Our worship services are a little bit different than those of the average 21st-century American evangelical—or even Reformed—church. Many visitors are struck by the sweet simplicity of New Testament worship. Our aim is to honor the revealed will of the living and true God who loved us, made us, and redeemed us from sin at the expense of his own dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We’re careful therefore neither to add to the elements prescribed for worship under the New Testament nor take away from them.
The Levitical practices of Old Testament worship at the Jerusalem temple became obsolete in AD 70 with that temple’s destruction by Roman forces under Titus Flavius Vespasianus. The New Testament-style worship we practice is therefore the much simpler and enduring style of the synagogue. On this side of the cross, the New Testament offers no more reverberating “sound of the trumpet . . . psaltery and harp . . . timbrel and dance . . . stringed instruments and organs . . . loud cymbals . . . high sounding cymbals” formerly authorized for the temple (Psalm 150:3-5). You’ll see here no fine priestly garments and smell no incense. Those things were most certainly fit for an earlier age, when God commanded their use to prefigure the glory of a savior-king to come.
But the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world has transformed our worship of God ever since. Upon the atoning death of Christ and our being raised together with him, the church has attained her majority. We’re set free from the former, Old Covenant templates of worship that merely prefigured him, to worship him now in Spirit and in truth. You’ll find us singing in worship only the Spirit-inspired hymnal used by Christ and the apostles: the Biblical Psalms, metrically arranged for a capella congregational singing. You’ll hear prayers offered; the Scriptures read, exposited, and relevantly applied; and the benediction of the Lord pronounced upon his gathered people. At stated intervals and as providentially needed, you’ll observe the administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) that our Lord gave his church for our growth in grace until he comes again.
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”