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The Search for Worth

 If you are searching for the worth then know in Jesus your worth is not measured by being smart, strong, pretty, popular, wealthy, or wise but rather by the right you have in Jesus.

 

Revelation 5:1-7 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

 

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.

 

How would you answer if without any particulars I asked, “How did you do this year?” For many, 2023 was a year full of disappointments and dissatisfaction with life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported suicide to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Last year ended with a little less than 50,000 suicide deaths with a large number of youth.

 

Unfortunately, 2023 calculations though not finalized yet do present a grimmer picture than last year. Among other reasons including mental health search for worth plays its role.

 

The problem is, while New Year’s Eve is a highly celebrated time of the year, it is a catalyst of anxiety for many people. People need to know on New Year’s Eve that their search for worth should not be a contest of prosperity and popularity.

 

In Revelation 5:1-7, a search for worth was also conducted. It was a cosmic search in heaven, on earth, and under the earth— not for the mightiest, the wealthiest, and the wisest but for one who is worthy to receive all those things.

 

If we don’t want to be dissatisfied with life, we should not search for worth in prosperity and popularity because some of the most dissatisfied people are the most prosperous, popular, pretty, and powerful people.

 

If you are searching for worth you may find today’s message helpful. As we continue our series, “Uncovering Revelation” verse by verse, we learn three lessons from Revelation 5:1-7.

 

Searching for Worth in the Wrong Places

 

We will always be discouraged and disappointed when we search for worth in the wrong places. Revelation 5:1 reads, “Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.”

 

Chapter 5 is the continuity of Chapter 4 and John's repetition of God being on the throne coupled with an emphasis on the scroll in God’s right hand is indicative of the sovereign power of God. This was and is a message of hope for those who are suffering and confronting evil in the world. Probably Christians under severe persecution thought Satan was winning the war against God and His elects. Probably they asked the last remaining apostle when God would vindicate them.

 

John’s vision was and is the ray of hope for the church in every age that Satan may exercise dominion and control on earth but in heaven he has no role. He is irrelevant to heavenly scenes. Unlike many who think that there is a war between God and Satan, Revelation shows that there is no war in heaven. God’s war is against sin and how it has fatally wounded creation, and now not only humanity but Romans 8 says the whole creation groans with pain and seeks restoration.

 

All this came to pass because Adam and Eve looked for worth in the wrong place. Rather than looking at the eternal throne of God the Creator, they sought after the creation, Satan, who desired to build his own throne higher than God. He was delusional and the delusion was passed on to us in search of worth. When we search for worth in the wrong places, we compare ourselves with created beings who are carnal and find our worth in things that will not last.

 

John zeroed in on the scroll in God’s right hand which was written on both sides.

 

Ezekiel 2:9-10 mentions a scroll written on both sides too. A little research will tell that historically, if one is selling something it will be written on one side of a scroll but what cannot be sold will be written on both sides of the scroll.

 

Daniel 12:4-9 also talks about a similar scroll, and Daniel 12:4 reads, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.” I believe John thought the scroll to be one and the same.

 

For about 600 years, every Jew had been waiting patiently for the seal to be opened. John noticed seven seals on the scroll. We know that seven is the number of perfection and completion which means two things here— the scroll contains everything there is to know about the future and completion of the redemptive plan of God and His perfect judgment against the unredeemed and since Roman law required a last will to be sealed seven times it meant the content was perfectly secured until the one worthy took it.

 

In verses 2-3 John says, “And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,

 

In heaven, none of the mighty angels including the one who is proclaiming or any of the faithful believers were worthy.

 

On earth, all the powerful, popular, and even pious people were not worthy.

 

Under the earth, those who have died in the hope of resurrection were not worthy.

 

Somehow John saw the mighty angels looking for one who was worthy in the wrong places.

 

The angel did not say the mightiest, richest, or wisest but worthy. In God, your worth is not in carnal things but who He says you are. This is why outside of God no savior, sage, or saint was found worthy.

 

Searching for Worth Among the Wrong People

 

In Revelation 5:4-5, the angel was not only looking for the one worthy in the wrong places but also among the wrong people. Verse 4 reads, “and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.”  John was weeping because he was discouraged and disappointed by the fact that no one was found worthy to open the seals.

 

What was sealed in Daniel 12 will remain sealed. The seals had to be broken to reveal how the final chapters of the complete redemptive plan of God and the judgment of the wicked would unfold. Verse 5 reads, And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”” 

 

When you are among the right people who know Jesus, in your grief they will comfort you by directing you to Jesus. Most people search for worth among the wrong people and the wrong people guide them to the wrong things. They will say just take a little it will numb your pain. Just cheat a little- it will give you pleasure.

 

John was among the right people and one of the elders told him to weep no more and look at the redeemer God, the Lion of Judah, the fulfillment of all promises of God. He comforted with two Messianic prophecies.

