REVIVAL – THE LIVING WATER (10) –WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH! – THE HARP AND THE BOWL
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled Revival – The Living water (10) Worship in spirit and truth! Worthy is the Lamb! Her main text was taken from the Book of John chapter 4 and the book of revelation chapter 5. “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (Jn 4:21-26)
We are still studying the wonderful revelation of the Living Water offered by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a symbol of eternal life, salvation, spiritual maturity, being filled with the Spirit, true worship, and revival. The simplest definition of revival is a repeat of the Book of Acts! The Living Water is offered by the Lord to the Woman at the well. The Samaritan woman is a sinner. She is also religious. She is seeking for truth, for meaning in her life. Our Lord directs the conversation to the point of the revelation of Himself. Please notice how He gently ‘increases and purifies’ the vision of salvation in her heart. Initially she sees him as a man, a needy man, a stranger, and a Jew. Then she sees him as a Prophet. Lastly, she sees Him as Christ, her Savior, and her Lord! He tells her about the true worship and then, He reveals Himself to her. “I who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26). This is the exact moment when saving faith is born in her heart. She instantly believes that Christ is the Messiah. This is the moment when King Grace saves her soul! This is when, for the first time in her life, she drank the Living Water! From this moment in time, she is never the same person again! Halleluiah! As we read these words, we sense the power and the holiness of that moment. There is a wonderful anointing on this encounter. We feel it too as we read the story. Heaven rejoices when a sinner is saved. Our Lord said this: “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7). We join the hosts of heaven and cry: “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev 5:12). Glory to God!
WORTHY IS THE LAMB! (Revelation 5)
The Book of Revelation is unique. It is the last Book of the Bible. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev 1:1). This Book shows us that Christ is God. He is at the center of the universe where He truly belongs. Apostle John wrote it while in prison on the Isle of Patmos. The Resurrected Christ invited him up, to come and see heavenly things. “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this” (Rev 4:1). No man can see heaven without the invitation of Jesus who died for him. The chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation are some of the most important in the Bible. The word that appears most frequently is the word ‘throne’. The word ‘throne’ appears 62X in the New Testament out of which, 47X is in the Book of Revelation. Everything that happens in heaven revolves around the throne of God, that is the center of worship in the universe.
In chapter 5, John sees God seated on the throne. He has a scroll in His right hand. There were writings on it, inside and outside. It was closed, sealed with seven seals. This scroll represents the Title deed by which God the Father has made God the Son the owner and controller of the Universe. “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps 2:7-9). In this scroll it is the history of creation and the plan of salvation. The names of all who are saved, all who are in the Lamb’s Book of life, are written there. Not only their names, but their destiny, their blessings, and future rewards. John weeps because none was worthy to open the seals and to read the scroll. For a moment, John experiences the conviction, and horror of sin. No sinner can open that scroll. Not even himself, though he is in heaven. For a moment, John experiences a world without redemption, without a Savior, without Christ. He weeps ‘much’. Sin is the tragedy of mankind. Sin must be punished by death and destruction. Even in heaven, with all the worship going on, John feels the deep despair of sin. That is why he weeps hopelessly.
What is the practical application? For a sinner to be saved, he must be convicted of sin. The Samaritan woman was convicted of sin when the Lord asked her about her husband. None can appreciate the Worthiness, and Grace of the Savior without passing thru the horror chamber of conviction of sin. It is only the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin. His work is to prepare the sinner for salvation. Any other regret or remorse is not acceptable to God. The Holy Spirit will bring you to a point where you see that you are lost, and you are going to hell. You will see your need for a Savior. At your lowest point, the same Holy Spirit will lift you from the miry clay of despair. Have you wept for your sins like John? Do you know something of the despair of being lost in sin? This is a necessary painful work so that you appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf! This is the testimony of all saints!
WEEP NOT IN HEAVEN!
As John was weeping, one of the elders spoke to him: “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals”. It was not an angel that told him to stop weeping. Angels do not understand the pain of conviction of sin and the longing for a Savior. It was one of the 24 elders who sat before the throne of God. “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads” (Rev 4:4). These 24 elders represent the redeemed saints, 12 from the Old Testament and 12 from the New Testament. They symbolize the Church, the Body of Christ. In Christ, the Jew and the Gentile become one new man. Each gets saved thru faith in the Lord Jesus, and by His grace. Each one of these elders was saved because Christ died for them. They are seated closest to the throne of God. They have white robes, a symbol of the imputed righteousness of Christ. They have crowns of God, given to them by Christ, because of their faithfulness in serving Him. One of the elders speaks to John. He tells him to weep no more. What is the reason for this hope and comfort? Somebody was found worthy to open the seals and read the scroll. That extraordinary Person is called “The Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David”. He alone has prevailed! The word ‘prevailed’ in Greek, is ‘nike’. It means to conquer, to be victorious, or to overcome the enemy. Because of this victory, Christ alone is worthy to open the seals and read the scroll. He stands alone in Victory! Halleluiah!
