Sun, Apr 09, 2000

Who Is Worthy?: Revelation 5:1-4

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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In the May 29, 1993 issue of Morning Glory, the following was written:

There is a relationship which makes life complete. Without that relationship, there is a void, a vacuum in life. Many people, even those who are well-known, can attests to that void.

For example, H. G. Wells, famous historian and philosopher, said at age 61: "I have no peace. All life is at the end of the tether." The poet Byron said, "My days are in yellow leaf, the flowers and fruits of life are gone, the worm and the canker, and the grief are mine alone." The literary genius Thoreau said, "Most men live lives of quiet desperation."

Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of the nations, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: "I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day."

- Morning Glory, May 29, 1993

People today are no different. They are distraught, unsatisfied, depressed, they are in counseling, having breakdowns, trying to figure out what they are doing here, what is the meaning of life or does it even have a meaning? In a world that seems like we can’t get no satisfaction, I hope to show you that you can! Lets read through our text this morning, beginning in Revelation chapter 4, beginning in verse 9. (Read Revelation 4:9-11).

As we have been reading through Revelation chapter 4 over the last couple of weeks, we have seen John give to us a picture of the throne of God as he is caught up to this throne in heaven. And on this throne is God the Father with the Spirit of God moving around the throne of God. And when we get to Revelation chapter 5, we are going to see God the Son, Jesus Christ also here at the throne of God.

And we have seen that heaven is a place of worship, the worship of God. The four Cherubim that stood around the throne of God are singing "...‘Holy, holy, holy, lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" Revelation 4:8. And now, as we conclude Revelation chapter 4 this morning, we are going to see another group of people who are worshiping God. So lets look deeper at these verses and see what the Lord has for us this morning.



Who are these twenty-four elders clothed in white robes with gold crowns on their heads? I believe they represent the church, for in Revelation 5:9-10 we see these twenty-four elders sing a new song, a song of the redeemed. We read "And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."

You see, angels or Cherubim can’t be redeemed nor are they given crowns, made priests and kings in the kingdom age. I do believe this is speaking of the church, for who else could sing this song? Also, when we are given a picture of the throne of God in Isaiah and Ezekiel, these elders are not seen, why? Because the church was not born yet! And as we are going to see, the church is around the throne of God worshiping God!

Now these elders, the church, are doing something very strange, the are taking the crowns off their heads and casting them before the Lord! What is that all about? These crowns are the ones that the Lord has given to us. You see, many today try to accumulate all kinds of wealth, and yet, they can’t take it with them when they die. But as Christians, God wants us to have our treasures be eternal, and these crowns are just that. We see the victors crown or the crown of life in Revelation 2:10. We see the crown for righteous living in II Timothy 4:8. A crown for faithful pastors in I Peter 5:4. A crown of gold speaking of our redemption in Revelation 4:4. A crown of rejoicing or soul saving in I Thessalonians 2:19. An incorruptible crown in I Corinthians 9:25. And understand that in this life is the only chance to get them, and not for our glory, but to give them back to the one who loves us so much. To be able to cast them at His feet, to give them back to Him as we worship Him. I don’t want to go empty handed, but to have those crowns that God wants me to have so that I may give them back to Him, what about YOU?


People today want to know the reason they were created, or why they are here. We don’t have to guess, for God tells us, "...for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Now you can accept that or reject that. You can like it or not. But that does not change the facts. The reason we were created was and is for God’s pleasure!

I truly believe so many people are frustrated, looking for satisfaction in life and not finding it, because they are not doing what they were created for - bringing pleasure to God through the worship of Him. You see, if you want true fulfilment in your life. If you want peace that flows like a river in your life. If you want true satisfaction in your life. Then you need to submit your life to the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. You see, the only way to make your life meaningful and fulfilling is by bringing your life to God and live to serve Him and worship Him.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. There are many tools that have been created to do certain jobs, but because of safety reasons, my insurance company won’t let me use them. No, not really. But when you take these tools and use them in what they were created to do, you will find satisfaction, peace contentment. But when you try to use them in a way that they were not created to be used, you will become dissatisfied, angry and frustrated. For instance, if I wanted to cut a piece of wood to an exact measurement, lets say for a table top, I would use a saw that was created specifically for that task, and it would work beautifully. But, if I tried to cut this delicate piece of wood with one of those big chain saws, it would chew the wood up, it would splinter, it might even break apart. And of course it would be very frustrating. And this is true in our own lives when we don’t do what we were created for!

