Who Really Controls Our Government?

Examining The Question, Why Is God Worthy Of Our Worship?

Matt Stokes
Jan 24, 2021    43m
Why is God worthy of our worship? This study in the Book of Revelation examines this question and shows us the characteristics that make Him alone worthy of the worship He so rightly deserves as He rules and reigns on His throne. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matt Stokes: 00:00 God's revelation reveals God's history and future. And in the midst of the Book of Revelation, God reveals his heavenly past, present, and history on current events. Revelation is the only example of apocalyptic literature, that's the ancient prophet's symbolic interpretation of dreams and visions. And in the midst, there is a perspective given on future events, so that the present could be viewed in light of history's final outcome, and that's the essence of prophecy. Ancient words of prophecy are often called into the present, during a time of crisis, to warn or comfort people. The final words of these thoughts are collected in a book called Revelation. In Revelation, John is saying, Whoa, back up, everybody, my message stands in the tradition of the ancient biblical prophets, and I am bringing their message to a final conclusion. So John makes it clear it's written to seven churches in their modern day. Here's the part we need to get, this is not a secret predictive code, the Apostle John is using futuristic imagery. He presumes that we will go and discover, within the symbols, what the Holy Spirit means. And John is confident that we will be confident, and comforted, because we have heard, listened to, and experience the Word of God. And there's an invitation today to see, understand, and experience the Book of Revelation.

Matt Stokes: 01:36 I was going to start by actually doing a duet with Rich Amoroso on my trumpet, and it goes a little something like this. (Trumpet Blares). I guarantee that it will not be that good at the other two gatherings, that just happened. That wasn't that good for the past, since last night, I've been doing it and did not get that sound to come out. That's a Shofar, by the way, that's an ancient trumpet. And today the trumpet is mentioned in this passage of scripture, and I wanted you to just hear what it is that John may have heard as he was caught up in revelation.

Matt Stokes: 02:27 We're talking today about worship, and our first quarter focus is very similar to last year when we're talking about upward worship and what are you publicly proclaiming has priority, and can people see it in the life of the believer that's a part of this Coastal community. I'd like to say a part of every Christian spirituality, but I know as far as the pastor's here and the leaders here, we're responsible for this Coastal community. And we want to challenge you, and inspire you, hopefully it's Spirit led and not man led, that you would hear this and you would ask yourself the question, what are you publicly proclaiming has priority? And you would declare that proclamation in the way that you worship.

Matt Stokes: 03:10 So this message this morning is actually called, Who Really Controls Our Government? Who really controls our government, I tried to put it on Facebook yesterday, and in three attempts, it got blocked. It finally went through because I changed a couple of things, and I actually gave a message online to India and found out from Pastor Kranthipaul, that that message will go to 8,000 people because it goes to over 80 pastors. Jay just talked to him this morning, and he said within a week, over 40,000 people will hear that message. That's going forth from this little church on the corner of 8th and West, thanks to you and you're giving, towards his ministry and the way that he ministers to these pastors, and the way that they take those messages that we're speaking here and give them to their churches. I mean, the chill bumps just runs all through my back and shoulders thinking about someday when God pulls back the veil, and we realize just what it was that we were doing here, and how that affected people over there and around the world.

Matt Stokes: 04:15 So come with me to Revelation chapter 4, those of you who are watching online, please open up your Bible. I'd love for each of all of you to bring your Bible to church, I know you have your app, and you can open that too. But I do believe that there's something about that sacred word, just being opened. And, you know, maybe I'm old, but I am old school, and I believe that you should have a copy of the scriptures. There may be a day where they're going to delete every app on your phone that has anything to do with scriptures, and you may beg for a Bible because they may be hard to find. Right now you might have 10 on a shelf at home, and I'm telling you, hold onto your Bible, make it precious to you.

Matt Stokes: 04:55 So as we begin Revelation chapter 4, we're coming out of the seven churches to which it was written. And now John hears a new revelation, and it goes like this. Revelation chapter 4 verse 1, "Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” Now, we're going to move into a whole nother level of apocalyptic vision. In other words, into symbolic imagery, John is going to unfold what he sees in regards to the judgment that is to come. John presents the great King of Kings, he presents the great Lord of Lords, the Judge of Judges, and I'm saying to you today, the Governor of all Governors of the world. God is on his throne in his heavenly courtroom, and here you see him. And we're going to see the lamb, which is the son, Jesus. The lamb has a central role in the midst of this sacred scene, God willing, we may see more of that next week.

