The Scroll Contains the Plan of God for Earth’s Future: Most likely this scroll is the same scroll we see in Ezekiel 2:9-10 and Daniel 12:4. It refers to the plan of God to take back the kingdom of the Earth, temporarily taken over by Satan. Some call this scroll the title deed, but it has so much more to do with the actual plan of action to judge sin and end the rebellion. As we watch the scene of worship in Heaven, we have been studying the element of redemption. As we are hearing songs of worship that we will offer in the future, we are seeing the wonders of the beauty God has surrounded Himself with, in Heaven. Now skip down and look at the opening of chapter 6. This scroll has seven seals. When we see that scroll opened in chapter 6 it is representing the unfolding of the plan for God’s wrath to start pouring out in three parts: through the seven seals (Rev. 6-8), then the seven trumpets (Rev. 8-14), and finally the seven bowls (Rev. 15-19). First, as each seal is loosed by Christ, the Lamb, the plan explodes into action. In chapter 6 there are six seals opened, and in chapter 8:1 the seventh seal opens to launch seven trumpets. Second, the seven trumpets which cover chapters 8-14, where the seventh trumpet sounds in 11:15 it is the prelude to the final set of judgments known as the bowl judgments. Finally, the bowls of wrath get poured out starting in Rev. 15:7 as they are introduced, and these seven bowls initiate the final events before Christ’s Second Coming in power and glory in chapter 19, and His final acts consuming all the rebels in chapter 20. But this sequence of seals, trumpets, and bowls always makes me wonder. How can Revelation swing from Heaven and worship to Earth and horribly destructive judgment? We can see the answer by understanding the explanations God has given. First, we can see twice mentioned collected prayers of the saints. See them mentioned in Rev. 5:8 and again in 8:3? Revelation is showing us God, as he finally launches: The Answer to Centuries of Prayers For twenty centuries God’s servants have prayed obediently: “Thy Kingdom Come”. Now, all of those prayers, collected by God, in bowls at His feet, in v. 8 are scooped up and the wrath begins. But the mystery has always been: why does God wait?
Welcome to our 10th class, going through the book of Revelation. One of the students sitting there, as they assembled for class here in our little, tiny studio, they said you’ve changed the Revelation chart. That’s because those of you that are enrolled, taking this for credit through The Bible Institute, in your quizzes it goes both ways. You remember, I had 1-3, 4-5, 6-18 over here, so that you would think of the numbers. Think of the church on Earth as 1-3. The church in Heaven is 4 & 5. The chapter identification within the book of Revelation. So, I rewrote it so that, you’ll learn it both ways.
We’ve come, in this class right here to the next section. We’re in the church in Heaven. Our second session looking at that. What we’re entitling this as, you can see on the slide: The Ultimate Kingdom. That’s what Revelation chapter 5 is about. The theological theme of chapter 5 is redemption. So, the ultimate kingdom is surrendering to God’s rule, which is what happens at redemption.
- We get a new master.
- A new owner as the hymn writer says.
- The new King of our lives.
We’re going to read chapter 5. If you want to get in your Bibles, to Revelation chapter 5. We’re going to introduce this incredible scene of the church in Heaven and what I like to call, look down at that next slide.
The Ultimate Kingdom of God, promised in the old Testament, is launched right here in chapter 5.
This is what it says, Revelation 5. “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.”
Now, just to get a proper kind of idea of what this is, think of a roll of paper towel. On a roll of paper towel, you can write on both sides of the roll. As the paper towel is rolled up you can’t see anything because it’s all contained within the scroll.
So, the seals are opening sections and unrolling this scroll. That’s what we’re seeing.
Verse 2. “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals?’ “
Now, for those of you that are doing our devotional method of Bible study. You’ve already watched that video where I explain the simple devotional method, which is what I mostly use in, I’d say more than half of all the times I’ve read through the Bible. I use the devotional method, which is summarizing what you find. Writing down the lessons and then making a prayer from it. If you’ve forgotten that, watch that video again. It’s a separate resource. It’s how to do your project. Those are half of your grade for those of you that are doing this for credit and doing the book of Revelation in a devotional study.
- One of the keys, I’ll tell you is, look in chapter 5 verse 1, “in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll…”
- Verse 2, “the scroll and to loose its seals.”
