Summary: First, the worship services were boring; second, the sermons were irrelevant. Now, I do recognize that it’s quite possible for a pastor to make the greatest story ever told - the most gripping and significant message ever proclaimed - seem dull and routin
THE ESSENCE OF WORSHIP
Back in my hometown of Chicago I have a friend by the name of Pastor Flozell Porter the pastor of the Burnside Missionary Baptist Church now we would sit and talk about different topics the music ministry,outreach ministry etc.but Pastor Porter had a great concern why had the membership fell off and he wanted to find out first hand, he first went door to door with a survey, asking people who had left the church why they no longer attended. Know what the top two answers were? First, the worship services were boring; second, the sermons were irrelevant. Now, I do recognize that it’s quite possible for a pastor to make the greatest story ever told - the most gripping and significant message ever proclaimed - seem dull and routine, but hey: if you can find the Gospel of Jesus Christ irrelevant, and the worship of almighty God boring, I have to ask, what could possibly be more engaging than your Creator? What could possibly be more enthralling and exciting than the salvation of your eternal soul? . . . And what were you expecting when you walked through that door? What were you looking for instead of God?
Minister Flemings lead us in bible study with Scripture from Revelation chapter 7. Turn there please if you have not torn it out. . . . Have you ever thought, Why would I want to spend an eternity in heaven worshiping God? Singing, and praising God? "Serving Him", verse 15, "day and night in His temple?" How will that be heaven? Won’t that get boring after awhile? . . . If this is how we feel about the prospect of worshiping eternally in heaven, then it’s quite possible that we’ve never experienced true worship, that we have never truly understood the worship of God here on earth. And if that’s the case, then we need to ask ourselves the question, What were we expecting when we walked through that door? What were we looking for when we came to worship? What attitude do we need to bring with us instead? And what is the essence - the irreducible, indispensable heart - of true worship?
Revelation 7 is a picture of the saints - the redeemed and glorified church - worshiping God in heaven. Because of verse 14, “these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation”, some would say that Revelation 7 represents only the saints who someday will go through a great tribulation at the end of the age; while others would say that it represents all Christians who have endured - and who will endure - through the great tribulations of this present age. I think it’s instructive to remember that Revelation 7 was written to 1st century Christians, and was meant to be a comfort to them, many of whom were already suffering greatly, whose tribulation in some cases could not have been any greater.
Look at verse 9, Revelation 7:9: "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ’Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ " . . . That’s the saints of God, worshiping Him, standing before Him, crying out how?, half-heartedly? mechanically? indifferently? Was their worship lukewarm or perfunctory or unemotional? No, says John, they cried out with a loud voice, saying, Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
I don’t think the saints in heaven are bored! I don’t think they find the Gospel, their salvation that was bought, verse 14, with the blood of the Lamb, irrelevant. They cry out with a loud voice, without reservation, without regret, and without self-consciousness. They cry out for all they’re worth! It’s like in Psalm 32:11, which I read earlier: "Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!" . . . And as they cry out their praise to the living God, they aren’t looking over their shoulders, longing wistfully for what they’ve left behind; they aren’t standing around wishing they could be somewhere else, doing something else. No, their attention is riveted on their God who sits upon the throne, and on the Lamb. Why?
Skip down to verse 16 - remember these saints have been through a great tribulation, verse 16: "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." . . . Instead of deprivation, they have satisfaction. Instead of suffering, they have sustenance. Instead of adversity and affliction and turmoil and tears, they have comfort and hope and peace and joy. And God Himself has wiped away all of their tears. . . . Why do they worship and serve Him day and night? Why is their focus entirely on Him? Why are they not bored in the least? . . . Because what they have found, to their delight, is that Jesus Christ is the fountain of living waters, the source of all of their gladness, and the fulfillment of all of their needs. And because of that, they are utterly and thoroughly satisfied with Him.