“The Contagiousness of Worship”
Worship, when it is filled with the Holy Spirit, is contagious. I expect that this is part of the reason that the scriptures emphasize that believers are to live within a covenant community. Not only can we support one another, but in our joined worship, we enable each other and lift each other up. I don’t expect that this principle could be displayed any more graphically than it is displayed here at the end of Revelation, chapter 5. As soon as the twelve elders finish their song (which we have been looking at), they are joined by the four living creatures, the four cherubim, that are around the throne. Then they are joined by “myriads of myriads” of angels.
If you are interested in mathematics, a myriad is 10,000. Thus, a myriad of myriads, would be 10,000 times 10,000, or 100,000,000. And John describes “myriads of myriads,” both being plural. Thus, if we take this number literally, there are hundreds of millions of angels around the throne singing praise (this would require a choir loft that was 10 miles long and 10 miles deep!). Regardless of whether you take this number literally or figuratively as an uncountable number, it is one heck of a large chorus!
I had the blessing a number of years ago to participate in a evening worship service at a youth retreat where there were an estimated 90,000 youth and adults—all lifting their praises to heaven. It was a beautiful thing to behold. In Exodus 15, we are told that when the Israelites had crossed over the Red Sea safely, they sang praise to God—the men being led by Moses and the women by Miriam. We can safely assume that there were at least a million people present at this event. The sound of their voices must have shook the earth! Now multiply that and imagine for a moment hundreds of millions of angelic voices lifted up in perfect harmony to our Lord and God! What an amazing thing that must have been for John to witness!
And if that wasn’t enough, all of creation lifted its voice to join the heavenly song! True worship is contagious, oh believer, what joy you have to look forward to! This chapter closes appropriately, indeed. Once this amazing chorus finishes it’s last verse, the four cherubim around the throne, say, “Amen!” And the elders fall on their faces and worship. Loved ones, this is what God has planned for you. Don’t be too busy worrying about the individual blessings that are promised in scripture—in comparison to this—they are nickels and dimes.
O For a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace.
Hear him, ye deaf; his praise ye dumb,
your loosen’d tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your Savior come;
and leap, ye lame, for joy.
“Our Great High Priest”
Though not specifically mentioned here in this particular hymn, where there is a nation of priests, there also must be a high priest. And, of course, that high priest is Jesus. He is the one who makes constant intercession for us before the father, and it is he who provided the sacrifice that brought us into fellowship with God the Father. Jesus is the only head of the church.
With this in mind, there can be ecclesial hierarchy within the church, though we see hierarchies within many denominations. Many call themselves Bishops or Arch-Bishops or Cardinals, etc… These have no place in Christ’s church. While it is true that the term e∆pi√skopoß (episkopos), from which we get the term “bishop” is a biblical term, it is a term that is used interchangeably with presbuvteroß (presbuteros). Both of these terms refer to one who is an elder in the church. In a sense, then, it is perfectly acceptable for any local pastor to call himself a Bishop, yet, given the way the term has been mis-appropriated by certain denominations, it would be the heights of pride for him to refer to himself in this way. Even the Apostle Peter refers to himself as a “fellow elder” in the church (1 Peter 5:1).
Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.
“A Mission to the World”
The Jews assumed that the Messiah, when he would come, would be a political ruler who would restore the Jewish nation state to independence, as in the time of David. Yet, this is neither how the Old Testament prophets anticipated the Messiah to be, nor was it how Jesus was. He came as the suffering servant of Isaiah’s prophesies (Isaiah 49:6) who would be a light to the nations, drawing people from every corner of the earth to himself.
Yet, how would this ministry be ultimately fulfilled? Jesus would tell his disciples to “go and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:16-20). And that job has been passed down to us. Believe it or not, even after all of these years, there are still parts of this world that have never been confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are still un-reached tribes in un-reached regions; there is still much work to do.
We must also remember the commission is to go and make disciples. That means that we need not only go to convert the people in these nations and regions, but we need to plant churches, build schools, and establish seminaries to teach and train these people up in the truth of the gospel. This is an ongoing work.
And this work is work that we all can participate in. If we are unable to go ourselves, we can send. We can raise up our children to see missions as a normal and regular part of Christian service. We can help fund missionaries who are working in the field so that they can concentrate on the work that they have been sent to do. And we can pray for the missionaries that are at work and pray that God will raise up more missionaries, even from our midst, to go into the field. This is what God has commissioned us to do, that people from every tribe and tongue and nation would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
We’ve a message to give to the nations,
That the Lord who reigneth above,
Hath sent us His Son to save us,
And show us that God is love,
And show us that God is love.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright,
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come to earth,
The kingdom of love and light.