- Verse 3, “and no one [was found] in Heaven or [on the Earth or] under Earth was able to open the scroll.” Scroll, third time.
- Verse 4, “scroll”
- Verse 5, “scroll”
- Verse 7, “scroll”
- Verse 8, “scroll.” Are you starting to see a repetition here?
- Verse 9. “Scroll”.
What is going on? This scroll is the title deed to the universe that is now under the power of sin, groaning, Romans 8 says. The liberator is coming. The ruler is returning to reclaim His rightful rule. That’s the Lord, Jesus Christ. So that’s what we’re studying.
This is probably one of the most fascinating chapters in Revelation. As we see the kingdom of God, the ultimate kingdom coming to Earth, and making all surrender gradually to God’s rule. It starts here.
- Then God shows His power in the tribulation.
- Then Jesus comes in blinding light and flaming fire, taking vengeance.
- He sets up His rule on Earth. Literally. Visibly.
- Then all who rebel at the great white throne are cast in the lake of fire, verse 15.
- Then the ultimate kingdom rules Heaven.
What an amazing picture of God’s plan for human history. Let’s pray and ask Him to teach us about that today.
Father in Heaven, open our eyes I pray, as you have promised. Psalm 119:18, to behold wonderful things from your word. I pray that the wonder of redemption that part and facet and wonderful component of salvation, would really become understood by some of these students. That we would realize that we were bought at a price, that’s what redemption is.
Therefore, the sum total goal of our life is that we glorify you with our body and our spirit because they belong to you. As we study prophecy, I pray that we would embrace this doctrine of our redemption and live that way. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
As we’re studying, we don’t have time to go through the entire theological understanding of the kingdom of God.
- In one sense the kingdom of God, could be said that of the whole universe. God rules over the whole universe. So, everything is in the kingdom of God.
- Another aspect of the kingdom of God is the Earthly rule of Jesus Christ. That’s a facet of it.
- The spiritual kingdom Jesus talks about in the beatitudes and
- The personal surrender to God’s rule. Which is a choice we all make.
All of those are subsets of the kingdom of God. God rules over the whole universe, He is sovereign. Within that, there’s the Earthly rule that’s coming. There is the spiritual rule that is right now, those who know Christ have this. Then there is this personal element where I surrender every day to God’s rule. Then of course there are other things. Israel was under the kingdom right now. All the nations of the Earth. There’s an entire book I had to study in seminary, that’s about 900 pages long about the mediatorial kingdom and the temporary kingdom and the coming kingdom and all this; but just think of the kingdom of God is, God’s rule. We’re going to look at it. The Earthly rule. The spiritual offer Jesus made.
In fact, let’s look at Matthew, I’ll show you what I mean by that. Then we’ll come back. Matthew chapter 4. Let me turn back there with you. In verse 17 right here, look what it says, “from that time“, What time?
- Jesus was born in chapter 1.
- Chapter 2 of Matthew we see the Wiseman and that entire Christmas story.
- Chapter 3 Jesus is baptized.
- Chapter 4 He’s tempted.
After His temptation. Look at verse 17. “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say”, Now this is His first public sermon. Christ Jesus, His first sermon. Look how short it is.
“Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
What was He talking about? He was talking about the coming spiritual rule. Remember, He released people from demon control. Satan came. Lightening out of Heaven, coming down. Everywhere Jesus went He was banishing sickness and disease and pain and sorrow. That was the demonstration that the kingdom of God was here. What do you need to have a kingdom? Just a King. So, the kingdom of God is the King of the universe and Earthly is going to be visible. Spiritually, Jesus came represented as the Messiah. The people that get the benefits of the kingdom, are those that surrender to His rule.
So, look at this, look at verse 3 of chapter 5, it helps you understand the beatitudes. Jesus wasn’t just telling the Jewish culture this is how they should try and live under Roman rule. He was saying, when you surrender to me as Messiah you enter the ultimate kingdom by surrender to God’s rule. That only comes through the sacrifice of Christ. Which is His redemption through His blood.
Look what happens. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”
The whole eight part beatitude message, that are in these first verses from 3 down through 10, that entire sermon was talking about the internal transformation when you move from just being in that huge general God ruling the universe to the personal part of, I surrender to that individually. We call that being saved, being born again, becoming a Christian, being converted, having salvation.
