Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating . . . one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God . . . I do not praise you. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread . . . In the same manner also he took the cup . . . For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes (I Corinthians 11:20-26).
The answer to the question, “Why do we come for worship?” determines everything about the service. It can only be answered one of two ways: We are in worship for God, or we are there for man.
If we come to worship for man, we become principally concerned with such questions as, “Are we having a good time?” “Is this service giving us a good feeling?” “Are we getting good fellowship?” “Do we like the preacher?” “Are we moved by the sermons?” These questions have one common denominator. They reflect man-centered purposes for worship, because they all have to do with man. Don’t misunderstand. Many of these questions touch legitimate concerns. But they are not sound Biblical purposes for worship, for the “coming together” mentioned in the above passage.
The Bible clearly teaches that the purpose of worship is for God. The Apostle Paul rebuked a group of Christians for putting their own selfish desires before God’s glory, for “coming together” for man-centered reasons. The Corinthian church cared only about stuffing their own mouths, having a good time, and celebrating together. They had lost sight of the real purpose which was to “show forth the Lord’s death” (I Corinthians 11:26). They were not to be taking the Supper primarily for themselves, but for the Lord. How they felt and what they liked were not reasons for coming to worship.
As a matter of fact, Christians may not feel good when they “come together.” In the same passage the Apostle Paul says Biblical worship will make some people sick if they come for the wrong reason (I Corinthians 11:30). They may begin to feel miserable or sick because there is sin in their lives. They are made to feel this way so that they will repent. How we feel or even what we think about Biblical worship is not the point. We are not the point at all. God is. We come to worship Him!
Once we’ve settled why we come for worship, the rest falls into its Biblical place, making formal worship reasonable.