Worshiping the Triune God

2011 Ligonier Conference

In this 60-minute session from the 2011 Ligonier National Conference, Steven Lawson works from Revelation 4 to show the nature and character of heavenly worship services, encouraging believers to examine how they approach God in worship. Steven is Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, AL. He has authored several books including The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon.

Revelation 4:1-11 (ESV)

The Throne in Heaven

1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:7the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come!”

9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

What strikes you about the heavenly worship service described in the passage above? What is present in this scene that you've found lacking in the worship services at your church?
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Steven gave 5 distinct marks of God-designed worship services:

  1. A High View of God
  2. A Deep Fear of God
  3. A Distinct Separation from God
  4. A Constant Focus on God
  5. A Proper Exaltation of God

How does your worship display a high view of God? What about it points to His majesty, sovereignty, and splendor?
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Steven gave several examples of ways that worship services can become too casual. What do you think demeans a fear of God? How is a fear of God displayed in worship?
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God is Holy. How can your worship reflect His transcendence—His complete "otherness"?
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It is easy to become distracted in worship. How do you maintain a focus on Him, centering all that you do in worship on God?
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Ultimately, our worship must be about bringing glory to God. How do you seek to make God's glory central to your worship?
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All Christian worship, from corporate church services to personal devotionals, should have God and His glory at its center.  Think through Steven's five distinctives, seeking to model your worship after the kind of reverence, fear, and awe displayed in Revelation 4.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." 
(Romans 12:1, ESV)

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