- Salvation is, all of a sudden, we’re “poor in spirit“, we’re a beggar. We realized that we’re lost.
- “Those who mourn”. We sorrow for our sin. Remember it says in 2 Corinthians chapter 7, godly sorrow led to repentance. There’s a sorrow
- “Blessed are the meek” verse 5 of chapter 5. That we come under God’s control. We surrender, we have our lives under His control.
- “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” That’s what Peter said, as a newborn baby desires the sincere milk of the word of God.
- “Those who are merciful.” God changes us on the inside. We start having the reflection of Christ’s character.
- “The pure in heart”. I was drawing Ezekiel yesterday, or one of the classes in the past, where I said that a new heart, I’ll give you. That’s all of a sudden, we become merciful and pure and we become peacemakers.
- Then look what happened after verse 10. We get persecuted because the kingdom of God is at war with the kingdom of the devil and he causes persecution of us.
The gospel was, you need to get in the kingdom. The beatitudes are the description of what these people that surrender to God’s rule look like.
Then look at this. How do you renew it? Look at chapter 6, the next chapter of Matthew, verse 33.
“But seek first the kingdom of God.”
What did we learn in the last class? We were looking at the Lord’s prayer. Look, remember what I told you, it says in verse 10 of chapter 6, “your kingdom come”. Look at verse 33, “seek first the kingdom”. What does all that say? It’s saying that everyday part of my prayer is, Lord I’m seeking you God, who ruled the whole universe I want you to rule me. That’s the personal realm.
We’re going to be looking at both parts in this class.
- We’re going to look at the ultimate kingdom coming as God opens the scroll and all those seals unfurl.
- One by one, the Earth is decimated, and the population of the Earth is decimated as God returns.
- As you see on your slide, the kingdom invasion, that’s what the tribulation is.
- The king is invading, and He is seen in the clouds at the climactic ending.
What is Revelation 5 then? Next slide. Gods rule is the context for the tribulation. Most people only think about Revelation as all those seals and trumpets and bowls and demons and battles and Armageddon and apocalypse. The context is right here in chapter 5, this what I just started reading. Notice, there’s a scroll. A seal. A sealed scroll.
It says in verse 8 of chapter 5, “when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders.”
Remember the little drawing here we had last class of the throne of God and the seven spirits and the cherubim and the saints and all the angels and all that we were talking about. Those four living creatures, the ones that fly around the throne of God.
“And the 24 elders fell down before the lamb.”
Wow. Then look what they say, in verse 8, what happens. “And golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints”.
Pause for a minute. What’s the most well-known prayer in the Bible? In fact, almost everybody that speaks English knows these words. “Our Father who art in Heaven”, the Lord’s prayer. That every time we pray the Lord’s prayer and say, “thy kingdom come”. What we’re saying in one sense is, God rule over this fallen world and this totally in rebellion universe.
Paul said in Romans 8, that the whole universe is groaning. We call that the laws entropy and the laws of thermodynamics. That the whole universe was headed toward a heat death, everything just running down and just ending in a loss of motion. Gradually at absolute zero, everything stops moving and there’s going to be a heat death of the universe. What is causing that? Why in God’s perfect universe? Why is it running down? Because it’s infected with the sin virus.
The kingdom of God is all infected with the sin virus. When we pray, thy kingdom come, we’re saying,
- come and take it back.
- Make it perfect.
- Make it right, it’s all wrong.
- Stop the sin.
That’s what we pray for in the Lord’s prayer.
Look what God does with those prayers. Look at verse 8 of chapter 5. These elders have “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
If you keep reading, we’ll get ahead a couple of days, look at chapter 8 in verse 3.
“Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden alter which was before for the throne.” With the prayers of all the saints, God collects every prayer offered by His saints. Offered by His people.
You say, wait a minute, saints? Are you talking about Roman Catholic saints? No, I’m talking about born again saints. A Roman Catholic saint is canonized by the Pope a number of decades after their death and they are declared to be a Saint. That’s Roman Catholic theology.
Do you know what God says? The instant we call on the name of the Lord. We repent. We believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ. In faith we reach out to Him. Surrendering to God’s rule. We are redeemed. We become a saint.
All saints. Every prayer they’ve ever prayed. God has collected. The tribulation is God answering an awful lot of those prayers.
