Summary: How can we know when worship is real? Claiming to worship and real worship are not necessarily the same thing. Sometimes our worship might look good, but not mean anything to God.
Magnifying God’s Majesty
Purpose: To show that praise of God is man’s greatest duty and joy.
Aim: I want the listener to have a higher opinion of God and worship Him more deeply.
INTRODUCTION: Our text today gives us a picture of what worship in heaven looks like. Claiming to worship and real worship are not necessarily the same thing. It’s like the story of an old man on his deathbed. He was dictating his will to a lawyer and said, “An to each of my employees who have been with me for ten years or more I bequeath the sum of ten thousand dollars.” “Wonderful! What generosity!” said the lawyer. “No, not really,” said the sick man. “You see, none of my employees have been with for more than two years, but it will look good in the papers, won’t it?”
Sometimes our worship might look good, but not mean anything to God. So far we have seen four things in the throne room of God:
1:1-20 I. John’s Vision of the Past “the things which you have seen”
2:1-5:14 II. Christ’s Vision of the Present “the things which are”
2:1-3:22 A. The testimony of the church on earth
4:1-5:14 B. The throne of God in heaven
4:1-11 1. God’s unchallenged authority
Vs.1-3,5a a. The sovereign One “One sitting on the throne”
Vs.5b b. The Holy Spirit “seven lamps of fire”
Vs.6a c. The sea of glass “a sea of glass like crystal”
Vs.6b-8 d. Four special creatures “Holy, Holy, Holy”
Today we see one final group before God’s throne.
➽ Vs.4,9-11 e. Saved sinners “twenty-four elders”
There are different opinions about who the 24 elders are or represent. In one of Daniels visions he sees 24 thrones before God’s throne but they are empty. Daniel 7:9 “I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. (NAU) I think they were empty because the church wasn’t there when Daniel was given his vision.
Paul tells us that the church was grafted into God’s OT promises to the Jews. Romans 11:17 … some of the branches were broken off,[unbelieving Jews] and you,[the Gentiles] being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, (NAU)
The church is made up of believing Jews and believing Gentiles. It makes sense that the number would be 24 because there were 12 tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles.
Peter tells us that the followers of Jesus Christ (the church) are now serving as God’s priests. In two verses Peter use the word YOU to refer to the church six times. 1 Peter 2:9-10 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (NAU) In Greek the YOU is emphatic. In others words, “you, not just Israel” are God’s priests.
I believe that the 24 elders refers to the church because in Revelation Chapters 2 & 3 we find three promises given to the church:
#1 We will wear crowns (Rev.2:10)
#2 We will wear white robes just like the OT priests did (Rev. 3:5)
#3 We will sit on thrones (Rev.3:21)
Notice what Paul says: 2 Timothy 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (NAU)
So the 24 elders represent saved sinners.
What is in store for saved sinners?
➽Vs.4a (1) Saved sinners are in God’s presence “Around the throne”
After the seven letters to the seven churches, the church is never mentioned again in Revelation. I think that this is because the church (all believers) will be taken to heaven before the awful judgment of God falls on this earth that begins in Chapter six.
Noah pictures this truth. God used Noah to warn the world that judgment was coming, but God brought Noah and his family safely into the ark before judgment came.
Isn’t it amazing that God would go through so much trouble, just so we could be safe in heaven with Him?
➽Vs.4b (2) Saved sinners will judge the world “elders sitting”
This is what the Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, …3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? (NAU)