Worthy of All Worship

A message by brother Aaron

What a wonderful morning for us to be together. So glad you’re here and so happy we have a chance now to dive into the scriptures together. If you have your Bible with you, I encourage you to look to Revelations four and five. We’re going to spend our time in these books and unpack some of what is going to share with us.

But as you’re turning there, I just want to ask you a question. What’s the loudest crowd that you’ve ever been in? A gathering where it was just a loud roar? You are surrounded by people, and there is so much noise. Maybe you’ve been to a concert.

We’ve come through a lot of crazy basketball. We had March Madness, the NBA Finals. Maybe you’ve been to some sporting event, and perhaps you’ve been to a kid’s soccer game on a Saturday. Those things can get kind of crazy at times.

But what’s the loudest crowd you’ve been in? Maybe as we think about even up the road back in February, what did we see at Sofia Stadium? We saw a home team playing for the Super Bowl Championship and winning in front of their home crowd. Think about the loudest group you’ve been in. Whatever image that may be, I’m sure it’s not hard for us to imagine a deafening roar. We kind of got that picture in our scripture reading this morning.

It’s Stefan read for us Revelation 513. As we look at what John describes here, he says, Then I heard every creature in heaven and Earth. Under the Earth and on the sea and all that is in them. I mean, what does John just describe for us? He has tried to capture every possible aspect of creation, and he’s identified, everyone.

What are they doing? They are all singing in unison together. To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and power forever and ever. All creation was singing the same thing, all the words at once. Now, have you ever been to one of those significant sporting events?

And you’ve decided it’s maybe the best time right now for me to take a restroom break, or perhaps I’ll try to beat the crowd to the concessions. So, you step out, and you’re back in the back, standing in line, and then you hear it. You hear the crowd go crazy. Oh, my goodness. What am I missing out there?

Let’s get that popcorn going because I got to get back out, and you get back out to your family, buddies, whoever you’re with:

  • What’s the first thing that you do?
  • What did I miss?
  • What did I miss?

I heard something was going on there.

We feel the same here because we hear the crowd go crazy. We’re at the end of chapter five, and we’re wondering, what have we missed? What is it that has led to this point? And really, to understand that, we have to go back to the beginning of chapter four. Chapter four, verse one. If you’re there in those passages, we’re just walking through what John has seen.

John will say that after this, he looked, and there was a door before him. He has just written these letters to the churches.
John had this revelation of what to send to the seven churches. And he says after that there was this door, and there’s this voice. And this voice says, Come and let me show you what will take place.

John is suddenly transported into this heavenly vision. He will try to take notes for us, but we will see that John finds the limits of language. There are only so many words this person can find to describe everything he’s about to see. For instance, look at what he sees. Right.

To begin with, in verses two and three at once, I was in the spirit. There before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of Jasper and Ruby. A rainbow that’s shown like an Emerald encircled the throne. I mean, already we’re finding in just two verses what was happening there. We’re finding stuff that has to be unpacked. There was a throne with stones and this crazy rainbow thing going on there.

If you know your stones and see what Jasper actually is. Jasper and Ruby got a picture here, and it’s kind of the brownish reddish stones. And so that’s what he’s seeing there.

Then he sees different lights around the throne. He says it’s like a rainbow, but it’s an Emerald. And what does that mean? Maybe this is a possibility. It’s the idea of perhaps a Northern green light, seven colors in the rainbow.

Yeah, it’s all green. We don’t know what it is that John saw. There’s a lot that catches our attention, and a lot threatens to distract us. We want to start chasing these rabbits. What are these Brownish stones? What is the screen, Emerald? I want to see if you remember from your kids, or maybe you have them right now. Have you ever seen those kid leashes?

I don’t know if it’s humane or not, and I’m not sure. I’m not judging anybody that wants to use a leash. But we find that John, in some ways, almost has to put a little kid leash on us because we want to start chasing all of these questions. But John is going to, and he’s not going to yank.

