Preserve the Evening Worship Service

by John Yoder on March 26, 2014

Last week, I spoke to a man who thought it was great that we were still having an evening worship service, when so many churches have abandoned the practice.  Well, there are good reasons why we have an evening worship service.  In an article, originally published in Banner of Truth Magazine (Oct., 2007), Pastor Michael G. Brown wrote about the importance of preserving the Sunday evening worship service.  Here are his four reasons followed by an abridgment:

 1. Evening Worship is Rooted in Scripture

While there is no explicit command to have two worship services, there is a pattern in Scripture of “morning and evening” beginning with creation (Gen. 1-2).  This was also the pattern of Old Covenant worship (Num. 28:1-10, cf. Ex. 29:38-39) which was described in Ps. 92, a psalm for the Sabbath Day: “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And your faithfulness by night” (v. 1-2).  So its not unreasonable to expect this pattern to continue in New Covenant worship, as evidenced from the evening service that took place on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

 2. Evening Worship Helps us to Sanctify the Lord’s Day

Having both a morning and evening worship service provides an excellent structure to help families sanctify the Lord’s Day.  The two worship services serve as “book ends” assisting the Christian to keep all of the Sabbath day holy, as we are commanded, and not just a couple of hours in the morning (Ex. 20:8-11).  And the keeping of this command not only sets the church apart from the world as the people of God, it also reminds them that they are pilgrims on the way to their eternal Sabbath rest.  There is no better way to end the day, than to gather together as the covenant community in worship (Acts 2:42).

3. Evening Worship, Like Morning Worship, is a Means of Grace

There is a low view of preaching and the sacraments among Christians in our day.  Many prefer small-group Bible study, personal devotions or family worship to another sermon.  But if, as the Bible teaches, the preaching of the Word is the primary means of grace for our sanctification, then we would not want to miss worship.  Why wouldn’t we want to hear the gospel more than once since “faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17) and it is “the preaching of Jesus Christ” that strengthens us (Rom. 16:25).  The evening service provides another opportunity for our faith to be built up and our knowledge of Christ to grow.

4. Evening Worship Gives us Continuity with the Historic Christian Church

Some Christians baulk at the practice of attending an evening worship service because it is not their custom.  However, if they are accustomed to only one service on the Lord’s Day, then they are not accustomed to the practice of the historic Christian church.  The early fourth century church historian, Eusebius, indicates that the Christians gathered for worship “at the times of morning and evening” and this practice continued through the Middle Ages, the time of the Reformation (both on the Continent and in England) and right down to this day.  So those who have dropped the evening worship service have departed from this historic Christian practice.

While some may have a good reason for not attending the evening worship, many often do not attend because of an attitude that asks, “What is the least that is required of me?”  Let us lay aside such ungrateful thinking and be reminded that we are pilgrims on the way to our heavenly home.  Just as our lives follow the rhythm of six-and-one that was established at creation, the rhythm of morning and evening worship should continue on the Lord’s Day.

If you would like to read the whole article, you can find it here.

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