THE LION AND THE LAMB
*The Lord Jesus Christ is called ‘The Lion of the Tribe of Judah’.
Just before his death, weak in his body but strong in faith, Jacob worshipped God and blessed his sons. “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff” (Heb 11:21). He blessed his son Judah in a particular way. The name Judah means ‘praise’. He prophesies that out of Judah (Praise), the Messiah will come. He will be like a Lion, the King of the jungle, totally fearless and strong. This is a symbol of our Lord Jesus Christ, who defeated the power of sin, death, and the devil. All people will obey and praise Him for this mighty victory! “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Gen 49:8-10). What is the practical application? As the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Christ gives us strength to stand during trials and persecutions in this life! All the saints have this testimony: During trials of faith, the Lion roared, and the enemy ran away! Also, as a Believer, you need to be fearless like a Lion. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). We are commanded not to share in the fears of the unbelievers. “Do not fear what they fear! It is the LORD of hosts whom you are to regard as holy and awesome. He shall be your fear, and not man” (Is 8:12, 13).
*The Lord Jesus Christ is also called The Root of David!
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Is 11:1-4). “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” (Is 11:10). Because of sin, the house of King David, could have disappeared from the history of Israel. If God judged David’s sin with death, there was not a descendant left on the throne. But God did a covenant of Mercy and Grace with David and his descendants. God said that David will be a king forever; that he will always have a son to seat on the Throne. This is a prophetic promise. Our Lord Jesus Christ comes from the Tribe of Judah, from the house of David. While he was a Man on earth, many people called Jesus by His prophetic name: ‘The Son of David’. Isaiah sees that the house of David is almost destroyed but out of its roots, a Branch will come forth. This is the symbol of the resurrection power manifested in Christ. The Holy Spirit who led and strengthened Jesus, as a Man on earth has seven descriptions: The Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge, the Fear and the Delight of the Lord. As the Branch of David, Christ comes with the authority of a judge. He will punish the wicked and bring peace on earth. Christ as the Lamb tells us to be patient during trials, gentle with our enemies and faithful with our testimonies. The Branch of Jesse brings peace to all nations, including the Gentiles. This prophecy foreshadows the Gospel! John saw Christ as a Lion and as Lamb. This is a combination of strength and gentleness. Men on earth are eighter strong in character or weak willed. No man can be strong and weak at the same time. It is only the Resurrected Christ that perfectly and harmoniously combines strength and gentleness. He is God and Man, King and Servant, The Lion and The Lamb. That is why all creation worships Him! In the Book of Revelation, Christ is called Lion only once, but He is called The Lamb 29 times. That means it is thru the weakness and sacrificial love of the Lamb, thru the power of the Cross, that Christ became worthy to open the seals of the scroll. The salvation, the victory on behalf of His people, was achieved at the Cross where “The weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength! (1 Cor 1:25). The worshippers cry not ‘Worthy is the Lion!” but they cry: “Worthy is the Lamb!”
THE LAMB OF GOD
To understand the heavenly worship, we need to study the title of our Savior as ‘The Lamb of God”. These are many symbols in the Old Testament announcing the sacrifice of the Lamb to release the people of God from their bondage of sin. In the Book of Genesis, God killed an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21). The innocent animal died on behalf of the guilty pair. The word worship appears for the first time in the Bible when God tested Abraham. By faith, Abraham was ready to kill his son Isaac but God provided a ram as a substitute (Gen 22). To come out of Egypt, each household had to kill a lamb. The Blood of the Passover lamb smeared on their doors, protected them from death (Ex 12). Later, God told His people that they must sacrifice animals daily for the forgiveness of sins. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, Aaron, the high priest, had to enter the Holy of Holies with the Blood of the Lamb, to atone for their sins (Leviticus 16). From all these examples, we see that worship requires the shedding of Blood, Love expects death. Why? This is God’s law: without the shedding of Blood there is no remission of sins (Heb 9:22). Man was created by God to have dominion, authority, over all creation (Gen 1:28). But man disobeyed God’s law and fell into sin. From that moment, thru one man, sin entered humanity. Man has lost his authority over creation to the devil. Sin is a failure to obey God’s law and a falling short of His glory. Since Adam, all men were born sinners. But Jesus was different! Jesus came as a Man on earth, lived a life of total submission to God’s law. He died as a Substitute for men who believe in Him. There is no other Savior. Jesus died to set men free from the guilt, shame, pollution, and bondage of sin. That is why we praise Him forever!
