Question:

Hi Jeffrey,

This has become popular with people. Is the video sermon a new way to worship God?  I do not like it and don’t understand how it’s right. Do you find scripture to support it because I can’t?

Thank you again and always.

Answer:

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42).

There are three Greek words which are translated as fellowship:

  • Sunētheia - A mutual custom or habit, acquaintance, friendship, fellowship.
  • Metochē - Partnership, fellowship, sharing, common interest, participation.
  • Koinōnia - Communion, association, partnership, fellowship, sharing, contribution.

"Fellowship" is a state of being and not a particular act; yet, to be in fellowship requires that people come together to participate in common actions. Thus, worship is a time when the church comes together (I Corinthians 11:17-18). One act of worship is the partaking of the Lord's Supper together (I Corinthians 10:16-17). It was a lack of joint participation that led Paul to scold the Corinthians (I Corinthians 15:33).

Watching a recording of a worship service does not fulfill the command to assemble (I Corinthians 14:26). While the watcher can receive encouragement, he cannot give it in return, which is also commanded. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:23-25). The watcher can sing along with the recording, but he cannot admonish in his songs those who cannot hear him. "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16).

That being said, there are a few who are members of the church but are housebound. While watching services on the Internet is not attending services, it does help those who cannot get out to remember their brethren and to get some encouragement. The broadcast of lessons does get the gospel message out to those who might not have considered attending worship with a church. Thus, it is a teaching opportunity and not a substitution for being at services.

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