Sermon – July 1, 2018


Revelation 4-5 – The Prayer of Thanksgiving, Part 2 (mp3)

Last week we looked at the thankfulness of David, even in the midst of unmitigated evil. Today, we will try to address how we can be thankful even amidst prosperity. While this is a slight departure from looking simply at prayers through the Scripture, the purpose of the text is to ground the greatness of God over all things. If our prosperity blinds us to the reality of God’s goodness, the remedy is to have placed before us always the greatness and centrality of who God is, and what God has done.

1. Who God is
Revelation 4 takes us to the very throne room of God. Here John relates to us his “vision” – likely a vision that is essentially beyond human words, so John relates his vision to us with numerous metaphors pulled from his own reading of the prophets of the OT. Here, we see 12 different characteristics of God. God is:

  • Sovereign
  • Beautiful
  • Merciful
  • Beneficent
  • Mighty
  • Conquering
  • Master
  • All-seeing
  • Holy (unique)
  • Everlasting
  • Worthy
  • Central

2. What God has done
Revelation 5 begins to describe the work that God has done in redeeming us from our own sin. John weeps, as no angelic being, no saint of old, no human living or dead is found capable to open the scroll of God’s promises. Sinfulness and disobedience has disqualified all of humanity, leaving us without the promises of God, hopeless and helpless. But, there is hope yet! Jesus has been victorious, showing his obedience even to death, overcoming Satan, temptation, sin, and even death. Being slain, he redeemed people from every part of the world and made them a kingdom of priests. Because of the great work that he has done, Jesus proves himself worthy of honor and worship, even in the midst of the throne room of God.

As we continually see, backing most biblical prayers is a strong understanding of who God is. If we are to be thankful to God for his work in the world, both his general providential care and his special redeeming work, as well as producing thankfulness for who he is in his inner being, we must know well both! Let us always give thanks to God, for he is good and does good.