Pre-intro: Good morning. My name is Matt Lubratt, I'm the Youth Pastor here. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.
Image: This fall when we kicked off Renovation Youth, the students were saying words and phrases that made no sense to me. "Parents you know what I'm talking about?" Gen Z has this lingo and if you don't know what it means it's hard to connect with them. So, I gathered some of the words that I heard and went on a dangerous expedition to Urban Dictionary, so that you wouldn't have to. So, this morning, we are all going to learn some of Gen Z's lingo so that we can connect with them better, or probably just make them cringe. It doesn't matter if you have kids this age, or you don't. We are all going to learn together.
You'd think that that means to do business. To make a financial transaction. But you'd be wrong, that's why we are doing this.
"Selling" - verb: "To sabotage a teammate" or "To be bad at something (particularly a sport or video game)."
So, the next time you hear a 8th grade boy say to one of his friends, "you're selling" he means: "why are you sabotaging our team right now."
This one is a little more self-explanatory. It is short for "middle". If you ask a 9th grader how their lunch at school was. They might say, "it was mid".
"Mid" - adjective: “Describes something as average. Middle of the road.”
At first glance, this one is a little worrisome. You'll hear students yell, "yes, slay!" or "that slayed". And you're thinking uh oh, don't like where this is going.
"Slay" - verb: "to succeed at something" "to do something well". It can even mean "to look good".
Give yourselves a round of applause, you are now equipped to communicate with Gen Z.
Need: It's important to understand what words mean. The meaning of a word can change based on the context or who said it. This is the same for the Bible too. In fact, the Bible will often use names to describe someone or their character. By knowing someone's name, you know something about them.
Subject: This morning we are starting a new series called the, “Names of God.” For 5 weeks we’re going to cover different names or titles for God in the Bible. And as we studied in Colossians a few weeks ago, we saw that all the fullness of God dwells in Jesus. So, we will cover some titles for Jesus as well. We believe the Biblical teaching in this series is going to give you a better and more broad understanding of who God is.
So, this week, we are looking at Jesus as the Lion of Judah. The first time that we see this is in Genesis.
Text: Genesis 49:8-10 (page 37)
Preview: Jacob (now called Israel) is dying, and he is prophesying over his sons and blessing them.
Genesis 49:8-10: “Judah,[a] your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[b]
until he to whom it belongs[c] shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
There's a lot happening here, but the main thing I want you to focus on is in verse 8. Jacob tells Judah that "your brothers will praise you" and "your father's sons will bow down to you." Jacob is prophesying that Judah’s descendants, who would become the tribe of Judah, which was one of the 12 tribes of Israel, will be the kingly tribe.
It will be the tribe that the royalty of Israel comes from. We know that King David and King Solomon (the mighty kings of Israel) were from the Tribe of Judah.
(v.10) Not only that if we look at verse 10 (read it again). Jacob is not prophesying about Judah, but he is talking about someone in the future who we don't know yet.
1 - This future king will come from the line of Judah
2 - He will rule forever
3 - His rule will be over the entire world
Jacob is prophesying past Judah, past the tribe of Judah and its mighty kings, and he was talking about the messiah, and he describes the messiah as a lion which makes sense because the lion represents royalty and authority, it is the king of the animal kingdom. This messiah is Jesus, and he is from the line of Judah.
Transition: And this brings us to our first truth that this title reveals about Jesus, we're going to see three of them this morning. And the first one is this…
Jesus is the lion who will rule forever
Jesus is the fulfillment of verse 10. He is from the line of Judah and when he comes back at his second coming he will initiate his eternal rule over the world.
If we want to get technical, Jesus has always been king, he's always been the sovereign ruler over everything. But the Bible often talks about the Messiah's rule as an earthly geo-political one, in the same way that the kings of Judah ruled over an earthly kingdom.. Except Jesus' kingdom will last forever and ever.
But the question is… when does that earthly rule start? Like OK, Jesus has been king over everything since the dawn of creation but how about his earthly rule.
When Jesus came the first time he came as king. Right, when Jesus was on the cross what was the sarcastic sign above him "king of the jews". But the Jews and the world, rejected him. And even though he was rejected, he died on the cross paying for the sins of the world and then rose again and ascended into heaven where he took a seat at the right hand of the father where he is right now, reigning as king, even though the world rejected him.
