Text: Revelation 5:11-14
I. Why are you here?
A. Because it is what you do on Sundays? Because your parents make you come?
B. I hope most of us will say we are here to worship. After all, we call this the worship service.
C. Yet, most of us have only vague notions what is worship.
1. Think for a moment: Of the things we have done here today, which constitutes worship?
2. What makes it worship?
D. Like many concepts in the Bible, there are multiple words applied to the idea of worship. By examining each one, perhaps we will get a better appreciation for what is truly worship.
II. Most of the references to worship come from the Hebrew word shachah (shaw-khaw’) or the Greek word proskuneo (pros-koo-neh’-o).
A. Both words refer to a person willingly bowing himself to the ground before someone greater. It is used to indicate the powerlessness of the person bowing.
B. It like the other words we will be examining, it is not used exclusively of worshiping God.
1. Joseph’s brothers bowed before Joseph - Genesis 42:6
2. Just as Joseph, in turn, bowed before his father, Jacob - Genesis 48:8-12
3. David bowing before King Saul - I Samuel 24:8
4. The prophets bowing before the Elisha, the leading prophet - II Kings 2:15
5. Or even to someone in a better position that you, such as Ruth bowing before Boaz (Ruth 2:10) or Abraham before landowner from whom he wished to purchase land (Genesis 23:7)
C. The idea of falling on our face before someone is foreign to Americans. We don’t even prostrate ourselves to our president. But this is because we view everyone as equals, even if they carry greater power.
D. The example of Abraham’s servant
1. When Abraham’s servant need help finding a wife for Isaac, he prayed for God’s aid - Genesis 24:11-14
2. When God answered that prayer exactly as asked, he bowed his head and prayed - Genesis 24:23-27
3. When he was given an immediate granting of his request, beyond all reasonable expectations, Abraham’s servant prostrated himself on the ground to worship - Genesis 24:50-52
4. When faced with proof of the power of God, the servant could do no less.
E. The Bible teaches us that we all will prostrate ourselves in the presence of God.
1. When God proves His might by the fulfilment of prophecy, every knee will bow - Isaiah 45:23
2. It will occur at judgment as we all swear allegiance to God (a better translation than “give praise”) - Romans 14:11
3. Jesus’ great deed of saving mankind from their own sins will produce the same effect - Philippians 2:8-11
F. When Peter realized that he was in presence of the mighty God, he was struck how worthless he was - Luke 5:3-9
G. This is no different than Job’s reaction when he received proof of God’s knowledge - Job 42:1-6
H. When Paul looked back at the kindness of God in allowing him, of all people, to be His minister to the Gentiles, he bowed before God asking that others comprehend what he had learned - Ephesians 3:6-21
I. Such will be the response of all whom God saves from their wickedness - Revelation 4:8-11; 5:11-14
1. All Things Praise Thee (25)
2. Lord, We Come Before Thee Now (419)
III. While shachah (shaw-khaw’) and proskuneo (pros-koo-neh’-o) demonstrate the reaction of people in the presence of God, two other words give us insight into the hearts of the worshiper. The Hebrew word yare (yaw-ray’) and the Greek word sebomai (seb’-om-ahee) refers to the sense of awe and fear a person has in the presence of God.
A. The word is used to describe people who worshiped God, such as Lydia - Acts 16:14
1. In older translation it is rendered as “Godfearing.”
B. It is the heart-felt part of our religion - Isaiah 29:13
1. Worship that is external only is unacceptable to God.
2. God is to be served with fear - Psalm 2:11
3. God is to be worshiped in fear - Psalm 5:7
C. Think about the reaction of men in presence of God’s messengers, the angels - Daniel 10:5-9
1. That happened with just an angel. Imagine the reaction of being before God Almighty!
a. Is it a wonder that the Israelites wanted a mediator? - Exodus 19:18-20, 20:18-19
b. That was Isaiah’s reaction - Isaiah 6:1-5
c. Or Abram’s reaction - Genesis 15:12
2. This is what happened to the disciples when God spoke - Matthew 17:5-6
3. John’s reaction to Christ - Revelation 1:17
D. If there is just one element missing from our worship, it is our awe of God. Who can claim such a fear of God and then miss services because there were other things to do?
1. Holy, Holy, Holy (238)
2. Awesome God (908)
3. I Stand in Awe (937)
4. How Great Thou Art (226)
IV. Our final pair of words is the Hebrew word abad (aw-bad’) and the Greek word latreia (lat-ri’-ah). These words refer to service given as a servant or bondsman of someone greater.
A. Notice the commands to the Israelites regarding their worship of God
1. Deuteronomy 6:13 - Only God is to be feared and served (worshiped)
2. Deuteronomy 10:12-13 - To fear God is to obey, love, and serve him from the heart
3. Deuteronomy 10:20-21 - God is our praise
B. Such a heart-felt service is required of Christians as well - Hebrews 12:28-29
1. If we truly love God, we will be obedient - John 14:15
2. As servants of the Almighty, we give our lives to His service - Romans 12:1
C. We serve the Master by doing the things He has asked of us. No slave serves a master by making up things. He asks his master’s will and then performs it with his full might
1. The Lord’s Supper, commanded by God, memorializes Jesus’ death on our behalf - I Corinthians 11:23-26
2. Singing is service to God - Colossians 3:16-17
3. Prayer is pleasing in God’s sight - I Timothy 2:1-8
4. Giving - II Corinthians 8:1-9
5. Listening to God’s Word - Nehemiah 8:2-3, 5-6, 8
a. The message of the cross brings glory to God - I Corinthians 1:18; 2:1-5
1. Follow Me (150)
2. Take My Life, and Let It Be (613)
3. I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go (314)
V. Worship is not in the common and everyday events in our lives. Worship is not accidently given. It is the natural reaction of men in the presence of God to offer praise to him.