Summary: We discover true worship by looking at the song of the saints in Revelation 15.
What is true worship? This question has been at the heart of some of the most horrific battles and fights among Christians throughout the centuries. In contemporary times there has been a label placed on this ongoing debate about the nature of true worship… the worship wars. And the term “wars” is not to far off from what the debate really entails. We have seen churches split, pastors quit, emotional outrage and even physical fights break out amongst brethren over what true worship is. Why? What is it about worship that has created such “adversity” amongst Christians?
A simple search on an Internet search engine will reveal how hot of a topic worship has become. Just a few days ago I did such a search on Google and this is what I came up with: A search on “worship” produced 12,800,000 sites. 12,800,000 sites just on the subject of worship alone. To be fair to our scope of the word, I narrowed the search down to “Christian Worship” and came up with 5,020,000. Still a lot of sites devoted in some way to worship in the Christian faith. Since we want to discover what true biblical worship is, I again narrowed the search down to “Biblical Christian Worship”: This time I got 2,860,000.
Now I wondered how many books were written on the topic of worship. For this search, I checked out the book section at Amazon.com and typed in “Christian worship”. 2,233 books were written on Christian worship. Folks, this is a hot topic. People just cannot agree on how we are suppose to worship, in what style are we suppose to worship or what the product of worship should be. I am not the expert on this subject, although I have done some study, and I cannot give you a definitive answer on which style is good worship, and which style is bad worship. All I can do is look to the Bible and point out a few scriptures that give us boundaries and freedom in the matter. But no matter how you look at it, we must, in Christian unity, come together and understand what true worship is as we see it in the Scriptures and we get a little glimpse of this true worship in the 15th chapter of Revelation.
We have now come to the climax of the cliff hanger part of the story. Since chapter 12 John has kept us on our toes. It reminds me of a Stephen King novel that I read when I was a kid. I knew something was about to happen, but I didn’t know what and I started to read through the pages faster and faster, and in my mind the scary music was becoming more intense, until finally there came a break in the story, only to find that it intrigue my curiosity as to why it happened as it did, so I kept reading only to find that I got caught up in the same cycle again.
The last timeline piece of information that we received was at the end of chapter 11. Do you remember? John witnessed the sounding of the seventh trumpet and we heard the lyrics of the Hallelujah chorus ring out: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” Then there came a pause in the timeline of events that happen on earth and during the next few chapters, from chapter 12 up until this point, we don’t see what the seventh trumpet judgment brought about. John has been describing for us glorious events in heaven that transcend time and space. And now we come to chapter 15 and finally, what we have all been anticipating, biting our nails, clenching our jaw and the whole bit. In a stage play, this would be the final ACT. The final movement of a symphony. John shares with us what the seventh trumpet signifies: the seven bowl judgments and God’s final wrath on the earth. Let’s turn to chapter 15 together.
“I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign:” - This is the third time John has used the word sign to describe events that are occurring in heaven. The first two signs, one depicting the woman with Child and the other depicting the dragon, were in chapter 12. This language basically serves as a signpost directing our attention towards God’s final judgment. It is moving us along on this path of God’s impending wrath.
What is this third sign? It is the “seven angels with the seven last plagues – last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.” This is it! This is what we have been waiting for. This is what the seventh trumpet has signaled. At last, God’s wrath will be taken out upon a sinful earth and He will be glorified. This is the “great and marvelous sign”. This is when God will display His righteous judgments and thus show forth the glory of His Name!