Well, good evening. If you want to turn in your Bible with me to Revelation chapter 15.

Revelation chapter 15, verses 2 through 4. 2 through 4.

We left this chapter last time, which was a couple weeks ago, and all we looked at was verse 1 there, and that verse was about the seven plagues and the wrath of God that was going to be finished as the bowls are poured out, and the seriousness, of the very end of the end. The very end of the end. We talked about wrath and its necessity if we believe in a holy God. A God that loves His own holiness and demands holiness from every creature in His universe. But then right after that, John gets a different vision, and this one is far more subtle. It’s celebratory. This one is not of God’s wrath, as it is the victory for God’s people. And as I’ve noted throughout, you get very similar images, and that same image or picture is kind of replayed in different fashions. So we’ve seen saints in heaven, but we see them again here as we get towards the end, and kind of this grand finale that’s building up to Christ’s return. So in verse 2, John says, And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and also those who had conquered the beast, and its image, and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

So remember all the way back to the beginning of this book, and this book starts, and it feels more like one of maybe Paul’s epistles. It’s letters from Jesus. to the churches, and so it’s corrective, mostly, but there’s encouragements in there. But those letters are Jesus largely saying, hey, if you endure, there is a reward for you at the end. And that’s one of the Lord’s constant reminders to us, is if you endure, there’s a reward coming, so don’t give up. We’re told about the tree of life there. We’re told about hidden manna, authority over the nations, white garments, that we will be pillars, and the temple of God, sitting with Christ on His throne. All of these things, Christ speaks to His church, those who persevere to the end. So when you come to verse 2 here in 15, we’re getting a heavenly vision of that very thing, of those ones who did suffer and endure the whole, you know, run of life with all of its challenges and difficulties and sufferings and hardship and persecutions, and here they are in the end, and they’re worshiping their Lord. They’re paying homage to God. And we’ve seen this picture before in the beginning, and I’ll remind you, because I know it’s not like we all just remember every image we ever see in Revelation, have a perfect memory of it and what it meant. I don’t. So what that was, if you remember, it was this beautiful picture of the Father sitting on His throne, and there was a sea of glass around that throne. And remember, we said when Moses and the elders are on the mountains, they describe a similar thing. They’re looking through the bottom of the floor into the Father’s throne room. So we’re getting this heavenly picture of where the Father is, but we’re told here that these saints, these ones who have conquered, they’re standing beside the sea of glass. So they’ve been invited in to the place where God dwells. They’ve been brought to the nearest they can, to the very presence, the very God, the one true God. There He is in their midst, because they’ve conquered. They’ve conquered. And you think, well, how did they conquer? Because when I read this, I said, well, they’ve conquered. They’ve conquered. They’ve conquered. And when I read that, it sounds like they got conquered, right? They died. And this is that upside down kind of way the kingdom of God works, that we’ve got harps in hand, making music, singing, because we’re conquerors, even though we’ve just been slaughtered.

These are the conquering ones. And I think you could respond, at least, the thought comes to me, big deal. I could find a number of Muslims who would be willing to suffer and die for Allah, and they would gladly do this. Or as popular amongst young men, as I’ve told you, especially interacting with guys at the pregnancy center, like Viking theology, like Thor, Valhalla, like they actually are believing in these things again. And so this idea of a God in the heaven, and if I, you know, do what I’m supposed to do, I can get there and suffer, and it’s going to be really tough, but hey, I’ll bite it, I’ll just eat it, and I’ll make it. So what’s different here about that for us? If we as Christians refuse to pay homage to the beast, the Antichrist, we refuse to worship its image, and we refuse to take the mark of the beast. And I think here’s the sole difference, at least all that I could, I think, biblically come up with. The difference lies in the non-meritorious nature of these saints conquering.

Muslims must perform. Muslims must do exactly as Allah says.

Viking theology. You must die a glorified. You must die a glorious death in battle if you want to actually reach Valhalla. That, amongst a number of other religions, tells you all that you must do, all that you must attain to, all that you must achieve, and truly there are many religious folks who have achieved much in the name of their religion.