 

In Genesis 49:9-10 the NASB translation reads, “Judah is a lion’s cub; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares to stir him up? The scepter will not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

 

Isaiah 11:1 reads, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” Jesse was the father of King David who was from the tribe of Judah.

 

To David in 2 Samuel 7:16, God promised that his kingdom would last forever.

 

Jesus in His humanity, Matthew 1 tells was the son of David from His father's side and Luke 3 says also from His mother's side.

 

Rather than searching for worth, search for the right people who know your worth in Jesus. The elders told John to wipe his tears away and look at the lion. When we are so consumed by our grief often, we are unable to hear and see what God is trying to show and do in our lives. The wrong people will point us to the wrong places, but the right people will draw us to eternal hope, love, and the promise of God. 

 

Search for Worth With the Wrong Perspective

 

Revelation 5:6 reads, “And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” When John looked at the Lion of Judah, he saw a Lamb.

 

A wrong perspective would see no worth in a lamb for it represents incredible weakness. However, with the right perspective, the Lion is the Lamb, slaughtered but living. The Lamb has incredible power for He is victorious Jesus.

 

In the Jewish mind, one animal that summed up all animals offered to God as a perfect blood sacrifice in the Old Testament was a lamb— to be precise, a little lamb without blemish. In our text, a Lamb is the word “little lamb.” Therefore, in John 1, when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

 

People searching for worth with the wrong perspective will ignore the strength that comes from humility and sacrifice. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes. Again, the number seven represents completion and perfection.

 

Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 13:1 tell us that horns symbolize strength and represent authority and power. The eyes represent wisdom and watchfulness but within the book of Revelation 1:4 and 4:5, we are told that it is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Little Lamb was the perfect sacrifice to God offered by God in the person of God the Son Jesus on earth but in Heaven for His obedience, the Lamb was seen in perfect strength, authority, and power. It means it was granted to Him. Therefore, verse 7 says, “And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.” 

 

Regarding the content of the scroll, I believe it is the title deed to the earth. In Genesis 1:27-28, God gave the first man Adam dominion over all creation but after the fall, the dominion defaulted to Satan who continued to maintain his dominion of God’s creation on earth.

 

However, Jesus the Second Man lived the perfect life that no one could live, died a gruesome death that no one could die to redeem the unredeemed to restore us to the Father.

 

Ephesians 1:7 says, “in him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” So, God became man so he can pay for our sins to restore us to Himself.

 

We ought to change our perspective as we search for worth. With the wrong perspective, the search for worth will say, the Lion eats the lamb, thus survival of the fittest but with God’s perspective, they hang out together in the person of Jesus demonstrating perfect peace.

 

One author I read said, “Adam's sin in no way displaced God from His rightful place on the throne, nor did it undermine His sovereignty. It only changed Adam's perspective of God, but it didn't change God.” Sin changed our perspective of God and us. Now we search for worth in a broken world among broken people and with a broken perspective.

 

I did a quick search to see how humanity did in 2023. The Russian-Ukraine war, Azerbaijan-Armenian war, Israel-Hamas war, Saudi-backed Yemeni war, Iran’s internal war against its people and Israel, and all the Islamists’ war-like conflicts in the African continent ravaged the land leaving behind hopelessness.

 

Hopelessness will remain if we search for worth in the wrong places, among the wrong people, and with the wrong perspective. The scroll being in the right hand of God symbolizes the power, authority, and complete dominion of God in all matters related to the fate of the world and every individual.

 

God has the whole world in His hand, and you are most precious to Him for His Son died for you.

 

Stop searching for worth in the wrong places, among the wrong people, and with the wrong perspective. You are worth so much more than you can ever imagine because Jesus the slaughtered Lamb is forever present in heaven.

 

Do not look at carnal things but look at the Lion of Judah which represents the government of God, perfect power, and the second coming of Jesus for He comes as the righteous judge.

 

Do not take your eyes off the Lamb of God who takes away our sins. As a Lion Jesus is Sovereign and as a Lamb Jesus is Savior.

 

If you are searching for the worth then know in Jesus your worth is not measured by being smart, strong, pretty, popular, wealthy, or wise but rather by the right you have in Jesus.

 

In Jesus, you have the right to be called the child of God. In Jesus, you have the right to stand before God completely forgiven and justified.

 

Study Questions

 

1.       What does the scroll hold? 

 

2.       To whom does Revelation 5:3 refer when it says, “in heaven or on earth or under the earth?”

 

3.       Why was no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth found worthy to open the scroll?

 

4.       What qualification or credentials were needed to open the scroll in Revelation 5:4? 


Deeper Study Questions

 

1.       In Revelation 5:4, John wept. Discuss at least two possible reasons for his weeping. Would these reasons would cause you to weep, also?

 

2.       John was told not to weep and to look at the Lion of Judah who turned out to be the Lamb of God. Revelation 5:5-7 says that the Lion is the Lamb. How does Jesus being the Lion and Lamb give hope for today?

 

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