Commit Thy Works Unto the LORD, and Thy Thoughts Shall Be Established

Family Worship and Living the Liturgy with Donald S. Whitney

This Thursday I begin a journey with my fellow brothers in Christ in our men’s small group. Early risers, the journey begins at 6:30am sharp, and it begins with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Dr. Whitney small and accessible book, Family Worship. Required introductory reading for all men (including myself) seeking to raise their family’s in the Truth of God and His Sacred Word.

Already completing the introduction and Chapter 1, there are a few highlights I would like to discuss while also pointing readers to the larger picture at hand. Therefore, prior to covering the first chapter, it important to layout the living framework that God calls us to live out in our daily lives.

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Living Out the Liturgy

In January of this year I wrote the theological/insight article, Our Shared Liturgy: A Culture of Christ For All The Ages, at Truth In Focus. It’s purpose was to stir the soul of believers and nonbelievers alike to consider who or what they worship in their daily lives as I wrote in the introduction:

Where one sits at the dinner table established a routine of rituals and processions. Altars surround our lives. But at what altar do you kneel? What does your heart speaketh in that final hour?

Further in the article I make clear that at the center of our lives must be Christ and it is best represented through His Church:

Lastly, the Church is to be the center of community; a symbol of refuge for the broken and downtrodden; and a place of growth and real prosperity for believers. Once a person is saved, Christians must build outwardly from their homes, workplaces, and events. Yes, we gather every Sunday to celebrate the Living Word and the Living God our Savior, but each day must be a day set aside for God and for others. We must not be like the pharisaical. Should a brother or sister be in need, even on a Sunday, we must rush to them.

You can read the entire article here: Our Shared Liturgy: A Culture of Christ For All The Ages

Carrying forth this ideal into the practical begins with a framework. Granted, no framework in the hands of man runs perfectly, but it is a process we can trust God will take control as He initiates His will over our lives.

Dreaming dreams, in 2017, I designed a “perfect” Sunday services in my eyes. A list I will share for the first time ever. Here:


7am-9am: Breakfast and Prayer and Admonishment

9:30am-12pm: Sunday Service (Regular)

  • A Call to Assemble and Song (Song of Gathering)

  • Church News, letter readings, etc

  • Corporate Prayer

  • Greetings and Salutations

  • A Call to Praise 

  • Song (Song of Praise) (possible reading of scripture) (hymns or Psalms)

  • Song (Song of Praise) (possible reading of scripture) (hymns or Psalms)

  • Reading from Psalms or Proverbs and short sermon (5 to 7 minute) 

  • A Call to Open Prayer, Laying of Hands, etc 

  • A Call to Worship

  • Song (Song of Worship) (possible reading of scripture) (hymns or Psalms)

  • Song (Song of Worship) (possible reading of scripture) (hymns or Psalms)

  • Reading from Psalms or Proverbs and short sermon (5 to 7 minute) 

  • A Call to Congressional Confession of Sins (publicly or privately) and Prayer

  • Song (Song of Worship) (possible reading of scripture) (hymns or Psalms)

  • Alms and Offerings

  • Scripture Reading and Christ-centered Sermon 

  • Alter Call

  • Communion

  • Song (Song of Praise) (hymns or Psalms)

  • Benediction 

12:15pm-1:15pm: Lunch and Admonishment

1:30pm-2:45pm: Classes 

3pm-4pm: Prayer, Scripture Reading, Special Sermon (e.g. Going through the Whole Bible Series), Ending Prayer

4:15pm-6pm: Dinner


Note the routines or rituals, if we can call them that, in the procession of the worship service. Do you notice a pattern? That pattern simplified is Fellowship, Prayer, Singing, Confession, Giving, a Reading and Hearing of Scripture, and Communion. Yes, we are called to do even more and commit ourselves to Baptism, but the day to day events of our lives ought to revolve around the patters mentioned. We are to be a people of Joy, Holiness, Giving, Sacrifice, Love, and above all else the sharers of the Good News, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


Sir Roger Scruton wrote,

Our life as free beings is a life in community, and the community depends upon the order of the covenant. But communities do not endure without sacrifice. People are called upon to give their lives in times of war, to sacrifice their present comforts for the sake of their children, and to make the daily sacrifice of forgiveness, whereby they renounce vengeance and satisfaction fir the sake of others in whom they have no special interest.

The Soul of the World, p. 183

Real community thrives on the understanding that the bonds created are not of their own. Shamus Drake, one of the leaders in our church, preached on Acts 9:1-20 this Sunday (February 7) on a very similar subject, noting that we are not a people bonded by our race, sex, wealth, power, nationalism, or the like but rather a people in covenant together by a single source who is Jesus Christ.

It is that setting, our shared sacred covenant; the living liturgy in which I approach Whitney’s book on family worship.

Family Worship: Chapter 1

While there is no direct, explicit commandment in Scripture about family worship, the Bible clearly implies that God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families (p. 15).

Simple, striking, and direct—GOD deserves to be worshiped daily. Recalibrating daily habits to the point that worship transpires as naturally as lifting a cup, taking a bite of a sandwich, or breathing:

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18;23

God’s command for us to worship Him comes at the wake of dawn til we lay our heads down to sleep, pray the Lord my soul do keep, should I die for I wake, pray the Lord my soul do take.

Convicting.

Whitney provides us a litany of saints in the Old & New Testament—Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Job, Asaph, Paul, and Peter—to make the directive clear that parents (singles and single parents included and mothers when dads cannot) must lead the worship of the Lord in their homes. The home is the first and last line of defense. Holy are those sacred grounds. Make them be so.

On page 25, Whitney writes:

Consistent, father-led family worship is one of the best, steadiest, and most easily measurable ways to bring up children in the Lord’s “discipline and instruction.”

Agreed.

Referencing Ephesians 6:4, Whitney points the reader in the right direction. Should parents truly believe in their shared faith then we must share it with our children. Capturing that will take time and practice none of which will look exactly the same from family to family. But already from Chapter 1, I can attest this fact, we should all be sharing in prayer, communion, confession, fellowship, and song with the scriptures leading us through these patterns as we read the psalms, proverbs, and the entire Bible through and through.

Worship begins and ends with the WORD.

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