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Service Archives > 66 Revelation - History's Last Chapter - 1996 > Worship His Majesty - Part 2

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Worship His Majesty - Part 2 - Revelation 5:11-14

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9/15/1996
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Worship His Majesty - Part 2
Revelation 5:11-14
Skip Heitzig
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66 Revelation - History's Last Chapter - 1996

The book of Revelation exalts Jesus Christ as the soon-coming Lord over the earth. Skip Heitzig explains the amazing and mysterious prophecies that form God's final word to mankind.

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I love singing worship songs. I love being here on Sunday morning with you and joining in the choruses of praise but I look forward to hanging out with you around the throne of God. That is going to be an awesome time. We've been reading about that the last several weeks in the book of Revelation. John is caught up into heaven. He sees a throne and One sitting on the throne with the appearance of a sardius and a jasper stone. He sees a rainbow like an emerald around the throne of God and a great sea of glass. He sees four odd-looking creatures, one that looks like a lion, another like a calf, another with the face of a man, and another like a flying eagle. And when they worship, the twenty-four elders that he sees fall down, casting down their crowns and they worship. Then John saw a scroll in the hand of Him who sat on the throne and the question went out, who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals? No one was found worthy until somebody says to John, who was weeping, hey, don't worry about it. Look the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed! And John turned and saw a Lamb as though it had been slain. And when He takes the scroll and opens the seals, there is an eruption of worship in heaven. And so we have taken it upon ourselves last week and this week to look at the worship of heaven, to glean some principals for worship ourselves.

Worship balances us out. It's like the great counterweight to the Christian life. It keeps us from going headlong into self, self-absorption. It's easy to get overwhelmed by life. Somebody said that worship steps life up to a higher voltage. How's your battery? What kind of electricity is in your life, in your relationship toward Jesus Christ? It is easy to get overwhelmed by life. There are so many circumstances unique to us, problems that come. What do you do in them? Do you worship God in them? I have a letter from a lady named Anita. She wrote this to me awhile back during a period of intense suffering and she wrote some insights concerning worship. I won't read all of the letter but she begins, "Dear Pastor Skip, as I remember you and your family in my prayers, I have been moved to write you a letter of thankfulness for your loving response to a trying situation. A few weeks ago, you and the other pastors laid hands on our nine-month-old daughter who was very sick. Surgery was later performed on her and I am very pleased to say that she has recovered nicely and is doing great. I would, though, like to share a special lesson that I learned from the situation. I learned how important and comforting worship is. As my daughter laid sick in the hospital, my fear of what might happen to her seemed to stop me from praying. Yet I knew that I didn't want the enemy to succeed in discouraging me so I began to sing praise songs over and over again. If I couldn't remember the ones I learned at church, I'd just make some up. Taking my mind off myself and fixing my heart on Jesus through worship kept me through some very rough times in the hospital. Needless to say, I now view worship time as a vital and important part of the service and I am very grateful to our worship teams for their commitment."

Revelation chapters 4 and 5 introduces us to the worship of heaven, the liturgy of heaven, there's an order of service. There's a protocol. Basically, the four living creatures start, the twenty-four elders join in. after the twenty-four elders join in, all of the angels come around and join in worship. And then finally, we'll read today, all of God's creation joins in worship. We left off around verse 11 and so let's pick it up this week: "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessed and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" [And actually in the original language they kept on saying Amen, Amen--they just kept at it] And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever."

There are three movements in this chapter, three movements, three doxologies if you like that term, three eruptions of praise. The first we covered last week. It is sung by the twenty-four elders, the redeemed. And their chorus is a chorus of worshiping God for redemption. You have purchased us by Your blood, they sing to the Lamb. The second and third, which we cover this week, are by the angels and that second eruption of praise sung by the angels or stated by the angels, is for the rulership of the Lamb. He rules; He reigns over all. And then finally there is the chorus of praising the Lamb for His relationship with His Father. In verse 11, where we pick up, John notices that there are other creatures besides the four and the twenty-four elders, which I think represent the church. But it's as if he looked around and he thought, whoa, there are angels in the outfield! They're everywhere. He's surrounded by myriads: ten thousand times ten thousand. Now every few years there are angel sightings, I've noticed. People will say, my friend was in a car and she said she talked to so-and-so and they talked about Jesus coming back and all of a sudden they looked and the person was gone and it had to be an angel. There are all sorts of stories. I've heard them not only here but in every state I've been in and talked to some pastors that said, I heard that back in 1941. There are all these sightings, sort of like UFO sightings, but these are angelic sightings. John has a real one. He sees not one, but an incredible number. He can't even count them.