The book of Ecclesiastes illustrates for us the folly of life without God. Solomon sought after wisdom and found emptiness. He sought after labor and found emptiness. He sought after possessions and found emptiness. He sought after others, being popular; wine, women and song, and found emptiness. I think you get the idea. No matter what Solomon tried to fill his life with, no matter how hard he worked at it, his life without God and with the things of this world, was empty. He continually came to the same conclusion, "‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher;‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:2.

And so Solomon continues on for 12 chapters in this search for satisfaction, contentment, and he spends much of his life on this pursuit. And then he finally comes to the conclusion, he discovered what he was searching for. In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 we read, "Let us hear theconclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.

For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether goodor evil." True satisfaction is being obedient to the Lord, living a life that is pleasing to Him!

We are told in Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligentlyseek Him." When you put your trust in the Lord, faith, you please Him. You are bringing pleasure to Him. Fellowship with God will bring joy and fulfillment into your life. By serving Him you will be blessed because you are doing what you were created for.

One of the best examples of a person who was totally surrendered unto God, was Jesus Christ as He submitted Himself to God the Father. The driving force in His life is given to us in John 4:34, where we read "...‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish Hiswork." Also, in John 6:38 Jesus said "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." And lastly, in John 17:4, Jesus said "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." What an example for us to follow! To finish the work that God has called us to do.

Thus, the primary reason God created us was to worship Him. Everything else we do is built upon that purpose. And that is exactly what Jesus said to the woman at the well in Samaria in John 4:22. We read "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers willworship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.If this is the passion of God’s heart, that we worship Him, then it should be the passion and priority of our life!

But what is worship? Barclay, quoting William Temple, the renowned archbishop of Canterbury, described worship as quickening the conscience by the holiness of God, feeding the mind with the truth of God, purging the imagination by the beauty of God, opening the heart to the love of God, and devoting the will to the purpose of God.

I like that description of worship. That we open up our hearts to the holiness of God to soften them. That we fill our minds with God’s truth that is found in His Word. That we get rid of the false concepts of God by dwelling upon His beauty. That we would fill our hearts with the love of God that would cause us to do the will of God!

Now the common word that is translated "worship" in the New Testament is the Greek word PROSKUNEO. This word can be broken down into two base words: PROS = towards, and KUNEO = to kiss. And thus, this word literally means "to kiss toward" and it came from the ancient custom of kissing the hand of a superior such as a king. In our Christian life we are to bow before God giving Him honor, adoration, praise and glory that is due His name.

And thus, true worship will grow out of a heart that is in love with God. It is a response that is not mechanical or ritualistic but flows out of our love and appreciation for what He has done for us. I hate to admit this, but there are times that I am busy and when I go to kiss my wife good-bye it is a peck on the cheek or lips and I am off! Let me say this, when your wife has crutches that is not a smart thing to do. They can reach a long distance! But the idea here is there was no passion in that kiss, and my wife was aware of that and she does try to get my attention of that. And so, when I recognize my foolishness, I will kiss her passionately, embarrassing my son. Now why do I do that? Because I love her and that is the kind of response the Lord wants from us, a passionate one! He doesn’t just want a peck on the cheek!

A few weeks ago I shared with you at our Praise and Worship night, a couple of verses found in the book of Zechariah chapter 14, beginning in verse 16. We read "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain." Zechariah 14:16-17.

This is such an important lesson for us to learn. God is saying that if we, as His bride, refuse to worship Him, refuse to give Him the glory and honor that is due His name, our lives will be barren, they will be dry, they will be fruitless. And the Scriptures give us a vivid example of this spiritual truth.

Remember the story of David as He was bringing the ark of God to the city of David, to Jerusalem. David had a heart of worship and it was seen in his life. And as David brings the ark to Jerusalem from the house of Obed-Edom there is tremendous joy, a celebration is taking place!