Matt Stokes: 06:17 John is going to contrast, watch this now, he's going to contrast the majesty of Almighty God with the implication of the inferiority of the earthly government, the Roman government. In fact, to be quite honest with you, it's the Roman government that actually sent John into banishment from which he writes, but guess what, guess what? The world can't stop the revelation of Jesus Christ. The world can't stop the revelation of Jesus Christ. You need to know that today, because that's a reason that he's worthy of worship. God's power, and his majesty, and his sovereignty, is infinitely unequaled by the president, by the government, by the courts of kings, and any earthly rulers of this world. And that's the awesome revelation that you're seeing here in chapter 4. And I hope you're getting excited about it.

Matt Stokes: 07:18 Revelation chapter 4, all the way through 19, take up the majority of the Book of Revelation, revealing God's judgment, which was once known as what they called the messianic woes. Now, as we have the New Testament with us, most of us call it the great tribulation. It starts with a scroll, and this scroll has seven seals, and that gives way to seven trumpets, and the seven trumpets give way to seven bowls that pour out God's wrath and his judgment upon a Christ rejecting world. Revelation 4 reveals the place from which all this judgment comes, and that is God's throne room in heaven.

Matt Stokes: 08:04 Verse 1 in this chapter it says, "Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven." And so people ask me and I often say, you know, people ask me how I study. Sometimes I catch a phrase like that, and I just center down on it for a moment. And I look at it, and it just, it comes to me, I just start to think of all the doors mentioned in scripture, my mind immediately moves to the doors in scripture. We saw in the Book of Revelation that Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." We saw that he also said, "I place before you an open door which no man can shut, and what I shut, no man can open." He also said, the Apostle Paul, "Pray to God that he grants me an open door." In the Psalms, David said, "I would rather stand and just keep the door, just stand by the door of the house of the Lord, rather than to dwell in any of the tents of the wicked." When Paul was writing to the Corinthians, he said, "I'm in Ephesus, and there are many that oppose me, but there is a door wide open for a great work effectually." How about in the opening of verses within the Exodus, in Genesis, you see as Moses is writing and he talks about Joshua and the tent of meeting, which is eventually called the tabernacle. When Moses goes into the tabernacle, it says, Joshua always stood by the door. What's the implication of that. And Jesus, ultimately, turning to the people and saying, I am the door. And I say all of that, because now here in chapter 4, here's a door, and it's standing wide open in heaven. Remember Jacob, again in Genesis, he lays his head down to sleep and he has a dream of a ladder. It's called Jacob's ladder, because Jacob has the dream. And he says that he sees angels ascending and descending upon this ladder, and when he awakes from this moment, he says, what an awesome place this is. This is none other than the house of God, and I am at the very door, at the door, of heaven. And he named that place Bethel, which means the house of God.

Matt Stokes: 10:35 So I say all that as I open up and look at this first phrase to ask you, where is God opening up a door for you right now? Because I believe that God wants to open up a door for every one of us, some particular way, God wants to give you another glimpse of his glory, a glimpse of his grandeur, a glimpse of his greatness, of his grace, and his goodness towards his people, so that we might worship. Because that's, what's going to happen here, God's going to open a door, and John's going to see the worship of heaven. Now, as you have seen, when Jesus calls him, his voice is like, it's like, it is not, but it's like a trumpet. Now, trumpets in the scriptures are very symbolic. Consistently, they have two symbolisms, both could be within the context of this passage. A trumpet is often symbolic of troops that are being called to battle, right? You've seen it in like ancient, epic movies, right? Trumpets were also used to introduce a triumphant king when he was coming into a country after a battle. And here the voice of Jesus is as loud as a trumpet, and it's calling John to come up. Some also see an interesting symbolism, because it says in First Thessalonians chapter 4, "That at the sound of the trumpet, that the Lord, [foreign language], the King, Jesus will descend. And when he descends, we will be caught up to meet with him."

