The Holy Spirit and the early church

Pentecost Is Like the Opening of the Aswan High Dam

John Piper provides the following helpful illustration of the Holy Spirit before and after Pentecost:

Picture a huge dam for hydroelectric power under construction, like the Aswan High Dam on the Nile, 375 feet high and 11,000 feet across. Egypt’s President Nasser announced the plan for construction in 1953. The dam was completed in 1970 and in 1971 there was a grand dedication ceremony and the 12 turbines with their ten billion kilowatt-hour capacity were unleashed with enough power to light every city in Egypt. During the long period of construction the Nile River wasn’t completely stopped. Even as the reservoir was filling, part of the river was allowed to flow past. The country folk downstream depended on it. They drank it, they washed in it, it watered their crops and turned their mill-wheels. They sailed on it in the moonlight and wrote songs about it. It was their life. But on the day when the reservoir poured through the turbines a power was unleashed that spread far beyond the few folk down river and brought possibilities they had only dreamed of.

Well, Pentecost is like the dedicatory opening of the Aswan High Dam. Before Pentecost the river of God’s Spirit blessed the people of Israel and was their very life. But after Pentecost the power of the Spirit spread out to light the whole world. None of the benefits enjoyed in the pre-Pentecostal days were taken away. But ten billion kilowatts were added to enable the church to take the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ to every tongue and tribe and nation.[1]

 

Today, we continue to focus on the Holy Spirt.

 

Why is the book of Acts called “Acts”?

 

It has been said that we could call the book of Acts the “Acts of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is totally active in the whole book of Acts.

 

Let’s look at several of the passages where the Holy Spirit is active in the book of Acts.

 

My theme today is the Holy Spirit and the early church.

 

Let’s look at a few passages. This is not exhaustive.

 

  1. In Acts chapter two we have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-4: When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
    1. The Holy Spirit comes upon the church in this passage.
    2. By the very end of the passage we have 3000 saved.
    3. This is an amazing passage. People are speaking in different tongues and Peter preaches. Moving on.
  2. But Peter filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8)
    1. In Acts 4:8 the passage specifically says that Peter is “filled” with the Spirit and he preaches once again.
    2. The Spirit works as Peter preaches.
    3. The Holy Spirit gives them great boldness.
    4. The Holy Spirit is powerful.
    5. Just think about the power in a dam. I read that illustration in the beginning. How many of you have been to the Hoover Dam? That is power. How many of you have been to Niagara Falls? That is power. The Holy Spirit gave boldness to the Apostles as they preached and and as they witnessed. In this case the Holy Spirit gave boldness to Peter.
    6. Remember Tim the Tool man? We need more power.
    7. [get a log ax and a chain saw out] I have this log to cut in half, should I use this ax or this chain saw?
    8. The Holy Spirit gives us power.
  • Last week we looked at Prayer (Acts 4:25-31). In Acts 4:25-31 we see the Holy Spirit in their prayer life.
  1. I will summarize the passage regarding Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5).
    1. In this passage they sell land and tell the Apostles he had given them all the money.
    2. This was a lie and the Holy Spirit reveals the lie to the Apostles.
  2. In Acts 13:1-3 we see the Holy Spirit communicate God’s will. Acts 13:1-3: Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
  3. The last passage I want to share today is The Macedonian Call Acts 16:6: Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 

 

 

Close:

God does not change. (Hebrews 13:8)

The Holy Spirit was active in the early church and the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit is active today.

How do we explain Muslims having dreams about a Savior dying on a cross?

How do we explain when people are saved simply reading the Bible?

How do we explain the following?

 

In Nik Ripkin’s book The Insanity of God, he tells the story of Aisha, a 24-year-old Christian widow and convert from Islam. She was so outgoing in her witness to Christ in the hostile environment of her Islamic town that the authorities arrested her and put her in the dark, unfinished cellar of the police station.

At the point when she felt she could take no more and was about to scream, instead, to her surprise, out of her mouth came a heart-song of praise to Christ. As she sang, she could tell the movement upstairs ceased. They were listening.

 

That night the police chief came down and said he was taking her home on one condition: You must come to my house in three days. Then he said,

I don’t understand. You are not afraid of anything. My wife and daughters and all the women in my family are afraid of everything. But you are not afraid of anything. … I want you to come to my house so you can tell everyone why you are not afraid. And I want you to sing that song.