He’s not going to pull, but he’s going to gently tug us back, pull us back to catch what he’s trying to see because it’s easy to get sidetracked. It’s easy to chase those rabbit trails. But John doesn’t want us to miss the point. He doesn’t want us to miss the point of what he’s actually trying to show us. For instance, in this initial vision, again, he says that I saw this throne, and it’s not just a throne.

There’s someone who’s sitting on it. John talks about Jasper and Ruby and these stones, but he says the one who sat there had the appearance of these stones. It’s not about the throne and the stones. This green, rainbow, Emerald thing that’s going around. No, it’s about the one who sits on the throne. So John gently pulls us back.

He says, no, come here. Don’t get lost. Come back here. Let me lift your chin and point to your eyes. And I want you to see the one, the one who is sitting there.

And he says that now because even what he’s about to share, it will be tempting to want to follow this tangent. Look what he says in verse four. He says, not only is there’s the throne, but surrounding the throne were 24 other Thrones, and seated on them were 24 elders. Now that raises all sorts of questions. Who is this?

There are now 24 other Thrones, and who are these elders? And he’ll tell us that they’re wearing white and have crowns of gold. What is this, John? And who could that be? And it raises all of these questions for us.

Now, why are there 24? Well, maybe we don’t know, to be honest, but it’s possible that back in One Chronicles verses, when David, he’s identifying the priest who will serve their duties. In one Chronicles 24, we find that he separates them into 24 sections. That’s a possibility. Maybe it’s a biblical number.

And we think of the number twelve, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Apostles. Maybe it’s a combination of those, and it raises questions, and John says those are good questions. I can see why you want to be chasing down that rabbit trail but come back here.

Don’t let me lose you. Don’t let me lose you. Because these 24 Thrones and these 24 elders are pointing us to the one. And as John gently tugs, he says, and I hate to throw you off track, but what I’m about to tell you is probably going to blow your mind again because if you think that’s curious, check this out. Verse six.

In the center around the throne were four living creatures, covered with eyes in front and in the back. It’s like we’ve entered a Pablo Picasso picture. And he says the first living creature was like a lion, and the second was like an Ox. And the third had a face like a human, and the fourth was like a flying Eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around. They had eyes even under their wings, and we see the rabbit trail.

Those eyes indicate knowledge, and they show sight, vision, and the ability to see faces. If you think about those four faces, they represent all aspects of creation. The lion, the first one, is who is the King of the jungle? The lion is the King of the jungle.

In an agricultural society, which is the strongest of the domesticated animals, it will be the Ox you think about. People have been charged with ruling and the rule and dominion over creation. When do you think about the birds of the air? Which one is the greatest of the birds? As much as we may love and feed pigeons, it’s not the pigeons, and it’s the Eagles. So there’s something to be said here about this broadness of creation that all are represented there.

It pulls us into thinking about Ezekiel’s vision. I mean, do you think this one’s weird. Ezekiel has a similar dream vision of four creatures, and they all have four faces. The creatures have a face of each one of these things:
a lion, an Ox, a person, and an Eagle. It leads us to all those things, and we’re chasing those answers.

But John, we won’t let that tug. He says, I know it’s crazy, and I’m struggling to even describe what I’m seeing. But I want you to notice, what are they doing?

Where is their focus, and where is their attention? We hear that these four living creatures, all the eyes and these weird faces that day and night, never stop saying, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty? Who was and is and is to come. Where is the focus in all of this? It’s not the stones, it’s not the faces, it’s not the wings, it’s not the eyes.

The focus is on the one who sits on the throne. What or whom does John want us to see? The song they proclaim and it calls to mind Isaiah’s vision. Isaiah has this vision in the temple.

In Isaiah six, the temple is filled with the train of God’s robe. And the Seraphim are singing, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. What trait consumes the thought of those who live in the presence of God? It says, Holiness.

He is sacred and separate and set apart and perfect and without shame. And this is not some robotic expression that’s going on as you’ve just pushed a button, a buzz Lightyear button. And Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. It’s not robotic, and they can’t say it enough.

