Well, do you have a seat and if you'd like to take up the your your bibles, if you bought them with you to Revelation chapter 5. We're taking a bit of a break from our Proburb series this morning and we're going to be reading the whole of Revelation 5. If you don't have a Bible then the reading will be behind me on the screen. And then after we've had our reading, we're going to learn a new song.
Which just springs right out of this passage, and we're gonna learn that together. We'll sing it and then we'll sing it again after the after the sermon. So Revelation 5, and let's pray together as we come to read and hear preached the word of God. Further, we pray that you would quiet our restless hearts now as we come to read and hear your word. We know that there are so many things that compete for our attention, that make us restless, things that we think about, things from the last week or the week to come, maybe arguments we've had this morning problems that we've got since that we're trapped in people that we've upset or who've upset us, there are so many things that can cause us to not listen to you, that can make us restless.
And so we just pray that by your spirit who loves us so dearly, that you would help us to focus on these words, to learn from them, and to love the Lord of them. And we pray as well for other churches in this area who are going to be opening up your words right about now we we pray for our brothers and sisters in this area and ask you Lord that as their churches gather under the Word of God that you would bless them and encourage them and build them up, please would you save people through the ministry of your word this morning. We pray for other areas where your word is going out We pray for those who are on camps at the moment. For Karen, who's away on a camp, we pray for them as your word is open. Please bless them everywhere it's going out faithfully around this country, lord, would you do wonderful things through your word and amongst us this morning we pray in Jesus' name, amen.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with 7 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 1 in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no 1 was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
Then 1 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 7 seals. Then I saw a lamb looking as if it had been slain standing at the center of the throne encircled by the 4 living creatures and the elders. The lamb had 7 horns and 7 eyes which are the 7 spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on Throne. And when he had taken it, the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb. Each 1 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.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth. Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands and 10000 times 10000. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 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.
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 The 4 living creatures said, amen, and the elders fell down and worshiped. What a tremendous vision that is, we're gonna hear it opened up to us in just a moment, but first, we're gonna learn a new song all about it. Father, there is so much truth in these things that we're looking at. We thank you for this book of Revelation a strange book in many ways and yet full of who the Lord Jesus Christ is, help us to see him we pray. Help us to recognize exactly who he is and be worshipers of him.
Please don't allow us this morning to hold back from giving him praise in Jesus' name. Our man. Well, I'm gonna start with the story of Cinderella. And I guess that most people do know that story of Cinderella. There's the, you know, slave girl, she's working away doing all her cleaning for her stepsisters and stepmother, and it's a pretty horrible life for her.
And then there's a ball on The prince is giving a ball. He wants to find a girl to marry, and he's put on this this wonderful ball. And everyone's going to it, but except her. And then you know the story, I guess, of the fairy godmother comes gives her a dress and there's a pumpkin and she she's able to get to the ball and she dances with the prince and the prince falls in love with her. And then she's gotta get away by 12 o'clock, if you know the story because everything turns back into the the the carriage turns back into a pumpkin, a dress turns back into rags, and so it goes on.
But as she leaves, she leaves 1 of her shoes, the silver slipper or the glass shoe, whichever, you know, whichever version you you you read. And that for some strange reason doesn't turn back. And and the prince, so ruling the story, the prince knows that he wants to marry this girl. And so there's this nationwide search for the foot that will fit the silver slipper, the glass shoe. There's a nationwide search whose foot will fit.
And he goes out into his kingdom looking all the women and every woman in the kingdom has to put their foot in the shoe. There's this big search whose foot will fit. And his his workers go out for him trying to find the woman, and they try. And there's all loads of contenders. There's massive feet, you know, so big that the toe can't even get in.
There's small, tiny dainty feet where the the silver slipper is is too big for for for the foot. And so lots of contenders, lots of people tried. And after ages and ages, there's just 1 girl Cinderella that hasn't been tried And then when she's tried, her foot slips in perfectly, and she's going to be the bride, and everybody lives happily ever after. You know the story. Here we've got another search and just as desperate, if not a lot more desperate.
Search for someone who will fit the role, who will fit the job. Is there someone who can fit the job, the essential job that needs to happen. Let me read it verse 1 to 4 of chapter 5. Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll, with writing on both sides, sealed with 7 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 1 in heaven or earth or under the earth could open the scroll or look or even look inside it. I wept wet because no 1 was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside it.
