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Church of the Good Shepherd

The Lamb & The Throne

Recap Last Week:

Chapter 4 = the same theology as the rest of the New Testament, but put in different language.

We saw:

  • Throne room at the center of the universe
  • Jasper & Carnelian = Holiness & Wrath
  • Rainbow like an emerald = God's covenant faithfulness

Same Theology as Romans 5:8-11

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation

1.  The Scroll

A.  Wisdom and Purpose of God

- This is the Scroll of History

B.  It is Sealed

God's ways are higher than ours

Mystery

C.  Isaiah's Sealed Scroll

Isaiah 29:11-12 -

And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, "Read this," he says, "I cannot read."

Why is it sealed?

Israel's faith was in "Mere Religion"

Isaiah 29:13 - And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,

They Lived a Double Life ... Pretending to Worship God but having hidden actions

Isaiah 29:15 - Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, "Who sees us? Who knows us?"

Because of All This ... God Will Do Something Wonderful

- He Will Write the Scroll AND Make the wise people unable to understand it.

Isaiah 29:10 - For the Lord ...has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).

Isaiah 29:14 - therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden."

Summary of the Scroll

The Scroll is God's Will, the Scroll of History

Does it bother you that this scroll exists?

(Reference NYT Article on Driscoll & Calvinists)

  • Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat Robertson seem warm and fuzzy.
  • ...you are not captain of your soul or master of your fate but a depraved worm whose hard work and good deeds will get you nowhere, because God marked you for heaven or condemned you to hell before the beginning of time.

2.  The Lamb

A.  Titles

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

Genesis 49:9 - Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?

Root of David

Isaiah 11:1 - There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

Isaiah 11:10 - In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples-of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

These are Messianic Titles

Connection to David

  • Power
  • Royalty
  • Power in Battle

B.  Jesus is this King

1) Christ = Messiah / Anointed One

2) Jesus is the Only One Who Can Both Understand God's Hidden Decrees And Put Them Into Effect.

 ...Jesus injects into our history a power and authority that will forever be the single most determinative power in human affairs. (Edwin Walhout)

C.  How Does This Happen?  The Lamb is Slain

1) Description of the Lamb

John 1:29 - The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and [John the Baptizer] said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Crucifixion was invented by the Persians and perfected by the Romans

- Excruciating = From the Cross

  • Josephus crucifixion = the most wretched death
  • Cicero - "roman citizens should not think of crucifixion, should not speak of crucifixion, because it is too horrible to contemplate or utter."

This happened to God

  • This is the symbol of our faith

-          Of all the sermons Jesus preached

-          Of all the miracles He performed

-          Of all the poetry, signs and symbols we have in the bible

-          The CROSS is the symbol of our faith

2) The Shift Happens on Palm Sunday

  • People Wanted a King of Power ... a King Like David
    • War Horse
    • Swords & Armor
    • Gathering foreskins and chopping off heads
    • Drive Rome out
    • A Lion of the Tribe of Judah
  • Jesus Road in on a Donkey ... a Prince of Peace

They looked for a Lion

  • A king of power and force who is able to destroy the many enemies of the faith.

Instead they got a Lamb

  • Sacrificial Love is the way to victory

Isaiah 53:2-6   For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

3) This is the Foolish Wisdom of God

Remember the sealed scroll in Isaiah 29?

-          He promised back then to destroy the wisdom of the wise

The "Wise Way" would have been to send a Lion

"God's Way" Was to Send a Lamb

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 -

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Remember the Throne in Rev 4?

Holiness & Wrath surrounded by the sign of the rainbow?

"Divine love and the divine wrath are comparable aspects of the divine nature ... even when He is angry with man's sin God loves man and is concerned for his well being in the fullest sense.  There is divine love, but it is not a careless sentimentality indifferent to the moral integrity of the loved ones.  Rather it is a love which is a purifying fire, blazing against everything that hinders loved ones from being the very best they can be." (Leon Morris)

  • There is forgiveness with God, but forgiveness means laying aside His wrath.

