[The morning assembly began with the audience standing and reading aloud together Psalm 96 from the overhead projection.]
What is worship? "David, that is a ridiculous question! Every adult and most
children here this morning know what worship is!" Since that is such a ridiculous
question and the answer is such common knowledge to the vast majority of those in this
assembly, quietly answer that question to yourself. If you were to answer the question,
"What is worship?" what would your answer be?
The New Testament does very little to either define or describe worship. In fact,
the Old Testament does more to define and describe worship than does the New
Testament. Jesus talked very little about worship. The book of Acts describes the
beginning of Christianity, but does not describe Christian worship in detail. The
epistles do not contain major sections on worship. The New Testament book that says
more about worship than any other New Testament writing is the book of Revelation. It
in symbolic terms makes several statements about worship in heaven.
Question: how often to you leave a worship assembly without worshipping?
Question: how often do you leave a worship assembly feeling joy and gratitude
because you feel much closer to God?
Question: have you felt joy and gratitude toward God this week? How did you express
Worship on earth should prepare us for worship in heaven! Because we have been a
part of praising God on earth, praising God in heaven should be a natural joy.
Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full
of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come."
Note the stress on God's holiness.
Revelation 4:9-11 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to
Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders
will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever
and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Worthy are You, our
Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things,
and because of Your will they existed, and were created."
Note the stress on God's worthiness.
Revelation 5:8-10 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the
twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden
bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song,
saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and
purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and
nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will
reign upon the earth."
Note the first two passages involved the worship of God, Who is the central figure in
heaven. Note the shift in this passage: the worship of the resurrected Jesus, God's
Note the emphasis is on the worthiness of Jesus because he accomplished God's basic
Revelation 5:11,12 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the
throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of
myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb
that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory
The Lamb is still the focus of worship here. Note again the stress is still on worthiness.
Revelation 5:13,14 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and
under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits
on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever
and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down
Now the focus is both on God and the Lamb. The stress is on their praise worthiness.
Revelation 7:11,12 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the
elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and
worshipped God, saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and
honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."
The focus of worship is now back on God. Again, note God is praised for His
Revelation 11:16-18 And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God,
fell on their faces and worshipped God, saying, "We give You thanks, O Lord God, the
Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have
begun to reign. And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time
came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the
prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to
destroy those who destroy the earth."
The focus is still on God. Note the stress is on thanksgiving. There was an outpouring
of gratitude because God has used His power to rescue them from all that tried to
Revelation 14:6,7 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal
gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and
tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God, and give Him glory,
because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and
the earth and sea and springs of waters."
The focus is still on God. The stress is on reverencing (fear) God by giving Him glory
as the source of judgment and creation.
Revelation 15:2-4 And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those
who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name,
standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. And they sang the song of Moses,
the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are
Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and
glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship
before You, For Your righteous acts have been revealed."
The focus in still on God. They sang. God's greatness and holiness is honored.
Revelation 19:1-6 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great
multitude in heaven, saying,"Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our
God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot
who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His
bond-servants on her." And a second time they said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up
forever and ever." And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and
worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!" And a voice came
from the throne, saying, "Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who
fear Him, the small and the great." Then I heard something like the voice of a great
multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of
thunder, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns."
The focus is still on God. It is a scene of praise. Four times God's throne rings with the
sound of creatures declaring, "Hallelujah!" [Literally, "Praise the Lord," a joyful
expression of thanksgiving.] God won! He did what He intended to do! He defeated
even the strongest centers of wickedness and evil, and He rescued all who would turn
to Him! The result was an incredible outpouring of gratitude to Him.
The New Testament does very little to either define or describe worship. In fact, the Old Testament does more to define and describe worship than does the New Testament. Jesus talked very little about worship. The book of Acts describes the beginning of Christianity, but does not describe Christian worship in detail. The epistles do not contain major sections on worship. The New Testament book that says more about worship than any other New Testament writing is the book of Revelation. It in symbolic terms makes several statements about worship in heaven.
Question: how often to you leave a worship assembly without worshipping?
Question: how often do you leave a worship assembly feeling joy and gratitude because you feel much closer to God?
Question: have you felt joy and gratitude toward God this week? How did you express it?
Worship on earth should prepare us for worship in heaven! Because we have been a part of praising God on earth, praising God in heaven should be a natural joy.
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Link to other Writings of David Chadwell