This address from Pastor Steve Lawson was entitled Worshiping the Triune God. Worship in heaven is worship at its best. Pleasing God, not others, is what matters in worship. But there is a new way in worship in our day – one that seeks to please the unconverted person, to be cool, not transcendent and reverent. The preacher, likewise, is be trendy, not weighty, and more therapeutic than theological.
Worship, however, should be a foretaste of heaven. Let’s take a look at the worship of heaven in Revelation 4.
I. A high view of God
John immediately noticed a throne: “and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne” (Rev. 4:2). God is ruling, and His rule is permanent. The throne is central. Everything is measured in terms of its proximity to the throne.
When people step into worship services, they should sense that heaven has stepped down. There must be a sense that we’ve left the realm where Satan reigns and we’re coming into the realm where God reigns supreme. And it is the depth of our study in the word of God that will determine how high we rise in worship.
II. A Deep Fear of God
A high view of God produces a deep fear of God. “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder…” (Rev. 4:5). These command John’s attention. There is nobody casual in this setting. There is a healthy, reverential fear of God. So much of what we see in today’s worship is intended to reduce or eliminate the fear of God. But we should be growing in the fear of God.
III. A Distinct Separation from God
God remains God, we remain but glorified creatures. There remains a vast difference between us and God. God is holy and separate from all of his creation. He is unchangeable. Our God is in the heavens and he does whatever he pleases (Psalm 115:3).
IV. A Constant Focus on God
Notice the constant emphasis on God. The elders are worshiping Him, falling down before Him, casting crowns before Him. There is a pervasive Godward orientation. They cast their crowns before him, because God is the one who called us and saved us, who worked within us to will and to do for his good pleasure.
V. The Adoration of God
We hear the chorus: “Worthy are you, to receive glory” (Rev. 4:11). There is God’s intrinsic glory (that which he naturally possesses in and of Himself) and his ascribed glory (that which His creation, in recognition of His majesty and transcendence, ascribe to Him).
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Rom. 12:1-2)
May we be sold out for this transcendent, majestic God, and may our life be a living and holy sacrifice to this God.
[Photo courtesy Lukas Van Dyke]