This week’s lesson, Worthy Is the Lamb, presents quite a challenge for me as a Sabbath school teacher. Because of the nature of the book of Revelation, it can be easy to just have a forward-looking history class. For example, the facts outlined in this week’s lesson from Revelation 4 & Revelation 5 are noteworthy and spectacular, as other commentators have aptly covered. However, I believe that to be most effective, I must find a way to use the week’s topic to both inspire and encourage class members. If you’re a teacher, I want to give you a possible pathway to accomplish that.
The title of this lesson gives a clue to our approach. It springs from the phrase “Worthy is the Lamb”, Revelation 5:12
Notice carefully the underlying sentiment of what is being expressed. It is simply gratitude. The mysterious four creatures and the twenty-four Elders sing a song of praise that springs from gratitude.
And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
John, in vision, is seeing an expression of thanksgiving that is at the core of worship. They sing this song to the Lamb because of their gratitude for the salvation that came via His sacrifice. Within their praise is an example for us today. Our lives, in various ways, should be expressions of our gratitude for the great salvation that is ours.
We who were once lost in sin have been redeemed by the Lamb. Our past sins have been forgiven and cast into the sea of forgetfulness. Lives of self-centeredness that could never produce true happiness, have been replaced with a purpose in life that is bigger than ourselves. We have become a part of the family of God and all that we have and all that we are is a gift from God. We should be grateful.
Sadly, over time, we sometimes lose our sense of gratitude. We have an enemy that does everything possible to turn our vision from our Master. We sometimes begin to believe that who we are and what we have achieved is because of our own wit and efforts. Like a see-saw, our emotions rise and fall based on what we can and cannot do. That should not be.
You may be wondering how does one go about losing and getting back a sense of gratitude that leads to authentic praise and worship. While there are many biblical examples to choose from, I find that Peter walking on water best illustrates this point.
Peter asked Jesus to allow him to do what he had never done (neither anyone else). Jesus answered him positively. As you picture Peter making this request, think back for a moment how you asked God to turn your life around and enable you to do what you had never done. Perhaps you were in a bad place or just sensing a need for a new life. You reached out in your heart to Jesus and He answered you positively.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
But just like Peter, as we advance doing what we never did before, we begin to look at ourselves and take pride in our progress. When our eyes are diverted from the Source of life, the waves suddenly interpose between us and our Saviour, and we begin to sink.
Our solution is simple. Peter, in his time of great need, says what we all can say in the time of ours:
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. Matthew 14:30
At that moment he was rescued. Praise God! But the question next asked by his Savior is revealing.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Matthew 14:31
As plain as I can say it, I hear Jesus asking Peter why did you for a moment doubt my love? Have I not shown you in everything I do, that my love is constant and my care unchangeable? Your confidence in my love should never waver.
Dear reader, has He not shown you that His love for you is constant and His care for you is unchangeable? Have confidence in His love. And like the 4 creatures and twenty-four Elders seen in heaven, let us express our gratitude in our worship and devotion to Him.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does the word grateful mean to you?
- Is it possible to be truly grateful and not express it? Explain your answer
- How does God expect us to show our gratitude to Him?
- What are some Bible examples of expressions of gratitude?
- Can a person be saved without a sense of gratitude? Explain your answer.
- Should true gratitude promote cheerfulness, kindness, and humility? Why yes or no?
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: True gratitude will lead me to serve my fellow man. Explain your answer.
We close this week’s lesson with a chorus that John heard every living creature sing. May we be a part of that number.
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!