But we don’t see these believers in their own throne rooms being worshipped, or celebrated. We don’t see them being commended here for their accomplishments. What we see is a group of believers who have suffered, who’ve been slaughtered, who’ve been tortured and persecuted in the throne room of God. And all of their praise and worship and adoration goes to just God. It’s not like, you know, I think about a parade a city would throw, for soldiers, look what you’ve done, look what you’ve accomplished, aren’t you awesome? Everyone really think well of these heroes. But that’s not it. Here in our Bible, our gospel, our story, it’s the Lamb, it’s the Father that are worshipped. And to go back to Revelation chapter 12, verse 10,

it says in 12.10, I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God, and they have conquered, by what? By what means do you and I conquer? By the blood of the Lamb. And by their testimony. And they’ve loved not their lives even unto death. That’s the difference. It’s really the big difference. And you could really see this as beautiful in a number of contexts in life where we’re so pushed to rely on self, think we’ve got to have it figured out, everything’s riding on my shoulders. But this really asks a question of us. It’s a big question. Bigger than I think we let it be. And the question is, the question is who really has the power? Who really has the power to withstand the beast? To withstand demonic forces? A world increasingly under the influence of the dragon who’s over those things. Like who can really save you? Because you know you often live as if you are supposed to save yourself. And you beat yourself up when you don’t think you’re living up to said standard. Right? So I think the answer is plain. Friend, it’s not you. It’s not me. It’s not even, I want to say, the church. If by church we mean a group of people who are putting their resources and passions together to create a sort of synergy. And when we put our minds together, we can accomplish great things. That sounds like some statement of some organization in the world. And that happens. Organizations put their minds and heads together and money and talent and produce great things. But that’s not even what the church is or the church could do. It all rides on just this. It all rides on what the Father has accomplished in the Son on the cross. Big period. Big period.

And I do want it to set in. And maybe you’re not as sinful as me. I don’t have a natural inclination or tendency to live. With that sort of freedom, I am thinking real hard and real shamefully about myself and where I’m supposed to be and I’m not there and I’ve got to do this and I’ll bet God thinks this is about me. And we put the weight of salvation, the weight of making it home to Jesus, on our own backs.

And so I think there’s a lot of mystical attraction to religions that seem to maybe accomplish that. If I can obey the right rules and I burn the right incense, and I do the right things and all these things will contribute in that direction and they won’t.

So it would make sense then if they get that on their side of life, and we don’t get that yet, but it makes sense why they would sing this in the first part of this song in verse 3. It says they sang the song of Moses and the Lamb saying, Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God, the Almighty. The Almighty, or that means all-powerful. It means the omnipotent One. And I think we’d all go, yes, God’s omnipotent. God’s got all the power. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But friends, is it not so easy to see that from 30,000 feet, but not in day-to-day life? It’s so easy to see that on the pages of Scripture and go, you ridiculous people in the Bible, why don’t you trust God more? It’s so easy to see that in other people’s lives, but not our own. So I think we really need an eternal perspective on the Almighty God. The Almighty God. And here’s what I want to suggest. While we believe God is Almighty, what’s not easy or obvious for us to see is how He’s the Almighty and why He works the way He works. That’s something very different. It’s one thing to believe God is Almighty. It’s another thing to believe God’s working how He’s working in human history, in my life, and being at peace with how and why He chose to do the thing He did or will do. And that’s where I think we really find out if we rely on Jesus. If I’m okay with the ways Christ and the Father works in my life.

God’s not like us. Doesn’t the Bible say that somewhere? His ways and His thoughts are above us. So these two songs referenced then, the Song of the Lamb, the Song of Moses, I think they really open that up here. They really open that up. Trusting the how and the why of the Almighty God. And I’ll go ahead and give you a clue. In the end, if we really believe, it’s going to lead to a lot of singing. Okay? So let’s consider this together. Our God is God Almighty, though God often chooses to appear weak. God is God Almighty, but He often chooses to appear weak. The saints here in chapter 15, they sing the song, it says, of Moses. Of Moses. And if you want to turn in your Bibles back to Exodus, Exodus chapter 15.

I want to look at this song with you, at least parts of it.

And in Exodus 15, now what’s happened when they sing this song is they’ve just come up out of the Red Sea. So the Lord has split the Red Sea. They’ve walked through it. They’ve been saved from the Egyptians. And here’s this song. This song of Moses, they sing to the Lord.

Verse 1, they sing, I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously. The horse and the rider He has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song. And He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise Him. My Father is God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war. The Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and His host He cast into the sea. And His chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them. They went down into the depth like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.

That’s pretty comprehensive there. Verses 11 and 12. Who is like you? O Lord, among the gods. Who is like you? Majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders.

  1. You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed. You have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. Verse 17. You will bring them in and plant them. On your own mountain to the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode. What would it have been like, think about this, to tell the story of Abraham to first generation Israelites that moved into Egypt? So remember the story, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And there’s Jacob, and he has the 12 sons. They all picked on the one, threw him into a hole, sold him into slavery. Joseph, right? He gets in prison for something he doesn’t do. Eventually, through that, he becomes second in command in Egypt. And because he’s second in command in Egypt, he’s got the power to take care of his family. So God’s promised people, he moves them all from where they were in Canaan to live in Egypt. And they’re safe, and they’re happy, and they’re well fed. So think about being that generation and telling them, let me tell you the story of your great-great-grandfather. Let me tell you about Abraham and the promise God made. And then he couldn’t have an heir. And then he had Isaac, and then there was Isaac, and the brothers came from them, and then we get the 12, and then there was Joseph, and it’s this big, huge, crazy story, and here we are in Egypt, but the promises and the generations roll on. And the Word tells us that the next Pharaoh didn’t know about Joseph. Uh-oh, all of a sudden we’re enslaved in Egypt. Hey, Grandpa, can you tell me that story again? Well, what’s supposed to happen is another generation. Well, I think the story was the next generation. Is that even true? It was really exciting at the first, but it goes on, and it becomes probably less believable as slavery gets harder.

