Revelation 4:11

Sermon preached on June 10, 2012 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

A couple of months ago I read an interesting newspaper article about James Cameron's plan to dive to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. Cameron is a famous the movie director whose credits include the Titanic, the Abyss and Avatar. On one of the preparation dives, Cameron went down to a depth of 5.1 miles. The newspaper article said,

"There was a moment when Cameron was photographing a jellyfish that swam right in front of his viewport, backlit by special lighting techniques. 'I just saw this very ancient and very simple animal,' Cameron recalled. 'The thought that popped through my head was that God must have been proud the day that he created the jellyfish.' And, Cameron added, he's an atheist."

Isn't that remarkable? Cameron is as atheist and the first thought hat popped into his head when he saw that jellyfish was the joy that God had when He created it. Sometimes even atheists can't help but let it slip out that creation shows forth the glory of God.

This is one of the great truths we see in the Bible is that

creation displays God's glory.

Psalm 19:1–3 says,

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard."

John Calvin says of Psalm 19,

"David shows how it is that the heavens proclaim to us the glory of God, namely, by openly bearing testimony that they have not been put together by chance, but were wonderfully created by the supreme Architect."

In his book, The Pleasures of God, John Piper says of sun, moon and stars, (p. 86)

"Day and night they are saying one thing: God is glorious! God is glorious! God is glorious!"

Creation tells us not only that there is a God, but that He is very great—that He is a God of power, of glory, of creativity, of beauty, of goodness, of love, of joy. Creation reveals His glory. In his writings John Calvin often referred to creation as, (Institutes, 1:14:20)

"the theater of God's glory."

In a sermon on Genesis 1:1-2 he said,

"the world, from its heights to its depths, is like a mirror to compel us to contemplate God…"

Creation tells us that God is worthy to receive praise. In our text the 24 elders praise God because He is the creator and sustainer of all things. They say,

"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."

They are telling everyone that He is worthy to be praised because He created and sustains all things. This puts everything into the proper context. The fact that God created everything shows that He is above all and has authority over all. As Michael Horton puts it, creation announces God's, (The Christian Faith, p. 325)

"claim upon all reality."

Michael Horton goes on to quote Paul Tillich and says,

"The doctrine of creation is not the story of an event which took place 'once upon a time'. It is the basic description of the relation between God and the world…"

Creation shows the sovereign majesty of God. He is the high and exalted One, the Lord of creation. He created all things. Through Him all things exist. Therefore He is worthy of all praise from all creatures. We are to attribute to Him honor, glory and power. He is worthy.

The great lesson for you here is that

you should be praising God for His creation.

Creation shows that God is worthy and beckons us to praise to God. This world is amazing and every day you should celebrate the greatness of God displayed in the beauty, the complexity, the joy of creation—and you should praise God for that.

The world today doesn't want to praise God for His creation. They deny His existence. They attribute the wonderful things of creation to "Mother Nature", or "Mother Earth", or luck or chance. They do everything in their power to rob God of the honor that is due to Him. Don't fall into their trap. Praise God for His creation. Let it lead you to praise.

Creation shows us so much about God's character.

John Calvin said that through creation, (Sermon on Genesis 1:1)

"God shows himself everywhere and provides indications of his majesty, of his power, of his righteousness, of his goodness, and everything that can lead us to him."

Sin has marred God's creation. Yet, in spite of that, creation still displays God's glory. It shows His creativity. Louis Armstrong sang a song that expresses joy in the beauty of this world. It says, (What a Wonderful World)

I see trees of green, red roses tooI see them bloom for me and youAnd I think to myself what a wonderful world.I see skies of blue and clouds of whiteThe bright blessed day, the dark sacred nightAnd I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I don't think Armstrong was a Christian, but he certainly had an appreciation for God's creation.

Isn't God's creation amazing? The wonder and variety of God's creation is amazing. Every summer Marg and I go back to Nova Scotia and there's a point in our trip where we get out of the car and one of us says to the other,

"Smell the salt air."

