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Back To The Future – Sermon #16

 

Revelation 5:8-14

SWEET SONGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES

Intro: This passage finds us still in Heaven in the presence of God and of the Lamb. The church has been raptured, perfected and safely delivered home to Heaven. The landing has been safe! Revelation chapters 4 and 5 find us in Heaven’s courtroom. God is preparing to judge this world. But, before He does, there is a pause for praise in glory. It is that worship service that we have been looking at for the last few weeks.

In these verses, Heaven is unable to contain itself and all the residents of that fair land burst forth in rejoicing and praise to God and the Lamb. There is praising, singing and there is music. This the first mention of music in this book, but it will not be the last.

Music is a vital part of our lives. From the time the alarm clock sounds in the morning, we are surrounded with music. The radio and television are all about music. We have music in our cars, in our homes and at our places of business. Music is used to move the minds of people. When a restaurant is busy, for example, they might play fast music. When fast music is playing, people eat faster and clear the tables sooner. Music can set the scene in a film and let you know whether you should be afraid, sad or happy. Music is an important part of our lives.

It is also an important part of our walk with the Lord. Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 speak about the vital role music plays in our relationship with the Lord. Thank God for music that honors Him!

This passage seems to indicate that music will be one of the things that will follow us from earth to Heaven. The music in Heaven will but serve to make Heaven sweeter.

In these verses, John takes us into Heaven and gives us front row seats at the concert of the ages. Let’s go in, take our seats and listen to the hosts of Heaven as they lift their voices in praise and worship of God and the Lamb. As the Lord gives liberty, I want to preach on the thought of Sweet Songs In Heavenly Places.

 

 

 

I. v. 8 THE SINGERS OF HEAVEN’S SWEET SONG

A. The Identity Of The Singers The four beasts and the twenty-four elders make up this heavenly choir. When the Lamb takes the book they begin to praise His name. Remember, these four beasts represent all of created life. The twenty-four elders represent every one of God’s redeemed ones. They picture all the saints of God, in His presence, singing His praises. (Ill. These twenty-four elders are us! What they are doing is what we will be doing on that day!)

B. The Involvement Of The Singers What are these redeemed ones doing? They are doing what they do every time we see them in the Revelation: they are on their face in the presence of their Redeemer, offering Him their love, their praise and their worship, Rev. 4:10; 5:8; 5:14; 7:11; 19:4.

Let there be no mistake about it, when we arrive home in Heaven, we will be busy praising the One Who died for our sins on the cross! We will all praise Him when we get to Heaven! (Ill. We ought to be doing it now – Heb. 13:15; Psa. 107:21.)

C. The Instruments Of The Singers We are told that these worshippers have certain items in their possession. They use these items in their worship of the Lord.

1. Instruments Of Praise The harp was used to accompany the people of the Lord as they praised God and sang His psalms, 2 Sam. 6:5; Psalm 92:1-4; Psalm 150:3.

It appears that instruments will accompany the singing and the worship in that land. I thank God for the ones who play the music in our services. What a blessing they are! Some of the rest of us will be able to make beautiful music to the glory of God when we arrive home.

2. Instruments Of Prophecy The harp was also associated with prophecy, 1 Sam. 10:5. Elisha prophesied while a man played on a harp, 2 Kings 3:15. The harp is also tied to prophecy in 1 Chron. 25:1.

The worshippers in Heaven are praising God because He is about finish the fulfillment of all His prophecies. They worship Him because He has promised it and He is about to bring it all to pass.

3. Instruments Of Prayer The golden vials full of odours are said to be full of the prayers of the saints.” These worshippers come before the Lord with all the prayers of the redeemed through the ages. These prayers have ascended into God’s presence with a sweet aroma. These prayers that were offered in faith are about to be answered in power.

Ill. Jesus told His people to pray this prayer: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, Matt. 6:9-10. God’s children have prayed that prayer for at least two thousand years. And, for two thousand years evil has reigned in this world. God has been hearing those prayers and He had not forgotten a single on of them. They are about to be answered in a demonstration of His power.

That is why Heaven praises God! He is a God Who hears and answers the prayers of His children! Not a single prayer that prayed within the scope of His will ever falls to the ground unheard and unanswered, 1 John 5:13-14; James 4:2-3. But, every one will be answered in His time and in His way.

