A.: The duties required in the second commandment are: the receiving, observing, and
keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; the administration and receiving of the
sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.
Beginning then with the careful observance of the worship of God and the ordinances of worship commanded by God. God has divinely instituted His worship and it's ordinances.
God has not only commanded us to worship Him, He has revealed how we are to worship Him, to which ordinances of worship nothing is to be added or subtracted. (29)
In the broadest sense of the word, worship is the giving of praise, honor, adoration, devotion and service to God. More specifically, worship signifies “all our direct communion with God: invocation, adoration, mediation, faith, praise, prayer and the receiving of instruction from his word, both in public and in private.” 42 J. I. Packer, “The Puritan Approach to Worship,” Antithesis (Irvine, CA: Covenant Community Church, Jan/Feb 1991), 14. (30)
The Hebrew Old Testament has two primary words for worship: (1) ‘bd, the word translated serve in Deuteronomy 6:13 (NASB): “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship [serve] Him, and swear by His name.” Its stem denotes “to enslave or reduce to servitude.”...(2) Shachah, originally meaning “prostration
as a mark of respect.” It can be rendered bow, stoop, crouch, fall down, beseech humbly, make obeisance, do reverence and worship.
The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), translates the Hebrew word, ‘bd, in Deuteronomy 6:13 with the Greek word, latreuseis, meaning to worship, serve or cherish.
The loyalty and devotion Almighty God demands of us is total and comprehensive. In worship, God’s people, as His servants, bow before His sovereignty and give Him that submission which He as their Sovereign savior deserves and demands of them....From this brief word study we learn that humble and total submission to the Lord and His Word is at the very heart of true worship. (31-32)
It is internal in that, in essence, it consists in fearing, loving, praising, calling upon,
trusting in and serving the Lord with all the heart, soul, strength and mind; all of which show themselves in holiness of behavior externally....Adoring worship in the heart will manifest itself in the public worship of God according to the way He has commanded in His word. The worship of God takes place in the heart of the Christian and shows itself in the actions of the body.
The inward always expresses itself outwardly.
The external expression of the inward worship of God includes the entire person, body, mind, emotions, heart. We use our mouths to sing, pray, confess and shout God’s praises: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1; 63:5; 66:17)....We use our hands to clap God’s praises: “O clap your hands, all peoples, shout to God with the voice of joy” (Ps. 47:1). We use our bodies in prayer to reflect the particular disposition of our hearts—we kneel (Ezra 9:5; 1 Kings 8:54), stand (Jer. 18:20), sit (2 Sam. 7:18), stand with hands out-stretched toward heaven (Ps. 28:2; 134:2), fall on our faces on the ground lying prostrate (Matt. 26:39). We are even commanded to use our feet in the praise of God: “Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly
ones. Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing; let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre” (Ps. 149:2; 150:4). Our eyes are toward the Lord: “To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens” (Ps. 123:1). We incline our ears to hear the Lord with fixed attention: “Listen, O My people, to My instruction, incline your ears to the words of My mouth” (Ps. 78:1; 44:1). (32-33)
Why is the entire worship of the whole heart and life to be given to the triune God and to Him alone? (1) God is absolutely perfect in Himself and is therefore worthy of all our worship. (2) God is infinitely superior to us and therefore it behooves us as His inferiors to give Him our worship. (3) God is our Creator, Preserver, King, Savior and Friend, and is jealous of all our love. (4) We are absolutely dependent upon Him for every good thing, and therefore it is only proper to worship Him with grateful hearts, and no other. (5) God has commanded us to worship and serve only Him in the First Commandment, and we have every reason to obey Him and no reason to do otherwise. (6) The impulse and heart-desire of our new life in Christ is to worship our God and so we cannot help but worship Him. (7) All our human faculties and powers find their highest exercise, and our entire being finds its highest development and blessedness in the worship of the Living God, therefore it is evil and stupid not to worship only Him. (34)
The word particularly, makes an important point in the phrase, particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching and hearing of the word, the administration and receiving of the sacraments (WLC, Q. 108), which spells out the ordinances of worship which God has instituted in His Word....Other ordinances are commanded by God in His worship, such as the singing of His praises, the receiving of tithes and offerings, the benediction, the confession of faith. The ordinances listed in our Catechism are those of particular importance. (35)
At this point we will only hit the highlights of the Biblical doctrine and Christian practice of prayer. It should also be pointed out that the Catechism emphasizes
thanksgiving, which includes praying and singing, as a central element in prayer because all we have we owe to God’s grace and because He causes all things to work together for our benefit—“always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph. 5:20).
Prayer is talking to God (Ps. 64:1). (Q. 178)
Prayer is an unburdening of the heart before God (Ps. 62:8).
Prayer is commanded by God (Ps. 32:6).
Prayer is accompanied with a promise from God (Matt. 7:7).
