Sermon Transcript – They Have Washed Their Robes & Made Them White

Series C – Midweek Lent 6 – Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:29our scripture reading tonight is taken from The Book of Revelation chapter 7 verses 1 through 17.
0:37after this saw four Angels standing at the Four Corners of the Earth holding back the
0:44Four Winds of the earth that no wind might blow on Earth or sea or against any tree
0:50then I saw another Angel ascending from the rising of the sun with the Seal of the Living God and he called with a loud
0:57voice to the Four Angels who had been given power to harm the earth and the Sea saying do not harm the Earth or the
1:04sea or the trees until we have sealed the Servants of our God on their foreheads and I heard the number of the
1:10sealed hundred and forty four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel
1:17twelve thousand from the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand from the
1:22tribe of Reuben twelve thousand from the tribe of GAD 12 000 from the tribe of
1:27Asher twelve thousand from the tribe of naphthali twelve thousand from the tribe
1:33of Manasseh twelve thousand from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand from the
1:40tribe of issachar twelve thousand from the tribe of zebulun 12 000 from the
1:46tribe of Joseph twelve thousand from The Tribe of Benjamin were sealed
1:52after this I looked and behold a great multitude that no one
1:59could number from every nation from all tribes and peoples and languages standing Before
2:06the Throne and before the lamb clothed in white robes with palm branches in
2:12their hands crying out with a loud voice salvation Belongs To Our God who sits on
2:18the throne into the lamb and all the Angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four
2:24living creatures and they fell on their faces before the throne and they worshiped saying amen blessing and glory
2:31and wisdom and Thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our god
2:37forever and ever amen then one of the Angel Elders addressed
2:43me saying who are these clothed in white robes and from where have they come
2:51and I said to him sir you know and he said to me these are the ones
2:58coming out of the Great Tribulation they have washed the robes and made them
3:03white in the blood of the Lamb therefore There Before the Throne of God and serve
3:09him day and night in his Temple and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence they shall hunger no
3:16more neither thirst anymore the sun shall not strike them nor any scorching
3:21heat for the lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd and he will guide them to Springs of Living
3:28Water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes
3:35in the name of Jesus so there were Adam and Eve in the garden
3:42the serpent and it venomated them with his words
3:48did God really say prior to that they were created naked
3:54and without shame and immediately upon biting into the
4:00fruit that God had told them not to eat the first thing they realized is that they were naked
4:07they put together fig leaves to clothe their nakedness and their shame and then
4:12and then did something very foolish they hid from God as if anybody can do such a thing
4:20where can you go to hide from God climb Mount Everest
4:28and hide in a cave in the deepest recesses of the Earth can you hide from God
4:35he’s there wherever you go this creation belongs to him
4:41and so God then punished our first parents put us under the curse that we all find ourselves in right now the one
4:48that we are languishing under the one we wish would soon pass
4:56the other day received a text message from a pastor friend of mine
5:02he was struggling with something and I reminded him to pray for his
5:08enemies and he said thank you for reminding me
5:13of that and I said to him I wish I didn’t have to remind myself of
5:20that myself but I do I hate and I mean this hate being a sinner
5:28and his response to me was in a sense kind of the theme for our sermon tonight
5:34he says soon pastor Christ said behold look I make all
5:41things new and he is we were plunged into this curse subject
5:47to sin death in the devil disease suffering pain all of this we’ve brought
5:52upon ourselves and the toil of work and the meaningless of this existence
6:00all because of our sin the text then in Genesis
6:06in that chapter pretty much leaves off with the fact that God had killed two animals to clothe out of an eve
6:13to clothe them not the Fig leaves that they had put together but some some thing had to die so that
6:20their shame could be covered up and so it is now we fast forward
6:26we’ve seen the connection between Christ and the fact that he was suspended
6:31Between Heaven and Earth naked as a blue jay the text makes that very clear
6:37and then he was shrouded in the swaddling clothes of the Grave wrappings right
6:45and then upon leaving the tomb it says that his clothes were all folded up nicely which means Jesus
6:53exits the tomb naked second Adam first born
7:00of the new creation and this gives us hope behold I make all
7:05things new Jesus says and so now in the Book of Revelation
7:10some more of this garment theology begins to start to be woven in in a way
7:15that we can start to see the end what is it all culminating in where are we
7:22heading to we’re heading somewhere right or are we
7:27just endlessly circling the Sun well we are heading somewhere
7:34this text is a little bit tricky to interpret
7:39and I will not be spending a lot of time going through all of it but let me kind of help you with
7:45something here if you think through the Book of Revelation you’ve got 24 elders
7:5124. that’s 12 twice right I’m no good at
7:56math but I do know that 12 and 12 is 24. 24 Elders 12 Elders from the New
8:04Testament the 12 tribes of Judah 12 Apostles in the New Testament together the 24 Elders right and what is the
8:11significance of the number 12 in scripture do you all know have you ever sought to think about it it’s a pretty
8:16important number seems to occur at least a couple of times significantly so and