That's such a simple thing. I don't even realize I've missed it until I taste it in the air. It surprises me. As someone who grew up practically on the ocean, I miss the ocean. I miss swimming in salt water as it's so much more buoyant, it's easier on your eyes when you open them under water.

Those of you who are married hopefully know the joy of having a wonderful spouse. To think that God created such a marvelous creature to share life with you—how incredible is that? It's amazing.

In his book,
The Pleasures of God, John Piper tells about reading the magazine Ranger Rick when he was a boy. He said that he remembers reading about the European water spider. It's a spider that lives at the bottom of a lake, but it breathes air. It comes to the top of the water, does a somersault on the surface, which catches a little bubble of air. Then it holds the bubble over the breathing holes in the middle of its body as it takes it to the bottom of the lake. There it spins a silk web among the plants there. It goes up and down bringing bubble after bubble until a little balloon of air is formed under its silk web. And then it lives and feeds there.

God has made such incredible creatures. Every time you experience the joy of God's creation you should praise God for creating it. God creation is so wonderful. In Job 38:4-7 God answered Job and asked him where he was creation took place. He said,

"Where were you when
I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions?
Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?"

John Piper writes, (Pleasures, p. 83)

"God cannot resist, it seems, mentioning what the mood of heaven was like at the moment of creation. 'All the sons of God shouted for joy.' All the angels had evidently been created before the universe. And it is not hard to see why. God meant there to be an audience when he created the world. I am sure he said, 'Watch this!' when he spoke the galaxies into existence. Imagine the awe and wonder that exploded among the angels. They had never seen or even imagined matter. They are all 'ministering spirits' (Hebrews 1:14) and have no material bodies as we do. When God brought material stuff into existence with all its incredible variety and utterly unheard-of qualities of sight and sound and smell and touch and taste, this was totally unknown to the angels. God made it all up… It was absolutely, totally, unimaginably new! An the response of the sons of God was to shout for joy."

How incredible creation is!

The Bible gives us at least three reasons why we should praise God for His creation. Creation reveals certain things about God.

First of all,

creation reveals God's incomparable power.

Ever since they launched the Hubble Space Telescope I've been amazed at the pictures that it has sent back to earth. It has photographed never before seen galaxies. For the history of mankind, no one even saw them. On the Hubble web site there is one picture, of just one little portion of the sky, which astronomers say contains 10,000 galaxies. Then when you look at the close up pictures of the galaxies you see such beauty. There are different types of galaxies—elliptical, spiral, and irregular—and they're gorgeous. The colors, the patterns, the scope of them is amazing. Some of them are huge. The Milky Way galaxy in which we live is tiny compared to them. Our galaxy is only 100,000 light years in diameter. The largest that we know about, IC 1101, is 6 million light years across and is estimated to be 60 times bigger than our Milky Way.

This past week I downloaded a free app for my iPad. It's called
Cosmic Eye. When you open the app the face of a young woman appears on the screen. I didn't know what to do with the app so I put it on demo mode. It started to zoom out and you saw that she was lying on the grass, then you saw that she was in a courtyard, outside an office complex, than you could see the city of Mountain View, Ca. Then it zoomed out some more and you could see the Bay area of San Francisco, then all of California, then all the west coast of the US, then it zoomed out so that you were looking at the earth from space, and soon the moon appeared and then it zoomed out some more and you could see all the planets and the Voyager spacecraft, which has left our Solar System. Then you see the Outer Oort Cloud, then other stars, then the entire Milky Way, then hundreds of other galaxies. Then it stopped and zoomed back in all the way to the girl's face. I thought it would stop there but it didn't. It zoomed in on her eye. You could see her pupil and iris, then it zoomed in some more and you could see a blood vessel in her eye, then a white blood cell, then the chromosome in it, then the tip of the chromosome, then the electrons of an oxygen atom, then the atomic nucleus of the atom, with the protons and neutrons, each one consisting of three quarks. It was incredible.

The microscopic world is just as amazing as the wonders of outer space. And God made it all. How wonderful He is. Whenever we consider the vastness of the universe, or the awesomeness of the microscopic world, we should praise God for His power and might. In Isaiah 40:26 the prophet asked,

"Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host
one by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power
and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing."

God is so great and powerful. His creation of the universe proves that.

This should be a great help to us.

In difficult times, when there seems to be no hope at all—you can have hope because the God who created the universe rules.

We see this in King Hezekiah when the Assyrian army came against Jerusalem. They were a vast army. They were so sure of victory that they boasted about it. The Assyrians sent a message to King Hezekiah that said, (Isaiah 36:8)

"Come now, make a bargain
with my master, the king of Assyria:
I will give you two thousand horses—
if you can put riders on them!"

Compared to the Israelites the Assyrians were like the sand on the seashore. It seemed like they would surely win. King Sennacherib of Assyria sent a message to King Hezekiah. He said, (Isaiah 37:10–13)

"Do not let the god you depend on
deceive you when he says,
'Jerusalem will not be handed
over to the king of Assyria.'
Surely you have heard
what the kings of Assyria have done
to all the countries,
destroying them completely.
And will you be delivered?
Did the gods of the nations
that were destroyed by my forefathers
deliver them—the gods of Gozan,
Haran, Rezeph and the people of Eden
who were in Tel Assar?"

But King Hezekiah knew that God could save them. We read about his response in verses 15-17.

"And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:
O Lord Almighty, God of Israel,
enthroned between the cherubim,
you alone are God
over all the kingdoms of the earth.
You have made heaven and earth.
Give ear, O Lord, and hear;
open your eyes, O Lord, and see;
listen to all the words Sennacherib
has sent to insult the living God."

God did hear and an angel of the Lord went out and in one night killed so many Assyrian soldiers that they had to withdraw from Jerusalem, never to return.

So when you're in difficulty, you should remember how great God is. He who created and upholds all things will be able to help you in your times of need. Praise God in times of trouble. He is worthy because He is powerful to help His people.

The second thing we see about creation is that

it reveals God's incomparable wisdom.

Psalm 104:24 says,

"How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures."

John Piper writes, (Pleasures, p. 91)

"This universe is a masterpiece of wisdom and order. Or if you just take a part of it, like the human body—what an amazing work of knowledge and wisdom! Who can fathom the human brain and the mystery of how mind and body work together? Whether you look near or far, whether you look for bigness or smallness, the wonders of nature stagger the mind with the wisdom woven through it all."

I hardly ever think of the earth's magnetic field. Even when I use a compass I just basically take it for granted. But awhile ago I saw a science program on TV that said that if the earth didn't have it's magnetic field, it's not just that we'd get lost in the woods more, it would mean that the earth wouldn't be able to support life. The earth's magnetic shield is necessary for preventing the atmosphere from being destroyed by solar wind by deflecting dangerous particles from impacting the Earth. It also protects us from the magnetic/electrical radiation that comes from the sun. The wisdom that God displays in giving us a magnetic field. It's incredible.

Or consider where God placed the earth in relation to the sun. It's in the exact right place. If it was much closer to the sun, it would be too hot for us. If it was much further away, it would be too cold for us.

It's incredible how God made the universe. Consider this statement by Galileo,

"The great book of nature is written in mathematical language."

Nature is mathematical? Why is that? Listen to Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynman, who, as far as I know was not a Christian. He wrote, (The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist, p 24)

"The rules that describe nature seem to be mathematical. This is not a result of the fact that observation is the judge, and it is not a characteristic necessity of science that it be mathematical. It just turns out that you can state mathematical laws, in physics at least, which work to make powerful predictions. Why nature is mathematical is, again, a mystery." "the fact that there are rules at all to be checked is a kind of miracle; that it is possible to find a rule, like the inverse square law of gravitation, is some sort of miracle. It is not understood at all, but it leads to the possibility of prediction—that means that it tells you what you would expect to happen in an experiment you have not yet done."

German scientist Johann Kepler (1571-1630) realized that in his astronomical research, he was able to,

"think God's thoughts after Him."

We think God's thoughts after Him. The wisdom that God displays in the universe.

This should also be a great help for us when we are perplexed by things.

Sometimes we are totally confused by God's providences. They confound us and hurt us. We can't make sense of them.

But even in such a time we should trust in God, in Jesus the Good Shepherd. We should not be dismayed. He is wise. Consider the wisdom that He displays in the universe. Colossians 2:3 tells us that in Christ,

"are hidden all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge."

He knows what He is doing. He is working out a wise and wonderful plan. Even when you're going through the valley of the shadow of death—trust and praise Him.

Thirdly, creation shows us God's goodness.

In Genesis 1 we read that God looked at His work of creation and six times we read,

"And God saw that it was good."

John Piper comments, (The Pleasures of God, p. 82),

"I take this to mean at least that God was delighted with his work. He approved of it. He was glad that he had done it. When he looked at it, it gave him pleasure. It is as though he said, 'Yes, that's it. That will do just fine. That's exactly right.' And we get the clue early on in the story that the root of his delight in creation has to do with imaging for his own glory, because only after he created man and woman in his image did God add the word, 'very' to the word 'good'."

After God made man in His image He said his creation was 'very good'.

Creation shows God's goodness. As Psalm 33:5 says,

"the earth is full of his unfailing love."


But someone may say,

"But what about all the suffering in the world? What about all the evil in the world?"

Rather than using God's creation to praise God, they use it against God. They say that they don't believe in God because,

"How can there be a loving God with all the suffering in the world?"

They're making two mistakes. First, they're assuming that God is responsible for the evil in the world. Secondly, they're assuming that God is not doing anything (or enough) about the evil in the world.

But both of those assumptions are wrong. God is not responsible for the evil in the world. It did not come from Him. He is not the author evil. Evil did not originate with Him. It originated in the angelic world. From them it spread to mankind. God is also doing something about the evil in the world. Notice how the 24 elders praise God, not just for His act of creation, but for His upholding all things. They say,

"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being."

Michael Horton writes,

"Although the world came into existence at a certain point in the past, God is still involved in creating at the level of not only upholding but even altering creatures. Further, the Scriptures represent God's redeeming work as a new creation…"

So, it could be that the praise of the 24 elders here for God creating and upholding all things anticipates God's redeeming His creation through the Lamb, which we see in chapter 5. Thus it could be that the praise of the 24 elders here points us to the work of the Lamb that we see in chapter 5.

God is doing the best possible thing about the sin and evil in the world. Chapter 5 reveals the Lamb, looking as if it had been slain—who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll. He is worthy. He was slain and purchased men for God. He has made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God. God is doing something about the evil in the world. He is going to set everything right. He is going to establish a new heaven and a new earth, wherein will dwell righteousness.

How we should praise God for His creation—for His re-creation.

How good God is. He did not destroy His original creation and man when sin came into the world. Rather, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem, to recreate.

What a wonderful God we have. How good He has been to us. Psalm 148:3–5, 7-8 says,

"Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures
and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,"

He created all things for His glory. He is going to make a new heaven and a new earth. He is going to have us dwell there with Him. How worthy Jesus is.

Two lessons in closing.

For those that aren't Christians—you are being most ungrateful to the God who created you.

God is worthy that you praise Him because He created you. In Colossians 1:16–17 the apostle Paul wrote,

"For by him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him."

God created you. He created you for His glory. The fact that God created you means that you belong to Him and that you owe Him homage. You owe Him worship and praise. Moment by moment He gives you life and breath. (Acts 17:25-28) Every good thing that you have comes to you because of His grace. (James 1:17) What are you giving Him in return? How are you serving Him in return?

It is the greatest crime not to worship Him. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in His triumphal entry, many people praised God and said, (Luke 19:38–40)

"Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke His disciples. Jesus replied,

"I tell you, if they keep quiet,
the stones will cry out."

You need to start serving and praising God. You can only do that in Jesus. Go to Him today.

Secondly, for Christians,

are you praising and honoring God like you should be?

God is worthy. Worshiping God is the most significant thing we can do with our lives. Craig S. Keener writes, (Revelation)

"If the twenty-four elders symbolize the church (and probably even if they do not) the total nature of their worship invites us to similar praise."

We should be praising God like the heavenly host. It should be our main priority. His service should be our primary concern. Christians, praise and serve God with everything that is in you.