Heaven Help Our WorshipThe Exaltedness of JesusRevelation 5:11-14INTRODUCTIONRevelation 5 is a very exciting chapter of Scripture- all of heaven and earth - everything that possesses God-given life erupts in ecstatic and exhilarating exultation over Jesus Christ.But why? - why such breathtaking worship - especially ina book known primarily about judgment and the end ofthe earth as we know it and the return of Jesus Christ?Consider a few thoughts with meRemember with me:The Destructive Effects of SinParadise is Lost - Genesis 3Genesis 3:23–24 (ESV)23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden towork the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man,and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and aﬂaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree oflife.The Creation is CursedGenesis 3:17 (ESV)17 And to Adam he said,! ! “Because you have listened to the voice of your wifeand have eaten of the tree! ! of which I commanded you,ʻYou shall not eat of it,ʼ
! ! cursed is the ground because of you;in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;Genesis 5:29 (ESV)29 and called his name Noah, saying, “Out of the ground that theLord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work andfrom the painful toil of our hands.”Romans 8:20–22 (ESV)20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, butbecause of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creationitself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain thefreedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that thewhole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirthuntil now.Manʼs Nature is CorruptedGenesis 4:7 (ESV)7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well,sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must ruleover it.”Genesis 6:5 (ESV)5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evilcontinually.Genesis 6:21 (ESV)21 Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up.It shall serve as food for you and for them.”Psalm 14:1 (ESV)! 1! The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,there is none who does good.The radical effects of sinRomans 8:23–25 (ESV)23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have theﬁrstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly foradoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hopewe were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes
for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we waitfor it with patience.But, the effects of sin upon creation and upon us are notthe most heinous aspects.The worst part of sin is how it has separated God from thecenter of creationʼs praise.He is not valued or esteemed- as most powerful, as creator - as possessing all true wealth, or most honorable- His glory - His brilliance - Radiant Beauty - resplendent radiance and majestic authority - are not recognized, acknowledged, let alone loved and adored.He is not seen as the center, the fountain, the spring, orthe ocean of every true blessing.Sin has been like a continuous blanket of clouds keepingthe creation from seeing the immensity of the creator - where we are left thinking there is nothing greater than us, nothing more beyond usAll of creation has been kept from reaching and fulﬁllingits purpose - esteeming, recognizing, surrendering to exalting in the glory of God.That is why Jesus came and was slaughtered like aPassover Lamb - as a substitution for us - to restore Godʼs centrality in the minds and affections of all men and all creation
And it has still not fully occurred yet- Though we love Him, we donʼt love Him as we could or even as we no doubt desire we would- We still struggle to press toward giving God the glory He wants and deservesTrying to love God with all our might, can be done, but it isa lot like trying to run a sprint underwater.The effects of sin and the joy of salvation create abuilding tension and pressure in our lives and in ourworld.- There remains in us all, and even in the creation, a kind of nervous longing, a continual anticipation of a breakthrough.- It is like living in the Texas Panhandle in the middle of the summer - one of those blistering hot days during a week of 100+ degrees without relief - everything is brown, dusty, dirty, and dry - then there appears a little tiny puffy cloud to the southwest - and as the afternoon heat rises, so does that cloud begin to form into a larger and more ominous bank of dark sky- It is obvious, rain is coming - the color of green will be seen again.- but ﬁrst we must endure and ride out the approaching thunder stormit is a growing - sometimes very tense anticipation
That is the sense we get when reading the Bible as awhole.- The OT shows the Beginning os in and the longing for salvation - there has to be something more ﬁnal, more full and more liberating than the continual offerings and endless laws.- The NT Gospels bring hope with the coming of Jesus and a fresh offer of never ending life - forgiveness and no more need for sacriﬁces. - Jesus is the one-time sacriﬁce requiredBut there has to be something more ﬁnal - more full andmore liberating- The NT epistles bring even more hope as they reveal the new body - the Church - a new people of God - a new relationship - more internal - the continual ministry of the Spirit - freedom, forgiveness- but even here - we have not absolved all of the tension. - anticipation still rings strong. There has to be something even more ﬁnal, more full, more face- to-face- something that liberates not only from the power of sin but also the very presence of sin- and there must be something that restores the centrality of God in the hearts and minds of creation - even with a full salvation - we have not seen God honored on His throne as He deservesAnd That is why the entire creation erupts into Praise inRevelation 5 when Jesus takes the scroll.Rehearse it again - READ the TEXT
A good question in relationship to this passage is- when do the events mentioned here in this chapter actually occur?- Sometime “after” the time period marked in chapters 2-3 - We could call the time spoken of in chapters 2-3, the Age of the Church - the church is the primary concern of God in these days - and in the days marked in Rev 2-3 - The “church” - speciﬁcally - is not mentioned in chapters 4-19As we understand the book- we now exist in that church age- but a time will come when God will remove the church and begin a new age - an age of judgment and an age when he will bring an end to the presence of sin - and will restore His rightful place in the hearts of men - an age when he unleashes punishment - an age when he will restore His reign upon the earth - and an age when he will establish an eternal kingdom unhindered by sinSo, the speciﬁcs of what we have read in Revelation 5have not occurred yet- why? The church remains - and the age of judgment and restoration has not fully begunWhy is Revelation 5 so exhilarating- it is the beginning of that new age- it is the culmination of all the anticipation- it is the beginning of the storm before the green comes back upon the landscape of a cursed creation.
