Archive for the 'Revelation' Category

There’s a war on! Revelation 12

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Revelation 12 was not written to try to convince comfortable Christians that there is a spiritual war on. The Christians reading the Book of Revelation at the end of the first century didn’t need any persuading. Revelation 12 was written to persecuted Christians to explain to them why their brothers and sisters were being brutally persecuted, imprisoned and even martyred for their faith. The imagery of battle and warfare may seem remote or even irrelevant to us – but that’s just because our Christian lives are easy!
Actually we can glimpse signs of the spiritual battle even in North Springfield. So many of our neighbours are closed to the gospel. Behind closed doors there are social and financial and moral problems we are scarcely aware of. And the battle against the world and the flesh and the devil is real for everyone who seeks to follow Jesus in this world which is running away from God faster and faster.
Revelation 12 reveals what is going on behind the scenes of this fallen world. It reveals the battle between the Dragon, the Child, and the Woman.
Revelation 12:1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.’ And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
This is all symbolic language, apocalyptic language and we need to interpret the symbols. Throughout the Bible and other Jewish literature of the period the Dragon is a picture of the devil or Satan. He will appear again, particularly in Revelation chapter 20. The dragon is the devil, Satan. Verses 3 and 4 and then 7 to 9 describe for us how the devil and one third of the angels rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven.
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient snake called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
So the devil was exiled to earth. And those one third of the stars swept out of the sky were angelic beings who we know now as evil spirits or demons. The devil and the demons were hurled to the earth.
There are other parts of the Bible which are understood to say similar things about the origin of the devil. In particular there is a prophecy in Ezekiel 28 which talks about the King of Tyre but contains elements which clearly refer to more than a human king and instead to some kind of angelic being.
Ezekiel 28 11 The word of the LORD came to me: 12 ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
‘ “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendour.So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

We find similar echoes in Isaiah chapter 14
12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

So here in Ezekiel and in Isaiah we find the background to the idea in Revelation 12 that the devil was an angel who was cast out of heaven because of pride.
9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient snake called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. …
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. …
But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!

Now they have been cast out of heaven and hurled to earth the devil and all his demons continue to wage war against the woman and the child. The woman could symbolise the nation of Israel, or the church, the community of faith. Or the woman could represent the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. But the child clearly has only one meaning. The child is a symbol for Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Revelation 12 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.’ And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
The child is the one who will rule all the nations. The woman’s other children are those who put their trust in Jesus. And the devil continues his war with the woman and all her children. That is the battle which is going on behind the scenes even today – the war against the dragon.
17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

I wrote about this in our Newsletter this month. We enjoyed a lovely week staying a log cabin in the woods, but two things in South Wales caught my eye. The first was the dragons. Some were red, some were green: dragons on road signs, pottery dragons, carved dragons, slate dragons, the symbol of Celtic Wales is everywhere. We were staying very close to a Wildlife Park, a Dinosaur Park and an “activities park”. And the signposts you had to follow to these attractions were all marked with the logo of the dragon. I remember seeing years ago a disused church where the stained glass windows had been replaced by a striking mosaic of a dragon, `The Dragon Theatre’. The dragon had driven out the church.
And that was the second thing that struck me - the number of disused churches and chapels. Turned into an antiques shop, a “bargain basement” shop, a theatre and a couple of homes. Buildings sold off with no `live’ church among them. Everywhere church buildings have been converted to houses or flats or shops. It was a deeply depressing reminder of how far the churches have declined since the days of Methodism or of the Welsh Revival. Driving around London the picture is even more gloomy – church buildings which are now places of worship for Moslems or Hindus or Sikhs as well as other which have become temples to those great gods of Money and Entertainment.
This is the battle which `The great dragon …. that ancient serpent, called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray’ is waging against `those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus’ (see Revelation 12). In many places the enemy appears already to have won - the church has been extinguished.
So there’s a war on! The battle against the dragon, the devil and all his demons. But the Book of Revelation is all about the victory of the Lamb who was slain. The lamb has defeated the dragon! But what do Christians need to do to share in that victory? Three very challenging things – all in verse 11.
Revelation 12 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB
Evelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’

