins of omission, using the prayer printed in the bulletin. We also ask God to forgive our sin because of Christ’s atoning work on our behalf and to transform us into the likeness of Christ by the power of Holy Spirit.
This is the first element in the liturgy in which the local body of Christ participates corporately.
The pastor assures the members of the congregation, on the authority of God’s word, that the one who confesses and repents of his sin and believes the gospel – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures – is freely pardoned by God.
Led by the music director and the choir, the congregation joins together to sing praises to our great God.
Hymns are from the Trinity Hymnal, which consists of hymns faithfully based on God’s word and which clearly teach the doctrines of grace.
Reading from a statement of doctrine printed in the bulletin, the congregation corporately affirms what we believe. The affirmation will be a section of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Apostles’ Creed, or the Nicene Creed, and will be an expression of the Reformed faith, which in turn is the apostolic and biblical faith, once for all delivered to the saints.
The congregation and choir respond to the affirmation of faith by singing together the Gloria Patri, an ancient Trinitarian doxology in praise of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Faith Presbyterian Church firmly supports a covenant family ministry model in which our very youngest can grow in wisdom and knowledge of our Lord alongside congregation members of all ages. Accordingly the pastor invites the younger children to the front of the church where he teaches them an age-appropriate lesson based on the sermon which he will shortly preach.
Believing that the Psalms constituted the hymnal of the Old Testament church, the choir and congregation sing a metrical psalm from the Trinity Psalter set to a familiar hymn melody by the music director. These psalms are found in the Psalms for Sunday Morning Worship booklet.
The pastor offers a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s many blessings, after which members of the congregation have the opportunity to return gratefully and cheerfully a portion of the material goods with which God has so graciously blessed them. The offertory is an instrumental selection which accompanies the ushers’ passing of the collection plates for this purpose.
The congregation and choir respond to the giving of God’s tithes and offerings by singing together another Trinitarian doxology, the Old Hundredth, praising the triune God from whom all blessings flow.
Led by the music director and the choir, the congregation joins together to sing a hymn dedicating ourselves to the worship and service of our great God.
The pastor prays to Almighty God on behalf of the congregation and himself. This prayer includes adoration of God for who He is, confession of our sins against Him, thanksgiving for all of His manifold benefits to us, and supplication for our needs. The prayer is especially designed to help prepare the hearts and minds of God’s people for the preaching of God’s word which is to follow.
At the conclusion of the pastoral prayer, the congregation joins together to pray the model prayer given by our Lord to His disciples in response to their request to teach them to pray. That this prayer is suitable for corporate use is indicated by the Lord’s use of the plural pronouns “us” and “our”.
Faith Presbyterian Church uses the King James Version of the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew’s gospel.
The choir sings a special selection to prepare the hearts and minds of the congregation to receive God’s word.
The sermon is the high point in the liturgy, the element to which everything else in the service has led. The Reformation restored the preaching of the word of God to its proper place in the worship service, at the center, symbolized by the front-and-center position of the pulpit in the sanctuary. We come together in worship to praise God and enjoy His presence, but the most important part of worshiping God is hearing a word from Him.
The sermon begins with the pastor’s reading of the portion of scripture which he will be expounding in the message, followed by his prayer asking God’s blessing on His word and on the sermon.
Then follows the actual sermon, a word-based, gospel-centered message delivered by the pastor, who is qualified by calling, gifting, and education to preach, teach, and exhort. The sermon is word-based because God has spoken to His people through His inscripturated word. Faith Presbyterian Church believes in and practices expository preaching, the verse-by-verse explanation and application of complete books of the Bible.
The sermon is gospel-centered because the ultimate purpose of the message is to present the person and work of Christ and their application to our lives as revealed in the portions of God’s word on which the sermon is based. The gospel reminds us of who we are in Christ and what Christ has done for us.
Through the message preached by God’s man, God’s word by the power of Holy Spirit enriches, challenges and changes the hearts and minds of God’s people, bringing us into conformity to God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The pastor closes the sermon with a prayer to almighty God, asking Him to apply His word to the hearts of His people.
Led by the music director and the choir, the congregation joins together to sing a hymn expressing our response in obedience to the sermon we have just heard.
To close the worship service and send us back into the world, the pastor reminds us of our position as the saints of God by pronouncing God’s blessing on His people.
The liturgy concludes with an instrumental selection as we leave the place of corporate communion with God back to the world, where are to live out what we have learned about God and ourselves.