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Worthy Is the Lamb

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
March 22, 2022 12:01 am

Worthy Is the Lamb

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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March 22, 2022 12:01 am

At the heart of God's unfolding purpose for history is the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is redeeming a people out of this fallen and fading world. Today, W. Robert Godfrey revels in the glorious hope that we have in our triumphant Savior.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind.

This is one of the most powerful pictures I think in the whole book of the Revelation that the lion is the Lamb. The conquest is death, and that that's the path the Savior walked and implicitly. It's the path the church us to walk as well. Until the day of final glory. It is a glorious and see the magnificent future of God's creation. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John describes the worship that takes place around God's throne.

But then a grave conundrum is presented in God's him rest of school that holds the future of the human race who is worthy to open to them Renewing Your Mind. We continue Dr. Robert Guthrie series on Revelation will explore this dramatic heavenly scene and realize the hope we have been the one who is worth only find ourselves back in the heavenly temple here at the end of the chapter 4 of the book of the Revelation of beginning of chapter 5 and having told you last time that so there's no description of the form of God that all the sudden out five verse one we have a physical description that I saw in the right hand of him who was on the throne. What we know God doesn't really have a right hand doesn't. He's not a physical being again we have a symbolic representation of God, the right hand being the place of honor and power and privilege in as a left-handed person. I was slightly object to that. But since it's in the Bible. I can't say enough. So here is God holding this seal. The seal of history, but rather the scroll of history sealed with seven seals and the John is eager to see history unfold history be unraveled. That's what's symbolized in the sense with the scroll and I heard a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals and no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it and did I don't think we should conceive that actually characters were brought forward to try this is like you know about sword and the stone in the Arthurian legends of various people trying to pull the sword out of the stone, but it's just that so John could immediately perceive that in all of creation. There is no one worthy to do this in verse four and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. John realizes how tragic it would be for human history. If no one was ever worthy and in his grief he is consoled them and one of the elders said to me, weep no more hold the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered, so he can open the scroll and its seven seals. So here's this moment where weeping turns to Troy and that's kind of the theme of the book of Revelation weeping will turn to joints guaranteed its promise and who is worthy, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, so here is an appeal to some of the greatest of the promises of the Old Testament, the messianic promises who will Messiah be chill be the lion of the tribe of Judah. Judah is the tribe given rule, and he'll be the root of David shall be the son of David, and here we have now these two primary images of lion and David lion strength, power, conquest is the one who has conquered and David the sign of the wise rule so this is exciting. This is exciting.

A figure of strength we want to turn around and see Saul. And that's always the temptation is that with the choice between Saul and David. We pick Saul these the tall one that's were my favorite passages in Scripture don't trust tall people that are not reliable but were looking for someone strong someone conquering verse six of chapter 5 in between the throne and the four living creatures, and among the elders. I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain when a remarkable moment. John turns to see the lion of Judah and what is a C. He sees a Lamb as if it had been slain. How did they slay lamps probably cut their throats, so this is a really gory picture of what would initially be understood to be failure, death, loss, and of course this is symbolic incident. It's not a hard symbol to read instead of a lion who conquers we have a Lamb who dies and in dieting conquers there's a whole picture of human history right there.

Strength is not what we expected to be.

Strength is where we would never expected to be victory is doesn't look like what we expect victory look like in human history. It looks very different and this is one of the most powerful pictures I think in the whole book of the Revelation that the lion is the Lamb that conquest is death, and that that's the path the Savior walked and implicitly.

It's the path the church us to walk as well. Until the day of final glory, but this Lamb although looking like it had been slain is alive and it's alive with seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God set out in all the earth, so this Lamb looking like a lamb that's been slain, nonetheless, has power is seven horns, horns are always a sign of power in the Bible. So yes power is seven eyes he sees everything and he has seven spirits seven spirits of God he sends forth the Holy Spirit into the world.

