Sunday – November 1, 2015 Revelation 5:1-7 “Worthy to Open the Book”

Sunday – November 1, 2015 – Read the Word on Worship

Sunday – November 1, 2015 Revelation 5:1-7 “Worthy to Open the Book” from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

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Word On Worship – Sunday – November 1, 2015 Download / Print

Revelation 5:4-5
Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

John sees a strong angel — an angelic messenger of God — one of the unfallen angels all of whom are personally interested in man’s redemption and in this book. We also see that he speaks with a loud voice, undoubtedly to emphasize the importance of this question and to penetrate all of the universe with the question posed: “Who is worthy to open the book and break its seals?” It is the greatest question of all time — who is worthy? This scene dramatically calls our attention to the problem. There was no one qualified in any place in the universe to open it, or even look into it.

John is mesmerized by God the Father and the scroll in His right hand. And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it” (5:2-3). This unnamed, strong angel asks the question of the ages: “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” One with sufficient authority and worthiness was necessary to open the scroll and by breaking its seals to unleash the judgments on the world that it contained. Any prophet could have revealed this information but it took someone with adequate power to execute the events foretold, as well as to reveal and bring them to pass. This strong angel goes on a universal search and discovers that no angel, no created being, no human being, no creature, no spirit, and no one can open the scroll.

This futile search almost crushed John’s heart. He dissolved emotionally. The future of the world seemed too bleak to face. John’s continual weeping reflected his sorrow that God’s future kingdom and final judgment appear to be indefinitely postponed because no one had sufficient authority to open the scroll. Did this mean that the wrongs of earth would not be dealt with? Does this mean that the righteous will never be vindicated and that the wicked will go unpunished? John understood that if God’s purposes fail, then all of life is meaningless. If no one can open the scroll, none of God’s purposes will come to pass.

The sad truth is: without Christ there will be only weeping. The good news is that Jesus Christ will open the scroll. He has already achieved victory over all God’s enemies and therefore had the authority to open the scroll and to release its contents. The “Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” and the “Root of David” are Old Testament titles of the Messiah who would fulfill the promises of salvation and would rule. As God’s ultimate Anointed One, Jesus alone possessed the authority necessary for this task. He overcame Satan, sin, and death so He could implement God’s purposes for the future that this scroll revealed. Only Christ can carry out God’s final purposes on earth.

Sunday – August 17, 2014 1st John 2:12-14 “Even the Strong Need Strength”

Sunday – August 17, 2014 – Read the Word on Worship

1st John 2 verses 12 to 14 from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.


Word On Worship – Sunday – August 17, 2014 Download / Print

1 John 2:12-13
“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”

From the time of John’s letters to today there has been a clash between factions in the church about our view of the world. One camp would say there is the world outside of the church is an environment that is intrinsically opposed to God though thoroughly loved by Him. Those who follow Christ need to be aware of the temptations and threats of this world and equip ourselves so we do not fall prey to them. In the other camps are those who want to see the world in the church – whether for the purpose of being inclusive or to make the world comfortable so it may hear and contemplate the message of the gospel.

The further you go into John’s letters the more he emphasizes the boundary that separates the church from the world. John is very aware subtle theological distortions give way to true perversions of doctrine. A world that seems to be only indifferent to God reveals itself to be a world completely opposed to Him. People who appear to be fence sitters in John’s words, worldly Christians we might say, reveal their true colors as provocateurs and teachers of error and thus become lieutenants of the enemy. John argues for a separatist doctrine of the church and paints a portrait of the church as a community under siege. But are such boundaries good? Should the church welcome in the world in an attempt to get its message out? Don’t those who rebel against God need hear the message of God’s love?

The heart of the issue comes down to our worldview. Many evangelicals see the world as benign. So any discussion of boundaries seems inappropriate because they do not see how the world, its policies and social life are opposed to the teaching of Jesus. When Norma McCorvey – the Jane Roe of the famous 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortions legal – came to faith in Jesus Christ and publicly spoke of the sin that abortion is, she was called emotionally troubled and a pawn of the “Christian right” by the world. The world is seriously hostile to the advance of the kingdom of God.

What is needed in the church is a new worldview. Unless we develop a God-centered worldview based on what the Scriptures teach, the world’s offensiveness, aggressiveness and rejection of the truth will seem irrelevant. Developing a God-centered worldview will cause us to ask difficult questions about how we live. This discussion may begin with these verses in John’s letter but must continue through the entirety of the book. Clearly John’s focus is on managing these boundaries to maintain a strong community of believers in a world of spiritual dangers and pitfalls for those who are unaware of the deceit that abounds in the world.