And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death.’ (Revelation 1:17–18)
The worship offered to God in most churches on Sunday needs updating. It needs to become more contemporary, but not in the way most people think. When I talk about the need for more contemporary worship in our churches, I am not thinking in terms of bands versus orchestras, or worship teams versus choir, or even throwing out the hymnal. The update has to do with who we worship, not how we worship.
In a recent study of the book of the Revelation, I was confronted afresh by the thought that this is a book about Jesus. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to the apostle John (Rev. 1:1). It is an unveiling of the once crucified, now risen, and gloried Son of God. It is a divine disclosing of Jesus Christ in His present splendor (Rev. 1–3) and future glory (Rev. 4–22). The stated purpose of this book is to help us see Christ as we have rarely seen Him before (Matt. 17:1–8), not as the lowly carpenter but as the lofty king (Rev. 1:12–18; 19:11–16). He who was crowned with thorns on earth is now crowned with honor in heaven (Phil. 2:9–11). Without this view, the apostle John happily puts his head on the chest of Jesus at the Last Supper (John 13:23). With this view of the post–ascension glory of the Lord Jesus, John falls as a dead man at Christ’s feet (Rev. 1:17). John’s vision of Jesus had been updated and his worship along with it.
John’s prostration alerts us to the danger that unless we update our view of Christ according to the book of the Revelation, we may be committing idolatry in the very act of worship. Our worship of Christ must be contemporary. It must reflect Him as He now is. His humiliation is over. His glory has been restored (John 17:1–5). The world that laughed at Him will soon wail because of Him (Rev. 1:7). He who came the first time to a crucifixion is coming again to a coronation (Rev. 11:15). Revelation prevents us from committing the sin of idolatry, from worshipping Jesus as someone less than He is.
Whether a church is one hundred years old or one year old, it needs to update its worship in accordance with the book of Revelation. We need to regain our fear of God and lose our familiarity with God. We need to see Jesus sitting on a throne, not hanging on a tree. We need invigorating worship that at the same time scares us half to death just like John.
Upon reaching the summit of a high mountain, a climber braved the cross winds and jumped to his feet in joy. As he did so, an expired guide pulled him down, and said, ‘On your knees! You are never safe except on your knees!’ As we ascend the holy hill to worship God, we need to do so with a due respect and reverence. Don’t forget to download the new worship app from the book of Revelation.
God, I bow down because You are raised up on high! In Jesus’ Name, amen.
This extract is from Emergency Rations: Surviving the Struggles of Life by Philip De Courcy.