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SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PASTOR (DR) MENSA OTABIL (GENERAL OVERSEER, INTERNATIONAL CENTRAL GOSPEL CHURCH (ICGC) CHRIST TEMPLE, ACCRA GHANA)
TOPIC: SACRIFICE OF PRAISE – PART 3 (BEFORE GOD’S THRONE)
DATE: 12TH NOVEMBER 2023
BIBLE TEXT: REVELATION 4:2-5
Let us rise up together as we make our “DECLARATION OF GATHERING” in this “YEAR OF GATHERING”.
Are you ready? Say with me:
I Proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. The Lord is the Shepherd of my Soul, my Shelter by Day, my Light by Night.
In His Name, we Plough our fields, by His Spirit we gather the Harvest, in His Light we seek and find.
In this Year of Gathering, the Lord of the Harvest has commanded: Launch Out into the Deep. At His Words, we cast our Nets, we gather in Souls and Substance for God’s Kingdom.
The Lord is our Reward; in this Season I received God’s Portion set aside for me: Full Measure, Pressed down, Shaking together and running over.
Nothing is Lost and Nothing is wasted in Jesus Name – Amen!
Today I am doing Part 3 of the “Sacrifice of Praise”. And my Subtitle is “Before God’s Throne”.
In Part 1 we spoke about the “Fruit of our Lips”; in Part 2 we said that our Sacrifice of Praise is “Unto the Lord”. And we will take it a little further today to talk about Worship “Before God’s Throne”.
Though we live on Earth, we are Part of a Heavenly Family.
The whole Bible is about Heaven and Earth coming together – We see that right from the beginning of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.”
And Jesus says when you Pray, you say, “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
God wants us on Earth to live Life as if it is in Heaven.
True Worship on Earth must mimic; it must replicate what is done in Heaven.
We do not Worship here on Earth to make ourselves happy; we Worship to Honour God before His Throne in Heaven.
Many times when it comes to Praise and Worship we are focused on Songs that make us happy. And we think that it is all about our happiness. But worship is for God’s Pleasure; it is towards God and we have to be Mindful of that.
Revelation 4:2-5 (NKJV)
2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a Throne set in Heaven, and One sat on the Throne.
3 And He who sat there was like a Jasper and a Sardius stone in appearance; and there was a Rainbow around the Throne, in appearance like an Emerald.
4 Around the Throne were twenty-four Thrones, and on the Thrones I saw twenty-four Elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of Gold on their heads.
5 And from the Throne Proceeded Lightnings, Thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the Throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Note that John saw all these things because he was in the Spirit – For us to have an encounter with the Heavenly we have to be in the Spirit. Even though we live in the flesh we have to be Mindful of the Spiritual Realm.
There is one (1) word that runs through the whole of Revelation Chapter 4; and that word is “Throne”
The word “Throne” means a sit of Authority and Rulership.
And that word “Throne” is used fourteen (14) times in Revelation Chapter 4 – It is the key word in that Chapter of Revelation.
That means that Worship is done with the Throne in Mind.
So we must be Throne conscious as we Worship before the Lord. And verything happening in Revelation Chapter 4 is related to Thrones.
There are Three (3) Statements that I want you to Pay attention to:
1. God on his Throne.
The Passage speaks of One Who sits on the Throne – Somebody sitting on the Throne.
This is the Main Throne that the Visioner is talking about. And this Throne represents God’s Rule and Authority. His Throne is the highest Throne in the Universe.
The first thing we see here is a Throne; and God is sitting on it.
2. The Second thing that John sees is Elders – They are around the Throne.
Remember, there is Someine on the Throne and there are People around the Throne – John calls them Elders.
Elders mean People of Stature, People of Rank.
Here the Bible says there are People of Ranks who are around the Throne. And John describes the Elders as Clothed in white – They are Clothed in white.
It is interesting how he describes them – They are Senior in Rank and there are twenty four (24) of them.
The Bible doesn’t clearly states why they are Twenty four (24) but the General Understanding is that it represents Perfectly the Old Testament and the New Testament – In the Old Testament, we have the twelve (12) Tribes of Israel; in the New Testament we have the twelve (12) Apostles of Jesus.
So Twenty four (24) represents the Clarity of the Church – The Fullness of the Church is represented here through the twenty four (24) Elders.
And the Passage also says that these Elders are also sitting on Thrones – So there is a Main Throne of God; there are other Thrones and the Elders are sitting on the Thrones.
There is a Group of People sitting – God is sitting, and the Elders are also sitting.
They are Clothed in white and they are wearing a Crown – That means they have a Place of Honour.
