Revelation chapter 19. If you’re tuning in there, if I’ve not met you, my name’s Aaron, and I’m the preaching pastor here today at Red Village, and glad that you are with us. I really am.
Today, our textual study is Revelation 19 verses one through five. By the way, whoever gave me the “woohoo” as I walked up here, I think it’s the first time I got that. I’m always so jealous when Wes gets it every time. Will got it last week, so I’m happy for those guys, but there’s a couple of tears shed every time I hear it for others, and thank you, guys. So, I do appreciate it.
So, Revelation 19, one through five. Let me read the sacred text, and then I will pray. This is what the Bible says:
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
3 Once more they cried out,
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5 And from the throne came a voice saying,
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”
(Revelation 19:1-5, ESV)
That’s God’s word for us this morning. Let’s pray.
Lord, it is good to be here. Lord, I am really grateful for this little church family that you’ve knit together. Thank you just that you continue to allow us to meet week after week, to hear your word preached. And Lord, I do pray that you bless the preaching of your word today. I pray you give us ears to hear what you have to say. Please help me to be a good communicator. I pray this all in Jesus’ name, amen.
So not every year, but often at this time of year, I give a small sermon series through our four church pillars. So worship, connect, grow, and go. And the hope behind that small sermon series is just to kind of remind us of some of the hopes and the vision that we have as a church.
And starting this morning, I wanted to do that with you, again, to think through our church pillars. But this time, a little different from how we’ve done in the past. So in the past, I’ve dedicated basically one sermon to specifically look at each pillar. But this year, I want to do it a little differently in that rather than one sermon for each pillar, I wanted to continue to circle back through our pillars, through an entire sermon series, which will be a sermon series that’ll take us actually a few weeks to get through. A sermon series that’ll cover the last few chapters of the Bible. So starting today, Revelation 19, which I read for you.
And these chapters we study not only conclude the Bible, but these are also chapters that show us how this present life concludes, as well as how this eternal life that is to come begins. In that, these last few chapters of the Bible continue to circle around the hope, the vision that we have as a church when it comes to our four church pillars. In that, Revelation 19 through 22 shows in part what worship looks like, which by the way, is actually at the core of the entire book of Revelation. The true worship of God versus the false worship of sin, Satan, and self.
In our text today, we’ll see worship taking place with a multitude in verse one, as well as with four living creatures and 24 elders in verse four. Revelation 19 through 22 also gives us a heavenly picture of what it looks like to connect, as the people of God will be forever connected in perfect fellowship, in perfect community, in perfect harmony for all eternity, not just with the Lord, but with each other. Which once again, in our text, we see that in a great multitude in verse one. We see a picture of what it looks like to connect in ways that we are together in one accord, with one voice, collectively worshiping the one true and living God.
Keep going, Revelation 19 through 22 helps us see that which we are to grow in, to press on toward in this life. The New Testament tells us that spiritual maturity often begins by us seeing this life in light of the life that is to come.
So let me just read this to you, this is from Philippians three. “So not of already attained this, or already made perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. For others do not consider what I have made it my own, but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal, for the prize, the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
And it says this, “Let those of us who are mature think this way.” So a real part of us growing in our faith is seeing this life in light of that which is to come. So we don’t get trapped by the cares of this world that one day will pass away.
Along with those lines, growing and being mature in our faith comes with having a deeper level that Christ will be victorious in all things, and all those who stand in opposition to him will be judged, which is our text today. As you see, God will make all things right. He will judge those who come against him and his people.
Finally, the book of Revelation, including verses 19 through 22, also is there to help us see our marching orders for this present life, in terms of how we are to go with the message of Jesus Christ. So as Christians, God commands, God expects us to be his witnesses. And over the course of the next several weeks, we’ll see multiple times these marching orders, in that we are to go with the message of the wooden cross, the empty tomb, that we say means everything to us.
