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What We Lived For
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Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew 26. Jesus tied every celebration of communion to one special theme. If you look in Matthew 26, at the end where we usually don’t keep reading, yet communion in that 29th verse Jesus says something. That’s what I’d like to keep on your hearts and minds before we celebrate the Lord’s supper tonight. Jesus says in verse 29, “But I say to you”, this is Matthew 26, verse 29. “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on.” Jesus was finishing communion, sets down the cup and he says, I’m never going to partake in communion again. That should get our attention. Jesus is abstaining until what? Keep reading. “Until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
Jesus said that at every celebration of communion, we should think about the fact he’s waiting for us to get home and to join Him for the ultimate greatest celebration of communion. I wonder tonight, are you getting ready for what I like to call the greatest day of your life? The day when we get to come and sit and celebrate communion with Jesus Christ, when what. He died to accomplish is fully realized. Our salvation has a future tense to it. We are fully saved and redeemed, but we’re not yet home. Part of the package is, Jesus is going to get all of us saved to the uttermost. He’s going to get us.
The celebration of community is going to be preceded by another event. Turn with me to Romans chapter 14. To get ready for communion with Jesus there’s one step between Him getting us home and us sitting down. There’s one thing that we have to participate in. It’s in Romans 14. Chapter 14, verse 10. To get ready for the greatest celebration of communion ever we have to just before that celebration stand before Christ’s throne and then kneel. It says in verse 10, halfway through, “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Verse 11, “For it is written: ‘As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ “ Verse 12, “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” Just before the greatest day of our life we get to actually look upon the one who loved us and loosed us from our sins and died in our place. We get to stand and verse 12 says, look at this, give an account of ourselves to God.
The wonderful thing is that sin is not a part of that equation. In fact, we don’t really have to worry about sin. We should unentangle ourselves and flee sin and abstain from sin, but you know what the real problem at the judgment seat of Christ is going to be? Not our sin, it’s going to be giving account for why we wasted so much of our lives, not sinning, just doing nothing that lasts forever. Did you know, you can live, and I can live not sinning but frittering away as it were the time clock. Just letting it roll by and not as Jesus said, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Every communion that we gather, every time we remember Christ’s death on our behalf, we should be remembering the fact that He saved us for a purpose. He saved us and redeemed us that we should glorify Him with our bodies, with our lives. What will matter when you stand right in front of Jesus? What will you wish to have in your hands to give to the one who loved you and gave Himself for you?
People love to give presents. People come home at the airport and they give them flowers. People come home from graduating and they have big parties for them. People come home from their wedding and they have wedding receptions. They do all these things. What are we going to give at the greatest celebration of all? What are we going to give to Jesus? We all get to give Him something. He says that our time that we live here on Earth before He comes or calls us home that time instant after instant can be turned into either gold or silver or precious stones. What are you going to give to Jesus when you finally, and when I finally at last get to see Him? Whatever we want to give to Him is what we should live for Today.
At the end of his life, the great reformer, the servant of the Lord, Martin Luther shared what kept him going. If you’ve ever read his biography the fellow was tormented with terrible distress and mental anguish. He was basically what I like to call living in the minor key of his life. Someone asked him what kept him going through such lifelong adversity and hardship. He said he lived by one simple truth. He said, I have two dates on my calendar. Today and the day I stand before the judgment seat of Christ. He said, I live today getting ready to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Good words. In fact, he lived each day like he was on his way to explain what he did to the One who gave him life, Jesus Christ. Our future is all about little choices that reveal what we really are in the sight of God. That is what’s going to be revealed at His throne.
If you join me one last time in Revelation, remember on March 5th and for about a year or two afterwards, we were in Revelation. It was worse than Titus 2 for some of you that are more current here. I was preaching through the book of Revelation and got to the third chapter when Dallas Seminary told me that in order to do my doctorate, I had to start over again because you had to start from scratch to do the doctoral work. All the dear saints that have gone through about a year and a half of Revelation, actually, it was longer than that because I started over in 98. 95, 96 and 97, they’d gone through three years of Revelation and got another year of it. Just for old time’s sake, let’s go to Revelation 5. I want to just tonight challenge you. Jerry asked me, he says, could you challenge us into what we should think about as we look to the days ahead? This is what you should think about.