You see? Who will fit this job? It's not a foot in the slipper now, but it's actually open the scroll. Who who's gonna do that? And if you read through, you'll see the word worthy is used 4 times.
Who is worthy to do this? Is there anyone worthy to do this job? So what's happening here is that John, the writer of this, he was a disciple and apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is taken up in a vision and the corner if you like of the curtain of eternity of heaven is pulled back. And what he's seeing is the spiritual realities that are going on around us.
If only the corner of the curtain was pulled back, we'd see all kinds of spiritual things happening around us that we don't see with our physical eye, but he sees them and he goes to the very heart of the universe, the very center of the universe, of the entire universe, not the geographical center. That doesn't really matter, but the spiritual center, the spiritual center of everything. That is going on around us right now, that we can't see. The corner of the curtain is pulled back and there, there is a throne, and on the throne is God. We're blinded to this very often, but there is God on a throne, and we have these 24 elders, which is meant to remind us of all kinds of things.
The 12 tribes of Israel in the old testament, plus the 12 apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ 12 and 12 makes 24. In other words, all the people of God, all the way through the ages, from the old testament to the new testament All the people of God are surrounding the throne with God on the throne, and and they're symbolically falling down and saying you are the ruler. There is a ruler in this world in this universe. You're not there to do my task, they're not falling down and saying God do my plan, All of the people of God throughout history are falling down and say, may your plan? He put into action?
And this call goes up in the middle of that scene, who's worthy who's worthy to open the contents of the scroll and explain it to us and put it into action, and the voice is loud. Look at verse 2. I mean, when you read the book of Revelation which some of us are gonna be doing the whole of Revelation at a youth conference in a week or so in a few weeks time. Everything's loud. Everything's loud in revelation.
Look at verse 2. And I saw a mighty angel so you get the build up. Proclaiming in a loud voice. It's not just a loud voice. It's a mighty angels loud voice.
Yeah? And what's he proclaiming? Who's worthy? Who is worthy? To break the seal and open the straw.
Who is worthy? And if you look at verse 3, He's shouting out to heaven, and the earth, and the underworld, under the earth, whatever that is. In other in other words, any realm that you can think of, the sea, the air, the sky, space. This this mighty angel is calling out in a loud voice to the entire universe, to every realm you could think of, even the realm of the dead. Is there anyone?
Anyone worthy? And nobody seems able. Nobody replies, So here's my first point. There is no harder task than this. There is no harder task than this.
To open the scroll. Now, what is the scroll then? What is the scroll that desperately needs being open? It's not it's not just a shoe, a foot in a shoe. What is to scroll.
Well, the scroll contains the whole plan of God for the world. It's a credible rationale of history. It's the direction that the world is going in and the universe is going in. It's a satisfactory explanation of the world and its destiny. That's the scroll.
It's the plan of God for the world. It's the interpretation of life, your life. And my life and the world. That's what it's about. It's the meaning of life, because the truth is life feels like chaos so often isn't it?
It feels very chaotic, isn't it? That it feels sometimes like there are random events going on. And events are out of control, another war potentially, a nuclear war potentially. It it feels like all kinds of things are going wrong, a third of our grain that comes from Ukraine. The basket place, the, you know, the the food the food basket of the world, and Ukraine is now taking over what's gonna happen to the grain.
It feels like things are just is it random? Is there no 1 in control? Is it just 1 event after the other? And yet, even then there seems to be right and wrong. We know there's truths and there's untruths.
We know there are right things and there are wrong things. There's an amazing passage in the old testament, part of the bible. In a book called Ecclesiastes, which which we must do, we have done in the past, but we ought to do again. And there's this amazing sort of song in Ecclesiastes. In fact, in the sixties, it was actually turned in into a song and and by by a group called The Birds, which no 1 will ever remember.
But you may not remember the song, There is a season to Do you remember that? No. Well, there we go. It went exactly like that. And and there's these couplets that go through.
There's there's a time to rejoice. There's a time to be sad. It takes this time thing. There's a time for peace and there's a time for war. There's a time for harvest.