We are to go to all nations, to the very ends of the earth itself, because God has declared, God has ordained, that people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and language will be present in the eternal life that is to come, including our text today, those who are great and those who are small. So while this sermon series will be a little different in how we’ve done this in the past by looking at our pillars, please note, we’re going to be circling around these four church pillars all throughout this sermon series.
Now, before I give you a little bit of background information on the book of Revelation, to help us set up for our text today, I do quickly want to give us some expectations for us as we work through this sermon series. I have three of them. So first, there’s going to be an expectation of humility for all of us. So if you read through Revelation, you know it can be a bit confusing at times. Within that, Revelation 19 through 22, there are components that are very difficult to interpret. And these final chapters of Revelation have caused challenges throughout church history for Christians to come to consensus on exactly how we are to properly interpret these chapters. So we have to be humble as we go through this series.
The book of Revelation is written in a style of literature referred to as apocalyptic literature, which is a style of a few other places in scripture we see written in this type of literature as well.
And this style of ancient literature is really different than any style of writing or literature that we have here today. And because of that, in this style of literature, it is very difficult for us to understand at times. It’s hard to know what should be taken literally, what should be taken symbolically. In addition, in this ancient literature style, the concept of time is not always presented chronologically. So being individual to know what is coming to us in chronological sequence, maybe what’s written more as like a flashback to a past event, or what is maybe part of a theological grouping that’s independent of time.
And so because of these factors, Revelation as a whole, including the chapters we’re gonna be covering, they can at times be hard to interpret. So I say again, this means we’re gonna approach these texts with a lot of humility. Not only that, a lot of charity for those who may interpret things a little bit differently. I should mention, this is particularly true when we get to chapter 20, which leads for me, this is the hardest passage to interpret.
So that’s the first expectation. The second expectation is that we’re gonna approach these texts with a lot of conviction. Conviction that God does have a word for us to see and to understand from these texts. So even though they might be hard for us to fully grasp, fully understand, we have conviction that there are truths in these texts that we are to seek, that we are to pursue.
And that yes, Revelation 19 through 22 has some very difficult components to interpret. But we also have the conviction that the primary message of these chapters, they’re actually abundantly clear. And throughout church history, Christians have come to a large agreement on the primary message of these passages. Including that the world we live in is headed towards an end. Christ, he will indeed return for his people. Jesus will fully and finally defeat all who oppose him on a day of judgment.
On that day of judgment, Jesus will fully set up his kingdom, where God will welcome in his people, where they will live with him forever in the fullness of joy and peace. Throughout this series, as we humbly wrestle through the most difficult components, which I do think it’s important for us to do, we do so in a way where we have a deep conviction that there is truth for us to seek. Deep conviction that the primary purpose, the primary message of these passages are abundantly clear.
Second, third expectation, is that we approach this text, or this series, with a lot of anticipation. And I’m not here necessarily referring to anticipation of this certain series. So I do understand that a number of you are very interested to see how we work through these chapters. Rather, what I’m referring to is anticipating all that which is to come, that this sermon series, that these texts are pointing us towards. Like, there should be excitement. There should be anticipation.
There should be a longing for eternity to come. Okay, now we all know we just had Christmas a few weeks back. And at least for me, one of the things I love most about Christmas is all the anticipation surrounding it. Particularly the anticipation of a gift that we might receive from someone else, as well as the anticipation of someone else opening a gift that we may have given to them.
Right, I love all that anticipation that comes with Christmas morning. And for us, there really should be a lot of excitement, a lot of anticipation for this internal Christmas that is to come. Which is it better? The best Christmas that is to come. You know, at least for me, I kind of wonder if one of the reasons why the scripture is a little vague on exactly how eternal life is going to look like is that these vague details are actually meant to cause us to wonder with anticipation.
You know, if we can go back to Christmas one last time. You know, a Christmas gift sitting under the tree with your name on it. It’s kind of fun to anticipate and wonder, like, what’s in this package that you’re about to unwrap? And this is actually one of the primary prayers I have for us in the sermon series. That God uses this time to increase our wonder, to increase our anticipation, to increase our longings for the life that is to come.
