Title: Who Is Worthy.
Text: Revelation 5:1-14.
CIT: Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah is worthy of worship.
Theme: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are the only entities in the universe worthy of worship.
One of the great tragedies of English fiction was published in 1623 — Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Near the end the queen, Macbeth’s wife, dies. By this time Macbeth has so lost his conscience that he was unable to feel anything. He tells of his weariness in the following lines:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all of our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Four hundred years later, many people still agree with Macbeth. History has no pattern. History has no goal. As Solomon would say in Ecclesiastes, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
The Christian view, the biblical view is that God has a plan, He has a script for the future of the universe. In Revelation 5, we find a scroll written on both sides which emphasizes this as clearly as any passage in God’s Word. In our Scriptures, we see God’s plan unfolding. Jesus knows all about the breaking the seals and all that is to come. He is in charge of making sure God’s plan is carried out. We see something else in this chapter, God’s plan includes Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God at the very center of all that is happening in God’s plan. I invite you to travel this road with me this morning noticing “Who Is Worthy.” Notice first,
I. The Scroll and the Seals (Rev 5:1-7).
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Do you feel the drama building around the throne concerning the Savior and the scroll. In these verses John identifies the scroll and he emphasizes its importance. The scroll contains the events of the Tribulation period, and is the summary of what God is going to do in human history to bring it to an end. First, see
a. The Identity of the Scroll.
The scroll is not given a title. Scholars have debated exactly what the scroll represents. Some say it is God’s last will and testament. There can be little question in my mind that the scroll is God’s Judgment Scroll. It contains His plans to condemn wickedness and reward righteousness. God has a plan, a purpose and its written on this scroll.
We can also learn something of its identity as the scroll was described as: (1) Being written on both sides, which tells us it contained a lot of information; (2) It was sealed with seven seals, which tells us it was an important document and it was private.
b. The Importance of the Scroll.
The scroll contains much more than the seven seal judgments that we read about in chapter 6. When you are reading through Revelation 6, you will find that when the seventh seal is opened, it reveals the seven trumpet judgments of which the last one announces seven vials or last plagues to be poured out upon the earth. The scroll actually contains everything that is shown to us in Revelation 6 through 22.
Also see that God didn’t let just anyone make this pronouncement, He used a “mighty angel” which implies the importance of the message. The “mighty angel” also spoke with a “loud” voice. Loud voices are mentioned in other places in Revelation to denote the importance of what is being said. The importance of the scroll.
I think the greatest importance of the scroll is to point out that only One person in all the universe is worthy to open and read its contents. The angel said in a loud voice, “Who is worthy.” Then we are told that “No man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth” can unseal the book. No historian can foretell it. Nor spiritualist nor astrologist can tell it. No religious leader has had it revealed to him. The sadness of it all leads John to literally cry until an elder points out the Lamb.
c. The Introduction of the Savior.
One of the elders urges John not to cry because there is One who is worthy and can remove the seals, the Lamb. The Lamb is found the center of everything. In the very midst of the throne, the four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders. Can I say, Jesus is still the center of everything. Amen. Look with me and see:
1. He Is The Lion.
In describing Christ as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” the elder is referring to the Messianic promise given to Judah in Genesis 48:10.
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
The One to whom the scepter belongs, the Messiah, comes from the Tribe of Judah. Jesus Christ, the Messianic Lion of Judah, will reign over all the earth. He is the Lion. Then,
2. He is the Lamb.
What a paradox: Lion and Lamb. It is as the Lamb where Jesus’ power is revealed. Notice, that this Lamb is an unusual looking Lamb. This Lamb has seven horns, which speak of His omnipotence, His power. He also has seven eyes which represents the seven fold Spirit of God. Words cannot give credence to who Jesus really is. Next see:
II. The Savior and the Song (5:8-14).
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
How do you introduce the greatest, most influential person in world history. You could say several things: He is the Son of God. The Son of Man. The Son of David. He is the branch of David’s dynasty. He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega of the Greek alphabet. He is the Bright and Morning Star. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Light of the world. He is our High Priest, Redeemer, King of the Jews, the Hope of Israel. I could go on forever and never be able to adequately introduce who Jesus really is. When I give it thought, I want to fall on my knees, hide my face, and cry holy, holy, holy and that is exactly what happened in heaven. Look with me and see:
a. The Reaction of the Host.
Two things happened immediately — the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders “fell down before the Lamb,” and “they sang a new song.” The first was an act of humility and submission, the latter an act of praise and worship. What a beautiful picture.
I have often thought about what my first reaction is going to be when I see Jesus, especially since the song “I Can Only Imagine” came out. I think it will just like this, I will fall on my knees in humility and reverence and sing His praises with a new song.
The word “new” here is not new in time but new in quality and freshness. The words of this “new song” are recorded for us and we learn some wonderful things about the Lamb from its words:
1. It tells us why the Lamb is worthy. He is worthy because He was slain, because He has redeemed us, and because He has made us kings and priests.
2. His worthiness is based on His death. His blood was the price for our redemption. It is not based upon our performance or personal worthiness, we are bought with a price.
He is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. They fell down and worshiped Him. Have you? Have you surrendered your all to Christ? Do you sing and live out His praise?
b. The Response of Creation.
When you read these verses, you just want to sing the great song “Crown Him With Many Crowns.” It is God’s matchless invitation for us to join heaven in their worship of the Lamb:
Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon the throne;
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own.
Awake, my soul, sing of Him
Who died for thee.
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Crown Him the Lord of love;
Behold His hands and side;
Those wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified.
All hail Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me.
Thy praise and glory
shall not fail throughout eternity.
May we never forget this marvelous scene depicted for us in these verses. How we need to understand the ultimate objective of God for all His creation is to worship and praise of Almighty God. We will one day participate in that heavenly scene if we are in Christ.
Today, we join in God’s everlasting plan by choosing to worship and praise Jesus Christ. Less than a quarter century after Macbeth was written, in 1647, a group of Englishmen met to publish the Westminister Shorter Catechism. They had the power to answer Macbeth’s complaint: “Is history going anywhere?” with the answer “Yes!” They said, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
The question is will we side with Macbeth or with the Westminister Assembly? Will we Christians show our faith and tell the world that history is going somewhere. The most important way we can do so is to be part of a Christian Community – a church – committed to worshiping Jesus as its primary goal. Fellowship, evangelism, Bible Study, works of service, reaching out to the needy. Our invitation is for you to join the millions who have sung these worthy lines of praise to Jesus.
In a moment we are going to sing a song of invitation. It is your invitation to come and accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Come and sing a new song.
It is also for you to come in obedience and follow the Lord in believer’s baptism and or church membership.
God might be speaking to you about something else, a decision He wants you to make public, I want to invite you to come also.
I want to invite you to come as we sing.
FBC, Hughes, AR 08/9/09