Before the Throne of God-Entering the Realm of the Sovereignty of God
But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Your fathers trusted in You;
They trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered;
They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. Ps 22:3-5 NKJV
Extending the Kingdom of God
In Psalm 24, the Psalmist declares, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” He asks the worship question of the ages, “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?” He invites us to “Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!” He promises, “And the King of glory shall come in.” Because the Lord is enthroned upon the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3) when we worship God (Psalm 24), the King does indeed “come in!” We sense His presence, that wonderful God-moment when anything might happen. The entrance of the King into our midst is the goal of every Pentecostal worship service. In very truth, we extend the Kingdom of God into our time and space by humbling ourselves before Him in praise and worship. The Lord responds to the humble heart turned toward Him with the wonderful gift of His presence, His sovereignty come to earth. In the words of the writer to the Hebrews, “We have come to Mt. Zion!” The Bible gives us two detailed visions of the Throne of God and a three-point definition of what the Kingdom of God is in substance.
What Is It Like Before the Throne of God?
Looking to Isaiah chapter six and the Book of Revelation we see what the Throne Room of God is like. It is a place where God is worshiped continually by angels and creatures, elders and saints. The focus of the whole locale is the One Who Sits on the Throne. The will of God gets done here at the Throne of God. There is no rebellion, no self-centeredness, no straying minds or wandering eyes. Jesus is the center of all. There is unity of spirit and purpose although men and women are there from every tribe and tongue and nation. Jesus has made them into one, whole, worshiping family. There is continual music and confession, ceremony and liturgy. And there is visual beauty beyond the mind of man to comprehend.
This brief description, inspired by the reports of Isaiah and John, reveal how off-centered and impoverished our worship has too often become. The desires and needs of man are at the center, not Jesus. Sometimes our buildings are plain and unadorned, speaking inadequately of the intricate detail and monumental scope of the One we worship. Our motives are often mixed as disunity and self-serving underlie our “offerings” of worship. We are surrounded by people who look and sound just like us or we are divided into musical camps each ignoring if not despising the other. Our services limp along with little content and less flow in a pale imitation of the grandeur and depth of the liturgy of heaven. With proud hearts on display and rebellious spirits in command, only lip service is paid to the will of God. How far we have drifted from the Throne of God!
The Sovereignty of God
But we have His promise. He will be enthroned upon our praise! If we humble are hearts and turn to Him and begin to invest our worship with the liturgy of heaven (the glory, worthiness, majesty of King Jesus!) He will receive our worship to be His Throne!
We can know the joy and power of His sovereignty among us, “His kingdom, come and His will done” among us, here and now. Paul gives us the test of our worship in his definition of the Kingdom of God.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Rom 14:17-18 NIV
When we can look at the church and see these three characteristics at work, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, then our worship is actually an extension of the Kingdom of God. But if there is hidden sin, or unrest and strife, or depression and discouragement, then some other king has come. His will is being done, not the Lord’s.
Beholding His Glory
At the Throne of God, lives are changed. When we enter the realm of the splendor of His majesty and sovereignty, miracles, signs and wonders happen. Worshipers, like the prophet Isaiah, hear the call of the God to service. If we wonder why we have a dearth of miracles, signs and wonders and why so few are hearing the call of God into a life of service, perhaps this is part of the answer. These things happen at the Throne of God. If our worship does not take us there, how can we know these blessings?
If we wonder why there is a dearth of character in the church, why the gifts seemed to be more important to some than the fruit of the Spirit, we must consider how far we are from the Throne of God. Paul said, to behold the glory of the Lord was to changed, just as Isaiah and John, our two witnesses, were never the same after their visions of the Throne of God. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV.
Lord, show us Your glory so that we might be changed!
 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24 NKJV
Dr. Steve Phifer received a Doctorate in Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. He has taught at Valley Forge University and Southeastern Assemblies of God University. For many years he was the Worship Pastor at Word of Life Church in Alexandria, VA.
More of Dr. Phifer’s materials can be found at stevephifer.com.