A Lion & a Lamb, Seriously?

Exploring The Question, Why Is Jesus Worthy Of Our Praise?

Matt Stokes
Feb 14, 2021    47m
Exploring the eternal question, why is Jesus worthy of our praise and worship? In this message, we are reminded that Jesus is both the sacrificial Lamb and the all-powerful Lion, and all of Heaven and Earth worship 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: 00:01 Thanks man. Revelation chapter 5, most of you know that in the Greek, there are no chapter breaks, so what you're looking at now is a nonstop continuation of what we've been looking at for the past four to five chapters. Chapter 4 going into chapter 5, says this, chapter 5 verse 1, "Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”.

Matt Stokes: 02:02 Sometimes people have said to me, you know, all for all the times that you said, I wish I had the time to say, say it. I would love to have a whole message where it's just called the cutting room floor, you know, the expression in media editing, and just bring back all of the things that I wish I could say. But this week I'm just going to share with you one thing that I don't even know where this goes, I just find this extremely fascinating. There's something uniquely individual that happens here when only one of the twenty-four elders with crowns on their head, casting their thrones, laying before the Lord, one of them stops in the midst of the praise and comes to John, in some way, I don't even know what the proximity must be, it's mysterious. And with all of the twenty-four elders, I mean picture twenty-four elders with crowns and thrones and singing, they don't look to John and it says, and in unison they turned to John and said, get it together, man, you know, like that's not what happens. One elder turns to him with compassion, and when the Book of Revelation says, and there I saw thousands and thousands of thousands, and tens of thousands, and millions.

Matt Stokes: 03:24 Here, there's one, there's one elder out of the twenty-four. I can't explain it to you, I get lost in this. The one comes to John, this crown casting, ground falling throne praising elder, this one captures John to comfort him. And with compassion and attention, he tells him to look, what do you do with that? I mean, is it somehow that in heaven, somehow when it says that there will come a day when he will wipe every tear from our eyes, there is no weeping in heaven, it says, right, but John is weeping bitterly here. But it says there will come a day that he will wipe every tear from our eyes, and here's a man weeping in heaven, but one of the twenty-four elders, one of these mysterious worshipers, comes and wipes the tears from John's eyes in a sense and says, there's no need to weep here because there's one that's worthy.

Matt Stokes: 04:41 And there's this, here's another part that I just, I can't comprehend, there's a strong angel. Did you read? I mean, hey, is not angel strong. I mean, for some reason, John says I happened to notice this angel was a strong angel. And is not every voice of every angel as loud as a trumpet, this guy has a loud voice. So what's to be said of that? There's strong angel who sends forth this appeal, like a heavenly howl, that goes forth into all the world for anyone who's worthy to break the seals and open the scroll. And no one' celestial, no one terrestrial, no one subterranial right, no one in heaven, above heaven, or even under heaven, is qualified to unroll or unravel the scrolls. No angel, no man, no demon, nothing on heaven and earth, nothing seen or unseen, has the wisdom to expound and execute the judgment.

Matt Stokes: 06:00 So what happens? John, the revelator, he starts sobbing, he starts weeping. Thanks Connie. Because no one's found worthy. What does that mean, he must be thinking, no one's...Oh this is, wait in the midst of all of the heavenly visions he's saying to himself, oh God, no, no one's found...Does it stop here? Does that mean that wrongs will never be made right? Does that mean that the righteous will never be revealed? Does that mean that the unjust will go unpunished, because that's not true to your word? Does that mean that the kingdom will not come, and your will won't be done, you won't reign Supreme over the government of God? And one of the elders comforts John with his glad news, The Lion, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, was qualified to open these scrolls, to break the seals. You may have seen ancient wax seals that often Roman documents were enclosed with, usually a seal, this one had seven seals. He breaks the seals, and he can release the judgment and the authority within the scrolls.

