Tuesday, May 12, 2009

John Lennox on the Scriptures Addressing the Mind

What better book than the book of Revelation for us to address the connection between the Scriptures, imagination, and the mind?

Revelation 4- 
"The late CS Lewis opened the doors of my imagination."

The central theme of these chapters is the throne of God.  It is like a vast work of music.  In chapter 4 is a description of the throne, climaxing at the end of chapter 4 with the worship of God as creator.  The music rises even higher in chapter 5 where we see the lamb as the redeemer of the world.  At the end of chapter 6 the music  climaxes with the wrath of the lamb.  The music ends with all the nations of the world surrounding the throne of God and bowing before him as creator. 

This reminds us of the ultimate goal of spending time before the word of God.  To worship God in spirit and in truth.

True worship is an assault against the materialism of our age.  It assaults post-modernism which denies the truth.  Worship assumes that we realize what ultimate reality is.   God.

Worship is a response to God.  

Why do we study our Bible?  Because we have a sermon to prepare?  If you're not careful you'll study to prepare a message not to get to know God.  Are we simply in a process of churning out sermons?  What's the goal of it all?  God!  

Part of worship connotes bowing before God.  Why would we want to bow to God?  What portion of his nature calls us to bow?  The throne of God.  Materialism denies that there could be any other world, let alone a world with a throne.  A throne that is sat upon by God himself, not some sort of force.  

Let's look at the throne:
-  Surrounded by a vertical green rainbow.  Perhaps the symbol of the rainbow connects with the remembrance of God's grace in Genesis.  God's throne is a throne of grace.  

-  Circle of 24 elders surrounding the throne.  Are these divisions of priests?  Representatives of worldly nations?  Disciples?  Apostles?  At the least they represent God's giving other creatures real authority.  He's given them both authority and capacities to run things.  

God gives men great responsibility.  He called Adam and Eve to tame the garden.  He called Moses to work with the people of Israel.  He called parents to handle the authority of training their children.  He called us to work with our churches.  

We're not finished with this business of authority.  Some think heaven will be boring, but they haven't been through the door, have they?  

Do I believe in delegating?  Or do I feel that no one can do it as well as me?  Did someone delegate authority to you?  Did they allow you to make mistakes?  

- Seven lamps of fire (the seven spirits of God).  Light and government?  What do they have to do with one another?  God governs by light.  They arrested Christ under the cover of darkness.  Christ saved us from darkness.  Paul says we were called out of darkness into the glorious light of Christ.  Darkness is used by evil as a strength of control.  

The light guides us.  Christ no longer calls us servants.  He calls us friends.  He's told us everything we need to know.  We tell our friends more than we tell other people.  We don't keep them in the dark unless we're trying to hide something.  

- Before the throne a sea of glass.  The Israelites did not like the sea.  Doubt is like a roaring sea in the heart of humans.  It tosses us to and fro.  We are lost and confused.  But, cannot God calm the sea!  Jesus cannot only stand on tumultuous seas himself, but he can help you to stand.  Perhaps the sea is roaring in your heart or in your family.  It's hard to believe there is any power able to calm the sea of your life.  Christ can create a beautiful sea of glass.  

- Four living creatures.  God is pro-life.  John finds life surrounding God at every turn.  His throne is a living throne because God is a living God.  "In him is life, and his life was the light of men."  If you try to explain life apart from God you end up in the dark.  

The living creatures cry out, "Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty!"  This throne defines what it means to be holy.  Only God himself is the source of morality.  "Worthy are you, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."  

Why am I?  You and I exist because God wanted me to be.  God wanted me.  He wants me now.  By God's will I was created!  Where will you find that in any other philosophy in the world?  

- The scroll with seven seals.  If we know that these seals bring judgement, why would we want them opened?  Atheism thinks it solved the problem by banishing God.  However, with banishing God they banished ultimate judgement.  Only God can bring that perfect, final, righteous judgement.  

John turns expecting to see the mightiest of animals.  Instead he finds the weakest.  A tiny lamb.  A  tiny lamb that looks as those it was slain.  This lamb had seven horns (for power) and seven eyes (for wisdom).  Christ crucified is the power of God and the wisdom of God -  I Corinthians 1:23-25.  

Richard Dawkins said of Jesus, "Jesus, how unworthy of the universe?"  No, how unworthy of Jesus Christ is the universe.  

Why is this lamb worthy?  He was slain.  His blood ransomed us.  Bought us.  He's been doing some buying.  He's bought me and given me as a present to God.  This is incomprehensible.  He bought me?  He bought me!  Why would anybody buy me?  How could I possibly be ashamed of a God like that.  

We are to love the God with all our mind, but if that truly happens it will affect our hearts and emotions.  

- The seals are opened.  From this results war, plague, family, and death.  It causes many things that shatters confidence in Christ.  The opening of the seals proves the reality of the wrath of Christ.  It's the measured response of the God of the universe.  

If there is a God and he's holy righteous and true then he knows I am not.  He knows I sin against him and against others.  Must there not be a response to that?  Only Christianity offers both the justice and the offer of escape.  

- An innumerable crowd from every nation.  How did this crowd get before the throne of God?  
As we stand before the throne we realize that we will hunger and thirst no more.  No more tears.  The Creator of the universe will wipe away our very last tear.  He will personally eliminate the tears.  He is a caring, sensitive God.  Spend time with that God and wait till he himself appears.  Only when Christ appears to you will you have something to say.  

We will think at the moment we see heaven, "If I had known it was like this I would have invested more in it."  

No comments: