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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Aug. 8, 2007

  • 2007 Aug 08
  • COMMENTS
 

SALVATION: God Gave the Greatest gift of All

Have you opened your gift? REDEMPTION

Revelation 5:9-12

 

 

 

As we open to Revelation 5 we are seeing ourselves in the future; and what is it we are doing when God let’s us see ourselves? Singing praises to our Redeemer!

 

There are few times that God's Word allows us to actually see what we will be doing in Heaven and they always involves us seeing ourselves worshiping the True and Living God and His Son our Redeemer.

 

Notice what we are focused upon in Heaven—a Redeemer who died in our place!

 

Redeem, Redeemer, and redemption are words that show up 169 times in the NKJV of the Bible. These are the last two times the word redeem is used in the Bible.

 

Redemption is viewed by many Bible teachers to be the unifying theme of all the Scriptures. In fact one man entitled his commentary on the Bible The Unfolding Drama of Redemption; and another man wrote this in his introduction to his commentary on every part of God's Word:

 

“The Bible reveals God’s plan for this redemption from its inception in eternity past to its completion in eternity future. Covenants, promises, and epochs are all secondary to the one continuous plan of redemption.

 

There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Only 4 of them don’t involve a fallen world: the first 2 and the last 2—before the Fall and after the creation of the new heaven and new earth. The rest is the chronicle of the tragedy of sin”.[1]

 

Redemption is a word that speaks of debts being paid, freedom being purchased and a life going in a completely new direction from the point of redemption onward.

 

So this morning join me for the greatest theme in all the Bible—the redemption of lost sinners by the God who so loved the world that he gave His Son to die on a cross and shed His blood to pay the price of sin! And where better to see that theme than the way we will be—singing the new song of our worthy redeemer.

 

Please stand and follow along as we read these words:

 

Revelation 5:9-12 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

 

Revelation 14:2-4 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

 

You and I are really in debt this morning.

 

I’m not talking about the trillions of dollars of our national debt; nor the trillions more dollars of credit card, auto loans, and mortgage debt. I am referring to the debt we owe to God for our sins.

 

In a real sense every time we sin it is an offense to God; we are obligated as His creations to obey Him—and we don’t. So we go through life racking up an ever larger, un-payable debt of sin (Gal. 3:10; James 2:10; cf. Matt. 18:23–27).

 

The legal obligations of debt, was an illustration Paul liked to use. When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he was writing to a church he had never visited. When he explained to them salvation he used a picture they would instantly recognize and never forget.

 

Open with me to Colossians 2:13-14 and watch Paul masterfully take those saints from Colosse and the world they lived in each day and transport them before the Holy God of Heaven and then back with a clear understanding of Christ's work on their behalf.

 

In the Roman Empire that surrounds the New Testament, when ever a person was convicted of a crime the law courts that convicted them, also produced a “certificate of debt” that listed the exact crime and the punishment that had to be paid before the criminal would be freed.

 

The convicted criminal or debtor would have to sign the certificate and acknowledge the debt or punishment for the crime was rightfully his. This certificate of debt was then nailed to the door of the cell where they were imprisoned until their sentence was completed and the crimes were “paid” for.

 

Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

 

This is precisely the legal imagery that Paul draws upon in Colossians 2:13-14. The word ‘handwriting’ in v. 13 is the exact word for the list of crimes and/or debts the person was responsible for. Jesus took each of those “Certificates of Debt” upon Himself as He hung upon that cross. “Believers’ sins were all put to Christ’s account, nailed to His cross as He paid the penalty in their place for them all, thus satisfying the just wrath of God against crimes requiring punishment in full”.[2]

 

So as God the Father looked down at Christ He saw your sins and mine. John calls it “the sin of the world”; and it was the totality of the sin of all humans that was nailed on Christ's Cross. The Cross was Jesus declaring that He was guilty of every sin listed off for everyone of us and all who would ever live.

 

Now turn to the record of Christ's death upon the cross. The climactic end of Christ's redemption as the Lamb of God was captured by John as he stood at the foot of the Cross. Looking up through the darkness he heard and recorded Christ's one word.

 

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 

In English we say “it is finished”; but in Greek those words are summed up in the single word that John heard Christ gasp on the cross—tetelestai.

 

Tetelestai was Jesus declaring to God His Father that the price of salvation was paid; and the debt of the sin of the world was paid; and the work of redemption was complete.

 

This word was a word that was very familiar to those of the New Testament times. This word tetelestai should burn into our hearts and minds because it was exactly the same word that a Roman judge would write on a criminals certificate of debt when he was released from prison—tetelestai, your debt to the Roman law is paid in full.

 

It is the same word that would be written on the certificate of a slave who had been enslaved to pay off a debt—tetelestai, your debt is paid in full, you may now go forth as a free man!

 

Paid in full is what Jesus cried from the cross of His redemption as the work of salvation was once and for all time completed; and paid in full is what He declares each time we come to Him confessing our sins.

 

Paid in full is what Jesus our advocate says while standing before God the Father as Satan the Accuser points out yet another time we have sinned.

 

Paid in full, redeemed, bought by the blood of the Lamb, and redeemed—that is what we shall forever sing in Heaven around His Throne.

 

The wonder of Christ's redemption is always before us. When Charles Wesley wrote down his meditation on redemption in 1738, it took the form of a hymn called “And Can It Be”.

 

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

 

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

 

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

 

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

 

This sermon will conclude tomorrow August 9th.

 

 



[1] John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

[2] John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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