 

The Holy Spirit is with us. We’ll talk more about Him next week.

 

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

 

[1] John Piper, “Was the Holy Spirit not on Earth before Pentecost,” Gospel Coalition Blogs (5-24-15); submitted by Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky

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The Holy Spirit and prayer

Introduction:

 

This is once again a question and answer Sunday.

We received many questions and we hope to use a few of them for Christian Connections. As always if you would like to talk with me about a question please contact me. However, we also answer questions at the Wednesday night small group.

 

Today we will talk about:

How Does the Holy Spirit Work in Our Lives Today? Does Prayer and Forgiveness wipe the slate clean? Why Should we pray? What is the Purpose of Prayer, Does God answer prayer and how does He Choose to Answer? How do we keep prayer from being a Genie in a Bottle?

 

Francis Chan in Forgotten God:

You might think that calling the Holy Spirit the “forgotten God” is a bit extreme. Maybe you agree that the church has focused too much attention elsewhere but feel it is an exaggeration to say we have forgotten about the Spirit. I don’t think so. From my perspective, the Holy Spirit is tragically neglected and, for all practical purposes, forgotten. While no evangelical would deny His existence, I’m willing to bet there are millions of churchgoers across America who cannot confidently say they have experienced His presence or action in their lives over the past year. And many of them do not believe they can. The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The “entertainment” model of church was largely adopted in the 1980s and ’90s, and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit.

 

If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit. The degree to which this has happened (and I would argue that it is a prolific disease in the body of Christ) is directly connected to the dissatisfaction most of us feel with and in the church. We understand something very important is missing. The feeling is so strong that some have run away from the church and God’s Word completely.

I believe that this missing something is actually a missing Someone—namely, the Holy Spirit. Without Him, people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-size results.

 

Chan, Francis (2009-09-01). Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Kindle Locations 107-112). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.

 

Forgotten God is a great book and I would commend it to anyone. But how is the Holy Spirit involved in our lives? I specifically wish to talk about the Holy Spirit in prayer. Let me first say that the Holy Spirit is too big of a subject for one Sunday, but we must understand that the Holy Spirit is with us every Sunday and every day of the week.

 

  1. The Holy Spirit in our lives today: Key text Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
    1. In Acts, after Jesus has been resurrected and ascended to heaven, Peter addressed a crowd and declared, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (2:38).
    2. The Holy Spirit is our:
      1. Teacher of spiritual truths. (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1Cor 2:14)
      2. Mouthpiece in witnessing to others. (Luke 12:11-12)
  • Helper in prayer. (Romans 8:26-27)
  1. Power for victorious living. (Acts 1:8; John 1:12)
  2. Purifier of our hearts. (Acts 15:8-9)[1]
  1. The Holy Spirit transformed the Apostles. After Acts chapter two Peter who was denying Christ now preaches. So, then we get to Acts 4.

Clip from Aladdin with the song when the Gennie is found.

 

  1. How is the Holy Spirit active in our prayer life? Acts 4 has the Holy Spirit in prayer:
    1. Allow me to read Acts 4:23-31:

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

  1. Now, allow me to review what is going on in this passage: At the beginning of Acts chapter 3, Peter and John are going to the Temple at the time of prayer. A lame beggar was there and asked for money. Peter said, “Silver or gold I don’t have but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” The man is healed. This attracted a lot of attention and Peter preached a sermon. Peter’s message reached about 5000 people with the Gospel, but this aggravated the Jewish authorities and Peter and John were thrown in prison for the night. The next day Peter and John spoke before the Jewish leadership and Peter again preached the Gospel (4:8 says that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit). Eventually they had Peter and John released.
  2. Now, following their release from prison, they come back to meet with their own people. They didn’t go to take a shower first. They didn’t go to catch up on business, emails, Facebook or other things. They went straight back to join their people.
  3. They shared about the chief priests. The Chief Priests were a small group of priest within the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin would be the Jewish Supreme Court. The Sanhedrin would be composed of 70 people plus the High priest.[2] The chief Priests are composed of former high priest and members of influential priestly families.
  4. Notice in verse 24: When “they,” which I am thinking is the rest of the disciples” heard this meaning what God had done. They went straight to prayer.
  5. We must always apply the Scripture to our lives. Let’s apply this narrative for a moment. Do we do the same? They could have gone to rest, but no, they went to prayer. Their prayer includes allusions to Old Testament prayers.

Let’s look at this Spirit-Filled Prayer

  1. They start their prayer acknowledging who God is in relation to who we are. We should do the same. God created everything that we see and feel. God created the stars in the sky.
  2. Verse 24 starts their prayer as “Sovereign Lord.” This means that God is in control. This means “absolute ruler.” Actually the Greek word translated here is where we get the English word “despot.”[3] God is the absolute ruler and they acknowledged that as they began their prayer.
  3. Let me also insert here that they were praying in unity. The Scripture says that they “raised their voices together in prayer…” This doesn’t mean they all prayed at the same time, but that they were praying in unity.
  4. Too often I believe that our churches are hindered because of our divisions. Our prayers are hindered because of our divisions. Hence, I am going to say that our divisions hinder the Spirit’s work in our prayer life. In a few verses we will see that this group of Christians experienced the Holy Spirit. I think we are missing the Holy Spirit because of our division[4].
  5. Another statement about division, I strongly believe that the devil starts and fosters our division in order to take our focus off of evangelism. I strongly believe that reaching the lost will heal our division. We will realize that the things we are divided over are not as important as sharing the Gospel with those who don’t even know the Lord. What we need to see here is that their prayer was in unity and God blessed them with a special baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  6. They prayed for boldness and an expansion of the Gospel. They ask that God allows them to preach God’s Word with great boldness.
  7. Verse 30 is a prayer for miracles.
  8. Verse 31 is a confirmation of their Spirit filled prayer.
  9. The place is shaken.
  10. They also speak the Word of God boldly. That is the answer to their prayer.
  • Let’s make some applications and sum up.
    1. I am trying to answer several questions today while talking about the Holy Spirit. I want to do this as best as I can.
    2. First, how does God answer prayer? How does God choose which to answer and which not to answer? Jesus said in John 14:13-14: And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
    3. We misunderstand “name” today. “Name” means “after my manner.” When we are asking Jesus for something by His name this means that we are praying by His will and not our own.
    4. So, I would say that Jesus chooses to answer prayers based off of His will. We see in that passage in Acts that the prayer is answered. But the prayer is heavily Gospel oriented.
    5. Next, God knows all, but He desires a relationship with us. When we pray we are humbly coming to Him recognizing we cannot do this on our own. Part of the purpose of prayer is our relationship with God. Another purpose is humility. (Phil. 4:6-9)
    6. How do we keep prayer from being a “Gennie in a bottle”? We must let the Scriptures inform our prayer life. Think about our prayers, are we praying for our own interest or God’s interest? It is okay to pray for our healing or our job, but is the end result God’s interests? If I am healthier, I can better take care of my family. Read the Bible and pray the passages, the narratives for yourselves and others. Surrender to God’s will.
    7. The Holy Spirit is always active in prayer, but I believe He is most active when our prayers are filled with Scripture and we pray as a body of Christ, whether in small groups or large groups.
    8. There was one question which has to do with prayer which I still want to address. Does praying and asking for forgiveness wipe the slate clean? In a way that when we pray and ask for forgiveness we are set free from the eternal consequence of our sins. We still may have temporal consequence, such as jail. We still did sin. However, God sees us as righteous by seeing Christ’s righteousness. We have imputed Christ’s righteousness. (Romans 3:23-34; 6:23)

We are New Testament Christians living in an increasingly secular world. Because of this we must go to the Word of God to be filled up with the Holy Spirit. Now, Christians are filled with the Spirit when we receive Christ as Savior and Lord; however, I believe as we grow in Christ we can experience special times of being filled with the Spirit. We should pray for this every day. I think this will mostly happen in small prayer circles and we need these as Christians. I think this will mostly also happen when our prayers are in the manner expressed in this passage. We must pray with worship acknowledging God as sovereign. We must pray in petition with our basic need, but also we must pray for the greater good submitting to God’s sovereign will. This prayer is for the building up of the church and it is spirit filled. Verse 31 says that they were filled with the Spirit.

Christ followers, let’s do the same. Whether or not you are a preacher, go forth and preach God’s Word including the Gospel. Do this with boldness. Pray in groups of Christians, pray in this manner and experience the Holy Spirit and get ready. Lastly, set aside diversity and instead embrace unity for the cause of the Gospel. Then, you ought to really be ready for the Holy Spirit’s work. We need the type of prayer illustrated in this passage. I certainly do. We need, I need, Spirit-filled prayer meetings in our churches.

Go and be Spirit-filled Christ followers, living as post resurrection Christians.

 

Listen as I read the words to a newer worship song:

 

Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble

Did you feel the mountains tremble?
Did you hear the oceans roar?
When the people rose to sing of
Jesus Christ the risen one

Did you feel the people tremble?
Did you hear the singers roar?
When the lost began to sing of
Jesus Christ the risen one

And we can see that God you’re moving
A mighty river through the nations
And young and old will turn to Jesus
Fling wide your heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring your hope
Songs that bring your joy
Dancers who dance upon injustice

Did you feel the darkness tremble?
When all the saints join in one song
And all the streams flow as one river
To wash away our brokeness

And here we see that God you’re moving
A time of Jubilee is coming
When young and old return to Jesus
Fling wide your heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Written by Martin Smith ©1995 Curious? Music UK

Let’s pray.

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] Discipleship Training by Dr. Charles Lake. Level 1 week 5

[2] Arnold, Clinton E. Acts. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary.

Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007. Page 32

 

[3] Witherington III 201

[4] We may be able to take 1 Peter 3:7 which references our relationship with our spouse as hindering our prayer life to also mean if we are divided as a church it hinders our prayer life. Psalm 66:18 talks about cherished sin hindering our prayers.

Mother’s Day, Listen to Your Mother (Proverbs 1:8)

 

The sermon was supposed to be on Revelation, but the more I thought about it, I do not know that I wanted to focus on God’s Wrath and plagues on Mother’s Day. It is in the Word and it is important. Further, I know that some of us have faced the wrath of our mother’s, but let’s focus on mom’s. What’s in a name:

 

“Gladiator”: Power of Jesus’ Name

Set in A.D. 180, Gladiator tells the story of General Maximus Decimus Meridius (played by Russell Crowe), who was about to be given reigning authority in Rome by the aging emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Before this could take place, however, the emperor’s son, Commodus, killed his father in order to establish himself on the throne. He then ordered the murder of Maximus and his family. Maximus escaped, and the movie follows him as he is sold into slavery, becomes a nameless gladiator, and finally seeks justice against wicked Emperor Commodus.

The turning point comes late in the movie. After Maximus wins a great battle in the Coliseum, Emperor Commodus decides to meet this unknown gladiator face to face. The crowd watches as the emperor in full pomp strides with his soldiers onto the sands of the Coliseum.

The emperor asks the simple question: “What is your name?”

Maximus, streaked with blood and dirt from the battle, takes off his helmet and says: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, general of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

The crowd erupts with a deafening roar, while the emperor visibly shakes under the weight of the true identity of a man he thought was a mere slave. The emperor flees the Coliseum, only to face defeat and death later at the hands of Maximus.

Elapsed time: 01:29:09 to 01:33:08 (DVD scene 16).

Content: Gladiator is rated R for violence.[1]

Okay, that clip does not come from a chick flik, instead an action movie, but it does make my point. The name. At the name of Jesus every knee will bow (Phil. 2:5-11). That is the most important thought on a name. But mothers have always had such an impact on a child’s life. Mother’s have always had such an impact on an adult’s life.

 

My theme: Listen to your mother’s teaching.

