The Lamb Who Was Slain
The Lamb Who Was Slain
o Opening: What would life be like if Jesus did not exist, if God wasn’t there? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73_IjNPmIEI )
o In a word,... Hopeless!
o Directed by award winning film maker and “Former” Christian, Brian Flemming makes a rather bold attempt at proving that God is not there!
o The movie, “The God who wasn’t there” claims:
The early founders of Christianity seem wholly unaware of the idea of a human Jesus
§ The Jesus of the Gospels bears a striking resemblance to other ancient heroes and the figureheads of pagan savior cults
§ Contemporary Christians are largely ignorant of the origins of their religion
§ Fundamentalism is as strong today as it ever has been, with an alarming 44% of Americans believing that Jesus will return to earth in their lifetimes
o Quote: It was a “former atheist, CS Lewis, who said “"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling 'darkness' on the wall of his cell..."
o FCF: By extension, just as the refusal to worship God fails to diminish His glory, the refusal to acknowledge God fails to diminish His reality.
o Transition: So I propose another question this morning, “What would life be like if Jesus did exist, if God was there?”
§ Life would have purpose and meaning
§ Humanity would have value and intrinsic worth
§ Calamity and Persecution would have an end
§ The world and all of creation would have an author.
§ Fallen humanity would have a redeemer.
§ If Jesus does exist and God is really there, this broken world and all that is in it would someday be made right, the enemies of God would be brought down and the children of God would be lifted up!
§ **If Jesus does exist and God really is there, the only logical response would be worship!**
Ø Transition: Over the past number of weeks it is this very train of thought that Pastor Paul has been directing you towards through the book of Daniel.
o In spite of captivity and destruction, God was in control. The spotlight of God’s sovereignty shines bright throughout the book of Daniel as well as the pages of human history. The fortunes of kings and the affairs of men are not left up to chance and as was revealed to Daniel, God is feverishly active in bringing his plan of redemption to fruition.
o As Pastor Paul has recently been teaching, there is much to be happy about as found in the book of Daniel, but Interestingly, Daniel confesses two times in Dan 12:4-13 that he doesn’t fully understand it all.
o Dan 12:9 God says “Go your way Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time”.
Ø Transition: It is with this in mind that we fast forward this morning to the book of Revelation Chapters 4-5
o The first chapter of Revelation reveals to us the person of Christ, as John is exiled on the Island of Patmos he is given a glorious vision of Christ and the text tells us that John fell as a dead man at His feet until Jesus places His right hand on his shoulder and says fear not.
o In chapters 2-3 we are given an intimate look into the life and practice of seven literal historical Churches that may also be representative of believers both in John’s day and at any time in the history of the church
o In both chapters 4 and 5, the scene shifts to heaven.
o In chapter 4, we see the worship of God the Father.
o **In chapter 5, we will experience the worship of Jesus Christ, as all of Heaven seeks one worthy to open the book or scroll which is thought by many to be the book God instructed Daniel to seal until the end times.**
o We find later that the opening of the scroll results in the pouring out of Judgment which takes place from chapter 6 all the way through to chapter 18, furthermore, I propose that on a larger scale, this is the fulfillment of his redemptive plan.
o The majority of us here today believe that something takes place before this time of horrendous judgment between chapters 1-5 referred to as the “Rapture”,
o Yet, no matter your perspective of the Millennium, Tribulation, and the Rapture, we can all agree that the entirety of Scripture is given so that we my better understand how to Glorify God with our lives.
Ø Sermon Idea: The matchless Lamb of God is worthy of the comprehensive worship of our lives.
Ø He is worthy because of who He is: 1-7
Ø He is worthy because of what He has done: 8-14
- Division 1: He is worthy of our worship because of who He is (5:1-7)
- Rev 5:1-4 The Problem
- Right Hand: Side of favor and strength throughout the Bible. Him on the throne: *God the Father in a position of sovereign authority.
- Book: A book which contains that which is spelled out in the following chapters of Judgment which must come to pass.
*The meaning of the scroll is best understood by recognizing the truth in a few different areas:
· A Catalog of Judgments - Judgments of lament and mourning and woe attend the opening of each seal (and the subsequent trumpets and bowls).
· Prophetic Revelation - As the seals are removed from the scroll, events unfold which are the fulfillment of prophetic themes found elsewhere in Scripture..
· A Testament - The testamentary nature of the scroll is seen in the fact that only the slain Lamb can open it (Heb. 9:15-17; Rev. 5:9+). Opening the scroll ultimately brings about the outworking of unfulfilled promises of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-37; Rom. 11:26-27; etc.).
· A Deed of Purchase - By opening of the scroll, the Lamb takes as His inheritance that which He had already purchased (Rev. 5:9+). His inheritance includes an enduring kingdom and the title deed to the earth (Ps. 2:6-8).