 

I. The Singers Of Heaven’s Sweet Songs

 

II. v. 9-10 THE SUBJECT OF HEAVEN’S SWEET SONG

(Ill. Down here, people sing about everything under the sun! If you listen to secular music, you know they make up songs about everything! The church is just about as bad. I heard a song one time that has a line that goes like this: “We are bound together in all we do by the Holy Spirit and Elmer’s Glue.” That is silly! Church folks will sing songs about mama and her Bible; daddy and his hands; “The Little Brown Church In The Vale; angels holding up ladder, etc.

While many of the songs people sing in the church are about as spiritual as a worm wrestle, there are others that are helpful to our hearts. But, isn’t it true that most of the songs we sing are less about glorifying the Lord than they are about encouraging our own hearts?

In Heaven every song will have the same theme. In Heaven, every song will be about Jesus. Every song will glorify Him: Who He is and what He has done. Let’s examine this “new song that they are singing in Heaven.)

A. v. 9a They Sing About The Person Of The Lamb They lift their voices and sing Thou art worthy!” The song of Heaven declares the worth of the Lamb of God. He is the focus of the song. He is the object of their praise. They lift up His Name because He is worthy to be praised.

By the way, Jesus is just as worthy of praise today as He will be when we arrive home in Heaven! He is still Lord. He is still God. He is still our Redeemer. He is worthy of every Amen!”; “Hallelujah!”; and “Glory to God!” He receives. He is still worthy of every saint who stands to say, “I love Jesus and I thank Him for saving my soul!” He is worthy!

Our problem here is that our praise is diluted by the twin problems of pride and evil. We don’t praise Him because we are afraid of what someone else might think. And, we don’t praise Him because we are usually not in a position to feel the touch of His Spirit.

If we could just lose our pride and deal with our sins, the Lord would come close to us and remind us of the worth of the Lamb and we would offer up His praises. Whether we ever grasp it or not down here, Jesus is worthy to be praised.

B. v. 9b They Sing About The Passion Of The Lamb They sing because the Lamb was slain. That word means “to butcher. It brings to mind the brutality of the death Jesus endured for you and me, Isa. 52:14; Isa. 53:4-6.

Heaven praises Jesus because He went to the cross and bore the sins of the guilty so they we might be saved. Heaven praises Him because He died for them!

That is a worthy refrain for us to pick us here on earth! I can’t think of a better thing to sing about than the death of Jesus! I love those old songs about the Lamb and the blood! Praise God, when I hear Heaven sing about the Lamb, I am tempted to join right in!

At The Cross

Alas! and did my Savior bleed,

and did my Sovereign die!

Would he devote that sacred head

for such a worm as I?

 

Was it for crimes that I have done,

he groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity! Grace unknown!

And love beyond degree!

 

Chorus:

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away,

It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

 

Down At The Cross

Down at the cross where my Savior died,

Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,

There to my heart was the blood applied;

Glory to His Name!

 

I am so wondrously saved from sin,

Jesus so sweetly abides within;

There at the cross where He took me in;

Glory to His Name!

 

Oh, precious fountain that saves from sin,

I am so glad I have entered in;

There Jesus saves me and keeps me clean;

Glory to His Name!

 

Come to this fountain so rich and sweet,

Cast thy poor soul at the Savior’s feet;

Plunge in today, and be made complete;

Glory to His Name!

 

Chorus

Glory to His Name, glory to His Name:

There to my heart was the blood applied;

Glory to His Name!

 

(Ill. There has been a move in recent years to modify the hymnbooks and remove old songs that talk about the blood! Many major denominations have already done this! The Southern Baptists tried it many years ago, but Dr. W.A. Criswell and some other godly men took a stand and demanded that the songs about the blood be left alone!

If you remove the blood, you remove the only hope for salvation that we have, Heb. 9:22! Thank God for the blood! It is the theme of Heaven’s music, it should be ours as well!

 

C. v. 9-10 They Sing About The Purpose Of The Lamb Heaven sings about the Lamb and about His redemption. Those in Heaven remember where they were when the Lamb redeemed them. They know what they have become because of the blood of the Lamb.

They remember when they were lost sinners headed to a devil’s Hell. They remember the day Jesus died for their sins and rose again from the dead. They remember how He came to them in their sins and how He saved them by His grace. They remember how He redeemed them and took them into His family. They know what they were, and they know what they are now, because of Him!

