I am Precious in God’s Sight. The God of the Impossible Knows MY whole Name! I Know He Knows All Your Names Too! Isaiah 43:1-7

Isaiah 43:1-7Evangelical Heritage Version

The Lord’s New Act of Salvation

43 

But now this is what the Lord says,
the Lord who created you, O Jacob,
the Lord who formed you, O Israel.
    Do not be afraid, because I have redeemed you.
    I have called you by name. You are mine.
    When you cross through the waters, I will be with you.
    When you cross the rivers, they will not sweep you away.
    When you walk through fire, you will not be burned,
    and the flame will not set you on fire.

    Because I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior,
    I gave Egypt as your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
    Because you are precious and honored in my eyes,
    and I myself love you,
    I will give people in exchange for you,
    and peoples in exchange for your life.
    Do not be afraid, because I am with you.
    From the east I will bring your offspring,
    and from the west I will gather you.
    I will say to the north, “Give them back!”
    and to the south, “Do not hold them.”
    Bring my sons from far away
    and my daughters from the end of the earth—
    everyone who is called by my name,
    everyone I created for my glory,
    everyone I formed,
    yes, everyone I have made.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

One of those things I really have a hard time with in this Christmas season are the writing an the sending of the traditional array of all those Christmas Cards.

I am always the one who is either incredibly late or incredibly lazy preferring the “contact list” on my smart phone and then dialing the ones I remember I have some kind of almost formal relationship or more than mere acquaintance.

I look at my smart phones contact list which is quite long with nearly every one of the letters of the alphabet having at least three or four and several with more.

Sometimes when I’m wrestling to figure out what is on God’s heart for me to say to them or if I am going to write a Christmas Card to them, what do I say?

Try taking “mental image” of each one, look at the names one by one and pray,

“Lord, I do not know if I remember our last conversation or I do not remember the physical face of this person, what is on your heart for this person, that family?”

“Lord, I have nothing on my heart for this person, this family, I know you know far more than I do , what’s on your heart for this person? How can I pray for them? 

The answer from heaven, the Word of God for His Children, came straight away,

“Pray that they will all come to know that they are all precious in my sight.”

So that is what I will be striving to do this year.

Another vision caught my soul, somebody who I hadn’t even met yet or learned anything at all about, that person on the street corner with their signs, the ones who will drive their cars and trucks around me, beside me and long past me and when I drive past the hospitals, rehab centers, hospices, the police stations and the Fire and Rescue stations and the packed Mall Stores, all of the restaurants,

The answer came crashing headlong into my ever questioning spirit again ….

“Even if you send no cards or make no calls, even if you only pray in silence …. “

“Pray they will ALL come to know that they are absolutely precious in my sight.”

“I know everyone of them by name and I desire each of them to know my Name!”

I cannot ever claim I have minimally mastered the art of hearing God’s voice.

But does that answer sound like God to you?

I know that’s how he genuinely wants me to learn to look at each of you, to be communicating the ancient messages of Isaiah 43: 1 -7, be continually praying its ancient truths to all my neighbors as being absolutely precious in his sight.

I haven’t mastered that, yet either.

But it definitely sounds like something original and worth my maximum effort.

Starting a new Christmas Tradition – Pray without Ceasing for my Neighbors!

Drive around some neighborhoods I am a stranger to – Pray Isaiah 43:1-7

Isaiah 43:1-7Easy-to-Read Version

God Is Always With His People

43 Jacob, the Lord created you. Israel, he made you, and now he says, “Don’t be afraid. I saved you. I named you. You are mine. When you have troubles, I am with you. When you cross rivers, you will not be hurt. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not hurt you. That’s because I, the Lord, am your God. I, the Holy One of Israel, am your Savior. I gave Egypt to pay for you. I gave Ethiopia and Seba to make you mine. You are precious to me, and I have given you a special place of honor. I love you. That’s why I am willing to trade others, to give up whole nations, to save your life.

“So don’t be afraid, because I am with you. I will gather your children and bring them to you. I will gather them from the east and from the west. I will tell the north: Give my people to me. I will tell the south: Don’t keep my people in prison. Bring my sons and daughters to me from the faraway places. Bring to me all the people who are mine—the people who have my name. I made them for myself. I made them, and they are mine.

(Neighbors, Neighborhoods)

The Lord created you.

He made you, and now the Lord God says, “Do not be afraid, I saved you.”

“I have named you!”

“You are Mine!”

“When you have troubles, I am with you. when you cross rivers, you will not be hurt. When you walk through fire, you’ll not be burned; flames wont hurt you.”

“That’s because, I, the Lord, am your God, I am your Savior.”

“I gave my only Son, Jesus for you. I gave him to you to make you mine.”

“You are all absolutely precious to me, and I have given you a place of honor.”

“I Love you with an everlasting Love, that is why I gave my own Son for you.”

“To save your life!”

“So don’t be afraid, because I am with you. I will gather your children and bring them to you. I will gather them from the east and from the west. 

I will tell the north: Give my people to me. I will tell the south: Don’t keep my people in prison. Bring my sons and daughters to me from the faraway places.

Bring to me all the people who are mine—the people who have my name. I made them for myself. I made each and everyone of them, and they are mine.”

I do not have to know even one of their names, I do not even have to know who they are in the grand scheme which is God’s own exclusive plan for all of them.

I just have to recognize the power of God in the Word of God for His Children to make a difference, will one day, perhaps immediately, make all the difference.

When I’m driving around, I’m walking around, and I’m praying Isaiah 43:1-7,

What might be the possible outcomes of God working in and through my neighbors?

From the first verses of Genesis to the last verse of Revelation, provides endless examples of how the presence of the Lord empowers his people to live for him.

Take Moses, for example.

He was convinced that without God’s presence in his life, it was useless for him to attempt anything.

When he spoke face to face with the Lord, he stated boldly,

“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). 

He was saying, “Lord, if you’re not with us, we are not going to make it. We will not go a single step without the assurance of your presence.”

God’s presence is what sets us apart from nonbelievers.

The Old Testament is filled with accounts of great blessings that came to those who had God’s presence with them.

For instance, God’s presence was so evident in Abraham’s life that even the heathen around him recognized the difference between their lives and his.

Heathen king Abimelech said, “God is with you in all that you do” (Genesis 21:22).

God promised Joshua that no enemy could stand against him when his presence was with him:

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:5-6). 

When God’s Spirit is present in your life, you can be a conqueror because you securely place 100% trust in his promise to be with you in everything you do.

God shared with His Prophet Isaiah a special promise he makes to all he loves:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine … I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior … Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:1, 3, 5). 

With God’s presence abiding in you, you can go through any fire and not just survive, but be kept safe and protected through it all.

Just as it was with Moses, Abraham and countless others God touched because someone prayed, a high powered testimony of God’s presence in your life today.

