Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wowed dedication to Jesus Christ

Revelation 5:8 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.

In yesterday's post we surveyed all of the passages in Revelation that speak about Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.  We noted nearly thirty such passages and noted the following characteristics of the Lamb of God in Revelation:
1. Jesus Christ - Saving Lamb of God
2. Jesus Christ - Sovereign Lamb of God
3. Jesus Christ - Soon Coming Lamb of God

In today's post we will narrow our focus to Revelation 4:11-5:12.  Whenever I read through Revelation 4-5, two words come to mind in reference to the activities of worship around the throne of God and the Lamb: the worshippers are dedicated and wowed by God and the Lamb.  All the time we here in the church of how much we as Christians need to be dedicated.  It is assumed that the more work you do for the Kingdom, the more dedicated you will be to the King.  Yet so often, people get burned out and then we wonder what happened?  I believe we can discover the secret to recapturing  here on earth what is a 24/7 reality in the third Heaven: Being wowed by Jesus translates into dedication to Jesus. How can we as born-again Christians grasp the need to have wowed dedication to the Lamb of God?  We will note the following ideas in terms of being wowed by Jesus, the Lamb of God through the acrostic "wow":

Worth of Jesus is infinite.  Rev 4:11; 5:11-14
Owns everything. Revelation 5:1-14
Will you respond in to His infinite worth and ownership?

How we answer that final question at salvation, and how we continue to answer it in our Christian growth will determine whether our dedication is merely work or stems from our being wowed by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.  So let us begin noting first of all that the Lamb of God's....

Worth of Jesus is infinite.    Rev 4:11; 5:11-14
Revelation 4:11 states - Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”  This verse gives us the official definition of worth in the passage.  The word "worthy" in all of the various Greek dictionaries speaks of "appraising, setting a value, weightiness".  To illustrate, what value would you place on your house? That depends.  The worth ascribed to a home by the owner is bound to be more ( or sometimes less) than the value ascribed to the same dwelling by a realtor.  Worth is measured by standards of men in such instances. How would you rate the worth of time spent with your spouse or child? Can such experiences be assigned values of worth? If you are willing to give up more to spend time with your spouse or child than you would in your home, then you have stated by your actions that your family is more "worthy". Sometimes too worth is measured by what a given person or object can accomplish.  Therefore a farm tractor is worth more to a farmer than a sports car because of its ability to get work done in the field, even though the car may be more expensive or more popular to drive.  

We use various scales to determine the "worthiness" of objects or people.  But now when you consider John's definition of worth in Revelation 4:11, the worth of God is infinite.  God in the Person of the Father is viewed infinite and in a separate category by Himself in Revelation 4.  Whenever you come to Revelation 5, the focus shifts to God in the Person of the Son - called by the name "The Lamb of God". How worthy is the Lamb of God? Whenever you compare Revelation 4:11 to Revelation 5:11-14, you discover how worth the Lamb of God is:

Revelation 4:11               Revelation 5:11-12
The Father's worth     Lamb of God's Worth
Worthy to...                   Worthy to...
1. Receive power           1. Receive Power
2. Glory & Honor            2. Glory & Honor

Though The Father (4:11) and Son (the Lamb - 5:12-13) are distinct, yet they share the same undivided and glorious nature as One Holy God.  Furthermore, Revelation 5:13b states concerning The Father and the Lamb of God - “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”  Notice the text: blessing, honor, glory and dominion are in the singular and are shared equally and infinitely by the Lamb and the Father (along with the Spirit) as One Eternal Triune God.  

The logic of John is inescapable: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is infinitely worthy.  Note the logic of the passage below:

-Major Premise: God has infinite Worth (4:11)
-Minor Premise: The Lamb has infinite worth
-Therefore: The Lamb is God along with the Father

No matter which standard you use, the worth of the Lamb of God is infinite, off the scale and incapable of exaggeration.  The more we grasp this first truth, the less trouble we will have in worshipping and praise the Lamb of God. But lets note secondly how we can be wow'd by the Lamb of God, namely this Lamb of God....

Owns everything.  Revelation 5:1-14
Revelation 5:1-2 states - "I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?”  When we say that the Lamb of God owns everything, we make such a statement as a result of the argument of Revelation 5:1-10. 