Let’s look at that because, this scroll we see in chapter 5:8 contains the plan of God for Earth’s future. It’s the answer to centuries of this, Matthew 6. That’s the Lord’s prayer verses 9-13. Centuries of people praying thy kingdom come. Chapter 5 is the launching of this ultimate kingdom, which we see unfolding in the seals.
- There are seven seals.
- The seventh seal becomes the first trumpet.
- Then the seventh trumpet launches the seven bowls.
So, there are seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, seven years of God’s plan of His kingdom coming. The ultimate kingdom, which is His rule over the entire universe.
How that affects us, is right here. When I personally surrender to that rule, I get the benefits of the new life and I am renewing that every day. That’s the backdrop.
Most likely the scroll is the same scroll, the one we see in chapter 5 and as seen in Ezekiel 2:9-10 and again in Daniel 12:4.
Remember, the book of Revelation doesn’t have anything new? It just puts it all in order and illustrates it.
So, this scroll, this title deed of the universe, is God’s plan to take back the kingdom of Earth temporarily taken over by Satan. Some have called this, the title deed, but it has so much more to do with the actual plan of action God has to judge sin wherever it shows up and to end the rebellion. Remember what happens right here? Satan, death, hell, all of his angels and every rebel is put in the lake of fire. That’s it, the rebellion’s over and God makes all things new. He reconstitutes the universe.
That’s what it says in 2 Peter chapter 3. It says the whole universe melts and at the atomic level it’s renewed. It’s like a re-creation. That’s why it’s called in chapter 21 of Revelation, the new Heaven and the new Earth.
By the way, there are two Greek words for new.
- There’s new of a different kind. If this marker ran out; I’d say, Oh, I’m going to get a new marker. Look how different these are. Wide chiseled tip. Normal little one. This is a new marker. It’s new of a different kind.
- However, if my marker ran out and I said, I’m getting a new one and I got one that was exactly the same, I got a new one of the same kind.
Do you know what God says about Heaven? That when He makes it all new, it’s going to be new of the same kind. What that means is, praise the Lord, that in the new Heaven and the new Earth it’s not like water’s going to be green or pink or whatever, and grass will be blue. No, it’s going to be new of the same kind.
- So, we’re already seeing a glimmer of how wonderful Heaven’s going to be.
- Just take the best of Earth.
- Take the best of everything we see in the universe.
- Take away the rebellion and sin and decay and destruction.
- You see the glory of God. Remember the Heavens declare the glory of God.
Real quickly. What does that word up there have to do with all this? Redemption is the theme. Listen to what it says, starting in verse 9 of chapter 5, because the theme of the worship of Heaven is redemption.
Look at this verse 9, “and they sang a new song, saying” ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have…” What does your Bible say? Say it out loud.
Let me illustrate redemption. I call this, the big three doctrines. In fact, on your screen John 19:30. That’s when Jesus said that one word. Do you remember? He spoke seven times from the cross, Jesus did. Most of them are one word statements. “I thirst” in English, is two words. It’s one word in Greek, dipsaō. John 19:30, “it is finished” in English is three words. In Greek it’s one word, tetelestai. When Jesus said tetelestai, it is finished, what did He say was finished? The work of redemption.
Let me illustrate redemption. My Bible here with this little black duct tape cover is a picture of me dead in my sins. Jesus comes to me, takes away my sins, puts them on Himself and puts His righteousness on me. This is how I illustrate it. When I was a youth pastor for many years, I said, this marker is you.
- You’re dead in your trespasses and sin. Jesus comes to us and buys us out of the slave market of sin. We’re in sin. We’re dead in our trespasses. Ephesians 2. He buys us out of our trespasses and sin. So, Jesus right here in the slave market owns me. That’s redemption, but it doesn’t stop there.
- Redemption instantly has a component called justification. Here in the slave market, I’m a guilty condemned sinner. Justification, God declares that I’m a saint. That’s what justifications about. It doesn’t mean that, I am full of goodness that I have done. He puts His righteousness inside of me. He declares that I’m a saint. That’s what justification is. He raises me in Christ to be holy in His sight. That’s why as believers, we’re not supposed to go around guilty. Guilt is a by-product of thinking that we somehow have to pay the debt for our sin. It’s already been paid. There is no condemnation. Romans 8:1 says, “to those who are in Christ”, that’s because I’ve been raised up; justified freely by His grace.