Matt Stokes: 07:46 So the point that I want to drive home in our short time together today, and then come back to worship again, is this, Jesus is worthy. The Lamb is worthy, Jesus is worthy to be the judge by his divine wisdom, and by his divine decree. What do you mean? Do you know that in John chapter 5, it actually says that, "The Father judges no one, it says, but he has given absolute authority to the Son." Then five verses later in that same chapter, he says, "He has given authority unto him to judge everyone because he is the Son of man." Which is an ancient expression, an ancient reference to Messiah. Matthew will touch on that, as you continue to listen to Daniel on Thursday nights.

Matt Stokes: 08:46 Jesus is worthy. Jesus is worthy, in a world that is so out of control and upside down, we need to continue to remind ourselves that Jesus is worthy. By the authority of his majesty, and by his redemptive victory that he won at Calvary, Jesus is worthy. Jesus is worthy, the Lamb is worthy. He has shown himself to be worthy, to open the seals, to unravel the scroll, how? By living a life of perfect submission to his Father. By dying your death, and my death, on a sinner's cross for all the sins of the world. And by raising to life, to show that his power was over death and he has authority over evil, Jesus is worthy. Only Jesus conquered, only Jesus conquered the sin that kills us, only Jesus conquered the law that condemns us, only Jesus conquered the death that awaits, us only Jesus conquered that hell that torments us and Satan who accuses us. Satan, who was defeated at the cross, and declared and conquered at the resurrection, Jesus is worthy.

Matt Stokes: 10:18 If you leave with something, leave with this today, the Lamb is worthy, and that's something to get excited about. And I don't even care if it's 8:00 AM, if you're not going to get excited about it, I'm going to get excited about it for you, because the Lamb is worthy. The Lamb is worthy. The Lamb is worthy because only Christ can be trusted with the world's future, and destiny, and humanity, the Lamb is worthy. When it says the root of David, it's referring to Jesus coming from David's family line, which they call the Davidic family line. That's why in scripture, you'll often hear Jesus referred to as the son of David. We know who you are, the son of David. Son of David have mercy on us. Hosanna, Hosanna to the son of David they cried out, as he entered into Jerusalem. He's the Messiah, he's the son of man, he's the Lamb, and he's worthy.

Matt Stokes: 11:30 Verse 6 says, "Then I saw a Lamb." I was told to look and be comforted because there was a Lion, but then I looked and, "Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth." So here we are, in Revelation. Jesus is presented both as the Lion and the Lamb. As the Lamb of God, he is the sacrificial one, bearing the sins of the world. And as the Lion, he is the King ruling over all of his kingdom, all of the kingdoms, all the kingdoms of the earth. Do you see this? At his first coming, he was the Lamb, and at his second coming, he will be the Lion. Jesus is depicted, he's portrayed. He's manifested both as a Lion, that symbolizes his authority and his power, and also as a Lamb, symbolizing, his submission into his Father will.

Matt Stokes: 13:09 How perfect is this? The sacrifice that was needed for the sins of humanity? You have to understand the deep, deep implications of all of this. Whoever would be worthy, whoever would be worthy. And the angel cried out, the strong angel cried out with a loud voice, who's worthy? Whoever this one is that would be worthy, would need to be eternal, because you cannot pay any eternal sacrifice, an infinite sacrifice, unless you yourself were eternal in order to pay the debt of past, present, and future sins. Not only would this one that's worthy have to be eternal, he would also have to be perfect, because when he purchased on the cross, the price that needed to be paid for sin, he couldn't purchase it for himself. But because he was perfect, he purchased something that he didn't need. So this one that was eternal was able to take what he had purchased on the cross, and pass it on to anyone and everyone who would receive it. Not only was he eternal, not only was he perfect, but he also had to be powerful. Powerful enough to take upon himself the sins of the world, he who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God, Second Corinthians chapter 5. Not only was he eternal, and perfect, and powerful, but he had to be human. Because only a human can perform, or be able to engage or embrace a sacrifice, that would actually pay the for humanity. He had to be human.

