Summary: He is worthy to receive our power, our glory, and our honor.
Title: Visions of Worthship
Text: Rev 4 & 5
FCF: He is worthy to receive our power, our glory, and our honor.
When I first got my glasses – I could see trees! I didn’t realize they had leaves. How glorious!
What is a vision?
1. It reveals to us the attributes of God
a. He is Holy (set apart)
b. He is Worthy
2. It models for us our relationship to God
a. The four living creatures? A poetic shorthand for “the mightiest of all creation.” (Jewish proverb – The mightiest of the birds is the eagle, the mightiest of the domestic animals is the ox, the mightiest of the wild beasts is the lion, and the mightiest of them all is man.) And yet, what do they do? They worship!
b. We are to humble ourselves! Twenty four elders (Apostles + Tribes? 2x Israel?) – you’d think they wouldn’t need to “cast down their crowns,” but they do.
3. It compels us to action because he is God
a. Notice how the refrain keeps being, “You are worthy to receive.” What does God need to receive? He’s already all-powerful; He is honored; He is rich, etc… The only thing he could receive would be tokens from his children! (See 5:12)
i. We give him our meager power. Our Actions!
ii. We give him our meager riches. Our tithe!
iii. We give him our meager wisdom! How? Through mentoring, loving, etc.
iv. We give him our meager strength. All that we do is for him – Each breath is taken in the knowledge that we are His.
v. We give him our honor. We wait on him, not he on us!
vi. We give him our glory. The downside to the “worm” mentality – we forget that God actually did good work. (C.S. Lewis on humility?) The truth, however, is that even our good works are done for him)
vii. We give him our praise. That’s worship.
b. Handel’s Messiah – I believe he had a vision of God himself. It came from the Word, but has built up Christians ever since. He uses this song as the finale to The Messiah, his Easter opus…
I want to end somewhere near where John began, with the words, “After this.” After what? After an honest look, like that which he gave to the seven churches we just read about. He saw their strengths and their weaknesses, but in every case he saw their promise as well.
How can we have that vision?
Remember – it was the strong, powerful, rich churches he had the most comforting words for. It was the small, the weak, the ones that rested in Christ. (You know of the 7 churches, only 2 still have Christians in them today: Smyrna & Philadelphia – the two smallest!) I think that if we follow their model, we can accomplish something great still.
That’s why, for the last several weeks, I’ve been in prayer about who we are. Indeed, the whole reason I preached on these messages is not because I cared about 7 churches in Turkey, but rather I cared about 1 church in Halfway. I asked God to reveal to me his assessment of Long Branch.
We are an older church, and there are some who think we should just pack it in. In my classes and my books, Long Branch is everything that they say in relation to a church that won’t be around in 20 years. The advice I tend to get most often is, pack up! The more charitable ones suggest that the best I could do is prepare you all for selling your building and leaving an inheritance to the other churches around. Well, I’m sorry. I’ve put on my glasses – and they aren’t rose-colored ones either. I see depth of worship and depth of service here like you wouldn’t believe. We’re not that great at evangelism, but when we model humility, we have a lot to teach.