When Jesus takes the scroll from the hand of the Father- that scroll contained all of the plans of the coming age of judgment and restoration- the one who takes that scroll has the authority to enact and implement all that is in it- and when the scroll is taken, the events will begin - and Paradise lost in Genesis 3 - will be Paradise regained in Revelation 22Beloved, there is a thrilling excitement in heaven andearth reﬂected in this chapter - because all of human history as we know it is coming to an end when Jesus assumes his place of authorityThat is what Revelation 5 is all about- Here is the introduction of Jesus into the scene of judgment- a revealing of the rightful place of Jesus in exercising total authority over all creation in judgment and redemptionHere is when the tension is ﬁnally relieved and we seeJesus unique, worthy, and exalted.vv 1-5 - the Undeniable uniqueness of Jesusvv 6-10 - the Unique Worthiness of Jesusvv 11-14 - the Universal Exaltedness of JesusAs we have done with the previous two sections - let usdo with the 3rd- and ask the question - what is it that makes Jesus so Exalted?vv 11-14 shows the explosive response of all creation tothe Lamb taking the scroll from the father
- everything from Genesis to Jude is about to come to completion- and Godʼs glory will once again be valued as supremeRevelation 5:11-14 reveals the Universal exaltedness ofChristWhat is it that displays how universally exalted Christ trulyis?- 4 elementsI. THE UNIVERSAL PRAISE OF THE ANGELS v 11Then I looked - or I saw - this is the verbal marker wehave see throughout the chapter distinguishing thevarious eventsBut he also addsand I heardaround the throne and the living creatures and theelders the voice of many angels- in addition to the 4 living creatures - add 24 elders = 28 voices - and now add a countless number of angels.Can you imagine the noise level - the sound must havebeen deafening - and awe-inspiringThis is like adding the brass section to the ﬂutes and theclarinets in an orchestral piece - more intensity and poweris added.NOTE the number of them- muriades = a group of ten thousand
- here are tens of thousands - of tens of thousands - a way to say - a countless number- chiliades = thousand - thousands of thousands - added to the tens of thousands surrounding the throneThere is an innumerable - countless - chorus of angelicbeings outside the circle of living creatures and elders -outside the sea of glass - where they have been simply unnoticed - appearing as the 24 elders began to sing their praiseCan you imagine this scene- Iʼm not sure there has ever been any such gathering or conglomeration of angelic beings in all of recorded ScriptureNo one - and nothing catches the attention of all the hostsof heaven- like Jesus taking the scroll and taking His rightful place of implementing judgment and bringing total redemption backThe universal praise of the angels makes Jesusuniversally exalted - unlike any person or creature everII. THE UNIVERSAL NATURE OF HIS WORTH v 12What did this angelic choir sing?with a loud voice - there are a lot of loud voices inRevelation- Angels - Saints - GodWorthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive- why to receive?- how could you add any of these elements to Jesus when He already possesses them to their highest degree?- this is giving Him glory - you do not add anything to him - in giving him glory, in his receiving these elements,it is his being recognized - the angels now savor, exalt in, rejoice in, ascribe, acknowledge, and reverence him for these qualities.power = ability1 Corinthians 1:24 (ESV)24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ thepower of God and the wisdom of God.and wealth2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV)9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though hewas rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by hispoverty might become rich.Ephesians 3:8 (ESV)8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace wasgiven, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches ofChrist,- spiritual, material wealth all belongs to Himand wisdom1 Corinthians 1:24 (ESV)24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ thepower of God and the wisdom of God.1 Corinthians 1:30 (ESV)30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to uswisdom from God, righteousness and sanctiﬁcation andredemption,Colossians 2:3 (ESV)
3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom andknowledge.and might - authoritative power and strength- where the ﬁrst term, “power” indicates that Jesus is completely able - the word “might” indicates that nothing is as strong or capable as He is.Honor = respect, recognition of his position, abilities,strengthGlory - splendor, grandeur, the heavenly radiance, thehighest place of supremacy, loftiness, a recognition of HismajestyBlessing - he is worthy of a response of continualthanksgiving- no words could express the gratitude He deservesHow worthy is Jesus - the angels tend to exhaust theirlanguage in speaking of how universally worthy He is - there are not enough exalted words in the English language to speak of how much he is worthIII. THE UNIVERSAL PRAISE OF THE CREATION v13aLook at the universal terminology usedNot just innumerable angels - but everything that has anybreath of life in it gives praise to him.it is as if creation now knows the time of her redemption isdrawing nigh.It is time for full freedom and joy in the presence of God