We are God’s creations, we have come from him, his children, and whether we like it or not he will always feel an unshakeable connection to us, a desire for us.

God loves us with a parent’s love, only better than any human parent can do.

He created us, but then, maybe to pin the thought down a little stronger,

the thought is repeated with a slightly different spin in the next phrase, “he who formed you, O Israel.”

Can you hear a little more care in that?

He formed us.

He is forming us every day.

The Bible tells us over and over again that God is molding us.

He teaches us.

He disciplines those whom he loves.

We like to think God’s exclusive job is to just give us lots of cool stuff, lie the abundance of His life, but the Bible talks much more about how he brings tests, adversities into our lives to teach us His precious character and make us strong.

When I was trying to learn all I can about just what it means when God said we are precious in his sight, I looked up other places in the Hebrew Old Testament where the same Hebrew word, translated “precious” here, is used.

It’s used of precious stones, maybe diamonds or emeralds or rubies, things that are kingly expensive, just plain hard to get at and also very beautiful to look at.

1 Kings 7:9, the word is used to describe the massive foundation stones used in building Solomon’s palace, “costly stones, cut according to measure, sawed with saws, back and front.”

Take some quality time to meditate about a huge stone, weighing tons, maybe 5 feet deep, 8 feet long, 3 or 4 feet high, cut by hand out of a quarry, dragged by hand across miles of countryside without anything close to what we would consider a decent road, shaped so the front and back were smooth and the sides shaped so that it would fit perfectly with the other stones brought together.

This was before the days of high tech power tools or dynamite and it took an incredible amount of people doing an impossible amount of work to prepare even one of those stones. Every one that made it, that got fitted perfectly into the building had a huge investment in it and must have been worth an awful lot.

Is there anyone here reading this today in whom God has not already made an incredible investment to make you what you are today?

He is steadily building His church into His Image with a great deal of care, molding each and every one of us very carefully, chipping away at our rough spots, the parts that stick out and keep the other stones from fitting close to us.

It’s a huge job.

It’s an impossible job

He has invested an awful lot in us.

And that makes us even more precious.

And often times when he is chipping away at our rough spots and those tests and adversities start to fly fast and thick we can feel like he’s mad at us or has abandoned us, but no, he’s loving us and teaching us.

He’s molding us.

And we often look back at the darkest times of our lives and look at the lessons we learned there, the growth we experienced and, looking back we would not wish it has been any other way because those lessons, his wise forming, was so incomprehensibly valuable, so undeniably precious and so indescribably God.

Time shows us God’s wisdom and love are always there if we will accept them.

The first verse goes on, “Do not fear, I have redeemed you.”

That’s another reason that God loves us.

He has redeemed us.

And here we need to give some background.

These words of Isaiah are not addressed to wonderful children of God who are hanging in the temple all day, studying God’s word, obeying it wholeheartedly.

He’s writing this to a nation of Israel that had squandered God’s gift of the temple and now it had been destroyed.

When things had gotten tough they had turned their backs on God, making alliances with pagan kings, serving pagan gods.

And as they set off on their own in defiance of the god who created them and had formed them.

They were invaded.

Jerusalem was destroyed.

Most of the people were forced to migrate into exile in faraway lands. You can read about it in the Hebrew Testament in Second Kings and Second Chronicles.

These words of God’s love in Isaiah 43 weren’t spoken in a time when God’s people made it easy to love them.

They had disobeyed terribly.

They had lost their freedom and their land.

And if you back up and read the previous chapter, Isaiah 42, you will see some of the poignant phrases used to describe how God saw his people at the time.

They were:

That they are blind towards him.

They had been robbed and plundered by their enemies.

They are now trapped by their foolishness.

And who behaves well when they feel trapped by their own foolishness?

And God is really angry with them.

But it’s the anger of someone who cares. Because they are precious in his sight he wants so much more for them and he just doesn’t give up working on them.

That’s when this word “redemption” is needed.

God’s children are in trouble.

And he was taking it upon himself to sacrifice everything to bail them out.

If we take the time to ponder 2022, we may find ourselves identifying with it.

Being a parent at parent-teacher conferences is fun when your kid is the one who has all the “A” papers posted on the bulletin boards at school and when you know the teacher is just going to rave about how well your kid is doing.

But what if your kid is the one who always gives the teacher a very hard time, and there will be none of your child’s homework posted in the classroom, and he has carved nasty words into the top of his desk, and other parents are getting mad at you for what your kid has done to their kid.

That’s when love is tested.

That’s when the question gets harder,

“am I going to sacrifice everything so I can be there for my child or not?”

Our God sees himself as our redeemer, the family member who bails us out when we get in trouble.

In the Hebrew Testament, Abraham’s nephew Lot made a foolish decision to settle in the immoral city of Sodom.

One day Sodom was raided and Lot and his family were captured to be sold as slaves and all his property was stolen.

Well, old Uncle Abraham took off in hot pursuit with his servants and they made a surprise attack upon those raiders and he got his nephew back out of trouble.

In one of the most incredible stories of the Bible, the prophet Hosea had a wife who betrayed him, having affair after affair.

Finally she left him altogether.

She became a prostitute.

Then one day he found her up for sale in a slave market, used up, spiritually hardened, embittered. And Hosea redeemed his wife. He bought her out of slavery and he brought her home again and he cared for her and he loved her.

I hope we never come to speak of God’s love for us lightly.

He has paid such an impossibly high price for us.

Jesus died on the cross to redeem us from our sins.

He has put his precious name upon us, and we have repeatedly brought high dishonor upon that precious name.

But he’s our parent, our teacher, our husband, our redeemer.

He has invested so much in every single one of us we are precious in his sight.

Now go outside look around, walk around, drive around your neighborhoods.

Do you see anyone who is not absolutely precious in God’s sight?

We all probably can find someone who rubs us the wrong way.

We can all find somebody whom we know or at least suspect still needs a lot of God’s shaping before they are finished.

Let’s help each other spot them, anybody who is somebody who still needs some of God’s exclusive shaping, a lot of God’s shaping raise both your hands.

We all should have our hands up.

We may see somebody we suspect is off in exile right now, feeling very far from God, desperately grasping at straws trying to get their life back under control.

Maybe you can see that they aren’t making wise choices in that desperation.

Maybe they are uncomfortable to have around.

Maybe you can see they still have a lot of rough edges that need trimming.

But is there anyone in all of those neighborhoods who is not absolutely precious in God’s sight?

Remember how Solomon’s Temple was carefully built? It’s when the stones all come together out of the quarry, they are first hewn, then by struggle, brought to the area where they are to be placed, fitted close together that imperfections show up and out and final trimming can happen and all the stones be perfected.

He loves us when we are unlovely.

He is so committed to us that he keeps working on us, chipping away on our rough edges.

Sometimes he uses us to knock each other’s rough edges off.

Sometimes that person who just doesn’t seem to fit near you at all is just the exact person you need to show you, reveal, what work you still need done.