 

Let’s read Proverbs 1:8:

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

  1. Let’s begin by talking about the influence of mothers.
    1. This passage was written in a day when women were not or seemed to not have the value of men in a society. The society was certainly more male dominated; it was a patriarchy. And though I am for men stepping up on society, that is not to be at the expense of mothers and women.
    2. As I talk about mothers today, understand that I am not only meaning the biological mothers. God has used many maternal influences who were not the actual mothers.
    3. But in this passage, Proverbs 1:8, mothers are included right alongside the father. It seems as if they are really listed as equals. It seems as though as we could read through Proverbs we see the mothers teaching expressed.
    4. Actually, if we turn to 1 Kings 2:19 we see the influence of the mother: When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand.
    5. The mother was very involved in the life of ancient Israel. The mother had a throne and the mighty king Solomon bowed to her.
    6. That is wonderful.
    7. Just think about the influence of your mother, maybe your grandmother.
    8. From a very early age I noticed my girls using the term, “Mamma.” They still do, they call Meagan, “Mamma.” I don’t know where it came from, I don’t know how it started, but it is the cutest thing to hear Abigail say, “Mama.” It is not “Mommy,” “Mom,” or “Mother,” but “Momma.”
    9. They also want their mother more than anything. There are many times when I pick up Abigail and I am carrying her to bed and she is saying, “I want “Momma” to carry me.” Or, I go in her room to get her up in the morning and she is saying, “I want Mamma.”
    10. A few years ago, Mercedes was almost two and a half and Abigail was just born and I was taking Mercedes with me to a fish store. Wouldn’t you know as we got out of Alliance, heading towards Canton, she began to cry wanting, “Momma.”
    11. God has created mothers for a very important reason and very important importance.
  2. Listen to your mother.
    1. This passage is about listening to your mother.
    2. Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and mother.
    3. But I think there is another important thought here.
    4. Teaching and instruction begin at home.
    5. John Piper writes: Verse 7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words if we ask, what’s the basis and beginning and integrating theme of the father’s instruction and the mother’s teaching—what is it that runs through all their daily modeling and counseling and explaining and correcting and disciplining that give unity and meaning to it all—the answer is “the fear of the Lord.”
    6. The family isn’t just a place where children learn to hold spoons and walk on two feet and say” please” and tie shoes and read and look both ways and cut grass and put on makeup and drive a car. The family is where all of this and more begins in God, is guided by God’s Word, and is shown to be for the glory of God. The fear of God—the reverencing of God, the standing in awe of God, the trusting of God—is what family’s are for.
    7. The family is God’s idea. The family is a school. And the unifying theme in the curriculum of this school is God.[2]
    8. As I think about this I notice that many times it is the mother who teaches the fear of the Lord, it is the mother who encourages Bible reading and prayer.
    9. I believe there are so many things we learn from our mothers that we really may not even think of.
    10. I remember learning how to spell certain words from mom.
    11. Interesting thing is that as we look at Proverbs, wisdom is personified as a woman.
    12. All too often, it is the mother who is there for the children, more even than the father.
    13. So, we are to listen to our mother’s instruction.
  • So, what’s in a name?
    1. What is in the name: “mom,” “mother,” “mamma”?
    2. I believe that is the most powerful name on the earth.
    3. If we see who shapes societies more than any other person, I believe it is the mothers.

 

Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:5, I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

 

Then in 3:14–15 Paul says, You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them [that is, your mother Eunice and through her from your grandmother Lois]; and that from childhood you have known the holy scriptures [because your mother taught them to you] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Now that’s a remarkable testimony. Timothy’s father was a Greek (Acts 16:3). He probably didn’t know the Scriptures. So Paul celebrates the great heritage that Timothy has through his mother and his grandmother. They did what his father could not or would not do. They filled him with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures brought him eventually to faith in Christ, and faith in Christ brought him salvation.

Timothy will live forever and ever because his mother and his grandmother were faithful to Proverbs 1:8.

 

 

So, for all of us, respect our mothers, listen to our mothers, honor our mothers, the name “mother” is powerful.

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

[1] Gladiator (Dreamworks, 2000), rated R, written by David Franzoni, directed by Ridley Scott; submitted by Bill White, Paramount,

[2] http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/do-not-forsake-your-mothers-teaching

Only Jesus Is Worthy (Revelation 5:1-14)

Introduction:

I have a confession to make. I like to follow the political process. I know, I know this year the process has been quite frustrating. We had around a myriad of republican candidate running and then we had the democratic candidates and by the end we had a myriad times a myriad of candidates running. But there is something interesting to me about it. But isn’t it funny how we expect one of these candidates to be “worthy”? I mean, think with me, is anyone really worthy to be the President of the United States? Is anyone really worthy to execute the duties of that office? Is anyone worthy to send men and women into battle? I am not saying don’t vote, definitely vote, I am simply saying that maybe the most worthy person is the person that recognized that he really is not worthy and no one else is either.