Matt Stokes: 12:16 Fascinating. Now, none of these interpretations change what we call the eschatological theology. In other words, whatever one of them, none of them really change the significance or the outcome of what's about to happen, it's just that some people like to look into the symbolic detail and attach particular meanings. And so let me say this as we go through Revelation, because I'm not just wanting to teach the book, I'm also wanting to teach you how to teach or how to learn. Whatever the meaning is that you make of this, it's just that much more magnificent, whatever one of those symbolic imageries of a trumpet that you choose. A trumpet, or anything else we may see, or anything else you may read in a parable, just remember this, I don't have a slide for you, but it's important for you to remember, symbols always fall short of the reality. Right? Symbols always fall short of the reality.

Matt Stokes: 13:22 I'll give you an example, Adam is a symbol. He's the first man, but we read in Romans, he's actually a symbol of the greater reality, which was to come, which was Christ. Adam was perfect, but he sinned. But then he was symbolic of a second man that would come and did not sin, and that was Christ. Moses is a prophet, but he's a symbol of the true prophet that is to come, and that's Christ. Melchizedek, in the Old Testament, was a priest. And he has a very interesting lineage, which is mysterious and we don't know, just like Christ is eternal. He's a symbol of Christ, but he's a reality again of Christ. Symbol, reality is Christ. The blood of the lamb in the Old Testament when they would sacrifice on Yom Kippur, and they would innocently sacrificed that lamb. That lamb is a symbol of a greater reality, and that is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, Jesus Christ. The tabernacle was symbolic of a greater temple, and that temple actually had something in it called the Holy of Holies, and that Holy of Holies was where the presence of God would dwell. And we know that that Holy of Holies is actually a reality of Christ, the Holy of Holies is a symbol of the reality of Christ. The pillar of fire, the cloud by night, was a symbol of the presence of Christ. The rock that brought forth water when they were thirsty in the desert, it says in Corinthians that that rock was a symbol of the reality of Christ. Let me just drive this home one more time, Colossians, talking about feast days and festivals and [inaudible]. You have Hebrews talking about the sacrificial system. It said that all these things, watch this now, all these things were a shadow of things that were to come. And that expression is use more than one time in the scriptures. They were a shadow of the things that were to come.

Matt Stokes: 15:24 So what am I saying? I'm saying, listen, this is not the interpretation, but this is just a very interesting correlation in the midst of this teaching. Lean into this with me, how many are worshiping the shadows, instead of that on which God has shed his light. What do you mean? There are some of us that are still worshiping the symbols, instead of the reality. Some of us who may have been caught up in other circles of Christianity before we had a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ, we were more caught up in the symbols, and in the statues, and in the stained glass, and in the sanctuary, which was a symbol, more than we were the savior. Until we met the savior and had that intimate personal relationship, and we said, my God, all those years I was caught up with the symbol. Instead of the reality. I love the Bible, I cherish the Bible. Can I tell you something, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, the Bible is just a symbol, it's not the reality. The Bible is a book with pages and black and sometimes red ink, that's what the Bible is. But the Bible is a symbol that helps us experience, as we read, the greater reality, which is Jesus Christ. Yeah, can I get, can you say amen? I just need to know if you're tracking with me.

Matt Stokes: 16:56 I'll give you another example, it's like the church, okay, I like the church, I work here. Okay, I like the church, but the church is just a symbol of the greater reality, which is the body of Christ. Christian culture, do you know what some people worship? People worship, worship. They get so into worshiping worship, oh, did you hear the drum riffs, and did you sing, how about her voice? I couldn't even sing because I was so caught up in how he was caught up in worship, and all of those things are good. And the reason God wants us to play skillfully, and to sing with knowledge, is so that we can receive in the midst of worship. But there are some people that will talk more about Hillsong, and Bethel, and Jesus Culture, and the Gaither vocal band, or whatever. I'm saying, whatever side of the spectrum you're on, more than they do Jesus. And I'm saying be concerned, because something's wrong because you're worshiping the symbol more than you are the reality, to which the symbol is pointing. You're worshiping the frame, instead of the picture in the center, which is Christ.