But we don’t know all the details of the life that is to come, but we do know, we know the giver of eternal life, God, we know that he’s good.
And we know that he has promised that eternal life is going to be sweet. It is going to be better than anything this life can afford. It is going to be fullness of joy, fullness of peace. This eternal life that is to come, every longing that you and I have in this life, will be fully satisfied. Where we’ll be with each other and with our Lord forever and ever, amen.
Friends, we have so much to eagerly anticipate and long for. Okay, so that is one of the expectations that we have. Now, with those expectations, just a little bit of background information and revelation before we work through our text of study.
As mentioned, this book is written in apocalyptic style, or genre of writing. In the opening chapter of Revelation, we see that this book was written by an apostle named John who was given a revelation while he was a prisoner on an island called Patmos. And he was on the island of Patmos because of his witness to Jesus Christ. The John here that wrote this is the same John who was one of the disciples of Jesus, the same John who wrote the Gospel of John as well as first, second, and third John.
In the opening chapter of Revelation, we see a few other things about this book.
First, Revelation one, verse three, we see that there is a promised blessing by God for all who read, hear, and keep that which is written in the book, which obviously is also something that we’re hoping and praying for in this study, that indeed God would bless His word and our desire to read, hear, and keep that which we’ll be working through over the course of the next several weeks.
Second, Revelation one, verse four, we see this book was first written to a group of seven churches that are scattered around modern-day Turkey. We see in chapters two and three of Revelation, we actually read specific messages to each of these seven churches. By the way, for those who are interested, we actually had a sermon series on these seven churches a number of years back. You actually still might be able to find them online if that interests you.
Third, the book of Revelation was written not just to be a blessing in this current life for those who read, hear, and keep it. Revelation also is not just written to give us details on that which is to come, but Revelation was primarily written, I think, for us to actually be ready, like to get ready for that is to come. Now, I’ll say it again, even though there are clearly differences in Church history and how the end of time will come, Scripture is abundantly clear that it is going to come. And it’s actually going to come quickly. And because of that, we are to be ready.
And this actually relates back to what I mentioned earlier in our third pillar, grow. We are to grow more and more ready in more and more areas of life as we’re headed to a day of judgment that is to come.
Fourth, there’s a little bit more background information. This is more specific to the immediate context of the passage today, and this great judgment is to come. So we do see this, really, throughout the book of Revelation, but all of this judgment is to come, all kind of leading up to chapter 18, where the judgment coming in chapter 18 is a judgment to a great woman referred to as Babylon.
And this woman, Babylon, she seems to be symbolic to capture everything and everyone who stands in opposition to the Lord and to his bride, the church. Chapter 18, specific opposition of Babylon includes her evil acts, her evil deeds, things like idolatry, sexual immorality, greed, even the persecution of God’s people.
In chapter 18, which is the immediate context of our text today, as a judgment falls on Babylon for her wicked, evil deeds, we see that these things are actually going to come back on her, the judgment’s coming back on her twofold. Chapter 18, verse six says this, “Pay her back, referring to Babylon, pay her back as she has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds. Mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.”
So understandably, as a severe judgment is falling on Babylon, we see throughout chapter 18, Babylon weep, mourn, which is actually a phrase that comes up three times in chapter 18: weeping, mourning. As Babylon weeps and mourns, all things that she enjoyed this life in chapter 18, all these things are taken away from her.
We see at the end of chapter 18, there’s this phrase, “no more.” “No more” is given multiple times at the end of chapter 18. No more will Babylon be able to pursue her hedonistic desires. No more will she find enjoyment in things that she acquired through her wicked and evil ways. No more. So chapter 18, this is a grim, terrifying passage. It is a passage written with a haunting tone for all those who identify themselves with Babylon.
But then we get to our text today. The judgment that caused Babylon to weep, to mourn, we see it causes, this judgment actually causes the bride of Christ, God’s people, to rejoice in worship. In terms of text today, throughout the end of Revelation, we see how God indeed will make all things right. And he will indeed honor his people who come to him by faith. In ways, not only will they not weep or mourn no more, but as mentioned, God’s people in eternal life, they’ll be filled with fullness of joy and peace.