THERE STOOD A LAMB
John looked and expected to see the Lion on the throne, but he saw the Lamb. “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev 5:6). The Lamb was wounded mortally but it was not dead. Bleeding to death, the Lamb still stood in the midst of the throne. This is a symbol of the power of resurrection, released thru the shedding of the Blood at the Cross of Calvary. The Lamb has 7 horns. The horn means victory power over the enemies. The number seven means perfection. The Lamb, though bleeding to death, stands and prevails over satan and death. The Lamb stands in the midst of the elders. In other words, Christ Crucified and Resurrected stands in the midst of His Church. It is this picture of weakness becoming strength, of death defeated and the resurrection power released, that makes the Lamb to be worthy of worship. It is because Christ suffered and died on the Cross for sinful man, that is why God the Father gave Him the authority to open the seals and to read the scroll. All men, dead or alive, are now under His authority. Finally, The Lamb is capable to rule and reign all humanity, and to fulfill God’s purposes. He is the only One who can bring the world to an end, in God’s time and God’s way. He is the only One who can start a new earth, populated with the people He died for.
THE HARP AND THE BOWL
“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev 5:8). In heaven, we see that the Living creatures around the throne of God and the twenty-four elders, who represent the church, they worship God in a particular way. Each has a harp and a golden bowl full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. The Harps represent praising and worshipping God with songs. The Golden Bowls full of incense mean prayers and intercession for God’s work on earth. In other words, we sing, and we pray! This combination of singing praises to the Lamb of God and praying for His work on earth has been called by many as ‘The Ministry of the Harp and the Bowl’. It is always powerful!
Here you see the wonderful combination of singing praises and obeying the Great commission to preach the Gospel to every nation in earth. “Sing praise to the LORD, who rules in Zion! Tell every nation what he has done!” (Ps 9:11; Good News Translation). King David declared that God is ‘enthroned’ in the praises of His people. “You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Ps 22:3). The ‘enthroned’ is powerful. It means the King sits on His throne, ruling and reigning during praises. As we praise the Lamb of God, He gives us fresh testimonies. He fights our battles and takes the glory for the victories. Let us praise and pray as they do in heaven! Glory to God!
CHIRST LAY DOWN HIS LIFE THAT HE MAY TAKE IT AGAIN!
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:5-11)
The Father exalted Jesus to the highest position in the universe because of the Son’s choices. Jesus chose to become a man. He chose to have poor parents. We do not choose our parents. Only Jesus did. Jesus chooses to be the lowest servant in a family, the one who washes the feet of others. Jesus chooses to die at thirty-three, a most painful and shameful death. When God the Father saw all what His Son did on earth, He became satisfied. He said: “Here is My Man!” He now gave Jesus, the Man, dominion over the whole universe. Jesus has the authority to rule and reign over all creation forever! A Man is the Controller of the universe! Like the Samaritan woman, call people to see ‘The Man’, the Savior of the world! The Holy Spirit witnesses to this story! Halleluiah!
This is the song of praise around the throne in heaven: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 5:12). Our Lord came to the earth as a baby, weak and needy. Now He receives all power! Christ was poor on earth. Now He receives riches. He was mocked and thought to be foolish. Now He receives all Wisdom. He died in weakness on the Cross. Now He receives all strength. He was ignored and dishonored on earth. Now He receives now the greatest honor. Christ left the visible manifestations of His glory behind when He came to earth. Now He receives all glory! Christ became a curse for us that we may be saved. Now, He receives all blessings, in heaven and on earth!
THE LAMB REVEALED IN THE FUTURE
*The Lamb is wrathful against sin and evil!
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)
*The Lamb is worshipped forever, and He comforts His people
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So, he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:9-17)
*The Lamb defeats all enemies!
“These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14)
*The Lamb is getting married to His Bride, the Church!
“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Rev 19:6-8)
What is the practical application for us? We need to know and understand Jesus Christ as the Lamb upon the throne! We need to study the Word of God and pray for deeper revelation. Apostle Paul was also taken to heaven. The Lord told him that all he needs is His Grace! “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:8-10). The Lamb on the Throne works in our hearts only thru His Grace. He allows trials to come so that we become humbled. Then, He releases His Grace, as God’s strength in our weakness. This Grace is always ‘sufficient’ to stand and overcome all trials!
Worship on earth must be patterned after the worship in heaven. Worship must be done in spirit and in truth. It is only the born-again believers that are the true worshippers. You do not need a special place to go or to take a special bodily position. Worship is in your spirit. Also, you need to know the Word of God, to worship God in Truth! Worshiping God strengthens you! Immediately Jesus opens the first seal, trouble starts. It is called the Great Tribulation. Jesus gave the Book of Revelation to John, so that we are prepared for any trial, present or future. The glimpse of heaven and the people worshipping the Lamb is for our encouragement. We know that Jesus, a Human Being, and our elder Brother, is the Controller of the Universe. For the believers, all suffering is going to end in glory; everything is going to be wonderful. Circumstances come and go. But worshipping God and His Christ is forever! Worship the Lord!