Sunday Sermon, 2020-01-26, “The Lamb of God.”

“The Lamb of God”

Revelation 4:1 – 5:14

During a traditional church wedding service, the bride and groom meet at the front of the church and the minister typically asks the bride and groom why they are here: “Do you Alan intend to take Kimberly as your wife?”  I DO!  And I did. Then the minister says, “who then gives Kimberly to Alan in marriage?” Her father says, “her mother and I.” The father of the bride sits down and, typically, the couple and the minister step up on the altar for the exchange of vows and rings.

That’s the transition we find moving from chapter 3 to chapter 4 of the book of Revelation. We’ve already met the central figure of the Book of Revelation: Jesus!

Revelation 1:12-14, When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13  And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14  His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire.

Jesus has spoken directly to 7 churches in chapters 2 and 3:

  • 3 churches were a mixed bag:  Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira.
  • 2 churches were praised: Smyrna and Philadelphia.
  • 2 churches were panned:  Sardis, Laodicea.

The events of chapters 2 and 3 happened in the past.  We can learn from the evaluation of these churches, but there’s no “future prophecy” there.

That’s about to change, because in Chapter 4 we read this:

Revelation 4:1, After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

The preliminaries are done. Time to move. “Come up here … let me show you the future!”

Chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation tell us some foundational truths about the future of the Human Race, and since YOU and I are human, about our future.

Question:  Are you scared of the future?  These two chapters teach us that the future is our friend, and not our enemy!

A.  God is in control.

Revelation 4:1-2, At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3  And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.

The throne room of Heaven is spectacular! God is sitting on His throne and everything is glittering and glorious … there’s even a rainbow!

Ezekiel 1:28, Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel’s description of God’s throne room is very similar to John’s. It’s a total “WOW!”

Revelation 4:4-6, Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5  From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6  and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7  the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.

Daniel 7:3-4, And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings.

The same powerful images were seen by Daniel.  No earthly King was so powerful.

Revelation 4:8, And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

Baptist Hymnal, #1, “Holy, Holy, Holy!”

Isaiah 6:1-3, In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The WHOLE EARTH is full of His glory. God is in control “here, there, and everywhere.”

Revelation 4:11, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

This is the song of the 24 elders seated around the King’s throne room. Everything and everyone exists at the pleasure of God. You, me, everyone and everything owe our existence to God.

Chapter 4 paints the picture that God is in control. He is creator and King immortal.

B.  God has a plan.

What good would it be for God to be in control if he did not also speak. If God were silent, what kind of help would that be. In chapter 5 God reminds us He does speak, He has a plan:

Revelation 5:1, Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

Scrolls were rare in that day. Writing was reserved for proclamations, legal pronouncements, and binding contracts. God has a scroll with SEVEN seals. Seven! Seals were used to ensure that the scroll was authentic. Seven seals would indicate the ultimate pronouncement, proclamation, or contract was contained within.

Revelation 5:2, And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4  and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.

For me, this moment is the Book of Revelation is an emotional high-point. There is a crescendo of expectation … WHO CAN OPEN THIS SCROLL? Followed by utter disappointment.  NO ONE.

God has a plan.  But no one can know it? Is that where the story ends? Let’s see …

C.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, is at the Center of God’s plan!

Revelation 5:5-6a,  And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain …

John 1:29, The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! … 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!”

Isaiah 53:7, He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

1 Peter 1:18-19, For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

Revelation 5:7, And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.

He approaches the King! And takes the scroll! For the next 10 chapters, 6 – 16 there are a series of “sevens” which reveal God’s plan for humanity:

— The seven seals are opened in Revelation 6 – 8.

— Seven trumpets are sounded in Revelation 8 – 11.

— Seven Angels appear in Revelation 15.

— Seven Bowls are poured out in Revelation 16.

Revelation 5:9, And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

The Lamb is Worthy to open the scrolls … to usher in God’s plans for humanity, the Lamb is at the center of God’s plans!

But, the Lamb is Worthy of more than that … He is worthy of our worship.

D.  Jesus is worthy of our worship.

Revelation 5:11, Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,

Daniel 7:10, A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

Millions upon millions, heaven is crowded!

Revelation 5:12, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Revelation 5:13-14, And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14  And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

MAIN POINT:  God has a plan.  His plan is Jesus, whom we worship and adore.

A closing prayer, “Dear God, thank You for not being silent about our future. You are in control.  You have a plan.  As we move through the twists and turns of our lives let us evermore see Your Hand at work.  Show us Jesus more and more. Help us to adore the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  Amen.”