Let's begin in verse 11 and consider the angels' worship and they worship Him for the rulership over all. "I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne". You will notice something about their worship. While the redeemed thank Him for what He has done for them, the work on the cross, the angels praise the Lamb for who He is, not what He's done. They ascribe worth, strength, blessing, honor, for the Person of Jesus Christ. Now angels are interesting creatures. I don't understand all about angels. They're very popular these days, I know that. There's a course offered at Harvard Divinity School on angels. I don't know if it's called Angels 101 or what but you can study all about it at Harvard, an entire course is devoted to it. Publisher's Weekly tells us that, in the religious writing section, five out of the ten best-selling paperbacks are written about angels. They're very popular. One Wisconsin homemaker has a collection of 11,161 little artifacts, little angels, around her house. Her shelves are so packed full of angels that her husband is now removing doors and windows, covering them over to put shelves on them for more artifacts. She's into angels. One Life Magazine article entitled "Search of Angels," reported that 69% of Americans believe in angels. 62% say they have felt the presence of an angel at one time or another. There are three national magazines devoted exclusively to angels. If you like to cruise the internet, there are internet sites devoted to angels. There's even one Michigan-based group, their acronym is HALOS, which stands for Helping Angel Lovers Own Stores. Very important. The writer of the article asked, can McAngel's be far behind?

In the Bible, 34 books of the Bible mention angels. That's just over half of all the books in the Bible mention them. There are 17 in the Old Testament and 17 in the New that do this. In the Old Testament, the word angel is used 103 times; in the New Testament it's used 165 times. Technically, angel means a messenger, somebody sent. It can be a human or a supernatural being. Technically, it could refer to either. But the angels that we're thinking about and that we read about here in the book of Revelation are messengers whose purpose it is to praise God in heaven and, at times, do God's bidding on earth. Billy Graham calls them God's secret agents. They're doing God's will. Wherever God would send them. Sort of like the President when he moves around the country. He doesn't travel alone, he doesn't hitchhike, take a cab. He's got a whole entourage of people that set things up for him, set meetings up, surround him, Secret Service men. And so Jesus comes to the earth--He's not alone. Angels are around Bethlehem introducing His entrance. At His temptation, the angels come and minister to Him out in the desert. When Jesus rises from the dead, it's the angels who take and move that stone from the entrance of the tomb. They were everywhere in His life. Angels are invisible most of the time. You ought to be thankful for that because every time we read about them appearing they have to say, fear not! Now, figure that out. Why would they say fear not to everyone they appear to? Because most people are scared of them when they see them. But every now and then they will intersect time and space. They're the first policemen. They keep man out of the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword in the book of Genesis. Abraham talks with them. In fact, invites them over for dinner--and they go to dinner! Maybe they had angel food cake for dessert. Well, you'd think an angel, well, you wouldn't eat devil's food cake. The very next chapter of Genesis we see them as sort of bouncers, punishing Sodom and Gomorrah for their flagrant sin against God. They spring Peter out of prison in Acts chapter 12. But I think they're invisible most of the time because humans have a tendency to worship angels. It is that natural, it seems, propensity of man to think of any supernatural being as deserving of worship. We'll worship angels or we'll worship saints or anything besides God. Even John was tempted to do this in the book of Revelation. An angel appears to him and he's driven to worship. In Revelation 22, when I heard and had seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. And he said to me, don't do it, for I am your fellow servant. Worship God.

For some reason, man feels he has to go to middle-management rather than go directly to the Boss. And so angels are not visible most of the time. The prophet Daniel in his book in the Old Testament calls the angels watchers. Watchers. Now think about that. Who are they watching? I think they're watching us. They're curiously interested in what goes on on the earth. They're like heavenly surveillance teams--watchers. One person said secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven. Think of this innumerable group of beings being able to see everything you do. It makes some of you delighted; it makes others of you scared to death. Watchers. As watchers they're interested, I think, in a curious, awesome sense at the salvation that God has given to us. God treats no other beings like He treats us. He's extended grace to us, salvation to us. The prophets prophesied about the Messiah who would die for the sins of the world and that would be the plan of redemption and whoever would believe in Him would be saved. And the angels watched this. Peter gives insight into this. 1 Peter 1 he writes, "Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you. To them it was revealed that not to themselves, but to us, they were ministering the things which have now been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, these things which the angels desire to look into."