You should think about the greatest day of your life standing before the throne of God, standing in front of Jesus. What an awesome moment. The first thing that captures our eye are the angels, there are countless white robed angels, starting in verse 11, standing like living walls of pure white robes rising in circular rings reflecting the light of God’s glory. They rise and fall to the sounds of four creatures that are crisscrossing in the expanse on the four corners of God’s throne. They move as one. Those angels are falling before God.
Verse 11, follow along with me. “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures,” those cherubim, “and the elders; and the number of them was 10,000 x 10,000,” that’s hundreds of millions, “and thousands of thousands.” That’s millions. Verse 12 of chapter 5 of Revelation, “Saying with a loud voice.” There seems to be this unison chanting going on. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
The first thing that will just grab our attention is we’re transported. That spot is this continuous movement of worship, the sound of this, these words we’ll all comprehend because John heard them and understood them.
Next, the thing that will grab our attention is what I would call the floor. After you look at all that, most of us will probably look around to find our way to where our spot is. Turn back to chapter 4 across the page and look at verse 5. There’s an ocean of completely clear and reflective glass. This crystal sea. If we look at it, we can see all the colors, lights, and objects are reflected and amplified.
It’s like a gigantic selection. Mirror that we’re standing on, but it’s clear as glass and it’s just reflecting all of this beauty and refracting it around and amplifying and starting in Revelation 4 in verse 5-6. “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings,” sounds like Oklahoma, “and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne.” In front of all these angels in the concentric circles and around the throne are these seven fire pillars burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. They’re also described in Revelation, these seven ministers and messengers. They’re flaming fire as Hebrews 1 says. It’s just amazing, all the intricacies of the imagery of Revelation. They’re probably the seven angels that always face God, but they are like pillars of fire in their holiness, reflecting God’s glory. Verse 6 says, “Before the throne there was a sea of glass.” That’s that floor that we see. “Like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.” These are the cherubim. Verse 7, “The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.”
Remember, those represent the groupings of Israel. They’re all the way through the Bible and the whole book of Revelation, the 404 verses, over 800 different illusions to the Old Testament, and to other parts of scripture. Remember these are the standards, by the way, of the four groupings of the tribes of Israel, that lion and calf and the face of man, eagle. Each of these ensigns were what the tribes lined up behind. They’re also the pictures of the four Gospels. Jesus is like the lion of the tribe of Judah, the servant in Mark, and on and on we could go. All the imagery is tied together. “The four living creatures,” verse 8, “each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’ Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne.”
That’s what captivates us, because we look at that throne and all of this activity, by the way, is going on all the time. It’s going on right now. There’s this continuous offering of worship to God, and these thunders and lightnings and voices, and all these concentric circles of angels and these crisscrossing creatures. We see central to Heaven is the throne of God, completely encircled by the emerald green rainbow that is over and around and beneath the throne. We’re overwhelmed by the massive rumble of power. Do you see in verse 5 of chapter 4, this powerful sign? Endless peals of thunder, endless flashes of lightning seem to radiate outward from within the very throne of God. Listening carefully, we can hear with John the loud voices like roaring waterfalls, rolling past those seven blazing pillars of flame that burn in a circle around the throne. It’s amazing to think of that throne of God.