Okay, so that was the intro. If you wanna take your eyes back to verse one of chapter 19. So take your eyes back there, just keep your Bible open. I’m just gonna work through kind of verse by verse.
Verse one, where we read that as Babylon weeps and mourns, as mentioned earlier, the people of God, they rejoice. Verse one, after this great judgment on Babylon, John wrote that which he heard, that seemed to be a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven.
Now, let me hit pause for a second, just to point out the noise of verse one. The loud voice. And this loudness of heaven is actually a theme running throughout all of the book of Revelation. So, it’s like outside of a 30 minutes of silence in Revelation 8.1, the rest of the book of Revelation is actually filled with a lot of noise.
In fact, recently I read through Revelation in preparation for this study, and that is probably the thing that stuck out most to me. Just the volume, the noise of heaven. Now, just to help us see that, or maybe better say, just to help us hear that, let me give you a bunch of passages.
So in chapter one, the risen Christ spoke with a voice like the roar of many waters. In chapters four and five, there are four living creatures and 24 elders that are actually in our text as well. We see in chapters four and five that they’re around the throne of God singing out with loud voices of worship. In chapter five, there’s a huge heavenly chorus declaring great truths about Christ with one loud collective voice. In chapter six, as seals are being opened up, those who have been martyred for the cause of Christ, they cry out with a loud voice.
`` Note: The HTML tags
` are used to create paragraphs. The original text has been divided into paragraphs based on the context and flow of ideas. Additionally, the punctuation has been edited to adhere to standard English punctuation rules, such as adding commas and periods where necessary. The original wording of the text has not been changed.“`html
Chapter seven, once again, a great multitude filled with all kinds of people who have trusted in Jesus. They’re crying out with a loud voice saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
In chapters eight and nine, there’s loud trumpets being sounded. In chapter eight, there’s an eagle crying out with a loud voice. In chapter 10, there’s an angel holding a little scroll, crying out with a loud voice like a roaring lion.
Chapter 11, a loud voice calls out from heaven. Then later on in the chapter, there’s loud voices shouting out from heaven. Chapter 12, a loud voice from heaven speaking out against Satan as the voice declares that the Kingdom of God, the authority of Christ who shed his blood, and the testimony of his people are the ones who will be victorious.
Chapter 14, once again, a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters, like the sound of loud thunder. Chapter 14, a loud voice of an angel speaks words of comfort and encouragement to God’s people. Chapter 14, and again in chapter 16, an angel speaks with a loud voice as judgment was about to be executed.
Then in chapter 16, as judgment comes, the Lord declared from his throne, “Judgment, justice was done; it was now complete.” As the Lord made this great declaration, it caused the earth to shake and there’s great lightning and a loud thunder.
Chapter 18, a mighty voice declared Babylon to be defeated.
Just mentioned earlier, caused the people of Babylon to weep, to mourn aloud. I’ll stop here, but in the weeks to come in our study, just take note, we’re gonna actually see more and more of this. The loud volume of heaven.
I think the loudness of heaven that’s going throughout the book of Revelation is to help us see, hear, the intensity, the gravity, the weight of all that which is to come, and each of these different loud voices, including the loud voice in our text in verse one, but they’re there to grab our attention. They’re there to wake us up. They’re pleading with us to hear. They’re stressing that which being said is important so that we don’t miss it, so we don’t dismiss it.
Let’s say it again, so that we hear, so that we respond. And maybe for us, the illustration, just think of it like there’s a house on fire. Like we wouldn’t whisper to the person who is asleep in his bed to wake up and flee to safety. Brother, we would cry out with the loudest voices we could so that person would hear, so he would respond, so that he would wake from his slumber, so he would be saved from the fire, knowing that our message was a life and death message.
In Revelation, at least a part, I think that’s what the volume, the noise is there for us, to hear, to wake us up, to respond, to hear that there is indeed an eternal life and death message.