And then we get to what? We get to Moses. Now, I think a lot of times we think about Moses as this strapping, middle-aged man who takes on Egypt, and he’s not. He’s 80, and Aaron’s 83. So God raises up two old guys, and they’re going to be the ones now that are going to help these people get out of slavery. This seems like a ridiculous plan. It seems like a ridiculous plan. Why not muster together an army? Why not do something big and bad and bold? But he sends Moses, who’s too afraid to even open his mouth, and he’s got to speak through his brother to Pharaoh.

But what happens? God shows up. God brings the plagues. God splits the sea. Everyone is crashed. All the soldiers, the best of Pharaoh’s army, destroyed. And there they are on the other side, and the Word of God tells us they plundered the Egyptians. Not as most nations do. You have to go kill everybody and take what you want. They just say, hey, can I have your silver and gold? And they fling it. They run out of Egypt, covered in the wealth of the Egyptians. You say, that didn’t make sense how God worked. I don’t understand why God worked like that. But you see how God, because He’s the Almighty, in the end, He overthrew man. That’s what that song told us. They dropped like stones. He overthrew the gods, every false idol of the Egyptians, every demonic force at work behind the scenes. Oh, how they thought they had strong gods who have given them what they had. The one true God smashed it all to pieces.

And God overthrew the impossibility of their situation. We’re not getting out of slavery. We’re not getting out of slavery. What in that story, tell me, depended on man?

God did all of it. God did all of it. He set it up in just such a way you would have to go, gosh, all I can say is, God did that. It reminds you of another story. It reminds you of a young woman who has a baby in her belly. She didn’t put that baby there. She don’t know how it got there at the first. Other than an angel told her. And she wasn’t some royal queen. She was just a young lady. And when that baby’s born, they have to flee as refugees where? To Egypt. Because the king wants to kill all the firstborns, just like the pharaoh wanted to kill all the firstborns. They come up out of Egypt. Back to a great kingdom. Nope, we’re going back to Nazareth. We’re going back to this little place. This unknown of place.

And then we get Jesus. Jesus, who was crucified. Talk about a long weekend as his 12 disciples, who were not professionally trained to be religious leaders.

But we have the resurrection on the third day. And you say, only God could have done that. Only God could have worked like that. This is God’s power. This is God’s story. And he overcame. He overcame in the cross of his son Jesus, the God of this world. He overcame every nation. He overcame bondage to spiritual slavery. Jesus overcame. Jesus overcame. And so when we go back to Revelation chapter 15,

we can read these words, I think, afresh and anew in verse 3. Ruth’s amazement of how meticulous God is. How calculated. God is to bring himself the most glory possible. The most glory possible. Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord. God, the Almighty, just and true are your ways. King of the nations. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you. For your righteous acts have been revealed. All of these conquerors in this heavenly picture, they were weak. They were weak. They were pressed on every side. Yet, hold on to this, please. In their apparent weakness, in their apparent weakness and in their death, they became victors and conquerors, not because of themselves, but because of Jesus. Because Jesus had already won the war on the cross.

That’s why. That’s why. And Jesus, when he comes back, is going to overcome every nation and he’s going to take his people to a new and better Jerusalem and he’s going to crush Satan under our feet once and for all. So bring all that into your life. Bring all that into your life, please. Do you have the faith in your embattled place?

Hasn’t God given you ample witness from his word, from the cross, that all is going, growing in your life according to plan?

I’m going to say that again.

Everything that’s going on in your life or has gone on in your life is exactly according to plan. And God, in the end, is going to show himself all powerful.

He is the almighty. So you and I can fight the good fight and we can be conquerors, because Jesus is a conqueror. God loves to show out for his power. He loves to show off how powerful he is. Don’t rob yourself of seeing it when it comes, because you thought the Christian life asks for more than it gives. Because it doesn’t.

And what abundance God has for his children and Christ in the coming ages for those who keep believing.

Whatever. Whatever the scope of your suffering and your trial and your persecution and fears of death. Oh friends, that scope is but a dot compared to the wide oceans of love, of blessing, of comfort, of peace in the ages to come.

