For the next several weeks, we are going to discover and prayerfully apply what it means to worship. Here are a few definitions:
“Worship is an experience of drawing near to God, coming into his presence, and giving him the praise he deserves.” *Notice with this definition: As we get closer to Him, we are away from distractions
“Worship is the activity of glorifying God in his presence with our voices and hearts.”
Note these accounts of worshipers:
- Luke 1:46-17 (Mary, the mother of Jesus)
“My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
- Colossians 3:16
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
- Exodus 7:16
“Let my people go, that they may serve me(worship me) in the wilderness.” But so far, you have not obeyed.
God’s goal for the Exodus was to free His people so that they would come into his presence that they might hear his voice and worship him.
Worship is a direct expression of our ultimate purpose for living. “To glorify God and enjoy him forever” (Westminster Catechism)
Revelation 4:1-11 gives an amazing description of a worship service. Before we begin, however, it is important to know how to read through the book of Revelation.
How to Interpret Revelation:
- prophecy literature- proclamation of judgement and future events
- apocalyptic in nature, big images, symbolizing spiritual things
- John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was exiled to an island to live out the rest of his days. During that time, an angel visited him and told him of what has come and what was to come. John wrote everything down, and thus is called Revelation, the revelation of God to John about the end of life and the beginning of the new heaven/earth, eternal life in sinless bodies
The Throne in Heaven
4 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings[a] and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
This is the original “Heaven is for Real”
As you read through the text, here are some things we noted and discussed:
- Jesus said that God is spirit, and John was in the spirit when he saw this amazing scene
- The elders mentioned here are the elders of the church, the redeemed. The elders/representatives of those saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.
- The four living creatures symbolize different characteristics of the heavenly beings
lion – strength/power
calf – humble submission to God
man – rational beings, they can think, not like robots
eagle- they fulfill their service to God with the swiftness of eagle’s wings
These beings are also in Isaiah. 5 saying “holy holy holy.” They are connected with God’s presence, power, and holiness.
HOLY means set apart, unique, and also pure, clean, perfect. This is the best description of our God.
- All praise goes to God, glory(adoring praise, worshipful thanksgiving) , honor (high public esteem, high respect) and thanks
“for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Now that we have seen a better description of worship, what is your role in the worship of God? Angels, elders, and the elders are all serving, honoring, and glorifying God.
- James 4:7-10 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
- Matthew 26:26-30 The Lord’s Supper and singing with the disciples
- Psalm 136 Praise to God who deserves our worship
- What does it mean to worship something?
- Is there anything in this world that deserves our worship? What are some things we hold in high esteem, or things that are praiseworthy?
- When good things happen in your life, who do you give thanks to?
- Is it possible to worship created things? How would you justify that?