If you turn back to Daniel, the exiled prophet, the Hebrew prophet named Daniel got to see this throne also. It deeply impacted him, as it will us when we see it. In Daniel 7, if you want to get there, starting in verse 9, Daniel describes this very moment that we’re looking at with these words. He says, “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated,” God in human form, in the image of Jesus Christ, the Lamb on the throne and God the Father. Remember the only God will ever see is Jesus Christ. There won’t be three walking around. There’s one that is the image of the invisible God. Invisible means you don’t see Him. There’s one we see and that’s Jesus Christ. When we see Him on the throne, this Ancient of Days with the white hair as Revelation 1 says, it’s Jesus Christ. ” The ancient of days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool.” Remember? Same thing John sees. “His throne was a fiery flame.” This isn’t just a wooden throne or some golden thing, His throne is actually fiery. Already we’re off the page, we can’t comprehend that. “It’s wheels a burning fire.” Look at this, “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him.” The throne of God has a river of fire flowing out from it. Again, we’ve got this glass sea, we’ve got all these creatures and angels and all these seraphs we got to this river of fire and He’s sitting in fire. It’s hard to understand. “A thousand thousands ministered to Him; 10,000 x 10,000 stood before Him.” We already know what they’re doing. They’re there during this chanting of the holy holy holy, and they’re falling down and rising. It’s just an amazing sight.
Keep going backward now to Isaiah chapter 6, because there’s another element that is going on. Isaiah chapter 6 gives us a little insight into the burning ones as they’re called, because these are also surrounding the throne. The burning ones, Isaiah 6 verses 1-7. Burning one, that’s what seraphim means. If you ever heard of a seraph or a seraphim, the i.m. is plural, more than one seraph, that means a burning one. Those burning ones capture our focus, our eyes turn to follow the four glistening living beings each with their four distinct faces, the lion, the calf, the man, and the Eagle. They’re completely covered with eyes as they move like flashes of light, fire passing between them, gliding through the expanse around the Ancient of Days, theocentric orbit, always one of their faces are facing Him. Look what it says in Isaiah 6 and starting in verse 1. “In the year that King Uzziah died,” Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.” The train of His robe, now we’ve got something else. We’ve got a burning throne, and Ancient of Days with white hair, and this robe that just flows. Amazing, the sight.
Verse 2, “Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy holy, holy is the LORD of hosts.” The Lord of Sabaoth. The Lord of armies. The Lord of limitless power. Do you see the correspondence with Revelation? The scene, it just reverberates through all the scripture. “The whole Earth is full of His glory.” Verse 4, “And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I’m a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.’ “ As we saw this morning, Isaiah 33:17, our “eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off.” Isaiah truly did, and it revealed to him. Verse 5 says it. He says, woe to me, I’m undone. He says, I’m dissolving. Isn’t it amazing in the Bible, the people who get real close to the LORD, it just completely humbles them. They fall before Him, and they asked for His cleansing. They ask for His mercy and ask for His loving kindness. Then, because He is so holy and they’re so aware that they are not.
Verse 6, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me,” Isaiah says, “having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, your sin is purged.’ “ Wow. The burning ones reminding us that in Him we have redemption, that our sins are forever gone, the penalty is forever paid, the record is forever erased. What a wonderful, wonderful thought that is.
Back to Revelation before we celebrate. Let’s go to chapter 4, Revelation chapter 4, verse 4. Soon we will swing into our celebration of this remembrance because as we watched the 24 elders rise and fall under the awesome expanse of space over the throne that sparkles like the pure crystal blue pavement, as it’s called, we see a circle just beyond the pillars of fire and those four living creatures. It’s made up of 24 small thrones seated with white robed, celestial men. These are the representatives of the redeemed to show us what we’re going to be doing. They represent us. Remember 24 is only used in the Bible two places, here and when it talks about the courses of priests that served in the temple. Those 24 of which Zacharias was one, Remember, Elizabeth and Zacharias, John the Baptist’s parents? Those 24 represented the people by course in the temple. The 24 number, if it means anything in the Bible, it speaks of a representative group. I believe that these 24 represent the redeemed, the old and the new, all one through Christ sacrifice.
