Why Churches Should Not Replace Evening Services with Small Groups

October 5, 2015

Scripture provides believers in churches with solid reasons not to replace their Lord’s Day evening services with small groups. This post presents a key line of biblical reasoning that supports this view.

The Importance of the Psalms for NT Believers

The apostle Paul instructs believers that they are to use the Psalms as a key part of Scripture with which they are to minister to one another:

Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Given this explicit apostolic direction, believers rightly need to base their views about worship on what God reveals about worship in the Psalms. Although there are many key passages that need to be considered, Psalm 92 is a premier passage because it is explicit inspired instruction to believers about worshiping the Lord on a day of the week that He has especially consecrated for worshiping Him.

What Psalm 92 Teaches Believers about Worshiping God 

For OT believers, God set aside one day of every week as a day that was to be distinct from all other days of the week. Psalm 92 explains what God’s perspective was about His people worshiping Him on that day:

Psa 92:1 <A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day.> It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:

 2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,

 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

 4 For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.

The Sabbath was a day on which giving thanks to God and singing praise to Him was a good thing (Ps. 92:1). Obviously, doing these things on the other six days of the week was also a good thing; nevertheless, God’s saying that it was good to do these things on the Sabbath highlights the goodness of doing so on His day.

The Psalmist specifies that these things were to be done at two periods in the day: in the morning and at night (Ps. 92:2). This explicit divine teaching instructs believers that worshiping God in the morning and in the night on the Sabbath was a good thing.

Not only did the Psalmist reveal that God was to be worshiped in those two periods, but also he added that worship was to include instrumental music using several instruments (Ps. 92:3). Psalm 92 thus plainly teaches believers that corporate worship in the morning and evening that includes singing and playing instruments in worshiping God is a good thing.

Application of Psalm 92 to the Lord’s Day

The NT reveals that the Lord’s Day belongs to God in a unique way that goes beyond what was true about the Sabbath. It is unthinkable, therefore, that God expects less from NT believers on the Lord’s Day (worshiping Him only once a day) than He did from OT believers on the Sabbath (worshiping Him twice a day).

The NT further reveals that God has specified that an entire church assemble itself in one place to worship Him through the combined ministry of all the believers in the church (1 Cor. 14:23-25). Furthermore, Scripture does not provide any passages that document that believers ever met in small groups on the Lord’s Day, either in the morning or in the evening, instead of meeting corporately to worship Him.

Of all the days of the week, believers should be the most diligent to base what they do in worshiping the Lord on the Lord’s Day as much on the Scripture as they possibly can. Based on the combined teaching of Ephesians 5:18-19, Colossians 3:15-16, Psalm 92:1-4, 1 Corinthians 14:23-25, and the many passages that show that the Lord’s Day belongs uniquely to the Lord, believers can have full confidence that worshiping the Lord corporately on both Lord’s Day mornings and evenings is a good thing that God wants them to do.

Conclusion 

The biblical line of reasoning presented above gives believers clear biblical direction to assemble themselves together both in the morning and in the evening on the Lord’s Day to worship Him corporately. The believers in a church should meet together in one place and worship Him through singing accompanied by musical instruments on both Lord’s Day mornings and evenings.

Furthermore, believers should not follow the ideas of so-called church marketing “experts” when those ideas lead them to abandon worship practices that have solid biblical basis. Churches should not replace evening services with small groups!

Rajesh

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