Indeed, we are to run to the Lord, to be saved from the judgment that is to come. In our text, the great multitude in heaven is crying out with one loud voice, a voice in the end of verse one into verse two. They’re shouting, “Hallelujah,” which means “Praise Yahweh.” “Hallelujah, salvation and glory and power belong to our God. Belong to our God.” They are all His. They’re His alone.
As a massive heavenly choir cried out this great truth concerning the salvation and glory and power of God, we see that they did so in the text because His judgments are true. His judgments are just. But none of us can rightly claim that about ourselves. Only God, only He is true and just in all that He does, which by the way, is why He alone deserves our praise, our worship, our hallelujah.
You know, this is actually the great folly, the great evil of mankind, of Babylon, is when we think, when we declare that we know what is just, what is true, as if we know more than what God knows, where we try to bring praise and glory to self. By the way, on that note, I think as we see Babylon here, I think we’re connected to Babel. Remember that story in Genesis? Remember Babel, as they’re trying to build this tower? This is mankind’s great attempt to be like God.
We’re in that story of Babel. Mankind is actually using divine language of creation for itself. So in creation, there’s a “let us,” and in Babel, they’re using that for themselves.
Let us, as they sought to build the tower, as if they knew as much as God knows. That’s our text. With His true and just judgments, we see that the Lord will judge the great prostitute, Babylon, who has sold herself to the cares of this world, to sin, to evil, to the devil, to living for self.
In our text, as Babylon sold herself to these cares, we see that she did so on a mission to spread her message in ways that she has corrupted the earth with her immorality. And not only has her sin brought evil and judgment on herself, she has also brought judgment to the earth, because as the great prostitute, Babylon, she also was a great proselytizer, eager, committed to spread her corruption all over.
And by the way, I mentioned earlier that as the bride of Christ, we have a mission to go to the ends of the earth with the message of Jesus Christ. And as we go, we must understand that we go in competition with Babylon against us. Keep going.
As the Lord executes His judgment, we see in the text, in doing so, He will avenge on Babylon the blood of His servants. By the way, in the context of Revelation, persecution is really starting to pick up for Christians. As mentioned, John, the author, wrote this as a prisoner on Patmos because of his witness to Christ.
One of the seven letters that was written to a church called Smyrna, where Jesus encouraged them to stay faithful, even unto death. So in the context of when this is written, suffering, persecution, martyrdom, all for following Jesus.
This is on the rise. And as this persecution was picking up, can you imagine how discouraging that must have been for God’s people? And not only that, can you imagine how tempting it must have been for them to start to doubt God? Perhaps even question if the forces who opposed Christ were actually the ones who would win? That perhaps Babylon would be victorious?
Can you imagine how tempting it must have been to wonder if all the suffering that they were enduring was being done in vain? But then they read this in our text here, as well as many others like that in Revelation. As the Lord reassures His people that in the end, He will be the victor, and as He claims His victory, He will personally avenge for His people and the blood that they have shed on His behalf.
And by the way here, maybe just to further understand the loudness of the multitude in this passage. Can you just picture like a great battle where the enemy is like relentlessly attacking? Where seemingly more and more is being overcome? Where things are looking incredibly bleak, absolutely hopeless? Where death and defeat are just like moments away? Where you begin to wonder if the fighting was in vain?
But then, at the most discouraging of times, you look and you see a huge army of reinforcements coming. And as they come, they fully and completely beat back and defeat the enemy to rescue you, to save you, to avenge for you, to bring forth victory, to validate that your fighting was not in vain.
I mean, think about the shouts, the loud shouts, the loud cries coming from that victory scene. Friends, that’s the picture here in our text. For the weary Christian to whom this is first written, for every weary Christian since, including maybe you this morning, take heart. Even in the darkest of times, we have assurance that God himself will come for us, and he will completely and fully beat back your enemies. He will avenge his people for his people. He will save his people who shed his blood for his cause.
Friends, hold fast. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep fighting the good fight of faith, knowing that in the Lord, your labors are not in vain. He will be victorious. Keep going.
