We are on team Jesus

We are on team Jesus

Introduction

Revelation 7:9-17 ESV  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  (10)  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  (11)  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,  (12)  saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”  (13)  Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”  (14)  I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  (15)  “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.  (16)  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.  (17)  For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Our key verses from this section are verses 7 and 9

Revelation 7:9-10 ESV  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  (10)  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

You may be seated

  • Welcome to Missions Sunday!
    • Today we focus not on ourselves but on the nations.
    • On other cultures, other people groups, other languages.
    • And what a perfect section of scripture we find ourselves in this morning… the great multitude from every nation, tribes, peoples, and languages… worshiping God with a loud voice crying out “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
  • You know we planned the date for this mission Sunday almost a full year ago, but it just so happens that God would have us in THIS scripture this morning…
    • We have been preaching through revelation.
    • The seven churches’
    • The throne room of God, the four living creatures, the 24 elders…
    • The first six of the seals broken.
    • The 144,000 sealed of the Tribes of Israel.
      • And then today, on Mission Sunday, we are here… The great multitude from every Nation.
  • Now, before we get into the application of today’s message, as has become standard as we go through revelation, I think some teaching is in order.
    • Specifically the question arises “Who are these people in the great multitude?”
      • Are they martyrs?
      • Are they the whole church of Christ in it’s entirety from every generation?
      • Did the rapture happen before this point, and these are the saints saved after the rapture?
      • Or is this the point of the rapture, midway through the tribulation?
      • Maybe these are the martyrs that happened after the martyrs in the Fifth seal who cried out “How long until you avenge our blood” and God replied “There are more that need to be martyred before I avenge you”.
        • Maybe this completes the number of Martyrs as God prophesied would happen?
    • Who exactly is this multitude of believers?

Revelation 7:9-10 ESV  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  (10)  and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

  • Ok, but who are they Lord?
    • Well, good news and bad news… the good news is John was asked this question himself, and instead of guessing at the answer, he allowed the elder who asked him to answer:

Revelation 7:13-14 ESV  Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”  (14)  I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

  • The bad news is, the elder’s answer only leaves us with more questions.
  • What do you mean “Coming out of”?
  • Does that mean they were raptured?
  • Does that mean they were martyred?
  • Does that mean the persevered and survived?
  • And by what do you mean when you say “the great tribulation”?
  • Do you mean the tribulation that was started at the opening of the seven seals?
  • Or do you mean the tribulation that the church has faced ever since the resurrection of Christ?
  • Or do you mean some other tribulation all together?
  • Let me answer these questions for you, and you can take this answer to the bank as being 100% accurate…
    • My answer is: I DON’T KNOW.
    • And it seems to me no one really seems to know.
      • I read 5 different commentaries, that are usually in relative agreement, and each one gave a completely different answer, quoted different references, used different logic, and all seemed to have to dance around a lot of hard questions.
  • No, God knows who these saints are, and it seems the elder talking to John knows… but we don’t know… not for sure.
  • Remember the first two rules of Bible interpretation:
    • Whenever possible, take Scripture literally.
    • And second, let scripture interpret scripture.
      • We saw those in play last week.
  • But what do we do when we can’t find a literal, or figurative for that matter, interpretation of a verse.
    • And when we can’t find scriptures that clearly interpret this scripture…?
  • Here is what we do: We take what we do know from it and we apply THAT to our lives.
    • We understand the difficulties and leave those for another day, and we focus not on that which we don’t know, and instead focus on that which we DO know.
  • Here is what we know from todays passage:
    • There will be a GREAT multitude of believers in heaven, far more than just the 144,000 Jews from the passage before.
    • These people who are saved will be from every tribe and tongue and nation and people.
      • We may not know for sure when they were saved or how they were saved or if they were martyred or raptured or what…
      • BUT WE KNOW FOR SURE THEY EXIST, THEY ARE SAVED, THEY ARE TOO MANY TO COUNT, AND THEY ARE FROM EVERY NATION AND PEOPLE.
  • Thus Chapter Seven gives us a beautiful picture of Team Jesus.
    • I say Team Jesus because Christianity is a TEAM SPORT. We are all in this together. And the team consists of MANY PEOPLE.
      • Jews and gentiles alike… we are all on the same people and we all share in the same eternal reward.

We Are On Team Jesus!

Point one this morning is this: The Reward for completing the mission.

We are going to start with dessert first this morning… The Reward For Completing the Mission…

Point One – The Reward For Completing the Mission

Revelation 7:9 ESV  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Revelation 7:15-17 ESV  “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.  (16)  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.  (17)  For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

  • Church, if you are a born again believer in Christ Jesus, you are on TEAM JESUS.
    • And as a member of Team Jesus you have a mission… what is that mission? It is what we call the Great Commission.
      • Jesus gave us this mission before ascending into heaven.

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  (19)  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  (20)  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • So Jesus gave us this mission to go and make disciple of every tribe tongue and nation…
    • And the result is that there will be people in heaven from every tribe tongue and nation…
      • Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it?
  • We go out into every nation and baptize, disciple and teach people to follow Christ.
    • People from every nation get saved.
    • Therefore there are people from every nation who make heaven.
      • And look at those blessings promised in eternity:

Revelation 7:16-17 ESV  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.  (17)  For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

  • These are the rewards for Christians from every nation, tribe, and language!
    • That means there will be North Korean who hunger no more.
    • And Afghani saints who cry no more.
    • There will be Iraqi saints who are never scorched by the sun again.
    • And there will be Chinese saints who never shed another tear.
      • But not only that!
    • There will be North American saints who hunger no more!
    • Saints from the United States who cry no more!
    • Saints from Iowa who are never scorched by the Midwest sun again.
    • Saints from Cedar Rapids who never shed a tear.
      • I am one of those saints, and so are you if you are born again!
        • These are not just promises offered to these saints in Revelation Seven, but promises to all believers…

Revelation 21:1-4 ESV  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  (2)  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (3)  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  (4)  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

  • These are the rewards of being on TEAM JESUS.
    • But here is the deal, before we get to chapter 21, where ALL believers are promised these things, we have to get through Chapter 7 where we have this great multitude from every tribe and every nation.
      • What am I getting at?
      • This simple truth: Before the end comes, there MUST be people saved from every tribe, tongue and nation.
    • The reward is for everyone, BUT WE MUST COMPLETE THE GOAL! WE MUST COMPLETE THE MISSION.
  • That brings me to point two… What are you doing to Help Team Jesus?!

Point Two – What Are You Doing to Help Team Jesus?

Revelation 7:9 ESV  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

  • The great commission, our mission as Team Jesus, is to win people for Christ, to make disciples of ALL NATIONS.
    • And our mission is not complete, according to Revelation 7:9 to say the least, until we have lead people from ALL NATIONS to Christ.
  • In Matthew 24, while sitting atop the Mount of Olives, Jesus prophecies a list of signs of the end of the world as we know… a list of things that must happen before He returns… one of the final items on His list is verse 14:

Matthew 24:14 ESV  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

  • I think, to me at least, this leads me to believe that we as Christians will be around for at least PART of the tribulation period.
    • Because someone has to preach the gospel to all nations.
      • Some who believe in the pre tribulation rapture, speculate that the saints in Revelation chapter 7 are those who were saved AFTER Christ raptures or takes His church up into heaven.
      • But that leaves me with the question… who then will preach the Gospel to all these people in Chapter 7?
        • And you might say “They figured it out after seeing the rapture and seeing the signs and wonders” and what not… but that seems unlikely to me…

Romans 10:13-15 ESV  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (14)  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  (15)  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

  • Now… I am not saying that I know the exact timeline of the rapture and the tribulation and what not… like I said a few weeks ago: There are people smarter than me who believe in a rapture before the tribulation… people smarter than me who believe in a rapture after the tribulation… and people smarter than me who believe in a rapture during the tribulation.
  • But here is what I do know… I AM ON TEAM JESUS. And WE HAVE A JOB TO DO!
    • The Gospel MUST be preached to all nations before the New Heavens and New Earth come in.
    • And there MUST be people who are saved from EVERY NATION TRIBE AND TONGUE.
      • THEREFORE, AS A MEMBER OF TEAM JESUS…
      • MISSIONS IS IMPORTANT TO ME!
        • Missions simply means: Making Disciples of All Nations, baptizing them and teaching them.
  • So let’s just talk for a moment about some statistics… We know there MUST be people from every tribe tongue and nation who are hear the gospel and are saved… where are we at with that globally?
    • The Joshua project is tracking this information.
      • According to them there are 3.28 Billion people in 7,398 people groups who are not reached by the Gospel.
        • A people group is considered a tribe or group of people who speak the same language, live in the same area, and have same culture.
        • According to the Joshua project, an unreached people groups is a group that has less than 2 percent of it’s population as Christian.
      • But the more I study Revelation the more I am sure that this is not a great metric…
        • We are told people from every tribe tongue and nation will be in heaven… but we are not told there will be a LOT of people from each tribe tongue and nation.
        • I hope and pray there will be for sure… but the fact is there only needs to be a few for the prophecy to be true.
      • Therefore I like the Wycliff foundations numbers better, they track how many languages have scripture available to them.
        • According to the Wycliff foundation…
        • 717 languages have a complete Bible – 5.75 billion people
        • 1582 languages only have a complete New Testament – 830 million people
        • 1196 languages only have  some translated Bible portions – 457 million people
        • 828 languages have no scripture but work is in progress – 67.6 million people
        • 1892 languages have no scripture but work is planned to begin– 145 million people
        • 44 language communities served by Scripture in another language – 4.6 million people
        • 1119 languages have no scripture and no plan to start translation work – 2.8 million people
  • So what we see here is a total number of 152.4 Million people without Scripture available to them.
    • 3.28 Billion people unreached (Less than 2 percent Christian) = 42.5% of World Population
    • 152.4 Million people without scripture in their language = 2% of world population
  • Now what is phenomenal about these numbers is how fast they are shrinking. In fact Wycliff has a goal of scripture being available in EVERY language by 2025!
  • But the question remains church… WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HELP TEAM JESUS.
    • Somewhere between 42.5% of the world and 2% of the world DON’T have access to the gospel… they are not being made disciples… what are you doing to change that? Are you taking up the great commission as your own?
      • Or are you content just sitting on the bench?
      • You WILL share in the reword… but will you share in the Labor?
    • Some people say God doesn’t care about numbers… but these numbers represent SOULS!
      • And GOD CARES ABOUT EACH AND EVERYONE!
  • What are you doing to help Team Jesus reach these people?!
  •  Now I understand that not everyone can go on missions… but EVERYONE can be a helping part of the team.
    • We all work together, as one team, one bride, on body, to win the nations.
    • That’s why we have mission faith pledges…

Conclusion

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