We are victorious because of the lamb who was slain. The devil is a very powerful enemy. He has sneaky ways of attacking us: greed and pride and anger and lust and apathy and complacency. None of us can stand against the devil in our own strength. But the devil has been defeated by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus’s death on the cross did not only deal with the problem of our sin by making the way for us to be forgiven. By his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus the Lamb of God also completely defeated the devil and all the powers of evil.
1 John 3 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
Hebrews 2 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Colossians 2 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
The devil and all the powers of evil have been defeated by Christ’s death on the cross. Our task is to live out our lives depending on Christ’s victory and Christ’s strength.
THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY
The Book of Revelation was written to encourage Christians to stand firm in the face of fierce persecution, and be bold in their testimony about Jesus. Every time we bear witness to the victory of Christ on the cross and to the difference Jesus has made in our lives is a victory over the devil. Every time we tell people that we are Christians and that they need Jesus too, the devil is driven back. But every time we remain silent, the devil wins. It’s as simple as that. Thousands of people in North Springfield already belong to the devil – they are already doomed. The devil doesn’t need us to fail as Christians or for us to fall into great sins. The devil knows he can never get us back. All he wants is for us to stay silent about Jesus and he’s already won.
17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.
All we need to do is keep God’s commands and hold fast to our testimony about Jesus. There is the battleground. Speak out and we win and Jesus wins. Stay silent and we lose and the devil wins.

THEY DID NOT LOVE THEIR LIVES SO MUCH AS TO SHRINK FROM DEATH
Nothing is won without sacrifice. People who say the Christian life is easy haven’t read their Bibles. Following Jesus Christ is costly. It costs our money and our possessions. It costs time and effort, in prayer and in witnessing and in loving other people. Living as a Christian means sacrifice and footwashing, taking up our cross daily and following Jesus. This is not an optional extra for super-keen Christians. This is the basic starting point for disciples of Jesus.Doing what God wants us to do instead of what we want to do.
And if God wants us to lay down our lives for Him, as Jesus did, then that is what we must do. That is our victory over the devil. I remember a discussion I had with clergy from other denominations. We were considering whether whether baptism is actually necessary for salvation? The Roman Catholic priest said it is. “Except of course for the Martyrs.” It doesn’t matter if the martyrs had been baptised in water or not. They were considered to have been baptised in their own blood. Are we ready and willing to be baptised in our own blood? They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Remember the examples of the Christians in Smyrna.
Revelation 2 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
Remember the example of Christians who are enduring persecution around the world even today. There’s a war on, a spiritual battle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
And we have our part to play. To live in the victory of the Lamb who was slain. To overcome by the blood of the lamb, by the word of our testimony. By being prepared to die!
Revelation 12 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

The Saints in Glory Revelation 7:9-17

Monday, September 4th, 2017

C.S.Lewis once said, “Aim at heaven and you get the earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.”

Christians don’t think enough about heaven. Revelation gives us a number of glorious pictures of heaven.

Last week be began by looking at the Lamb of God who is at the centre of the throne of God in heaven, and

THE VICTORY OF THE LAMB
‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!’ (Revelation 5:12)

The Lamb is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the only being in the whole of heaven and earth who is worthy to open the scroll and pronounce God’s judgment. The Lamb who is worthy for who He is, God the Son, the Word, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the one who holds the keys of death and hell, the Firstborn over all Creation, the visible image of the invisible God, the radiance of God’s glory, the heir of all things. The one who is before all things and in whom all things hold together. The one in whom all the fulness of God dwells in bodily form.

Then the Lamb is also worthy because He is Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Revelation 4 11 ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’

And the Lamb is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise because He is the Lamb, looking as if it had been slain. He is worthy as the Saviour of those He has redeemed.

Revelation 5 9 … ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’

Jesus Christ is the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World, who brings us victory over sin, victory over death which is the consequence of sin, victory over the devil and all the powers of evil. The Lamb has triumphed!
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain.

Rev 5:13 ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!’
The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world has triumphed! Right now He is standing at the centre of the throne of God. And He shares that victory with all of us who put our trust in Him. When this mortal life is over we will share completely in that triumph. Until then we are living life in the overlap – in the tension between the already and the not yet of the Kingdom of God. For now we are torn between the pull of this world and the pull of the next, the battle between what already exists and the glory which is yet to come. But in the middle of the suffering and temptations of the present we can look forward to the promise of the future. Because God has promised that one day we all will all share

ALL THE BLESSINGS OF HEAVEN

Revelation Chapter 7 gives us three wonderful pictures of what heaven will be like.

Life in God’s presence

Revelation 7 15 Therefore, ‘they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

They are before the throne of God. Now we see in a mirror darkly. Then we will see face to face. This prospect of being in God’s presence and of seeing Jesus face to face is at the heart of the Christian hope of eternal life. If it doesn’t fill us with joy and hope, we have missed completely missed the point of salvation.