The angels fasten their attention, it's a strong Greek word, they desire with great interest to study what God's plan is. And I think they probably scratch their halo a few times looking at us, watching us, watching how we may turn away from the resources God gives to us, and they're so much at our disposal, we just sort of shine it on and go our own ways. I think they go, what's up? Especially since Paul said, "And don't you know brethren that we will judge the angels?" Now of course they submit to this, but I'm sure they're going, now wait a minute! They're gonna judge us? But that's God's plan. We will judge the angels. The Bible indicates they are vast in number--they're innumerable. In fact here John says, in verse 11, "the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand," you're thinking, ok, I can figure that out, but it says, "and thousands of thousands." We don't know how many there are. Now there was one ancient theologian named Albertus Magnus, now I don't know how he came up with this number, but he said there are 399,920,004. No, he didn't say how many angels could fit on a pin, he didn't do any of that, but he did try to count them. But the idea here in our verse is that you can't count them. In the original language, it's myriads upon myriads upon myriads. You've got four creatures, you've got twenty-four elders, and beyond and beyond and beyond and beyond, an innumerable multitude of angels worshiping.

If you haven't experienced angels yet, and maybe you have, maybe you don't know, the writer of Hebrews said some of us may have entertained angels without knowing it. Who was that stranger? But if you haven't experienced them yet, you will. Either in heaven you'll be worshiping with them or you will experience them in the sense that Jesus predicted when He said, "the Son of Man will send out His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness and they will cast them into the furnace of fire and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." There is that scene as well. Now back to verse 11, we notice the angels are declaring something: "saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" Would you notice the angels are not singing? They are saying. They are speaking things; they're declaring things. But they are not singing. Now I think we overlook that probably because we would like to. We are victims of Christmas carols rather than Scripture many times and we think, no, no, wait a minute. Don't say that--the angels are singing! I know this to be true. In fact, let me quote to you Angels We Have Heard on High or Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! See it says sing right there! You can quote that but it's a Christmas carol, not a verse of Scripture. And there are many songs that talk about angels singing. But they're not singing here. In fact, they weren't even singing at Bethlehem. As the angels hovered over the landscape, the text tells us in Luke 2, suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts saying, glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. You could say, well, they probably meant singing, they just said saying. I don't think so because the twenty-four elders as we read about in heaven in chapter 5 are singing. The twenty-four elders that represent the church are singing; the angels are saying.

Now really there is no place in the Bible except one where we know the angels were singing and the reference is a very cryptic reference. Many scholars would even debate that it's referring to angels. It's found in the book of Job 38:7. Speaking of creation, we read, "the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy." Now interesting to note, question is why? Why would elders be singing and angels saying? Moreover, there's something else. The elders are singing directly to the Lamb; the angels are not. They're not singing first person, they're singing about the Lamb. Well the elders, if they do represent the church, they've got something to sing about. They have been redeemed. They have been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. They have been saved from the miry pit of sin. And anyone who's gone through that has something to sing about. The angels know nothing of this. The angels have never been redeemed from sin. Charles Spurgeon, about this, said, "It's superstitious to worship angels. It's proper to love them. How free from envy the angels were. Christ did not come from heaven to save their peers when they fell. When Satan, the mighty angel, dragged with him a third part of the stars of the heaven, Christ did not stoop from his throne to die for them. He left them to be reserved in chains and darkness until the last great day. Yet angels did not envy men. How free, too, they were from pride. They were not ashamed to come and tell the news of Christ's birth to humble shepherds. Mark well how they told the story and you will love them."

