Summary: Deacon Ordination Message
As we gather together today we are celebrating the installation and ordination of our deacons as well as commissioning the White family as they head to the place where the Lord has called them to as missionaries. As we celebrate this great day I want us to spend some time together in REVELATION 7:9-12. As we work our way through this great passage of Scripture please know that this passage has much to say to us all here today, especially those who have ANSWERED JESUS’ CALL TO SERVE.
A GREAT MULTITUDE
The book of revelation is filled with great scenes of that which is to come. I could only imagine how much John’s mind must have been blown as with every turn of his head there was something glorious and new that he saw. Prior to this point John had seen a vision of Jesus as both the Son of Man and the Son of God. He received a vision of Jesus moving in and among the Churches and then he heard what He had to say to them in the 7 letters of chapters 2-3. He got a glimpse of the throne in heaven, the lamb that was slain and yet lived, a scroll with seven seals and as each seal was broken judgment in all sorts of manifestations was released upon the earth. He saw the 144,000 of chapter 7 sealed and now he sees a crowd. This is no ordinary crowd. John qualifies what he sees by emphasizing that this was a GREAT MULTITUDE. The word great John uses is not only a reference to the size of the crowd but to the diversity of the crowd. The crowd was such THAT NO ONE COULD NUMBER and THEY WERE FROM EVERY NATION, FROM ALL TRIBES AND PEOPLES AND LANGUAGES.
1. GREAT IN NUMBER. There are people as far as the eye can see and farther beyond that. Just think about it. John saw and heard what 144,000 looked like in vv. 1-8 and now all he can say, in comparison, is that this is a GREAT crowd. We are told that some 800,000 people gather in downtown Louisville for the firework display called Thunder over Louisville. Do you remember seeing the aerial shots of the great lawn where all those people are gathered? It is really a breath taking sight. That scene pales in comparison to what John is seeing.
2. GREAT IN DIVERSITY. This crowd is great because of its size. This crowd is great because of its diversity. John makes clear that in this crowd he sees people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. There are men and women in this crowd. There are boys and girls in this crowd. There are Americans and Asians in this crowd. There are those from civilized and technologically advanced cultures and there are those from tribes that exist right now in the most remote places of the African Bush and the Australian Outback. There are Finchvillians and Finnish. There are Louisvillians and Laotians. There is young and old. Male and female. Rich and poor. Educated and uneducated. Black and White. English speaking. Arabic speaking. Spanish speaking. Asian speaking. On and on and on I could go. This is a greatly diverse crowd.
a. THE SINFULLY PREJUDICED, RACIST AND ETHNOCENTRIC MIND HATES THIS SCENE IN HEAVEN AND RIGHTFULLY SO ONLY BECAUSE IT IS HIGHLY LIKELY THAT YOU WILL NOT BE A PART OF IT. I say this because racism, prejudice and ethnocentricity is reflective of an unredeemed heart.
3. GREATLY CLOTHED. They are greatly clothed not because they are wearing the finest and most expensive designer brands but because they are wearing white robes. John notes that they are wearing white robes, which is symbolic of the fact that these have been forgiven of their sin, which once stained their soul before God. The New Testament speaks of salvation in terms of being cleansed of our sinful filth and this accomplished because of the blood of Jesus—MATTHEW 26:27-28. This crowd is not generally composed of all the peoples of the earth but is particularly composed of all the peoples of the earth who have been forgiven of their sins and consequently clothed with the white robes of righteousness by Jesus Christ.
GREAT IN WORSHIP
They are worshipping God for His great salvation made possible by way of the Lamb. THEIR SOLE FOCUS IS ON WORSHIPPING JESUS as they waved palm branches before Him. The waving of palm branches was a familiar practice of Israel, as they would wave them before the procession of their king and army when they returned in from battle in victory. THE PALM BRANC WAS A SYMBOL OF REJOICING IN VICORY. This crowd is rejoicing in the victory that was accomplished for them by the Lamb. It is no wonder they were focused solely on worship. They were not consumed with the brilliancy of the atmosphere around them. They were not focused on the angels or the elders surrounding the throne with them. They were not distracted by or focused upon who was beside them. They were not captivated by the glitz and glamor of the heavenly abode. They were CONSUMED WITH JESUS and WORSHIPPED HIM for the salvation that He has accomplished for them. THEY KNEW THAT THE ONLY REASON THAT THEY ARE HERE AND NOT IN HELL IS BECAUSE OF JESUS AND BECAUSE OF THIS THEIR WORSHIP IS INTENSE, PASSIONATE AND NEVER ENDING.