Based on: Revelation 5:11-14
“Is it really worth all that time and money?” Has anyone said that to you? We are well aware of what it means to think that something is worth your time and effort. Sir Edmund Hillary thought it worth his time and effort to climb Mount Everest. Mikhail Gorbachev thought it was worth his time to turn the Soviet Union into a democracy. Bill Gates thought it was worth his time to write a computer operating system and look where it got him!
And not just those people, but I’m sure you know people who think it is worth their time, effort and money to rebuild an old car, to fix an old house, or to pursue whatever hobby interests them. Really, their pursuits don’t even have to be that noble. If someone just wanted to watch TV then that is apparently what they think is worthy of their time and effort.
We are very familiar with making those decisions about what thing or activity is worthy of our time or money. We place a value on things. Either you are going to spend the money to buy a certain item or you decide it is not worth it. Either you spend time on a project or you decide it is not worth it. We make those choices about where to spend our time, money, or effort. We do the same when it comes to God and his Word.
I am going to switch topics slightly. Have you ever wondered where the word “worship” comes from? Maybe not, but it has something to do with what we are talking about today. The word “worship” comes from an old English word that means “to ascribe worth”, in other words when you worship God you are telling him what you think he is worth. You are saying to God, “You are worth my time, my money, my effort.”
When it comes to Jesus Christ, what is he worth? The book of Revelation calls him “the Lamb who was slain” What is this Lamb worth? The part of God’s word that we read from the book of Revelation answers that quite nicely, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” But we can’t stop there. We must ask the question what is the “Lamb who was slain” worth to you?
Perhaps our first reaction is to say, “Well, he is worth everything to me. He is my Savior. Without him I would spend eternity in hell instead of eternity with him in heaven. There is nothing in my life worth more to me than my Savior, the Lamb who was slain.” We would be right to say that, but take a step back and look to see if your actions agree with your words.
What is it in your life that is worthy of your time, your money, your effort? Is there a hobby that occupies your time or does your work consume much of your resources? Perhaps you find recreation and relaxation most worthy of your time and money? Now, do you remember the definition I gave you for “worship”?
If you have every tool or cooking utensil that could possibly fit in your workshop or kitchen, but you are lacking many of the tools God gives you in his word for you to live your Christian life, then what do you really value? What do you worship?
If your conversation is overwhelmingly focused on yourself instead of helping others, then to whom do you ascribe worth? What or whom do you worship?
We can certainly serve God as we go about our work, our lives, even our hobbies, but I ask you to look at what you find most worthy of your resources. Can you really say that your daily life shows that you find “the Lamb who was slain” most worthy of your resources? If it is something else, then you have found your own god that you worship.
Shame covers the man in this pulpit, as it should for all of you! No one here in this sanctuary has given to God what God is truly worth. Therefore, you and I are not worthy of his time or effort. God really should go spend time on something else and leave us to suffer in hell. Yet that is not what he did. Even though we are not worthy of his time and effort he took the time and made the effort to rescue us from all the things on which we waste our time and money and effort. For that he is worthy of our time, money, energy and praise.
When the apostle John was watching this vision of heaven that he wrote down for us in the book of Revelation, he saw God on his throne. There was a scroll in his hand that contained the record of future events – a future of hope and comfort for believers. It had seven seals holding it shut and no one was found worthy to open the seals. No one, except the Lamb who was slain. The Lamb was found worthy to open the scroll for God’s elect because he purchased people for God with his own blood. Because he offered his life for the world, he alone is worthy.
As John watches the events taking place in God’s throne room, 4 living creatures, 24 elders, and millions of angels start singing, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
You understand the picture of the Lamb, don’t you? And understanding why he is pictured as a Lamb, you also understand why he is worthy of our time and money and energy. This is the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. In Bible Class on Palm Sunday we talked about the many connections between Christ’s sacrificial death and the sacrificial death of the lamb at Passover.
This Lamb was slain, executed on a cross for sins, yours and mine. He suffered God’s wrath over sin in our place. He is God and therefore he is worthy of all these things of which those angels and others in heaven were singing, but now as my Savior he is doubly worthy of all these things.
By his death he has made us worthy to stand before God. Before, we were not worthy of any of God’s blessings, but now he has removed our sin and made us worthy to be in God’s presence and receive his blessings for all eternity.
We show his worth to us by using our time, money, effort – our whole lives – to worship him. In 1902 the believers here at St. John’s understood that the Lamb who was slain was worthy of their time, money, and energy and so they built this building. In 1925 the believers understood that the Lamb was worthy of their time, money, and energy and so they built the school. Later, believers built additions to the school and to the church. Also now believers understand that the Lamb is worthy of their time, money, and energy and so they support this church and the school. They study God’s Word in worship and in Bible Class. You know that the Lamb who was slain is worthy of your time.
You know that Jesus considered you worthy of his time. He came to earth to take your place under God’s judgment, even considering you worthy of his life, not because of anything in you, but because of his undeserved love for you. We join those around the throne in singing with our voices and our lives, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”