Now I have a point in this. You are not an angel. So sing. You are redeemed, you've been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ, you have something to sing about! So that worship songs should not be something observed by us, but something enjoyed and enjoined by all of us. You've got something to sing about! You've been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. There's an old Turkish proverb that says, "As the music is, so are the people of that country." What's your music like? What are your songs like that you sing? Do they talk about your heavenly country, that your citizenship is in heaven? Your singing reflects that citizenship. Now let's go on and notice what they declare. The angels declare God's worth: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing." They're singing about the Lamb. Back in verse 9, the elders sing to the Lamb, "You are worthy to take the scroll." In both occasions, the word worthy is mentioned. And over in verse 14, notice the word worship is used. The twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. In English, worship and worthy have the same root. Because in our English language, the word worship comes from two Old English words, the words are worth and spice. Worthspice was the original English term for worship. Let's worthspice, they would say. Then it got shortened to worthship and then it got shortened further to worship. The idea being we ascribe worth or value to someone or something else. In other words, we worship what we deem worthy. You've heard people say things like, oh, he worships his money. Oh, she worships her children. And we use the term loosely. However, if they ascribe ultimate worth to those things, indeed they do worship. For we worship what is worthy.

Now that leads me to an important, essential point about worship. We worship God for no other reason than He is worth it. He is worthy of praise. We do not sing worship for what we can get out of it. We don't sing and we don't worship because it makes us feel good. We worship because God is worthy whether we get anything out of it or not. He's worthy. Why are you singing that song? You say, I don't feel like worshiping. But He's worth it! And it is a response to a worthy God. Now that is not to say we don't get anything out of it when we worship. So often my heart is lifted beyond my circumstances, as the woman wrote in this letter, as I worshiped and my focus was on God I got changed. It does change us. But that's not why we do it. We do it because God is worthy. A.W. Tozer put it this way, "Whoever seeks God as a means toward a desired end, will not find God. For God will not be used." So worship means to ascribe worth to. But then in verse 14, that's English, in verse 14 the word that is used for worship is a Greek word that I want you to mark. It is the word prosgoneo, literally means, to kiss towards, or to kiss the hand in reverence. You might get a picture of somebody turning to a sweetheart. That's the idea. It's an intimate term; it's a loving term; it's a term of relationship. There's reverence involved, but it's a little closer than just reverence, it's to kiss toward, to direction affection to somebody that you are in love with. I love that definition. I witnessed, I think, a great illustration of this at a wedding I performed. I was there, they said the vows, I asked them to say them, at the end of the service when I turned to the groom and I said, go ahead, you can kiss the bride. Before he kissed the bride, she turned to him, backed off a little bit, and she sang him a song right there. He had no idea this was coming. She had prepared it; she didn't tell anybody. But she turned to him, looked into his eyes, and started singing a love song to her bridegroom and then they asked. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. That was awesome! Now think about that next time you sing worship songs. You're serenading your Bridegroom. You're serenading Jesus. You're kissing toward Him. It's reverential, but there's also a sense of great love and great intimacy with that.

Now that makes some of you feel uncomfortable. You think, that's too close. That's too familiar. After all, He's God and we are His servants! I agree wholeheartedly. God deserves our utmost reverence and we are His servants. But I recall Jesus telling His disciples on one occasion, 'I'm not going to call you servants anymore but friends.' It was Jesus who initiated that intimacy. You are my servants, but I'm calling you friends. A servant doesn't know what his master is doing but I've told you everything I'm doing. You're my friends--come a little bit closer. Some of you prefer that distant reverence. Again, A.W. Tozer wrote, "The average Christian thinks of God as being at a safe distance and looking away." God's like that for some of you. He's distant and you think, that's ok, it's safe. He's there; I'm here. But Jesus said, no, I want friendship, kiss towards Me, let it be more intimate than that. Take God out of the stained glass window. Let Him be close to you. Don't be afraid of Him. Now these angels ascribe several things to Him: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing. A seven-fold ascription. Now these are all the things that Jesus deserves but these are all the things He didn't get when He came the first time to the earth. He laid aside all of His glory. And now there is that ascription that He deserves all that He laid aside.

Now let's move to the third song, or the second section today, beginning in verse 13. This is where all creation worships and they're not worshiping for redemption, they're not worshiping for the rulership of the Lamb, but the relationship that the Lamb has with the Father. "And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" This is the grand finale; this is like the crescendo. It's all been building up. Four creatures sing, twenty-four elders sing, the angels ascribe worth as they say things about the Lamb, and then all of creation joins. Breaking in and worshiping the Lamb and the Father. This is where the prediction in Philippians 2 comes to pass. "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Notice it says every creature, heaven, earth, sea, under the sea, in other words, everyone worships, admits, confesses. Let me cut it to you straight: you're going to bow. You will one day confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord over all creation, the only deserving One. You're going to confess that. You might be an atheist or an agnostic; it's going to come out of your lips. You will bow. You can bow now voluntarily or you can bow later forcibly. You could bow before you're banished out of God's presence forever or you could bow now and give your life to Him and enjoy His presence forever. But you will bow. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.

