“Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” – Hebrews 2:12
In the Primitive Baptist Church, our worship is very simple: we preach, we sing, we pray. That simplistic worship is actually quite contrary to the complicated manner of worship that is typically in general Christianity today. We want to maintain the simplistic pattern of worship we see in the New Testament scriptures. Actually, we can see from this verse and others in the New Testament that Jesus engaged in the same simplistic worship just like we do today: Christ preached, Christ sang, and Christ prayed in the church.
The scriptures dictate the proper pattern of worship in the church, not our own personal preferences or desires. God does not allow us to add our own flavor to His worship, but instead God actively seeks true worshippers to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). The pattern for worship in Spirit and in truth that we see prescribed in the New Testament scriptures does not include the loud sound systems, bass guitars, drum sets, lighting shows, or Lord forbid fog machines. Those unscriptural additions to worship have unfortunately all become commonplace and deemed as necessary to worship God in contemporary Christianity today. In contrast, in the scriptures, Jesus didn’t get Peter to tune up his bass guitar and didn’t get James to make sure the lights would shine down on the audience at just the right moment in his sermons or for John to play soft, acoustic music as Jesus called upon men to believe. That’s what most Christians view as worship today, but we see no indicators of any of that in scripture.
Instead, we see in scripture that Jesus worshipped in the same simplistic way we do today: Jesus preached, Jesus sang, and Jesus prayed in the church. He set the pattern for worship and his apostles and the early church followed his lead. Those other unscriptural additions we mentioned are more distractions than aids to worship. You can’t be taught and admonished by others in singing if the bass guitar is so loud you can’t think. They please our flesh but they distract the church from worshipping God in Spirit and in truth.
Jesus preached in the church. We see in this verse (Jesus speaking) says that “I will declare thy name unto my brethren”. Jesus declared the message of the gospel to his brethren. Jesus didn’t offer salvation to the world, but he declared the gospel to his people, his brethren. Jesus preached all throughout his ministry. “From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven it at hand.” (Matt. 4:17) Jesus was anointed by God to “preach the gospel to the poor… to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus preached all throughout his ministry in the church.
Jesus sang in the church. Again, here in Heb. 2:12: “in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee”. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus was God, but he still sang praise to God in the midst of the church? After concluding the solemn institution of the Lord’s supper and feet washing, then “when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matt. 26:30). As the church was assembled together in the upper room, with the disciples, Jesus preached to them (John 14-16), Jesus prayed with them (John 17) and then after that was concluded he sang with the church and they went out to the mount of Olives (Matt. 26:30). God manifest in the flesh sang in the church with lowly mortals on the night of his betrayal. Truly great is the mystery of godliness.
Jesus prayed in the church. As the church with the disciples was met together, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his every to heaven, and said, Father…” (John 17:1) Jesus then proceeded to pray for his disciples in that room and for all the church to come as well. Jesus had previously cast out the commercial vendors in the temple because he declared that his house was to be “a house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13). Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in their private devotion and in the church (Matt. 6:9-13). Jesus did not have to pray on this earth, but he did to set the example for us.
Just as with everything in the church, the perfect Son of God, Jesus Christ, is our example and standard bearer. Jesus did not try to entice people to worship with all the attempted glitz and glamour we see today. No, Jesus just simply preached, sang, and prayed in the church. Jesus set the standard for the same manner of worship in Spirit and in truth that we attempt to honor and follow today.
Originally published September 2019