They praise Him because the color of the skin didn’t matter. They praise Him because the depth of their sin was no issue to Him. They exalt Him because He has exalted them! They praise Him because He took a bunch of Hell-bound; Hell-deserving sinners, saved them by His grace and reconciled them to God. He has taken them to Heaven where they will reign with Him forever.

Heaven has the right perspective when it comes to praise and worship! We could use a little more of that down here. Look at all He has done for us! Look where He is taking us! Look at how He blesses us! Praise His Name; He is worthy to be exalted and glorified!

 

(Ill. Stop for a minute and think about what you were, where you were headed and what you deserved. Now, think about what Jesus has done in your life! He has saved your soul; reconciled you to God; received you as a sinner and transformed you into a saint; lifted you out of your sins and made a king and a priest; and He is going to let you reign with Him one day soon. Praise His Name, He is worthy of all the love, adoration and worship we can muster. And, He is worthy of is all right now.)

 

I. The Singers Of Heaven’s Sweet Song

II. The Subject Of Heaven’s Sweet Song

 

III. v. 11-14 THE SCOPE OF HEAVEN’S SWEET SONG

(Ill. When Heaven takes up the refrain and begins to praise the Lamb, all of creation blends in its voice, offering up praise to the Creator and Redeemer.)

A. v. 11-12 Celestial Beings Praise The Lamb John tries to tell us how many angels begin to praise the Lord, but the number was too great for him to fathom. Ten thousand was the largest number known to the Greeks. John says it is as many as you can imagine times that many again and many thousands more besides that.

What are these angels doing? They are praising their Creator. Did you notice that it says the redeemed ones “sung v. 9; but the angels “say v. 12? I cannot think of a single verse in the Bible that says that angels can sing. Every time they praise the Lord, they say. Even at the birth of Jesus, the angelic host said what was on their minds, Luke 2:8-14. The only verse that even comes close to saying they sing in Job 38:7; and the word “sang in that verse means to shout out, or to give a ringing cry.

What’s the point? Well, music is made up of two kinds of chords. There are minor chords and there are major chords. Minor chords make up the music of sorrow, pain, suffering and bereavement. Minor chords express suffering, heartache and misery. Many of the sounds of nature are in the minor chords keys. Then, there are the major chords. These are the chords of victory, exaltation, triumph and praise.

We humans know about the struggles of life. We know about the touch of the Master’s hand. We know what it is to be redeemed by His grace lifted out of sin and its prison. We know what it is to have no hope and then to be given a “new song, Psa. 40:1-3.

The angels, on the other hand, have never had our experience with sin and redemption. All they know is glory, triumph and victory. They have never been given a song, but we have, praise the Lord. But, what they say they get exactly right! They also declare the worth of the Lamb! They praise Him for Who He is.

B. v. 13 Created Beings Praise The Lamb Here is an amazing verse. While Heaven is consumed with the praises of the Lord, the earth is busy ignoring God and continuing its slide into the flames of Hell. When this worship service breaks out in Heaven, every creature in the universe joins in to praise the Lamb. Think about it! Every lost sinner, every devil of Hell, even Satan himself will lift their voices together and give their praise to the risen Lamb of God! They will not be able to help themselves, but will bend their knees and lift their voices in praise! The Bible said that it would happen, Rom. 14:12; Phil 2:9-11, and it will! What a day that will be when a God-denying; Christ-rejecting world will praise the Lord Jesus Christ.

You will notice that they do not praise Him for redemption. They cannot for they have never experienced it. They praise Him for Who He is. What a day when all of creation cannot contain itself and begins to praise the Lord Who made it and Who redeemed it.

C. v. 14 Converted Beings Praise The Lamb When all of this takes place, the four beasts says Amen!” They say, “So it is and let it be so! When they join in, the twenty-four elders cannot contain themselves and they fall down before the Lamb in spontaneous, open worship.

Conc: I don’t know about you, but I think we ought to sing today! Let’s get a hymnal and stand and sing “All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name!

It may be that you just want to come and praise Him for Who He is and for all that He has done. It may be that you want to be saved or to confess some sin and get things right with Him. Whatever the need, you mind Him today!

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