Notice it is directed to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb. It's not just the Lamb that's worshiped; it's the One who sits on the throne and the Lamb. It's the Son and the Father together that are being worshiped. In concert together all of creation is worshiping. Jesus Christ, while He was on the earth, separated from His Father thirty-three years, He laid aside His glory, He walked the earth. He was separated from His Father on the cross when God laid upon Him the iniquity of us all and Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" But then He ascended to the right hand of the throne of God and He shares the glory with His Father. And do you remember the prayer that Jesus prayed in John chapter 17, the first request on the list? "O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory that I had with You before the world was," that prayer is answered. They're worshiped together; they're reigning in glory together. Which brings me to the final point. Worship, to be true and valid, must have the right object. Worship, to be accepted by God, must be the worship of the only true God and His Son, Jesus Christ--no other worship will He accept. The question is asked, "Who is worthy to take that scroll and unloose the seals?" No one. No one. John bawled like a baby until finally they said, hey, don't worry, look. The Lion of the tribe of Judah. And He took the scroll and all of creation says He's worthy. He bought us with His blood and He's worthy of worship. And the One who sits on the throne--He's worthy as well of all the worship and praise of creation. But no one else is. Only the true God. Worship to be true, valid worship is to have the right object. It must center on the true God and His Son.

Listen to what Jesus said in the Gospel of John: "That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." So a person might say, hey man, I believe in God. I can hang with God--it's the Jesus I'm not too certain about. And I don't know that I would say that Jesus is anything to be worshiped. But I believe in God; I worship God. I've got my own way to God. John, who heard Jesus say that, wrote in his epistle, "Whoever denies the Son doesn't have the Father." He who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. There was a time when Israel forgot this. In the Old Testament they thought, well, let's worship God but let's worship Baal and let's worship the female counterpart Ashtoreth and we'll sort of bring in all of the gods of all the other people and all of what we believe and we'll put them all together. And God didn't tolerate it. Because God said, I am the only true God. You will worship and serve Me and you will have no other gods before Me. That's the first commandment. No other gods before Me. And all of the other gods that people worshiped and served really weren't gods at all. They were the imaginations of people's minds. That's why in the Psalms, it says He is the God above all gods. And David says, who are these gods? He says, they have eyes but they can't see, they have ears but they can't hear. A guy decided to carve a little statue and say, that's my god. Wait a minute. You made it and it's your god? You put eyes on it that can't see, you can do more than your god can do! So there's only one true God. And worship, to be true, must worship the true God.

There is a misconception about worship. It's the idea that, well, all roads lead to God. Well, in a sense, they do. Every single road that a man chooses will eventually end up at the throne and the judgment of God. But not all those lanes on the freeway end up where you want to be. It is an age of relativism where people say pick your own way. Somebody said, religion is one of those notoriously elastic words that can adorn a multitude of virtues and cover an equal number of sins. Oh, I would agree. How many people do you meet say, well, I'm a very religious person? Don't deny that when they say that, they're being honest. They can be an atheist and be very religious. They can worship thousands of gods and be a very religious person. Paul was in Athens and he saw all of the objects of worship and he stood on the Aeriopagis and he said, I perceive that you're very religious. I've looked at all of the statues. But you worship this other god called the unknown God. I'm going to make Him known to you today. He's the only true and living God. Proverbs says there is a way that seems right to a man, but all these ways lead to what? Death! A person can say, listen, fine, you're a Christian, you're into your thing. I have my own way, alright? Alright. There is a way that seems right to a man. I acknowledge that. But all of these ways lead to death. Barbara Walters was interviewing Tom Cruise and they were talking about his involvement in Scientology. And he said, Well, Barbara, the reason I got into Scientology is because I have a dyslexia problem and this helps my dyslexia. It's for physiological reasons. And she cut to the chase as she so often does in an interview. She said, Tom, let me ask you a question. Does it help your spirituality? And let me ask you another question. Is it a religion to you? Do you follow it as your religion? He said, Yes, it's a religion but it's not someone feeding you something or telling you what to do. It's self-exploration. You find your own way. I guarantee you when people hear that they go, I like that, yes, that's what I like. You should find your own way. Nobody should dish any of this stuff out to you and tell you what's right and what's wrong. The Apostle Peter who saw Jesus walk this earth said, he came to this conclusion, "There is no other name given among heaven by which we must be saved," except one and that is Jesus and eternity will tell that all of the worship and glory goes to God and His Son Jesus Christ.

