Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28)
We have a ridiculous fascination with modern renderings of relevance over ancient diplays of biblical reverence.
Sometimes the sociological disciplines take precedent over the sufficient Spirit born word. The modern church doesn’t necessarily need more business theories, church growth plans, surveys, branding campaigns, and cutesy advertisements. More than anything, the church needs to grasp His holiness.
We can be seeker sensitive, but we need to realize God is the seeker in the relationship (Luke 19), and it would be nice to be sensitive to His commands. We don’t approach Him glibly like a child approaching Mickey Mouse.
He is our Father. Yes. But our Father also happens to be a creator of all things, and a high holy sovereign King. Mankind, even the “holiest” can’t stand His blazing majesty: Moses hid his face in a rock. Isaiah fell prostrate like dead. Ezekiel laid dazed and confused on the seashore.
Jesus made the Father’s holiness tolerable and accessible to sinful men like us. Holy justice called for the powder crushing of Jesus.
And it took a scourging of a perfect man. It took a Father’s utter rejection of an only Son. It took the only innocent blood in the universe poured over guilty enemies like me.
It’s wonderful love. It’s beautiul intimacy. But it is all these with an unimaginable eternal cost. Reverence is the manner we should approach such precious stones. Sometimes a closed mouth and a bended knee is all that can be done in the midst of such striking mysterious otherness.
Let’s not be the spoiled children who “play marbles with God’s diamonds.” (CH Spurgeon)
Not in church.
If this “kingdom can’t be shaken”, how much more unshakable is the holy One who built and rules it?
This vid is for any that were curious as to how my athlete did at the Florida Track and Field state finals last Friday. It was taken with my cellphone-quality bloggie so forgive the graininess. The winds didn’t help my hand steadiness either.
You can also hear my all wise and highly technical coachspeak: “Thattaway!” “Walk it off!”
Nat Dixon jumped 6’4″ and finished third overall in the high jump. He’s just a sophomore and spent very little time practicing jumping form because of his strenuous basketball schedule. The jumpers above him were seniors. He’s going to get 6’6″ next year and after that, the sky is the limit (quite literally).
With the Olympics around the corner, I’m always impressed by the accounts and testimonies of training athletes about what they put their bodies and minds through for the gold. They do it for personal goals, country, world records, and maybe sponsorships. It puts me to shame when comparing the inconsistent discipline of my spiritual walk with their physical training: they do it for temporary praise and reward, I do it for the eternal King and crown (souls) that will never perish.
That is why I am daily thankful for the greater reality of grace through Jesus Christ. Fortunately, His mercies are new every morning because I need them desperately every morning (Lamentations 3:23). All jumping, running and throwing done for Him will resound back to us in eternity. As the poem by CT Studd says:
“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Peace and grace,
The tension was palpable. But after months of anticipation the much awaited arrival of the ultimate video game has been officially given unto us.
“Call of Duty: Black Ops” is this generations “new Nintendo.”
Call of Duty: Black Ops is a first-person shootervideo game developed by Treyarch, published by Activision and released worldwide on November 9, 2010 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS consoles.
Black Ops gives every boy and man-child an opportunity to team up with fellow gamers to fight Cuban armies, communist gulags, and…..Nazi zombies?!
In past generations, young American men spared life and limb to fight actual enemies for their God, family and country. Now young American men spare a meaningful life and relationships to fight virtual enemies in the comfort of their bean bag chair. The disparity is slightly sickening.
Young men are looking for something to fight for…
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Off to Jacksonville early this morning taking my high jumper to the State track finals.
Enjoy the video.
At least it’s Friday!
The American government has found the most formidable enemy to the fabric of our American life.
Is it abortion? (A national malady that has snuffed the lives of over 50 million tiny unborns since Roe V. Wade)
Is it American imperialism? (A type of hyper-nationalism that claims a military footprint in near every nation and drops drone bombs indiscriminately on innocent and foe alike)
Is it national debt? (An enslavement of our children to the whims and fancies of China, unemployment, economic depression, and over taxation)
The USDA has scoped out the enemy and it is a much more heinous subversive adversary than anyone ever imagined:
Particularly, organic milk from small local family-owned farms.