8:22then repeated right you ever thought why were there 12 tribes why are there 12 Apostles
8:32stumped should I play the Jeopardy theme music [Music]
8:39time’s up yeah we’ll take eschatology for 400 thank you but here’s the answer to the question and this is it seems
8:46kind of simple but it actually is the simple idea 12 in Scripture
8:51is the number for the church the Church of the Old Testament and the
8:57Church of the New Testament each with 12 Elders if you would and so this number
9:02then gets woven into what we read in our text and let’s work our way back through it and we’re also going to spend a little bit of time near the end of the
9:09book in Revelation 19 and 20. it says after this I saw the Four Angels standing at the Four Corners of the
9:16Earth holding back the Four Winds of the earth which by the way this is one of the texts that the
9:22atheists go to and say see you guys believe in a flat Earth it’s like
9:29it’s like no this is all very symbolic language here and that’s kind of the tricky part about the Book of Revelation
9:36so the four corners of the earth that no wind might blow on the earth or sea or against any tree then I saw another
9:42Angel ascending from the rising of the sun with the Seal of the Living God
9:47and he called with a loud voice to the Four Angels who had been given power to harm the earth and the Sea saying do not
9:53harm the Earth of the sea or the trees till we have sealed the Servants of our God on their foreheads now if you read
10:01this the way the Jehovah’s Witnesses read you’re going to come to the false conclusion that there are only 144
10:07000 saved all right and here’s the problem this is a symbolic number
10:14and if you spend a little time kind of working through the tribes here it doesn’t quite work you know something drops out something
10:21drops in but I’m not going to focus on that right now so I heard the number of those who were
10:27sealed a 144 000.
10:3312 000 times 12 000.
10:38got it this is the church Old and New Testament it’s all of the Christians
10:44symbolically represented and you got to remember that we Gentiles
10:49according to scripture now I don’t know how much Jewish bloody Norwegians have in you but I can tell you this German
10:55polish mix I ain’t got any all right and so you sit there and go but you know I’m
11:01not Jewish but see here’s the thing the scriptures make it perfectly clear that we Gentiles are Wild Olive shoots and we
11:10have been grafted into Israel so there you are brothers and sisters you are part of now the 12 tribes
11:19I don’t know which tribe you’re a part of I was thinking I should be part of Hufflepuff or Gryffindor but I don’t
11:24think that works it’s another set of stories right well we read here
11:3012 000 were sealed from the tribes of Judah Reuben Gad Asher Nathalie Manasseh
11:37Simeon Levi issachar zebulun Joseph and Benjamin they were all
11:44sealed and so the whole church is truly sealed
11:49now when were you sealed made part of the church right there
11:56and I’m sure that’s the exact font that was used for some of you right yeah that’s where you were sealed
12:03when God put his name upon you the name of the Triune god father Son and Holy
12:11Spirit and you’ll notice here in our Bulletin preparation for worship the sign of the
12:18cross may be made by all in remembrance of their baptism their remembrance of
12:24your ceiling that’s what that’s all about historically you know why people cross themselves it’s not because they’re Roman Catholic
12:31it’s to remember their baptism that’s it right you know when you see my grandson
12:37Benjamin coming up here preferably without Mickey Mouse but when he comes up to the rail right he’s not
12:45taking communion yet so I make the sign of the cross over his forehead like it was when he was baptized and I say may
12:51the Lord bless and keep you in the waters of your baptism to life Everlasting because that’s when he was
12:56sealed and he truly is right so then we get to this next picture of
13:03the Heavenly multitude look I looked and behold a great multitude that no one
13:09could number it’s a lot of people every nation
13:15all tribes and peoples and languages you see the Great Commission go and make
13:21disciples of all Nations and now we look at the very very end
13:26will there be few saved just this tiny little remnant of people
13:32who are saved it’s not what scripture says great multitude no one can number it
13:39every nation all tribes and peoples and languages standing Before the Throne before the lamb here it is
13:46clothed in white robes
13:52Jesus walks out of the Tomb naked we are clothed in eternity in white
14:00robes you can almost you can almost say
14:06wedding dress right of good Vera Wang here yeah
14:14and we we have palm branches in our hands now this Sunday is Palm Sunday
14:20we will again have palm branches but this Sunday those of you who come when
14:26you’re given your palm branches have your mind in two places
14:31two the Palm Sunday that was
14:36and the Heavenly worship that comes right because that’s kind of where we live and
14:43the now and the not yet in the past and in the future
14:49and this is looking to the forward to the future so as you wave your palm branches this Sunday maybe even sing in
14:55your in your heart cry out inside salvation Belongs To Our God who sits on
15:02the throne and to the lamb and all the Angels were standing around the throne and the elders and the four living
15:09creatures and they fell on their faces before the throne and they worship God saying amen blessing and glory and
15:16wisdom and Thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God
15:21forever and ever days without end amen
15:27and now the Apostle John has one of the 24 Elders address him who are these
15:33clothed in white robes from where have they come John a little flummoxed
15:39gives the polite answer rather than saying yeah um yeah he says well sir you know right so
15:49he said to me these are the ones coming out of the Great Tribulation they have washed the robes
15:54and made them white in the blood of the Lamb doesn’t seem possible does it