- Now look at this, it is the most important part. Jesus is holding me. He bought me. He justified me. Now watch me curling this marker toward me. What doctrine is that? This pulling close, if I represent God, this marker represents one justified sinner. This is sanctification. This is me surrendering by seeking to have God’s rule in my life every day.
So, the big three doctrines of salvation are, we’re dead in sin, Jesus comes:
- Redeems us,
- Justifies us,
- Sanctifies us.
I hope that when you try and explain what the Lord has done to you. Some of you, I’m hearing from you, your messages, your postings, your Facebook messages. It’s amazing. “Oh, my life is changing and it’s just amazing”.
When people ask you what happens; say, Oh, I was dead, Ephesians 2, in my trespass, in sin. Jesus redeemed me, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. He justified me, Romans 5. He is sanctifying me, 1 Thessalonians 5, every day.
What does Revelation tell us? As we saw yesterday, those who are redeemed. Those who come to Christ. Those who are saints. Now have the capacity to worship God. God doesn’t accept the worship of those who have not become saints. Who have not surrendered to His kingdom. Who do not have this new heart.
True biblical worship as illustrated in Revelation 4 and 5, remember this is the Motherload of understanding worship, true biblical worship always has four elements.
Number one, we saw in the last class in Revelation 4:1-7. Holiness is the atmosphere of biblical worship. Remember the throne, the lightning, thunder, all of the fire that’s showing, and all of the bowing down. Holiness is the atmosphere of biblical worship.
Number two, true biblical worship is a response to God’s holiness. Look at verse 8 of chapter 4. “They do not rest day or night, saying:” What? The only attribute of God that has a three times emphasis. holy, holy, holy. True biblical worship is a response to what? God’s holiness. Boy, is that a far cry from what a lot of young people think. A lot of young people think that worship is loudness, smoke, lights, superstar singers. No, no. True biblical worship is a response to God’s holiness in an atmosphere that we see around the throne.
Thirdly, in Revelation 4:11, true biblical worship is a complete focus on God. We have a real problem. Worship in America and much of the Western World, has become a focus on the musician, the performer, the singer, the superstar. The only superstar of worship is God. True biblical worship focuses upon God.
Finally, what we’re looking at right here in chapter 5, true biblical worship centers upon Christ’s sacrifice of redemption. Redemption, that doctrine of redemption means that God has started an amazing transformation of my life.
The doctrine of redemption is revealed in the scripture of having eight incredible transformative works of God in my life.
Let me show you what I mean. Look at the next slide. Number one, redemption means God destroyed the record of my sin when Jesus was crucified on the cross. The scripture say that He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us. Do you remember on the cross, over Jesus’ head, there was a sign and there was stuff written on the sign; Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Do you know what Colossians says was really was on that sign? A listing of all the sins of the world, only it isn’t plural.
John 1:29 says “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. “
So, what was over Christ head is the totality of the mass of the sin, of all who have ever lived. Redemption is that Jesus, listen to chapter 3 of Romans on the slide at verse 24, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
When I was redeemed, God took the John Barnett record. Here it is and starting way back at birth I was a sinner. Every time I got impatient and angry and selfish and untruthful and self-centered and lustful and hateful and jealous. Every time I fell short of what? Others? Culture? No, of God’s perfection. Anytime I was less than perfectly godlike it’s recorded, every time. I’m guilty. This is only the first few hours of my life. Look at this, God has an unending record of all the sins of all who have ever lived. He has everything.
You’d think my 256 gigabyte little phone here can record everything. I have my entire library. What you can’t see from this camera angle is my 7,000 plus volume theological library. Did you know that all 7,000 of those books are right here on my phone, as well as 200,000 pictures that I’ve taken over all these years, traveling around the world.
Did you know, God has a record of every thought. Every intention. Every word. Every deed. Every motivation. For everyone!
What happened? Jesus destroyed the record of my sin in this instant. Here I was dead. Remember my illustration, the three big doctrines and Jesus came. Absorbed all of my sin onto Himself and that God treated Jesus like He’s committed every one of my sins. That’s what justification is. Wow.
