Most of our lives are dominated by the physical world: our health, the weather, our family, our car, our job, etc. The Holy Scriptures each of us hold, were designed to transport our minds away from our physically-dominated-world that is easiest for us to see and feel; and to transport our minds onto the spiritually-dominated world of God’s Throne.
Paul explained this process that God uses to the Colossians when he taught them to: “Set your affections on things above” (Col. 3:1). Paul was telling them that they still had to live out their life in the Roman Empire (most of them were stuck for life as slaves). But, they could live life on earth in a transformed way when they learned to focus their mind and heart on “things above”.
Do you realize how much of the theological fog and confusion that surrounds so many sincere believers each day, can be cleared up just by a simple reading and believing of the truths of Revelation 4-5?To get a very foundational view of what God has taught us, please open with me to the last 4 verses of Revelation 5.
One of the truths that we never can hear often enough is that we are each in possession of God’s Word today. God’s actual voice recorded, His actual words written down, the Divine Revelation of God is ours in the Holy Bible.
One of the most remarkable elements of Revelation is seeing into Heaven. But one of the most vital truths we learn from learning about Heaven is that God affirms that:
There is Only One Road
That Leads to Heaven
Heaven is where God is, His Throne, His perfected worship, and the way things look untainted by sin. We hardly ever get to see what something looks like that is perfect, during our earthly lives, because everything we see is marred by sin, the fall, and the rebellion of Satan swirling around us.
Please open with me in your Bibles to God’s final written communication to humanity.
God’s Final Written Communication to Humans
The Book of the Revelation is unique. These 404 verses were sent to the Earth by God the Father, through His Son: the Lord Jesus Christ. Those final written words are part of the Holy Scriptures, inspired by God, sent through His Prophets and Apostles, to us who hear His voice.
The flow of Revelation is simple to see.
• Chapter 1 is Jesus Christ showing Himself as God the Son in all His glory, like the Sun’s blazing light.
• Chapters 2 and 3 are His personal letters to the churches that bear His Name.
• Chapters 4 and 5 are His guided tour of the Throne Room of God Almighty.
As we open our Bibles to John 10:22, Jesus is walking in the winter, Hanukkah time on the great porch of Herod’s Temple. It is amazing to find times in the Gospels that we can so relate to.
Jesus was Teaching
John 10 in December
First, it was cold and because of the weather Jesus stayed on the eastern side of the Temple (John 10:22-23). This is the exact same place where the early church continued to meet (Acts 3:11; 5:12).
One element of John’s writing style in Revelation is his usage of sevens. There are seven stars, seven lampstands, seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, and seven angels. Beyond these seven named groups of sevens are many other sevens. There are seven beatitudes, seven spirits, seven mountains, seven lamps, seven horns, seven eyes, seven heads, seven crowns, seven thunders, seven kings, and seven last plagues.
Fifty-four sevens are noted by John in the book of Revelation. John observes and records for us that God is into sevens, or heptads. But it isn’t only in Revelation that God uses sevens, this morning, we find that the way to eternal life has seven intentional markers along the way. As we open to John 20, let me show you this amazing chain of truths about salvation.
Each of us as followers of Christ, have been commissioned by Him to spend our lives going and sharing the Gospel. Some of us preach, some of us pray, some of us go to other lands, others of us serve in the nursery, adult, youth, or children’s ministry; but each of us are seeking to be a part of bringing others to Christ.
I’ve spent the past 35 years of my life preaching the simple Gospel, because I believe that Jesus Christ can change every life He’s allowed to touch.
For most of us sitting in this clean, comfortable, well-lit church auditorium, surrounded by hundreds of believers, that sounds very reasonable.
No one understands the Gospel better than our Lord & Savior, the Author & finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ.
Today we continue on our journey through the Gospel recorded by the Apostle John.
As we open to John 5 we are listening and watching the eyewitness record of John who was closest of all the Apostles to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit uses that proximity and loving eye and ear of young John, to give the most unique of all the four Gospel accounts.
