Special Sermon By Tim Daniels.

Introduction: Mark of the Beast fear; blaspheming the Holy Spirit, surrendering to persecution–fear of losing our faith, overcome by several key realities–

What is the purpose for the book of Revelation?

It is partly to give us instruction about God’s plan for our full salvation.

We have been redeemed from the penalty of sin

We are being redeemed from the power of sin

We will be redeemed from the presence of sin *

It is partly to give instruction to seven churches in the midst of persecution/temptation

It is primarily to give us the assurance and confidence that, in Christ, we can endure to the end, in the midst of temptation or testing, because of who Christ is

Prop: Because Jesus will be victorious, God’s people will overcome the world

    1. Context: 7 struggling churches.
      1. Temptation to give in to the world, either to surrender to its persecution or to succumb to its pleasures, is real. These servants of God are illustrative of the power we’ve been given to overcome.
      2. Rather than limiting the context, I view these as illustrative/purposeful, acting as exemplars to expand the context to all churches throughout the church age. The churches are real but the prophetic writing, while suited to them and their time, is intended for all churches throughout the church age.
    2. Mentioned first in Rev. 7:1-9 “The servants of our God.”
      1. Almost a picture of the passover–destroying angels are to be unleashed, but God marks out his own for protection from the wrath.
      2. I believe these are ethnic Jews, not a picture of the church universal
  1. John makes a concerted effort to identify their “Jewishness”–naming them by tribe
  2. They are immediately followed by, and contrasted with, a group from every nation
      1. It is also my concern not to introduce confusion within the context of this body over matters that people of good and true faith can disagree
    1. Whoever they are, their appearance here, following their earlier appearance in Rev. 7, following our introduction to the dragon and his beasts from the sea and from the earth, communicates some significant truths upon which we should focus if we are to navigate tribulation successfully.

 

  1. We belong to Jesus
    1. His name written on their heads, in contrast to the name of the beast on the heads of the enemies of God.
      1. This suggests that the mark/name/number of the beast is possibly not a physical tag but a status–indicator of allegience/ownership
    2. Illust.: Butch steals my tablesaw; I get a new one. First thing I did–write my name on it. Proves that it is mine and I will do all within my power to retain possession.
    3. While the seal is a mark of ownership (above) the Greek word “sphragizo” carries the sense of “protect.” This seal is the enabling grace for believers to endure/persevere in the faith no matter the pressures that come against us.  Christians have been “sealed” with the Holy Spirit
    4. Appl.: Jesus is omnipotent and omniscient, so that which belongs to him will be retained by him.

 

  1. We are worshipers of Jesus
    1. Next in the vision, John hears music, singing
      1. The song was loud
      2. The song was beautiful
      3. The song was coming from before the throne of God
    2. The New Song
      1. Singing a new song is associated throughout Scripture with an expression of praise to God for his victory over an enemy.
      2. Moses sang one in Ex. 15, as did his sister, Miriam
      3. 2 Samuel 22 begins with these words: “And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul”
      4. End of the Star Wars movie with the ewoks. After they defeat the enemy, there is a huge party with loud music!
    3. Who was singing this song?
      1. Revelation 7:9–the Great Multitude who had come out of the great tribulation.  They sang the song of God’s victory in heaven because they had experienced it.
    4. This new song could only be learned by the 144,000. No one else could learn it
      1. Why the limitation?
      2. This was a victory song. Only those for whom Christ achieves victory can understand it.
      3. For those who are described as: “all who dwell upon the earth”, or who are marked with “the name of the beast or the number of his name”, or “everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain”, the song is a din with an unidentifiable tune and meaningless lyrics.
      4. The song is a proclamation of the work of God who rescues his people. It arises from the experience of trial that could only be resolved by the hand of God.
      5. Illust.: Where people of a common experience gather together and feel a commonality that cannot be shared by others who have not experienced the same thing.
  1. Why do certain bars always have a long line of Harley-Davidson’s, and only Harley’s, parked outside?
  2. Why are AA meetings attended with such devotion by some?
  3. There are a group of ladies from our island who get together every fall, rent an expensive resort, order in catered meals, and spend their time “quilting.”
  4. This experience baffles me.
      1. In the greater picture, this part of the vision was intended to give assurance that God will rescue his people from tribulation so that they may be instruments of praise to him–but they must first go through fire. The circumstances were not beyond God. The circumstances were necessary to create worshipers out of the 144,000.