‘they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple;

The word for Temple there is actually naos, the word for the Holy of Holies. We will still be serving God. Heaven will be filled with all kinds of purposeful activities we cannot imagine. But sometimes in this life we can find ourselves frustrated at how far we fall short of God’s glory. In heaven our worship and service of God will be made perfect.

and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

Here is a wonderful echo of the Old Testament promise of Psalm 91

Psa 91 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
So we have this wonderful promise of everlasting life in God’s presence. Richard Baxter expresses the thought in these lines which I often quote at a funeral.
My knowledge of that life is small, The eye of faith is dim,
But it’s enough that Christ knows all, And I shall be with him.

Life in God’s presence – PAUSE AND REFLECT

Then we have a second picture of heaven
God will meet all our needs

Revelation 7 16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat.

One 17th century author put it like this: “I am assured that though I want here, I have riches there; though I hunger here, I shall have fullness there; though I faint here, I shall be refreshed there; and though I be counted here as a dead man, I shall there live in perpetual glory.”

We have so many needs in this life. Physical needs. Mental needs. Emotional needs. Social needs. Spiritual needs. God will meet all those needs in heaven. What do you need in life? Not – what do you want? Not – what would you like? Not – what do you desire? But what do you need? God will meet all those needs! In heaven we will have reached the end of our journey.

Light after darkness, gain after loss; Strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears; Home after wandering, praise after tears;
Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain; Sight after mystery, peace after pain;
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast; Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last;
Near after distant, gleam after gloom; Love after loneliness, life after tomb;
After long agony, rapture of bliss; Follow the pathway, leading to this.

So we look forward with eager anticipation to the end of the journey where God will meet all our needs.

PAUSE AND REFLECT

And then we have this third wonderful picture of heaven as

A place of everlasting joy

Revelation 7 17 For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

The Good Shepherd who leads the flock and cares for the flock and protects the flock will lead them to springs of living water. Too often Christians are satisfied with the riches of this world and are not thirsty enough for the living waters of God’s Holy Spirit.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Whatever sorrows we may face in this life, God will wipe all those tears away. Bereavements, illnesses, disappointments, hurts, fears. God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. We will be in a place of everlasting joy. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S.Lewis said this. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

A place of everlasting joy – PAUSE AND REFLECT

BUT WE’RE NOT IN HEAVEN YET.

One day each of us will be there in the multitude, wearing the white robes and waving the palm branches and singing in a loud voice,
‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’
We will be there listening to all the angels and the elders and the four living creatures praising God, singing,
‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’
But we aren’t in heaven yet! Things will get harder before they get easier. Much, much harder!
Revelation 7 13 Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’
14 I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’
And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore, ‘they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple;

The blessings of heaven are only for those who have come through the times of tribulation. The blessings of heaven are for those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Their joy comes from sharing the victory of the Lamb who was slain, and for some that victory will only come through martyrdom.

The apostle Paul knew exactly what it meant to suffer for Christ. And he wrote in Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. (Message)

Life in God’s Presence. All Our Needs Met. A Place of Everlasting Joy. This is our Christian happy certainty of heaven. We should definitely think about heaven much more than we do!

In his classic devotional book titled The Saint’s Everlasting Rest, English Puritan pastor and author Richard Baxter (1615-1691) wrote:
“Why are not our hearts continually set on heaven? Why dwell we not there in constant comtemplation?…Bend thy soul to study eternity, busy thyself about the life to come, habituate thyself to such contemplations, and let not those thoughts be seldom and cursory, but bathe thyself in heaven’s delights.”

Life in God’s Presence. All Our Needs Met. A Place of Everlasting Joy. This is our hope!

The Victory of the Lamb - Revelation 5

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Power. Wealth. Wisdom. Strength. Honour. Glory. Praise.

These are all thing which very many people spend their lives chasing. And there is nothing wrong with any of them in themselves. As long as they are ascribed to a person who is truly worthy to receive them. The problem with human beings chasing after power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise is that no human being deserves these things. We are not worthy! The truth is that there is only one person worthy of these things and that is God Himself. So it is that in this glimpse of heaven in Revelation chapter 5 we see ten thousand times ten thousand angels, more than one for every inhabitant of the United Kingdom, raising their voices in praise in verse 12.
‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!’

