I had an absolutely wonderful time enjoyed with my Church Fam last weekend. It was our annual ‘GBC Big Weekend‘ and it was such a blessing! It began on Friday 24th May 2019 in the evening, continued all through Saturday from 9:30am till evening and all through Sunday!!
On Saturday we enjoyed fellowship as we basked in the lovely rays of the sun and breathtaking blue skies our Heavenly Father created.
The theme for the weekend was: “He is Worthy“. We had our hearts turned to this glorious truth proclaimed in Revelation 5:12.
During the weekend we also learnt 4 songs which will be added to our growing list of songs we sing during our meetings and I am so encouraged by the truth in them! I will share them in my account of our Sunday, below.
The day began at 9:15 am with this lovely breakfast (French Toast, Yoghurt and Fruit!). We ate together and gathered for the start of the service at 11:00 am.
We had a heart stirring call to rejoice in Jesus by one of our Elders and one of our brothers came up to share about how God had spoken to him from teaching on Revelation 5:12 during the weekend.
We sang this wonderful song, which proclaimed the theme for the weekend:
Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?Is He Worthy? by Andrew Peterson
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah, who conquered the grave,
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died
to ransom the slave
From every people and tribe,
Every nation and tongue
He has made us a kingdom and priests to God
To reign with the Son
He is worthy? He is worthy?
Last month, we had the privilege of reading Deuteronomy together and God spoke to us in great ways. As is our custom, the Elders were listening for specific themes which kept coming up from our sharing groups. These are the 3 themes which they shared with us during the service:
Remember Jesus and Keep Remembering Jesus
be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.Deut. 6:12
Sin is serious and it must go
Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains, on the hills and under every spreading tree, where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. You must not worship the Lord your God in their way.Deut. 12:2-4
Jesus took the curse that we deserve
However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you.Deut. 23:5
Just before the sermon, we sang a song which proclaims the truth in the 3rd theme shared above:
What wondrous love is this,What Wondrous Love Is This
O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse
for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!
We continued to reflect on the riches of truth in Revelation 5. Here are the notes I took while listening to God speak:
Revelation is a book at the end of the Bible because it is to be understood within the context of the entire Bible. In other words, it is to be read after one has read the whole Bible.
Revelation 5 is another angle of Jesus’ glorious ascension into Heaven, having won the victory! On earth, his disciples stood watching him ascend into the clouds. In Heaven, there was glorious procession and rejoicing.
However before this, there is a scene which expresses the hopelessness and despair the world would have known if Jesus had not died and conquered sin, death and the grave.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.Revelation 5:1-4
The scroll in Revelation 5 has the meaning of life; everything there is to know about everything. Imagine if there was no one to tell you what your life is about? No one to tell you why you exist and reveal your purpose?
It is tragic to see how confused people are today, about issues such as gender or sex. This should make us weep. People are lost and don’t know what they are for. They don’t know there is a God in Heaven who loves them and wants to reconcile them to Himself so much that He sent Jesus to die for them! They don’t know of his glorious plan to make them new and give their lives great purpose.
Most of us get angry and frustrated when things don’t go the way we want, especially when we are powerless to do anything. Some feel hurt, are sad, depressed and are unable to find peace and joy.
Is there anyone who can bring understanding where there is confusion? Light where there is darkness? Hope where there is despair? Comfort where there is sorrow?
Yes. In the midst of all this, there is One who has all the perspective, help and comfort we need. There is One we can look to – Jesus!
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”Revelation 5:5
Only Jesus is worthy. He is the only one who can break the seals and open the scroll. He is the only one who can read it, understand it, interpret it and pioneer it to complete fulfilment! Only Jesus can reveal God’s will to us. Only He can weave all the threads of life and history together, towards the glorious end which awaits.
This should make us rejoice! See the way they rejoiced in Heaven:
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:Revelation 5:11-14
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
The only way we have been saved is through Jesus’ sacrifice of his life for our sins. His active obedience to the Father, dying on the cross has given us life!
At this point in the sermon, very important questions were put forward to us:
Are you still in verse 4, in despair, hopelessness, living life without God, not knowing his plans for you or taking refuge in his arms?
Or have you made the life changing transition to verse 5 and beyond, where you have been told that Jesus is the answer? Have you accepted him and joined the hosts of heaven to give him joyful praise?
