Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that John sees a great praise period in Heaven. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to praise the Lord with our lips and lives.
Read Revelation 4:1-2
I. Vision of Heaven. John sees a door standing open in Heaven. A voice tells him to come up to a place to see what will take place next. John was in the Spirit and he saw someone sitting on a throne.
- The central throne. Notice in vs. 2 that someone is sitting on the throne. As Christians, we believe that Jesus is the one sitting on the throne. He sits on the throne because He is lord, the ruler, the one who is in charge.
Let’s live like we believe that Jesus sits on the throne. This kind of living should be known for our obedience. At the core of God’s will are the issues of accepting Jesus as our savior by faith and living lives focused on loving God and others, as we love ourselves.
Read Revelation 4:3-6a
II. Arrangement of Heaven. John describes what he sees. The one on the throne had the appearance of jasper and ruby. There were 24 thrones around the central throne, on which the 24 elders sat. There is lighting and thunder coming from the throne. There are seven blazing lamps, which are the seven spirits of God (i.e., the Holy Spirit). And there is what appears to be a sea of glass (i.e., perhaps purity and/or calmness).
- Teamwork. Notice in vs. 4 the mention of the 24 elders. As with the seven spirits mentioned in in vss. 5-7, there are some unanswered questions around the details related to the elders. What is beyond reasonable argument is the that the elders represented some form of sub-leadership. They had thrones, but their thrones were subordinate and in service to the chief throne.
In like manner, our churches would do well to have a chief leader/Pastor who is assisted and supported by assistants or sub-leaders. In our churches, the “one man show” (i.e., Pastor with no help) doesn’t work. Nor does the multiple leadership model work (i.e., a constant fighting for authority and competing agendas). Let’s strive to support a teamwork model of leadership especially in our churches. If you are not a leader, you can still support the model with prayer, supporting what is right, and avoiding what is wrong.
Read Revelation 4:6b, 8-11
III. Action in Heaven. There are four living creatures with eyes all over them. They are known for giving praise to the Lord day and night. The 24 elders are noted for giving their praise whenever the living creatures give their praise.
- Praising the Lord. Notice in vss. 8-9 that the strange looking creatures praised the Lord. First, the creatures are rather strange to us. Some have said the eyes are symbolic of the creature seeing/knowing everything. Feel free to spend some time reading about the various theories.
At the end of the day, there is much about the creatures that we just don’t know. Second, the creatures praised the Lord. We should follow the creatures example and praise the Lord as well.
There are too many people who come to worship and show no signs of worship. Third, the creatures talked about God being eternal (i.e., the God who was, is, and is to come). God being eternal is great news.
This means the God who took care of our fore parents and is taking care of us can be trusted to take care of children and grands and great grands. Let’s follow the creatures example of praising our eternal God.
- Contagious spirits. Notice in vss. 9-10 that the elders worshipped and praised the Lord as well. First, notice how the praise of the creatures seem to trigger the praise of the elders. In like manner, a spirit of praise can be contagious in our worship services.
When people come to worship burdened by the cares of the world, they can experience a great amount of encouragement by being in the presence of those who entered the Lord’s house with thanksgiving and praise.
Our attitudes are contagious. We should work on spreading a positive spirit. Second, notice the elders praised the Lord also. Their title didn’t stop them. There are too many who seem to get too high in status to praise the Lord.
We should behave as if we understand that the more God blesses us with the more we should praise Him. Let’s work on spreading a spirit of praise, no matter our status.
- God the creator and keeper. Notice in vs. 11 that God is said to be the creator and keeper (i.e., all things have their being). First, we should remember that God is the ultimate source of everything that is. Everything that is good has its source in God.
Make sure you value God more than what He has created. Everything that appears to be bad has its source in God. Make sure you look for whatever good you can find and trust that God is working in all things for our good.
Second, God is keeping us. Even when God doesn’t deliver us, as we want to be delivered, there is some joy in knowing that God is our keeper. As long as God is keeping us, anything can happen. Let’s live like we believe that God is the creator and keeper. This kind of living should be known for our looking for the good and trusting God with those things that appear to be bad.
Conclusion: Let’s work on praising the Lord with our lips and lives. God has much for those who obey His will.