I would go further and say that I am not worthy to preach or serve as a pastor. I am not going to tell you of some secret sin, for that is not one to confess. I will simply tell you how can someone be worthy to preach the Bible? How can someone be worthy to handle the Word of God? How can someone be worthy to lead God’s people? No one is worthy. No one.

 

Let’s read Revelation 5:1-14 and my theme is that only Jesus is worthy.

Application: Humbly, Lean on Jesus. Be encouraged that there is someone Who will make things right.

 

Then 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. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then 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. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“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.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign[b] on the earth.”

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

 

  1. We see that no one is worthy, or so it appears (Rev. 5:1-4).
    1. Have you ever ben in a situation when it seemed like there was no one, really no one who could help?
    2. Think about it. We think, or at least I do, that there are always options. We have cell phones, we have access to all kinds of information.
    3. I watched a movie based on a true story about people climbing Mount Everest when some amazing storms hit. Really, we know Mount Everest we really cannot get help to you.
    4. We always can get help in most places, but in today’s world there are still places when there is no help.
    5. But even when we think we have help everywhere is it the help we really need?
    6. We need to fix creation. We need to get rid of sin. We need to get rid of murder, violence, stealing, unfaithfulness, poverty, gangs, government oppression, the Browns [okay that last one was a joke].
    7. We need help!
    8. They needed help in John’s day as well. The government was persecuting Christians, they were dying torturous deaths. Fallen Babylon was reigning and fallen Babylon meant that it was the fallen system.
    9. Now, we see these scrolls and we see in verse one that the scroll is written on on both sides. Usually a scroll was only written on on one side because it needed to be rolled up.
    10. This scrolls being written on on both sides is saying that it is complete.
    11. It has seven seals which is a number of completion.
    12. John weeps (verse 4) because he thinks no one is worthy.
    13. Again, he is overwhelmed seeing this vision of Heaven and then for a moment thinks that no one can help.
    14. How would you feel?
  2. Jesus is worthy, stop weeping (Revelation 5:5).
    1. It is like the elder is saying “Calm down!”
    2. The elders represent us. (likely)
  • The Lamb, Jesus, is described (Rev. 5:6-7).
    1. There is all types of Jewish imagery here.
    2. Horns represent power.
    3. A Lion represents power
    4. Notice the description:
    5. Seven horns
    6. Seven eyes. They eyes are defined these eyes are the seven spirits of God which are sent out to the whole earth.
    7. This is all because of the cross.
    8. Verse 5 had said that Jesus has conquered.
    9. In the Greek: “The ‘Root of David is conquering’ to open the scroll.”
    10. The conquering allowed Jesus to open the scroll. The conquering is the cross.
    11. This is all about the cross.
  1. Jesus takes the scroll and is worshipped (Rev. 5:8-14)
    1. Verses 8-14 are similar to chapter 4.
    2. The four living creatures and the 24 elders are constantly bowing down.
    3. They are singing a new song.
    4. Verse 9 is about why Jesus is worthy:
      1. He was slain
      2. Purchased for God with His blood people from every nation to be a Kingdom and priests. Rev. 1:6)
  • There is the emphasis on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. There is the emphasis on Him making us worthy to be priests, but how are
  1. So we get to verse 11 and there are myriads and myriads and thousands upon thousands of angels. A myriad is 10,000, so we have 10,000 times 10,000 times 1000 times 1000 angels with the 4 beasts and the 24 elders worshipping.
  2. This would be a loud worship service.
  3. We see what they say and then as they say it the elders are constantly falling down to worship.

 

Close:

Who is Worthy? Jesus. Jesus is the only One who is worthy. The only way that one is worthy to preach the Bible is to lean on Jesus for help, recognizing unworthiness. The only One who is worthy is Jesus.

 

Philippians 2:5-11:

 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

 

With that, let’s move into communion, recognizing Jesus’ worthiness.

 

Let’s pray.

 

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)