October 30: The Eternal Throne is Occupied (Revelation 4:1-5:14)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
This Sunday we will continue a series on personal evangelism at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the Old Testament).
New Worship Song
We will be singing a new song together this week. LISTEN HERE
 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.  And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.  Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.  From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,  and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind:  the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,  the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,  and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.  And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.  And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.  And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  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.”
 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,  saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
At the beginning of Revelation 4 John says he saw a throne in heaven and there was one seated on the throne. This vision of the eternal throne occupied by the Almighty provides the foundational world view that will sustain the churches of chapters 2-3 to persevere in the midst of opposition. Those churches were called to be faithful witnessing communities despite being marginalized in society and surrounded by unbelief. John next sees the Lamb standing before the throne and all of God’s people from every tribe and tongue sing together, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain and by his blood ransomed us for God!” The good news of this song is central to the eternal worship of God’s people because it is central to God’s character. This good news of God’s plan to redeem people from every tribe and tongue for his own glory must be the central compelling mission of the church in the world. The reality of God on his throne, and the good news of the redemption of the Lamb—these remain the fundamental truths that orient Christ’s church and sustain us to be a witnessing community in the midst of a broken world that demonstrates hostility toward Christ and his church.
Review and Apply
What areas of your life cause you the most anxiety and fear? How does the vision of God seated on his throne in heaven encourage you in these areas? How do God’s character (holy and eternal) and capabilities (creator and almighty sustainer) relate to these difficult areas of your life?
Are there sins you commit or perhaps certain areas of doubt or unbelief that seem to hold you back from speaking of God’s redemptive work in Jesus to those who are not believers? How does the vision of Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, motivate you to godly living and joyful declaration of this good news to those who don’t yet believe?
Imagine how incredible this experience will be—standing in God’s throne room, seeing his majesty, joining in worship with the entire universe. Do you have a strong anticipation for this reunion and celebration? Why or why not? If you don’t feel much longing for this day but wish you did, how might you cultivate that desire? Consider Paul’s testimony in Philippians 1:21-23.
What role did suffering play in qualifying Christ to receive the promises of God and experience eternal joy (see also Heb 12:2)? How would this truth encourage the churches of Revelation 2-3 who were suffering on account of their faith in Christ? What encouragement can you draw from this in the midst of your suffering, whether your suffering is specifically a result of your faith or not?