The big question of course needing to be answered is: "what exactly is the double-sided scroll/book which is in the right hand of the Father?"  Commentator Steve Gregg records this observation from other interpreters: "But what is this remarkable scroll? It is nothing less than the title deed to earth itself."1 Gregg then goes onto comment later on: Under Jewish law, real estate that had been forfeited by a man could be redeemed (bought back) by any near kinsmen (Lev 25:25).  To redeem the earth, forfeited by man, the redeemer must be a kinsman (hence a man, not an angel) and must come forward with the purchase price in hand-something that no one in the universe could do except Jesus (see 1 Peter 1:18-19).2 In reading other commentaries over the years, the scroll which John saw would had contained a summary of the contents on the outside, with the full contents on the inside.  In keeping with the custom of that day, the seals would have to be broken in various stages of the unfurling of scroll which would had been between 15-30 feet in length.  Truly then the writing on both the front and back of this scroll signifies the utter completeness of the judgments to follow in Revelation 6-19 and the fulfillment thereof in Revelation 21-22.

Whenever you consider the identity of the scroll, we can then understand why John wept like he did when the search was on to find anyone worthy to break the seals.  The scroll itself is the title deed to earth, the sum of all Divine promise, providence and prophecy.  If no one can be found to break the seals and unfold the scroll, every promise, prophecy and Providence itself is proven jeopardized. No man on earth can do it, nor angel, nor demon.  No created thing is worthy.  Less God in human flesh intervenes, all is lost. 

However we read these words in Revelation 5:5 "and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” In Revelation 5:6-8 we see the Lamb of God come to the Father and take the scroll that is rightfully His.  The Lamb of God by right owns everything.  

Whenever you arrive at Revelation 5:9-10, the four living creatures and the 24 elders all sing of the infinite worth of the Lamb, with verse 10 not only expressing the Lamb's right of ownership to everything, but also that when He returns to this planet, He will rule and reign as a matter of fact.  

With the scroll in Jesus' hand in John's vision, the reality of the vision of Revelation 4-5 deals with a both present and not yet truth.  Presently Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling as King over the church and by right the Supreme owner of all things. Satan currently exercises jurisdiction over the world and its inhabitants, however he is given only temporary control.  The true and ultimate ownership of all things being in Jesus' hands is a matter of right, however when He returns, what is now questioned by some in the creation will become evident to all. God will take every question mark surrounding Jesus' right to ran and turn them into exclamation points expressing the fact of His reign! Revelation 11:15 perfectly explains what will occur once the seals of the scroll have been broken:  “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

So we have seen the worth of the Lamb of God to be infinite and that He owns everything. However in order to be wowed to dedication to the Lamb of God, you need to answer the following question:

Will you respond to His infinite worth and ownership?
The ultimate will of God has been revealed in the sacred scripture of Revelation 5.  The worth of Jesus, the Lamb of God, is uncontestable.  The ownership of Jesus Christ over all things is undeniable. They are rights which are soon to be made visible facts.  Just because such truths are not evident right now does not evacuate them of their truth nor reality: Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God is worth infinite value and owns everything.  My question to you: have you responded to His worth and ownership? Are you responding as a Christian in increasing measure to His worth and ownership?  How you answer such questions determines whether or not you will be truly wowed by the Lamb of God.  Only supernatural faith, wrought by the Spirit to be received by the heart can truly say: Wow!

I love how the great preacher W.A Criswell brings his sermon on this very text to a close: 
"And there followed Him in heaven these, His righteous ones, His redeemed ones, His saints as they entered into their lost and purchased possession.“And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne.”[Revelation 5:7] 

That is the greatest act in all of the story of God’s creation. That is the greatest act in the Apocalypse. And that the greatest act in the history of mankind. And he came to take the book. He lifted the title deed of forfeiture to give back to us our lost inheritance. In that act is the answer to the prayer of all of the saints through all of the ages.

And in that act is the judgment of God upon sin, and upon Satan, and upon death, and upon the grave, and upon hell! And, in that act is cast out all of these who would deny to us what God purposed for us when He saw us in the beginning and before the foundation of the earth. Weep not! Weep not. Behold! Behold. And, he saw our Savior who is also our Lord and our coming King. Behold! Lift up your hearts, lift up your face, lift up your eyes, lift up your soul. Behold! 

And, beyond the grave, there is Jesus, the Lord of life. And, beyond our tears, there is Jesus, the God of all comfort. And, beyond the heartaches and the heartbreaks and the despairs of this life, there is the King of Glory with gifts in His hand. Behold. Behold. That God would help a man preach, say things as they ought to be said, present it as it ought to be presented, describe it as it really is."

1. Steve Gregg. Revelation - Four Views: A Parallel Commentary. Nelson. 1997. Page 93 

2. Steve Gregg. Revelation - Four Views: A Parallel Commentary. Nelson. 1997. Page 95


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