Summary: As John enters the throne room of heaven we are confronted with the truth that the unfolding of history in this broken world is backed by one solid truth - God is in control.
The Heavenly Perspective on This Broken World.
I want you to think about the best invitation you ever received.
Maybe it was to a very special wedding.
Perhaps you were taken on a very special holiday.
Maybe it was to go to a special restaurant.
Perhaps you were given a really great surprise.
Being given an invitation like that can create all sorts of emotion and excitement and joy. So how do you think John felt when He got this trumpet-like invitation from Jesus?
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
John is looking at a doorway that leads into heaven itself.
He didn’t have to knock on it.
He didn’t have to die to get access.
He doesn’t have to go through some cleansing ritual.
He doesn’t even have to push it open.
The door to heaven has been opened from the inside – and a voice is encouraging John to come in and find out what the rest of Revelation is going to say – all delivered to him while John is in heaven.
In a moment we are going to read the next two chapters of that Revelation. However, before we do I want to tell you about an important literary devises.
Meta tauta eidon
= after this, or after these things.
A phrase like that could be describing a series of events.
On Monday we went to the looking for new shoes at Cinori, Novo, Witchery and Zierra’s.
After these things we went out for dinner at the Hilton Hotel.
(my wife was really happy with her new shoes!!).
We call this temporal progression.
A phrase like this could also describe a series of stories.
When you talk to our friends from Iran they will tell you stories about their life.
They might start by telling you what it was like to be at Christmas Island.
After these things they talk about their family in Iran.
After these things they talk about how they got on the boat.
After these things they talk about how our church has helped them
It is all part of the same story, we just get to hear different bits at different times.
We call this narrative progression
I know it is a bit technical, but it is important for us to understand the difference. Because if we read Revelation as if it is a series of events – temporal progression – we are going to find that very little of it actually applies to us now. But when we read Revelation as a series of stories – narrative progression – we become an important part of the unfolding of history. Because each story involves us and our relationship with God.
So keep that in mind as we read Revelation 4:1-5:14
Do you sometimes find yourself wondering if God is really in control?
As believers we know – in our heads that God is in control.
Who has understood the mind of the Lord or instructed Him as His counsellor? (Isaiah 40:13).
With God all things are possible (Mark 14:36)
We read these passages, and other verses like them, and we have to say, “Yes God is in control”. Our heads have that knowledge; but do our hearts also have that knowledge?
In our own lives God’s control doesn’t always seem to be there.
We want to serve faithfully, yet so often our hearts wander off in different directions. We ask God to help us in our obedience, but at the end of the day we find ourselves falling far short. We desire to share the Gospel and be good witnesses, but regularly our tongues get caught in our throat and we say nothing. Jesus has come to give us victory in God’s family, but the finish line can sometimes seem so far off.
In the church God’s control doesn’t always seem to be there.
The church is meant to be God’s family on earth; but sometimes it is more like neighbourhood warfare. The church is called to bring the message to all people, yet many churches seem to have just one flavour. The church is meant to be busting down the gates of hell – yet we can’t even get past the gate of our neighbour. Jesus wants the church to have victory, but there are times when we just feel like losers.
We say in our head, “God is in control”, but in our heart we can sometimes think, “If God is so much in control why aren’t I, and why isn’t the church, making more of a difference?”