Matt Stokes: 18:09 It's like picture if there was a master architect of the universe, and he came to you and he said, look, I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am, you can be also. And in the house that I have, there are many mansions, and I've gone to prepare a place for you. Okay, J, here's the place, and I roll out the blueprint, and I uncurl the scroll, and I pull it out and it's like two pages thick of that thick, you know, architectural paper and the blueprints. And you get so excited about what the master architect has drawn, you start living on the blueprints, you make your home on the blueprints, you eat and sleep on the blueprints. Like the master architect could be like, no, no, that's just the blueprint, here's the reality I made for you. here's the mansion I made for you. Do you understand the metaphor? Say, yes. Let's get out of the symbol and into the reality, let's get out of the shadow and into the reality.

Matt Stokes: 19:12 I have to move on, "For then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven." Oh my goodness, is that all we got done so far? "And the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” Here's where I get caught again, and I don't mind if we don't get too far today, because if it's helpful to you, then it's worth it. This isn't about how many verses can Pastor Matt get done on Sunday, it's about how much did the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, and how much is my life changing? John says, I looked, and then I saw, I looked, and then I saw. Here's the voice of Jesus telling, John inviting John, to come and look and see things from God's perspective. John, I want you to come up, man. I want you to come up and look, and I want you to see things from heaven's perspective. And in this particular passage, what he actually begins to see, and we'll get into this, and it's going to take two weeks, I think, to get through this. He's going to see the Father, and then he's going to see the lamb, which is the Son, and then he's going to see the Holy Spirit in front of the throne. Worship is happening all around them by these twenty-four living elders, flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder, lights emanating around this placid crystal sea, and we'll talk more about the implications of that as we have time.

Matt Stokes: 21:05 But my point is, is if you can just catch a glimpse of this vision. Our Coastal mission, we shortened it okay, to four E's. We say that our mission here is to educate scripturally, and then we want to equip people with their spiritual gift, and then empower people so that they can take their gift and get into environments to use them, like children's ministry we said today, and then expand, expand spiritually on our own discipleship and also expand to however far God wants to take these messages to reach people with the gospel. But the longer version of our mission, if you've ever read it, the longer version, not the shorter four E's and just four words. The longer version says, our mission is to help people envision the world from God's perspective. In other words, through educating equipping, empowering and expanding, we want to help people envision the world from God's perspective. Our mission here at Coastal is that if you come through these doors, and you sit in this place, that you will envision the world from God's perspective to a certain degree, that is greater than before you came. If you do that, we hope you come to Christ, we hope you'll give your life to Christ. But if you don't, at least you will have seen something from God's perspective that you may not have seen before, maybe even your very own soul. And what I'm saying is this, if we pray that there's a true vision in heaven and heaven is the greater reality, and we say to ourselves, as Christ told us to pray, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, then we certainly want to envision the worship of heaven, and bring it down to earth. Who doesn't want to bring the worship of heaven down to earth. And what I'm saying is, the sound of heaven touching earth, the sound of heaven touching earth, if that really happened, if that really happened, if that really happened at Coastal, what would that sound like? What would that look like? Would this platform be filled with people, COVID or non-COVID?

Matt Stokes: 23:25 Now, not everyone jumps up and down, Isaiah was caught up and had an experience with God, and his reaction was, "Woe is me for, I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips, and I am in the midst of a generation of sinful people." David, when he was caught up, he danced through the streets of Jerusalem in a loincloth. Talk about opposing views of worship. Paul says, "Would to God that everyone, would everywhere, lift up holy hands in prayer. What's my point, my point is, I'm not called. I'm called and in some different ways, some very specific ways, but I'm not called to command or to demand what worship should look like at any Coastal gathering.

Matt Stokes: 24:15 But I am responsible, right now, to tell you what John saw regarding worship in heaven, and then challenge you as much as challenge myself to consider your worship on earth. And if something more should be happening here, then our hands in our pockets, and rocking back and forth, and that may be it. Maybe you will jump up and down. Maybe you'll just sit down in brokenness. Maybe you, hey, you know, listen to this, maybe your worship is just getting here today. Maybe you are so broken, and hurt, and frustrated, maybe you are so mad at God that the greatest victory you had today was just getting here. And Almighty God says, thank you, thanks for getting past your anger and bitterness and just getting into my presence and showing me that I'm worth it. Because if you did that, you know what happened? Something, something happened, you didn't go to church with pastor pillow, you know, you came to hear pastor Matt. Something happened, you got in here. And the point I'm trying to make with you right now is this, anyone who at any time has experienced God, something happens. And if you're longing to, or you have experienced God, something should be happening, something should be happening.

