Further Study: Worship in the Early Church
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Ellen G. White, “Pentecost,” pp. 35–46; “The Gift of the Spirit,” pp. 47–56; “Exalting the Cross,” pp. 201–210; “Corinth,” pp. 243–254; “Called to Reach a Higher Standard,” pp. 309–322, in The Acts of the Apostles.

“Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; . . . it is walking by faith . . . . it is relying on God with unquestioning [...]

12: Worship in the Early Church: Discussion Points
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beautiful-fire-matches-03

A P A R A B L E

Okay, you. You like adventure and always want to test to the limits. Tuck a small box of matches in your pocket and put on a good sun hat and sunglasses. Head up into the mountains a couple of hours from home. The air is crisp and clean. Evergreen trees are everywhere. And nobody else is here. You’re going to make a difference today.

Park your car on the portion of the parking lot [...]

Love Conquers All
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love_conquers_all__Wallpaper_meo8m

It is so easy, from our perspective today, to look back at the early church as some sort of model of harmony and peace, an example of what true worship was all about. Unfortunately, New Testament history is so similar to Old Testament history in that both show just how far fallen we all are.

Take, for example, the church in Corinth, which Paul established on his second missionary journey. A commercial hub, known for its luxury and wealth, Corinth was [...]

Worship “Contrary to the Law”
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10Commandments

Worship is not just about what you do in church on Sabbath. Worship encompasses aspects of our whole faith: what we believe, what we proclaim, how we act. Central to worship is the idea of the Lord as our Creator and our Redeemer. Everything about worship should flow from this fundamental and sacred truth. Again, worship is primarily about God and the actions of God in history. Authentic worship should draw participants into a closer walk with their Lord. It [...]

Paul on Mars Hill
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St Paul Preaching in Athens

In the days of the early church, we can see another example of the issue of worship, and of what people worship—this time in the ministry of the apostle Paul when he was in Athens, the place where three of the world’s most influential philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) once lived.

What a different audience Paul had to deal with here than Peter did years earlier before all those devout Jews in Jerusalem!

Read Acts 17:15–34, the account of Paul’s preaching in [...]

The Preaching of the Word
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A great part of the Protestant worship tradition has been the preaching of the Word. A sacred responsibility falls upon the one given the task to feed the sheep, to teach and to preach and to exhort and to encourage. Music, liturgy, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and foot washing all have their place, but, perhaps, nothing’s more important than what is preached from the pulpit during the worship hour.

Read Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14–41). How are [...]

12: Worship in the Early Church – Teaching Plan
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gless12

Key Thought: God’s Word regarding His law, our history with Him, His redeeming acts, and the future are the foundations of our worship.

1. Have a volunteer read Acts 1:8-11.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Should a focus of our worship be in the second coming of Jesus in the clouds? Why or why not?
C. Personal Application: How do we know that we have received the power of the [...]

Many Proofs
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doubting thomas

From a human perspective, Jesus’ earthly ministry did not look so successful. Though He had attracted a fairly popular following while alive, it did not catch on en masse. Many leaders rejected Him, and, of course, the Romans crucified Him, causing His closest disciples to scatter and flee.

Things looked pretty bad until His resurrection and then Pentecost, when suddenly His followers found a new boldness to proclaim their crucified Master as the Messiah of Israel. It was only after the [...]

Worship in the Early Church
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gless12

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 1:1–11, 2:14–41, 17:15–34, 18:1–16, 1 Corinthians 13.
Memory Text:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV).

Soon after Christ returned to heaven, the early church began to expand and grow. At first, it almost was exclusively Jews who were accepting Jesus as the Messiah and coming into the ranks of believers. Indeed, at [...]