Perhaps the greatest example of worship we get to read about in the Bible is the vision of John in Revelations chapter 7. Here are verses 9-17.
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
What everyone involved is focused on, and what John notices they are focused on, is the worship of God in Jesus Christ. John didn’t comment on anything about the worshipers except in relation to the object of their worship. It was all about Him, not them. The celebration is about what Jesus did, and nobody around the throne is seeking anything more than to be near the King. It would be odd for anyone to walk up to them and say “Good job on that third bow. You guys looked awesome.” It would be odd because the entire worship experience was about Jesus. Commending the worshipers would be out of place.
So, what is the difference between Revelation 7 worship and the worship services we attend on Sundays? What is the difference in intent? I say “nothing!” The worship experienced in Revelation 7 may be more full and more visible, and it certainly has a larger congregation, and perhaps it is more universally sincere, but otherwise our Sunday worship services and this Revelation 7 vision are the same. Today’s worship isn’t practice. We’re not merely using Sundays to get ready for real worship that comes later on. We are worshiping NOW.
If we look at what is going on in Revelations chapter 7, we can see what worship is.
- To worship someone is to adore them.
- To worship someone is to revere them.
- To worship someone is to be in awe of them.
- You worship someone you have confidence in.
- You worship someone you are totally satisfied with.
There is no room in worship for the worshipers to seek from others a little adoration, reverence, awe, confidence, or satisfaction for or in themselves. Anything the worshipers bring to the table are a means to one end: worship Jesus.
Am I missing something?