As we start back at our look at the Gospel presentations of Jesus, recorded in the Gospels, start with me in Revelation 14:6. From cover to cover in the Bible, our Great God has revealed Himself as God the Savior.
God the Savior is Not Willing
That Any Should Perish
God is not willing that any should perish in a Christ-less and Eternal Hell.
God wants everyone to hear His truth, receive His Gospel, and repent unto life eternal.
Only worshippers are in Heaven.
Worship is what the Father seeks.
Jesus came to seek and to save lost sinners, and make them worshippers of God.
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
The driving message of salvation is worship. Jesus tells us the only thing God seeks is worship. So, the purpose of salvation is worshiping the God of Heaven. Now, look what Revelation completes for us. The whole Bible can be summed up by the theme of worship. We have come to the final lesson from Revelation 4 & 5.
As we open to Revelation 5: we have come to the greatest portion, of the greatest book, about the greatest place there could ever be anywhere: the Place of God’s Personal Presence called Heaven.
Today, Heaven’s worship, distilled before us in our Bibles, into words we each can understand: is the most challenging message we could ever hear to prepare us for serving God!
Worship is the offering given to God from my heart, quickened by His Spirit, unto a true awareness of my unworthiness, and His Almighty Immensity. That is how we sync with the constant atmosphere of Heaven.
Unanswered prayers: what happens to them? As we open to Rev. 5, we find the answer to one of the great mysteries of God’s Word: Where do all our prayers go? After we prayed them, God heard them, and then what?
What Happens to
All Our Prayers
Do prayers become like deleted emails? Does God get them, see them on His screen, read them; and then just hits the trash button, and poof, they are gone?
No, that is never the image God wants in our minds.
Someday in the not too distant future, each of us who are born-again by the Spirit, saved from God’s wrath, justified freely by His grace, and forgiven forever: are going to join the ultimate, Heavenly Hallelujah chorus. The words for that chorus have been given to us already, written down in Revelation.
The term in English: Hallelujah Chorus, has become totally associated with an oratorio written 271 years ago in London.
It was in April, 1741 the German composer Handel was bankrupt, imperiled by paralyzing pain, betrayed by friends, and depressed. It looked like his composing career was over.
For several weeks we have been looking at the elements of worship that are so incredibly displayed in Heaven around the Throne of God. As we have examined each element there has been in the background a scroll.
As we open to Revelation 5 this morning, we have come to the merging of two themes in Scripture that often do not go together in our minds. I am talking about our worship of our Redeemer being portrayed in the very same verse as the judgments of God’s wrath being poured out upon the Earth.
God has declared that each of us have been forever set free. Starting in Titus 2:11 we are looking at the third and final word, that God chose to describe the wonders of redemption.
Redemption, as we’ve seen, is what God wants to motivate us to lives that glorify God, because we were bought at a price.
Redemption is also what fills our hearts, and pours forth around the Throne in the songs of our worship in Heaven.
One of the best-selling books of modern times was called the Purpose-Driven Life. Author Rick Warren hit a collective nerve in society because so many people feel aimless at times, and struggle for a clear purpose to point our lives at.
The amazing truth is that we are bought and owned by God. He tells us that the purpose that should drive us to focus upon how we use our river of time, that rushes past us at 60 minutes-per-hour.
As we open to Revelation 5:9, we are analyzing the words of the first song we see ourselves singing in heaven—the song of our redemption. We who were slaves to sin, and lost sinners: were purchased by Christ’s blood. The God who so loved the world that he gave His Son to die on a cross; and shed His blood to pay the price of our sin! The message of this verse could be reduced to the simple phrase:
Redeemed: How I Love to Proclaim It. In Revelation 5:9 we see ourselves the way we will be—singing the new song of our worthy Redeemer. Please stand and follow along as we read these words:
Last time we saw what always makes worship unacceptable to God. This week we are looking at what always makes our worship acceptable and pleasing to God.