They are flying around, saying Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Whoa. If you look from over here, Holy, Holy! is the Lord God Almighty. Are you checking this out?

Holy, Holy, Holy! They can’t say it enough. They are captured, and their attention is focused entirely and solely on the one who sits on the throne. When they recognize these four living creatures, guess what those 24 elders are doing, their attention goes the same direction.

We hear them say that whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever. Those 24 elders fall down before the throne, and they lay their crowns before the throne. They say you are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory, honor, and power for you created all things.

By your will, they were created and had their being in the room. Every eye in the room, remember, there’s cover denied. All of those eyes are focused on the one that is, until John notices.

What is that in his right hand right there? He seems to be holding something. And he sees in chapter five, verse one, he sees that in this hand I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. An angel will ask who is worthy to open a scroll, and we discover no one can do so.

The idea of a scroll is the idea of revelation, not the book Revelation like we’re reading, but the concept of divine revelation, that this is everything that is to come. This is what the one who sits on the throne is revealing. And so the question is, who will be able to open this up? Who can see what it is that’s going to transpire? But no one is worthy, no one who can even peek inside.

And John will tell us that he weeps. He weeps, and he cries because no one is worthy and will never know what it is that was intended to be revealed. Until one of the 24 elders tells John, hey, don’t weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed, and he is worthy.

We hear the lion of the tribe of Judah. We know who to expect, don’t we? We know we’re going to be able to turn. We will see Azlan standing there in all of his glory with the breeze blowing through his Mane. That’s what John is ready to hang to. He’s prepared to see this lion of the tribe of Judah.

And yet when he turns and looks, it’s not a lion, but it’s, in fact, in verse six, a Lamb, a Lamb looking as if it was slain. Now, I’m sure we’re already tracking there with John. We hear lying, and we know Jesus is a King, and we hear Lamb, and we know that’s Jesus. But why show him as a Lamb? Why is that how he is revealed, in which he is unveiled?

We know that the mightiest act of our King Jesus was in his selfless sacrifice. Gary talked earlier about the willingness to lay down his own life for us all. It calls to mind that in the Gospel of John, when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. But as excellent as that reference is, did you catch where it is that the Lamb is standing? Let’s go back there to verse six again.

In verse six, I saw a Lamb looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. Where did he say the Lamb is standing in the center, on the throne, surrounded by angels? What is the significance? What is John trying to tell us here? We say a picture is worth 10 thousand words. What has he just communicated to us?

He has spoken in the definitive declaration of the deity of Christ. Again, John is the one who told us at the beginning of his Gospel. In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And through Him, all things have been made. When John sees this heavenly scene unfold, he sees Jesus the Lamb, the lion. The Lamb is standing in the center of the throne. He alone is worthy of taking the scroll. What we hear next, is that he goes and he takes the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.

And when he had taken it, the crowd went wild. These four living creatures who day and night never stop saying, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. These 24 elders who in response to the living creature’s worship, they join in that worship. Well, now when the Lamb takes the scroll, we hear them sing a new song. You are worthy.

And this is pointed to the Lamb. You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a Kingdom and priests to serve our God. And they will reign on Earth.

Their song has now shifted in focus not just on the one who was on the throne but also on the Lamb. And it’s not just them because the song is just getting started. John suddenly notices his attention has been just here on the throne, on the four, on the 24. But then he starts looking around, and he sees that they are surrounded by thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand Angels. And what are those Angels all doing?

They are focused on the throne, and they are singing their own song. And he hears this voice, and they encircle the throne of the living creatures. And in a loud voice, they said, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise. And now we’re back at our reading, and we wondered what we missed. Tell me, what did I miss when I was gone?

If you remember, he hears every creature:

  • In heaven
  • On Earth
  • Under the Earth
  • On the sea

and all that is in them. What are they doing to Him who sits on the throne? Praise and honor and glory and power to the Lamb forever and ever. John is trying to tell us, look! So that you can see. Look at the one and look at the Lamb. Look at those who are worthy of all worship.