- Sealed, seven seals: In John’s day people used a seal to keep the contents of a document secret, unchangeable, and free from tampering until one with authority broke it. Strong Angel proclaiming loudly: *As a Herald, the Angel proclaims with loud authority that one with sufficient authority must open the scroll or book. “Who is worthy to open the book and break it’s seals?”
- Worthy: This must be one qualified, not merely willing.
- The call is met with the deafening sound of silence, The mighty archangels Michael and Gabriel dare not speak, the thousands of other angels stood speechless, all the righteous of ages past, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David and the list continues, they too lacked the worthiness necessary for such a task.
- I Wept: W. A. Criswell explains why John wept: “[John’s tears] represent the tears of all God’s people through all the centuries. Those tears of the Apostle John are the tears of Adam and Eve, driven out of the Garden of Eden, as they bowed over the first grave, as they watered the dust of the ground with their tears over the silent, still form of their son, Abel. Those are the tears of the children of Israel in bondage as they cried unto God in their affliction and slavery. They are the tears of God’s elect through the centuries as they cried unto heaven. They are the sobs and tears that have been wrung from the heart and soul of God’s people as they looked on their silent dead, as they stand beside their open graves, as they experience in the trials and sufferings of life, heartaches and disappointments indescribable. Such is the curse that sin has laid upon God’s beautiful creation; and this is the damnation of the hand of him who holds it, that usurper, that interloper, that intruder, that alien, that stranger, that dragon, that serpent, that Satan-devil. ‘And I wept audibly,’ for the failure to find a Redeemer meant that this earth in its curse is consigned forever to death. It meant that death, sin, damnation and hell should reign forever and ever and the sovereignty of God’s earth should remain forever in the hands of Satan” [Expository Sermons on Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969), 3:69-70]2
- Rev 5:5-7 The Solution
- Elders: A representative of the redeemed. Stop weeping and behold! *Though the universal search seemed to turn up with nothing, John was in the presence of one who alone was worthy.
- Lion of Judah: Illusion to Gen 49 which predicts that the future messiah would come from the tribe of Judah, the royal tribe, the tribe of the kings.
- Root of David: Jesus was born in the Line of David, fulfilling the Davidic covenant that David’s throne would be established like the sun and moon.
- Throughout history although the branches have continually been chopped back but Satan has never been able to terminate the root no matter his attempt.
- Has Overcome: Here we see the fountain of the “Overcomer” theme found throughout scripture:
- Sin, Death, and all the forces of Hell He overcame or was victorious over and is able to open the scroll.
- I saw a Lamb standing: John looking for the Lion sees a Lamb instead!
- As if Slain: Here we see a paradox, a lamb as if slain, yet, standing.
- It has been said, “the only man-made thing in heaven will be the scars of the Savior.” Isaiah informs us, “His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:14).
- The signature of the redeemer are the scars he bares!
- Seven Horns and Eyes: Representing the omnipotence and omniscience, the power and knowledge of Christ.
- Seven Spirits of God: Symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit.
- Took the Book: In one dramatic and beautiful moment the Lion-Lamb now boldly approaches the throne and in an exchange that indicates a relationship of perfect measure he takes the book from the Father on the Throne.
“No doubt all of heaven was as silent as a whisper as the Lamb who was slain to take away the sins of the world now stands and begins to move towards the Father. On earth, sin has left in its wake the ashes of broken lives and relationships, the bones of death and murder, and justice has remained slumbering as grace remained diligent. Yet, in just a matter of moments He would reveal in the paradoxical package of a nail pierced, thorn scarred, and spear marked body that His scars tell a story of redemption rather than defeat. Nearing the Father, the worshipful angels stood motionless, arrested by the moment that all of creation had been groaning for. In that single moment, the scarred hands of the Son, the lamb who was slain, takes from the Sovereign hands of the Father, that which would bring to fruition the redemptive plan of creation and the long deferred judgment of the world. “May I introduce you to the Savior of the World, the Lamb who was slain, Jesus! (Benny Stiltner)
He is Worthy of our worship because of who He is!
o Division 2: He is worthy of our worship because of what He has done (5:8-14)
- Picture of worship: The remainder of the chapter is an amazing display of worship. Through John’s vision we will get a glimpse of heavenly worship which will consist of three songs. The first two will be directed toward the Lamb and the last to both God the Father and the Lamb.
**The Worshipers: Four Living Creatures, Twenty-Four Elders
**The Object of Worship: The Lamb
**The Reason: His Sacrifice
**The Worshipers: The Angels, Living Creatures and Elders
**The Object of Worship: The Lamb
**The Reason: His Sacrifice
**The Worshipers: All Creation
**The Object of Worship: The Father and the Lamb
Ø Song 1: Four Living creatures-Twenty-Four elders: Rev 5:8-10:
· Four Living Creatures: Angelic Beings of Worship introduced in chapter 4
· 24 Elders: Representatives of the Redeemed
· Fell Down: profound humility of worship and recognition of the Lamb’s finished work of redemption and His worthiness to now accomplish what He is about to do.