As we read these words, think about what you are looking at as we see a picture of the 24 elders; most likely, each of these 24 men seated on the inner circle of the Throne were formerly imperfect sinners, saved by grace, cleansed each day by the sacrifice of Christ, glorified at the moment of their death, and now in Heaven offering perfected worship.
THE MAP OF THE FUTURE GOD LEFT IN HIS WORD
God wrote down an inspired record of the history of the world: from the time when John was sitting on Patmos in AD 95, right up to the very end of days. That is what you are holding in your hands this morning.
The online world mourned for a few moments this week, the passing of another icon from the former, pre-cyber world of the past. After 244 years of publication, the Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer be printed on paper. Thus ended the longest published record of civilization’s knowledge.
As we enter into Revelation 4 & 5 we must always remember that the best explanation of Scripture is Scripture. So to see the Throne of God most clearly we must see it through the lens of all the other times God chooses to show The Throne to us.
In one of the most well known scenes in the Old Testament, The Throne of God surrounds Isaiah’s call.
Please turn with me to the scene of Isaiah 6, and notice it is representative of what we often see about God’s Throne: it is High, it is Holy, and because of the smoke and quaking, it is almost Distant.
This morning there is just one truth I want you to hold onto, and think through, with me:
God has told us EXACTLY how He wants to be Worshipped.
That description of how God has told us He wants to be worshipped is the title of our study today: The Foundations of True Biblical Worship.
To understand this topic we need to ponder several individual concepts, the first one is:
What Kind of Worship
Does God Accept?
Towering over all our daily lives and worship we offer as believers: is the Throne of our God the King.
When we pray it’s to the Throne of our Hallowed Father who is King in Heaven that we are to address our prayers.
When we struggle it is to the Throne of our King of Grace and Mercy that we cry to out for help in time of need.
When we serve it is our King who tests all our good works by His refining fire, and then passes out all rewards, that we prepare to stand before.
God wants us to orient every day of our lives to the truth that He is seated above each moment of our lives. Opening to Revelation 4 & 5 is much like remembering that the blazing stars of a cloudless night are always there, we just rarely see them. So, we must not let the rest of life distract us from the foundational truths that we must always remember as we open our hearts and minds to God’s Word. Every moment of every day:
Heaven is Real. God is on THE Throne; and, we are His servants.
Heaven is the word God uses for where we as believers are headed. Heaven is mysterious to many; and a place of many fanciful speculations. But, God’s Word has given us all He wants us to know about Heaven. As we open to Revelation 4, we open to the first words of the only guided tour of Heaven found in God’s Word. Note these opening words: Revelation 4:1 (NKJV) After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. Think of what we are witnessing as we begin this morning looking through: The Door of Heaven: Standing Open
As we open to Revelation 5, we are going to be reminded how much you and I are really in debt this morning.
I’m not talking about the trillions of dollars of our national debt; nor the trillions more dollars of credit card, auto loans, student loans, municipal bonds, and mortgage debt.
I am referring to the debt, all people owe to God, for their sins. God’s Word teaches us that:
All Sin is a
Debt Against God
The Apostle John has been in a perpetual state of amazement from chapter one onward. What he has seen has repeatedly overwhelmed him. Once again John sees such incredible sights that all he can do is fall down and again try to worship the messenger that has been guided his tour of Heaven (the last time he tried that was in 19:10). That is the context of v. 9 as John is corrected by the angel. Here we get the incredible insight that:
Worship is the Central
Theme of the Bible
Awesome has lost a bit of its meaning to us in the 21st Century. In the Bible, God is described as awesome, and when He is present there is such a sense of wonder: that it bordered on fear. This awesomeness was an overpowering sense of God’s glory that could be felt.
Our God is
An Awesome God
When Paul wrote from Corinth to the fledgling church at Rome, he sought some way that He might encourage them. They lived with all the daily load of life, plus the general excitement that came from being at the center of the world in that generation.