And the king of Israel, David, had so much joy in his heart that it overflowed into his actions as David is accompanying the ark of God into the city. And David is leaping around, spinning around, jumping up and down, shouting praises unto God as the music was played for all to hear. It was a celebration. And folks, worship should be a celebration!

And as David gets home, all pumped up and excited about what has just happened, his wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, meets him at the door. And she said to David, after seeing him carrying on like he was, "...‘How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!" II Samuel 6:20.

She was embarrassed by his actions. Why? Because she did not have a heart of worship. She was more interested in her position, the wife of the king of Israel, and now he has made a fool of her by his actions. You see, in her mind the king was to be more dignified than that!

Now listen to the response of David to his wife beginning in verse 21 of II Samuel chapter 6,"So David said to Michal, ‘It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.’ Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death."

First of all David says that his position as king was established by God. Secondly, if he wants to worship God with loud music, if he wants to dance, he will do just that. He did not see it as undignified! And thirdly, we are not to exalt ourselves as we worship the Lord, but to humbly come before Him and worship the King of kings and Lord of lords, just as David had done.

And because she did not have a heart of worship, she was barren! Folks, that is not only true of Michal, but it is true for anyone who refuses to worship the Lord, to turn to Him and kiss Him, to love Him, and one of the ways this is done is through the songs we sing. Keep in mind that the book of Psalms became the praise and worship book of the temple, and by the time we get to the New Testament, we see Jesus even singing some of these Psalms with His men. As Psalm 22:3 says "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel." The word "enthroned" or "inhabit" speaks of sitting down or to dwell. Thus, David is telling us that as we sing unto the Lord songs of praise, love songs unto Him, He will sit down, He will dwell amongst us and enjoy the worship!

If your life is dry, if it is barren, if it is fruitless, maybe it is because you don’t have a heart of worship. Do a heart check and then, as the Psalmist says, "Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious." Psalm 66:1-2.

Now true Biblical worship is three dimensional. It is OUTWARD, INWARD, and UPWARD. And we are going to look at these three dimensions of worship.


Outward worship speaks of sharing your love, the Gospel and even your resources with others as Jesus said in John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love oneanother; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that youare My disciples, if you have love for one another." It is the giving of your life to others, to be others-centered instead of self-centered. God wants you to be a servant of all! We tend to pick and choose who we want to serve and it is usually the nice people. But God says all and He means all, even those that are not nice to you. It truly is a form of worship unto God.


The inward dimension of worship speaks of your personal holiness. This life can only be produced as a result of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John chapter 15, "I amthe true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bearfruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear morefruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me,and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neithercan you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me,and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does notabide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throwthem into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified,that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." John 15:1-8.

If you remove yourself from the vine, Jesus Christ, you won’t bear fruit. You will become dry, brittle, lifeless. It is only when you stay attached to the vine, Jesus Christ that you can receive those living waters that carry the nutrients that we need in our spiritual lives to produce fruit.

Paul, in Ephesians 5:8-10 said "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord." In other words, have a walk that is worthy of the high calling to which you have been called! Don’t walk any longer in darkness, because you have been set free, walk in the light as He is in the light!

Also, Peter said in I Peter 1:13-16, "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy." May we desire that in our lives because this too is a form of worship, the way we live our lives.


Lastly, true worship is upward. It is to be that of praise and thanksgiving unto God. Hebrews 13:15 says "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." Let your life be a living sacrifice unto Him. Let that joy that is in your heart be expressed in what you do, let it overflow and touch the lives of others as they see your love for God as you rejoice in Him.

What a glorious place heaven is. And don’t forget that John is just giving to us a glimpse of what it is like. It is far more glorious than we could ever imagine. But don’t miss out on the focus, it is the worship of God. I truly believe that the reason so many people today are not satisfied is because they are not doing those things they were created for. As John tells us"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast createdall things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Revelation 4:11. KJV. That is what God desire’s for your life. You can fight it all you want but it will be like running into a brick wall. You will have a void in your life. God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth! You see, you will never be satisfied until you do what you were created to do - WORSHIP GOD! And folks, we might as well enjoy it now, for in heaven it is what flows unto Him! Let me leave you with these words from I Chronicles 16:29 to think about. It says"Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!" May we be known as a people who do these things, who love to worship the Lord!

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