The Book of Revelation has moved beyond the Letters to the Seven Churches to give visions of heaven. Visions of the things which will be fulfilled at the end of time when Christ has returned in glory and at the same time are visions of what is already true in God’s eternal Kingdom. Visions of the one who is so great and so beautiful and so marvellous that they are worthy of all the things we aspire to but fall so far short of. Visions of the exalted victorious Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The Lamb who is worthy.
WORTHY TO JUDGE THE EARTH
Revelation 5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’
The scroll holds the announcement of God’s righteous judgment on the earth. But no human being is worthy to open the scroll and pronounce God’s judgment. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No human being who has ever lived, no saint in heaven, not even the highest arkangels in glory are worthy to open the scroll. But there is one who is. The Lion of Judah. The Root of David, the heir to all God’s promises to David, the Messiah, Jesus Christ the Lord is worthy to open the scroll and to act as Judge of All.
In our sermons on John’s Gospel in chapter 5 we looked at the little parable of The Son, God’s Apprentice. Jesus said this. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Jesus knew that God had entrusted all judgment to Him. And here in Revelation we are reminded why that is the case and why the Lamb of God is worthy to open the scroll.

WORTHY FOR WHO HE IS
Sometimes we think so much about the wonderful things the Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished for us by his death and resurrection that we forget to praise Him for Who He Is. The Son of God. The Word of God. The Creator and Sustainer of everything that exists. The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The One who holds the Keys of Death and Hades. King of Kings and Lord of Lord. The Risen Christ who appeared to John as One Like A Son of Man in Revelation chapter 1. Christ is worthy because of who He is, as Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1 describe Him. The firstborn over all Creation, the visible image of the invisible God, the radiance of God’s glory, the heir of all things. The one who is before all things and in whom all things hold together. The one in whom all the fulness of God dwells in bodily form. This is why Jesus is indeed worthy of power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and praise!’

WORTHY AS CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
Revelation 4 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11 ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’

God the Creator of Heaven and Earth is indeed worthy of all glory and honour and praise! This is how Colossians 1 describes this wonderful truth.
Colossians 1 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:19 tells us For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
And chapter 2 verse 9 repeats it. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
So Colossians tells us that the Son of God is indeed God. And this is even more clear in Revelation 5. Let me emphasise this point as strongly as I can, in case it has slipped past you. The praise which is being offering in heaven is praise for the Lamb of God, the Lamb who was slain.
Revelation 5 6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.
The Lamb is at the centre of the throne of God. So although the Lamb takes the scroll from the one sitting on the throne, the fact that the Lamb is at the centre of the throne of God tells us beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lamb is Himself also God. The Lamb is God and God is the Lamb, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
This is assumed throughout the Book of Revelation, but made absolutely explicit in Revelation 22 1:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
The throne in heaven is the throne of God and of the Lamb. There in verse 1 and verse 2. This Lamb at the centre of the throne of God is indeed God! He is worthy to open the scroll because of Who He Is, and also because of His mighty acts of Creation. But even more than that, the Lamb looking as though it was slain is

WORTHY AS SAVIOUR OF THOSE HE HAS REDEEMED
Revelation 5 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’

Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World, accomplished so much for us when He died on the cross for us. He brings us victory over sin, victory over death which is the consequence of sin, victory over the devil and all the powers of evil. The Lamb has triumphed!
5 Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.
The Lamb is victorious! So He is worthy to open the scroll, because he has died. He was slain. It is so comforting to know that the future of the universe and the eternal destiny of each one of us, rests safe in the hands of Almighty God. But it is even more reassuring to remember that God is not some callous merciless tyrant but a loving heavenly Father. And the one who will be responsible for bringing God’s judgment on the world is none other than Jesus, the Lamb of God who was slain. The Lamb who gave His life to be a sin offering. The one who is completely worthy of all power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise all because of his suffering and his weakness and his death.
‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
1 Corinthians 6:19 You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.
We belong to God now. He has redeemed us. We owe him absolutely everything!
Mark 10 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
Persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
Let’s not forget – God is not a 21st Century Middle-Class Englishman. The Church is made up of people from every place and every class and every race and every time. And Christ died for us all – not just for you and me!

10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’

The true church is much more than a club or a society or an organisation. The true church is more even than just a family. The church is a kingdom of priests and our destiny is to serve God forever.
So the Lamb who was slain is indeed worthy! Worthy because of who He is. Worthy as Creator of Heaven and Earth. Worthy as Saviour of those who He has redeemed.
All heaven praises the Lamb seated on the throne.
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!’

And the earth and every single living creature in the whole of Creation echoes that praise!
v.13 ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!’
And that is how we should respond to the Lamb who was slain for us. Bow down and worship – for this is your God!