Summary: The Throne and The Lamb, part 10 Revelation 5:1-14 God Holds Human Destiny in the Palm of His Hand (vs. 1-2) Humanity Before God is Hopeless (vs. 2-3) The Lamb's Sovereignty Over All is Good News (vs. 5)
The Throne and The Lamb, part 10
The Grand Motive for Mission
December 14, 2014
We are coming to the end of a series on Revelation chapters four and five, “The Throne & The Lamb.” This week I want to look at chapter five to show how God's sovereignty fuels mission. Then next week we will finish the series by comparing the glory of the incarnation and the glory of the slaughtered Lamb. Then the elders will preach three weeks while our family visits Karen's family in Los Angeles and when we get back I will start a new series on Colossians. Today I have a simple big idea: A high view of God's sovereignty fuels mission, locally and globally. Local mission is spreading the gospel in our community and state; global mission is spreading the gospel beyond our geographical borders to the other nations. Tragically global missions is neglected by many churches in America, particularly among non traditional and non denominational churches. CCC is fighting that trend by increasing our missions budget by one percent per year until our missions budget reaches twenty percent of our annual giving income. Global mission can be divided into mission to reached people groups (RPG) who already have a gospel presence and unreached people groups (UPG) who have no gospel presence, no gospel resources, and no believers among them. Of eleven thousand total people groups, six thousand are UPG and represent 2 billion people. Those statistics demand that we put a higher priority on UPG than RPG. So again my big idea today is that a high view of God's sovereignty fuels confidence in local and global mission.
God Holds Human Destiny in the Palm of His Hand (vs. 1-2)
We have seen that the scroll contains the events related to the destiny of the human race, including the final salvation of God's people and judgment against his enemies. The scroll in his right hand means that he has all power and authority over the scroll and so controls the scroll and its contents. This is why Revelation starts out, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.” God is sovereign over everything, including people and nations and nature. He gives life and he takes it away. He causes nations to rise and fall; to come into existence and brought to extinction. He tells the wind when to blow, the sun to shine, and the seasons to come and go. And he has the right to save sinners or not. We saw last week that he provided a sacrificial lamb to make atonement for Israel but not for Egypt in the Exodus. Some of you are thinking, 'that's not fair' and you're right, it's called grace. And that does not absolve humanity of responsibility. Scripture tells us that God is absolutely sovereign and humanity is absolutely responsible. The greatest example of this is the cross. Scripture tells us the cross was ordained and predetermined and that men willingly killed Jesus.
Humanity Before God is Hopeless (vs. 2-3)
We saw that the silence of heaven to the angels call, 'who is worthy to open the scroll' testifies to human inadequacy and sinfulness. All humanity stands hopeless apart from Christ. Scripture tells us that we are alienated from God, slaves to sin, under God's wrath, our fate is eternal torment and unquenchable fire. We do not like to think about hell, where God's wrath will be poured out upon his enemies for all eternity. We make light of the word when we say, “that was a hell of a game or that was hotter than hell or hell no.” That kind of language tells us that we have no concept of what hell is like. If there is no gospel presence among a people group then they only know enough to damn them to hell. Over two billion people in six thousand UPG are guilty before God and only know enough to damn them to hell for all eternity. This is why I think efforts to reach UPG must take precedence over RPG. This is what drove Paul to keep expanding the gospel to new places. But the incarnation promises us hope, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”