Verse 3, I want you guys there. The Lord avenges his people for his people as he executes his judgment. Once more, his people cry out, “Hallelujah.” Our text tells us, “Hallelujah.” The smoke from her, meaning Babylon, the smoke from her goes up forever and ever. And the smoke here, this is the smoke of judgment. It’s a picture of the battle scene, of the smoke rising from the defeated enemies.
In the text, God will defeat an enemy in such a way that they will lay in ruins and devastation in ways that they will never be able to come back from it. There will never be some type of counterattack. The text tells us defeat is so thorough, smoke will go up forever and ever.
Verse 4, we see as the judgment of God takes place, it’s not just his people who cry out in victory.
Indeed, all of heaven cries out, including the 24 elders, the four living creatures, which are characters we actually see scattered throughout Revelation. Now, it’s hard to exactly know who these characters are. For the 24 elders, some think that number is meant to encapsulate all of God’s people. Others think that maybe the 24 elders is maybe a certain group of select angels. Others think that maybe it’s some type of symbolic group meant to show the togetherness of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 New Testament apostles.
So the elders think that this number 24 correlates to 24 Old Testament priests who served at the temple, which you can read more about in 1 Chronicles 24. For me, I’m not sure, but the last one does seem to fit at least some kind of connection to the Old Testament priest.
Likewise, a lot of discussion on who are the four living creatures. The Old Testament book Ezekiel actually refers to them as well in chapter 1. Isaiah 6, remember that one, the famous throne room of God, also seems to include these four creatures. Most tend to agree that they are some type of angelic being, perhaps the most powerful of angelic beings.
Back to Ezekiel, Ezekiel describes these four living creatures as having four faces, with number four seems to be symbolic that these four angelic beings can see all four corners of the earth in all four directions, north, south, east, and west.
As these 24 elders, as these four living creatures, as they see the judgment of God, as they see God avenge for His people, we see that even these most powerful created beings, we see even them respond to the Lord in His just judgments, in worship. In our text, we read that they fall down prostrate before the Lord, who is seated on the throne.
And as these 24 elders and four living creatures join in on the heavenly worship, we see they began to cry out, only adding to the volume of heaven, by saying, “Amen, Hallelujah.” It’s insane, the multitude of God’s people, the 24 elders, the four most powerful angelic beings, they’re all in complete agreement. They all are worshiping the Lord.
And finally, this morning, our text study ends with one last voice added to the volume. This time, a voice coming from the throne, which to me appears to be another angelic voice. As this voice cries out, “Praise our God,” which is basically the same thing as “Hallelujah.” “Praise our God, all you His servants. Praise our God, all you who fear Him. Praise our God, all of you, whether you are small, whether you are great.” Which, by the way, this really is our call captured in the fourth pillar of Go.
Friends, that’s what we’re doing. We are calling people to praise our God. We’re calling them to join us, to join the heavenly choir that declares, “Hallelujah.” We’ll get more than that in just a second. But for us today, as mentioned, that’s where we’re going to stop.
And we’ll pick up next week, actually, with one of my favorite passages in Revelation, which details the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is a passage that actually stands in contrast to chapter 18, which I read for you earlier. The woman of Babylon, who rejects God, met with judgment, weeping, mourning, in contrast. The bride of Christ, the one who worships the Lord, the one who is loved by God, the one who loves God—she will be met with an eternal and great celebration. As I mentioned, we’ll get to that, Lord willing, next week.
But for us today, as we finish our time, I do want to do so this time by looking a little bit more explicitly at how our passage fits with our four pillars. Now, as stated at the start, over the course of the next several weeks, we’re going to be circling around these pillars multiple times as we work through the passages. But for this first sermon in the series here, I want to look a little bit more intentionally, to help connect some dots for us, to help us see that the vision that we have for a church really is a heavenly vision, where the hope is what we’re doing today hopefully reflects that, which is the calm and eternal life.
