OUR WORSHIP IS A WINDOW
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.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
One of the predominant themes of the majestic Book of Revelation is that Christ is the exclusively worship-worthy Saviour and Lord. Revelation 19:10 demolishes the idea that any worship shown to Jesus recorded in the New Testament was merely, as Jehovah’s Witnesses vainly claim, reverential respect. In Revelation 19:10 we see that even the act of worship, that is, bowing in surrender to anyone other than Christ was and is strictly forbidden. The angel who is relaying Christ’s revelation to John expressly and immediately forbids John from showing any form of worship to him. “Worship God!” the Angel admonishes the apostle. What, who, and how a church and its congregants worships, is a window into that church. And in a surprising link, it also determines what their front door looks like as well…
While worship is the primary purpose of the believer whereby they give praise and glory to God, it is also a witness to the world. This worshipful witness becomes a summons to the world challenging them lay down their lives and surrender to Christ. The worship of Christ by the Church calls people to repent. Our heartfelt, passionate, Spirit-led worship of the Lamb aligns our hearts with His. It makes us hungry for His Word and increases the burden we feel for the lost. The worshipful believer is thus committed to declaring the Gospel of the Saviour and declaring the truth about Jesus, which, according to Revelation 19:10, is prophesying (even though it looks like what most people call, evangelism).
LUKEWARM CHURCHES WORSHIP THE WRONG THING
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
In the famous painting depicting Christ from Revelation 3:20 (“behold I stand at the door and knock“), called “The Light of the World“, William Holman Hunt shows Jesus knocking at a door in an overgrown orchard at night. Christ is holding a lit lantern. But this glowing lantern seems unnecessary because of the brilliant moonlight which enables the viewer to clearly make out the scene. F.W. Boreham was in London in 1924 and visited Mr Hunt’s famous painting at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He understood that the artist meant to show that there was no door-handle on the outside of the door. He understood that the overgrown vegetation over the door meant to show that the inhabitants rarely ventured outside. But the lantern? There was no need for it.
Yet Boreham knew that Mr Hunt wasted nothing in his allegorical art. He remarked to his wife that this was a mystery to him. A kindly older gentlemen standing just behind Dr. Boreham interrupted with an apology for eaves-dropping. He excused himself by pointing out that he was no further away than Mr Boreham’s elbow when he revealed this mystery. “I knew Mr Hunt well” he said. “If you would permit me, I can enlighten you with what Mr Hunt himself told me about the lantern.” F.W. Boreham welcomed the offer. The artist’s friend explained that Mr Hunt wanted to convey that Christ was knocking on the door of a lukewarm church. Because there is no handle on the outside, the occupants must open up to Christ and invite Him in. But this church is located on the edge of the orchard adjacent to the wild woods. While Christ wanted entry to the church, it wasn’t to be for too long because He really wanted to lead the occupants out of their dwelling and to journey with Him into the darkness of the wild woods – hence His lantern was lit and trimmed. The church becomes lukewarm when it ceases to venture out into the darkness with the light of Christ.
Christ is still knocking and He still bears a lit lantern to guide His Church into the darkness to rescue a lost world.
While we thrill at the progress of the construction of our new auditorium, we must continue to passionately, whole-heartedly, and sacrificially worship Christ and align our hearts with His. Used wisely, our new building will help us to do just that. But we must ensure that our door handles are on both sides of our church doors so that those who see the Saviour as we worship will want to come in and meet Him.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Let us open up our hearts to Christ and enjoy our times with Him and recognise that He bids us to not just come into worship, and not just to “go” but to “go with Him“. I’m sure you will join in prayer asking that God will send some of us out to clear the “thistles” and “thorn-bushes”, or to prune the fruit-trees, or to sow seed, or to water seeds, or for some to even harvest and gather. And while this will be the fruit of worshipful church, the root is always passionate devotion of Christ, making Him and His House our priority.