So, right now, we are in this limbo period where Jesus is king, but his earthly kingship has not been fully inaugurated.
This is sort of like our presidential elections in the US. We typically vote on the first Tuesday of November, and whoever wins the election won't take office until January 20th of the next year when the presidential inauguration takes place. There's a 2-and-a-half-month gap between winning the election and taking office.
So, Jesus' rule started during his first coming, but it will be fully inaugurated at his second coming. And we are in that gap of rule right now. It’s coming, we know it’s coming, it’s just hasn’t been fully inaugurated yet.
Transition: So, here in Genesis, we see the seeds planted for this future king from the tribe of Judah. But we don't see this description again until the very end of the Bible in Revelation. So, flip to Revelation chapter 5 and we are going to read more about this Lion of Judah.
Preview: Revelation is the last book of the Bible and it was written by the disciple John who was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. And this whole book is a "vision of the things to come". So God is showing John what will happen in the end times, and where we pick up in Revelation 5 we're at the beginning of the events that will take place in the future, where God brings his plan to conclusion.
Text: Revelation 5:1-5 (page 839)
1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
In this passage, John sees God the Father holding a scroll. And there's a lot of debate about what the scroll is and what's written on the scroll. I think that the best answer for what is on the scroll is God's Will, the final settlement for the universe. When the book of Revelation was written, wills (a person's wish for their final affairs), wills were written on both sides of the scroll, and it was sealed by 7 wax seals. So, the scroll here is likely God's final plan for the world.
But the scroll itself isn't the emphasis, the emphasis is on who can open the scroll. And they searched throughout the whole world and there was no created being that had the authority or the power to open it.
I've shared this statistic before at Renovation Youth, but there are estimates that there have been 100 billion people that have ever lived. 100 billion, and none of them were worthy to open the scroll…
But then Jesus enters the scene, the author of creation, the king of kings, steps up to the plate, and he is worthy to open the scroll, and this elder announces "SEE THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH has triumphed" he can open the scroll and the seven seals. And so John turns from grief to hope because he remembers the great prophecy all the way back in Genesis 49 about the Messiah that was coming from the tribe of Judah, how he would be king forever and rule like a lion, and he knows that its Jesus!
Transition: And then we see this, look at verse 6. John is expecting this mighty lion…
Text: Revelation 5:6-8a (page 840)
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb.
The disciple John sees this lamb in his vision, standing, alive. But it still had the marks of being slain. It likely had scars around its head from the crown of thorns, it had a gash in its side, holes in its hands and feet. This lamb is a symbol for Jesus and Jesus will eternally hold the marks of his death on the cross.
Some other translations will say "little" or "delicate" lamb. What's being portrayed here is not an intimidating picture. This is a gentle lamb.
If we think about our sports teams, we want to portray strength and be intimidating so we call our teams the Timberwolves. The Vikings. I'm sorry but the delicate lambs aren't going to be a fierce or intimidating team… Right its down there with the Packers…
I was sharing this idea with Pastor David earlier this week and he goes, "I've got a great meme you need to show on Sunday." So, he sent me this (show mascot meme). The NFC North does have some intimidating mascots, but the Packers, they just don't.
This leads to our second truth this morning.
Jesus is both the Lion and the Lamb.
Jesus has the strength of the lion, and the gentleness of the lamb. And if we only see Jesus as the lamb or only see Jesus as the lion, we have a distorted or incomplete view of our savior. So, we need to understand both sides of who Jesus is.
Jesus as the lamb (a) and lion (b):
1a. He faced death as the sacrifice for the world
In the Old Testament, the Israelites would give animal sacrifices to cover or pay for their sin. But it was never perfect, but it was pointing to a greater sacrifice that was coming. When Jesus came, he offered himself as the perfect sacrifice, as the perfect lamb that would completely pay for the sins of his people
1b. He conquered death giving hope to the world
How helpful is a dead savior? Not particularly helpful. As the lamb, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, and as the lion, he rose from the dead, defeating sin and death and now he gives hope that those who put their faith in him can have that same victory through Jesus who has already conquered.