It doesn’t end there. Look on the next slide. Jesus becomes all that I need. That’s what it says in 1 Corinthians 1:30, “but of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”
You know what? Jesus became everything I need, so I can stand before God. This record He has of all these sins, the record has a new name at the head of it and God treats Jesus like He committed all my sins. That’s what justification is. That took place through redemption, through the work of Jesus Christ. So, Jesus has all I need. I don’t need to try harder, be better. I just need to live by the power of His grace.
Thirdly, this is what redemption means, “for you were bought at a price”. That’s bought is, ektēsato, purchased in the slave market. For you were purchased out of the slave market, redeemed at a price. Look at this,” therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” because I’m redeemed, I belong to God. That’s the third element of redemption.
Number four. My sins are forgiven forever. Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” My sins, Psalm 103 says are, “As far as the east is from the west.” Where does the east meet the west? It doesn’t. If you keep going east, you’re always going East. You don’t become going west till you go the other direction. Do you understand? That’s what it means. As far as the east is from the west. Now we have north and south poles. He didn’t say as far as the north is from the south, because if you go far enough you get to either the north pole or the south pole. You’ll never get to the east or the west pole. It’s never ending. Endless. Forgiven forever.
Number five, redemption means I’m God’s workmanship. That’s Ephesians 2:10. By the way, this is in your notes for those of you that are enrolled. For the rest of you, pause the video! You need to know the doctrine of redemption. Get these verses down.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” That’s the by-product of redemption. I’m God’s workmanship. God designed me for something no one else can do. Do you know, most people spend all their life trying to be someone else.
Whoever’s the latest, there’s some new person, that according to Bloomberg is the most popular musician in the world. I’ve never even heard of them myself. They have more YouTube watching’s than even Billie Eilish or whatever her name is and Justin Bieber and everybody else, this person’s new. Every three months they’re going to list the newest star. Everyone wants to be like them and look like them and talk like them and dress like them. No God said, I designed you for a unique purpose no one else can do, but you. I’m His workmanship. I’m God’s workmanship.
Number six, God will finish what He started. Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work” at the instant of redemption. When I was purchased out of the slave market of sin, God began working in me. He justified me and He’s, all the way through life, pulling me closer. I might resist Him. I might take a few steps away from Him, but it’s always just one step back in repentance. He’s pulling me closer and closer until I’m conformed to His image. God will finish what He started. Philippians 1:6.
The seventh element of redemption is, I am set free from any bondage so I can zealously serve the Lord. Wow. That’s Titus 2:14. It says in Titus 2:14, that the one who redeemed me by His grace, listen to this, “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own a special people, zealous of good works.” I’ve been set free, all the chains that formerly enslaved me to live according to the lust of the flesh, lust of my eyes, and the pride of life. I’ve been set free. No longer am I in bondage. I can zealously pursue the Lord.
Number eight, I will worship the Lord forever. Back to Revelation 5:9. That’s what we’re looking at. “You are worthy to take the scroll, and open its seals;” Revelation 5:9, “for you were slain, and you have redeemed us to God by Your blood. Out of every tribe and tongue and people, and nation, and you have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the Earth.”
What does that verse say? Church in Heaven. That means we have the security that everybody that’s on Earth right now, that surrenders to God’s rule, and is born again will make it to Heaven. You know what that’s called in theology? Eternal security. We cannot lose what God did in us. He began that good work. He’ll perfect it. I will worship the Lord forever because I’m redeemed.
- Jesus destroyed the record of my sins, took my punishment.
- He is all I need.
- I belong to God.
- My sins are forgiven forever.
- I am now God’s workmanship.
- He will finish what He started.
- I’ve been set free to be zealous for Him.
- I’m going to worship Him forever.
Do you know what that looks like? You see the next slide, The Power of Redemption in Rayna and Donnie. Let me tell you a quick story.
It was late one Friday afternoon, July of 1977. I was training my youth group in personal evangelism. How to go door to door with a Bible and a gospel tract and share. It was 106 degrees in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was so hot that when you walked on the pavement, actually your feet would sink in because it was softening the blacktop. We were at a big air condition church van and there was just one house left on the block. Everyone had gotten in and I found out no one had done the last house. I said okay, it’s my turn because I had already been out with them. I said, I’m going to go do that house.
So, I grabbed a tract, grabbed my Bible, went up, knocked on the door. I didn’t think anybody was going to answer the door. It was like government housing, low-income housing and usually didn’t answer the door. I pulled the broken screen door open a little bit, stuck the track in and pushed it shut. I started right back for the van, when all of a sudden, I heard a voice saying; yes?