Appl.: In a more universal sense, we can take confidence in the hand of God over our temptation and testing.  He is able, He is faithful to help his people overcome. More than that, your experience of overcoming makes you a contributing voice of worship to him.

This is not about hoping to make it through.  It is about the purpose of God in making you a worshiper.

 

  1. We share in the holiness of Jesus.
    1. In vv. 4-5, John describes these 144,000 in terms that are distinctly UNLIKE the followers of the beast.
      1. (Have not) Defiled themselves with women–
  1. Keep in mind the symbolic nature of the entire revelation; then you will avoid making interpretive (and applicational!) mistakes with this reference
  2. nowhere in Scripture are marital sexual relations addressed as sinful.
  3. Immorality is frequently, especially in John’s day, a part of idolatry
    • 14:8–Babylon, made the nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality
    • 17:1–”Great Prostitute” with whom the people of the earth committed sexual immorality.
    • Both Pergamum and Thyatira are rebuked for allowing idolatry among them, with its attendant sexual immorality. Think how a reader from either of those cities would receive this statement. Purity of devotion to Christ, not idolatry (and not celibacy)
  4. The description in 14:4 is meant to indicate a refusal to join with the world in its idolatry
      1. Follow the Lamb wherever he goes
  1. This differentiates them from the great multitude in heaven.
    • 17 talks of the beast making war with the Lamb and it refers to those with the Lamb being called chosen and faithful
    • Book of Revelation not specific about where the Lamb goes, but this does indicate a people who are devoted to, dependent upon, and received by Christ
    • They are a people who trust him implicitly, no matter where that should take them.
    • His will may send us to the far regions of the earth, his will may call us to foster children, his will may call us to show forgiveness when we’d prefer revenge. We will follow him wherever he goes.
      1. “Purchased” or ‘redeemed”
  1. Only debtors must be redeemed. They, like all others, were slaves to sin but Christ bought them out of slavery.
  2. his action; we did not pay for ourselves.
  3. He began the work of making us into his likeness
    • Phillipians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  4. Which makes them…
      1. “Firstfruits” is a term from sacrificial rites in Israel–a portion of the whole which is given to God as a recognition of his sovereign ownership of the whole; offered as a sacrifice to God
  1. How has the whole responded? In rebellion
  2. These have been redeemed as firstfruits for God and the Lamb
      1. No lie was found in their mouths
      2. They are blameless
  1. 1 Corinthians 1:8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    1. This holiness has one place:
      1. The presence of Christ; it is not with the beasts and the people of the earth
      2. “They are branded as God’s property, under his protection; and they are imprinted with his identity, to share in his holiness
      3. “Christian selfhood is not defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves. It’s defined in terms of what God does to us and the relationship he creates with us and the destiny he appoints for us. God made us who we are so we could make known who he is. Our identity is for the sake of making known his identity.”

Illust.: where holiness guarantees a place

Grandson–This one belongs to us

    1. As a challenge to the readers: it indicates for us the holiness of life that is called for in overcoming the world
    2. As an assurance to the readers: God’s word and its exhortations are the very catalyst to this holiness.  Christ is its source. The Holy Spirit, through the word, is the enabling. But ultimately, it is all about our standing before the Father in a holiness that is not achieved in this life but ascribed.  God sees in his servants the very nature of his Son, which is imputed to us, by which we are certain to overcome.

 

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