In the near future, I will be preaching at my son-in-law’s church on the mission field.  I am well-experienced in preparing and presenting Bible messages, but preparing a sermon for indigenous people is a whole different story.  These are people who have a strong oral tradition, based on storytelling and a cyclical (as opposed to linear, exegetical) approach.  Derek Baker and I have discussed this approach over the years–during his training and since he has been on the field.  So I thought I would try my hand at it.  I sent the following treatment ahead for approval, and both Derek and Jen think that it will work.  Now it’s up to the Lord to help me with the presentation.

I cannot imagine preaching Revelation 4-5 like this in any of the churches I have attended over the years; but, in this post-Christian era, we may find someday that we have to use a similar approach in order to reach a generation that has never been exposed to the Bible or the wonderful message of God’s grace.  Let me know what you think.

What God Reveals

Revelation 4-5

God opened a door for a man named John to see into His Heaven.  And what did he see?

1.  He saw the throne of God, occupied by the Almighty and Indescribable Father of all things, and surrounded by beauty.

2.  He saw seats for the elders.  These are the men who knew God, and served Him, and delighted to be with Him.  They wear crowns, for they are worthy of respect.  But they are not God.  They were made to worship and serve God, and learned to do so through their lives on Earth.

3.  John saw the power of God, shown through lightning, thunder, fire, and the wind of His Spirit.  But nature is not God; it was made for His pleasure, and to point us to God.

4.  There were also four remarkable beings made by God.  They are spiritual creatures, wise and with wings, yet with faces familiar to us:  a lion; an ox; a man; and an eagle.  As wise and powerful as they are, they are not God; they are creatures made to worship and serve God.

5.  He saw angels–millions of them, mighty and loud.  But they were not God.  They were created to praise and serve God.

6.  He saw the world.  In God’s hand, it looked to him like a little book, or a scroll, and it was sealed up as if the world had shut God out, and didn’t want to know God or have Him move in their lives.   The world was not God, though God held it in His hand.

7.  He saw despair, as all Heaven sorrowed for the earth that had shut itself away from God, and was missing His beauty and His glory.  He saw anguish as all the creatures of Heaven cried out for a way for God and His world to be reunited in beauty.  The elders could not open the world to God; the four living creatures could not open the world to God; the millions of angels could not open the world to God.  Only God could make a way.

8.  So Father God made a way to open up the earth to Himself.  His way was a special being that we read about in other places–Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God Himself.  John saw him as a Lion in power, a King in authority–and a lamb, offered as a sacrifice.  For the world’s separation from God is called sin; and the only remedy for sin’s effect was a blood sacrifice.  Yet no animal was worthy to die for the sins of the world; no man was worthy, for every man had sinned and was separated himself.  This lamb, Jesus, had proven that He was worthy, by winning the greatest victory of all time.  He had died because of sin, but He defeated death and came back to life because He was the Son of God, and just as much God as God the Father.

9.  And John saw every creature in Heaven and on the earth worshiping and giving glory to Father God on the throne, and to the Lamb of God.

Rev 5:13-14  And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”  (14)  And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.

Can we say those words with every other living creature, or are we still living a life separated from God?  We can come to know Father God and Jesus the Son of God, but only if we are willing to worship them.  For they are God.