My point is this: the worship God accepts is the worship God prescribes. And the worship God prescribes is worship of Himself and His Son and no other. And so you can all day say, I beg to differ with you. It's fine. And my idea of God is. And my view is. That's fine--but that's idolatry. Pure and simple. There's only one true God. You can't mix Jesus with Scientology, Jesus with transcendental meditation, Jesus with a little Buddha and a little this and a little spice, it's Jesus only. And that is the worship God accepts. And all of creation here testifies to that. So you can bow now or later. Let's close with some questions--a test. We're not going to hand out anything. We're not going to grade. God is the judge. Three questions to ask yourself concerning worship. First is the question of thoughts, second the question of motives, third the question of actions. First question about thoughts. What do you find yourself thinking of in quiet moments? What thoughts master your mind? Proverbs says, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Your mind is a lot like a compass. You can take a compass and you can throw it in any direction you want to, move it anywhere you want to, but when it settles down it always points to the north. Your mind can focus on so many thoughts and actions during the day, but when your mind settles down what direction does it point in? What thoughts are occupying your mind? Yes, there are concerns and thoughts about your family, about your future, but what are the most important thoughts in light of all those thoughts?

Second question is a question of your motives. Who are you trying to impress? Or who are you trying to please with all of your energies, your work, your position, your career, your study? Who are trying to impress? You could say, I'm not trying to impress anybody, I'm just trying to impress me. Bingo! We've found your god. I don't do anything for anybody but just me. You could be so taken with yourself like that Greek god Narcissus, who saw himself in a pool and said, I'm pretty good-looking. And that's all he was consumed with. Hence, we get the term narcissistic, consumed with self. Or maybe you're trying to impress others. You would do anything to win the approval of some person. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians, "Being entrusted with the gospel even so we speak not as pleasing men but God who tests our hearts." I preach the gospel, Paul said, not because I want to please man, but God. In fact, if you preach the gospel, you won't be pleasing many men. People don't like to hear the gospel, but you'll be pleasing God. You know what I found also? God's a lot easier to please than most folks that I know. He's covered me with His blood, His grace, He forgives so freely when I confess. People love to hold grudges, don't they? So you want to make life easy on yourself? Please God.

Third is a question of activities. What are you living for? What are you doing with the rest of your life? What are you doing with the rest of your life? What is your major objective in your career, again your position, where does God fit in? We all have careers, we all work in different segments of society, but are you doing it because God has placed you there and you're a witness for the kingdom of God? Is that the motivation? Is that what you'll do with the rest of your life? There was a kid by the name of Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf. Don't name your kids that. The baby dedication will be tough. But Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf was born in the 1700's; they had names like that. He was born to a very wealthy Austrian family and when he was six years old, he heard about the love of Jesus Christ and he made a commitment at six to love Jesus back. He wanted to educate himself in the things of God and later on he started his formal education, he wanted to go into theology. His parents persuaded him to go into law. It is said that he was walking through a great room one day, maybe his own house, I don't know, he saw a huge, huge painting and he started studying the painting. It was a picture of Jesus dying on a cross. And it grabbed his heart, but what really got him is the little inscription at the bottom which said, 'This is what I have done for Thee; what will thou do for Me?' He said that was a pivotal point in his life. And instead of living for himself, he lived for God. He would use his occupation to spread the gospel. He started a movement called the Moravian movement, a movement that started churches that sent missionaries out all over the world. A great move of God. The Wesley brothers were influenced by the Moravian movement. 'This is what I have done for you; what will you do for Me?' By God's glory, by God's grace, by God's power, what will you do to spread the kingdom of God?