Matt Stokes: 25:59 What happens when people experience God, Moses' face shines so brightly that the people feared to see it. Roman soldiers fell down like dead men. Paul was struck off his horse. Peter, with James and John. Peter begs to the savior that this moment wouldn't end, can we just live here? Job has God come to me in a whirlwind and explain his glory, and he says, I put my hand over my mouth and I sit before you in repentance. Gideon, Joshua, they experience God and take on insurmountable odds in battle. And then there's Paul, he experiences his God in the midst of his pain, and he says, I find now that his grace and his strength is sufficient for every circumstance. Do you see what I'm saying? And I'm saying, it may look different for every person. You might jump up and down. You might fall on your face. I mean, they're two totally different directions, but when you're worshiping God, man, it says those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, and when you do, something happens. It says, that the Father seeketh such as those who would worship him in that way, with genuine spirituality and genuine truth. And I'm asking you, what is, and what will, happen with you? Will you learn to be content in every circumstance? Will you clap your hands and shout unto God with a voice of triumph? Will you bow down and kneel before the Lord, your God, your maker? Or will you just hear his still, small voice say to you, be still, just be still, and know that I'm God. Something happens.

Matt Stokes: 27:53 Verse 2, oh my goodness. Verse 2, "And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it." Now, what John finds inescapable in this initial moment of this experience, and throughout this experience, is two things. Note this now, two things, inescapable. There's a throne, and so be totally encouraged and inspired by this, there is a throne, and there is someone sitting on it. Praise God. Before Jesus shows him anything else, before anything else is revealed to him, before his eyes capture any of the other imagery. The first thing he sees is that there is a throne, and there is someone sitting on it. And it's within the...The reason I say that is this, before he reveals the awesome worship going on, first he sees the throne and the one seated upon it.

Matt Stokes: 28:46 And I say that because it's within the heart of man to worship something, it's within the heart of man to worship someone. I'm telling you, you can go to India, and you can go to Africa, you can go to Northern Europe, you can go to North America, South America, and you can reach the most unreached people that have never even seen another man out of their culture before, and they are worshiping something. Why, what's that all about? You break through the jungles of Africa and reach this unreached people group, and they are worshiping something. Why? Because it says in Romans that it's within the heart of every man, God's placed eternity in our hearts, he's placed his Spirit, a light, a law, something's within us that tells us that we want to know and experience that which is greater than ourselves.

Matt Stokes: 29:36 Quick example, that's why when you go to the ocean and you stand there and you look out and see the vastness of the sea, there's something that happens in your soul. Because you're looking at something that's so much greater than yourself, it puts you into a certain perspective. When you stand on top of the mountains, whether it's the Poconos, Kilimanjaro or Everest itself, there's something that happens in your soul at the top of that mountain, because you're realizing in that moment, his sacred eternality, that there's something that's just much more vast than you and your limited existence. And you want, there's something in you, that wants to worship because God's put it in our hearts to see, and sense, and know, and experience, that which is greater than ourselves. And if I had the time, I would tell you, there is no greater example than that, than the gospel of Jesus Christ, where you have a love that is beyond any other love. That's why Paul says, I pray, you might know the height, and the depth, and the length, and the breadth, and the love of God. And by the way, it all goes beyond your knowledge and comprehension, his love for you, his death, his resurrection. And if we don't put someone, or something, on that throne, this is what separates us from India and Africa. Do you know what we do in America, ourselves, we place ourselves on that throne, which sometimes may be the most dangerous worship of all. If a person rejects Christ, they will worship something else, every time.

Matt Stokes: 31:08 Man, I've got to move, but let me just ask you, because I just think this is appropriate in its application. Before you came to Christ, what did you worship? I guarantee, everyone in here was worshiping, adding weight, to something. Whether it was money, the pursuit of your own personal peace, a particular position, you desired power, you were longing for pleasure, sexual desire, companionship relationship, and whatever it might be. Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, psychologists that are classic and renowned, they said that we sought after self-actualization. The army used to use that motto, be all that you can be, that the greatest thing you can do with your humanity, is to discover you at the greatest capacity, so figure out what it is and go and do it. Actually, Abraham Maslow, when he died, he realized that self-actualization was not the highest chief end of man, it was self-transcendence, he realized that the greatest end of a man is when he gets to the point that he realizes that there's something larger than himself. We're all worshiping something, and I hope to God it's Jesus Christ.

