Worship that is Worthy
Worship that Is Worthy (Revelation 4:8-11)
There are four popular motives for attending worship services. Some simply think that it is the decent thing to do. Others are fans of popular preachers. Still others think attendance is good for their personal reputation. There is a fourth group for whom worship is a glorified aspirin tablet to guarantee peace of mind.
There is really one reason why the living God wants His people assembled in worship: to ascribe to Him the worth and value that are His. A. W. Tozer called worship "the missing jewel in the evangelical church." We preach, evangelize, educate, organize, but do we really worship? In Revelation 4 and 5, John witnessed the continuous, perfect worship in heaven itself. What better model could we find? Worship ascribes to God His worth and surrenders to Him in light of that worth.
Worship Commences When We Acknowledge the Authority of The Lord
We acknowledge His sovereignty, "Him who sits on the throne" (v. 9). When John observed the perfect worship of heaven, one thing dominated—a throne. Nine times in this passage he writes of the throne. Worship begins with the confession, "I am coming to a throne." The colors of that throne suggest the righteousness, sacrifice, and covenant of the One on the throne. Everything arranges itself around that throne: all created life, the church, and the angelic world. When you worship you acknowledge that all authority, power, dominion, control, supremacy and command belong to Him.
We acknowledge His eternity. We "worship Him who lives forever and ever" (v. 10b). We acknowledge His authority over time and space. He is the One whose very name means "I AM THE GREAT I AM." We worship the One for whom a thousand years are as a day. We are time-bound slaves to our watches and calendars. In worship we confess that there was a time when we were not, but there was never a time when He was not. We confess that there is a time when I shall not be as I am, but there is never a time when He shall not be as He is.
We acknowledge His activity. We acknowledge His activity in creation and in redemption. When we acknowledge His creation of "all things" we affirm that the entire universe came from His hands. But the highest praise, the greatest worship, the loudest hallelujah is reserved for His activity in redemption. The God who created billions of stars hung on the cross for me.
Worship Continues When We Yield to the Authority of the Lord
This yielding demands a submission. All of the redeemed prostrate themselves before the throne of God. This means to lay oneself flat in humility or adoration. Repeatedly in the Revelation those around the throne do this very thing (5:8, 14; 11:16; and 19:4). Our only appropriate reaction to the sovereign, eternal God is to fall down before Him in submission.
This yielding demands an abdication: "they lay their crowns before the throne" (v. 10). Redeemed humanity takes its own crown off its head, its own sign of achievement and accomplishment, and lays it down at the feet of Him on the throne of God. This language sounds strange to us now. But those who first read Revelation understood its significance. It meant that those taking off the crown renounced the right to rule their own lives and gave it to another.
Worship Consummates When We Ascribe Worthiness to God
The highest act of worship is when we tell God that He alone is worthy of the three things that men most seek: glory, honor, and power. When we worship, we ascribe or attach to God glory, honor, and power. Simply put, we tell Him in front of the world that He alone is worthy of it all.
We tell Him that He is worthy to receive glory. The word means heaviness, weight, or substance. We take God weightily. We reflect back to God the light and splendor of His visible presence. Glory is the over and aboveness of God: more than light, more than beauty, goodness, mercy, and splendor. The longer we praise Him, the more we praise Him. The doxologies increase in length and splendor (1:6; 4:11; 5:13; 7:12).
Worship is both private and public. Private worship is the artesian well. Public worship is the river that flows from it. There is no more sense in private worship without public worship than there is in a single individual saluting a flag all by himself, at the post office, alone, when no one is there.
Worship is private and public. Response is public. Should your response be public at this time?