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The Worship of the Elders

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
November 20, 2020 7:00 am

The Worship of the Elders

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 20, 2020 7:00 am

Look at the sky on a clear night and youll see thousands of points of beautiful light- stars, planets, and far off galaxies give witness to Gods creative power. Have you ever caught yourself just standing in awe of Gods creation? In this message, Dr. Boice looks at Revelation 4, where the elders at Gods throne praise Him endlessly for the very same Creation that we enjoy each day.

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Welcome to the final studio radio and Internet Ministry of finance of convincing evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically studying what it is to worship God and were using probably the best model all the Bible for understanding what worship should be. That is a worship that takes place in heaven, and is described for us in Revelation 4 and five started to study that last week we saw a number of things about worship based on the passage number one that worship is God alone.

Anything else is not true worship to worship is the acknowledgment of God's attributes that is praising him for who he actually is number three. Worship is ceaseless in heaven at least a certain sense, on earth as well because the praises of God's people around the globe go up to them continually and number four.

Worship is best one is also done with others.

Notice that in these chapters always groups of individuals beings are people that are singing the praises of God together. Which brings us, of course, one item I didn't mentioned in our last study, but a critical and very obvious one that is it. Worship is usually and perhaps best of almost always expressed in song distracters are filled with humans. Five of them in all two in chapter 4. Three of them in chapter 5 and there are more hymns that occur later on in the book there in chapter 7. Several of them. Chapters 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19 is interesting that the worship of God in heaven is best expressed word set to music is in song is a reason for that. Of course, and the reason is that music is a gift from God that allows us to express our deep law deepest heart responses to God and his truth in meaningful and memorable ways memorable, especially because music stays with us. Music has gift of God that enables us to join our hearts together and when we hear great teaching the expression of great prose concerning God and his nature allows us in unison together to say is at work. Yes yes yes the things that we have heard and believed time to time I reflected on the loss of singing in contemporary culture because it suggests is that people in our day, no longer feel it respond to anything at a very deep level. We have music, of course, music all the time. We can escape. But even when we want to we have moves back piped in virtually every establishment. We visit our popular songs coming to us constantly on television, radios and countless boom boxes that people don't say yes to saying that used to sing back in the period of the first of the second world war. They would gather around pianos in the 1920s they would gather in the music calls during wartime to keep their spirits something sing patriotic ballads and love the songs of the popular songs of the day ethic music and old favorites from the past.

But all that has gone live frantic but joyless culture and while people sometimes understand the words of the popular songs they hear on television and radio.

They no longer join in singing the saddest things about the data's youth culture and my judgment is that the youth do not say our world weary. I have no joy about the only place in our culture, where people still actually do gather together and sing as a church. The reason for that is obvious is because Christians have something to sing about like the saints in heaven. We want to praise God with heart and soul and voice in singing revelations of God together is how we do it best and we always saw see if you don't identify the sentiments of this poem via meeting evil theologian's name is John Scotus from 1810 to 1877 and he wrote a verse comparing what Christians do with the classical poets like Homer and Virgil and it goes this way. Homer wants saying of his comings and Trojans and Virgil compose a verse about descendents of Romulus. When I sing about the kingly deeds of the King of heaven, whom the world never ceases to praise Homer and Virgil took pleasure in speaking about the flames that brought sudden destruction to Troy about the struggles of their heroes, but our delight is to sing of Christ, drenched in blood after vanquishing the prince of this world. They were both learned and how to compose falsehoods with an appearance of truth and how to deceive at Acadian verse. We prefer to sing hymns of fine praise of the power of the father and his true wisdom. Let us therefore hold the supreme victories of Christ as brilliant stars in our minds. Behold four corners of the world or class by the wooden cross. That's what Christians always felt always gone, though not always as well as they should have certainly what the four living creatures on the 24 elders are doing in heaven. And the songs that we have here in Revelation 4 and five, we join that great chorus rightly and wisely and joyously when we also say that whenever any of the created beings. Praise God in heaven. The elder seem to join in number that they represent the redeemed people of God from all ages.

Here they praise God is the creator there him begins with the words you are working. Which of course is worship in its purest sense, because that's what worship is worship is subscribing worth to God. So if you say you are worthy that exactly what you're doing now since the elders and join in the praise of the living creatures. At this point come to verse 11 of this chapter, verses 9 to 11 of this chapter, we can assume that they began acknowledging God's attributes earlier when they were in their mind at least about verbally echoing one of the four living creatures number the creatures were praising God because he was wholly sovereign and eternal.

Elder certainly joined in that and then in the verse that is specifically ascribed to them.

They praise it was the creator.

In other words, when you put it together there praising God for who he is and what he's done. Let's look at that first of all, they praise God because he is holy. That's the only attribute of God in the Bible that is customarily repeated three times in a single sentence we have it here.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. It's a way emphasizing the holiness of God. This is a striking and most important attribute.

It's what set God apart from everything else, and it's the first characteristic of his nature. The human beings seem to become aware of when they capture a glimpse of God in his glory. It's a wonderful thing but it's also what makes God so terrifying. God appeared to Moses on the mountain with thunder and rumblings and peals of thunder. The very thing that John says here he saw coming from the throne, Moses said, even Moses, I am trembling with fear much trembling in fear before the holiness of God today as a matter fact is very little recognition of his holiness of all. Even among the most pious of Christian people which explained I suppose more than anything else.

Why our worship services are so trivial awareness of the holiest been crowded out by the grossly material self-centered entertainment oriented to keep tacky culture of our time some time ago I read a book by Douglas Johnson, Douglas Wilson recognizes the problem. I want to quote a paragraph from it. We who are now alive do not remember how to apprehend the beauty and holiness of our God. We are so unlettered by modernity. We no longer ache to think about our inability to comprehend such things pervades everything we do. Some hope that postmodernism will show the way out by the postmodernists is nothing more than a modernist, was admitted as cultural illiteracy, which is not the same thing as reading Christians by and large do not stand against the spotlight with a clear understanding of antithesis coming to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness somehow gets translated into the warmth of niceness almost entirely gone is the experience of being run through being pierced by the numinous acknowledgment. Some things are pretty nice.

We desire to be damped by them.

We say we call for the gods of glory and beauty summon up the imbecilic and grinning demons of the Alderson fall for this because what we find the elders doing is joining the cherubim in singing holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come sickeningly praise him for his his sovereignty holiness may be the characteristic of God that is most striking to human beings when my first approach sovereignty is certainly the thing that is most emphasized of the book of Revelation with a very good reason.

John is writing Christians or undergoing troubles in the world. Some of them facing persecutions as many are in the world today what he wants to do is reassure them that God is ruling history. Nothing ever takes place in history, contrary to his overriding will, in most circumstances of life ever ultimately defeat or harm the Christian site wants to stress this again and again.

That's what the four living creatures are talking about when they call God, Lord God Almighty is actually the name Jehovah Sabado means God the sovereign one is also what the others are acknowledging when they use the words of our Lord and God. Verse 11 Lord and God. Interestingly enough, the words that the Emperor Domitian insisted upon his his titles to be used whenever anybody addressed him I had to say Domino's data that is Lord and God. The Greek equivalent of that is clearly on Skype. The office Domitian was not Lord and God was one was the Lord and God. And this true Lord and God brought even the evil Domitian under judgment in time those to whom John wrote needed to know this. They needed to know that God is truly sovereign and they would be able to stand firm in him when the time of persecution came in the Greek text here.

Each of the nouns in the second line of verse 11 glory, honor and power is preceded by the definite article which indicates totality such God should be glorified, honored or prescribed power along with Caesar, or any other that all this rather that he alone is to receive all the honor all the glory and all the power reason for that is all things come from him. It's exactly what Paul said at the end of Romans 11, all things are from him and are sustained by him. For from him and through him and to him are all things and therefore to God alone be the glory forever. This is what is going on in heaven of the third thing is a God is eternal and we say that God is eternal. What were acknowledging is that he transcends time. He had no beginning and you have no and moreover, we confess that God is always the same and is eternal being is what the word Sue was and is and is to come mean God is past that is wirelessly is present where it is and he is also present is to come. The last phrase is interesting is a this is talking about past Pres. future but if you were talking about nothing other than the future what you would say and will but it doesn't say that it says he is to come.

So what that is doing is adding the idea this eternally existing God is yet to come to Austin judgment. He is the one before whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and with whom you and I must deal less repeated twice in the prayer of the elders because in verse 9} in the lives forever and ever. In verse 10 are told they fall down and worship him who lives forever and ever.

The phrases borrowed from Daniel that occurs twice in Daniel in the fourth chapter the 12th chapter. In each case, it is contrasted with the limited duration of earthly kings first case since Nebuchadnezzar can as I was trying to set up a kingdom that would last forever. That's what that great golden statue was all about going to be his kingdom forever and ever and ever, but God humbled them and brought them down in the end, he confessed that he was wrong. God was right. You have a great confession of Nebuchadnezzar that goes like this, and I praise the most high, honored and glorified him who lives forever for his dominion is an eternal dominion in his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

Second passage in Daniel 12 is where Daniel hears an angelic figure pledging the truth of his words by him who lives forever and ever. That is by God and it's a passage in which the overthrow of the wicked is prophesied, the salvation of the righteous is assured of God is declared to be in complete control lets the overtone of the phrase that John picks up and has here in the book of Revelation.

God is in control.

The kingdoms of men do not last forever, but God does, therefore, is with God in the final analysis that we must deal now after the four living creatures, praise God in respect of his eternal nature is praising him for his holiness, his sovereignty and his eternity. The owners praise God specifically for his created works the way they do that echo some of the things that are said earlier it's why I say their praying along with the four living creatures and praising God in the same way. But this specific prayer of them deals with the creation what they say is this. You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being on the owners talk about God as the creator they say three important things about him. First of all, everything that exists is been made by God. Nothing exists other than what he created.

Secondly, the creation is the result of God's free will to create, and nothing else. No external force or power acted upon God because of the do as he did. And thirdly, is not only created the universe, but he also continues to sustain it in its existence by his sovereign will and power were thinking about each one of those. First of all, everything that exists is been created by God.

The elders were there before the throne of God and glory, must understand more of the creation than we do but we know enough about it to be overwhelmed with God's creative power and wisdom. It will take time to be overwhelmed, fast ravens are it's worth reflecting on.

We look up into the sky on a clear night, we see perhaps 10,000 points like some of those are planets in our solar system. They shine by reflective lights. Thousands belong to a special grouping of stars known as the Milky Way which our son belongs other thousands her entire galaxy safe.

China's one point because they're so distant yet when we say 10,000 points of light will be touching on a very small tiny fraction of all the existing stars of typical galaxy alone contains billions of individual stars, our own galaxy contains 200 billion stars in the form of a giant spiral. As you know, it's rotating majestically in space its glowing arms trailing behind it like the distended points of the pinwheel. Our son is in one arm of the spiral that makes a complete rotation of 250 million years. Those figures are staggering. But it's only our galaxy or thousands of others visible to the naked eye, and billions more within range of earthbound telescopes in the Hubble telescope graphing and detecting even more galaxies and stars display a seemingly unending array of beauty.

Summer spirals like ours.

Others are nearly spherical clusters, others are flattened out like pancakes to regular stars in heaven are clustered together in this intricate and beautiful groupings. Galaxies are scattered about in an irregular pattern in between them are vast amounts of space distance from one edge of an average galaxy to the other edges approximately 20 million trillion miles we were to try to write these numbers out in zeros that fill up several lines of type, so in order to avoid active astronomers use a unit of distance called the light year light-year is the distance light travels in one year at the speed of hundred and 86,000 mi./s, which is approximately 6 billion miles trillion miles translated this unit of measurement. The size of an average galaxy is approximately hundred thousand light years distance between them is about 2 trillion light years young drama. The galaxy is the closest galaxy to our Milky Way. It separated from us by 2 million light years means that like coming to us from that galaxy is taken to million years to get here or put it in other terms it means what we see is not the galaxy is that exists now, but as it existed to million years ago. Galaxies are not fixed in space either. Rather than moving away from one another at tremendous speeds vestal valve and slipper was the first to discover the fact he found that the galaxies he was able to observe her moving away from the earth several billion miles per hour. Other astronomers began to work on that. Milton Humiston, Edwin Hubble, after whom the spacecraft is named telescope.

They show that the most distance galaxies are retreating from us at the rate of 100,000,000 mph. Moreover, everything is moving away from everything else versus expanding nothing is coming toward us. Working backward from the present position of the galaxies and their known speed astronomers fix the origin of the universe. About 15 billion years in the past return to the earth. One of the earth.

The wonders of the macrocosm which is the world of large statements are repeated in the microcosm of small things here. There are electrons and protons, neutrons, neutrinos in a winningly endless variety of particles that we don't even begin to understand the distance between them proportionate to their size is comparable to some of the distances in the solar system.

We were to take the simplest of atoms a hydrogen atom and blow it up billions upon billions of times to wear the proton at its center is about the size of attentive soccerball.