So let’s work through our first pillars, our four pillars, first starting with worship. You keep saying, that really is the heart of the book of Revelation, worship. Who are we giving our worship to? There’s only two choices.
In the context of the passage, Babylon has prostituted her worship to things that are not worthy of worship: sexuality, greed, evil deeds, hedonism. As Babylon has given herself to false worship, she has even sought to persecute, even martyr, those who have given themselves to true worship, which is the worship of the one true and living God. In the end, Babylon will be judged for her false worship, which, by the way, is the warning for us to hear.
If we’re giving our worship to anything other than the Lord, please hear this passage and let it wake you up in ways that you’re running from false worship to find refuge and salvation in the true worship of God. Now, for us here in this call to worship, let me break this up into two parts. So first is this: why should you, in fact, must you, worship the Lord? And then, after that, real quickly from the text, just a little bit of how we are to worship the Lord.
So first, the why. Why worship the Lord? Why is he actually the only one who is worthy of worship? Scripture as a whole gives us many, many reasons why you’re to worship God, which, by the way, that’s why we’ve been created in the first place. We’ve been created to worship the Lord. That is our design. But for our time here, rather than going through all these many, many reasons, let me just stick with the reasons found in our text today.
So why worship the Lord? Why? Because verse one, salvation, glory, power belong to him, to him alone.
Verse two, why are we to worship the Lord? Because his judgments are true and just.
Verse three, why are we to worship the Lord? Because he is the one who judged the great prostitute Babylon, who has filled the earth with corruption, with evil.
Verse three, why are we to worship the Lord? Because he is the one who avenges the blood of his people.
Verse three, why are we to worship the Lord? Because his judgments, his judgment of evil, will last forever and ever. It’s thorough, it’s complete.
Verse five, why are we to worship the Lord? Why? Because he is calling all kinds of people to himself, both small and great. He does not show partiality, but he justly, according to his kindness and his grace and his mercy, he is calling all kinds of people to himself, including you here today.
That’s why we are to worship the Lord, because he is just, because he justly punishes sins. He also is the justifier of our sin, and he gives salvation to all who by faith come to him to worship him, which we know he does through his eternal son, Jesus Christ, the one who became man, who stood in our place to become sin for his people, so that on the cross he would take on the just judgment of God, so that through his death and resurrection from the dead on the third day, we could be forgiven, so that we could be saved from judgment, saved eternally to him. That’s why.
This leads to the howl worship.
Our text, “The Howl,” is simply about giving the Lord our hallelujah in every area of our life, whether it be an area of life that He gives, or an area of life that He takes away. Whether it be something that is deeply encouraging to us, or it’s a real difficult trial. Whether it is a mountaintop, or a valley, or even in the most mundane parts of life. How are we to worship our God? We are to worship Him by giving Him our hallelujah, knowing that in all things, He is worthy of it.
Second pillar, connect, which by the way is actually one of the great ways we give our hallelujah in this life, is to connect with each other, particularly in the context of the local church, which is the visible picture of the bride of Christ. And this connecting is perhaps actually one of the more subtle realities that we see throughout the book of Revelation, including our text today, how the Lord will perfectly connect His people together in unity, in harmony, in agreement, in fellowship, for all eternity.
In our text today, we see on display in verse 1, that there is a great multitude who are connected together, who cry out with one loud unified voice. Not voices, but everyone’s kind of doing their own thing, singing their own song, marching to the beat of their own drum, but rather they’re connected. They have one voice filled with unity, harmony, agreement, perfect fellowship, all worshiping the Lord together.
And friends, that’s what we’re striving for, as we say that we want to connect as a church. Now unfortunately, in this present life, this won’t be something we’ll ever be able to perfectly achieve. That doesn’t come until the life that is to come. However, that’s our desire, is to connect in ways that best we can mirror this eternal reality that awaits.
And this is why the New Testament gives us this instruction, right, to walk together, right, not alone, together, in a manner worthy of the calling by which we’ve been called, to walk together with all humility and gentleness, with patience, to walk together in ways where we’re bearing one another’s burdens in love. We walk together being eager to maintain the unity of the spirit and the bonds of peace, because then the truth is, there’s one body, one spirit, just as we’ve been called together to one hope, which is the hope that there’s one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and Father who is over all things and through all things.
