Summary: Newness, Celebration, Worship, Heaven, Fulfillment
THE SONGS OF CHRISTMAS - Our New Song
December 31, 2017
Revelation 5:9-14 (p. 864)
Can I tell you what Sunday mornings are like at my house? I’d love to tell you that it’s a time of complete joy and focused preparation…That I wake up at 6 with a smile on my face, roll over to kiss my wife (with fresh minty breath) and say, “Good morning my dearest Love…It’s the Lord’s Day…Let’s arise and worship!”
I then jump out of bed, do 100 push ups…go into the kitchen, squeeze fresh oranges to make juice for Kari as we recite memory verses to each other.
I’d like to tell you that our 3 dogs, 3 or 4 grandchildren who are there, and my mother and brother have fed themselves, dressed themselves and sit lovingly around the living room prepared to leisurely make our way to church.
As we drive together…we sing as a family “Amazing Grace” in perfect harmony…I’d like to tell you that’s how our Sunday mornings go…But it would be a BIG FAT LIE.
Sunday mornings at my house are absolutely crazy…especially when the grandkids are there.
They’re 10, 5 and 2…Rush and hustle no matter how early we get up…Cereal everywhere, dogs barking, car keys missing, and then the baby gets knocked over by the dog and starts to cry…Usually we need to pick someone else up for church…So, I’m trying to get Mom and Sam to Sunday School, and the grandkids, Kari taking another car to pick people up…and we’re always in a hurry…and I hate being in a hurry and being late…So, I’m barking orders:
“Hurry up and eat.”
“Get your shoes on.”
“Don’t hit your brother.”
“Do you have your Bible Mom?”
“Come on guys…Let’s go!”
After the mad scramble to the truck and the car, Kari heads one direction, I head another and by the time I pull into the parking lot, shaking my head…I get Mom and Sammy delivered…sometimes to go back and get group two.
By the time I walk past two or three people with the smile I’ve pasted on I run to my office…just to find a safe zone to get my blood pressure down before I preach…I’m not focused on God, something has irritated me and I’m not focused on God…I am not ready to worship…I’m probably not the only one with Sundays like this. Maybe you’ve been there…It’s easy to get distracted.
Let’s be clear. The churches in Revelation faced more than distraction…They faced harassment, maybe even execution…Gathering to worship was not simply inconvenient…It was dangerous…They weren’t irritated with high blood pressure because their kids and family weren’t ready to get to worship. They were wondering how they could get to worship and protect them from real harm.
It wouldn’t be surprising if they lost their enthusiasm for worship. They needed a new song…God knew that so He reveals:
I. HEAVEN’S THRONE ROOM
In the first 3 chapters of Revelation we see the risen glorified Christ walking among His churches on earth…but in Chapter 4 the stone shifts to the throne room of heaven…Jesus opens a door for the Apostle John to leave earth and enter Heaven.
A thundering voice beckons John “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this…instantly John falls under the influence of God’s Spirit and he sees a throne…and the one seated on it…Instead of the war, persecution, pestilence, famine and destruction that people associate with Revelation we find ourselves in God’s throne room witnessing one of the most amazing worship services recorded in Scripture:
REVELATION 4:1-11 (p. 863)
John’s fascinated with this picture…no darkness, no shadows, no flaws…and these 4 living creatures…the word that’s used to describe them is (Zoa - Living Ones…we get our word “zoology” from this word)…These personal guardians, attendants, are worshippers around the throne…It’s not important what category of angels they are, Cherubim, Seraphim, unique correctness only to serve here, but these creatures are the closest to God, nearer than the elders…If closeness to God indicates importance…these are the most important beings ever created! These living ones are full of eyes front and back…all seeing. They take in all of God and everything else. Verse 7 describes them: the first, like a lion, the second like a calf, the third had a face like that of a man, and fourth, was like an eagle. They each have 6 wings…they can travel, man! Why these creatures?…Well, remember my advice to look through simple historical and emotional associations.
They are like the lion, the mightiest of beasts, the king (or leader) of the jungle indicates majesty and power. The ox or calf or bull is the strongest domesticated animal, typical of faithful labor and patience. The greatest bird, the eagle represents supreme sovereignty and supremacy. One was like a man, indicating intelligence. The four beings suggest whatever is noblest, strongest, wisest and swiftest in animated Nature or the created order.