2a. He offers grace and forgiveness to sinners
As the lamb, Jesus has more forgiveness and more grace than any person could ever have. Jesus in his gentleness, and his kind care, offers grace and forgiveness to sinners. It's a free gift to those who are humble enough to approach him and ask. Jesus as the lamb will not turn a single person away, who seeks his grace.
2b. He won’t let unrepentant sin go unpunished
Now this is a hard one, because people want to just view Jesus as this gentle lamb full of forgiveness, which is true, he is those things. But they omit the lion who also hates sin. Jesus offers full forgiveness for those who turn from their sin and put their faith in him, no extra works required. When you put your faith in Jesus your past, present, and future sins are paid for, done, complete.
But if people choose to reject that, Jesus as the lion, won't let sin go unpunished, he hates sin. If he let it go, it would make him an unjust judge, he would be unloving to the people who were sinned against. So, when it comes to sin, don't dismiss the fierceness of the lion against sin, don't dismiss how Jesus sees your sin, but when you are feeling that fierceness and that conviction, let that draw you to the lamb who already paid for it, and who finds joy in giving forgiveness.
3a. He is a savior worth worshipping
When you realize what Jesus has done for you on the cross, and you receive his forgiveness as a gift, it completely changes you. You view Jesus with this awe and wonder because you realize how insane it is for the God of the universe to die in the place of his creation. And he did it out of love, that's a savior worth worshipping.
3b. He is a savior worth following
If we just view Jesus as the lamb we can fall into the ditch of viewing him as a wimp, or a pushover, or that he's weak. But he's not, he's fierce, royal, powerful, and above all, he conquered the grave and defeated the curse of sin and death.
We follow a lot of people, on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, the news, but Jesus is the only one worthy of your allegiance because of who he is as the lion, he is worthy.
It's important to see Jesus as both the lion and the lamb. Because if we only view him as one or the other, we miss the true picture of who our savior is, and what he's like.
Story of sharing gospel with friends
Right after I put my faith in Jesus, I was really zealous for Jesus as the lion because that's what I needed to understand to get to a point of belief and faith.
I had two close friends that I wanted to witness to, I wanted to share the gospel with them, but remember I was really focused on the Lion aspect of Jesus. So, I went to them with my smooth talk and a lot of tact and just said, "guys you're you're going to hell, if you don't turn from your sin" and, as I'm sure you could guess, that went over really well. They loved that.
The reason that didn't work was because I was presenting Jesus as the lion, but cutting out Jesus as the lamb. It was an incomplete picture of who he is.
Transition: And this is the sobering truth of what we see here in the opening chapters of Revelation…
Those who reject the lamb at his first coming will experience the wrath of the lion at his second coming.
When Jesus comes back, he is bringing wrath for those who rejected his coming as the lamb. But those who surrendered to the lordship of the lamb during their life, they will receive the lamb's sacrifice and the lamb's forgiveness which will protect them from the wrath of the lion.
This is the sobering warning of the book Revelation: we have a short window in our lifetimes to receive the sacrifice of the lamb, and if you don't, the wrath of the lion remains on you, because of your sin. Even more than that those that hate the lamb, and hate all that he stands for will receive the wrath and judgement that we see throughout the book of Revelation, from the lion.
So, let me convince you to receive forgiveness of the lamb:
This is the gospel, the good news. All of us have sinned, all of us deserve the eternal punishment for our sin, the wrath from the lion. But Jesus became the perfect lamb, who died in our place, for our sins. So, that whoever turns away from their sin and puts their faith in Jesus. Their sins will be forgiven and they'll receive the gift of eternal life.
Look one last time at verse 6 in Revelation 5. The lamb looked as though it had been slain. When you put your trust in Jesus, all of your sin, past, present, and future sins will always be paid for and forgiven. And in eternity, Jesus will forever bear the marks of the cross as a testament to what he did in our place, how beautiful is that.
If you want to receive the forgiveness of the lamb this morning, it's simple, stop trusting in yourself, turn away from your sin, and put your trust in Jesus. After this last son, I'll be off to the side of the stage with some of the people from our follow-up team and we would love to talk and pray with you and help you take that step to follow Jesus as both the lion and the lamb
Copyright: Matt Lubratt
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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