Friends, that’s how we want to connect as a church, in ways we’re seeking to worship the one God together. Now how we do this in present life does include making professions together, singing together, which we see in our text, which, by the way, as we sing, I do like it when we sing loudly.
In this life, we also connect in ways that we’re caring for one another, we’re striving with one another, where we’re serving one another with our gifts and our time and our treasures. And I do hope all who call Red Village Church a church home, that you actually are actively finding ways, both in the structured part of the church, but also in the relationships you have in the church, to connect like this, to connect in ways that you’re displaying the oneness we have in Christ.
Third pillar, grow. As I mentioned at the start, one of the great ways that we are to grow is to see all things in this life in light of the life that is to come. I’ll say it again in the context of the first readers: the current life wasn’t great. They were suffering. Persecution was on the rise. Temptations start to believe that the way of Babylon was the way to go. This had to be real. They had to be fighting discouragement. They had to be wondering if perhaps their faith was in vain.
So it’s in part our text today is there to help fight against those temptations, to grow in the assurance that living for the Lord, even in the face of suffering and persecution, indeed that is what is best. That indeed any and all things that this life offers, represented by Babylon, in the end all will be judged. The carriers of the world, whatever they may be, they will not stand. God will be the victor. He will avenge for his people. So yes, God is worthy, even of our suffering.
Friends, whatever worship we give to him is never in vain. For us, that’s something we must continue to help each other to grow in, to remind ourselves of, to keep these truths in front of us, particularly when temptations come our way. Whether they be temptations like sexual morality and greed that chapter 18 dealt with, or any other temptation that is common to man. Temptations that might come your way at work, at home, or just even in the privacy of your own heart.
That we are to grow in more and more areas of our life, to give more and more areas of our life our hallelujah. Last one, fourth pillar, which is go. I say it one last time, revelations help us see our marching orders. And indeed, we are to go to every tribe, tongue, nation, and language. In our text, we are to go to those great and small. Which often means that we are to go first by going to our family, our kids, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors. We are to go to those who God has already planted in our lives.
And friends, as we go, we go knowing a time is coming when we will be able to go no more. When eternity comes, that’s it. Judgment will come. And there are no second chances. Scripture does not give that to us. Revel Church, for the glory of God, as part of our collective hallelujah, our worship, may we go, and may we keep going until we can’t go no more. And may we go with a heart of compassion, with real zeal and urgency to call people to worship Jesus Christ.
May we go knowing that indeed we have a life and death message. May we go knowing that indeed God is calling people to himself, that he is actively adding people to the great heavenly choir. May we go knowing that our going is not in vain. Church, may we go trusting, knowing, believing that as we go, the Lord goes with us.
So Church, may we approach this sermon series, in fact, every sermon series, with a lot of humility. May we also approach this sermon series, every sermon series, with a lot of conviction, knowing indeed God does speak to us through his word, that indeed there are truths for us to know.
May we go this sermon series, every sermon series, with great anticipation, as we long for this day to come, when our Lord returns and our faith is met with sight, as we get to dine with Jesus in this great eternal marriage supper of the Lamb that is to come, which is your teaser for next week, and our passage when we get to the second half of Revelation 19.
Lord, your judgments are just and they’re true. Lord, thank you for the book of Revelation. Lord, I do pray you’d lead us to all truth as we study through this. Lord, please do bless us as we work through this. Help us to hear and to obey. Lord, I do pray that you would increase our longings and our anticipation of that which is to come. Lord, I do pray you’d also use this little sermon series to help us in our worship, in our connecting.
I do pray you’d use this sermon series to help us to grow and also to go. Lord, we’re grateful that through Jesus Christ, through his blood that was shed, that there is forgiveness and that we don’t have to fear judgment that is to come, but that we can approach you as our good, kind, heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.