When, Where, How & How Long to Worship

After attending church one Sunday morning, a little boy knelt at his bedside that night and prayed, “Dear God, we had a good time at church today—but I wish you had been there!” (Source unknown) … More

Worship

I find a very interesting story in today’s passage. After Paul arrived in Troas he met with believers on Sunday to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and after that he spoke to them until midnight because he was leaving the next morning (v.7). It was only gradually that Sunday took precedence over Saturday as the time their worship services were held. It would seem that at first the early Christians still attended the temple services. The transition took place as more and more Christians recognized that the Sabbath (Saturday) was based on the seventh day when God finished the first creation. The Lord’s Day (Sunday) was, and is, based on the new creation which was made possible when Jesus rose from the dead. Thus we find this early Church gathered in fellowship and to commemorate the Lord’s resurrection on the first day of the week.

This communion service was very simple. They did not have little plastic cups of grape juice and tiny little wafers as we know today. Seated in someone’s home, they would take a loaf of unleavened bread, break off a piece, and pass it around. Then they would take a wine flask and pass it around. That is what “breaking bread” means here.

In many churches today Paul would have been told what time to finish, but this was not the case here, and he spoke to them until midnight. The combination of the lateness of the hour, a hard day’s work beforehand, the crowd, and the atmosphere caused by the burning of many candles and lamps caused Eutychus to go to sleep and fall out the third floor window (vv. 8-9). The fall killed him but when Paul lifted him up his life returned (v. 10). After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with the people (v. 11). He then spoke until dawn and left. Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy (v. 12).

Application

As our children have grown up in our home I have shared with them why the church today has set aside Sunday as the day for services. It is not so much the time or day, but that we need to have a time to worship the Lord with other Christians (Heb. 10:25) and the day of the Lord’s resurrection (as near as we know) is a good time to set aside for this. I know it is the Lord’s desire for me to fellowship with Him and other Christians so I want to be faithful to His services

Acts 20:7-12 (English Standard Version)

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, "Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him." And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »