Into the Lesson
Distribute paper and pencils (or direct attention to the student books, if using those). Ask students to draw two pictures or write two descriptions. The first will be a picture or description of worship in Heaven as it is portrayed in popular culture. The second will he a picture or description of worship in Heaven as the student imagines it will be. Each picture or description should relate what the scene will look like, who will be there, and what they will be doing. (Caution your students not to attempt to draw a picture of God himself.)
When they finish, ask volunteers to display their artwork or read their descriptions to the class. Discuss the most common images (perhaps floating on clouds. playing harps, singing hymns) and ask your class why those images are to widely held. Then tell your students that today’s lesson will deal with a vision of worship in Heaven described by John in Revelation 4.
Into the Word
Select 10 students to read Revelation 4 aloud. One will read the statements made by John (the
-I” passages). Another will be the “voice like a trumpet.” Four more will read, together, the words spoken by the four beasts. The remaining4 students will represent the elders. If you have fewer than 10 students, use the same 4 students to represent the beasts and the elders.
After the reading, discuss the meaning of the text. Use your lesson commentary and the questions that follow to guide the discussion.
1. Whose was the voice like a trumpet (v. 1)?See Revelation 1:10-18.
2. Knowing that God is invisible (Colossians1:14; 1 Timothy 1:17), what is the significance of
John’s description of His appearance and of the appearance of His throne in verse 3?
3. Who are the 24 elders? What is represented by their number and dress?
4. What is the significance of the thunder and lightning (v. 5)? Who are (or is) the seven spirits of God?
5. What is the meaning of the sea of glass inverse 6?
6. How similar are the four beasts to the creatures in Ezekiel 1:5-15? What do these beasts represent? What are the four aspects of their worship listed in verse 9?
7. Why did the elders cast their crowns before God’s throne? How do their words of worship compare wills those of the four beasts?
8. From this passage, what key elements or aspects of heavenly worship can we deduce? Why is each essential to proper worship?
As you discuss question eight, list this heading on the board: Key Elements of Worship. Under the heading, list the four aspects of worship mentioned in verses 9-11: GLORY (giving glory to God for His greatness and power): HONOR (honoring God for His sovereignty); THANKS (thanking God for His provision); RECOGNITION (recognizing God’s eternality). Discuss.
Say, “One of the initiatives of the sixteenth-century Reformation was the renewed emphasis on congregational involvement in worship, including congregational singing. Many believed the New Testament pattern for worship included the participation of every member of the congregation. With that in mind and in light of today’s text, how do you respond to the following situations?”
1. Tim doesn’t like to sing or participate in worship. He prefers to sit back and enjoy the music from the praise team, choir, and soloists. He just wants to be part of the audience and “soak it all in.” How do you get him involved?
2. Jennifer loves to sing, and she considers that to he the “real” worship in the worship service. She doesn’t see a reason to read Scripture in church (“We do enough of that in Bible school”), and she thinks the sermons are boring. Prayer is for private devotions, not public worship. How would you correct her misconceptions?