"The Triumphant Lamb"
God will not allow the elect to be destroyed. No matter how much evil comes against the church, the power of the Lamb will always be greater than the dragon. There is victory for the saved. It may not be an easy life here, but victory is eternal life to come.
The Triumphant Lamb
A. The picture we have seen from John in chapters 12 and 13 are that of a Dragon and two beasts who are out to bring harm to the children of the woman. Those children were described as those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. These past two chapters felt like doom and gloom. For Christians it was a calling to persevere under great trails.
B. It reminds me of people of Judah who were taken into captivity in Babylon. Psalm 137 begins with these words (READ Ps. 137:1-4). But John wants the church to see the bigger picture. Yes, the people of God would suffer on this earth, but there is another picture that is even more important. One that needs to be seen in the spiritual story.
C. Rev. 14:1. There is a picture that we need to see today from Rev. 14, it is a picture of victory. With the dragon and his allies seemingly victorious and marking those who serve them, John sees the real victor, the Lamb. These opening verses are in total contrast to what we read in Ps 137. Instead of doom and gloom we find victory, worship in song and saints who overcame. This is the story we need to hear.
D. Everyone here wants to go to heaven. But Heaven is something that difficult for the human mind to comprehend, because we can only use human terms to define a spiritual place. Even Paul said he didn’t know what the resurrected body would look like, but knew that it would be raise as imperishable and full of glory.
E. While there is much in this chapter, today we are going to focus on the first five verses.
I. The Lamb Standing
A. I love the imagery of verse 1. We see the Lamb. The Lamb was described by John as “standing, even though it had been slain (Rev. 5:6).” It was the Lamb that was worthy to open the seals that tell us this story. The redeemed wore robes that were washed in the blood of the Lamb. And through that were made victorious over the dragon. Now, again, we find the Lamb standing. With all that has happened, the Lamb stands and stands on Mt. Zion.
B. We read from Psalm 137 how when in exile they remembered Zion. The Hebrew writer takes up the spiritual idea and tells his readers that we “have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22).” Mount Zion is not so much a place as it is a status. It is about victory and worship. It is about the throne of God standing stronger and giving more power than any dragon or beast could throw. It is about the victory we have in Jesus.
C. Today we have sung songs about Zion and heaven. John needed to see, John needed to tell the church that was going to suffer even more than it already had, that the Lamb stands victorious.
D. There is so much bad news that we hear today. There is much in this book that is unfolding in front of us that is scary and frankly, some of don’t want to face what may yet come. But for the moment, we see and hear the song of victory. Listen to our text (Rev. 14:2-3).
E. I don’t know exactly what Heaven will be like, but what I know is that our worship to God today is hardly even a glimpse of what worship will be like in heaven. I get excited as we sing, pray, and commune, but I am looking forward to the day when I really will sing “the New Song” and my voice is not the issue, but the words of that song will praise the one I adore.
F. Heaven is not simply a 24/7 worship service, that might not even be appealing to you if don’t like worship on earth. What heaven is when I am with God, in His presence, secure in my victory, and at home with the Lord. Call it whatever you like, I simply want to be with Lamb of God.
II. The 144,000 Defined
A. So who are these 144,000? We really defined them back in chapter 7 as the Spiritual children of God, the Israel that has been sealed and marked. But we get more here.
B. READ Rev. 14:4-5. Before I walk through these statements that describe this group of people, I want to start by asking you to reflect upon what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus made a strong point about discipleship that is recorded for us in Luke 14. There Jesus said a disciple was one who renounces all and follows him. Jesus told the people to count the cost, because discipleship was not something to be taken lightly. It came at a cost. Sometimes that cost was experienced in the family, sometimes it was an economic cost, sometimes it was a cost of what we call security of home, food and clothing. But a disciple of Jesus, is willing lose everything this life has to offer into order to gain the greatest of rewards: eternal life. So who does John see singing the New Song? The true disciples of Jesus.
C. They are the ones who “have not defiled themselves morally.” When you look at the context of chapter 13, there is little doubt John is talking about the false prophet of the sea. These are people who did not have the mark of the beast, who did not worship the image, but are those who have the mark of the Lamb and worship only him. That’s a calling for us as well. We need to put aside the teachings of this world and stay pure in our relationship with Jesus. It is His truth only that guides our lives, gives us our example and teaches us the will of the Father.
D. They “follow the Lamb where ever he goes.” Again, we see discipleship in action. The Lord really is our shepherd. No matter if it is green pastures or the valley of the shadow of death.
E. They “have been redeemed from the earth.” These are people who have be sanctified, separated from this life and placed in holy service to the Lamb. Again, a disciple.
A. “I heard about a mansion he has built for me in glory, and I heard about the street of gold beyond the crystal sea. About the angels singing and the old redemption story, AND SOME SWEET DAY I’LL SING UP THERE THE SONG OF VICTORY!” Let the song of victory be your song. If we can help strengthen your spiritual walk with the Lord, then come as we stand and sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister