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The Four Living Creatures

Worship & The Word / Pastor Robert Morris
The Truth Network Radio
October 3, 2021 8:00 am

The Four Living Creatures

Worship & The Word / Pastor Robert Morris

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October 3, 2021 8:00 am

Pastor Robert shares what the four living creatures in the Bible reveal about our live as believers and God’s grace for us.

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Welcome to Worship in the Word with Pastor Robert Morris. Today we're starting a series called The Four Living Creatures. In this new series, Pastor Robert shares what the four heavenly creatures in the Bible represent for the body of Christ worldwide, our church, and our own lives.

This is a phenomenal message. So, let's join Pastor Robert now. Alright, so the series you've all been waiting for, The Four Living Creatures, mentioned in Revelation and Ezekiel. And so we're going to talk about the four living creatures. Let me just let you know that I'm going to spend the majority of the message building the foundation for this today, talking about the four living creatures, because I believe these, the faces of these creatures, represent an aspect of the church and of our personal lives that we need to understand. So I'll spend most of the message doing that, just so if you're one of those that you think, it's been 15 minutes and he's not even.1 yet, we need to call the restaurant and move our dinner plans.

We'll still get out on time. I just have to build a foundation first, okay? And so we're gonna do that. So, I call this message The Four Foundations, because the four faces of these four creatures are foundational to the church. Any church you attend needs to have these four foundations, and you need to have these four foundations in your life. And I'm going to show you they're not just foundations, but with God, He builds on these foundations.

And He builds on these, periodically, so that we go higher and higher in these four areas, alright? So we're going to start in Revelation chapter 4, and I'm gonna read the whole chapter to you. It's only 11 verses, but I'm gonna give you a little bit of background on the four living creatures, alright?

And this has nothing to do with end times, by the way. That's not, that's not, you won't hear that at all in this part, because I don't believe that's what the four living creatures represent. So Revelation chapter 4, verse 1. After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.

Immediately I was in the Spirit. And behold, a throne set in heaven, and one set on the throne. And he who sat there, now I'm gonna talk about this in just a moment, was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance.

So, well, I'm gonna go ahead and read the rest of the verse, just, and then I'll talk about it. And there was a rainbow around the throne in appearance like an emerald. Okay, so a jasper and a sardius stone. In Exodus 28, the priest had a breastplate on, and that breastplate had 12 stones. And each stone represented a tribe of Israel. The jasper represented the tribe of Israel.

Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob, and the sardius represents the tribe of Benjamin, his lastborn. So he says this, and the person sitting on the throne was like jasper and sardius stone. So in other words, this is so good when you think about it, he was Jesus, because he's the first and the last. The Bible fits together perfectly.

It's absolutely incredible. So when Israel would see these stones, they knew God is talking about the first and last. In chapter one, when Jesus reveals himself to John on the island of Patmos, where the book of Revelation was written, he says, his way introduces himself, I'm the first and the last. I'm the beginning and the end.

I'm the alpha and the omega. So that's what the jasper and the sardius stone represents here. And then it says that there was a rainbow around the throne. Now if you'll think about this, a rainbow is a semi-circle. It's only half a circle. But it's around the throne, so it's the full circle. And the rainbow represents the promise of God, of grace.

And here's what he's saying. At the throne, the promise is complete. It is now completed because God's done what he wanted to do. So that's verse three. So then look at verse four. Now, just to let you know, most theologians believe, and I believe this as well, that the 24 elders represent the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament and the 12 apostles in the New Testament.

So that's where you get the 24 from. Verse five. Just again, giving you background, Isaiah, if you want to know what the seven spirits of God are, they're in Isaiah 11, verse two. So they're listed right in Isaiah 11, verse two.

The middle five are easy to see. The first one's the spirit of the Lord. The seventh one is the spirit of the fear of the Lord.

And then the other five are simply just listed there, very easy to see. Verse six. The four living creatures, full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, or this is a young ox.

The third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within, and they do not rest day or night, saying, Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created. Now remember, these 12 stones I talked about a moment ago that the breastplate of the priests had 12 stones, the 12 tribes of Israel.

These 12 stones are also in the foundation of New Jerusalem. So what I'm going to be sharing is that these four living creatures represent the foundation of the church and the foundation of our lives. I'll just show you one more. You can go read the rest of Revelation chapter 6, 7, and then some of the other ones to about verse 19, you'll see the four living creatures. Let me just show you chapter 6. These are all the odd verses. If you want to try to remember 1, 3, 5, and 7, watch the four living creatures. Verse 1, Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, Come and see. Verse 3, When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, Come and see. Verse 5, When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, Come and see. Verse 7, When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, Come and see.

So the living creatures speak, and what are they seeing? They're saying, Come and see the unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ. And let me tell you something about the book of Revelation, and I believe that many, many people miss it.

And they say this is end times. The book of Revelation does have some passages about end times. The book of Revelation, though, tells us about what happened before the fall, before the earth was ever created. It actually tells us about the fall of Satan and the third of the angels falling. That's in Revelation.