We worship what is worthy. What's worthy in your life? Where do your thoughts and motivations go when nobody's around? And will you bow now, will you respond to His work on the cross now, or will you say, no, I won't? I'm not going to bow; I'm not going to have any Jesus telling me what to do. That's a little outdated and old-fashioned for me. There was a very simple Christian farmer who lived out in the country. Life was simple. God took care of him and he trusted Him. He invited his sophisticated relative out to the farm. They sat down at dinner and the simple farmer grabbed each hand and he said, 'Let's pray. O God, we worship You and give You thanks for this food.' His sophisticated relative said, 'That's so outdated and old-fashioned. Anybody with an education knows that you don't pray anymore, especially in public.' And the farmer said, 'Well, I acknowledge it's old-fashioned and I have to admit there's some on my farm that don't do this. They refuse to do it. And I have actually lots of creatures on my farm that don't worship or pray.' He said, 'Really? I'm glad to see enlightenment finally came to the farm. Which creatures are those that are the wise ones?' He said, 'My pigs.' But God's people, humans, created in His likeness for fellowship and for worship, how do we respond?

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/9/1996
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Good News from a Bad Place
Revelation 1:1-8
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6/16/1996
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Catapulted into the Future
Revelation 1:9-20
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6/23/1996
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When Love Grows Cold
Revelation 2:1-7
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6/30/1996
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Postcard to Those in Pain
Revelation 2:8-11
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7/7/1996
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The Curse of Compromise
Revelation 2:12-17
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7/14/1996
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Corruption without Discernment
Revelation 2:18-29
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7/21/1996
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Church of the Living Dead
Revelation 3:1-6
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7/28/1996
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Body Building - God's Way
Revelation 3:7-13
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The human body has become the obsession of our modern culture. Much like the ancient Greeks, people are madly trying to fit the contemporary ideal of what is an acceptable shape and size. The church is metaphorically called the "Body of Christ" and His desire is to see it built up spiritually. The church of Philadelphia is a good model of a healthy, faithful church. Their example provides for us a template to follow in building up the Body - God's Way!
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8/19/1996
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Taking Your Spiritual Temperature
Revelation 3:14-22
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Ever since we were kids our moms stuck thermometers in our mouths whenever she suspected that we were sick. If our body temperature of 98.6 had climbed up just a few notches, it was always a good indication that an unhealthy condition was present. There is also a spiritual temperature that reveals the condition of our souls, and when the thermometer reads Lukewarm it indicates that something is wrong; it indicates the presence of danger. Let's see how Jesus, the Great Physician, treats his patient with this malady.
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8/25/1996
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Peeking into the Portals of Heaven
Revelation 4
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9/1/1996
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History's Greatest Real Estate Deal
Revelation 5:1-7
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9/8/1996
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Worship His Majesty - Part 1
Revelation 5:8-10
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In heaven there won’t be just three services in the morning and one at night with a midweek tacked on. There will be no need to be sensitive to time so we can go to lunch. Words will not have to be printed nor projected. Worship leaders will have no need prompting people to sing. It will be an all-consuming experience that will involve our total cooperation and enthusiasm.
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9/29/1996
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Four Riders with Bad News
Revelation 6:1-8
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10/6/1996
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The Cries of Heaven and Earth
Revelation 6:9-17
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10/13/1996
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A Blessed Interruption in a Tough Time
Revelation 7
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10/20/1996
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Trumpets of Doom
Revelation 8
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10/27/1996
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When All Hell Breaks Loose
Revelation 9:1-12
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11/3/1996
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Angels of Mass Destruction
Revelation 9:13-21
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11/10/1996
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A Big Angel with a Little Book
Revelation 10
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11/17/1996
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Two Powerful Preachers
Revelation 11:1-14
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11/24/1996
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Light at the End of the Tunnel
Revelation 11:15-19
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12/1/1996
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The Panorama of Spiritual Warfare - Part 1
Revelation 12:1-6
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12/8/1996
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The Panorama of Spiritual Warfare - Part 2
Revelation 12:7-17
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There aren't many people who like to fight. Confrontation is something most would like to avoid. But in the spiritual realm it's unavoidable. The question isn't, "Will I engage in spiritual warfare?" Rather, the question is, "How well will I fight?" As we saw last week, the war in the heavens makes its way to the theater of the earth. Let's see what else it entails.
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12/15/1996
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The Coming Global Leader
Revelation 13:1-10
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12/22/1996
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Evil's Right-Hand-Man
Revelation 13:11-18
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12/29/1996
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The Lamb Who Shepherds His People