I looked back at the most forlorn looking person. The saddest, poorest, most hopeless place I’d ever visited. One look as they opened the door, and I knew they weren’t interested. A shirtless man wearing jeans, falling off with holes, tattered, and barefoot was walking across the apartment floor. As I looked at the floor, there were chicken bones and eggshells on the floor. They just threw stuff toward the trash and it was all over, it never even made it in.
As that shirtless man listened to me as I started. I said, I’m from the local church, I named it, and I said, I’m coming to share the gospel with you with my youth group. As soon as I started with the gospel, the woman holding a baby, turned her back like this. She was standing next to him and she turned her back to me. I thought, this shows where this is headed, they’re not interested. I was finding every reason to get out of that hot, smelly, dirty little apartment and get back in the van. I was done. I knew they weren’t interested.
There were actually four children. She was holding one baby, that if I remember didn’t even have a diaper on. The others were still in diapers. Even though it was like baby, one year old, two year old, and three year old, they were all wearing diapers. It was awful.
As I watched that woman with her back toward me, I noticed her shoulders were shaking. She finally turned around as I was sharing the gospel and said, do you know that he – Donnie, her name was Rayna, Donnie told me he’s leaving me and the four children today. He told me that in anger just as you knocked on the door. She said, I asked God to help us and she said, you knocked.
Let’s make a long story short. I ended up kneeling on the eggshell and chicken bone floor. By the way, I was wearing a white shirt, looked like a Mormon evangelist. A tie. Dress pants. Bible. On my knees with this dear couple. With four kids crawling around with us. They both wept. Each of them cried out to the Lord for forgiveness and salvation.
After I finished leading them to Christ, explaining the gospel, sharing a Bible, leaving the track; I wrote the address of that church in Tulsa. This is Friday afternoon at five o’clock. I said, church, is at 10 o’clock, Sunday morning. I said, I can pick you up. They said, no, we know where that place is, we’ll be there. Of course I thought, oh me a little faith, I thought yeah, I bet I’ll never see this couple again.
Sunday morning, they were there at the end of the message. They walked forward; they came to the front. They prayed with the elders. They came to the baptism that night, that church baptized people the same day they came forward. They from the baptistry told how knocking on their door, right at their moment of Rayna saying, God help us as my husband’s leaving. By the way that was Sunday. On Saturday at the end of the next week, they were married at that church. They were living together. They had four kids. Never been married. Living, apart from the blessing of the covenant of marriage, in sin we would say. That’s the power of redemption.
Not only did I see Rayna and Donnie again, and again, and again, and not only did they become new creations in Christ, I’m going to live with them forever. That’s the power of redemption. They’re forever forgiven. Jesus, now on His record that He died on the cross for, has every sin of Rayna and Donnie, as well as mine, as well as yours if you know Him as your Lord and savior.
What happens for those that are redeemed? God’s pathway for sanctification, for His children is in Romans 6. Take a moment in your Bibles, just before we end. Remember I said Revelation pulls together all the other books of the Bible. Revelation’s portrait of redemption is completely built around God’s plan of sanctification.
Now, do you remember if I called you up here, those of you are in the virtual classroom I can’t do it. You know what I normally do? I have a student come up and I say, here’s my Bible, show me the big three doctrines.
- Here I am dead in my trespasses and sin. Redemption is God purchases me.
- Justification raises me. Declared that I’m a Saint and that He’s taken all the punishment for my sins,
What does sanctification look like in your Bibles? Look at verse 12 of Romans 6.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lust. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God…” Surrender to God’s rule. Seek God’s rule in my life. Sanctification is me doing what the Lord’s prayer says every day, “thy kingdom come”. I want you to rule my life.
What does that look like? Verse 12, “therefore do not let”. Number one. Sanctification is all about little choices. Don’t let, do you know what not letting means? Making a choice. Do not let. Make a little choice. The verse you see on the screen, Joshua 24:15, do you know what that says?
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It was choice Joshua made.
Number two, it says, “do not let sin reign in you.”
- It’s not escaping the presence of sin. Redemption doesn’t transport me out of this world. That’s not until here, see chart, for the rest of the time.
- It’s not escaping the presence of sin.