Matt Stokes: 14:55 The blood of a lamb, or the other sacrifices that you saw in the Old Testament, they may have covered sin for a season. And Yom Kippur, they would sacrifice another lamb. And when they committed sins, they would bring their offering to sacrifice, to cover their sins. But Jesus Christ did not cover sin, little piece of theology for you, Jesus Christ did not cover sin, Jesus Christ washed away sin. Why? Because he's worthy. He is eternal, he is perfect, he is powerful, and he is human, that's what makes him worthy to be the Savior, that's what makes him worthy to be the one to take the scroll and break these waxed seven seals off the scroll. Is there no one else that is amazed by this? When John looks, he doesn't see a Lion, he sees a Lamb. Christ is that Lamb, the perfect sacrifice, powerful enough to take on the sins of every sinner, in every generation, to pay the price for humanity for all eternity. Therefore he's the only one who's able, capable, worthy, to save us from the terrible events that are going to be revealed as this scroll is unraveled.

Matt Stokes: 16:28 The Lamb, Christ the Lamb, won the greatest battle of all. Isn't that ironic, the Lamb won the greatest battle of all, he defeated all the forces of evil by dying on the cross, that is the gospel. But Christ the Lamb is as powerful and as mighty as Christ the Lion, who will lead the battle in the great and final defeat, Revelation chapter 19, go ahead and read it. Go ahead and read ahead, don't wait for me, go ahead and read through the Book of Revelation, get to chapter 19, and see the victory and see what's won after the victory. Christ the Lion has, had, and always will have, the victory because of Christ, the Lamb. The Lion has the victory because of Christ, the Lamb, and what he has already done, what he has already accomplished. And we, now, this is the part you've got to like really just embrace, and just take confidence in, find courage in, we will share, we will participate in his glorious reign, in his victorious. And it goes on to say, not because of our effort, not because of our goodness, but because he has promised this reign and this life to all that would place their faith and trust in him, and that's the gospel as well.

Matt Stokes: 18:07 So John sees the Lamb, and when he looks at the Lamb, he says, I saw the Lamb and I looked, and I saw a Lamb as if it had been slain. And I mentioned this last week, but let me just say it again, the wounds that were inflicted on the body of Jesus during his trial and crucifixion, in heaven, hey, they can still be seen. I remember trying to mention a song till the heavens fade away, all your scars will still remain, and forever they will say just how much you love me. Chapter and verse, Thomas, the resurrected Savior, the risen Lord. When he comes forth from the tomb in his glorified body, he actually appears before the disciples. And what does he say? He says, Thomas, look, touch my hands, feel my side, I'm alive. Does a spirit have flesh and bone? I'm alive. And somehow in a mystery that I can't describe, Jesus in his glorified resurrected body for all eternity is still going to bear the marks of his sacrifice for humanity. They'll remain forever, so that when we see the resurrected Lord in all of his beauty, he still wears and bears the marks of the pain he suffered under humanity.

Matt Stokes: 19:43 Jesus was called the Lamb of God by John the Baptist, right? John says, "Behold, the Lamb of God." So, long before anything you're seeing here in Revelation, it goes all the way back to the gospels, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." And if you look at John chapter 1 and the Old Testament scriptures, it's fascinating talking about the sacrifice and the atoning for sins. Look at Isaiah 53, what does it is saying Isaiah 53? It says, "He was led like a Lamb." He could have used any metaphor, but he doesn't, he uses this one, "He was led like a Lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before the sheers." So three verses later, and he says, and his life shall be, watch this now, his life shall be an offering for sin, Isaiah 53.

Matt Stokes: 20:42 And then if you didn't see this before, this is one of those things you see from John the revelator that you don't see any other place in scripture of course. He says, and I looked at the land and he had horns. And the horns symbolize strength, the horns you'll see them later in Revelation, they symbolize power, you can see that in First Kings 22, Zachariah chapter 1. What's my point? Please lean into this with me, although he is the sacrificed Lamb, he is in no way weak. I mean, it might look that way, but he isn't, he is in no way weak. In fact, quite the contrary, and maybe this metaphor breaks down a bit, but it came to me in the midst of reading this. And I asked my son, Jesse, I'm like, hey, you remember star Wars, the first one that ever came out? He was like, yeah. I said do you remember that scene with Obi-Wan Kenobi, and he's fighting with Darth Vader, and it's like the Epic moment of the entire movie? And he says, I think Darth says something like, if you know the storyline, the student has become the master. And then Obi-Wan says, only a master of evil Darth And it looks like Darth Vader, looks like he has the victory. And they come to this point where they clash swords and they have a moment. And Obi-Wan says to Darth Vader, is this church, sorry, Obi-Wan says to Darth, you may strike me down, you may strike me down, but I will become more powerful than you ever imagined. And then Luke's looking from a distance, and Obi-Wan lays down his sword and he allows Darth to take him out. And so I was talking with my son, do you know that scene where they were fighting, you know, Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. Jesse goes, yeah, yeah, strike me down, and I'll become more powerful than you ever imagined. And like, I just got all filled up, right? Cause like, I know it's a movie and it's a sci-fi movie, a line from a sci-fi move, and you're like, dude, what's wrong with you? You look like you're breaking up. That line is so powerful, because that is so what we call Christocentric, strike me down and I will become more powerful than you ever imagined. Yes, the Lamb was slain, but now he lives forever in strength and power, in all of his deity, for all eternity.

Matt Stokes: 23:49 So let me sum this up, when John looks, he saw a throne, and if you've been with this, he sees this throne. And from this throne come these Epic emanations, these multi-sensory, multi-dimensional, experiences. And beyond the lightning flashing, and the thunder crashing, and the mysterious colors of a rainbow, and the crystal sea, and the throne that is surrounding the entire area with a crystal sea, and four living beings that are in front of the sea, and then you have these twenty-four elders with the crowns they're throwing down. John is told not to weep in the midst of all this because there's a Lion who is able, there's a Lion who's capable, there's a Lion who's worthy. And he looked to see the Lion, he saw a Lamb, and it looked as if it had been slain. Another translation says, I looked and I saw a Lamb who had the marks of slaughter upon it.

Matt Stokes: 24:59 And if your mind isn't blown yet, the Lamb had seven horns, which represent omnipotence, and seven eyes that represent the omnipresence and the omniscience of Christ. Possessing the seven spirits of God, it says that he did. And that reminds us that the Lord Jesus was filled to full measure with the Holy Spirit. I love this verse in John chapter 3, most of us know John chapter 3. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world." Go to the end of the chapter, the end of the chapter is where John the Baptist says, "I must decrease and he must increase." And we all know that part, did you ever read what he says after that? He says, "Because he is from above." Which means he is above all. And then he says, "And he speaks for God, and he speaks God's word. For God gives him..." Watch this now, watch this, "He gives him the Spirit without measure.", which is just what it says right here. In other words, every one of us has been given a spiritual gift, we've been given a spiritual endowment. It says in Ephesians, "According to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." We've all been given a measure. Okay? Some of you have a measure. I have a measure, my measure may not be the same as TD Jakes or Billy Graham, God bless him, or you know Matt Chandler, but I have a measure. And I'm using my measure of the Spirit, and the spiritual gifts, to the best of my ability. But Jesus, no, he has been given the Spirit without limit. Another translation uses a double negative, it says he does not have the Spirit with measure.