If you look in Revelation chapter 4, in verse 4, that exiled prophet by the name of the Apostle John wrote to us from Patmos at the end of the 1st century. This is what he says in verse 4. “Around the throne were 24 thrones, and on the thrones I saw 24 elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.” What do they do with them? Look at chapter 5 across the page and look at verse 8. “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders,” here they are again, “fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incenses, which are the prayers of the saints.” Look at verse 14 of chapter 5, “Then the four creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the 24 elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.” They represent us. We are going to join with the concentric circles of hundreds of millions of angels, and the four creatures, and the burning ones, and the seven flaming ones, and those 24 elders. It means that we, the redeemed, are between the angels and the throne. We are right up in front and we’re going to get to fall down as it says in verse 8, before the Lamb. Each of these representatives holds a harp, wears a crown, holds a golden bowl. These golden bowls are the worship offered by God’s saints while we were here on Earth. Repeatedly we see those 24 elders fall on their faces, pouring out to the Lord the collected worship of the saints. That’s interesting. It could be that the worship we offer in Heaven we get to keep pouring out what we offered on Earth. There’s a significance that it says, all that worship is collected from on Earth, and it’s poured out before the Lord. Are you filling your bowl? Are you redeeming the time for gold and that crown to cast before His feet? What a wonder to think about.
Look at verse 12 of chapter 5. Finally, at the special moment, every angel, every elder, every saint falling on their faces before Him, those four great angels, those 24 elders, the hundreds of millions around the sea, most of all… us, we joined together in verse 12 of chapter 5. We sing together, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Every time we celebrate the Lord’s supper, that’s what we should think about because that’s where we’re headed on our way to celebrating communion with the One who loved us and bought us.
Let’s prepare our hearts to worship Him tonight. Would you just bow with me in prayer? If you haven’t had time yet to wash your hands and make sure that your heart is washed also, just do a little prayerful preparation with the Lord right here. Head bowed. Eyes closed. Thinking about Him sitting on His throne. The elders and deacons are going to serve us, but will you join me in getting ready for the greatest day of our life through communion.
Father in Heaven, we thank you that you loved us, that you loosed us from our sins by the sacrificial death of your Son our Savior, the Lord Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you’re not celebrating communion until we all make it home, till we’re all safely in the place you prepared for us. We won’t take any sin with us, but what we can send ahead is our worship for that bowl. We can take people with us that we lead and disciple and nurture and are a part of their spiritual lives becoming disciples. We can redeem and not waste it. That time becomes gold and silver and precious stones, and we can cast that at Your feet. We can pour out our bowl of worship and we can sing with all the redeemed. I pray that this communion will help us and every time we celebrate from this day forward, may we never forget that all this is just preparatory, a reminder of the greatest day. The greatest day of our existence when we finally at last get to fall in our face before You and tell You that You are worthy, that we do love You, and that You are a great Redeemer. Bless us as we celebrate this bread, the picture of Your body given for us. In the name of Jesus we thank you, Amen.
Jesus said this on that wonderful night, Matthew 26, verse 26. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread,” unleavened bread of the Passover meal, “blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take eat; this is My body.’ “ Let’s partake together this evening.
Jesus, we thank You that You gave us this celebration. The early Church used to celebrate it from house to house. They used to remember Your sacrificial death as the Lamb of God, nearly every time they gathered. They were so overwhelmed, they couldn’t stop talking about being loosed from their sins, being eternally secure, having hope, and a living hope, a reservation in Heaven. I pray that You would stir our hearts to not be able to stop thanking You, Praising You, blessing Your name. Thank you for the cup of blessing that reminds us that You poured out Your life through Your blood, loosing and cleansing us, and sealing us forever by Your Spirit. Thank you that as often as we drink this cup, we declare what You have done. May You hear and receive into our bowl before Your throne much worship tonight and each day of our life as we worship You. In the name of Jesus we thank you, Amen.
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’ “ Let’s partake together.
Lord, help us to be ready and to spend every day getting ready for the greatest day of our life, when we get to be before Your throne. In the precious name of Jesus, may we renew our desire to seek You with our whole heart all of our days, we pray. Amen.
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