- It’s stopping sin ruling, reigning. You know what that means?
- It means that I keep saying no to sin.
- I’ll be tempted. I’ll even fail. I’ll stumble and fall.
- But I always, no matter how many steps in a day I take away from the Lord, it’s always just one step back of repentance.
Thirdly, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body.” Our body is the battleground.
- Do you know, how you know, if you’re surrendering to God’s rule?
- Do you know, how you know, if you’re living out redemption?
- Do you know, how you know, if sanctification is operative in your life?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “do you not know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” it’s seeking God to rule over my attitudes and actions every day.
Number four, “therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey”. Number four, the key is who we choose to obey. Am I going to choose God’s desires for me or my desires for me? Romans 12, right there on the slide, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Who are you going to obey?
Number five, “do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Temptations will always follow three pathways:
- lust of the flesh,
- lust of the eyes,
- pride of life.
That’s what 1 John 2:15-17 says. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love the Father is not in him.” Wow. Very sobering.
Number six. “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts”, verse 13 “and do not present”. Little choices always have big impacts. If I don’t want bad things written on my white marker board, I won’t present you with my marker. I rob you of the tool to do something you shouldn’t do. We do not present ourselves to do the will of the devil.
“Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin.” Number seven. Satan’s plans are always to hijack our members into serving him. When someone hacks your phone, hacks your account, your email, your social media account, they’ve hijacked it. There are a lot of hijacked Christians that have surrendered their members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin.
Finally, “therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but”. Here we go, number eight. “Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead.” Look, dead in sin. Redeemed made me alive. Justified makes me a Saint. Sanctified makes me responsive. This is God’s desire for each of us. All our days.
- What we could say is that Revelation 5 is when God finally answers generations of prayers for justice.
- God finally says, all those who have surrendered to His rule, sought His plan, and struggled through this world, He unleashes His wrath.
- That’s the backdrop of the tribulation.
What happens to all of our prayers? God collects them. I showed you that.
How can this understanding of Revelation 5 impact our lives today?
Jesus told a story, on this slide, in Luke 13. Someone said to Him, what about the people that the tower fell on, by the pool of Siloam? It was a tragedy in their day. Did you know, you and I; if you watched the news, if you pull out your phone and check the headlines, CNN or whatever; you and I are each experiencing a lifetime of tragedies. What is God’s message for tragedies and calamities? Jesus said in Luke 13. What it says and all the rest of the Bible, we live because though we deserve to die as guilty sinners God is merciful.
Do you know what calamities and what this current pandemic is? This current pandemic is, that God is usually so merciful that pandemics are rare. You know what it’s time for? Disasters, Calamities, Pandemics are times that we say, all sinners deserve to die and face the wrath of God, but God is merciful. God’s mercy withholds the wrath we deserve this instant. But guess what? Revelation 5 says His mercy. That’s what the tribulation is.
That’s how God’s word helps us to understand disasters, massacres, and bad things that keep happening around us because those should be happening constantly, but they’re reminders of God’s mercy. What does His mercy lead us to? Repentance. Do you know what the Lord wants us to do?
- Go through life knocking on the doors of the Rayna’s and Donnie’s.
- Not assuming they’re not interested like I did.
- Not turning away hoping they won’t answer the door.
- But going into their life and saying, Jesus Christ came that you can be a part of His plan.
- That your sins, He will take the punishment for.
- He will be treated like you committed your sins.
- All you have to do is surrender to His rule.
- He will give you, by responding to the gospel, the best life possible both here on Earth and forever.
That’s the ultimate kingdom. It’s the kingdom invasion we’re going to see starting in the next class. It’s horrible. It’s coming, but God wants you to enter the ultimate kingdom today. If you have, then He wants you to renew it by, seeking first His rule in your life.
Father, I thank you for sending your Son to be our Savior. Thank you, that Jesus on the cross was punished by you, for every one of my sins and every one of our sins, who have clung to you in faith, trusting your work on the cross.
Thank you that you’ve left me with a highest priority, to seek first your rule in my life. So, I want to surrender again to that, and I want to encourage every one of these who are watching and listening and following along. You’re knocking on their heart. That they would begin to live out that sanctified life of you pulling them closer every day, and that we would pray your kingdom come. Rule my life today and every day. In the precious name of Jesus, we ask that. Amen.