June 1, 2019 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Verse: Revelation 22:8–22:9
Christ Lutheran Church
June 2, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
And I, John, heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them I prostrated myself to worship at the feet of the Angel who showed them to me but he said to me, "You must not do that! for I am your fellow-worshiper, your brother, and brother of the prophets, and of all who hold dear the words of this book. Worship God! (Revelation 22:8-9)
Worship God! This is the sum and substance of all things, and chief duty of all men, but especially those of the “household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10)
In the church of Eden Adam and the Woman worshiped God. The two became one in every way and lived in marital bliss, but that was not the whole story. Together the newly married couple constituted the first church which, as we learn in Scripture, is the Bride of Christ. And so marital bliss reigned on earth, and reigned in heaven during those halcyon days of yore!
Life was beautiful all the time! Adam and the Woman gladly heard the voice of God and the voice of one another. They loved God and they loved each other. They knew “joie de vivre,” the joy of living, in a way that no future generation ever would! They tended God’s Good Creation with more skill than all the knowledge amassed ever since. There were no tears there, no sorrow, no frustration, no pain and no death.
That is what the world looks like when man worships God and that is how it was until it was no longer!
Every Christian knows, or should know, the account of humanity’s Great Fall recorded in Genesis chapter three!
How the Woman, tempted by the Serpent’s fatal attraction, broke her marital vows with God, committed adultery with the Serpent, and then seduced her husband to join in her sin which he did! From that time forward everything went south at the speed of light!
And though we like to tell ourselves magical mysteries about how the world just keeps getting better and better, and how utopia is just around the corner, it is only wishful thinking! Desperation. Hasty generalizations that amount to zero, zilch, nada, nothing!
And so don’t eat from that tree, O Bride because those who practice deception (22:15) cannot enter the Kingdom of God. But all the promises you heard today in St. John’s Gospel and St. John’s Revelation are “trustworthy and true.” They are your present reality as you worship God here and now; and your unbroken future when Christ returns, “bringing his reward with him.” (Rev. 22:7)
But those who refuse to embrace the prophecies of this Book must create their own hopes, and that is what culture does with a narrative that grows more irrational and incoherent by the day.
But do not worship at their altar O fetching Bride of Christ; but let us close our ears to the Serpent’s siren song instead because he is still in the same business he was from the beginning – seducing those who are Christ’s! Robbing them of their baptismal innocence, and murdering their immortal soul.
Let us close our ears to the “elemental spirits of the world” as Woman should have done (Col. 2:8); and take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” as Man should have done! (2 Cor. 10:5) Because we do not only sin by our words and deeds but also by our opinions as often as we quote the culture’s fatal catechism.
Worship God O Mankind! for it is the Way of Life! The Road to Happiness. The cure for all that vexes you today. Worship God and give yourself only to him!
But one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the world is the Protestant opinion that the worship of God is a private, internal affair of the heart.
Without doubt the church of the middle ages had many structural flaws. But the Reformation cured none of them, nor did the radical Reformers, who came to own the Reformation, do a single thing to improve the church’s lot; but only traded one set of errors for another.
The Radical Reformers rejected the incarnational, sacramental and liturgical realities that are the sum and substance of divine worship; and their children follow in their train today. Visit your nearest non-denominational church if you want to see it firsthand.
But while it is impossible to treat all of Protestantism’s errors in a sermon we will name this one: that among them the worship of God is strictly a personal, interior affair that takes place within the mind of each believer; and that the church's worship, this Holy Communion, is unnecessary.
As a result many who identify as Christians do not worship God! Do not commune with the saints! But are satisfied to entertain vague religious thoughts in their minds as they leisurely commune with coffee and croissants while the church assembles for Holy Communion with her Lord.
But whoever will not enter these gates has no share in the Tree of Life which is the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so this gracious exhortation from Revelation (22:17) is spoken to us today:
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty Come; let the one who desires take the water of life! without price.”
Yes, come! It is the Bright Morning Star who calls you to the Feast today. Come inside! because, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Revelation 22:15)
Do not make the mistake that St. John made when he prostrated himself before the Revelation Angel and was ready to worship him. It was an honest mistake and St. John’s instincts were right. Right because the one who shows you these things is the envoy and proxy of Jesus – who does what he does “in the stead and by the command” of Jesus himself. This is why in the Greek church the worshipers kiss the hand of their priest for it is the hand that feeds them the Flesh and Blood of Christ.
But the priest, like the Angel, is “your fellow-worshiper, your brother, and brother of the prophets, and of all who hold dear the words of this book,” and so Worship God, only God!
Prostrate yourself at his altar today and let us “make Eucharistia unto to the Lord our God. It is meet and right so to do.” Amen.