Summary: There are three constants of worship illustrated in the worship scenes of the Bible; including Palm’s Sunday’s Triumphal Entry.
The Triumphal Entry and The Triumphant Lamb
Matthew 21:1-11 & Rev. Rev. 4:10-11; 5:6-14
Sermon Objective: There are three constants of worship illustrated in the worship scenes of the Bible; including Palm’s Sunday’s Triumphal Entry.
The correlation between the Triumphal Entry and appearance of the Triumphant Lamb in Revelation 5 is interesting to me.
The obvious point of connection is worship. There is something happening when God’s people are in His presence and, even though the contexts are different, there are common experiences and behaviors in these scenes.
Some doubt the sincerity of the worship on that first Palm Sunday (I have too) but that need not be. There really is no evidence that the crowd following Jesus into Jerusalem is the same crowd that yelled “crucify him” later in the week. There were thousands and thousands of people in Jerusalem that Passover week and the possibility of this being two separate crowds is pretty strong – even logical.
I will focus today on a few “worship constants” that easily move between the Triumphal Entry and the Triumphant Lamb. In weeks to come (after Easter) we will look at other elements of worship found in The Revelation chapters 4 and 5. Specifically, we will look at elements and qualities that evoke worship; items like God’s Holiness and Awe / Wonder.
TODAY HOWEVER, WE WILL FOCUS ON THOSE WHO OFFER JESUS WORSHIP.
WORSHIP BEGINS WITH AN AWARENESS OF GOD. By awareness I do not mean just a cognitive understanding that he is present; but rather, dare I say, an “experiential awareness”?
Throughout Scripture the presence of God (in an experiential way) has drastically affected the behavior of people. It is rather consistent too. Read the accounts of Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Paul, or the Apostle John. And … even the crowd of this Sunday.
One has to wonder how His presence should affect you and me too. One has to wonder whether we are missing something in our Lord’s Day worship services if these elements are missing.
I want to leave you this morning with three simple, somewhat superficial, expressions of worship. By superficial I do not mean shallow or insignificant but rather topical … that which we see on the surface. In the case of worship it depicts something much deeper happening underneath … in the heart.
Worship begins with awareness that the Sovereign God is present.
At that moment we discover:
WE AREN’T THE CENTER OF ATTENTION
It is, for me, the over-arching reality that these worship scenes (and all true worship) have in common. The human (or created) participants are not the center of attention – Jesus Christ is.
When worship focus on the participants rather than Christ we are in danger of corrupting the worship experience.
When we walk away “wowed” by the music, the singing, the sermon, someone’s new dress, a new family, or cute children rather than sensing a deeper devotion to Jesus, and an encounter with His Spirit, then we have really missed an opportunity.
That is why it troubles some when we applaud after a special or something. It seems, to some that we are praising the participant. This need not be the case, for me it is much like an “amen”; but It does us good to examine our motives in everything we do in our corporate worship.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoy listening to our band and our vocal team. They are very good. And, I confess, there have been times when I have left thinking about David’s guitar skills or Becky’s vocal range instead of the encounter that God’s Spirit invited me to that morning. When this happens … well, then I just went to a Christian concert not a worship service.
I am not saying, you understand, that there is not a place for clapping or “Amen” or “Hallelujahs.” There is. It is also appropriate to encourage one another when we use our gifts to glorify God. But the participant’s talent should not be the focus of attention or even the most moving component of the event.
WHAT “WOWS” US IN GENUINE WORSHIP IS THE PRESENCE OF JESUS. IT MIGHT BE HIS WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT US, HIS GRACE, HIS MAJESTY, HIS LOVE, HIS HUMILITY, ETC. THE LIST IS ENDLESS. BUT THE CONSTANT IS THAT HE IS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION AND HE IS THE LINGERING REALITY. HE IS THE EXPERIENCE.
I wish to challenge each of you to give serious consideration to the place that Jesus holds in your worship experience. That is why we offer a 15 minutes window for contemplation and reflection prior to the service … to help you center your thoughts and meet with Him in prayer.
OUR WORLD ISN’T THE CENTER OF EXISTENCE
Worship begins with awareness that the Sovereign God is present. At that moment we discover that we aren’t the center of attention.