Summary: Worshiping in community with others brings us the assurance that God is with us and keeps us from shutting down hope.
Title: Worshiping In a World Atilt
Text: Revelation 7:9-17
Thesis: Worshiping in community with others brings us the assurance that God is with us and keeps us from shutting down hope.
Clip: I Sure Could Use a Little Good News Today http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4lyjseJMG0
This morning I want you to know that there are two good reasons for your being here today.
The first good reason for you to be in church today is that church is the safest place to be on the planet.
• You should avoid riding in a car because 20% of all fatalities are auto accident related.
• You should not stay home because 17% of all fatal accidents occur in the home.
• You should avoid walking on streets or sidewalks because 14% of all fatalities involve pedestrians.
• You should avoid traveling by air, rail and water because 16% of all fatalities involve these three forms of travel.
• You should also avoid hospitals because 32% of deaths occur in hospitals.
You will be pleased to know that .001% of deaths occur in church. So one good reason for being here today is because it is one of the safest places on the planet to be.
The second good reason you should be here today is because it is during our time of worship that we learn, God wants us to know that there is a little good news today.
I. God wants us to know there is a little good news today.
“Before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne. And they cried out in a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” Revelation 7:10
I read this week that as of April 23rd, 71% of our national households had mailed back their 2010 Census forms. If that is the case nearly three out of four households have returned their forms. However, in that our population is approaching 400 million people, a sizeable number of households are yet to be counted. It would seem that our country is a big one and that there are quite a few of us in the world. However, when we look at the big picture, think globally and do the math, we see that if the population of the world is nearly 7 billion, then there are 6.6 billion other people living on the planet with us. We see that there are 195 countries in the world and see that there are 6,700 languages spoken globally… and those stats do not speak to the numbers of sub-groups or ethnicities within every country or of the dialects they speak.
The scene that John depicts in our text leaps forward in time to envision a scene in heaven where a crowd so large that it cannot be counted; a crowd made up of people from every nation, tribe, people and language; a crowd in which everyone is dressed in a white robe and waving a palm branch; a crowd that is singing or chanting or calling out in unison, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
When we read the book of Revelation we are inclined to read it as a prophecy of end-time destruction. We may even read Revelation as a presage of the coming of God’s wrath and judgment. But the intent of Revelation is that John’s vision be a beacon of hope to the Christians to whom he wrote. His intent was to assure Christians of God’s control and ultimate triumph in a world of evil and chaos.
John’s intent was to bring to Christians who were living during a very dark period of history, a little good news. But the good news that he envisioned was not yet… it was good news that would unfold in the future. It was good news that was a future hope. It was not now but a hope for then. So the vision of this huge multitude singing of the salvation of the Lord was to be anticipated and give hope for the future in the present.
John wanted his readers to live with the knowledge of an inside scoop, that the “game is rigged.” He wanted Christians to know that whatever the score is now… in the end God wins. John wanted his readers to relax and live in the hope of the ultimate triumph of God and good over evil.
I recently read a series of four “An Irish Country…” stories by Patrick Taylor. The first, An Irish Country Doctor; the second, An Irish Country Village; the third, An Irish Country Christmas; and the fourth, An Irish Country Girl. This story comes from An Irish Country Christmas and the setting is a small village in Northern Ireland called Balleybucklebo.