Summary: Complete Night of Worship service, focused on five aspects of worship from Revelation 4 and 5.
[Begin with lights up]
Happy Day [C]
Hallelujah to My King [F]
In chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of Revelation, Jesus instructs John to write letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The last of those letters, the letter to the church at Laodicea, ends with these familiar words:
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
Although we often use those words in connection with evangelism, the words were actually written to believers and they are an invitation from Jesus to His followers to come to His table and to worship Him. It is the very same invitation that Jesus extends to us tonight.
In the following two chapters – chapters 4 and 5, John records his vision which gives us a glimpse into the throne room of God where that worship takes place. In his book Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson identified the five parts of worship that are revealed to us there:
• It centers our attention
• It gathers people together
• It reveals truth
• It makes us sing
• It affirms
Tonight we’re going to use those two chapters of Revelation as our guide to help us experience all five of those aspects of worship as a body of Christ followers. As we encounter these five aspects of worship, we encourage you to express your worship in whatever manner will give the most glory to God. Feel free to sit or to stand, clap, raise your hands or bow your head, maybe even kneel at the appropriate time. Most people find that it is much easier to sing while standing, so during the times that we are singing, we encourage you to stand as much as you are able.
Although this is a corporate time of worship and we need to be careful of not being a stumbling block to others as they worship, we also need to remember that our only audience here tonight is God, so we shouldn’t be encumbered in our worship by worries about what anyone else might think.
[Turn lights down]
Worship Centers Our Attention
At the end of the letter to the church at Laodicea, Jesus promised that His faithful followers would be given the privilege of sitting with Him on His throne. And as chapter 4 opens, John’s vision gives us a view of that throne:
1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first 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 there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.
Revelation 4:1-3 (NIV)
Revelation Song [F#]
Before the Throne of God Above [C]
In his book, Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson writes these thought-provoking words:
Christians worship with a conviction that they are in the presence of God. Worship is the act of attention to the living God who rules, speaks and reveals, creates and redeems, orders and blesses. Outsiders, observing these acts of worship, see nothing like that. They see a few people singing unpopular songs, sometimes off-key, someone reading from an old book and making remarks that may or may not interest the listeners, and then eating and drinking small portions of bread and wine that are supposed to give nourishment to their eternal souls the same way that beef and potatoes are sustain their mortal flesh. Who is right?
That question is answered at the beginning of chapter 4, when as soon as the door to heaven is opened, we see a throne. That throne becomes the central object in the remainder of John’s vision because that is where God is. In worship God begins by centering our attention on Himself as he reigns from His throne.
True worship begins and ends with God. As I’ve shared with you before, worship can be described as an ongoing rhythm of revelation and response. God reveals, we respond. God reveals, we respond. God reveals, we respond. And in this never-ending cycle, God is at the center. True worship requires us to see the truth of God and then adjust our lives to match what He reveals about Himself and His purpose, plans and ways. Anything short of that is not really worship. And without real worship, we are doomed to live the kind of unfulfilling lives that we’ve seen over and over in our journey through Ecclesiastes. As Peterson writes: