Grace For Your Day October 30, 2023

Before attending Seminary, I served as youth minister at a church in Tennessee where the congregation was very encouraging to me but they had some strange ideas. For example, one elderly woman was adamant about the fact that she had met God face-to-face in her living room. He had revealed Himself to her in a vision one afternoon at which point she discovered that, instead of being mean, He was nice and friendly and He gave good hugs.

When we asked her to give us more information about that event, she couldn’t but I mention that because it seems like a lot of people look at God that way today. When you ask them to describe Him, they tell you that He is nice and friendly but that is about all they know. However, the Book of Revelation gives us a vision of Him that is very different from that because chapter 4 says:

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.

Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”

And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

As you read that, let me ask you: Where does it say that God is just nice? It doesn’t. Where does it tell us that He is friendly and nothing more? It does not mention that, either, because this vision of Heaven is far more sobering than the one that lady had in my church.

It has lightening and fire and thunder in it. It has images of lamps and trumpets and precious stones. It has crowns and thrones and creatures who do not cease to say “Holy, holy, holy” day and night because John wants to make it clear that this is what you are dealing with when you look at God. You are coming face-to-face with someone who is terrifying. He is a God who does far more than spread warm and fuzzy feelings among the earth because He is a God who brings judgment.

The reason this chapter is so important is because it sets the stage for what is to come in the rest of the Book of Revelation because, after chapters 4 and 5, the remainder of the Letter will go like this:

Chapters 6-18 The Great Tribulation

Chapter 19 The Return of Christ

Chapter 20 The Millennial Kingdom & The Great White Throne Judgment

Chapter 21-22 The New Heavens & The New Earth

As you can see, the bulk of the material discusses the Great Tribulation or the time when the Lord will judge the earth for its sin and Revelation 4-5 are written in anticipation of that event. They are given in order to tell us why God has the right to act that way. He can do it because He is terrifying.

Hebrews 4:16 says that we can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace” through Jesus Christ but that does not mean that we can draw near with carelessness. We can come to God boldly but that does not imply that we can come brazenly because we must always have a sense of humility which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This Sunday, we are going to continue our series in the Book of Revelation by looking at John’s vision of Heaven because it sets the record straight about what God is like. He is not puny, He is powerful. He is not lowly, He is lofty. He is not weak, He is terrifying and we need to learn how to see Him that way in order to understand what will happen in the rest of this letter.

Please join us as we talk about that this weekend at Grace Fellowship Church. The service will begin at 9:30 on Sunday morning and the sermon will be recorded and placed on our You Tube Channel afterwards for all those who cannot make it in person.

- Jeremy Cagle