Now imagine that you were on the sofa and saw the victory happen. Imagine that just as the confetti begins to fall, the crowd starts to roar, and the celebration begins. Imagine if the person next to you reaches in their pocket and says, oh, man, I just got a call. I got to go. Take this. I’ll be back.

What are you doing? How can’t you leave here? Didn’t you just see what happened? Within minute 25, we had Matthew Stafford hit Cooper Cup, and they won the game right there. How can you leave right now?

Yet I have to wonder if there aren’t ways in which John reveals this heavenly scene. The one who is worthy of all our attention, we find the tech start coming in, and we’re suddenly reminded about those pressures of work that are going on. We’ve got a bunch of stuff happening. Promotions are coming up, and I’m unsure what to do with them. Maybe there are tensions at home. Maybe relationships are on edge right now, and the texts are coming in. Maybe there are health concerns. Maybe there are financial problems, and maybe there’s stuff going on inside of me, and I can’t even put my finger on it.

But the calls are coming in, and we see Jesus. We know his place, and we’re thankful for what he’s done, but we’re worried and overwhelmed. We find that these distractions begin to divert our attention. And just as we’re ready to depart, we feel that little tug.

John says, come here! You got to come back here. Because he says, I know that this is hard, and I know it’s heavy. You are exactly where you need to be, warns John. We want so desperately to be in a world without pain and suffering. Even just this morning, our minds have been called to fires, senseless shootings, poverty, HIV, and suffering around the world.

We want a world without pain, and John will tell us it is coming. We will get to the point by the time we get to Revelations 21 22. When will Jesus make all things new and wipe away every tear? But understand that there is suffering that will still come.

There is suffering that is going to happen.

If you want to see some suffering, we’ll get to this verse in just a second and stick around for chapter six. In revelations six, the scrolls will be open, and we will see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And we’re going to see all sorts of pain going on in the world around us.

But check it out. We’ve just been in this passage, this heavenly scene of worship. And even here, did you catch the hint of suffering? I dare say it’s not even a hint, and it’s standing in the center of it all.

As we go back through all of those layers of praise and all of creation and all of the Angels and all of the elders and all of the four living creatures, where did we actually see suffering? The Lamb looked as if he had been slain. Even in this beautiful, glorious scene of heavenly worship, there is one who stands in the center. There is one who understands pain and suffering. One refused to make himself immune to any of that but was willing to step into our world.
The Word became flesh, becoming like one of us. The Word took upon himself all our sin and shame and our own suffering.

He stands in the center of the throne, and he understands what you and I are going through. As our passage from John chapter 16 reminds us, he will tell his disciples that they will have troubles in this world. I am not promising you a path without pain, but I am telling you, you can take heart. Because why? Because I have overcome.

I stand in the center of it all. And suddenly, it’s here in this moment that we turn to John and we say, John, I don’t need this leash anymore. And John, it will be challenging, but I’m going to put my phone down, and I’m going to raise my hand, and I’m going to simply worship. Holy, Holy, Holy. You alone are worthy of all glory and honor and praise.

If you saw the movie Free Guy, there’s a story about a guy. His name is Guy, and he’s trying to figure out his place in life. He can’t find his purpose, and he can’t find meaning. He can’t find direction until he finally gets a pair of glasses, and he can see what’s truly going on.

When he gets to see and gains that sight, life suddenly makes sense in so many ways. John is sharing his vision so that you and I might achieve the vision to better see. There’s no doubt that each of us has brought in our worries and troubles hanging heavy on our own hearts. This morning, the hope and prayer are that you might see the one who stands at the center. The only one who is worthy of all our praise is Jesus. If you wish to respond to His place in the world in your life. And you are ready to accept Him in baptism or simply ask the church elders for prayers; they will receive you as you respond while we stand and sing.
We are a moment; you are forever Lord of the ancient God before the time. We are fighting today; you are allowing us to come to you.