- Holding harps and bowls which are prayers of the saints: The harp is an instrument of praise * One view of the prayers is that they are the petitions of a people longing for the finished work of Christ.
- The continual cries of God’s elect throughout history are like the fragrance of incense which rises to God (Ps. 141:1-2).
- New Song: It is a song with new quality, or new kind.
- In the song we are given four aspects regarding the worth of the Lamb:
- 1) The reason for His Worth (9a)
- Slain : Reference to the cross and the redemptive death of Christ.
- 2) The Result of His Sacrifice (9b-10)
- Redeemed: To redeem is to purchase, not with the deflating dollar or coins of Kings but with His incorruptible blood.
- Made us kings (we rein)
- Priest (we serve).
- What kind of Kingdom is this?“A Kingdom can be understood as that place where the will and desires of the King are consistently displayed in the lives of those in the Kingdom.
- Will reign on the earth (cf. Rev. 20:4-6) – looks to the millennial kingdom in which the redeemed will reign with Christ for 1000 years.
Ø Song 2: The Angels, Creatures and Elders: Rev 5:11-12:
· Myriads and thousands: The number of the Angels can’t even be calculated; the language here indicated an innumerable host of Angels.
- Saying with loud voice: The word for voice here indicates that it is a singular voice, the Angels were saying or singing in perfect unison. What follows is a seven-fold exaltation of the lamb beginning with again the reason for His worth:*
- The Reason for His Worth:
- Slain: we are again reminded that our praise and adoration finds as fountain an acknowledgment of His sacrifice. The Result of His Sacrifice:*
- He is Worthy to receive….
- Power: (Unlimited Ability)He alone is worthy of the power that creates at just a word, that loosens the grip of death at just a word, that calms the storms of the sea at just a word, that forgives the sins of man at just a word! Wealth: Unconditional Wealth)* All is created by Him and for Him, He is the possessor of not 10% but 100% of everything!
- Wisdom: (Mental Excellence) Pointing to His omniscience or complete knowledge of all, but not merely knowledge, knowledge exercised skillfully.
- Strength: (Superhuman Power) Pointing towards His omnipotence, not only do we serve a God who makes promises, but He is wholly capable of fulfilling such promises.
- Honor: (Praise of Character) the value and respect which is due to Christ because of Who He is and what He has and will accomplish to the glory of God and the benefit of the world.
- Glory: (Majestic Radiance) the public adoration uninhibited by doubt relating to who He is and what He has and will continue to accomplish.
o Praise: (Thanksgiving) It refers to the praise that should be given to the Lord because of His wonderful acts of redemption.
- Song 3: All Creation: Rev 5:13
- The scene of Worship now slightly shifts and is now directed to both the one who sits on the throne and the lamb showing full equality in the Father and Son.
- Everywhere and everything worships the Father and the Son.
- The stones, the birds, the animals, and the fish the Rocks no longer silent finally cry out—all creation had been groaning under the futility of the curse, now all will be made right (Rom 8:18-23).
- The Reason for the Worship: 2 Implied Truths
- The Fathers Sovereignty: On the Throne
- The Lambs Sacrifice: “Lamb” implies sacrifice
- No greater reasons than sovereignty and sacrifice deserving a life of worship!
- Praise, Honor and Glory had already been ascribed, but now “Dominion” is also in view:
- The emphasis here seems to point to the rule and reigning that Christ will have through the events of righteous judgment that take place in chapters 6-19.
- Vs 14: Creatures and Elders say amen and fall down in worship: What a picture of all encompassing praise.
- This is heaven’s response—the response of the angelic hosts asserting the validity of the praise. The falling down of the elders who represent the redeemed in worship shows the church’s response to the sovereignty of God and the worthiness of the Lamb to now extend that sovereignty to earth and recover it for God and redeemed mankind
- Again and again in this section we are reminded of the sacrifice of the Lamb who was slain….He is worthy of our worship because of what He has done!
Ø What if God wasn’t there? If Jesus didn’t exist?... we would have much reason to weep!
Ø But….what if He did? …we would have much reason to Worship!
Ø The emphasis of this chapter is clearly worship!
Ø But a further emphasis is the unified expression of worship.
- No one is preoccupied with themselves or with people. * All attention is on the Lamb.
- No one is occupied with protecting their frail egos, fighting for attention, or worried about what others are doing.
- No one is seeking to promote their hidden agendas, for none now exist.
Ø This is the Worship God desires and Christ deserves from our lives.
He remains the center of the universe. It is God, not man, for whom all things were and are created. It is His glory, not our glorification, that is important. As the Westminster Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” We must never neglect this reality or come to feel that somehow the chief end of God is to glorify man! 
Illustration: John Piper Desiring God pg 99
Larry Richards and Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher's Commentary, Includes index., 1079 (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1987).