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Revelation 4 and 5

I posted recently on the importance of trusting the Son of God in hard times, not simply the sovereignty of God.  These thoughts have arisen again as I've been preaching on Revelation 4 and 5 recently.  It's pause for thought to see John weeping aloud in the very throne room of God! (Rev 5:4)  Heaven without Christ is hell!

Good thing the elder in heaven didn't comfort the way we ordinarily do... "Do not weep, haven't you seen the throne?  It is very impressive isn't it?"  John has seen the throne.  He is weeping in the face of it!  No the comfort for John is the Lion-Lamb - Christ.  He is the One who turns weeping into cosmic praise.  Let's make sure our comfort is similarly Christ-focused.

 Here are my sermons on Revelation 4 and Revelation 5 if you're interested.


0 thoughts on “Revelation 4 and 5

  1. Dan Hames

    Good work.

    I've noticed recently that many many people talk about trusting the gospel, having faith in the gospel, loving the gospel, etc.

    I know what they're saying, but this is about Jesus Christ! I love the gospel, but I love it because the means by which I get to the end- unity with Christ, and His Father and their Spirit.

  2. glenscriv

    Yes indeedy Dan. I do worry when people talk in those impersonal terms especially because they tend to be people who quite like the explanatory power of coherent all-embracing world-views anyway. (NB: You don't tend to get non-intellectual types saying 'I love the *gospel*' now do you? I think that's instructive.) I see in myself the danger of idolising the gospel as simply the ultimate world-view. "Woo hoo - I know the truth." But as one blog *brilliantly* put it - Christ is the Truth!

    Now if by 'gospel' they mean 'the marvellous deeds' of the LORD (1 Chr. 16:24; Ps. 71:17; 72:18; 86:10; 96:3; Rev. 15:3) then we can celebrate with them for they are clearly rejoicing in the Living, Acting, Redeeming LORD. They are describing the bird in flight rather than in the cage. Fantastic! But I find that's not usually what they mean. They usually mean they love the neat syllogism of the four spiritual laws!! i.e. they have reduced the gospel from saving acts indivisible from their Personal Actors to doctrines to be diagrammed in, say, six boxes.

    One problem I often find with people who seem to love "the gospel" is that it's very difficult to do theology with them. Two Christians who love *Jesus* can talk theology over a pint and if their understandings of box 1 are different, they have the flexibility to be able to hear each other without hitting the heresy buzzer. Two Christians who love "the gospel" (defined in the second sense above) will find it much more difficult to hear one another when there's disagreements because their trust is *in* those 6 doctrines. Their very salvation then becomes a matter of correctly adhering to those 6 doctrines. Theology and then by implication all of Christian life becomes intellectual to the detriment of the personal. And the name of 'Jesus' fades from personal conversations and from Christian leadership and even from preaching.

    I don't think I'm overstating the dangers here. I have met these people. I'm sure they're in UCCF, I know they go to bible colleges. I know they minister in our churches and preach from our pulpits. And I just wish they would speak of JESUS! "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matt 12:34). When the name 'Jesus' doesn't come I *really* worry.

    So yes indeedy I know what you're saying Dan. And I groan with you.

    in Jesus,

  3. Tim VB

    From the conclusion of Steve Timmis and Tim Chester's book "Total Church"

    "There is a lot of talk today of 'gospel ministers', 'gospel work', 'gospel churches' and so on. There are some good reasons for this use of the word 'gospel', since other definitions of identity are proving inadequate. But we need to be careful not to depersonalize our faith. In believing in the gospel we believe in Jesus Christ. .. We must not reduce Christianity to intellectual arguments of principles of ministry, however gospel-hyphenated they are. Our focus must be on the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
    Have you noticed how possible it is to speak about doctrine and yet remain reluctant to speak of the Saviour in intimate terms? I find it easy to speak with other Christians about mission or church. ... But I find myself stumbling when conversation drifts towards Jesus! I suspect I am not alone. I have been attending conferences for more than twenty-five years, yet rarely have conversations in those meetings turned towards the loveliness of the Saviour. What a tragic irony! One of the great glories of the new covenant is that is consists of personal possessive pronouns: Jesus is my Saviour and my Lord; to me he is the all-together lovely one and the fairest of ten thousand!"

    It's a good book and a great quote.

  4. Tim VB

    Wait till you read Timmis and Chester on apologetics...

    "The cross is the ultimate barrier to rational apologetics. Indeed, if we should succeed in rationally proving Christianity we would thereby disprove it for we would disprove the folly of the cross."

  5. glenscriv

    Yes! Lovin it.

    Steve Timmis is coming to speak at Sussex Gospel Partnership in April. I shall look forward to that.

    And let me take the opportunity to re-quote my second favourite apologetics quote ever (next to Spurgeon's 'I'd rather defend a lion'):

    The great danger of apologetics is “the domesticating of revelation… the process of making the Gospel respectable. When the Gospel is offered to man, and he stretches out his hand to receive it and takes it into his hand, an acute danger arises which is greater than the danger that he may not understand it and angrily reject it. The danger is that he may accept it and peacefully and at once make himself its lord and possessor, thus rendering it inoccuous, making that which chooses him something which he himself has chosen, which therefore comes to stand as such alongside all the other things that he can also choose, and therefore control.” (II/1, p141)

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