What does it mean to worship God acceptably, in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23,24)? It means going by the Good Book for your authority. It means doing things the bible way and not man’s way. It means teaching God’s doctrine and not man’s doctrine (2 Jn 9). The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 3:17, “Whatsoever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” To do something in the name of a person we must first have that person’s permission. Therefore, we must have the authority of Christ through His word in the New Testament before we can practice anything in religion and be acceptable to Him. When God commands man anything it excludes all others. Therefore, God did not have to say “Not To” when He told us plainly what “To Do”.
The New Testament contains many commands and examples teaching the church to sing praises to God and to teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16 f; Eph. 5:19). However, there is no authority for playing on a musical instrument to God. Instrumental music is an Old Testament practice, but not in the New Testament. Although there is no specific prohibition of the use of musical instruments in the New Testament, the fact that singing is the only kind of music authorized in the New Testament is all we need to know that other kinds of music are not pleasing to God when used in worship.
The Lord’s Supper was given by Christ to be observed by Christians in the assembly. (1 Cor. 11:23-34). In Acts 20:7 there is the example of the church at Troas meeting upon the first day of the week to break bread, that is, to eat the Lord’s Supper. There you will see that the church was in the habit of meeting every first day of the week for that purpose.
This apostolic example shows that God is pleased with weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper. There is not one shred of authority for eating it on any other day of the week, or for eating it once a month, once a quarter, or twice a year. Therefore, in keeping with the creed-book of the church, the New Testament, the Lord’s church cheerfully and obediently partakes the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week.
Taking up a public collection for the work of the church is commanded in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. In this passage it says, “Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store.” Consequently, churches of Christ give an opportunity for the members of the church to give upon the first day of the week.
When there are services on other days of the week, no collections are taken on those days. Only upon the Lord’s Day are we to lay by in store. Only Christians are asked to give. Churches of Christ do not beg the businessmen of the city or the listeners to a radio broadcast to support their work. The New Testament plainly teaches that the members of the church are the ones to give for the support of the work of the church.
Christians are to pray in faith, nothing doubting, in the name of Jesus Christ according to His will. Public and private prayer are to be offered to God through His Son, Jesus Christ. This prayer is to be lifted up anywhere, including in worship (1 Tim 2:8).
The church is also commanded to instruct, to teach, to preach, to educate its members and those who are alien sinner. Paul instructed a young Timothy to, “ Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). This is to be done by Christian men. Notice the words of Paul who said, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim 2:2). Many denominations and even brethren of the church believe that women are allowed to teach in the assembly. However, women were prohibited from becoming speakers in the church in 1 Cor 14:33-40). Some will contend that women can teach children and other women in the assembly, but this too is without biblical validation. Paul’s admonition to Timothy was for women not to teach or usurp the authority over man (1 Tim 2:11-14). This was not only in the assembly but everywhere. Men were commanded to preach and teach the Word. Women were not. If women teach or preach God’s Word, they are usurping man’s authority. Man was over woman in all things (1 Cor 11:3 f; Eph 5:24). This includes, but not limited to the assembly and the home.
God is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. The things aforementioned are just that. Adding more or less than these acts of worship is to go beyond that which was written (1 Cor 4:6). Teaching for doctrine the commandments and traditions of men is vain worship and will not be accepted by God (Mt 15:7-9).