And there's a time for sewing, and it and it it has these contrasts. And the way that that is written here that even though you want peace, even though you're a peaceful person, even though you may be a pacifist, you know there are certain times that it is right to go to war over. There are certain things you have to go to war over. Even though you might be a lover and you want to love and you love even your children, there is a time to hate. You're forced into it sometimes, to hate what they do or what they've done or who they've become.
There's a time to love, there's a time to hate, there's a time to sow, there's a time to reap, there's a time for peace, there's a time for war. In other words, what that passage is saying is, even though these events feel random, we know there's some truth that it is right, to do even that which I don't want to do, go to war, or to hate. So there's something Over this world feels random and yet, there's truth in it, there's error What's going on? Who will open the scroll? Who will explain the chaos?
Who will have meaning to this? Who can give meaning to these things? That's the question. Is there anyone? And notice in verse 1, there's no space.
For future writing, it says, then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with 7 seals. Both sides of the paper are written on. No 1 can add to this or take away. You can't add to it. No Putin can't add to it.
No 1 can add little things to it. It's full up. Satan can't even add to it. There is a scroll written by God that will make sense of the chaotic world And no 1 can add or take away from that. It needs to be open.
It's the hardest task in the universe. Those secrets what is the point of your life? Those questions need to be answered. Notice it has 7 seals, Now that they're not the things that, you know, swim in the ocean and go 0 0 0 0. It's not that you get up at Chest into world of adventure.
They're locks There's 7 locks. They're powerfully locked. Here's a meaning of the universe. And it's locked up with 7. 7 in the in revelation is the perfect number.
In other words, you won't be able to unlock them. There are 7 locks on it and each lock, each padlock needs to be broken open. For this for this scroll, this meaning to be seen. And in chapter 6, you'll see those of revelation, you'll see those locks unlocked. And 1 of them, by the way, is quite interesting.
Because the third 1 that's unlocked, the third seal that's opened out, black horse comes out or whatever color horse comes out, and a third of the grain of the world is taken away. And grain which was a common thing, an oil which was common becomes very expensive and only for the rich. Just read what's going on and you'll see. That's the world we live in. Very interesting, isn't So here's the scroll.
So and who will open it? Who is the person that can do it? It's desperate. Who's foot will fit this? Who who who can do this?
And we don't just need a commentator. We don't just need an interpreter. We need someone who would carry this plan through. Who is gonna make sense of the world? There's no more important task.
There's no more harder task. Who is qualified. Who's worthy? That's my first point. My second point.
There's no sadder cry Do you feel the despair here? Look at verses 1, verse 1. Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, a scroll with writing on both sides sealed with 7 seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice Who is worthy to break the seal and open the straw? But no 1 in heaven or on earth under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.
I wept and I wept because no 1 was found who was worthy to open the scroll or even look inside it. No 1 can make sense of this world. This is suicidal despair going on here. This is utter desperation. This is person at the end of his tether.
Here is John weeping and weeping. There doesn't seem to be any meaning. There doesn't seem to be any purpose in life. Prying and crying. What is the point of studying if you're a young person?
What is the point of getting my exam? We all die anyway, don't we? What is the point of bringing up children? What is the point of this world? Can no 1 tell me?
And there's this depression and this lament that if you read your histories, goes across cultures, across people groups, and tries out in all society. Is there any 1 anywhere that could make sense of this world. Culture go through phases, at least ours does. I've been studying our our culture for for years and it goes through phases and particularly music culture, which I'm particularly into and I listen to and you know, it goes through phases. You get the phases where people are angry, I mean, they can overlap these things of course, where people are crying out in rage.
What is the point? You know? 1 of my favorite songs from that is is by a by a group called the smashing pumpkins, and he he had an phenomenal song. You know, despite all my rage, I'm still just a rat in a cage. That was the words, but an amazing song.
Pull it with butterfly wings it's called. Despite all my rage, So they're raging. What is the point of the world? Rage against the machine. Rage against this world.
You get those from a song. And then you get what seems to be around today comfortably numb, which is a a Pink Floyd song. So we're just injected with stuff to keep us comfortably numb, keep us down. So we can cope with the world, rage or comfortably numb. We seem to reign.