So, be pushed to believe that what persecutions we face in this life are the cause of Christ. These are opportunities for our faith to be grown. For Jesus, for Jesus to be nearer. To see how God is good even in the persecution and the difficulties of it all.

1 Peter 1, verse 6. He says, In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. Why? Why? He says, In seven, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious, than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in your praise. No. It says it results in the praise and the glory and the honor at the revelation of Jesus.

That’s why we press on. That’s why God grows our faith through difficulties. God’s working to grow your faith and your faith is a faith that conquers. Because it’s faith in the conquering, one. God doesn’t just hand it over. God calls our faith through trial to grow. It’s like a tall oak tree. You didn’t just pop up that way. It takes years and years. I was reading about sequoia trees this past week. Apparently, sequoias, as far as anyone can tell, they never stop growing. They never stop growing. They don’t grow much in the first seven to ten years of their life until they, they really have the proper amount of nutrients and they’re really ready for it. But once they do, they start growing big and strong and they never, they never stop.

You know what pops up quick and goes away quick? That’s what you call a weed. Nobody wants to see a weed. Nobody wants to be a weed.

So friends, these are things that, these are things that I’m not, I’m not, so silly to believe aren’t really hard things to accept for some of us or all of us in some parts of life because some parts of life are just hard. Some parts of life are just hard and it feels like God doesn’t care. It feels like God’s left us. It feels like we’ve hit a wall and this is it.

Jesus loves you enough to let you go through that because he’s grown your faith to be better and stronger so that you and I can more fully relate and relinquish self and have a stronger faith in Christ. In Christ. An older gentleman I know, I was reading something he wrote a while back from the church I grew up at and he said, in my quiet time I had this thought of myself as an onion and God was peeling away all the layers and then I thought, Lord, there’s going to be nothing left of me once you peel away all the layers. And he thought, Amen! There’s going to be nothing left of me once God peels back all the layers. It’s just going to be Jesus.

Friends, the enemy’s vicious attacks incline faith not to do more, not to try harder, but to readily be dressed with Christ, to readily be full of Christ, to readily depend on God’s power and wisdom.

So it’s in your weakness by which you can be sure of God. It’s in your weakness by which you can be sure of God. Do you feel like you’ve got it all together? I worry for you. Friends, it’s in our weakness we can rejoice because that’s where God loves to show up and be powerful. If there’s an enemy, a great adversity, you think all is lost, you ought to praise God. You ought to praise God. That means your wit’s in. A place you wouldn’t have got if you didn’t start with your wits. But now that you’re there at the end of your wits, God can be God.

So I want to say to us, let each of us strive towards such a faith. Let each of us strive to have such a faith. And here’s the thing, when you have that faith, it’s really a sweet release. It’s a lifted burden. Such stress, such anxiety, we carry the world on our back. We carry the world on our shoulders. As if we must somehow sustain our own faith. And we’ve got to perfect our own souls when Jesus has accomplished that completely. And He’s shown that to us. Why do we incline ourselves to such sorrow and distresses? It’s God’s delight to take care of these things. It’s God’s delight to show Himself good and powerful. Yes, we struggle in the reality of it. But don’t wear, don’t wear eternal weights on your back as if you can carry them. Jesus has done that. Jesus has done that. Marvel in your Savior. Find rest in your Savior who promises what He began in you, He will complete in you. So I want to encourage you to live a carefree life. Not a fighting the good fight, but the burden of winning and making. Making it home. Jesus has promised that. He’s promised if we believe and if we look at Him in trust, He’s the one that by His grace and the powerful working of His Spirit, He will get us home. So keep fighting, church. Keep believing. God, you’re good. And when it looks like you’re not good, you’re good. And when I don’t understand, you understand. And when I don’t see how, you see how. And that’s enough. Just like it’s enough for a child. Just like it’s enough for a child.

So, back to where I said in my clue, if we believe, we’ll sing. We see this beautiful picture of these glorified saints singing, but we really shouldn’t wait around till we see the victory to start singing. I think faith is seen in our willingness, our ability to sing while we’re in the trial.

Psalm 59, 14. David writes, Each evening they come back howling like dogs and prowling about the city. They wonder about for food and growl if they do not get their fill. Verse 16. But I will sing of your strength. I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning for you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the distress. In the days of my distress. Oh, my strength, I will sing praises to you for you, oh God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. So, church, let’s believe in the valley and let’s sing in the valley. Jesus has overthrown men and he’s overthrown Satan and he’s going to make all things new. And he’s going to make you, despite what you often think, he’s going to make you brand new. And it’s going to be all to his glory and all because of his conquering that we’re conquerors in Christ. Let’s never stop singing.

Preacher: Chad Cronin

Passage: Revelation 15:2-4