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Summary: The biblical idea of corporate worship is not so much focused on what you get out of the experience. It deals more with what you give. Did you offer God the very essence of yourself?

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Series: Victorious!

“Worship God Selflessly”

Revelation 4 and 5

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Welcome to everyone here today. I’m glad that you’ve joined us today. We’re in a message series through the book of Revelation titled Victorious! We’re approaching this book of the Bible not like an art critic who counts brush strokes in a painting. We’re stepping back and looking at the big picture.

In the very first message in this series, we said that we’re going to use three important tools of interpretation. These tools are important to understanding any book in the Bible but they’re especially important in understanding the message of Revelation.

The first tool is the setting of the book. Last week, we talked about the AIM – the authors intended meaning. We can’t understand what the book means today if we don’t understand what it meant to its original audience.

The second tool is the style of writing. The book of Revelation is what is called apocalyptic writing. That means it’s intended to reveal something.

If you were to go see a play in a theater, you would only see what happens from your seat in the theater – an intentionally limited view. If you went backstage, you would see a flurry of activity: The propmaster making sure the props are set for the scene. The stage manager directing the stage hands in scenery changes and assuring that the actors that are supposed to go onto the stage are ready to do just that. You would see actors bustling about to make costume changes and standing behind the curtain waiting to make their entrances. But out in the audience, you only see what lies in the vision field from the seats in the theater. Revelation reveals what is behind the curtain – what is backstage in the spiritual realm that we don’t readily see.

The first tool: the setting. The second tool: the style. The third tool is the symbols used in the book. There are two types of symbols in Revelation. The first type deals with numbers. The numbers used are important in understanding the message.

Take the number seven. It plays a prominent role so far. In Chapt 1, there are seven lampstands, seven stars, and seven spirits of God. In Chapts. 2 and 3, we see those same sets of seven things but add seven churches to the list. In our message today, you will see the number seven repeated over and over. Some people today see the number seven as being lucky but to the first century believers for whom the book of Revelation was originally written, the number seven represented completion and perfection.

The second type of symbol has to do with images. The book of Revelation is like a picture book. More than any other book in the Bible, it utilizes images to communicate its message. Lampstands, stars, precious jewels, and creatures figure prominently in the first five chapters.

My goal in this series is to encourage you in difficult times that no matter what is happening all around you, no matter what everyone else is doing, you still have victory in Jesus Christ. As we learned in Chapt. 1, he is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is the one who died and is alive again. He is the ruler of the kings of the earth.

We are in the fourth message of this series. Take your Bibles and turn to the 4th chapter of the book of Revelation. We’re going to look at chapters 4 and 5.

By a show of hands, how many of you here this morning like to spend time with selfish people? Don’t raise your hands on this one but how many of you would describe yourself as being selfish?

Here are some indicators that you might be a selfish person:

1. You have a lifetime subscription to “Self” magazine .

2. You rush to be the first in line at a funeral procession.

3. Your favorite picture at home is the mirror.

4. You’re on a date and say, “Enough talk about me. Let’s talk about what you think of

me.”

5. You pick up the last piece of chicken, take a bite out of it, hold it up and say, “Does

anybody want this?”

While you probably don’t quite fit the indicators I just mentioned, there may be one area where you are unaware of selfishness. It has to do with the Sunday morning worship service.

Many of us come to church for what we can get out of it. If we don’t get what we want, we tend to be dissatisfied and critical. If we don’t have a warm fuzzy feeling when we leave, then something was wrong with the church service. The preacher’s message was too long. I’ve got more important things to do than hang around here. The song leader didn’t pick out songs I like to sing. The announcements didn’t cover anything I was interested in.

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