[audioplayer file=”http://thegatheringcommunity.in/wp-content/uploads/missions-jinson.mp3″]

“Revelation” over the years has been a fascinating book for the church. The divine author is Jesus and the apostle John pens down his visions. I’ve generally heard two responses from people when they talk about “Revelation”.

They either say it’s confusing due to the symbols mentioned in the book or they are captivated by the End Times message. However, they miss the most important reason why this book was written.

It wasn’t written to confuse the church or frighten the church with the mention of God’s judgment. Rather it was written to encourage believers to remain loyal to Christ in the midst of intense suffering, temptations and deception.

This great revelation from Jesus about the future should give hope, joy and focus to the believers that are going through a very hard time.

Rev 5:9, 10

And 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,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

The focus of today’s passage is going to be on this new song!

Background of the text: God is sitting on the throne in all glory and splendour. He is surrounded by 24 elders seated on thrones with golden crowns on their heads. On the 4 sides of the throne of God, there are four creatures who never cease to say “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come”.

Whenever these creatures give praise to God, the 24 elders fall down before God’s throne and cast their crowns before Him. God the Father has a scroll in His right hand. The scroll is sealed with 7 seals.

A mighty angel proclaims with a loud voice “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And there was no one in heaven and on earth or under the earth who could open the scroll and look into it.

John seeing this started weeping loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. One of the elders tells John “You don’t need to weep anymore. See the Lion of Judah, the Root of David has conquered so that he can open the scroll and the 7 seals.”

And John sees the Lamb standing between the throne and the 4 creatures. The Lamb looks like it has been slain in all power and in all knowledge and takes the scroll from the right hand of God.

The moment that happens, the 24 elders and the 4 creatures fall down before the Lamb and sing a new song.

For this passage we learn that there are three reasons why we need to pursue the lost and be passionate about sharing the gospel:

1. Christ has Redeemed our Worship
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God

When you think about the word “Slain”, what comes to mind? You think about slaughtering, butchering etc. Not a pretty sight if you’re at the Meat Shop seeing it happen, right? Now think about Christ. He is fully pure, holy and glorious! He is fully satisfied in the company and fellowship of the Trinity. Everything in all of creation was created through Him. Not just that He sustains all of creation. Why should He be slain?

In his overflowing love and purpose, He created man in His own image. His own reflection. How many of us have ever seen our mirror reflection doing something different? The design and intention in creating us was to see us reflect the holiness, wisdom, greatness and worth of God.
Why should He be slain?

When God created us, he desired perfect unity and fellowship with us. He would tell us to do something and we would obediently serve Him because He is all knowing and righteous in all His ways. In obeying God we would be completely satisfied! The hunger and thirst of our soul found its fulfilment in knowing, trusting and obeying?

Why should He be slain if he is so caring?

Then we turned away from Him. In our sin we chose to live apart from Him. We no longer wanted to reflect who God is but wanted to do our own thing. Instead of reflecting the holiness of God, we want to show how good we are. Instead of showing how wise God is, we want to show off our wisdom.

Instead of reflecting the greatness of God, we want to be great in the world. Instead of telling how worthy God is, we try day in and day out to prove our own worth to the world. No longer do we want to do what God tells us. We think we know what’s best for our lives. So we plunge into every sinful indulgence that our heart desires.

Genesis 6:5: The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Now some of us may think. Hey, I’m not that bad. I’ve not actually acted upon every evil desire I’ve had. That’s where our understanding of sin and God’s understanding of sin differs. We are very superficial and selective in viewing our sin. We think the big sins are those that are culturally looked down upon and that leave us with a lot of guilt. That’s not how God looks at it.

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

That’s why Jesus could say in Matt 5:28: But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If that’s the case, then there’s probably no good person on the earth. Even the “holiest” (in human terms) person on the earth would find himself falling short. Absolutely right. Rom 3:23: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Why should Christ be slain?

You know we all talk about injustice but true injustice happened to Jesus. He was slaughtered for no fault of His. He died for rebellious people like you and me. We said no to Him. We rejected Him. We rightly deserved to face His wrath.

Yet He willingly gave up His life for us and rose on the third Day to purchase us back to God. Through Christ’s sacrifice we can reflect who God is once again! We can spend all of eternity seeing, knowing, trusting and obeying Him!

Isn’t that the best reason for us to share the gospel? To tell them how they were rescued by Christ who was slain on their behalf. To tell them that Christ died to purchase them back to God. While sharing the gospel, I always love asking people why did a good person like Jesus have to die. It’s a question that people often don’t think about.

They just assume it happened without a proper reason. When I tell them that Jesus died for them, that’s their “Wow moment”! What a huge, wonderful gift! That the Son of Man would give up His life for a sinner like me. Could 1 billion USD even be compared to this incomparable gift of God? Would the best job, best house, best car, best education compare? No way!

2. Christ has Redeemed our Unity
from every tribe and language and people and nation

Do you guys remember Genesis 11? (Gen 11:1-9) That was the last time all the people of the world were one and had one language. And it’s such a sad thing that the last time all the world got together to do something united, what did they do?

They wanted to make a name for themselves and point a clenched fist at God. Since then all the people were scattered by language, people and nations. It was a result of the Fall. The amazing picture we see in Revelation is Christ redeems that unity.

In Christ, all those barriers have been removed.

Eph 2:14-16

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 

We are brought together this time not to defy God but to worship Him and serve Him in all unity! And how is that important or essential in understanding what our mission is. It’s in seeing God’s global purposes for redemption!

Christ is no longer confined to a certain section of society, a certain tribe, a certain elite class, a certain language group or a certain nation. His gospel is spread far and wide and will be received by different peoples!

A question for all of us to consider: do we think of the gospel as being essential to everyone we know and meet? Do we really believe in the multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-lingual gathering that will take place before the throne of God?

Or do we live like people who only think Christ died and rose again for an elite group and hence we shouldn’t share? This should drive people to cross-cultural missions. As a church who believes in Christ who was slain and purchased people from every tribe, language, people and nation can’t look inward and only think about its own community and city.

3. Christ has Redeemed our Purpose
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

The word “kingdom” in the Greek actually refers to kings, leaders. And the word “priest” brings to mind those who offer sacrifices continuously before God. What does that identity mean for us?

and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel. (Ex 19:6)

This identity was God’s intention for Israel in the OT and is his intention for the church today. He desires us to be set apart for Him, devoted completely to Him and become the conduit by which His blessing moves outward to the people around us.

That’s what a priest would do. He would be the representative of the people to God and the representative of God to the people. How does this impact our mission? In every way! By Christ’s sacrificial death we have been given a new purpose to stand between God and the world interceding for them.

Christ is going to use you to bend His blessing of salvation, joy, hope and peace outward to your friends, neighbours and colleagues. And remember you did not earn or deserve to be here. Christ redeemed you from sin, Satan and death unto God so that you can be His priest forever and ever. And it is a special place for the redeemed. We are not ordinary priests but royal priests!

Rev 20:6: Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

We will reign with Christ! We share in Christ’s authority! Wow! And this should boggle our minds. Why would Christ be slain? And why would He give me the privilege to serve Him as a royal priest? And why would He allow me to reign with Him?

Tomorrow if my boss tells me to become a partner in the business, I would tell him how imperfect and unqualified I am for the role. And here, Christ is telling you and me to reign with Him?

Do we need anymore reasons to wholeheartedly devote the rest of our lives to be on Christ’s mission?

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