John's Gospel makes quite a pointer that doesn't work. Jesus says to his disciples. I will send my spirit upon you and and here is this vision of this Lamb who has conquered verse seven anywhere that he took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Now this is another of those important testimonies that the book pays to the divinity of Jesus. He is being worshiped here, just as God the father was being worshiped in chapter 4. They fall down before him and saying praise to him and him we also see how John helps us by interpreting symbols. Those worshiping before the throne, or holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints so you don't have to guess about what the golden bowls full of incense stand for and you can see what an appropriate symbol that is You. What is happens with Bernie incense will smoke goes up and the sweet smell goes up and that's a most appropriate picture of what the prayers of God's people are before him, he sees them as a presence and sweet aroma before him that he recognizes and honors and as we will see as we go along. Answers. So here's this beautiful picture and verse nine and they sang a new song okay and I would move from the old song of creation to the new song of redemption worthy. Remember the first word addressed to God as Creator was worthy. Now the first word addressed to the Lamb as God is worthy are you to take the scroll and open it seals what major worry. What was the qualification that qualified Jesus to be the scroll opener 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 to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth is a wonderful summary of redemption. Jesus ransomed the people. That is, he came to rescue them from their slavery to sin and that people is a people drawn from every tribe and language and people and nation's Jews and Gentiles is what we saw prophesied in Psalm 87. It's all these peoples brought together equal before God and part of his people, and you have made them to be a kingdom, one kingdom, they are united in one kingdom I don't see how a literalist can read this verse and conclude there are forever two kingdoms a Jewish kingdom and a Gentile kingdom. It's one kingdom. I'm not displacing the Jews, but bringing the Gentiles in with the Jews. All Gentiles and all Jews who believe will be saved and united in this one kingdom and they'll be no discrimination will all be priests before God and of that's a glorious promise here every redeemed person is a priest before God, and shall reign on earth reign on earth will come back to this several times but this is an important point. The hope of the Christian is not heaven. The hope of the Christian is a new heaven and a new earth in which we dwell in righteousness, the hope of the Christian is not just the redemption of the soul of the resurrection of the body, sometimes in our language, we can almost seem to forget and deny that. But to hear it's really_doesn't, we shall reign on earth.

So here's this wonderful song of praise, and then I looked and I heard around the throne and the living creatures of the elders. The voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands and thousands saying, worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.

Almost all are forced to hear the chorus from the Messiah as we read those words and I heard every creature in heaven. Unremarked on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all that is in them, saying to him, 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. When glorious see all redeemed reality before God, all saying the old song of creation and the new song of redemption and filled with joy in the presence of God. So this is the introduction I were just getting started here in the second cycle so chapters 4 and five are introductions a long introduction as I said, not everything is neatly balanced in the John's divisions of the book, the longest cycle of the seven cycles in the book run. Still hundred 10 versus hundred 10 versus that's the seventh cycle and the short of cycle, the fifth cycles.

Only 15 versus you know that's a lot like the Psalter resident Psalm 117 is to versus Psalm 119 is over hundred 70 versus so it doesn't always have to be all nicely balanced. My daughter always preferred that we read Psalm 117 at the table and tried to avoid Psalm 119 so, but there doesn't have to be a balance there's an exuberance here than a kind of freedom.

But here's the backdrop to what's going to happen in cycle to the introduction must never be forgotten. We don't really introduction a move on. The introduction remains the introduction, the reality that guides us as we turn to the opening of the seals. But before we open the sales exit before we watched Jesus open the seals didn't notice here in these songs.

And in this description of Jesus as we find it in Revelation 1. Now, as we find it again in Revelation 5. The name Jesus doesn't appear the name Jesus doesn't appear.

In fact, in the book of the Revelation the name of Jesus appears only 14 times and most of those are either in the very beginning or the very end. I'm not exactly sure why that's true, maybe in part because so much is symbolic and John wants us to think through the symbols and God doesn't want us to think Jesus is a symbol of anything.

Jesus is the reality to which the symbols point and Jesus is all through this book.

But it's interesting not by name. Just as handles great oratory of the Messiah is entirely centered around Jesus, but his name isn't in there. Once so John is doing something that handle may be picked up on. In any case, what is highlighted as the description of Jesus in the Revelation is the word Lamb. He is the Lamb of God, 28 times the word Lamb appears in the book of Revelation and that notion that Jesus is the Lamb of God, of course, has become so common so rightly common to Christians and to Christians thinking about Jesus that we may not recognize that he's actually only a very few times referred to as the Lamb of God outside the book of Revelation here of course is famously called the Lamb of God in our gospel which gospel John's gospel John particularly wants to communicate to us that Jesus is the Lamb of God and is so crucial to John because, of course, it connects the work of Jesus with the whole sacrificial system of the old covenant of the whole Old Testament in the sense as a symbol to help, but it was a reality, but it was also a symbol to show us what the work of Jesus would be. He's the Lamb of God sacrificed on the altar of the cross to bear the sins of his people and so John particularly wants to highlight that for us and it's one of the great blessings of both his gospel and of this Revelation. So now to chapter 6 to the seven seals into the opening of the seven seals, chapter 6 now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, and I looked, and behold a white horse and its writer had a bow and a crown was given to him and he came out conquering and to conquer. Want to see what a great see Jesus has conquered Jesus is Lord of time. Jesus is now opening the scroll of time and one of blessing. It will be right as we see history unfolding under the control and majesty and reign of Christ and there it is. That first seal of white horse rider and white, conquering the crown great right now. What we expect great with my younger son says about his sermons talk to him on Friday. How's the sermon going. It's great. It's going to be great. And that's sort of what we anticipate here going to be great but it's not. This is another of those surprises we might initially think Whitehorse going forth to conquer must be Jesus.

