Pastoral Exhortation

Christ’s Custom of Worship: Our Example

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 07 January 2018


While on earth, Christ – though worshipped by the heavenly hosts of angels (cf. Hebrews 1:6; Luke 2:9-14; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 5:9-12) – habitually took His place among the worshipping people. Luke, the inspired historian, records concerning Christ: “as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (Luke 4:16).

We might rightly wonder why He, who is fully God and full of glory and power, would join men of low estate in their worship. Even so, it was customary for Him to be in the place of worship on the Sabbath day. Though the worshippers could offer Him nothing to benefit Him, He disregarded not the assembling of the worshipping community. Luke’s record in chapter 4 shows that Christ was the most eminent of all the worshippers, being the One who had total victory over Satan’s temptations (vv. 1-13), and the One who was filled with “the power of the Spirit” (v. 14), as well as the One who was “glorified of all” (v. 15). Yet He quietly sat with men with weakness and infirmities, men of ignorance and failures, to render glory to God. That was the custom of Christ our Saviour which we ought to follow.

Can we be greater than Christ? If He who is perfectly holy and glorious could take His place among lesser men in the worship of God, would any of us dare to be indifferent to worshipping and fellowshipping with fellow brethren in the church? To anyone who says, “I would rather worship God on my own than with those immature people in the church”, I implore such a one to consider Christ’s example – He went every Sabbath to worship and serve God, side by side with all who had gathered to worship God. No one should think of himself so lofty that he would rather be a lone worshipper! If the unblemished Christ did not detach and remove Himself from ordinary men and women, may we as Christ’s disciples also be found where all His people gather together to have communion with God and with one another in worship and service.

We ought to be inspired and guided by Christ to make it our “custom” to also join all who gather where “prayer is wont to be made”. If the Sabbath gathering was Christ’s delight, let us also make it our delight. No trivial hindrance should prevent us from congregating in the house of worship, prayer and fellowship.

Let us not be like the one who says, “I can pray as well at home.” Such contempt for the gathering of God’s people for worship and prayer is abhorrent to Christ, whom we claim to trust and adore. If you are a true follower of Christ, can you afford to have any other custom than that which Christ has embraced? Is it reasonable for a genuine Christian to reject the pious custom of regular participation in the gathering of God’s people in His church? Let all who would fain be like Christ see to it that they be imitators of Christ in customarily participating in the common gatherings for worship, prayer and the learning of His Word.

Furthermore, we observe that Christ “stood up for to read” the Scriptures while He was in the midst of the worshipping people. Luke reports, “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (Luke 4:17-22).

Christ was not a mere spectator in the crowd. He readily rendered Himself to read the Scriptures before all and to expound it. The Spirit of God was upon Him. With great grace and power, He ministered to the people from the Scriptures, and the fellow congregants received His gracious speech with incredulous wonder. Like our Christ, we should also readily avail ourselves to serve God and His people according to the spiritual gifts and opportunities that we are accorded with. We too must make it our habit to serve God among His people. Indeed, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).


A Testimony from GYF-GYAF Retreat (2017)

Sis Eunice Choy

Thank God for a wondrous time of learning God’s Word during the recent GYF-GYAF retreat. Indeed, there is no better place to be in than amongst fellow like-minded Christians. I learnt that every Christian’s relationship is first with God and then with others. Thus, I must examine myself: am I walking right with the Lord? Only then can I relate properly with other Christians, for we all have a common faith and serve a common Saviour. As our ultimate goal is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, I pray that we all will be set apart, clean and ready for our Master’s use.

It is important to come before God with clean hands and pure hearts because any sin displeases God and will hinder our fellowship with one another. When we are brought into union with God, we can be sure to flourish. Jesus is all in all and He is all the fullness that the Father wants to communicate to us. Another salient point I learnt is that our love for one another must be based on the love of Christ. It is because Christ first loved us that we can show love and kindness to our fellow Christians. God gives us the ability to love one another.

God loved us with such a perfect love that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. In turn, we should love Him and His people. I also learnt that the communion of the saints is the highest duty to God, which means that we are called to fellowship and commune with one another. Therefore, we ought not to forsake the assembling of the saints. May God help us to increase more and more in our love one towards another.

I pray that we will all keep our God-given appointments and fulfil them to the best of our ability, all for the Lord’s glory!