Key Scriptures: James, John 4:24, Psalms 95:6, Colossians 3:14-17, Hebrews 13:15, 12:28, Psalms 29:2, Matthew 18:20, Hebrews 10:5, I Timothy 2:8, Revelations 4:11, Psalms 119:108, I Timothy 4:13, Acts 17:24, I Corinthians 12:12-27, Romans 12:4-5, Acts 2:42, 47, Genesis 4:1-8.
Guiding Question: How does God want us to worship Him and what is the purpose of Church?
Optional Introductory Activity: Have several people of varying ages (different generations) come in and spend a few minutes sharing what church services were like when they were kids/teens – favorite church songs, length of sermon, special fellowship activities, etc. If you have members who attended church in another region or country as a child, you may want to include them. The purpose is to show that although some things have changed the basics in scripture never should (Ex. “old” song vs. “new” song, but always singing praises to God.)
Lesson: (Questions to the students are in bold italics.) The first time in the Bible there is an example of acceptable and unacceptable worship is the story of Cain and Abel. Read Genesis 4:1-8. You have to read the verses very carefully to accurately find the difference between the sacrifice of Abel and that of Cain. Sacrifices were made as a part of worshipping God. (It was also a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.) The difference wasn’t just that Abel sacrificed animals and Cain sacrificed something be had grown. Under the Law of Moses, both animals and grains served as sacrifices. What do you think was the reason God was not pleased with the sacrifice/worship of Cain? Look at how the sacrifices are described. “Cain gathered some things he had grown” versus “Abel also brought an offering. He brought the fattest parts of some of the animals from his flock. They were the first animals born to their mothers.” NIV It sounds like Cain just gathered up some things he had grown. It doesn’t appear like he spent a lot of time finding the best or the first thing he grew (God later required sacrifices of first fruits – showing gratitude to God and a faith God would provide more.) Abel on the other hand was careful to bring the best parts of the firstborn of several of his animals.
God doesn’t just want us to worship Him and check it off our to-do list like Cain. He wants us to put worshipping Him first and put our best efforts into our worship.
We don’t sacrifices or things we have grown – when Jesus made the perfect sacrifice on the cross we didn’t need to anymore. God still require our best in worship that puts Hi first. What do you think that type of worship looks like? There are basically two types of worship. The first is our personal worship to God. It can and should everywhere we are, day or night. The second is corporate worship, which is when two or more people worship God together. Like personal worship, corporate worship can happen anywhere at anytime, even though there is one special time recorded in the New Testament when it appears all Christians worshipped with each other.
There are quite a few things God expects of our worship – both private and corporate. Read each of these verses. What does each verse tell us about what God expects from our worship?
- John 4:24 – worship in spirit and in truth
- Psalms 95:6 – worship God our make
- Hebrews 13:15 – praise God
- Hebrews 12:28 – with reverence and awe
- Psalms 29:2 – glory due His name
- I Timothy 2:8 – pray
- Revelations 4:11 – glory and honor and praise
- Psalms 119:108 – offerings of praise, teach me your rules
In addition there are examples and commands of worship with others. Read the following verses. What do they add to our understanding of the members of the Church worshipping together?
- Colossians 3:14-17 – teaching, singing, thanksgiving
- Hebrews 10:5 – not neglecting meeting together, encouragement
- I Corinthians 16:1-2 – first day of the week, giving
- Acts 20:11 – first day of week, communion
- I Timothy 4:13 – public reading of scripture, exhortation, teaching
- Hebrews 10:24 – spur one another on to good deeds
There are two more important scriptures that give us insight into how God wants the members of the Church to function together. Read I Corinthians 12:12-27 and Romans 12:4-5. What do they tell us about how members of the Church are to work together? There are a few more functions the Church serves. Read the following scriptures. What else do they tell us abut the Church?
- Acts 2:42 – fellowship
- Acts 2:47 – converting others to Christ
- Hebrews 13:16 – doing good and sharing what they had
The book of James gives us a great deal of what God expected of Christians as individuals and as a group. Read through this book. What are the things James mentions are important?
- James 1 – facing troubles, obeying God
- James 2 – treat everyone the same, show your faith by what you do
- James 3 – control what you say, pure wisdom
- James 4 –obey God, don’t fight, don’t brag
- James 5 – be patient in suffering, pray for each other
After this study, what do you understand about your responsibility to worship God when alone? What is involved incorporate worship? What are the purposes of the Church in addition to coming together to worship?
Skills Activity: Although your students have been participating in corporate worship, they may not have thought much about their attitudes and personal responsibility in worship. They may also not have given much thought to worshiping God individually every day. Depending upon your students, choose one or more of the following activities to help them continue. exploring worship and the Church. Make sure to review the points in the lesson before beginning any activity.
- Work with worship leaders in your congregation. Have them explain how they plan the various elements of a corporate worship service. You may want the person who chooses songs to share how many different songs are suggested by members. If possible have the teens participate in planning a future service.
- Most teens have access to music on a phone or other devices. Expose teens to a wide variety of Christian music. Encourage them to find several songs that they believe will remind them to worship God daily.
- Take students on a walk through a city or in nature. Have them look for things that remind them of God. It may be something beautiful reminding them of God creating the world or something that reminds them of our need for God. Encourage them to be aware of their surroundings and God every day.
- Work with students to help them create a place in their day for at least Bible study and prayer. Depending on your students it may involve helping them manage their time, find a Bible reading plan, create a quiet space or anything else that will help them be successful.
Application Challenge: Read some of the Psalms this week. God’s people have used these for thousands of years as songs and prayers. Find one or two that you can use as you worship God individually this week.
Author: Thereasa Winnett