6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: We are all given certain gifts so we can draw attention to our LORD. Our job is to do His work, whatever work He has called us to, in such a way that He gets attention and glory-so that people are drawn to Him.

Revelation 19

v. 6 And like a voice of a great crowd, and as the voice of great waters, and like the voice of powerful thunders, saying,

“Hallelujah!!! For the Lord God Almighty reigns! v. 7 Let’s rejoice and jump for joy and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has prepared herself. v. 8 and she was given fine linen for clothing, bright and pure; the clean linen is the righteousnesses of the saints”

And he said to me, write “Blessed (o how happy) are those who have been invited to the marriage dinner of the Lamb”. And he says to me, “these are the true words of God”

v. 10 and I fell before the feet of him to worship him. And he says to me “Look, Don’t. I am your fellow servant and brother, having the testimony (witness) of Jesus. Worship God. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

What do We Worship?

I love the story of Paganini, one of the greatest violinists in history. Maybe you’ve heard it. He was scheduled for a concert in New York, and, being one of the greatest violinists, had just purchased one of the greatest violins, a Stradivarius. Such instruments sell today for a millions of dollars. Newspapers advertised, articles were written, all looking forward to hearing the birdsong tones of the great instrument. On the day of the concert there was a buzz about seeing and hearing the Stradivarius. The Maestro came out on stage to rousing applause. He played a breathtaking concert. The audience was stunned and roused, in sublime contemplation and exalted jubilance as the master moved from soaring largo melodies to melismatic prestos. “What a lovely instrument” audience members whispered. “I’ve never heard such a magnificent violin”. More than half way through the concert, Paganini shocked everyone. He threw his violin on the floor, then proceeded to hop up and down on it, leaving a pile of rubble on the stage. Everyone sat in hushed silence. “Ladies and gentlemen” he said “I bought that fiddle down the street at a pawn shop for 5 dollars before the concert. Not a bad fiddle. Now I’d like you to hear my new Stradivarius”. He had made his point. Everyone was focused on the instrument, when the instrument is nothing. Even the most humble instrument can become sublime in the hands of a master.

We all are subject to this illness, the willingness to focus on the instrument rather than on the Master. Someone prays and we’re healed. Someone teaches and we are touched and transformed by the teaching. Someone speaks and we know the words are actually God speaking. And rather than turning to the Lord and worshiping Him, we give too much attention and credit to the vessel He used to bless us. As musicians we’re not immune to the other end of this equation. We can be caught up in the admiration and attention that is a natural part of our art. People come to us after a performance and tell us how wonderful and talented we are. We begin to believe and long for the adoring praise. But this is a trap. It is a distraction. If I sing well, and people are moved by the Spirit as a result, it’s not my spirit they were moved by. We are all given certain gifts so we can draw attention to our LORD. He alone is worthy of our praises.

Don’t get me wrong. It is one of our privileges as God’s people to love others-to give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7), and to outdo one another in giving honor (Romans 12:10). Yet Jesus, the Son of God, did His work in such a way that people were praising God that He was doing such things among people (Luke 5:26 & 18:43, etc.). It’s not our job to impress people. This is a temptation, not a vocation. Our job is to do His work, whatever work He has called us to, in such a way that He gets attention and glory-so that people are drawn to Him. If we draw too much attention to ourselves, we’re likely to become like the pile of rubble on the stage of life.

Prayer

Father

You are so good!

Please, Lord, make me good too. And when people are drawn to Your goodness in me, let me be an instrument who draws attention to You, as Jesus did.

In His name,

Amen!

v 6 Almighty means, ruler of the universe.

v 7 Exceeding Glad Matt 5:12.

v 8 Righteousness Isaiah 59:17; Eph 6:14; Job 29:14; Psalm 132:9; Isaiah 61:10.

v 9 Blessed, the fourth of the seven beatitudes (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 20:6; 22:7, 14)

v 10 Don’t! Acts 10:25; Matt 18:28-33; Heb 1:7, 14; Jn 20:26-28. Testimony 1:2, 5, 9; 3:14; 12:17. The spirit of prophecy is Jesus’ testimony, or testimony about Jesus. Either way, such testimony is the heart of prophecy. Most OT prophecy points to Jesus.

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