That's not future. It also tells us about the coming of the Messiah the first time. It also tells us about the birth of the church. So the book of Revelation is so much more, and we write it off as something we can't understand. But you will miss Revelation if you think this is the revelation of end times. It is not the revelation of end times.

I'll tell you what it is. It's in the first five words of the book. Revelation 1, 1 says the revelation of Jesus Christ. It doesn't say the revelation of end times.

It says the revelation of Jesus Christ. If you read the book of Revelation and you don't see Jesus, you missed it. You've missed the whole point. You're missing the whole point.

And so many people get caught up on so many things instead of Jesus. Here's what it's about. So here we go. My three points.

All right. And again, we'll spend more time on the first one. Number one, the four foundations of the church. The four living creatures represent the four foundations of the church. Now we're going to go back to Ezekiel chapter 1, verse 4. Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north. A great cloud was raising fire, engulfing itself.

Brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber. This is very similar to the vision John had. Out of the midst of the fire, also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. Here's Ezekiel. We just read it in Revelation.

Watch the faces. Same thing in Revelation. Ezekiel 1, verse 10. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man, each of the four had the face of a lion. On the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox. And again, Revelation says a calf.

It's a young calf, a young ox. On the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Verse 15. As I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. This is important because the wheel represents the Holy Spirit.

I'll show you that in a moment. Verse 17. When they moved, when the four creatures moved, they went toward any one of four directions. They did not turn aside when they went. So they didn't turn.

They just moved. The creature never turned. Verse 19. When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them. And when the living creatures were lifted up, so there's a raising up.

You get higher and higher from the earth. The wheels were lifted up wherever the Spirit wanted to go. So the Spirit is in the wheel. Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, they, the creatures, went. That's the church. Because there, the Spirit went. And the wheels were lifted together with them for the Spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

All right. So let me just, just a little overview. Four creatures. Each creature has four faces.

Face of a man, face of a lion, face of an eagle, face of an ox. Wherever the Spirit goes, the creatures go. So here's what you need to understand. As a church, that's where we're focusing first.

Then we're talking about us as individuals. This is what happens at churches. The Holy Spirit leads us, because remember, it says the wheels, which represents the Holy Spirit, is they're lifted up.

And as the wheels are lifted up, the creatures lifted up. So what happens is as a church, a church will begin to focus on grace, and then focus on prayer maybe, and then focus on servanthood, and then focus on worship. And then when we focus on grace again, now we're at a higher level. And when we focus on prayer, now we're at a higher level. And then on servanthood, we go to a higher level. Then worship, we go even higher. And then we focus on grace again, we go higher.

Are y'all following me? This is exactly what happens in a church. Now, one of these you relate to more than the other. Here's the tendency, though, if you're not cautious, that the church you're going to will be focusing on what you want. You'll go visit that church, and that church is, boy, that's a worshiping church. Oh, man, I found home.

I found home. And then all of a sudden, the Spirit turns and you're like, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, what happened? Wait, wait, we're off base. We're off track. We were going in the right direction, and then the Spirit turns again, and we go another way. Are you following me? And then the Spirit will lead, and we'll go back, and we'll go deeper in worship.

And this is what people think. Thank God. I've been praying for Pastor Robert. He finally heard God. And he's preaching like he should again on worship in the presence of God, because that's where it is.

Are y'all following me? But what I want to say to you is just hold on, because the Spirit wants to take us higher in all four of these areas as a church. And what I've seen people do is they'll go visit a church, and it's going in their direction, and they'll join the church, and then the Spirit changes. So they go look for another church.

And they find another church that's going in their direction, they join that one, but then the Spirit changes. Not because worship's not important, but because he wants to take us higher in our understanding of another area. So these are the four foundations of the church. Here's number two, the four foundations of life. These are four foundations in your life.

Ezekiel chapter 3 verse 13, I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touch one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise. Now watch verse 14. So the Spirit lifted me up. So it's not just the church, it's not just a foundation of the church, it's a foundation in your life. If you're not strong in one of these areas, you could ask God to take you higher in that area. You could say, you know, I love worship, love the presence of God.

I feel like God's given me a good understanding of his grace. I'm serving, I'm committed somewhere, but Lord, I need to go higher in my prayer life. I need to become a prayer warrior for my family. I need to become a prayer warrior for my kids.

Now this is a frequent prayer of parents of teenagers. I need to go higher in prayer for my marriage. I need to go higher in prayer for my business. I need to go higher in prayer. Okay, that's great, because the Holy Spirit wants to lead you there. So these are four foundations, not just in the church, but they have to be in your life.

And so during this series, we're going to look at each of these foundations and say, where are you? Can we as a church go higher, not just as a church, corporately, but I as an individual, can I go higher in my prayer life? Can I go higher in my worship life? Can I go higher in my humility serving others? And can I go higher in being gracious and kind to other people as well? And my understanding of grace, even in forgiving myself.