But the point is, is there any that could open this scroll and tell us meaning, and it breaks us. Oh, there are individuals that come along and try to stick their foot in the shoe, to try to take the role. There's loads of individuals loads of religions, I don't need to really name them all, but come along and say this is the answer, loads of ideologies, atheism, That was a thing, you know, a few years ago, it's basically dying out now because it's just on you can't live under it. Atheism There is no meaning, no point to life, you know, you've got communism. This is the answer.
We need the working class to, you know, riot against the proletariat. Materialism. If only we had more money and more stuff, scientist, that's the answer. That all comes in narcissism which is the age that we're in at the moment, it seems to me. Where it's all about me, I find myself in me.
It all goes wrong. There are contenders. There are feet that try to push in and it really doesn't work. And so John weeps at the inability of the universe to present someone who can explain the meaning of life, which leads me to my third point. There is only 1 candidate worthy.
After you've gone through the universe, there's someone who's bigger than the universe. 1 candidate. Look at verse 5. Then 1 of the elders is after he's been crying in despair, said to me, do not weep, see. What an amazing thing to be able to say to a world, isn't Hey.
Hey. Hey. Hey. Don't weep. Don't weep in despair.
See. Let me let me show you. Do not weep, see the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, as triumph. He is able to open the scroll and its 7 seals. The book of Revelation is full of comfort for God's people.
There's someone on the throne and there's someone who can bring meaning to this world. Someone who can open the scroll of God a plan of God. Someone who can explain what your life is about and what history is about. Don't weep. Don't weep.
Don't weep. There's hope Don't weep, the lion of Judah, the root of David, but the whole world is destroying itself. What about climate change? All the stuff that's going on. We will just had a week with the hottest temperatures in this country.
Everything is going wrong. Don't sweat. Don't weep. The lion of Judah. The root of David.
Well, we must do something. There must be someone out there that can invent something that can suck in all the carbon. Surely. Don't we? The lion of Judah, the root of David.
All of these are old testament pictures of kingly rulership. He takes center stage. He's the center of all meaning. He's the key that will unlock or unlock all the secrets he's the key to meaning in your life. So John looks.
Look, the lion And so John looks. He looks up wipes his eyes of tears, and what does he see? A land. Well, but perhaps there's too many tears. He's not really getting it right.
He's been weeping remember, and the owner said that there was a lion and and he's actually seeing a lamb. Perhaps his eyes have gone funny. A lamb. And it is a lamb. A lamb that looks like it's been killed.
But he said it was a lion. So either the elder is lying or the lion is the lamb and the lamb is the lion, which is a much better interpretation by the way. It's a figure of a lamb. That is keenly, that rules, and how does he rule? He's been slain That's the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.
That's the resurrected Jesus who died on across the lamb that's been slain but is alive. The lamb that's been slain He comes forward. Look at verse 7. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sits on the throne. When he had taken it, 4 living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the lamb.
Notice that the lamb has 7 horns. You ever seen a lamb with 7 horns? This is picture language. That's why. Don't take this literally.
It's it's apocalyptic language, it's picture language. Horns stand for strength. Bulls, you know, have horns. They're strong. A rhinoceros comes in.
It's got a wacky great horn. Yeah. You don't argue with that. It's a strong thing. It's got a horn.
Bools have horns. So Horn stand for strength in the bible and 7 stands for the perfect number. This is the perfectly strong 1. All power to a lamb that was slain. Notice he has 7 eyes that were called the 7 spirits of God.
7 is the perfect number. Eyes are all seeing. Spirits have got He understands every sees everything. Here's a lamb that is totally and utterly strong and sees everything. And he'd been slain and he's risen again.
It's through this once crucified, risen Jesus that the riddle of life breaks open. It's through this suffering servant that God rules in his power If you wanna understand what the point of your life is, you cannot go away from Jesus. It's interesting. Lots of people argue about God, don't they? And the concepts of God and why does God.
The best thing for Christians to do is say, look at Jesus. Look at him. He's our answer. If he is the lion lamb who was slain but rose again. If he is that, then all other questions, you just listen to him.
Whether you like his answer or not, doesn't really matter got nothing to do with that, it's whether he is who he is and whether whether he says the truth. The creator of the universe on the throne has a plan and the plan is that he would come to this world and die on a cross, and rise again, and rule a kingdom. The lamb is the explanation of the world. The lamb is what it's all about. And those seals that are opened are a test to see whether we follow the lamb or just follow the world.