Prayer is to be made to the triune God only (Ex. 20:3). (Q. 179)
Prayer must be offered in faith (Mark 11:24; James 1:6).
The Bible is the rule that governs prayer (1 John 5:14). (Q. 186)
Prayer must be offered in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13–14), because only through Christ is prayer possible (John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5). (Q. 180–181)
The Holy Spirit helps us in our praying (Rom. 8:26–27). (Q. 182)
Our prayers should be for all kinds of people and all kinds of things (1 Tim. 2:1, 2; Matt. 7:11). (Q. 183–184)
The manner in which we pray is important (1 Cor. 14:15). (Q. 185)
Our prayers should include: adoration of God (Ex. 15:11), confession of sin (1 John 1:9), thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6), supplication (Phil. 4:6), and intercession (Eph. 6:18).
The Lord’s Prayer is a model prayer (Matt. 6:9–13). (Q. 187–196)
• The reading, preaching and faithful receiving of the Word of God are the primary means of grace by which Christ communicates to His church the benefits of His mediation (Ex. 20:24). (Q. 154)
• The Spirit of God makes the reading, and especially the preaching, of the Word of God an effective means of saving sinners, sanctifying believers and transforming cultures (Eph. 6:17). (Q. 155)
• All people should read the Bible for themselves and with their families, although not all people are authorized to read it in public worship; and it should be translated into the world’s languages for that reason (Isa. 43:1, 15; 1 Thess. 5:27; Col. 4:16) (Q. 156)
• Whenever the Bible is read it must be read in a manner prescribed by the Bible (Neh. 8:1–8). (Q. 157)
• The Bible is to be preached only by those who are sufficiently gifted, and duly approved and called to the office of minister of the gospel (Rom. 10:15; Eph. 4:8–11). (Q. 158)
• The Bible is to be preached in the manner in which the Bible prescribes (Acts 18:25; 1 Cor. 2:4). (Q. 159)
• When the Bible is preached, the congregation is to hear it in the manner in which the Bible prescribes (Mark 4:24, 25). (Q. 160)
• The sacraments are an effective means of salvation by which Christ communicates the blessings of salvation to His people in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Pet. 3:21). (Q. 161)
• Sacraments are signs and seals of the covenant of grace instituted by Christ, by which Christ conveys the blessings of His mediation to all believing participants (Matt. 26:26–28). (Q. 162)
• A sacrament is comprised of an outward, visible sign and an inward, spiritual grace signified in the sign (Matt. 3:11). (Q. 163)
• Christ has instituted only two sacraments in the New Testament for His church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11: 20–25). (Q. 164)
• Baptism is the application of water by the minister of the gospel in the name of the triune God to be a sign and seal of the benefits of Christ’s redemption and by which those baptized engage themselves to be wholly and only the Lord’s (Gal. 3:27). (Q. 165)
• Baptism is to be administered to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and their households, including infants (Gen. 17:7–10; Gal. 3:9, 14; Acts 2:38, 39). (Q. 166)
• Baptized believers are to use their baptism for their own spiritual improvement, applying its meaning practically to their daily lives (Rom. 6:4–11). (Q. 167)
• The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ to be a continuing means of grace in the church by which He communicates to believing participants the benefits of His redemption and by which He nourishes and strengthens them in their faith in Him and faithfulness to Him (Matt. 26:26–28). (Q. 168)
• The Lord’s Supper is to be administered according to the prescriptions of the Word of God (1 Cor. 11:23–25). (Q. 169)
• In a spiritual sense, not a physical sense, the believing participants feed upon the body and blood of Christ offered to them in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16–18). (Q. 170)
• Those who receive the Lord’s Supper must prepare themselves before they come to the table (1 Cor. 11:28). (Q. 171)
• Those believers who have some doubts of their salvation or of the adequacy of their preparation are encouraged to receive the Lord’s Supper (Isa. 50:10; Jon. 2:4, 7). (Q. 172)
• Those who are incapable of any understanding of the Lord’s Supper, i.e., infants and toddlers, and those living scandalous lives in spite of their profession of faith may and ought to be kept from the sacrament until they either receive instruction
or repent (1 Cor. 11:27, 29, 30; Matt. 7:6). (Q. 173)
• Those who partake of the Lord’s Supper must receive the sacrament in the manner of heart and life prescribed in the Bible (Ps. 5:7; 1 Cor. 11:17, 26, 27). (Q. 174)
• After a believer has taken the Lord’s Supper, he is to cultivate the mindset and live according to the prescriptions of the Bible (Acts 2:42; Ps. 28:7). (Q. 175)
• It is beneficial to the believer to keep in mind that baptism and the Lord’s Supper have several things in common (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:23). (Q. 176)
• It is beneficial to the believer also to keep in mind that baptism and the Lord’s Supper have several differences (Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 11:23–26). (Q. 177)
Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, has given His church the power and authority of “the keys of the kingdom,” which are to be used by the officers of the church, and when used properly and faithfully, church members are to submit to them (Matt. 16:15–18; Heb. 13:17).
