Sunday School Material 5-8-11: Heavenly Worship
(Rev. 4:1-2, 6b-11; 5/8/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is the beasts and elders worshipped God with great energy.
Prayerfully, we will be challenged to worship God with great energy both in the worship services and with our daily living.
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Read Revelation 4:1-2
I. The Heavenly Throne. In today's Sunday School material the writer (John) notices a door that was opened, in Heaven. John hears a voice that sounds like a trumpet.
The voice essentially said, "Come up to where I can show you what is going to happen." John was immediately in the Spirit and saw a throne set in Heaven and someone sitting on the throne.
- God's plan. Notice in vs. 1 of today's Sunday School material that John was invited to see what God had planned next. It is good to know that God has a plan.
As believers, we know that the plan includes hills and valleys, but all things are working together for the good of God's people. Let's work on reminding one another that God has a blessed plan for His people.
This can be easy to forget, when things are rough in our lives. And we need to be sensitive about our timing in reminding people about God's plan. Sometimes a crisis is not the best time to teach. It may be a better time to listen and empathize.
- The authority of scripture. Notice in vs. 2 in the Sunday School material that it seems as if being in the Spirit means that John was in some kind of trance.
There are those who claim that they have visions or dreams that are used by God to direct them. We should be thankful that whether God uses dreams, visions, or trances or not, the best thing that we have to know God and His will is the Bible.
Let's prayerfully study and obey the Bible as the word of God. When we rely on trances more than God's word then we are setting up for all kinds of conflict among ourselves. God will not contradict what He has said in the Bible.
Read Revelation 4:6b-8a
II. The Worshipers. In today's Sunday School material John sees in the midst of the throne and around the throne four beasts.
The beasts were known for having many eyes. The first was like a lion, second like a calf, third like a man, and the fourth like a flying eagle. They had six wings each. All day and all nights, the beasts were known for giving praise to God.
- Worshipping beasts. Notice in vss. 6b - 8a of the Sunday School material that we see some strange looking beasts. We can only speculate about what the four beasts/living beings are about.
I read that the lion represents nobility, the calf/ox represents strength, the man represents wisdom (?), and the eagle represents speed.
I read that the eyes mean that they see everything, and the six wings mean that they move quickly to obey God's will. Instead of arguing about what the beast symbolize, our time would be better spent worshipping God, as we see them doing.
Let's not get so distracted by the unknown and unknowable that we stop doing what we know to do – worship God. Notice that only God is sitting on the throne. The beasts are around it, but God is sitting on it.
Sitting is a posture that suggests that He will be there for awhile. He is not standing or walking past the throne. God is sitting.
It is good to know that God is still sitting on the throne and handling the affairs of this world in such a way that He is worthy of our worship.
Read Revelation 4:8b-11
III. The Expression of Worship. The writer observes that when the beasts praise the Lord, the twenty four elders praise the Lord as well.
The elders casted their crowns before the throne as a symbol of worshiping the One on the throne. The elders acknowledge that all things were created and are created for the pleasure of He who sits on the throne.
- Worshipping elders. Notice in vss. 9-11 of the Sunday School material that God is worshipped all day and all night.
God's holiness or separateness is acknowledged, along with His being almighty and eternal.
In fact, God is so worthy that the twenty four elders not only bowed down from their lesser thrones, but they also cast their crowns before God, as an expression of worship.
They spoke words of worship, "Though art worthy to receive honor and glory, all things were created by Him for His pleasure." The elders were not too old to bow and throw their crowns.
They were not too attached to their throne that they could not bow before God's throne. Now, if the beast and elders worship God with so much energy then it is a high sin for us to have low energy and unenthusiastic worship.
We are all created beings who have been allowed to get to where we are by the grace of God. Let's worship God like we know that He is the source of all that we have and is worthy of all of our praises.
- Created for God's pleasure. Notice in vs. 11 of the Sunday School material that we are created for God's pleasure, God is not created for our pleasure. Too many people are seeking to be happy, instead of making God happy.
I believe that we are going to be at our most joyful moment as we strive to live up to God's expectation for us. If we chase after happiness, we will never catch it. But if we follow after God, joy will come and reside in our hearts.
Let's live like we understand that we are created for God's pleasure, instead of God being duty bound to provide for our pleasure. Our actions speak louder than our words.
Those who understand this application should be busy obeying God, because obedience brings Him pleasure. Those who don't understand this application will spend more energy seeking their own pleasure than with attending to the pleasure of God.
Conclusion: Let's work on worshipping God with great energy both in the worship services and with our daily living. God has much for those who obey His will.
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