The lamb is the fulfillment of our searching and our dreams, that God loves us. That he sent the lamb, the lion to die and rise again. That there is 1 that can deal with death, your death, and turn your death into a doorway into the kingdom of the lamb. The lion. A way to make sense of this life is Jesus.
That's what it He's the scroll of God. He's the meaning. He's the 1 that can turn suffering like a crucifixion. Into some blessing which leads me to my fourth point. The singing begins When you know meaning in your life, when you know the lion and the lamb in your life, the singing begins, there's no greater music There is no greater music.
I love music, but there's no greater music than this. Those who can say at last I understand why I'm here in the world, and that God has a plan for me in the Lord Jesus Christ, the singing, that there are 3 songs here. There's a song of redemption Look at verses 9 9 and 10. It's it's it's an amazingly wonderful song. The song of being bought back verse 9.
And then they sang a new song saying, you're worthy to take the scroll. You're worthy. There is 1. You're worthy to take the scroll. To open its because you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God, persons from every tribe and language and people, a nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they reign on earth Here is a new world. A new world made up of all those wonderful different nations with all the different flavors. But 1, no one's saying we're better than you and we're bomb you to death and we'll kill you and we'll shoot you and we don't like the color of your skin. We don't like the type of food that you eat. There's this genuine unity.
There really is a unity. Men and women from every tribe and every nation under the king brought together to praise the 1 that shed his blood, redeemed us, paid for us, bought us into the kingdom of God, The stroll is open. There is meaning to my life. I could praise him. It's wonderful, isn't That's why we love people of different nations in the church.
We don't want just we don't want an all white British church like me, If everybody was like me, which would be pretty good, I think, but if everyone was like you, let's put it that way, it wouldn't be so nice. We want all kinds of people. We work together. We work through our differences because we have 1 big thing together. We are redeemed by the blood of the Lion Lam.
That's the church, the real church. I was taught to do Anne, which is my wife, which is a good thing, isn't it? I think it was this morning. I can't remember. It might have been last night.
We were talking about times where your friends when you became a Christian, your friends are just doing the same thing. And I remember after about 7 years, I'd become a Christian and I traveled around the world and met loads of Christians around the world and I came back to Windsor where I was brought up and converted and there were my mates down the Willie the fourth pub on Windsor Bridge, doing the same stuff, drinking the same beer, telling the same stories. And when I turned up, they said you're a boring Christian. And I said, how can you say that? You're drinking the same beer, you're in the same seat telling the same stories.
I've been around the world. I met Christians for India and Pakistan and all the way around the world. There is songs universal song. But look at the second song, the song of the sovereignty, verse 12. It's an amazing song.
Isn't it worthy is the lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor glory, and praise. I mean, I've got down here notes, and that we could do sermon on all of those words. So I better be careful. But look at It's just that you're worthy you're the worthy 1 to receive all my power, all my effort, all my wealth, You're the wise 1. You're the mighty 1.
You're the honorable 1. You're the glorious 1. The 1 that I should give my life in praise to. Then there's a third song, the song of praise in verse 13. It says to him who sits on the throne and to the lamb, be praised and honor and glory and power forever.
There's just this constant praise going on. And did you notice that it's all the 4 living creatures. 4 living creatures stands for the whole world. It's like the 4 corners of the earth. We know there's not corners or the 4 points of a compass.
In other words, the whole of creation is worshiping Jesus. If you wanna get right with creation, if you wanna be in tune with the world, if you wanna be a real pagan in that sense that you're in tune with the universe and in tune with the world well the world is in tune with the lamb singing his praises? That's what the world is doing. I mean, it's crying out at the moment saying, where would you come back and sort this sin out? But there's praise.
If we wanna be at the party of the universe, it's praising the lamb, not a It's not all about me. It's not me discovering a plan. It's not me asking God to help me with my plan. It's submitting to his plan and it's all about Jesus And when our lives are all about Jesus, then a world opens up. The universe opens up.
Praise opens up. We're bigger and grander than our little dreams. There are angels, not butterflies around us, And so I want to plead with you, be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Serv him. Learn all about him.
Give him massive praise, sing that song with massive volume. Because creation is doing it. What is the meaning of your life being tuned with the lion lamb that gave his life for you.