“The keys of the kingdom” by which the doors of the visible church are shut and bound by chain and lock or opened when the chain is loosed, is a figure for expressing authority to admit into the church those who submit to Christ and His Word and to exclude from the church those who impenitently refuse to do so. (40)
As we have explained in our exposition of the Larger Catechism Questions 62–65 on the Church of Christ, this church authority given by Christ to be exercised by duly qualified, elected and ordained elders—both ruling and teaching—includes “the key of doctrine,” “the key of worship,” “the key of government,” and “the key of
In the apostolic church a class of officers existed called the ministers of the Word (Preaching Elders) (1 Tim. 5:17–18), distinct from ordinary church members. They were set apart to their work by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (1 Tim. 4:14), and they had special duties they were ordained to perform, such as preaching and teaching (1 Tim. 5:17–18), most of which duties regular church members were not allowed to perform, such as the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 4:1). They were to be remunerated financially for their labor in the Word of God (1 Cor. 9:1–14), and to be honored and submitted to by the church members as being over them “in the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:12–13).
That the office of minister of the Word was given to the church by divine institution and the authority of Christ, the Head of the church, is obvious from the following facts. (1) The Old Testament prophesied that such a class of officers would be instituted in the church during the Messiah’s reign: “Then I will give you shepherds
after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding” (Jer. 3:15). (2) The apostles, acting under Christ’s commission and authority, ordained men to this office in the New Testament.... (3) The New Testament directly affirms the divine institution of the office of minister of the Word: “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers” (1 Cor. 12:28). (42)
The office of minister of the Word is a permanent office in the church....(a) Christ commissioned His church to disciple, baptize, preach to and teach all nations until the end of the age (Matt. 28: 18f). This would require officers who had the authority to baptize and preach. (b) Provision is made in the New Testament for the continuance of this institution....(c) Ephesians 4:13 tells us that the ministerial office will be needed “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.” (d) The permanency of the ministry is assumed in the words of Jesus in Luke 12:42–43: “And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.’” (42-43)
Fasting has a specific meaning in the Bible. Martyn Lloyd-Jones defines fasting as “abstinence from food for spiritual purposes.” 52. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Sermon on the Mount, 2 vols. (London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship,  1966. 2:37. (44)
Jesus rejected the meritorious and compulsory character of fasting, and practiced it Himself at times, permitting it as a voluntary form of spiritual discipline (Matt. 4:2; 6:16–18). (45)
(1) Fasting is not to be done in a mechanical manner, or merely for the sake of doing so, as if the doing of it was in some way meritorious. (2) Fasting should not be regarded as a part of our weekly Christian discipline. Discipline is perpetual and permanent— we are always disciplining ourselves. Fasting is occasional and exceptional for more than ordinary concerns: “whenever you fast.” (3) Fasting is not to be done in order to get quick or immediate results. (45)
From these lessons of Jesus we can draw some principles for the right way to fast before God.
"should always be regarded as a means to an end, and not as an end in itself. It is something that a man should do only when he feels impelled or led to it by spiritual reasons." 56
Second, when we fast we must not call attention to the fact that we are fasting, so that people will brag on us for being so spiritual and so holy, and so willing to sacrifice and suffer for the sake of Jesus.
Third, we must not go out of our way to be unlike the Pharisees when they fast, rather we must carry on our lives as usual, and look normal to others.
56. Lloyd-Jones, The Sermon on the Mount, 2:41.
The apostolic church continued the voluntary practice of fasting on occasion (Acts 9:9; 13:2, 3; 14:23). (49)
"Fasting is something unusual or exceptional, something which a man does now and again for a special purpose, while discipline should be perpetual and permanent.… In other words, moderation in eating is not fasting. Moderation in eating is a part of discipline of the body.… Fasting means an abstinence from food for the sake of certain special purposes such as prayer or meditation or the seeking of God for some peculiar reason or under some exceptional circumstance." 65. Lloyd-Jones, The Sermon on the Mount, 2:37-38. (50)
Vows made in worship are to be made in gratitude for mercies received from God.
The Lord has brought a great deliverance to His people; therefore it is right and proper to renew our vows and commitments to be the Lord’s man or woman and to serve Him. (50)
From Deuteronomy 6:13 and Psalm 76:11 we learn that oaths and vows are not simply permitted, they are commanded of us by God Himself. Since they acknowledge the being and perfections of the God of the Bible and of our total accountability before Him, oaths and vows are good things. (50)
The Third Commandment forbids false or flippant taking of oaths and vows: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7). (50-51)
God blesses us through oaths and vows properly taken in at least two specific ways: (1) They confirm and reaffirm the truth in us and in the congregation, thereby binding us more strictly to believing and doing the truth; and (2) They are the means by which we “declare” ourselves to be the Lord’s people, totally dedicated to His worship and service. (54)