We soon discover it's not it's not we have to read on verse three when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say calm and out came another horse bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another and he was given a great sword went about a minute based on sound so hopeful this doesn't sound so great. All of a sudden we realize we are reading about what we all know to be the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse before Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The come not to bring peace but to bring a sword and that's what follows then he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say calm and I looked, and behold a black horse and its rider had a pair of scales in his hand and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying a quart of wheat for denarius in 3 quarts of barley for a denarius and do not harm the oil and the wine. This is not blessing this is cursing.

This is not success. This is loss what's going on here when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say calm and behold I looked a pale horse and its writer's name was death, and Hades followed him and they were given authority over 1/4 of the earth, to kill with sword, and with famine with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

So imagine John's disorientation. Jesus has conquered Jesus is Lord of history. Jesus is unrolling the school of history, and what's coming out of the scroll of history, not blessing, but misery. That's the picture here. That's what the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are bringing they are not bringing peace and prosperity they are bringing war and famine, and death.

What's going on what's going on what what's going on is a description of what life really is like in the world and I think what we need to see is this is not the beginning of final judgment.

Rather, this is the revelation of the way life goes. Wife is always a life of war and the famine and death.

Thankfully we don't all experience it all the time.

This hits 1/4 of the earth were told. It's a very somber picture just at the moment we expect some glory where brought back to reality. The glory is in heaven. The misery is on earth.

That's the present reality. The glory is in heaven.

Misery is on earth I know about you but when I watch the news, particularly in places that are just being torn apart by their own governments, whether it's in the near Eastern Venezuela or various places.

My heart just breaks for common people. Where there's no place to run, no place to hide.

No place to escape and reminding us how fragile life can be in this world. Venezuela seems a particular good example, a country that seem to have made great progress in democracy and economically just watching all collapse.

Such a reminder of the fragile world we live in. And so I think the unfolding of this scroll is not so much to say at some point in the future, the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will write forth. I think this is to say, this is the world we live in now and this is really important. If I'm right about this. You don't have to agree with me but I am right. If I'm right about this.

It's important to see that although this is percentage sequentially one horse after another, often in the book of the Revelation what is presented sequentially as if one thing happens after another is in fact not sequential but actually is happening all the time together so you don't have one horse, the Briggs famine and then later another horse brings war and then later another horse brings death but rather war and famine and that's pretty much all come together as a package and that's what's being represented here and so we have to recognize that time and chronology and sequence in the book of the Revelation sometimes is presenting what all happens at once, and I will need to be sensitive to that is a possibility as we go along and read as part of the challenge of reading this book, but the opening here of the first four seals is very much the opening of the reality of this present evil age and the suffering in it. And Jesus is not bringing that to an end immediately. Jesus is not bringing out to an end immediately is another representation of that great truth that Jesus taught.

First, the sufferings and the glory, there has to be first suffering and then glory. And there's a reason for that. And the reason for that. We will find in the opening of the fifth and sixth sealants and vessel will turn to next time as this second cycle men begins to move into new territory to help us think through how we live in this present world or something amazing imagery from the book of Revelation.

Thank you for joining us today for Renewing Your Mind time we web Dr. Robert Guthrie's mentor teacher and what we just heard is from his series, blessed hope, the book of Revelation. This is not an easy book to understand plenty of ministry to be sure, and we may not understand all of it.

This side of heaven, but Dr. Godfrey is shown is that it was given by God to encourage us to help us see our blessed hope you can request the entire series 24 messages on three DVDs. When you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries.

You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or if you prefer to give your gift online. Our address is Renewing Your Our goal it would get your ministries is to proclaim, teach, and defend the holiness of God in all its fullness to as many people as possible were committed to working alongside the local church and equipping people to know and love the Scriptures in that like you may want to use this series in a Sunday school class or small group setting, and then donate the DVDs to your church so again request blessed hope. The book of Revelation when you contact us with your gift of any about our phone number again is 800-435-4343 will tomorrow will skip ahead and Dr. Godfrey series to the end of the book of Revelation is message will show us how this book influences our thinking today that the Lord is in charge of history to even one more week were strong even when the time seemed shortly after time when time seems to drag on long rubber they won't be so long the Lord's in charge and the paradox help us think through the strangeness of our life before the glory is revealed. Please join us Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind

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