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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sermon - Revelation 5:1-14 - Worthy is Christ


(Image created at Wordle.net from the words of this sermon)

It should be noted I preached this better than it is written.

Lay Reading: Matthew 13:44-49

One of my favorite pastors is Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA makes a statement about human nature that I believe to be true. He says that worship is at the very core of our being. In life all of us are worshipers. By nature we look for something to give our life away to. We generally determine what that thing will be based off of our assessment of value. For some people that is family. For others it hunting. For some it is the newest gadget. Some people worship their work, and others things like alcohol or gambling or drugs. But we all worship something. Whatever you deem most valuable, you will give yourself to in worship. God created us to worship. It is hard wired into every one of us.

I once knew a guy who years ago dropped out of college and quit his job so he could follow the band “The Grateful Dead” as they toured across the country. He sold everything he owned that summer so he could buy a van to live in. (tell more it time allows) And without question, he worshiped that band, he would’ve told you so himself.

Unfortunately we often don’t contemplate what we are worshiping and whether it is worthy. For many people it’s as easy as reading through a handful of their bank statements and glancing at their calendar to find out what they worship. I have found that one of the keys to life is getting the right thing to be the object of our worship. What do we value most? Once we have determined what we value most, all other decisions should come into line with that first decision. Our object of worship will direct how we spend our time, our money, and where we share our talents. Few people ever intentionally stop to examine what they really are worshipping, what is in first place in their hearts. What is in that place for you? Deep down you know the truth. You might want to give the Sunday school answer of “Jesus”, but don’t fool yourself if that’s not the case, cause Jesus isn’t fooled.

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday as I suspect most of you already know. Palm Sunday is when we as Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to kick off the week of Easter. If you read through Luke’s telling of this story in the Bible you’ll see the Pharisees trying to make Jesus tell the crowds to stop praising him as the Messiah. Jesus’ response to this request is that if the people did not cry out in praise for him that the rocks would cry out in their place! And this is exactly what I want to talk about this morning – the worthiness of Jesus for our praise. I can’t put Jesus in first place in your heart, but I sure am hoping to at least make you see why he is worthy. If we value Jesus correctly, every part of our lives will be transformed! My goal is to present Christ as the only one who is truly worthy of our praise so that we might respond appropriately to Him for the rest of our lives.

Let’s read Revelation 5:1-6 - Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

Here is something you should catch after reading this verse. We know from elsewhere in Scripture that Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father on the throne. We might miss this, but it was something that would jump off the page at the Jews in the time of Jesus. Being seated at the right hand was the seat of power, it meant you were the go-to guy for the king. You know the phrase about being someone’s right-hand man – that is what this is talking about. God thought Jesus was worthy of our worship, but the story plays out before John so he could record the book of Revelations for us. John says they looked everywhere for someone who would be worthy to open the scroll, and no one in heaven or on earth was worthy, except for Jesus. And like the book of Luke said, even the stones know that Jesus is worthy, but the question you have to ask yourself is do I believe this? What part of your life would look different if you really fully embraced this? Are you putting Jesus first in ALL things? What would you have to stop doing or start doing to make this a reality? Make it happen, you won’t regret it. Other things are constantly fighting to take first place in our lives, but they are always incomplete. They will never satisfy, and they cannot transform you like Christ can. Everything else is like a drop of water on the tip of your tongue after you’ve been in the desert for 3 days with no water. Christ is the ever flowing and unending River of Life.

Moving on to verses 7-10 - Jesus came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

Here we see why Jesus was worthy. They fall down before Jesus and worship him, saying you are worthy because you were slain. And that is what all of Easter is about. Everything we have been talking about here during church for a few weeks, and everything that Lent is about. Christ redeeming us is the single greatest act in the history of the world! God incarnate subjected himself to punishment, crucifixion and death for our sake. He paid a price we could not pay even if we wanted to. That is grace, and that is why Christ is worthy of our praise, worthy of our worship, worthy of first place in our hearts guiding all that we do. He defeated death! He defeated Satan. He forgave us, and he gave us HOPE!! I know how screwed up I am. I know how sinful I am. I know just how unworthy I am. I deserve the punishment. Yet Jesus died willingly, for me, for you, and for all sinners. That is why Christ is worthy. John shows here in Revelation that Christ is worthy because he loves us so much, that he died for us, the perfect sacrificed for the imperfect, for you and for me.

Verses 11-14 read - Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"
14 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

So John sees ten thousand times ten thousand of angels worshiping Jesus. Can you imagine that? Take the Metrodome, fill it up a couple of thousand times, and then have everyone singing one song all at once! And then all the creatures in heaven and on the earth, even the fishes in the deep blue sea join in to shout out praises to Jesus! Everything rejoices, everything praises, EVERYTHING worships Christ! That is what is yet to come, that is what Heaven will be like, and here’s the great part, we don’t have to wait until we get to Heaven! We can get started right here and right now! There no better time than today to get started on this! What is holding you back? What could be more important that this? What is keeping every cell in your body from crying out with joy for the fact that you have been redeemed – set free, that the price has been paid, for you and for me? Put your trust in Jesus. Love Him. Pursue Him. Learn about Him. Worship Him wherever you are and in whatever you do. Worship Christ, because he is worthy.

This week I looked up some of the most valuable things according to the world’s standard.
Bottled water from a glacier that costs $46 per bottle.
Most expensive car – a Bugatti $8.7 Million
Last year a new wrist watch sold for $1.5 Million in Hong Kong
Indian trillionaire Mukesh Ambani is in the process of putting the finishing touches on his $1 Billion dollar home in Antilla.
The most valuable Savior—priceless, limitless, infinite value

Jesus truly is worthy, and I would invite you to commit yourself or recommit yourself to worshiping Him today.

Prayer: Invitation to commitment