Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Revelation 5:7-14 Worthy is the Lamb!



KEY TEXT: Revelation 5:7-14 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.

KEY THOT: Here is a picture of heavenly worship-it was full of music (harps) and prayers (bowls) and it was loud: "the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!" The atmosphere of heavenly worship is one of celebrative victory, energetic and lively. If heavenly worship is as described in this passage, then we need to be prepared for it by practising this kind of exuberant worship here on earth. Earthly worship must reflect and echo heavenly worship. 

In order to have such celebrative worship, we must focus on the Lamb who alone is worthy of worship. What makes the Lamb so worthy of our worship is his two-fold salvific work of rescue from divine wrath (ransom) and restoration unto divine favour (reigning priests): "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood (1) you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and (2) you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Some church traditions focus only on the ransom-from-sin part while others only on kingdom-and-priests part. The first tradition produces Christians who are passive and engaged in self-preservation while the second produces Christians who are superficial and triumphalist. We need both--the humility generated by experiencing grace of forgiveness and the boldness generated by the authority of our royal and priestly status.

The true focus of our faith should not be on ourselves -- whether as conquering saints or crinching sinners, but on Him who sits on the Throne: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" True worship is about giving God the blessing, honour, glory and power and less about us receiving the blessing, honour, glory and power. 

Too much focus on us receiving instead of us giving can turn our worship of God into self-worship. True worship is up-lifting and edifying because it enlarges our hearts and minds regarding who God is.

Abba-Father, You are worthy of our worship because to You alone belong all power, wealth, wisdom, might, honour, glory and blessing! And we are simply stewards of these blessings. Amen. 

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