Good News is that GOD SAVES SINNERS

GOD

  • The Triune God
  • Father Electing  / Son Fulfilling  / Spirit Executing
  • GOD is LOVE = Without God's love Christianity is Meaningless, False and Hopeless
  • GOD is HOLY = Without God's holiness & wrath Christianity is also Meaningless, False & Hopeless
  • The Lion/Lamb

SAVES

  • Does everything, first to last, plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls, keeps, justifies, sanctifies & glorifies

SINNERS

  • Men as God finds them, Guilty, Powerless, Helpless, Vile, Unable to life a finger to save themselves. 
  • Heidelberg Catechism: By Nature we Hate God and our Neighbor
  • We are made willing only by Christ's Grace!

Until Jesus' death on the Cross, the scroll could not be open

John Stott: Apart from the redeeming and saving work of Jesus Christ, all of history is an enigma, and riddle we cannot solve.

3.  Response (v.8-14)

A.  Worthy

B.  Prayer (Golden Bowl of Incence)

C.  You Can't Know About All This and Do NOTHING

It must sift through every part of life.

Lord Shaftesbury, Christian politician during the 19th century who said: "What is morally right can never be politically wrong, and what is morally wrong can never be politically right."

(From Christian History)

Two years into Parliament, Shaftesbury commenced his efforts to alleviate the injustices caused by the Industrial Revolution,

  • Prohibited employment of women and children in coal mines
  • Provided care for the insane
  • Established a ten-hour day for factory workers
  • Outlawed employing young boys as chimney sweeps

    "I think a man's religion, if it is worth anything, should enter into every sphere of life, and rule his conduct in every relation. I have always been -- and, please God, always shall be -- an Evangelical of the Evangelicals, and no biography can represent me that does not fully and emphatically represent my religious views."

4.  Where Do You Need the Foolishness of God in Your Life?

A.  Sealed Scroll

What questions feel sealed?

Unanswered prayers

Unfixable problems

  • Addictions
  • Death
  • Unemployment
  • Kids
  • Marriages

B.  What Solutions Have You Been Trying?

C.  What Would A Solution Look Like Based on God's "Foolish Wisdom" Of the Lamb

Powlison on Resolutions

... most resolutions make a profound statement. They express a sensed need for moral reformation. Gluttony, laziness, drunkenness, overspending and debt, loveless isolation from others, joyless workaholism, peaceless anxiety, restless entertainment, sexual self-indulgence, bitterness and estrangement from kith and kin, slovenly disorganization . . . these provide grist for resolutions to change. They raise matters that could be plucked straight off a list of the 7 deadly sins (and 7 lively virtues), of the 10 commandments about how to love, of the 9-fold fruit of the Spirit set against those "obvious" works of the flesh. I was struck by how significant the issues were. "Lose weight, quit drinking, smell the roses, and treat my family better" are not trivial matters - when properly framed.

Improper Framing:

  • I find abc displeasing about myself...therefore I will do xyz to change myself.

Proper Framing:

  • The power of our passions, fears, habits reflect inner sinfulness.  We are sinning directly against God Himself.
  • We can't change ourselves.
  • We need the Lamb

Back in the New York Times Article:

Though they believe that God has already mapped out their lives, Calvinists have always been activists. Ye shall know the elect by their fruits, not by their passive acceptance of fate. When it comes to wrestling with life's challenges, however, they reject the "positive thinking" ethos that Norman Vincent Peale made famous in the 1950s. That philosophy still dominates the Christian self-help market in books like "Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen, which promises readers that everything from a Hawaiian vacation house to a beauty-pageant crown is within their grasp if only they "develop a can-do attitude." Marianne Esterly, a women's counselor at Mars Hill, says she tries to help women resist the desperation that can come with forgetting that man's chief end is to glorify God, not to obsess over earthly problems. "They worship the trauma, or the anorexia, and that's not what they're designed to worship," she says. "Christian self-help doesn't work. We can't do anything. It's all the work of Christ."

 

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