Matt Stokes: 32:15 Verse 3, "The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—like jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow." Did you hear the emphasis I was putting on those words, painting a visual picture of Almighty God, John uses gemstones and rainbows. And then with all of the, it appears as, he looks like, there was something as if it was, with all the picture and shape and dimension, John gives this interesting integration of specifics, but within, watch this now, within generalities. The light coming forth, it was like Jasper, it was like carnelian. He says the rainbow that was around there, it was like an emerald, right? It was like an emerald in a sense, like the rainbow. See what I'm saying? He's describing a, instead of a specific form or figure, he describes, watch this now, he describes the emanations of the glistening lights. One is jasper, interesting, jasper may take on several different colors, but in Revelation 21, it tells you that the jasper in heaven is glistening, or it's crystalin, or like crystal. So most scholars believe that this hue of jasper was white. And then carnelian, and if you want to look it up online, it's red, it's various forms of, or a regular hue, of red.

Matt Stokes: 33:51 So many scholars see there's a light that's emanating from this throne, and the light is like as bright as a shimmering gemstone, like crystalin jasper, like a white, bright, like a diamond shining in [inaudible]. And the other color emanating is like carnelian, like red, like blood. Do you see where this is going? I mean the symbolism is quite clear, we've talked about it before. White, communicates purity, and authority, and glory, it may even communicate victory. Because Christ, when he rose from the grave, it says that there were two angels that were sitting there in shimmering white garments, right? Is that like the jasper of heaven that you see in Revelation 21? Red symbolizes Christ blood, his sacrificial love that he's shown to us at Calvary, even in heaven is still showing us that the blood of Jesus Christ is what has redeemed us. And we'll see that in the way that they sing about the redemption of mankind in heaven. And he looks, and he sees a lamb, as if it had been slain with the marks of slaughter, like there is in heaven, a remembrance of the blood of Jesus Christ. And I'm saying this description is given to us so that we get a glimpse of his glory, are you getting it today? I wonder if you are, because I've been in this all week, so like I'm already, I'm there. Like his majesty, and what's surrounding him, and what's coming forth from his throne.

Matt Stokes: 35:17 Last verse we're going to have time for, "Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads." Okay, these twenty-four elders, they sat on lesser thrones, all around his greater throne. And again, next week, God willing, we'll look at their words in the midst of their worship, which is just epic. Who are these twenty-four elders? So many different variations of opinion on these twenty-four elders, most commentators bring it down to really two basic subjects, they hold at different views. One is that they're either glorified human beings, they're saints, or they're angelic beings.

Matt Stokes: 36:06 I'm saying, when you look and take into consideration the context of what's happening, and the syntax of
the sentence structures, it's clear that it's representing these elders are believing saints. Now, what saints are they? Are they the twenty-four divisions of the priesthood? Interesting, when you go into First Chronicles 24, it divides the priesthood. After Aaron and Zadok, how it broke up the priesthood throughout the history of Israel, and it breaks it into twenty-four specific distinctions, maybe? Is it actually the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel, and the 12 apostles coming together, the old and the new to make this integration of God's faithfulness throughout the ages. Why is that? Well, Revelation 21, it says that there's a city that comes down from heaven, and it has a great wall around the city. And it says the city has 12 gates, and on the gates are written the 12 tribes of Israel. And upon these great walls, there are these 12 great foundation stones, and upon the stones are written the 12 apostles of the lamb. You have two groupings of 12, and you just happen to have twenty-four elders that are sitting around on these lesser thrones with this greater throne in the midst.