How thrilled would you be if you knew- that every sin ever committed against you is about to be dealt with justly- that the effects of every sin you have ever committed is about to ﬁnd ﬁnal resolution- that every unjust deed - every blasphemous word about God - every atheistic approach to life - every Godless way of living is about to ﬁnally be dealt withAnd an age of raw, unﬁltered beauty, undiminished praise,sinless behavior, perfect relationships, fully liberated livingis about to be unleashed throughout the entire world.What would happen in your heart if you realized that youjust physically saw an activity that meant that God wasabout to take his deserved place of absolute centrality inthe universe and all sin is about to be done away with?That is just a glimpse into the intensity of the entirety ofcreation praising God because the Lamb took the scrollout of the Fatherʼs hand.IV. THE UNIVERSAL NATURE OF HIS PERSON vv13b-14Notice the direction of these words of praise- to both the Father and the Son- interesting to note - - examine the language used in ch 4 and ch 5 for the Father and for Jesus - both are worthy, should receive glory, the honor and the power, the blessing and the dominion2 people cannot share all of these - only one can be theAlmighty, the all-knowing, the one who has total glory, etc.Here is an incredible description of the God-head
- distinct persons - one essenceAgain - not enough words to speakThis is what should be going on in creation because ofwho Jesus is- is it what is happening on earth as we contemplate who Jesus is?These are not merely rote words chanted in rawobligation.These are words steeped in signiﬁcant meditation - arealization of what they imply about Jesus, who he is andwhat he is about to do.This is affection directly tied, linked to, springing fromprofound contemplation on the nature of who Jesus is.CONCLUSIONThink about this again - when heaven gathers - it is loud,serious, focused, exuberant, exhilarating, breath-taking,eye-popping praise.Angelic praise, the nature of Jesusʼ worthiness, thefocused exaltation of the universe, and the details aboutwho Jesus is- are the very things that make that gathering all that it is.Which makes some of our comments about and some ofour expectations for our gatherings appear so silly.- we need our music to sound more like K-Love- young people require a certain feel or they will leave- relevancy is just as important as content
- Long prayers, long Scripture reading, long sermons about Scripture kill worship- the excitability of the preacher or the music leader determines the level of excitementIf the heart is responding to the energetic personalitiesand activities taking place on the platform- more than it is responding to the implications of a thorough comprehension of the person of Christ, the nature of salvation, and the profound effects these should be havingThen our gatherings cannot really be called worship, butentertainment.I understand the ﬁne line - and Iʼm not suggesting that18th century music played on 19th century instruments, orlong drawn-out, overly technical, difﬁcult to comprehend,unorganized sermons, or song leaders who look like theyhate life, or heavy liturgically driven service organizations- make for the most biblical and thrilling praise.But think back on what we have seen in heaven.Consider the details and the themes.Think about the passion - and then consider carefullywhat was driving that passion.What is driving your passion? What is your mindmarinating in? How are you challenging yourself toengage in considering and responding to what thesebiblical themes imply about your life personally and ourlife together as a church?Are you stunned by what Jesus has accomplished?Thrilled by what he will do when he returns?
I may not be the best expositor on the planet. Iʼm not thesharpest tool in Godʼs box of tools. We may not be themost professional looking group on the platform.- but we will do our very best - to the best of our abilities to put Jesus on display every week and pray about and sing through the themes of salvation every week - and consider what these themes and statements and commands imply about usLetʼs just simplify what we are saying- the deeper your personal apprehension of who God is, the deeper your responses to him will be- the more stunned, thrilled, amazed, humbled your responses are to who God is and what God has done, and what he is doing, the more passionate your responses will beAnd I can promise you that we who have been givenresponsibility to provide leadership to our gatherings onthe Lordʼs day, will - and do - take our charge veryseriously.- and will do our best before the Almighty God who sits on the throne, and the Lamb who was slain - to bring us all face-to-face with his majestic grace each week.Next week I want to bring this all together and begin toplumb some of the practical out-workings of how heavenshould help our worship.