Summary: A study on the church.
In a famous broadcast to the United States, England’s Arch Bishop William Temple made a statement that he knew could be considered an outrageous statement. “This world can be saved from political chaos and collapse by one thing only,” he announced, “and that is worship.” We would love to be able to agree with Temple that worldwide worship would ultimately lead to worldwide peace. However it is so difficult to do because the earth is covered with monuments of man’s worship, some of which are contested prizes in bloody holy wars. There is no lack of worship in this world. The Japanese visit their various Shinto shrines, Indians their various Hindu temples, the Muslims make their pilgrimages to Mecca and Jews their Jerusalem. It was an exaggerated expression of worship that cost the followers of Jim Jones their lives in Guyana. In America growing religious bodies like the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses rely on the religious zeal to expand their cause. Bizarre occultists gather yearly to celebrate various pagan festivals. There is no lack of worship in this world. Yet the Arch Bishop was not off his rocker to call for worship, especially with in the context of how he defines it. True worship can improve the hearts, souls and behavior of humanity. The Bible is very direct in defining the purpose of worship to be less in what is done for us than what we do for God. The disappointed church attendee who complains that they never get much out of the worship service betrays their own self centeredness. The truth is that it is not about me. We all would be wise to take to heart what one Christian leader has said, “My friend it makes very little difference what you get out of it. What is important in worship is what God gets out of it; it is Him who you are worshipping, not yourself.” Our English word worship comes from an Old Saxon word weorth-scipe, which means to ascribe worth and value to someone because we consider them to be worthy of honor or reverence. Today as we look at John’s vision of heavenly worship we will discover the essential nature of the earthly adoration of God presented. Today let’s discover the meaning of worship.
I. Here is the victorious Lord, who, having vanquished all other gods, now reigns on His throne high and lifted up.
A. The one on the throne is God Himself, and in His right hand He is holding a scroll.
1. In John’s day many books were written on scrolls, pieces of papyrus or vellum up to thirty feet long, rolled up and sealed with clay or wax.
2. In ancient times, papyrus rolls were used for public and private documents.
3. Upon the scroll is written His universal plan for the destiny of the world.
4. No one can reveal what is written on the scroll, it is secret and sealed up.
5. Only the one who is worthy can open the scroll.
B. A mighty angel shouts out a challenge for anyone to come forth who is "worthy" to open the great scroll and its seals.
1. Against this background, we conclude that, when John calls Jesus “the Root of David” in Revelation 5:5, he is identifying Jesus as the Messiah—and particularly a David-like warrior Messiah.
2. The Lamb has died; he has the marks of being slain on him. The Greek word here translated “slain” is sphazô, which is a technical term for being “slaughtered as a sacrifice.” John is here describing Christ as a sacrificial Lamb.
3. Christ alone, as the Messiah, is the executor of the purposes of God and the heir of the inheritance of the world. He obtained this by his substitutionary and propitiatory death on the cross.
4. Jesus is qualified to be the Judge by His infinite wisdom, by divine decree, by personal excellence, and by His work at Calvary. (John 5:22, 27)
5. Under the New Covenant Christ has the same worth as God ascribed to Him.
6. Christ is place above all dominions, powers and principalities. (Philippians 2:5-11)
C. From this passage we learn that ones God is whatever they find worthy of their total allegiance, what they are willing to sacrifice everything else for in order to preserve and honor.
1. We have no choice in the matter; we cannot live without an established order of values.
2. Whether we can easily explain our faith or not, we make daily decisions according to our established priorities.
3. Whatever is the first priority on our list is our god.
4. Man will worship. The only question is whom will it be?
II. Worship is doing everything in our power to please God from whom all blessings flow.
A. God’s word gives us record of how those who loved Christ best expressed their love for Him.