Sermons

Summary: Lessons from Revelation chapter four

“The Throne of Heaven”

November 2, 2009

Revelation 4

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."

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

Can you imagine what John is going through? Jesus is revealing unimaginable spiritual and heavenly things to him. He is looking into the very depths of heaven. But it is more than seeing. He is hearing; he is feeling heaven. What an awesome experience it must have been. Green rainbows, blazing lamps, creatures with eyes all over them, a throne that had flashings of lightening and peals of thunder coming from it - to mention just a few things.

Most of us would have been blown away. Why was John so blessed to experience something like this? Wasn’t this the John who ran away when Jesus was going through His painful ordeal? Wasn’t this one of those disciples who was jockeying for position and power?

Yes, and yes. But something had happened to John. It is true that he had been a carnal Christian. He was weak and prideful and self-seeking at one time. But one day He was filled with the Holy Spirit and nothing was ever the same again. His heart and mind was on heavenly things. The desire of His heart was to bring glory and honor to Jesus. His heart was filled with love for his brothers and sisters in Christ. He was totally in love with Christ and with people. He preached radical love and obedience. Listen to this:

“Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth,…” 1 John 3:16-18

John preached a deep, mature gospel of love and obedience. Something happened after he was empower with the Holy Spirit – and when you experience that second blessing, after salvation, your life will be radically changed as well.

Rick Warren, on page 218 of the Purpose Driven Church said, “Sanctification comes AFTER Salvation”. Rick is a Southern Baptist, so I guess we Nazarenes don’t have a monopoly on the second work of grace. The Holy Spirit will lead any seeking Christian to it – if they truly want God’s will.

Getting back to the question, “Why was John so blessed to experience the revelation of Jesus?” I believe it was because his heart was pure and he was one in the Spirit with Jesus. Jesus could use Him because he was available. Jesus could use Him because there was no rebellion in his heart. Jesus could use him because he was holy of heart. He will use us in greater ways when we surrender fully to Him. The Scripture says that the Holy Spirit is only given to those who are walking in obedience. (Acts 5:32) When we choose to walk in total obedience to the known will of God – we will be filled with the Holy Spirit – and who knows what fantastic things we may be a part of.

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