“And Worship Him . . .”
Some of the most well-known verses among Seventh-day Adventists are these: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Rev. 14:6, 7). And though we view them in the context of last-day events, they also help form the foundation for our topic this quarter, which is worship. Not only are we called to worship, but we can, in these verses, find key themes to help us understand what true worship should be about.
First, John sees an angel having the “everlasting gospel,” the gospel of the everlasting covenant, the good news that Jesus Christ would come, take upon Himself humanity, and in that humanity die as a Substitute for the sins of the world. Foundational, then, to all our worship needs to be Jesus’ death in our behalf. Worship should center on our response to the substitutionary work of Christ, which includes not only the Cross but His ongoing ministry for us in the heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 8:1).
Next, John tells us to “fear God.” Fearing God and loving God are two sides of the same coin: to fear God is to stand in awe, in reverence for who He is as Creator and Redeemer, in contrast to whom we are as the created and the redeemed. When we approach God in worship as a kind of buddy or pal, we degrade Him and place ourselves in a role in which we do not belong. Worship should be permeated by a sense of reverence and awe for our God, an attitude that will give us the humility and surrender so needed for true worship.
We are also told to “give glory to Him.” What is crucial here is that worship be about God and not about ourselves. We have to make sure that worship is not people-centered, culture-centered, or personal-needs-centered, but God-centered. We worship God, not ourselves; hence, worship must be about Him, about giving glory to Him, and not about music, culture, or worship styles.
We are told to fear God and give glory to Him. Why? Because “the hour of his judgment [has] come.” Christ is not only the Redeemer. He is also the Judge, a Judge who knows all our deepest and darkest secrets, a Judge who knows the innermost recesses of our hearts. As we worship, we need to do so with the sense of an accountability to God for what we do, and a realization that we can hide nothing from Him, a fact that should drive us to the Cross, our only hope in this judgment.
Finally, we are told to worship the Creator. Creation is so foundational to all worship, because all that we believe, without exception, is based on the fact that God is Creator. We worship Him because He is Creator and because He is Redeemer and because He is Judge. Creation and Redemption and judgment are closely tied, and all true worship needs to be firmly rooted in these objective theological truths. How fascinating, too, that in Revelation 14:7 we find language reflecting the Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:11), a day inseparably linked to the true worship of God.
This quarter, as we study worship, these motifs will appear again and again, for they are central to what true worship should be about. And with worship as such a central component of “present truth,” we would do well to learn what it means to truly worship the only One in all creation who, by virtue of who He is, is worthy of that worship.
Rosalie Haffner (Lee) Zinke served for many years as a pastoral assistant (Bible instructor) on church staffs, including Collegeview, Sacramento Central, Battle Creek Tabernacle, and the Hinsdale Church. She also worked in ministry with her pastor husband for 15 years, and later served as a hospital chaplain before her retirement.
Jerry Giardina of Pecos usually prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the “New King James Version” of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission. The study helps are linked from each lesson and links to the whole quarter’s Helps are provided here.
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