It’s almost enough for Ron Paul to pop a Constitutional blood vessel in disgust. I’m not overtly political on this blog, but if even half of “Farmaggedon” is true then that is enough to fire Congress all over again and institute a prerequisite common sense test for all future elected members of government. Otherwise, we’ll continue to witness tragic and laughable scenes like this:
“Freeze! Get your hands in the air!”-USDA agent with glock drawn
“Your hands! Let me see them now!”-USDA agent
Big government Democrats give way to big government Republicans and the political cycle shifts every 4-8 years yet nothing substantial changes. If there is not a libertarian type movement among the populace then meaningless regulators and gargantuan bureaucracies will continue to terrorize such depraved and wicked practices as growing a garden and sharing your harvest.
Support your local farmer/farmer’s market. Your basic right of (healthy) food freedom may not exist much longer folks.
5And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:5-10)
We left the dejected apostle, stricken with grief, with no hope in our last blog post (Revelation 5:1-4). But an angelic elder comes to comfort John in the very next verse.
The first figure John is introduced to is a Lion (verse 5). A lion is a beast of prey; the noble creatures are strong, majestic, and dangerous. You don’t fight with a lion, you submit to a lion. Lions aren’t hunted as prey, they are hunters.
Christ, like a lion, devours His enemies. The book of Revelation displays Christ as a sword wielding horse riding warrior with a tat on his thigh (Revelation 19). With one swipe of the His just sword He will slay the enemies of the gospel. The devil is only “like a roaring lion” (1Peter 5:8) but Jesus IS a roaring lion. Satan and the demons tremble before His might.
He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The protector of Israel in the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Yet He is before Abraham (John 8:58).
He is also the “Root of David” (verse 5). The source of David’s reign. The pre-eminent one above every King or patriarch.
He is a descendant yet He is pre-eminent.
And He is worthy to take the scrolls because He has “conquered” (verse 5)
In an incredible contrast, when John fixes his eyes to behold this “lion,” He in fact sees a Lamb (verse 6). Lambs are preyed upon; they are weak, harmless, lowly, sheared for clothes and killed for food and sacrifice.
These two juxtapositions could not be more shockingly stark. In Christ we have the paradoxical Servant King, the conquering Lion and the lowly Lamb.
In a mysterious peculiar narrative that could only be God-borne, the Lion conquers all His enemies by becoming a Lamb. (Phil. 2:5-11)
The Lord of the Universe becomes a suffering Savior to His covenant children (Isaiah 53:3-12).
The Lamb is standing, alive forevermore, though it appeared for a short time He “had been slain” (verse 6)
Christ’s final cry on the cross “It is finished” was not the surrendering death gurgle of a tortured Jewish man, it was the victorious roar of a Lion that shook foundations of heaven and earth.
This is a lamb-like Lion, and a Lion-like lamb. And he is “standing,” next to throne not slumping or laying down. Not dejected and defeated, but upright and fully alive because the war is won.
Seven (perfection) horns protrude from His head– Again seven, the number of perfection or completion. Horns in the Old Testament signified authority. Christ is a Lamb with perfect authority and power, or “omnipotence” Seven eyes-He sees all and knows all. Seven eyes signify perfect wisdom and knowledge of all. He knows the beginning from the end (Isaiah 48:9-10). This is Christ’s “omniscience.” Seven Spirits signify God’s presence everywhere at all times. No one can flee from Him, He is always imminent in our lives. This is Christ’s “omnipresence.”
A king with only authority and no wisdom would be a cruel tyrant dictator. A Hitler of sorts. A King with only wisdom and no authority would be helpless to exercise good for his people. A figure-head of sorts (King of England?)
Look how both perfect wisdom and perfect authority dwell in the person of Jesus Christ. These are the diverse excellencies of Jesus Christ!
As a father I can be very loving and gentle with my children. But if I were to feel they were in harms way that gentleness would be replaced with a fierce hand of violent protection. I will go straight William Wallace on you and your speeding chick car in my neighborhood.
God in Christ is the same way, only exponentially more loving and powerful. He protects us with a loving soft hand of a father and defends us with a clenched fist of a righteous warrior.
In verse 7 we see Jesus literally take the scroll of history from the very hand of God the Father. This is the Father handing over the keys of the Kingdom to the Son. Christ the sovereign one holds history in his perfect hands from beginning to end! He is working all things out (your life) according to the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11).
