Worship - Lesson 7

Four Purposes of Worship—Part 4

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student can list four purposes which should characterize our worship and can cite a scripture with each.
  2. The student can describe how each of these is achieved in the various ways God has told us to worship.


  1. Each student should have access to a Bible.
  2. Have the evaluation sheets ready for use at the first of the class.
  3. Each student should have access to the songs to sing.
  4. Have a chalk board or marker board ready for use.
  5. Write on a card each passage you will want someone to read and distributed them before class starts.


Four purposes which should characterize our worship are: proclamation, adoration, communication, and edification.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (about 10 minutes)

  1. Welcome the visitors, call the roll, and make announcements.
  2. Give the quiz over Lesson 6 and review that lesson as you let the students give the answers.
  3. So far we have said the Bible teaches that our worship should achieve three purposes: proclamation, adoration, and communication.
  4. Q: From your reading of 1 Corinthians 14:6-40, what do you think might be a fourth word to add to this list? (Edification.) The NIV uses the words “build up” rather than “edify” as do most other versions. Let’s read the scripture to remember with edification which is 1 Corinthians 14:26. We will use the word “edification” for our list of the purposes of worship.

Learning Experiences: (about 35 minutes)

  1. Q: What happened when people spoke in tongues? (They spoke in real languages they had not learned. This is clearly what happened on Pentecost and Paul, also, shows this to be the meaning when, in 1 Corinthians 14, he quotes from Deuteronomy 28:49. There Moses spoke of people from foreign nations who spoke their own language but which was a language the Israelites did not understand. In a similar way, a person speaking in a tongue could be speaking in a language no one present understood naturally and which no one was given the gift of translation. (Teacher—if you want to study this question more, refer to my article on “The Tongues of 1 Corinthians 14 under articles on www.oc.edu/faculty/stafford.north.) Q: In that case, what was the person speaking in tongues to do? Q: Why? So, Paul says, everything done in worship should “build up” or “edify” those present.
  2. So we add a fourth word to our list of purposes for worship: “edification.” Our primary purposes for coming to worship, then, are to proclaim our faith in God (1 Corinthians 11:26), to express our adoration for Him (Hebrews 13:15), and to communicate messages to God from our hearts (Ephesians 5:19). As we do these things, however, God says we will also be edifying our brothers and sisters. Our primary motivation in worship is to proclaim God, adore God, and communicate with God, but in doing these things, we will also be edifying other Christians. Note that we do not come to worship just to benefit ourselves. Coming to worship to “get” something for ourselves is the opposite of the “giving” sprit that characterizes true worship. We do not come to “get” but to “give”—give honor to God by the proclamation of our faith, give honor to God through the adoration we express, give honor to God by communicating with Him our heartfelt thanksgiving, submission, and regret for sin, and then to give honor God by building up our brothers and sisters. True worship must be “selfless” not “selfish.” “Selfish worship” is a contradiction in terms. The person who says, I’m not coming back because I didn’t get anything out of the worship has clearly come for the wrong reason. Of course, if we worship God properly we will receive the benefits. He designed our worship this way. But this benefit for ourselvesshould not be our primary aim and, if we make it our primary aim, then we will not receive even that blessing.
  3. Read 1 Corinthians 14:11-18. Q: What is Paul’s principle of worship which he applies here to the question of “speaking in tongues?” (That those worshipping must understand what is happening so it can be their own expression too.) Q: To what two worship activities does Paul apply this principle? (Praying and singing.) Q: How might we sing today without understanding? (Not know the meaning of the words, have our minds on something else, be too focused on how we sound or on getting the right notes.) Q: How might we pray without understanding? (The one leading might not be speaking clearly or loudly enough, we might not understand the words, the prayer leader might be using expressions that are overworked and so have lost their meaning to us or we might have our minds elsewhere.)
  4. Read 1 Corinthians 14:29. Q: To what activity does Paul here apply the principle of understanding? (Prophesying. This was delivering a message received directly from God. We have no such prophets today.) Q: What activities in our worship might be for a similar purpose and, therefore, should, therefore, be done with understanding? (When someone today is reading the Bible or explaining its message, we should also “weigh carefully what is said.”
  5. Read 1 Corinthians 14:40. Q: What situations which has Paul just addressed to which he wanted the Corinthians to do in a more fitting and orderly way? (Do not have more than one speaking at a time, do not have people speaking in a way the others cannot understand, do not have women who speak out during the service.) Q: When, in our assemblies, might we do things that were not fitting or in an orderly manner? (Have people interrupting, speakers not being loud enough to be heard, songs that are confusing to people, or the leaders of worship be dong things that distract us from the real purpose of our worship.)
  6. Q: In what ways can worship build us up? (In knowledge, in fellowship, in commitment, in resisting temptation.)
  7. The sum of 1 Corinthians 14, then, is that our public worship should be edifying and strengthening to those who come. I should come to edify you and you should come to edify me. Q: What could we do to make the singing more edifying? Q: What could we do to make taking the Lord’s supper more edifying? Q: What could we do to make the prayers more edifying? Q: What could we do to make the preaching more edifying? Q: What could we do to make the giving more edifying?
  8. Many of the songs we sing are directed toward edifying one another. These songs are, of course, for God’s glory and so are appropriate for worship, but they are not aimed at direct communication to Him. They are, rather, sung as encouragement to one another. Look at the song “Trust and Obey.” We certainly are not telling God to “trust and obey.” We are, rather, speaking to each other. Let’s sing this song as a way of speaking one to another. Think of someone in the room to which you want to direct this song as we sing it. Now look at “Take Time to Be Holy.” Q: To whom are we singing this song? Let’s stand and let each half of the class face the other half and sing to each other “Take Time to Be Holy.” This is “singing one to another.”


  1. Read Hebrews 10:24-25. Q: Why does the writer of Hebrews say he wants us not to miss the assembly? God has designed weekly worship as a way for us to honor Him but has planned for us to do that in a way that builds up each other. It is very important, therefore, for all who can to be at each service.
  2. We have now covered the four primary purpose for worship. (Teacher—write the four purposes for worship on the board, one below the other.) Q: What do you notice about the first letters of these words? (Spell PACE.) Let’s use this as a memory device to help us recall these four words. Let’s, now, say them aloud together—proclamation, adoration, communication, and edification. Each time we are in worship, we should be asking which of these we are doing as we sing or pray or take communion or give or listen to the Word. This will help us to be achieving these purposes as we worship. Q: Could one be in the auditorium, singing the hymn chosen, and still not be worshipping God? (Yes.) So let’s be sure we keep our minds focused on these purposes as we worship.


  1. Be able to list the four purposes for worship with the scripture given for each.
  2. Memorize Hebrews 10:24-25.


  1. A quiz will be given to ask the students to list the four purposes for worship and a scripture with each.
  2. On the quiz, the student will be asked to write out from memory the verses Hebrews 10:24-25.

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