Verses 5 and 6 talk about God gathering the scattered Israelites from the four corners of the earth, north, south, east and west, gathering them together.

How many of us will walk or drive south today?

How many of us will walk or drive north today?

How many of us will walk or drive east today?

How many of us will walk or drive west today?

How many have rely on GPS to get around?

Look around you – at all those neighbors and all those neighborhoods too,

He’s gathering the stones to build something here. I don’t know yet all of what it will be. But every last one of us has a place because every one of us is precious.

And when he brings us stones close together and things start to rub, we can be tempted to push away.

But what kind of building can God build if the stones refuse to be shaped?

Or they themselves insist on leaving big gaps between themselves, or they look at that stone that just came in from the quarry and they see the rough edges and they say, send it back, we don’t want it, it is not precious, just throw it far away?

No, God brings us together so we can see the spots that need trimming down.

And the closer we come to one another and the more we rub against each other the more opportunity we have to grow and be conformed into his image.

And so when we feel the rubbing start to happen, we don’t push away.

We need each other.

We are all absolutely precious in the sight of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit!

We need to learn how all of God plans to fit every single one of us together.

We need to learn to lovingly adapt our lives to each other.

We need to learn to talk things out when there are rough spots.

We need to see through God’s eyes, that every one of us is precious in His sight.

Take a walk through your neighborhood – Pray for all of those precious to God.

Take a drive through your neighborhoods – Pray for all of those precious to God.

Start a new Christmas tradition ….

Unleash our PRECIOUS God ….

Unleash His PRECIOUS Son Jesus Christ ….

Unleash God, the PRECIOUS Holy Spirit ….

Imagine all of the precious Miracles which are about to unfold before you ….

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

To our God and soon coming Savior, I give You thanks. God, I pray today that You will reveal the fullness of yourself to me and each of those placed in my life. As we walk and drive around our neighbors and our neighborhoods, May we each have that precious encounter from the One and Only true and living God. I pray that the desires of our hearts shall be to seek after You that we may know You, experience You and we will all learn how to be men and women precious after God’s own heart, Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

Who among us does not long to hear these words pointing them, directing them, to their Living Hope: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World?” John 1:25-34

John 1:25-34Amplified Bible

25 They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize [only] [a]in water, but among you there stands One whom you do not recognize and of whom you know nothing. 27 It is He [the preeminent One] who comes after me, the [b]strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie [even as His slave].” 28 These things occurred in Bethany across the Jordan [at the Jordan River crossing], where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God [c]who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I and has priority over me, for He existed before me.’ 31 [d]I did not recognize Him [as the Messiah]; but I came baptizing [e]in water so that He would be [publicly] revealed to Israel.” 32 John gave [further] evidence [testifying officially for the record, with validity and relevance], saying, “I have seen the [f]Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize Him [as the Messiah], but He who sent me to baptize [g]in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this One is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I myself have [actually] seen [that happen], and my testimony is that this is the Son of God!”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

John, the Baptizer was born miraculously to aged parents (Luke 1:11-18), had the mission of preparing the way for Christ, the Messiah.

As a Charismatic preacher, he drew great crowds. He denounced people’s sins, called for immediate repentance, and baptized many who turned back to God.

The high point in John’s life came when he was baptizing at the Jordan River and Jesus approached him. John called out, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He also had exclaimed, “This is the Son of God.”

A low point came, however, when John was in prison and began to wonder if Jesus really was the Messiah (Matthew 11:1-5).

From deep within his prison cell John the Baptist sent friends to find out, and Jesus assured him by saying that the sick were being healed, the dead were being raised, and the good news of God’s kingdom was being preached.

The first time we read the word “lamb” in the Hebrew Testament, the speaker is Isaac, is asking his father Abraham, “Where is the lamb for the [sacrifice]?” (Genesis 22:7).

In the New Testament at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, we see this word again as John announces, “Look, the Lamb of God …”

John pointed us to Jesus, the Son of God, instead of himself, as the Lamb who came to meet our very deepest need by becoming the sacrifice for all our sin.

What truly matters to us is that John identified Jesus not once but twice before others as the Lamb of God and that we understand the meaning. Only through Jesus do we receive salvation. Jesus, God’s son, died a sacrificial lamb for all.

Why Did John Say, ‘Behold the Lamb of God’?

For any devout Jew in the time of Jesus, a lamb would have evoked powerful religious meaning.

Far more than a typical food source in that day, a lamb was considered the most appropriate sin-substitute when it came to making ritual sacrifices, which were a huge part of the role of the Jewish Temple and community tradition back then.

Jesus himself was raised Jewish and came from a long line of Israelites dating back to Abraham, the first major patriarch in the Bible.

Abraham’s son was Isaac, and his grandson was Jacob, from whom the 12 tribes of Israel came. Jesus was descended from the tribe of Judah, a son of Jacob.

They all would have been very familiar with the need to regularly make animal sacrifices to the Lord as a way to atone for their sins, particularly the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb as a way of cleansing, purifying, and honoring the Lord (Exodus 12:3-13; Leviticus 14:10-25).

But when John the Baptist encounters the man Jesus walking towards him in the wilderness, as Jesus is walking toward him, John announces, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, ESV).

Why would John refer to Jesus as a lamb, which was a typical religious sacrifice?

Why a lamb of God?

And what does he mean, who “takes away” sin?

Why did John say, “Behold the Lamb of God”?

https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/jhn/1/29/t_conc_998029

What Does This Text Mean?

In the original Greek used by the Apostle John, who wrote the Book of John, he uses the Greek word ide for behold, meaning “look,” “see here,” or “consider.”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2396/esv/mgnt/0-1/

He uses amnos for lamb, meaning exactly that — a young sheep.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g286/esv/mgnt/0-1/

And he uses theos for God, referring to “the one true God.”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2316/esv/mgnt/0-1/

He also uses the word airō for takes away, which means “carries away” or “gets rid of.”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g142/esv/mgnt/0-1/

He uses hamartia for sin, meaning “wrongdoing.”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g266/esv/mgnt/0-1/

And he uses kosmos for the word world, referring to the entire world — that is, the universe, not just the local place in which he is situated.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2889/esv/mgnt/0-1/

Essentially, what John the Baptizer is communicating to everyone nearby:

Essentially, what John the Baptizer is communicating to generations to come:

“Look, it’s God’s lamb who gets rid of the wrongdoings of the entire universe.”

Who among us, right in this exact moment, do not long to hear these words?

Who among us, right in this exact moment, does not need to hear these words ringing and resounding through, into every last empty cell of their their souls?

We’re in constant state of need to hear someone exclaiming “Hope is Possible!”

Hope, indeed our Living Hope is Here – And he is Jesus Christ – The Son of God!

This would have been a powerful and revelatory statement to make about Jesus.

Why Were Sacrifices Important to Jewish Culture Then?

Sacrifices had been prioritized in the Bible since the very first days. Genesis 4:4 talks about how Abel gave the Lord the very best firstborn of his flock of sheep (that is, a lamb), which greatly pleased God.

We also know Jesus’ descendant Abraham was severely tested by God and asked to sacrifice his only son. heir, Isaac, with whom God had promised to establish His covenant and bring forth a multitude of offspring.

Isaac’s apparently innocent question to his father, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7) is a poignant moment between them, for only Abraham knew he was supposed to be sacrificing Isaac upon the mountain.

Father Abraham insisted to Isaac that God would provide, and God did indeed, providing a ram at the last moment for him to sacrifice instead of his own son.

Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy further prescribe animal sacrifices, usually a lamb but also other animals, as a way for the Jewish people to make up for their wrongdoings, providing forgiveness and the removal of sin.

But these were temporary sacrifices.

They had to be done repeatedly — yearly or whenever a person was in need of cleansing from unrighteousness — to ensure good standing with the Lord.

What Was the Context of This Verse, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God’?

In this first chapter of John, we are introduced to John the Baptist, whom the Bible here calls “a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him” (John 1:6-7).

But Scripture is extraordinarily careful to note that John himself admitted he was not the light but rather the precursor to that light, the one who introduced, the one who announced, who pointed us to the light or bore witness in advance.

Like the person, the Master of Ceremonies, asked to introduce the main speaker onstage, John was the introducer; and Jesus was the “keynote,” the main event.

Later in this first chapter of John’s narrative, we are told priests and Levites from Jerusalem asked John who he was, for he’d been baptizing people in the wilderness and urging them to turn from sin.

They asked if he was a prophet or even if he was the great prophet of old Elijah.

No, John said, adding, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said” (John 1:23).

He further added that he was baptizing with water as a way of forging the path to Jesus, so he could bear witness and point Jesus out when the time came.

And indeed, John emphatically added, “I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34).

Does John Actually Say Jesus Is the Lamb of God?

John reiterates twice that Jesus is the Lamb of God, first here, when he’s with the priests and Levites and sees Jesus walking toward him, and then the next day, when he’s standing with two disciples and sees Jesus, he points this out again: “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:36).

Those two disciples included Andrew, who immediately followed Jesus and then went to fetch his brother, Simon Peter.

The two were Jesus’ first disciples and among the 12 apostles.

Make no mistake, John is saying: Jesus is the Lamb of God.

The Apostle Paul describes him later as “Christ, our Passover lamb, (who) has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

What Does ‘Lamb of God’ Mean?

There are two key inferences here. One is that Jesus, as the “lamb” of God, is God’s perfect sacrifice.

Sacrificial lambs were required by Levitical Code to be unblemished, typically the best of the best, pure, and perfect.

They also were innocent — blood, and lives, were exchanged as debt payment.

In His willing sacrifice on the cross, Jesus paid our sin debt penalty “once for all” (Colossians 2:14).

It’s a substitute for sin, the way the people could enter the presence of God, to atone for wrongdoing, and what God was willing to accept to make things right.

John was perhaps referring to Scripture foretold in Isaiah 53:7, where the prophet described the savior of the world as one oppressed and inflicted, a “lamb that is led to the slaughter.”

The other meaning is the lamb being described in the Book of Revelation, the triumphant “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” (Revelation 5:6).

Did John Know What He Meant Here?

We aren’t told whether John knew what he was alluding to by calling Jesus the “Lamb of God,” especially as later he seemed doubtful and sent word asking if Jesus really was the one who was to come (Matthew 11:3).

That doesn’t really matter, though, for sometimes people speak words of the Lord without understanding what they fully mean, such as in prophecy.

What matters is that John the Baptizer clearly identified Jesus not once but twice before others as the Lamb of God and that we understand the meaning.

John the Baptizer’s intent and meaning are very clear! Only through Jesus do we receive salvation. Jesus, God’s son, died a sacrificial lamb for all (John 3:16), but only those who genuinely repent, believe and follow Him receive that salvation.

We must understand that Jesus is the only way — indeed, as the Apostle John later notes Jesus as stating, “The way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

So, behold, all reading this piece — Jesus is Lord, Word become flesh, the Living God, our living Hope whose innocence, purity and perfect, divine nature paid the price of our sins forevermore so we who believe may live forever with Him.

He did this for you, for me, and for us all.

He is the Lamb of God, and we are His.

John the Baptizer repeatedly proclaimed him ….

Can any of us here claim that we repeatedly proclaim the exact same sentiment?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Most Holy and Gracious God,

You have enriched and enlightened us by the revelation of your eternal Christ. 

Comfort us in our mortality

and strengthen us to walk the path of your desire,

so that by word and deed we may manifest the gracious news

of your faithfulness and love.

Most Holy God, Giver of every Good and Perfect Gift,

Divine Father of the man Jesus who asked the disciples,

“What are you looking for,”

and who offered the invitation to “Come and See,”

open our hearts to what you reveal and give us the courage to follow. 

By Your Spirit aid us in our journey,

so that like John the Baptizer, our words and deeds point to the Lamb of God. 

For those who are suffering, let us likewise point to Christ through comfort. 

For those who are hungry, let us point to Christ through the giving of bread. 

For those in the grip of despair, let us point to Christ through our example of hope.

Almighty God,

whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world:

Grant that your people, illumined by your Word,

may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory,

that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth.

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

One God in Three – now and forever, Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Do We Recognize Jesus Christ as Our One, Only true King? Revelation 5:13

Revelation 5:11-14Amplified Bible

Angels Exalt the Lamb

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and [the voice] of the living creatures and the elders; and they numbered myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (innumerable), 12 saying in a loud voice,

“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13 And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together],

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever and ever].

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

The Bible makes it crystal clear that history is moving purposefully towards a definite conclusion.

That reality is one of the distinctive features of the biblical worldview.

One way that Christianity distinguishes itself, in other words, is in the matter of how all things come to a close.

Sometimes, in looking at old historical photographs we may just find ourselves asking,

“Where am I in this picture?”—or, “Am I even in this picture?”

“Do I recognize the person, the people or the place or the moment?”

“Is it a random small piece of history or a very specific and significant one?

“I wonder what is really happening in the picture – what is its real story?”

Is there enough personal interest in the story for me to do more research, to want to know every single detail of the time, the people, the place, the events?

When it comes to our envisioning or picturing God’s plan, though, every single person, people and place on earth is included in Revelation’s picture of history.

No one is missing from the story.

Everyone who believed or did not believe on Jesus as their Savior are included.

And when history comes to a close, it will surely end in division and separation.

Jesus spoke about this separation when He said that the sheep and goats will be divided (Matthew 25:31-46): light and darkness will be delineated, and those who believed on Jesus as their Savior will be set apart from those who do not.

No one will be left out, though tragically some will have chosen to be shut out.

Therefore, our position in this big picture matters.

All of history’s ebb and flow is to be viewed in light of the fact that there is a throne in heaven and that throne is not empty; rather, it is occupied by God, who is in control. Jesus is King, and He is seated at the right hand of the throne.

Although many do not yet recognize His kingdom, many refuse to recognize His Kingdom, or have not been introduced, it doesn’t alter the reality He yet reigns.

From humanity’s fall to the end of time there exist, as the great fourth-century theologian Augustine of Hippo put it, two rival cities—two rival loves.

By our sinful human nature, we are involved in the city of man, and only by God’s grace will we ever be involved in and ever be devoted to the city of God.

2 Corinthians 5:1-5Amplified Bible

The Temporal and Eternal

5 For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling, so that by putting it on we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection]. Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].

The Word of God says The earthly city, the city of man, our earthly tent, our physical body is destined to be torn down by time, pass away through death.

But the heavenly city, God’s kingdom, will absolutely go on forever and ever!

Reading our text from Revelation 5:11-14, the many Angels around the throne and the voice of the living creature and the Elders, who numbered “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands – innumerable (verse 11) recognized Him.

Saying in a loud voice –

“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (verse 12)

From within the context of our own 21st jumble of our own “Christian-ality”

Our own personal expressions of devotion, personal expressions of obedience, adherence to the precepts and commandments and covenants set by our God,

In our ministries and missions, our forays into all the streets and back alley ways, all the highways and byways and boulevards of God’s Neighborhood, Luke 10:1-3, Acts 2:43-47, 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, and Galatians 3:27-29)

Enemies or Friends, Faults, Failures, Fears, Flaws, Sins not withstanding …

In the eyes of God, we are ALL Children of God …. Without any Exceptions,

From the fears, failures and faults of mankind, however, exceptions okayed,

Do ALL Lives absolutely, unequivocally, without exception, equally Matter?

Do we recognize with our whole hearts our souls, our voices – Jesus as King?

How each of us give God in Christ an answer is a matter of eternal significance.

And how we give an answer to God is also a matter of present consequence. (Matthew 5:13-16, Matthew 23:23-33, Mark 3:31-35, Mark 4:21-29, Mark 7:1-16, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 11:33-36, Luke 19:1-10, John 5:1-15, and Acts 3:1-10)

If Jesus is your One and Only true King, then you will live as His subject, seeking to obey Him even when His command cuts against all your biases, preferences.

If Jesus is your King, you will be loyal and obedient to Him above all others, for this world is not yours or mine home and you and I are just passing through.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

Be sure to live as a citizen of a better country and a subject of a greater King.

When our earthly tents take their last breaths, will we spend eternity joining with Angels and Elders in bringing Him honor and glory, praise and worship?

I pray we may give a good answer to God, do so in our words and conduct today.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God of ALL truth, sometimes I not sure if I’m actually hearing your voice, or if it’s just my own thoughts or even another spirit. Sharpen my spiritual hearing, Lord, so I can recognize your words when you are speaking to me. Help me know it’s really, only you, with no doubt or second-guessing. When I’m asking for your guidance in important decisions, give me your peace that surpasses understanding with your answer alone. Help me remember that your words to me will never go against your written word in the Bible. Give me a clear mind and push out all my confusion. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, My King and My Savior and Best Friend Amen.

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I’m Humbled! I’m Being Humbled! I’m Learning How to Walk Naturally in the Supernatural Anointing of a Living God.

2 Kings 5:8-14 Amplified Bible

Now when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent word to the king, asking, “Why have you torn your clothes? Just let Naaman come to me, and he shall know that there is a [true] prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stopped at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you, and you will be clean.” 11 But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Indeed! I thought ‘He would at least come out to [see] me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God and wave his hand over the place [of leprosy] and heal the leper.’ 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus [in Aram], better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So, he turned and went away in a rage. 13 Then his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he has said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’” 14 So he went down and plunged himself into the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said; and his flesh was restored like that of a little child, and he was clean.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

He was the top commander in a powerful army.

He knew all the right people. His king regarded him as “a great man.”

He was a great military leader with many great victories on the battlefield.

He was a powerful man and a powerful leader.

His soldiers followed him, put their lives on the line without question, onto the fields of combat assured he would always lead them to victory after victory,

He had not failed his men or his king.

He was a confident man and had every reason to be.

He had influence and money.

He had an Army which was loyal to him.

He had servants at his beck and call.

He had an entourage that followed him everywhere.

His every command was followed.

And he was a leper.

Leprosy changed everything for Naaman. And this leprosy set the stage for an intriguing drama, a story that tells us something of what baptism is about.

Most of us, in our most honest moments, would choose to exercise power over walking in weakness, influence over being ignored, and prestige over neglect.

We love to be the ones who are in command, making the decisions and getting the perks and the promotions, not the one who depends on another’s mercy.

Yet, with all of his influence, Naaman found that no one could help him. And in this one area of his life, he couldn’t help himself. He was at the end of his rope.

So he went to see the prophet of God in Israel.

The prophet’s instructions, though, seemed like a joke, an insult.

Wash in the Jordan?!

What was wrong with the waters of the rivers of his native country?

Yet, they were insufficient – they had not cleansed him of his leprosy.

Now, he was desperate – his circumstances and condition were intolerable.

Naaman would gladly have done some great deed—anything!

—to be cleansed of his leprosy and to earn the favor of the God of Israel.

But the God of Israel doesn’t work that way.

God remembers His own and cares for His own, but His own does not mean only the people of Israel.

• It refers ultimately to everyone who is willing to acknowledge God, believe and worship Him, as the one and only true God.

• So, God’s grace is not going to be confined within the borders of Israel.

God wants to bring the world back to Himself, starting with Israel.

We see here the grace of God extending to a foreigner, an Aramean commander of the Syrian army.

• Naaman had everything – position, status, fame, success – and leprosy.

• The last one spoilt everything. With leprosy, the rest matters little. He has a need that is beyond him.

The author of this passage was inspired by it, wanted us to see this. Look at the words he used to describe his good life – a great man in the sight of his master (King), highly regarded, gained many victories in battles, and a valiant soldier.

• He is a great man, with great reputation, great capability, great courage, great accomplishments, AND a great sickness.

• The author ended the trail of accolades with “and he had leprosy”.

He needs God.

At the end of the day, what we really need isn’t what this world can offer us.

• Naaman needs a miraculous cure for his leprosy.

His own native waters were insufficient for the task.

It seems Naaman’s influences did not extend to his commanding the waters of his native land to cleanse him. His presence did not move the waters one inch.

I can envision him, in his desperation, standing on the water’s edge and over and over again, shouting command after command – “cleanse me my waters!”

That failing him, further enraged at the desperation of his physical plight, walking into the waters of his native land, raising his fist against his waters.

He would walk, maybe even run, deeper and deeper into the waters, dunking himself over and over and over again yelling, “cleanse me, I command you!”

Yet for all of his power and influence, for all of the victories he achieved on the battlefield, for all the loyalty he commanded of others, the love of his own king,

The Leprosy moved not one inch from his body.

He had no command over his own body – he could not command his Leprosy to leave him – he commanded thousands but could not command his own healing.

None of his servants had any power to heal him.

None of his own loyal soldiers could do anything to help their commander.

Anyone and everyone around him only communicated their utter helplessness.

Thousands and thousands and thousands of shoulders shrugging, apologizing.

What did that kind of helplessness look like to Naaman?

What does that kind of helplessness look like to us right now.

What did those feelings of complete helplessness do for Naaman’s self-esteem?

What do those feelings of complete helplessness do for our own self-esteem?

What does Helpless Pie taste like?

What does Hopeless Pie taste like?

What does Humble Pie taste like?

For Naaman, it tasted a whole lot like Leprosy.

What a new experience for Naaman – In complete command of everything and of everyone around him – except in this one thing – commanding his healing.

The author was moved by this, wanted us to see this. Look at the words he used to describe Naaman’s good life – a great man in the sight of his master (King), highly regarded, gained many victories in battles, and a loyal, valiant soldier.

• He is a great man, with great reputation, great capability, great courage, great accomplishments, AND a great sickness.

• The author ended the trail of accolades with the buzz killing statement of Naaman’s inescapable and undeniably painful reality “and he had leprosy”.

He needs God.

At the end of the day, what we really need isn’t what this world can offer us.

• Naaman needs a miraculous cure for his leprosy. He needs God to heal him.

• So, the story goes, he went seeking for God’s help, through a prophet of Israel.

That’s at first glance.

A casual reading gives us this picture of a man seeking God.

• But on closer reading, it is more accurate to say, God is reaching out to him.

• The author says God has been giving him victories in battles.

• 5:1 “He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, BECAUSE through him the Lord had given victory to Aram.” (5:1)

• His reputation was given by the God, because his successes were given BY God.

This is the GRACE of God. God showed him favour.

And then we see another of God’s sovereign act.

A young Israelite girl was captured in one of those Aramean raids and ended up as a servant for Naaman’s wife (5:2).

“Why does not my master, Naaman seek out Elisha, the Prophet in Israel …?”

• The words of this servant girl became the critical bridge for Naaman to be introduced to the prophet of God in Samaria. Ultimately, to God Himself.

• The whole story hangs on her still small voice speaking up, the daring, minor role she played and the few words she said, and we do not even know her name.

We do not even know whether or not the little girl was rewarded for her caring

• You don’t need a name to serve God or doing something significant like caring for others – daring to put your life out there, then risking rebuke, risking wrath and risking an unknown punishment for opening our mouths against authority.

And I sincerely hope and pray we don’t serve God, care for others, looking for a name and a reputation too.

• Be amazed at how God works to fulfil His will.

He can surprise us.

This young servant girl’s words of daring, caring, were brought before the King!

• Naaman used her timely words to ask for permission to go seek for this prophet.

The King took up the girl’s suggestion!

The King gave him an official letter to see the King of Israel. They might have thought that such a great prophet must be working in the King’s own courts.

• The King of Israel was taken aback and read this as a possible excuse for the Syrians to start a war, for failing to heal their commander.

• The plan almost backfired until Elisha, God’s anointed Prophet heard of the outburst and sent a message.

The King did not look for the prophet. He doesn’t know what to do next.

• Again we see the providence of God. God works at every step of this story to make this encounter possible.

Naaman was re-directed to see the prophet, with his entourage of horses and chariots (5:9). We can imagine the grandeur of this visit.

• But when he arrived at the door of Elisha’s house, Elisha remained indoors.

A messenger came out and gave him a blunt order: “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored, and you will be cleansed.” (5:10).

• It was a test of faith moment. But this was unacceptable to a reputable man.

Elisha did not even greet him, his entourage, when he was already at his door.

2 Kings 5:11-12 “But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So, he turned and went off in a rage.

• Naaman had certain expectations – he had earned and expected “due respect.”

But instead, a simple servant of Elisha had written, spoken, a simple message.

He had already written God’s script for Him: “This is what you should do and how you should do it.”

• This sounded so familiar to me because very often, we come to God in the same manner – with a certain set agenda and script.

• We have our own very specific, very detained ideas and expectations of how God ought to do things for us, and when the things don’t synchronize with our expectations, we become disappointed, not at circumstances but WITH GOD.

Moreover, going to river Jordan wasn’t going to be that simple a walk. They are now in Samaria. River Jordan would take a while, some travelling (40km away).

• Grumbling, “it would be so much easier to wash in the rivers nearer home.”

• Grumbling and dissatisfied, in the spur of the moments, he decided to leave.

His servants stepped in and talked some sense to him.

Again, we witness the providence of God acting through Naaman’s soldier!

• What do you really want?

To save face and uphold your reputation? Or to get yourself healed? If that is what you want, just do this simple thing – “wash seven times and be cleansed!” (5:13)

• This simply worded instruction carries with it a promise. Elisha did not say, “You go wash at Jordan and see what happens.” Like what some doctors say.

But the promise was given: “… and your flesh will be restored, and you will be cleansed.” (5:10).

The challenge is, can Naaman separate himself from his grumbling, trust the words of the prophet fully. It’s a crisis of faith. Can he obey what God has said?

• By God’s grace, Naaman did what he was told, and he was completely healed – “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” (5:14).

Naaman’s change was not just physical.

We witnessed a change that was both physical and supernaturally spiritual.

• Naaman returned back to thank Elisha and within the short discourse which followed, we see witness him addressing himself as “your servant” – 5 times in 5:15-18. No longer the proud commander with great accolades.

• He saw his true self before a true God. He confessed his faith in God: “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel…” (5:15)

• And asked for forgiveness from God for having to accompany his King when he enters the temple of Rimmon (5:18).

We see the reach of God’s grace.

God extended grace and this foreigner received it and believed God.

• In a time of great apostasy when most within Israel would not want God, this foreigner believed that Israel’s God is the only true God.

• Jesus made this comment in Luke 4:27 “And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.” This foreigner was willing to believe God.

Naaman was humbled and grateful and wanted to give the prophet some gifts.

• Elisha refused any reward, obviously and rightly so, because this has nothing to do with him.

• It has been the work of God from the beginning, and everything happened by the providence of God. This has been a display of God’s amazing grace!

• And that explains why what happened next is such a great aversion to God.

2 Kings 5:19-27Amplified Bible

19 Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.” So Naaman departed and was a good distance away from him,

20 when Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “My master has spared this Naaman the Aramean (Syrian), by not accepting from him what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?” 22 And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘Just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a [a]talent of silver and two changes of clothes.’” 23 Naaman said, “Please take two talents.” And he urged him [to accept] and tied up two talents of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes and gave them to two of his servants; and they carried them in front of Gehazi. 24 When he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house [for safekeeping]; and he sent the men away, and they left. 25 Then he went in and stood before his master. Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He said, “Your servant went nowhere.”

