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Hope in a Dark World

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Hope in a Dark and Desperate World
Intro: Imagine that you are living in a village that has been wiped out by Ebola. People around you, family, friends, and neighbors are getting sick and dying. You are helpless to do anything for fear of getting the disease yourself. where you have to burn any clothing or bedding that may be contaminated. which means you now have less than you already did. What do you do? Do you keep going or do you just assume that you will eventually get Ebola and die? You have no hope of escape and little to no hope of not contracting the disease. You have you ever experienced true despair?
On the first Good Friday John tells us in that Mary the mother of Jesus, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, ad John are standing watching Jesus Die on the cross. The man they have been following for about three years is now given his last breath, by saying “It is finished.”
Jesus’ body was taken to a tomb hewn out of the rock and the stone was rolled up and guarded by Roman Soldiers. The disciples, Jesus’ followers, return to perhaps the upper room to observe the Sabbath but also to probably sit in shock and dismay as their leader had died. All of their hopes had been dashed on and sealed up behind the rock that closed up the Jesus’ tomb. They now have no one to save them, to usher in God’s kingdom or perhaps even overthrow the Romans. They are now back to where they started only, they were now what they probably defeated and at least the 11 other Apostles, Matthew, Peter, John, Andrew, James and Thomas may have been considered criminals for working and following Jesus who was crucified for sedition or rebellion against the Romans and the Jews.
The passage we are going to cover today paints a similar picture that there is no one found worthy to open God’s scroll and so the world would continue in its current state forever with no change.
Read Verses:
Main Point: God is the only one that provides Hope in a dark and desperate world
I.Jesus is the Worthy One (1-4)
John is already in Heaven’s throne room in chapter 4 he was taken there in the spirit and he shifts our attention to God’s right hand and the scroll that has sealed with seven seals and has writing on it both front and back. The Angel with a loud voice proclaims, who is worthy to open the book and break its seals? And John with almost palpable despair because he tells us he began to weep greatly in verse 4. tells us that no one in heaven on earth or under the earth was able, to open the book.
No angels, either good or bad, no people either sinners or saints had the ability or power to open the scroll. So, what’s in or on the scroll? there are a few options;
1)It is the lamb’s book of life with all the names of the elect
2) It is the old testament with blessing and curses of the covenant laws (Deuteronomy)
3) A divorce bill borrowing form the OT imagery about the unfaithfulness of Israel
4) a Contract deed sealed with seven seals
5) a heavenly book containing God’s redemptive plan and how God will bring history to a close.
It is the last two that seem most likely to the contract deed is the covenant between God and Humankind. because of man overall unwillingness to keep God’s covenant and rejecting God’s blessings, the world at large is faced with the curses that we see open up and take place in the book of Revelation. The seven seals point to completeness, the fullness of the divine plan.
But the book of Revelation is not all doom and gloom. “God’s redemptive plan was made necessary by the effects of sin, and it is anchored in the atoning sacrifice of Christ in 1:5; 5:6, 12; 13:8.
This is why we celebrate Easter. God redemptive plan is enacted and advanced through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Just as Jesus explains that a sed of wheat has to die to make the plant live and grow, Jesus had to die to move God’s plan into the next phase. this makes Jesus Worthy.
As the Apostles Creed succinctly explains for believers and nonbelievers alike of what Christianity is about and why we follow God:
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead
Because Jesus is God and he is worthy or more accurately has the authority to open the scroll. He is given this authority from the Father. He was worthy because he was perfectly obedient to the point of death as tells us.
More importantly Jesus is uniquely qualified or worthy because he is or was during his time on earth Both God and man. He is the only one to ever be that. As the Apostle’s creed states he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin.
Illustration: If you are searching for jobs or just read job ads, you get a sense of what the company is looking for and then you can compare what your qualifications or experience and gauge how likely you are to get that job. sometimes it takes some creative thinking to match everything up and usually the keywords from the job ad should be in your resume. Jesus matched the job ad perfectly
As the Athanasian creed says He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his mother, born in time; completely God, completely human,
It is interesting that Jesus was tried for rebellion against the Romans and the Caesar or king as it were. Jesus’ Sacrifice on earth on good Friday justified a rebellious people. Jesus was falsely accused of his crime and he was also innocent of being sinful against God. As our Baptist Faith and Message 2000 says Jesus “honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.”
TS: John is crying because he thinks that God’s plan will not be accomplished, that there is no hope in the world and it will continue to be filled with evil and believers would continue to suffer. But we see that Jesus is not only worthy to open the scroll, but he comes as one who conquers.
II. Jesus is the Conqueror (5-7)
Around the throne room are 24 elders as john calls them, these are people. On verse 5 One of them says to John, stop weeping, Behold the Lion that is from the Tribe of Judah, the root of David has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.
The Lion of Judah --The lion is the most mentioned animal in the OT. 150 times. In , when Jacob is dying and is blessing all of his sons, who became the 12 tribes of Israel, one of his sons Judah and his descendants will be especially blessed. In
Judah is a young lion— my son, you return from the kill. He crouches; he lies down like a lion
or a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah or the staff from between his feet until he whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to him.
Here we have all the way in , the anticipation of rulership coming out of Judah.