Matt Stokes: 27:02 The seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth that represents, what does that represent? It says the seven spirits of God are with him and they are sent out into all the earth, that represents an all-powerful, all knowing, all, seeing, ever present Christ. So as we close, and we want to really center down in this particular season of our fellowship, we really want to center down into worship. Think about this, I'm talking about a throne that I'm reading about in Revelation, and hopefully so are you. During the week you're reading this, meditating upon it, contemplating the depth of it. And the scripture say, in Hebrews and other places, Romans, that you've got access to this throne. What, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, what? Yeah, all that I'm talking about, all that I'm reading to you right out of the Word of God, you've got access to this throne, it says that we have access to God. It also says, let us boldly approach this throne of grace, so that we can obtain mercy in a time of need. This is his throne, this is that throne. And he's saying that you can boldly, as a believer, because of the blood of Christ approach that throne. And the one seated upon the throne has the Holy Spirit, I mean like watch this, he has the Holy Spirit like in front of him, and the Lion Lamb is in the midst of him, receiving the scroll of authority from him, and the inhabitants of heaven are singing what's worthy about him. Does anyone want to be there? So do I.

Matt Stokes: 28:57 And this is the point that I continue to make, is like why start when we get to heaven, why not start now? Because it doesn't say that you have boldness to enter the throne room, that you have access when you die. It says right now, by the blood of Christ, there is a new and living way for you to enter into that very throne room right now. And notice the irony, the Savior being slain is actually proclaimed to be worthy, Jesus is worthy. Jesus is worthy by the authority, and the majesty, of the redemptive victory at Calvary. Jesus Christ can be trusted because he has the world's future, and the destiny of humanity. At his first coming, we see him as a Lamb in humility, at his second coming, we see him as a Lion in deity and sovereignty. Christ, the Lamb becomes the Lion because he has, had, and always will have, the victory. And with that, I'm in. Let's worship.

Worship Band: 30:29 (Worship Music)

Matt Stokes: 35:39 Let incense arise. Let incense arise. As we continue through Revelation chapter 5, we're going to see that that incense that's arising into heaven, coming forth up into the throne, is the prayers of the saints. And you're going to see again this antiphonal worship that goes on between the living beings, and the twenty-four elders, and the angels, and all of the redeemed, and they all have special songs of worship that they sing to the King. So what I want to challenge you to do in light of today in Revelation, and just the vision that we're receiving from John, get with your connect group, get with your family, get with a small group within the fellowship, and as they continue to stand before the throne and declare why the one who sits upon the throne, and why the Lamb is worthy, you would get into a small group, and just with a single sentence, hopefully there'll be several of you that will have the confidence to just say one sentence about why he is worthy. You are worthy because you’ve forgiven me. You're worthy because of the greatness and authority. You are worthy because all of heaven is yours. You're worthy because you died for me, and you went to go and prepare a place for me. You're worthy because you are the living Savior and the resurrected King. You're worthy because you created everything. And just go around in the group, and like these angels, and beings, and elders, just create on earth what it already is in heaven. And I'm confident that that moment will be strengthening to you, encouraging to you, because you're going to be replicating, imitating, reflecting on earth, what's already going on in heaven. I want to challenge you with that, I want to leave you with that. I take comfort and strength, and it's encouraged me to think that you'd be receiving and embracing that. Let's worship one more time.

Worship Band: 38:35 (Worship Music)

Matthew Maher: 41:19 You know, there's a leadership principle that says that you're to begin with the end in mind. So why not begin beyond this building with that end, that chief end in mind, that we are going to give him due glory for eternity. And when you depart, God is with you, he goes before you, and every evil act that has happened historically, will be recycled for the glory of God and for the good of the bride. And that's you and I, so we stand in God's presence in his throne room of grace because of what Jesus Christ did for us. In spite of us, he is worthy of it all, so we live in light of that. And whoever we encounter throughout our week, would we tell them of this great love that awakens us. You are the beloved, you are the chosen, you've been appointed, you've been ordained, he sees you, he loves you, he died for you, his Holy Spirit lives within you, now let us share that with the world. In Jesus' name. May God bless you and keep you today and beyond. Go in peace, you are dismissed.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
Read More
Coastal Christian Ocean City
300 E 8th Street
Ocean City, New Jersey 08226