Can I go higher? These are four foundations of the church. They're four foundations of life. And then I'll take each week and go through a foundation.

So I don't, I just have one little application on this one. So here's the first foundation. Really, it's point number three. It's the foundation of grace. The foundation of grace. And I preach on grace a lot.

And I sprinkle every message with grace. Because the strength of sin is the law. That's 1 Corinthians 15, 56.

Let me just say that again, because this is so heavy, you should meditate on this much. The strength of sin is the law. Those seven words. In other words, if I stand up and preach law to you, sin actually has strength in your life.

It gets stronger and stronger. The more I say don't, don't, don't, the stronger sin gets. You say, well, what overcomes sin? Love. See, I'm faithful to my wife, not because I stood in front of a preacher one day and said, I do. But because I love her. That's going to trump every commitment that I make by words. It's love. So I preach on grace a lot.

A lot. So, but I have one burden on grace for today for us. Before I do, let me just show you why I say the man represents grace. It's because the man, and I don't know if any theologian doesn't believe in this, he represents Jesus and grace came through Jesus. Jesus referred to himself just in the gospel of Matthew 30 times as the son of man.

He's the first one ever referred to himself that way. The son of man. Because he's God and became man. 82 times in the gospels, Jesus refers to himself as the son of man. Let me just show you a few in Matthew. Matthew 12 verse 8, for the son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Matthew 16, 13, who do men say that I, the son of man, am? Matthew 16, 27, for the son of man will come in the glory of his father. Matthew 18, 11, for the son of man has come to save that which was lost. Matthew 20, 28, just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve. Matthew 26, 2, you know that after two days is the Passover, and the son of man will be delivered up to be crucified. So Jesus is the son of man. And then why do I say he represents grace?

John 1, 17, for the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. So I have one burden about grace. Because I've preached a lot of series on grace, but I've got one burden for all of us right now.

Okay? And that is, how gracious are you to yourself? Are you still giving yourself grace? Because when you got saved, you received grace. But are you still receiving grace ten years later? You're still receiving grace for your failures after you got saved. Paul, traveling to Corinth, comes to Ephesus, Acts 19, and he says to them, have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?

So it's a great question. Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? I thought about that question, and this is what I want to use that question and turn it toward the subject of grace.

Have you received grace since you believed? In other words, someone shared the gospel with you and said, all your sins can be forgiven. And you probably cried. And you thought, but I'm a bad person. And they said, yeah, but Jesus died.

And it's like a light came on, and you're like, yes. And you received the grace of God. But how are you at receiving the grace of God since you believed? Now, how are you about receiving the grace of God for your failures since you became a Christian? Not just what you did before Christ, but what you've done after Christ.

And here's a test. Do you play those failures over and over in your mind? A failed business, a failed relationship, a failed marriage, a failed venture, a failed dream. So are you still receiving grace?

It's like one little burden I have for you that could be a really big burden. After we started the church, the church took off. And Satan started attacking me.

I've told you before, my early 20s, I had a big-time failure in my marriage. And Satan started attacking me just with, what are you doing pastoring the church? What are you doing standing up there telling people how to live their lives with this failure in your life? What are you doing?

And I mean, it was just horrible shame, constant attack. So I'm sharing it with the elders one day. And they said, you know, maybe you need to talk to someone. And I said, you know, they said, is there anyone you feel that just comes to your mind? I said, you know, I've been thinking about it.

And we have a pastor that's on our staff now, Pastor Tommy Briggs. And I said, well, I just feel like Tommy could help me. So I go in the office the next day. And my assistant gives me, it used to be when you get a phone call, they'd write it on a little piece of paper.

Any of you that old? They'd tear off and you'd have a little stack of, you know. And she said to me when she was handing it to me, she said, a guy called here named Tommy Briggs, and he says he's one of your friends. Well, there's a lot of people that call my office, say they're one of my friends, you know.

So she'd gotten skeptical, you know. And, you know, I've got a lot of phone calls. He was your best friend in high school.

And I, you know, I don't know who they are. But anyway, he says he's one of your close friends. And he said he doesn't want to bother you. But he said he has a word from God for you. Now, I just told the elders this. So I called Tommy and we got together and he starts unfolding this word.

And then he says to me, I don't know what I'm talking about, Robert. I'm just telling you what God told me. But the failure that you committed after you got saved is under the blood like the failures you committed before you got saved. And you need to forgive yourself. And I received grace as a Christian.

Are y'all following me? We received grace when we come to Christ. But you need grace today. And this is one of the foundations that you can build your life on. We want you to take a moment to think about what Pastor Robert shared today and really listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. If you want to connect with us or check out some of Pastor Robert's other messages, visit And if you haven't already, go follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so we can be a part of your community. We're so glad that you joined us for the beginning of this series. Next time, Pastor Robert is going to share about humility and servanthood. Until then, have a blessed week.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-14 20:44:27 / 2023-08-14 20:54:07 / 10

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