As 2019’s GARBC Conference came to a close, Jon Jenks, vice president of training for Baptist Church Planters and state representative of the Wisconsin Association of Regular Baptist Churches, addressed the attendees on Friday morning. Speaking from Revelation 4:1–11, Jenks gave final thoughts on the “Essence of Worship.” He noted that in any study of worship, the idea of submitting to Who God is and what He has done is insufficient if it doesn’t include complete adoration of the Lord. “The clarity of the throne is what will help you step forward,” he said.
Jenks worked through Revelation 4:1–11, identifying four key aspects of this passage that help instruct believers today about how God’s throne should inform their adoration of Him.
- Setting the scene: The apostle John’s words in Revelation, though written to real local churches nearly 2,000 years ago, are intended to benefit believers in local churches today. Jenks noted that John was writing to an audience that desperately needed church revitalization. So, the apostle wrote “for comfort, for courage, and for perspective,” Jenks said. “He writes to cut through the fog of life and our lament. As pastors, we have some of the greatest joys and some of the deepest sorrows.” The apostle’s words offered the antidote for deep sorrow by giving a unique glimpse into God’s throne room, where adoration is the complete and total focus of all present.
- Entering the throne room clarifies the holiness: The apostle’s description of the throne room paints a picture for which, Jenks noted, no earthly paint could ever manufacture. The description the apostle John intends to convey is that God and His presence are otherworldly, which is displayed by the absolute vividness of His dwelling place. As the attention of this passage moves into the presence of God on His throne, Jenks identified those features in this passage which help to clarify the immense holiness and uniqueness of God. The total focus of this room, Jenks showed, is that God is “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
- Absorbing the crescendo of the throne room: In chapter 5, the apostle John describes a scene in which the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is the only one Who is found worthy to take and open the scroll that is the authoritative deed of ownership and dominion over the earth. As those present in this scene witness the Lamb open this scroll, the four unique living ones and the twenty-four elders, who were by position exalted in authority, fall down before the Lamb, Jenks noted. Then he pointed out that those present witness the buildup to this moment and simply absorb it in worship. He said, “Sometimes it’s just about absorbing.” Jenks suggested that sometimes pastors just need to preach messages that aren’t saying, “do,” but simply, “look.”
- Responding to Who He is and what He has done: Revelation 4:11, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power.” Jenks pondered how a God Who is infinite could ever receive anything in the way of glory, honor, and power, to which he concluded that this statement in verse 11 is of the Godhead among Himself, worshiping Himself, because there is simply nothing anyone can bring that could add to God. “All we bring is that which has already been brought about in us by the Spirit, by the Lamb,” he said. With this, Jenks encouraged the audience to offer back to God the glory and honor and power that already belong to Him.
To close out this rich time of fellowship and ministry around God’s Word, the attendees followed Jenks’s advice as they proclaimed together in song, “Behold our God, seated on His throne, come let us adore Him.”