Call to worship: Genesis 12:1-3
Text: Revelation 7:9-12
The seals 'sealing up' redemptive history are being opened in various judgments against sinful humanity. God seals up the redeemed of Christ, so that they, no matter their experience of trial, will be saved. John is enabled to see the future certainty of the Church glorified and gathered around the throne of God and grace. He sees an innumerable multitude. In many ways, they are distinct; and yet, in primary and indestructible ways, they are one great and unified assembly. As we take a break from our normal course of exposition to give focus to yearly matters of importance, and as that brings us to dwell upon the important matter of the ethnic harmony only Christ can create, we get to take a look at ourselves in our glorious and eternal future, as part of a global Church, and ask, 'what makes for this? How can it be? And why? And how might we become more of a foretaste of this vision to the glory of God in Christ today?'
- Behold the great multitude. (7:9a-b)
- Behold their oneness. (7:9c-10)
- Behold the angelic Amen. (7:11-12)
- Read Revelation 7, focusing on 7:9-12
- What does John see in 7:9a-b? What also does he want us to behold? How does John define what he sees? What qualifiers does he give? Is any nation, etc. excluded from the great assembly? Have you thought that you (that we) are counted among this astounding number? What do you perceive to mark us perfectly on that Day? How should that motivate our Christianity today?
- How does John variously describe the oneness, harmony, unity of this great multi-ethnic assembly? I count at least four ways. How about you? From 7:9c-e, what things will inevitably and invariably characterize Christian harmony? In other words, what items will be perfectly present then that will help us toward it today?
- What is the pinnacle of their unity? How is it expressed in 7:10? Are we to reduce things of primary importance to the mere Gospel, for the sake of unity? What do you discern to be included in their loud cry? What truths, doctrines, emphases? Again, what items of harmony do you discern in their cry?
- What are we to make of the angelic response to the single cry of the great assembly in 7:11-12? What's the force of their 'Amen and Amen'? And what's at the heart of their joyful, exuberant affirmation of this glorious aspect of God's redemptive work in Christ? What attributes, etc. do they highlight in their wholehearted worship of God? How are we to understand true ethnic harmony in light of it? Seeing the sort of assembly we will be, what steps can we take today toward being a foretaste of it on earth?