Revelation 14:1-5
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After all that john has seen in his apocalyptic vision, seeing the docility of a lamb standing with his overcoming sheep is a welcomed sight. Although the dragon pursues god's people relentlessly, although the beasts are bent on ruling the earth, the ultimate winner will be the lamb and his followers.
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1/5/1997
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Angels Set The Record Straight
Revelation 14:6-13
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1/12/1997
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It's Harvest Time!
Revelation 14:14-20
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One of the most common ways to make a living in ancient times was to "work the land." The early rains of October/November and the soft latter rains produced the wheat and barley harvest later on. Also, when vintage season began, almost the whole village could be found in the fields harvesting the crop. Such images would also provide a poignant way of depicting the final judgment of the earth, as in this section.
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1/17/1997
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Getting Ready for the Grand Finale
Revelation 15:1-8
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1/26/1997
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What's in the Bowl? - Part 1
Revelation 16:1-11
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We now come to the "seven last plagues" of God in the Great Tribulation that is coming upon planet earth. These judgments come in the form of "bowls" being poured out swiftly and completely-the judgment will be swift and thorough. Yet through all the mercy as Well as wrath of this awesome era, people will persist in having a hardened heart. Open your heart 'right now to these truths.
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2/2/1997
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What's in the Bowl? - Part 2
Revelation 16:12-21
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What will the end of the world be like? What are the final events just before Jesus returns and takes over to set up His millennial reign? That's what this section tells us. There will be increased warfare activity in the Middle East, massive deception, and unheard of destructive cataclysms on earth. In the midst of foretelling these events, Jesus has a word of encouragement.
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2/9/1997
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The Coming World Religion
Revelation 17
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It was Karl Marx who stated, no doubt cynically, that religion was the opiate of the masses. The fact is, he was right-it is! People are driven to worship something or someone. This desire will be exploited to the hilt in the Tribulation period and will be under the umbrella of the world dictator-the Antichrist. What are its roots and how does it end?
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2/16/1997
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Get out of Babylon!
Revelation 18
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Someone once said, "Money can't buy you friends but your enemies treat you a little better." Though meant to be tongue-in­cheek, that won't happen when the entire world economy collapses. God's shakedown of the earth will include everything that the Antichrist's kingdom will embody, from the sacred to the secular.
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3/2/1997
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Marriage Made in Heaven
Revelation 19:1-10
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3/9/1997
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The Return of Jesus Christ - Part 1
Revelation 19
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Even in the dome of our capitol in Washington there is an inscription which seems to point to the return of Jesus Christ. It says: "One far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves." It is that event which we will be studying in the next two weeks. This is what all Christians of all ages have looked forward to - His return and reign of His creation.
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3/16/1997
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The Return of Jesus Christ - Part 2
Revelation 19
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Even in the dome of the capitol in Washington there is an inscription which seems to point to the return of Jesus Christ. It says: "one far-off divine event toward which the whole creation moves." it is that event, that Christians of all ages have looked forward to-his return and reign of his creation. We will conclude our study of the return of Jesus Christ, today.
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4/6/1997
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Paradise Regained
Revelation 20:1-3
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4/13/1997
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The Devil's Last Stand
Revelation 20:1-10
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A typical question is, "Will evil ever get its reward?" What ever happened to ethics and justice? Well, we see here that God will not turn His back on this issue. He will deal with the source of all evil (the devil himself) and then judge those who revel in it. This section gives tremendous hope to anyone concerned about injustice in our world.
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4/20/1997
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Life, Death, and Resurrection
Revelation 20:5-6; 20:11-15
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5/4/1997
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All Things New - Part 1
Revelation 21:1-3
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5/11/1997
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All Things New - Part 2
Revelation 21:4-8
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"It's like nothing you've ever seen or experienced before." That's how John describes the emotional experience of heaven. So that we can relate, he tells us that all of the pain, sorrow, and moaning we've endured here won't be there. By the way, only those who want to go there will go there. Heaven is not a destination by default, reservations are made here and now!
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5/18/1997
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The City of the Future
Revelation 21:9-22:5
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There is no architect or builder like God himself. Even the patriarch Abraham "was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Heb. 11:10) he didn't find it in his lifetime. "You won't find you're "happily ever after" here either, but the New Jerusalem will be God's answer for man's longing to live in a perpetually peaceful stare.
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5/25/1997
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He's Coming - Now What!?
Revelation 22:6-21
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There are 43 additional messages in this series.