3. The Third thing that John talks about is the Glory of God.
And he says the Glory of God is coming from the Throne in the form of Lightnings, Thunderings and Rumblings; which occur in Voices.
Now you have to understand that the Lightnings and Thunders are in response to Worship given to God – This is very important!
So, One on the Throne, those around the Throne, and what is coming out of the Throne.
There is somebody sitting on the Throne, there are People around the Throne and the Throne is Producing something and what it is Producing a Magnificent.
John also says he saw seven (7) Lamps which represents the seven (7) Spirits of God – Seven (7) is also a Number of Perfection.
So he is basically saying, this is the Fullness of God – This is the setting that John is talking about.
True Worship is focused on God and His Throne; and this is important.
We know God is our Father, but He is also the King of the Universe. And you must know Him as Father but you also must know Him as King.
We love God as our Father, but our Father is also a King:
– And there are times when we love and we have a Casual Relationship with Him, because He is our Father.
– And there is another time when we have a Formal Relationship with Him because He is a King.
The closest I can come to explaining this – I saw it when the former Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth was alive. And she is the mother of then Prince Charles. So Prince Charles is a son to the Queen.
In Private, he calls the Queen Mum. And I am sure they had their mother-son Relationship they had form and all of that.
But when they come to the Public, she is not Mum, she is Queen. And he bows, and addresses her “Your Majesty.”
He doesn’t call her “Your Majesty” at home, he calls her that because he understands – This woman who is my Mum is bigger than just my Mum, she is also Queen.
Remember that God who is your Father is not just a Father to you, He is also the King of the Universe. And you have to learn, when you come before Him in Public – He is not just your Father, He is the King.
You have to know how to relate with Him both as Father and as King.
When we see God as Father, there is no Worship there – Who worships his Father?
Nobody worships his father! You talk to your father, you have conversation with your father, you get advice from your father.
Your father buys food for you, He buys stuff for you. But you Worship the King.
And if you don’t know God is King, Worship will never come to you because you would never see His Majesty. All you see is “my Father.”
Some of us see God as our Friend and that is true. But the One who is your Friend is also a King.
It is like if you are a friend to the President. And maybe in Private, you call him by a Nickname or whatever name you call him.
When there is a State Function, you don’t just go and say hi. But you know everybody will say that is disrespectful. They know He is your friend, but in this forum He is not sitting here as your Friend – He is the Ruler of the Universe.
And that consciousness has to be among Christians – That when we Worship God; we are not just Worshipping Him as our Father, but as the King of the Universe – And as the King of the Universe, He deserves the highest Adoration.
Now if you don’t understand that, then our Worship would be focused on ourselves – Worship is not about you, it is before the Throne of God and we are singing to Him.
Worship is not for Personal Consumption – It is before His Throne: because we are addressing Him not ourselves. Our Worship is for the Lord.
Revelation 4:8-11, The four Living Creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the Living Creatures give Glory and Honour and thanks to Him who sits on the Throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and Worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive Glory and Honour and Power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
John is telling us what happened in this Place – There are Three (3) Forms of Worship in this Passage.
1. Worship is a Proclamation:
And what is a Proclamation? In this, since it is a Public Statement about Who God is.
The Four (4) Living Creatures and the Twenty four (24) Elders say something to God – They make a Proclamation.
It is to God but they also want the Universe to hear it – “This is what we think of God.” So they make a Proclamation.
We will take a close look at Proclamation, and I will break it into Three (3) Parts:
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I. Who God is: And so they say “Holy Holy, Holy”.
And it speaks of something that is Clean and Pure; without blemish. And stands on its own.
They are saying, “God You are One of a kind, Set Apart.”
That God is in a Class of by Himself – There is none like Him: God we don’t even have the right word for You. “You are Holy!”
… That is the first Theological Statement about Who God is.
II. How we know God to be: This Holy God, Who is He? “Lord God Almighty.”
There is a Rhythm going on here. Pay attention to this: “Holy, Holy, Holy. Lord God Almighty” – Three (3) words each!
III. How God exist: “Who was and is and is to come!”
So there is a Poetry, Rhythm and Composition – That means that these words are not just being spoken, they have been thought through and have been structured well to give to God.
If you actually read them both Horizontally and Vertically, they say something.
If you read Horizontally:
Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God Almighty; Who was and is and is to come!”
If you read it Vertically:
Holy Lord who was, Holy God who is,
Holy Almighty who is to come
Whether you are reading it Horizontally or Vertically, they are making a Statement – So this is not Ordinary thing that is being said.
The Speakers have thought about it to say Lord, whether we look up, look down, turn around, You are the same: You are Holy, You are Almighty, You are the One who was and is and is to come!