We often go to other things to find meaning but they will never give it to us. We will be stuck in verse 4 till we find Jesus to be the Only One who is Worthy. He is at the very centre of everything. He has opened the scroll. He knows its meaning. He will fulfil it.
Note the huge endorsement given to Jesus in verses 11 and 13. Here is what they say in a loud voice:
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
7 things. Power, Wealth, Wisdom, Strength, Honor, Glory and Praise. Huge significance here. Jesus is completely worthy of everything in my life, my entire being and every devotion of my heart. These words express what my daily resolve and commitment should be:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.Deut. 6:5
In our church, the Elders hold the firm conviction based on God’s word, that children should sit under the teaching of his word along with people of other ages. Our creche and Sunday school is open to the very little ones while a larger number of the kids above year two sit in throughout the service. I love this.
Another thing I love is how even the little ones who leave and return before the service ends, get to hear a summary of the sermon sometimes. On this particular day, after being given a funny and helpful illustration, this is what they were told:
Kids, who is going to explain your life to you? This is very important. Only Jesus can. Why only him? Because He died for You. He is alive. Your sin can be paid for. He lived a perfect life and died for you.
To this I hold,Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me by CityAlight
My sin has been defeated,
Jesus now and ever is my plea;
Oh the chains are released,
I can sing: I am free!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me
We took the bread and the cup in remembrance of our Lord’s sacrifice for us. We ended the service with this wonderful song:
When my accuser makes the claimThe Blood Of Jesus Speaks For Me
that I should die for my offense
I point him to that rugged frame
where I found life at Christ’s expense
See from His hand, His feet, His side
the fountain flowing deep and wide,
Oh hear it shout the victory
The blood of Jesus speaks for me!
We had lunch together in the afternoon! Our Iranian brothers and sisters used their gifts to bless us with a delicious meal.
I managed to get a nap afterwards and woke up to join members of my church fam who were enjoying more fellowship in a park nearby.
The service began with sharing from one of our sisters, who spoke about how Jesus helped her get to know more members of our Church Fam through time spent together over the weekend. She shared about how Jesus spoke into the feelings of meaninglessness she has battled with in recent weeks. This was very encouraging.
We sang two songs, one of which is a favourite I have sung since childhood:
My sin-oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!It Is Well With My Soul
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Another sister shared her testimony and it was very encouraging. I noted some of the things she said. She said she has learnt how to cling to the truth about Jesus in the midst of the world’s brokenness. Jesus cares and can provide help and meaning.
She said that Jesus has shown her he will help our chuch family stand when trials come and that her life has not fallen apart through trials because Jesus has helped her. She expressed her trust in Jesus to whom she can cast all her fears for the future and what may or may not happen.
God spoke powerfully once again and this time, from Revelation 1:7-8.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.“I am the Alpha and the Omega, [d]the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
The Bible tells us that as soon as we are born, we are on route to a certain destination. As sinners, this is hell. This destination can only be changed by God himself. Jesus came for this purpose and one day having patiently granted lost people multiple opportunities to receive him, the time will be over and he will return, coming with the clouds. Every eye will see him even those who pierced him.
Everyone will be judged by him, even those who died millennia ago. It is inevitable.
It is really important for us to keep before our minds at every time, that one day Jesus will be seen for who he truly is: The Ruler of All and Mighty Judge.
Unfortunately, we are prone to getting sidetracked with various detours, some disguised in the veil of necessity, some foolish and vain, etc. We are like kids hustling for toys, striving and living to get them as if they give us meaning. We easily get taken up with far less important things.
Those who cling to worthless idolsJonah 2:8
turn away from God’s love for them
Clouds in the Bible are a great symbol of things being hidden from us. They hide the heavens but will one day part to reveal Jesus coming in the fullness of His glory. When he comes, he will bear the piercings he took for you and me. The deep wounds in his sides, hands and feet.
Think about the worst thing you’ve ever done. Jesus never did it. Yet, he was punished in your place as if He did it. People go to hell because they reject him. This is why verse 7 says ‘people will mourn’ when he returns. There will be a deep sadness when the reality dawns that Jesus really is the Saviour of the world.
Christians are only right because Jesus is right and we have trusted in Him. Jesus has been appointed Judge of all things. We need to shape our lives according to the reality that he will return. Our destination should stay at the forefront of our minds, dictating our motivations and pursuits in this temporary world of ending time.
Thank you for Reading!
This was a long one indeed! I hope you were blessed.