The electron that circulating around it would be size of a golf ball but it would be 5 miles away between the be absolutely nothing simplest of the Adams saints in heaven are praising God for the wonders of his creation. Shouldn't we be able to do that ourselves and in our worship how the praise of the elders doesn't only say that God is the creator that is done of all. He also says that he acted with perfect freedom in creating a say why your will they, that is all created things were created. This means the creation was the result of God's free will and nothing else. No external force or power acted upon God to cause him to do what he did because there were no beings, entities, forces or powers in the universe and that distant time before creation was brought under any compulsion to do it because of anything in himself. He didn't need stars of the galaxies. He didn't need the quarks of the quasars he doesn't need you God chose to create these things that was simply because pleased to do for his own good pleasure. He brought it all into being should be profoundly humbling to anyone who thinks about was Arthur Pink Arthur Pink wrote about the creation he said God was under no constraint, no obligation, no necessity to create that he chose to do so was purely a sovereign act on his part caused by nothing outside himself determined by nothing but his own good pleasure.

For he work of all things after the counsel of his own will that he did create simply for his manifestation of glory. God is no gain or even from our worship peak was in no need of that external glory of his grace, which arises from his Redeemer is glorious and often himself without it. Was it moved him to predestinated selected the praise of the glory of his grace.

It was as Ephesians 15 tells us according to the good pleasure of his will, force of this is that it's impossible to bring the Almighty under obligations to the creature, God gains nothing from us human beings always want to make God somehow dependent on us, but that won't work. Believe in God adds nothing to his perfections to disbelieve in God or doubt takes nothing away. And thirdly, the elders also say that God sustains the universe continuously by his will and by his power. This is the point of the last line of their him. It says, and have their being. It means that the universe exists from moment to moment, only because God continues to keep it in existence is a change of tenses in these verbs were and have been created which the new international version renders were created and have their being. The first is an imperfect. They were continue to have their being. The second is an interest have been created. It's a past act because he imperfect comes before the era. Some commentators say what this really has in mind is that all these things existed. First of all in the mind of God.

Then he created them better way of understanding. It is the way the translators of the NIV obviously did what they're saying is that God not only brought all things into being, but he now freely sustains all things in their existence by his will, God should cease to sustain them, even for a moment that instantly be gone or disappear strewed you as well. You continue in your existence only because of God's good pleasure or ask a question I asked a moment ago. Is this humbling the answer is, it is meant to be should be certainly humbling to the elders because they show their response by two forms of what we call nonverbal communication.

First, they fell on their faces before God. In some languages the word for worship is literally to fall prostrate before another which of course is what they do point of an protestation is not so much to show worship itself but to show that their own on her because they were dressed in white and they wear crowns crowns is nothing in comparison with God's honor, since he alone altogether worthy Satan may have led millions of people to suppose that he is the prince of this world and all-powerful beings here that are more powerful than he is for living creatures show that only God is all-powerful and the elders agree they fall down and worship before then there's a second part of this nonverbal communication may also lay down their crowns at his feet. Grounds represent the victories they've achieved in life by God's grace. They recognize that they were victoriously persevered and grace only because of race, because God was faithful to them and so show their dependents and acknowledge the source of the victories they give in their crowns. We have it in the him, holy, holy, holy, all the saints adore the casting down their golden crowns before glassy say one day you're going to stand before Almighty God and other Christians saved by the redeeming work of Jesus Christ alone. Trusting in him. It will be for judgment because God is a just God and he will judge sin. Christian understanding their clothes, and the righteousness of Christ. It will be to hear God's welcome to join with this vast heavenly host, every creature in heaven and earth and all that is in them, praising God assess question. When you stand before God as a Christian joint in that worship is going to last forever and ever will. You have a crown to lay down you have done anything of which you will be able to say this was accomplished by God by his power working in me you be able to say that God alone be the glory about that got a work in your to give you joy in that day. While we pray thanking you for this wonderful picture worship in heaven.

Picture that opens our eyes focuses our minds to see it as it really is so sidetracked by things here everything somehow you depend on honestly think somehow we are worthy. Here we have a picture of the elders acknowledging that only you are worthy of all that is done of any lasting value was done by you through your people, and by your power. Our father than the day we stand there we might have something to present to you here. The Lord himself say well done good and faithful servant. Welcome to the joy of a man you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Rankin, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us online@alliancenets.org for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1C 2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians.

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