We’re studying what it is to worship God, and we’re using probably the best model in all the Bible for understanding what worship should be, that is, the worship that takes place in heaven and is described for us in Revelation 4. We saw a number of things last week about worship. First of all, worship is of God alone. Secondly, worship is the acknowledgement of God’s attributes, that is, praising him for who he actually is. Third, worship is ceaseless in heaven at least, and, in a certain sense, on earth as well because the praises of God’s people around the globe go up to him continually. And lastly, worship is best when it’s also done with others.

The fullest worship is with others and with the entire creation. Should we worship God individually? Of course we should. When you read the Bible and pray, and in your own times of Bible study, you should be worshiping God; you certainly want to respond to his teaching by praising him for it - it's a glorious Gospel of grace. But we mustn't forsake the worship of God with others, either, because there’s something in the corporate worship of God by the assembled people of God that is right, enhanced, and beneficial - especially beneficial because the worship of others keeps us on track.

So we come to the question that I raised at the beginning: How should worship be done? In both of these chapters the song of the seraphim is echoed by the praise of the elders who represent the church. They add to the praise given to God the Father at the end of chapter 4, and they join with the four living creatures in chapter 5 and in the final praise chorus (verse 13). They're the last persons mentioned in these two chapters. "And the elders fell down and worshiped" ( chapter 5, verse 14). So there are patterns, particularly. And the question is, how do they worship and do we worship as they do?

The second thing John talks about here in Revelation 4 are twenty-four thrones and the twenty-four elders. There are countless theories about who these elders are. It seems to me that they represent the entire people of God. In the Old Testament there were the twelve patriarchs of Israel, the fathers of the Jewish nation; in the New Testament there were the twelve apostles representing the people of the new dispensation. It probably is something like that. Furthermore, they have white robes, which signify their holiness, because they’re now in glory.

When John is caught up into heaven and passes through the door, he sees the throne of the Almighty. That word "throne" occurs seventeen times in these two chapters, and about forty times overall in the Book of Revelation. It introduces a magnificent scene. I invite you to try to begin to visualize it in some way.