The scepter is indicative of a ruler and it shall not pass from the tribe of Judah until the one who is the rightful heir, the one who is worthy, takes it and has everyone worshipping at His feet. Jesus is from the tribe of Judah and so is David. and the elder says that he is the root of David.
This name is from where the prophet is foretelling about the messiah Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. Jesse is David’s Father. The whole of chapter 11 is a messianic prophecy.
John sees a lamb in the middle of the throne now, as if slain having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God.
Going back to again, verses 2-4 talk about the spirits of God resting on Him, which coincides with John what John sees not just in this chapter, but the rest of revelation and explains quickly in verse 6 and shows that it is essentially fulfilled here in Revelation.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight will be in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, he will not execute justice by what he hears with his ears, 4 but he will judge the poor righteously and execute justice for the oppressed of the land. He will strike the land with a scepter[a] from his mouth, and he will kill the wicked with a command from his lips.
TS: In verse 7 Jesus takes the Scroll from God and as John describes in verse 8 and 11, Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. 12 They said with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain or slaughtered. They were hopeful because Jesus was the one worthy to open the book because he paid the price for our sins.
III. Jesus Buys You for God (8-14)
Eventually the praise comes from this innumerable host of creatures signing praise for Jesus or the Lamb.
John the Baptist called out when he saw Jesus coming toward him to be baptized and said Behold the lamb of God that comes to take away the sins of the World. He is being praised by the angels and elders because Jesus, as the only God-man is the only one who can pay that price. the second person of the trinity is the only person that has the capital to reconcile God and man. he is our mediator, our high-priest that can make the sacrifice of the Passover lamb. This is cause for celebration and adoration because ow Jesus can open the scrolls and bring about God’s final portion of the plan.
Jesus was the price for our wrongdoings. It’s like when you hear the story of someone paying off all of the layaways at Walmart or Kmart. People love it when someone else pays their bills for them. It is a nice gesture; it usually comes as a relief because they are behind on their payment and are in danger of having their power cutoff. Jesus pays the bill for us and he gets his reward, but what do we get out of His death? Why do we benefit as believers?
When you Hope in Jesus
You become Worthy
imputed righteousness You are now as righteous as Jesus. God’s position does not change. He is still holy. what does change is your position. You move from unholy to holy. God did not change the standard he changed you. You were Justified by Christ’s work on the Cross and you are being sanctified or changed to be more like God through the work of the Holy Spirit.
We don’t have to despair that we are not good enough to get into Heaven.
You benefit from the Win
--As we saw, Jesus Conquered. We sing that Jesus conquered the grave. If you are a believer, then your salvation is secure. This is what Jesus did. He did not die to make it possible for you to make the choice. He died to make it happen. If Your name is written in the lamb’s book of life. But nothing unclean will ever enter it [the New Jerusalem on the New Earth], nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (). when a team wins the Stanley cup, they put your name on the cup under your team and year. It stays there for as long as the NHL goes on. they just adjust the trophy to make sure it doesn't become too large, and they retire a ring to the Hall of fame, but they never really go away.
You do not have to despair that your salvation is not secure--You can have Hope.
You become Without Blame
--God no longer blames you. there are no longer any obstacles between you and God. As an extra benefit you get to live with God in heaven at the end of your life or the end of the age, whichever comes first. Jesus on the cross is sort of like a cosmic billboard. But it does not say “remember the time when you messed up and disobeyed me.” It is a huge sign that says “You, my child, are forgiven.”
You don’t have to despair that you will be punished for your transgressions against God
Jesus’ death and resurrection provide the hope that we have been reconciled with God and we no longer stand in judgment. It also means that everything we go through in our lives has a meaning even though we may not see it right away. The Hope we have is that God’s plan is working its way toward the end where those who are believers are living with God and the ones who are not will face justice. It gives us Hope because we are following the one who is the author of Hope.
Conclusion: We will face trials on this earth and we see or experience things that may make us lose hope because we or someone we know are suffering.
The only person you can put all of your hope, love and faith, and trust in is God. God is the only person that can fulfil you and love you perfectly. This does not mean you stop trusting anyone else because or you stop trying to be trusted. What this means is you have forgiveness and grace on the people or person when they fail you. Because you are going to want that same grace when you fail them. Leaders are still people with some more responsibilities. Husbands are people who are trying to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loved the church. Wives are people who are trying to respect their husbands. Kids are people who try to obey their parents. Friends are people trying to love you like a brother or sister.
Tim Keller: “Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.”
This statement by Keller is explains scenes like the village in Africa that we opened with is a very real place and the article I read about
The main person in the article is a 65 year old Grandmother named Ajua tells us, “I miss Mariama (her daughter who died two days after Christmas) a lot. With the Grace of God, things will get better for us. “Although a non-believer, not for the first time during my visits to the bereaved, the orphans and the survivors of Ebola, I thought, “Thank God for God.” If the poorest people of Sierra Leone didn’t have something to believe in; something to rationalize their suffering; some promise of better times to come, they would surely have given up on life long ago.
Even this nonbeliever sees the benefit of God or the belief in God. You don’t have to be poor to have suffering and lose hope a lot of famous people, commit suicide because, even though they have lots of money and friends and can get anything they want, they done have hope and see no other way out.
I am here to tell you today that there is a way out. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. He is THE Light and the truth and the way. His name is Jesus and he gives you the hope you need to get through your life.
Closing Prayer
says This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame,12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.[c]
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