What Does It Tell Us About Our Worship?
That means Worship Songs should be thought through – The words of Worship Song should be thought through.
We cannot just come and just threw meaningless words together, and say because it has a nice bit, is Worship. No! We have to think about what we are saying to God.
Just like somebody wants to write to his Girlfriend that he has just found, he will write something like:
“The Brightness of this day has given me the opportunity to pen you these few Missives to you. As the Moon is to the Sun so am I to you!” (Laugher)
… When you are writing to a human being, that’s what you do.
When you are going to give a Speech at the Government House you Prepare. You Structure your words and Phrases because you are going to speak to Dignitaries.
How much so now that you are going to talk to the King of the Universe? You think you should just say anything that comes out of your mouth? No! You have to think through what you are saying.
Have you thought through what you are saying? Is it Theological? Does it has weight? Does it give honour to the Person you are speaking to? Does it tell how much you respect the Person?
That is what the Angels are saying – “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. Who was and is and is to come!”
The Proclamation has to be well thought through!
And it’s time that when we come to Church we sing Meaningful Songs – A lot of the Songs People are Singing as Worship have no meaning. So there is no Proclamation.
2. Prostration: This is the Second form of Worship.
The Bible says they fell down – Total Surrender of all we are and have to God.
In addition to making a Proclamation, they Prostrated themselves before God.
And there are also Three (3) Things that happened in Prostration:
I. There is Honour – They fell down!
When the Passage opens, the twenty four (24) Elders are sitting on their Thrones – It means there is a time for sitting in the Presence of God.
But when they Worship starts, they say, ‘God is bigger than us! Although we have Thrones, He is Higher.”
So they fall down, they drop down, they get down from their Thrones.
You cannot come to God and still sit on your Throne – There is Honour.
II. Adoration: The Bible says they Worshiped Him. They bowed before Him and they Worshiped.
III. Submission: They cast their Crowns before the Throne.
At the beginning of the Story, they are sitting on Thrones with white robes and with Crowns on their head.
At the end of the Story, they are off their Thrones, the Crown is off their head; and they don’t care whether they wear white or not; they are on the Ground.
Do you see what is happening? – It tells us two (2) Levels of Relationship that we have with God:
I. There are times we sit with God, talk with Him as our Father – We have a Relationship with Him.
II. And then there is a time we know we are not His equal.
And that is what the Twenty four (24) Elders recognised – Although they have their own Thrones, they realised at a certain Point:
– We have to bow to the One who gave us the Throne.
– We have to take the Crown back to the One who gave the Crown to us in the first Place.
And in our Worship, there is a Place of Honour, when we Worship God, Adore Him and Submit to Him.
Submission is deep in Worship – When you say:
– I sit on the Throne because He put me on the Throne.
– I have a Crown because He gave me a Crown.
– And at the end of the day, the Crown, the Glory and Honour all belong to Him.
This Morning, I want us to get this clear: That our Worship is before the Throne of God.
Although we are here on Earth (in our Churches) when Worshipping; we must see ourselves as John saw it in the Spirit – We must say we are before the Throne of God.
And what we are doing is not for our Pleasure, it is for His Honour.
We are not in Church to make ourselves happy; we are in Church to honour God.
And as we keep Him at the centre, then what we Proclaim and how we act Physically, all of that is:
– Directed to show our Reverence to Him Who sits on the Throne;
– Directed to the One who has also given us thrones, Who has made us Powerful and Strong, Who has made us Kings and Priests. Unto God who has redeemed us by His Blood.
… And next week we are going to examine further, the this Level of Worship that goes on in Heaven.
Let’s rise up on her feet as we just Proclaim the Holiness of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to God – He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, our Maker. He Owns us, we belong to Him.
He is our Father but He is also our Owner. All we have belong to Him. Everything we have in Life – Positions, Thrones, fame, He put us there!
And this Morning, we come and cry Holy, Holy, Holy.
Declare His Glory, His Beauty, His Majesty and Honour Him.
Thank you Lord!
Father, this Morning, we Your Creatures whom You have created come before You.
We know You as our Father, and we know You as our Creator and as our King – The Ruler of our lives, the Owner of our lives, the Owner of our days and our breath.
The Owner of our Beginning and End, we yield all that we have and all that we are to You.
Be Magnified in our Praise.
Be Glorified in our Praise.
Let our Praise be towards You.
Let our Mind be centred on You;
And let our thoughts be filled with you LORD.
Thank You for this Knowledge; we acknowledge You as our King.
In Jesus’ Name – Amen.
Thank you so much for staying all through to read.