Matt Stokes: 37:23 Hey, here's one of those places we're going to have many a times in Revelation where I say, I don't know. What I do know is this, and I'll tell you, I know that angels are sometimes presented in white robes just as these are. When Jesus resurrected from the grave, you'll see that in Mark and John, when Jesus rose in his Ascension and the angel said, why are you standing there, he was dressed in white. Saints are also dressed in white, we saw that when we were looking at the churches in Revelation, you also see it again later in chapter 6, you'll see it a few more times in chapter 7, it's a picture of our final salvation, sanctification, glorification, white robes. Here's another interesting point, listen, you'll never see angels in the history of the Bible, and the unfolding of God's revelation, you'll never see angels wearing crowns, only believers wear crowns. Do you see where I'm going with this? First Corinthians 9, it says, that everyone who competes, and everyone who labors in the games, they train themselves and they do it to win, but they win a crown. And the crown that they win, it's like a Laurel crown of leaves and vines. They do it to win a crown that will not last, but we labor for a crown that will last forever. Second Timothy 4 talks about, there's laid up for me a crown of righteousness, and Paul says, and not only for me, but for all those who love his appearing, they receive a crown. If you're longing for Christ coming, there's a crown for you. First Peter, the Apostle Peter talks about a crown that he will receive, and it's a crown of never ending glory. Now I'm no doctor of theology, but it's clear to me that the crown is symbolic of reigning, crowns are symbolic of reigning with him in glory, and we're told that we will reign with him in glory. Romans chapter 8, it says, "If we suffer with him, we will also reign with him in glory." Second Timothy 2 says, "If we endure hardship with him, we will also reign with him." Interesting.

Matt Stokes: 39:22 And I sat on the throne, and I'll have to come to a close with this, I sat on the throne. The point I want to leave with you today, that I hope brings you the most inspiration and encouragement is this, the throne is not empty. The tomb is empty, thank God, but he ascended to heaven and the throne is not empty. There is one who sits on the throne, the great heavenly throne. The throne is symbolic, the thrones a declaration of God's government, and that he is the Governor of Governors. The governors of all governments, not merely just his presence, but his sovereign rightful reign and his prerogative to judge. We talked about seeing things earlier from God's perspective, from heaven's perspective. And as I moved to a close, I'm saying this, please, if you're going to get something today, you've got to get this, this brings to the message together. You can't integrate these earthly thoughts, my limited earthly words, into heaven's perspective until you understand this one central, critical, vital, thought regarding heaven, God is on the great, almighty, infinitely sovereign, throne of his government.

Matt Stokes: 40:45 Yes, praise God. I'm going to say it again, Isaiah chapter 9, when you read it, most of us read it around Christmas time, because it says, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." But remember what it says right after that, right after that it says, "And the government will rest upon his shoulders." And then it says, "And of his greatness, of his government, and peace, there will be no end." So my point with you today is to say all that, is really to say this, God's throne says that there is no King that can stop me. God's government says I can do whatsoever I please, because I sit on a throne and I rule from heaven. God's throne says, I will fulfill my word to you, and I cannot do otherwise. God's throne says, my rainbow is my promise. God's throne says, the lightning and the thunder is on your side. Wow. God's government says, my sovereignty is on your side. God's throne says, my heart is to blow your mind, and bring you to a place where my sovereign justice and government, and my sacrificial love, are communicated to you in a way that says, I love you, you are my child, and you are my ambassador to this lost world.

Matt Stokes: 42:00 I'm saying, do you understand the implications in these declarations? Because this is what makes him worthy of worship. His sovereign justice never goes beyond the bounds of his love, that's what makes him worthy of worship. As The Sovereign, he has the right to cast you away and say, get out of my family, depart from me forever, but in his love he's promised, I have not and I will not. As The Sovereign, he has every right to leave you to perish, but instead the Father sent his one and only begotten son that you would never perish, and that's what makes him worthy of worship. Jesus said, I will never leave you or forsake you. To leave you is physical, to forsake you is emotional, and he said he never will, and that's what makes him worthy of worship. God's power, and majesty, and sovereignty, is infinitely unequaled, and that's what makes him worthy of worship. God's opened a door for you right now to walk through whatever it might be for you, and that's what makes him worthy of worship. Jesus Christ is taking you out of the shadow, and into the reality, and that's what makes him worthy of worship.

Matt Stokes: 43:11 He's inviting you to partner with him, in and from his heavenly perspective, there's a heavenly throne declaring the greatness of God's government. So who really controls our government? Who really controls our government? Well, according to Isaiah 9, he's got a name, and his name is Wonderful Counselor, his name is Prince of Peace, his name is Everlasting Father, his name is Mighty God. Who really controls our government, his name is ho kurios, Yehoshua, Khristos, LJC, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of his government there will be no end. And with that, Amen.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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