Eyes to See

A friend of mine led a tour last year to the seven churches of the book of Revelation. I said, “Did you go to the island of Patmos?” “No,” he said, “I asked the people about going to Patmos, and they said, ‘It would take you a day to get there, and a day to get back, and when you get to Patmos you don’t see anything.’”

And I thought to myself, “Tell that one to the Apostle John!”

—from a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson

Hearing What God Says

Every time we worship our minds are informed, our memories refreshed with the judgments of God, we are familiarized with what God says, what He has decided, the ways He is working out our salvation. There is simply no place where these can be done as well as in worship. . . . We want to hear what God says and what He says to us: worship is the place where our attention is centered on these personal and decisive words of God.

—Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 55

Worship in Revelation (16)

In Revelation, after harlot Jerusalem falls, angels issue two suppers: One is an invitation to the birds of the heavens to eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves. The other is the invitation to the saints to the marriage supper of the Lamb. The two meals are inseparable, and they point to the two alternative destinies for human beings: We are either eaten and consumed in the wrath of God, or we are invited to consume bread and wine at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

—Peter Leithart

Worship in Revelation (15)

The first angel summons people from every nation and tribe and tongue to “fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come’ and to ‘worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water (14:6-7). This ‘eternal gospel’ recalls the vision of chapter 4 and summons the whole creation to acknowledge God as Creator and Lord of history. . . . This passage suggests that evangelism can be viewed from one perspective as a call to worship God.

—David Peterson, “Worship in the Revelation to John” The Reformed Theological Review 47:3 (Sept-Dec’88), 71.

Worship in Revelation (13)

“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” (Revelation 19:10)

Now what was the angel saying about worship? That was the other question, you remember. Why did this angel react so violently? It was because of God being robbed of His glory. What did the angel positively say about worship? Well, you might respond to me, “Not very much. Just two words: ‘Worship God.’”

Notice the two things he says. 1) He is speaking in the imperative mood. He is talking a commandment from heaven. And this commandment produces the picture of worship as an obligation. Now of course you are going to say to me, “But worship, when it’s true, is something in which we take delight, rather than regard as a duty.” Of course we do. Please God, we do. But my dear friends, it still remains a duty in which we delight. It is what we were created for. It is God’s insistence from the mouth of Jesus, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” And, although we delight in it, we worship God not for the pleasure we get out of it, but for the glory to Him that is in it. And that’s what we’re for!

What is this one life, so brief, given to me by God for? I tell you, my dear friends, it’s for Him. It’s for Him, and you will never really discover yourself or your destiny until you’ve discovered that: that’s for Him, and so that you might offer your life to Him to be a means of bringing Him glory and honor. So, says the angel, “Worship God.” Worship is an obligation.

2) Do you notice also: worship is a transitive verb. This isn’t a lesson in English grammar, it is a vital issue in biblical theology and in Christian living. Worship is a transitive verb! That is, it demands an object. And the only the object it will tolerate in biblical religion is the object God.

So, when someone says, “O, I just come to worship God,” I wonder whether they really have got clarity about the object of our worship. It is God and no other. That’s what worship is really all about; it can never be divorced from the God who is its only object.

——Eric Alexander, “Worship God!” (sermon)