26 Elisha said to him, “Did my heart not go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a [proper] time to accept money and clothing and olive orchards and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? 27 Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So Gehazi departed from his presence, a leper as white as snow.

Elisha was adamant in refusing Naaman’s gifts, but his servant Gehazi was eager to get them as Elisha’s “due reward.” In fact, he ran after them, literally.

• If this has been the work of God’s grace, then no one could, should, take credit for it. No one should take any reward for this and rob God of His rightful glory.

• Gehazi’s actions robbed God of His glory and marred the character of God.

Firstly Gehazi’s action itself transgressed half of the Ten Commandments.

1st – You shall have no other gods before Me.

3rd – You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

8th – You shall not steal.

9th – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. (He lied a few times.)

10th – You shall not covet.

But his most serious offense was the distortion of the truth about God.

• His behaviour ran contrary to all that God represents, giving the impression that the healing can be paid for, and as a sure reward, we can buy God’s favour.

• That’s precisely the distorted thinking of pagan worshippers, that man can bribe or manipulate the favor of their God into giving them what they want.

The message that Elisha conveyed – that this healing is free, it is the grace of God alone, it is the work of God alone and you don’t have to give me anything – was destroyed by this greedy act of Gehazi.

• Naaman was made to “pay”, so it seems, for the healing that he had just received. And Elisha was the one asking for it, on the pretext that he had visitors.

• It implied that the God of Israel was a “taker”, just like Baal and the rest of the pagan gods.

Little servant girls, Prophets like Elisha, wakes us out of our self-sufficiency.

The humble, humbled unknown servant girl dared and risked everything to care enough about her Master – “be healed, go and find Elisha the Prophet in Israel.”

Elisha didn’t even greet the entourage.

He sent a messenger to say, in effect, “Go, humble yourself. And be cleansed.”

• But God is HOLY (set apart, separate, distinct) and unlike any other.

He has no comparison or competition.

Gehazi’s action pulled the character of God down to the level of pagan gods.

• He was undoing what God has done – showing goodness and grace to Naaman – revealing Israel’s God as very unlike other gods.

• Gehazi put a price on the goodness and grace of God. God’s honor was badly tarnished, and His glory shaded, shadowed, robbed by Gehazi most sinful act.

• Hence the judgement of God. It is fair and it is right.

It more than just about greed and lying; it is about the holiness of God.

• God upholds His Name and glory. His judgement could be worse. He was gracious.

We have tasted God’s goodness and grace today.

We’ve come to know Him and what He has done, through Jesus.

“What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Refrain:
O precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know;
nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

• Let us rejoice and give thanks.

Let us walk in the supernatural anointing of the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Let us bow down, kneel down, prostrate ourselves, and humbly worship Him.

Let us honor and glorify Him in every way possible.

Are we willing to be humbled as Naaman?

Are we ready, willing and able to walk in humility s Naaman was?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Write Your Words of Grace on My Heart, O’ God of my Salvation,

Everlasting Father, thank you that you have revealed yourself to me. May I not forget your teaching but keep your commands in my heart. Through your power, prolong my life, bringing me peace and prosperity. May your love and faithfulness never leave me, write your words on my heart. May your grace transform my life, that I may be gracious to others. Let me trust in you with all your heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all your ways may I submit to you, and you will make my paths straight. Through Savior Jesus Christ, our Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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Envision now our Worship Central: The Lion! Worthy is the Name of the Lamb who was slain for us all. Revelation 5

Today followers of Jesus will gather to worship the Savior who was slain.

Some will gather in churches or cathedrals, ­others will meet in homes and huts, and still others will worship from prisons.

Some will ­worship traditionally, and others will do so with a more modern bent.

Many will meet publicly, and some will gather in secret.

But all will worship the Savior who laid down his life for them. 

At the center of Revelation 5 is a surprising, beautiful vision of Jesus.

On the one hand, Jesus is described as a lion.

He’s strong and is able to open the scroll that contains God’s redemptive plan.

He alone is able to carry it out.

On the other hand, he looks like a lamb that was slain.

Humble and gentle, he gave himself, utterly and completely, over to death.

How could Jesus be both a lion and a lamb?

The two images don’t seem to fit.

The answer is that he is the King because he was willing to die.

Jesus has received a crown because he carried the cross.

Only by having died for us is he now able to bring history to a victorious end for God and his people.

This devotional message is summed up in verse 9 -“Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation”

As we gather to worship today, wherever you are, why ever you are, whenever you are, glorify Jesus for the gift of salvation.

Join with fellow Christians and with the angels in heaven in shouting out,

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain!”

Revelation 5Amplified Bible

The Scroll with Seven Seals

I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, closed and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel announcing with a loud voice, “Who is worthy [having the authority and virtue] to open the scroll and to [a]break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] was able to open the scroll or look into it. And I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. Then one of the [twenty-four] elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look closely, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome and conquered! He can open the scroll and [break] its seven seals.”

And there [b]between the throne (with the four living creatures) and among the elders I saw a Lamb (Christ) standing, [bearing scars and wounds] as though it had been slain, with seven horns (complete power) and with seven eyes (complete knowledge), which are [c]the seven Spirits of God who have been sent [on duty] into all the earth. And He came and [d]took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb (Christ), each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of fragrant incense, which are the prayers of the saints (God’s people). And they sang a new song [of glorious redemption], saying,

“Worthy and deserving are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slain (sacrificed), and with Your blood You purchased people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 
“You have made them to be a kingdom [of royal subjects] and priests to our God; and they will reign on the earth.”

Angels Exalt the Lamb

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and [the voice] of the living creatures and the elders; and they numbered myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (innumerable), 12 saying in a loud voice,

“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13 And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together],

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever and ever].

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Holy! Holy! Holy!

Are You Lord God, Almighty!

Worthy Is The Lamb!

Worthy Is The Lamb!

You Are Holy!

Agnus Dei – The title Lamb of God (in Latin Agnus Dei) appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-30)

In our selected text we find two references to Christ as a “Lamb that was slain”

Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Look with me to the text and let’s see a few reasons why the Lamb is worthy:

Revelation 5:1-5Amplified Bible

The Scroll with Seven Seals

I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, closed and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel announcing with a loud voice, “Who is worthy [having the authority and virtue] to open the scroll and to [a]break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] was able to open the scroll or look into it. And I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. Then one of the [twenty-four] elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look closely, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome and conquered! He can open the scroll and [break] its seven seals.”

John saw a book

– Literally a scroll that was sealed with seven seals.

This scroll was in the right hand of God.

By this point John must have been overwhelmed at all that he has witnessed in Revelation Chapters 1-4.

But now he encounters a dilemma.

He said – “I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon”

Angels were not worthy!

Even the Archangels were unworthy!

All Heavenly powers stood silent!

The Prophet’s of old were not worthy!

The Lord’s Apostles were not worthy!

Among all of the Saint’s, no one worthy was found!

All of Heaven itself becomes silent and unable at the indescribable task of breaking each of the seven seals of this scroll.

As they searched through Heaven and Earth and found no one worthy, John’s heart began to break, and tears began to flow…

Then, one of the Elders said hang on John! There is ONE WHO IS WORTHY!

The Elder said look John…. “One has prevailed” “One has conquered”

– gained the victory.

Christ’s past victory over all the powers of darkness entitles Him the ability and the power to break the seals of the scroll!

Jesus describes supremacy is seen in: 

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

………Revelation 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

II. The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Sinlessness verse 5

verse 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

As Jesus faced temptation in Matthew 4:1-11, Satan surely thought Jesus would fall, falling hard. He did not! He faced the temptation and remained sinless!

The elder tells John that “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David hath prevailed…not only did He prevail to open the book, He prevailed over sin!!

“Lion of the tribe of Judah”,

In Genesis 49, the Jews are promised that a great ruler will arise out of Judah. Like a lion, He will be powerful, strong, brave, and a mighty conqueror.

“The Root of David”. This title reflects both the humanity and the deity of the Messiah.

When Jesus arrived, He was not what the Jews had expected and as a result they rejected Him John 1:11 “He came unto His own & His own received Him not”

Instead of delivering the Jews and establishing His Kingdom on Earth, Christ came preaching and performing miracles.

Thus, they rejected Him as

“The Lion of The Tribe of Judah” and “The Root of David”

Though the Jews did not accept Christ as Messiah, He was that “Sinless” sacrifice sent by God to redeem mankind! – 

1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers: 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

If He had not been sinless, He would not have been the Messiah, If He had not been the Messiah, He would not be worthy to open any one of the seven seals.

PRAISE GOD HE IS SINLLESS! HE IS THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH! HE IS THE ROOT OF DAVID! HE IS THE MESSIAH AND HE IS WORTHY!!!!

III. The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Submission verse 6a

Verse 6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain,

Here we see Christ pictured as a Lamb that had been slain.

This Holy Lamb of God was a willing sacrifice for our sins! – 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:

In most instances throughout the New Testament you will find the word “Amnos”,

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g286/kjv/tr/0-1/

but here in Revelation chapter 5 we find the word “Arnion”.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g721/kjv/tr/0-1/

I draw your attention to the distinction of these words to further paint the picture of what John saw…..

He did not just see an ‘amnos’ a lamb, he saw an ‘arnion’ … a “little pet lamb”

Consider this differentiation very carefully:

The Elder tells John to behold the “LION” of the tribe of Judah,

John was expecting a vigorously healthy, strong and mighty conquering lion and he turns and sees this little ‘arnion,’ this little pet lamb.

In Exodus 12, we see the people of Israel instructed to:

1) Select a perfect lamb, one without blemish and without spot.

2) Take that lamb into their home and nourish it and care for it for a number of days

3) During that time, that little lamb became like a pet lamb to that family.

After a certain period of time they were to:

a) Take that lamb and kill it

b) Apply its blood to the doorposts of their home

c) Roast the body and eat it.

If the people obeyed this command, they would be spared when the Lord came to judge the Egyptians.

This Passover lamb was a picture of how God would judge His only Son at Calvary.

This submissive lamb came into a world which would hate, reject and crucify Him. God placed His only Son on that cross in my place so that I could go free!

The Lamb of God was slain and died so that we might live!!

When it is all said and done,

When I ponder the depth of this imponderable statement,

I never could quite bring myself to understand ….

Why a king would leave His throne

For the sake of both his very best friends and his very worst enemies

To dawn the robe of an earthly man

And feel the pain of flesh and bone

Then to trod that lonely path

That lead to Calvary

But whether I am his very best friend or his very worst enemy,

This statement is inescapably and immutably true ….

But those blood red stains broke all my chains

So that I, being the best of friends or the worst of enemies, could still go free

This “little, pet Lamb” won the victory

and because of that, He is absolutely worthy to take the book.

A great illustration of Christ’s Submission is found in Matthew 26:38-42

IV. Christ Is Worthy Because Of His Sacrifice verses 6 and 9

v6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

v9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Jesus purchased the victory on the cross

– John 19:30 when Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “it is finished”: and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.

This Lamb that was slain, was slain for us!

This was prophesied in Isaiah 53:4-5 

Surely, he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

This Lamb in verse 6 still bears the marks of having been slain – When we see Jesus in Heaven, we will yet still see the marks of His suffering in His body.

For all eternity, Jesus will bear the wounds of the cross as a constant reminder of what He did for us.

There will be no room for pride in Heaven!

No one will be able to brag about how he got there. When we see Him, we will see His love on permanent display.

And we will say WORTHY IS THE LAMB!!!

The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Sovereignty, Sinlessness, Submission, Sacrifice and FINALLY we see:

V. Christ Is Worthy Because Of His Success verses 9-10

v9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

This heavenly choir sang a “new” song! – Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation

What is the “success” of this lamb?

Take very careful and well considered notice that He is now “standing”

The Lamb is in Heaven not in a manger, not on a dusty road in Galilee, not on a ship in a storm.

He is not hanging in shame and agony on a cross.

He is not lying in a cold, sealed tomb.

He is where He deserves to be.

He is on the throne. He is glorified and exalted in Heaven!

When Jesus ascended, He “sat down” at the right hand of God, Hebrews 1:3.

He sat down because His work of redeeming sinners was complete. The Lamb is standing here because His work of delivering the earth is about to begin!

•Jesus brought Success Over Death Hell and The Grave

– Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Satan thought he had defeated Jesus when Jesus died on the cross.

Hell must have celebrated as the broken, bleeding, body of Jesus was removed from that cross and placed in that borrowed tomb.

For three days, the demons and devils of Hell must have dance in delight as they celebrated what they thought was Satan’s victory over the Lord Jesus Christ.

What Satan thought was his greatest victory was in fact his greatest defeat!

On that third day Christ rose from that Tomb to live forever more!!

Because of the Success of the Lamb, we have the Hope of Eternal Life!

i. The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Sovereignty

ii. The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Sinlessness

iii. The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Submission

iv. The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Sacrifice

v. The Lamb Is Worthy Because Of His Success

Worthy!

Worthy!

Worthy! The Lamb That Was Slain!

Holy! Holy! Holy! Is He ….

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, what a blessing to know that as a member of the Bride of Christ, I will be uniting my voice to sing this glorious new song with the 24 elders. Thank You that I have been redeemed by Your blood, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ my Savior. He alone is worthy of all my praise, honor, and glory, Holy! Holy! Holy! Is He ALONE! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! AMEN.

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