The heavenly company falls down to worship the Lamb (verse 8) an adulation that was at one time reserved for God the Father (Revelation 4:10).
They reveal in their song why the Lamb is their sole object of worship: Because of His blood shed for His ransomed people (verse 9).
Or as John the Baptist said “Behold! The lamb who takes away the sins of the world John” (1:29)
The culmination of God’s perfect love, justice, holiness, mercy and glory is found in beholding the God-man suspended between heaven and earth taking the full cup of the Father’s wrath for us.
Behold the worthy one being revealed in Revelation 5. CH Spurgeon concludes:
We admire him for his glory, but even more because his glory is mingled with humility; we admire him for his uncompromising justice, but even more because it is tempered with mercy; we admire him for his majesty, but even more because it is a majesty in meekness; we admire him because of his equality with God, but even more because as God’s equal he nevertheless has a deep reverence for God; we admire him because of his sovereign dominion over the world, but even more because this dominion was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission;
(Revelation 5:1-10 )
1Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
There is a reason the book of Revelation means very little to us. With it’s vivid imagery and striking symbolism we typically leave it up to the prophecy experts and theological doctorates to debate the book’s mysterious meaning. But before we believe this controversial book has anything to do with Kirk Cameron, a European antiChrist, or a pretrib/posttrib debate we better go back to the first verse:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ….” (Revelation 1:1)
Paul displays why we miss the blatant significance of the gospel in his letter to the Corinthian church:
4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.(2 Cor 4:4, 6)
We know very little of the far-reaching negative implications of our sin nature. Scripture says we are morally twisted creatures, depraved and sinful to our heart’s core (Romans 3:21-26). But this means that we’re not just bad, we’re blind.
We’re blind to the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
You can be involved in church activities and ministry leadership and still have no revelation of the glory God in the face of Jesus Christ. Fortunately, many Scriptures lift up the veil in spectacular ways for a moment for us: Isaiah 6, Hebrews 1, John 1, Ezekiel 1. After Ezekiel has his vision of God’s disturbing holiness, the prophet is in a trance for a week! On the surface, it seems these are the babblings of mad men; they search for words as best they can pressing the language with all their mental might.
John, the exiled revelator was one of those blessed mad men.
In Revelation 5:1 of John’s vision we are introduced to The King holding the Scrolls-The scrolls were probably similar to a Roman will or contract deed. The scrolls intimate the God’s purposes for human history: The King’s divine decrees from start to finish.
God is a sovereign King and He is in absolute control. From Creation to the fall, from the death of Christ to the return of Christ, it all fits into his mighty right hand. Earthquakes, terrorist attacks, personal tragedies and even a sparrow falling to the ground. God knows, and sees, and has some purpose for letting it all come to pass.
Notice John only sees the throne and the right hand of the one holding the scroll. God’s face can never be seen in its unadulterated light. One of the most shocking testimonies to God’s unapproachable holiness is the fact that the godly men who knew it best could never even begin to describe it. No man may see His face and live.
In v.2-3 an angel asks a provocative question:
“Who is worthy to open the scroll?
The scroll is sealed with seven seals, the symbol of perfection which suggests they could not be opened by just any candidate. This question is posited by a particularly Strong angel (Michael maybe?) This question begs the question: Why doesn’t Michael or one of the blazing seraphim open it? They can’t.
Furthermore, why doesn’t the holy King on the throne open it? He needs a mediator (1Tim2:5-6). The only thing God could do to us apart from a worthy mediator is destroy us. One holy man must open it, otherwise every name would be blotted out of history in the King’s just judgment.
In Verse 4 John comes undone. There really was no one present that could make right the tragedy that is human history. No mighty angel in heaven, no charismatic leader on earth.
But we need not weep with John just yet.
The most prominent figure of the passage hasn’t been injected into the stirring scene. We know the end of the story. But let John’s grief make it clear, a Christless heaven is only a prospect to be mourned. The future is hopeless apart from a perfect substitute taking our wrath; that’s why John is a torn man. Only Christ is worthy to unwrap the climactic events of the last days, and every day for that matter.
What John observes next is a shocking illustration of God’s character and glory. It leaves the apostle shaken and stirred; God willing, it may brand us in the same way.