16:02Christ’s blood makes our robes spotless white and we’re going to read in Revelation at the other
16:09end end of the book what that those white robes are here in the Book of Revelation the white robes
16:16are not us being clothed in the righteousness of Christ it’s very easy to get the kind of the
16:23typology confused here but you got to keep a few things straight and let me see if you can do this from memory
16:29Ephesians 2 8 9 and 10. for we um we are saved by grace through
16:35faith this is not of ourselves it is the gift of God not by work so that no man
16:41May boast for we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works
16:51keep that in mind when we get into chapter 19. we are created in Christ Jesus for what
16:58good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them
17:04conduct Our Lives according to them so when we get to Revelation 19 you can kind of see what this is all about keep
17:11in mind even the very good works you do as Christians they are given to you they
17:16were prepared in advance for you to do by God himself lest you think that somehow you Merit salvation with them no
17:24you don’t you don’t you do these things because God has prepared you to walk through
17:30these things so these have washed their robes and made them white in the blood
17:35of the Lamb therefore they are Before the Throne of God serve him day and night in his Temple and he who sits on
17:40the throne will shelter them with his presence they shall hunger no more
17:46neither thirst anymore the sun shall not strike them nor any scorching heat for
17:51the lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd he will guide them to Springs of Living Water and God will
17:58wipe away every tear from their eyes
18:08this isn’t the end this is barely the beginning
18:13what a hope that we have in Christ that he himself will wipe away every tear
18:20from our eyes and salvation itself belongs to our God
18:25revelation 19. verse 1. after this I heard what seemed
18:31to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven we all know what that is right
18:36that’s us coming out of the Great Tribulation which by the way pay attention to that phrase these are
18:43the ones coming out of the Great Tribulation oftentimes people think the Great Tribulation is just the tiny little part
18:52at the very end of time when everything goes Haywire in reality we learn from this passage
19:00the Great Tribulation begins with Christ’s Ascension we’ve been in it for
19:05a while okay think about that so here we are in Revelation 19 now after this I heard
19:12what seemed to be the loud voice of the great multitude in heaven crying out Hallelujah Salvation and Glory and power
19:19Belong To Our God for his judgments are true and just for he has judged the
19:24great prostitute one of the one of the evil characters who had
19:30Allied herself with the Beast and the dragon against Christ in his church he
19:36is Judge the great prostitute who corrupted the Earth with her immorality and has Avenged on her the blood of his
19:42servants once more they cried out Hallelujah the smoke from her goes up forever and ever wow tough verse
19:51can you imagine singing a praise song in honor of the fact that God has
19:56punished such an evil and wicked being and yet the heavenly
20:03the two does and there’s the 24 Elders representing all of the church and the four living creatures they fell down on
20:08the worship God who was Seated on the throne saying amen hallelujah and from the throne came the voice saying praise
20:15our God all you servants you who fear Him great and small and then I heard what seemed to be the voice of the great
20:21multitude like the Roar of many Waters and like the sound of Mighty peels of Thunder crying out Hallelujah for the
20:29Lord Our God the Almighty Reigns
20:36can’t wait to hear it I cannot wait to hear this
20:42I cannot wait to add my voice to this multitude and to sing this song
20:48you will be there and you will be singing these words
20:53let us rejoice and exult and give the glory for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself
21:00ready there it is again bride kind of white talk right for it was granted to her to clothe
21:08herself with fine living linen bright and pure
21:14now this is not the righteousness of Christ that’s being referred to because remember this robe was dipped in the blood of the
21:22lamb and was made white by the blood of the Lamb so this is not the righteousness of Christ
21:28so what is this bright linen for the fine linen is the righteous Deeds
21:33of the Saints your good works that God has prepared in
21:39advance for you to do these are the very things that Christ clothe you in and
21:45you’ll think what pastor my good works are so feeble
21:52so many times Pastor when I start to pray fall asleep or my mind wanders
21:59or when I have the opportunity to do good sometimes I don’t
22:06I don’t even want to get out of the chair to pick up the phone when I know that my friend has called me in need instead I just ignore it let it go to
22:14voicemail and keep watching Netflix right I know
22:20I know this is why your good works are dipped even in the blood of the lamb and
22:26made white right for the fine linen is the righteous Deeds of the Saints and the angel said
22:32to me so write this blessed are those who were invited to the marriage supper of the lamb and he
22:39said to me these are the true words of God and then I fell down on his feet to worship him but he said to me you must
22:45not do that I’m a fellow servant and with you and your brothers who hold to
22:50the testimony of Jesus worship God for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of
22:55Prophecy way on that verse right there that last part the testimony of Jesus is the
23:01spirit of Prophecy I could probably do a whole sermon series on that one verse
23:07but we continue to read then I saw heaven opened Behold a white
23:13horse and the one sitting on it is called faithful and true and in righteousness
23:19he judges and he makes War his eyes are like a flame of fire and on his head are
23:24many diadems and he has a name written that no one knows but himself he is
23:30clothed in a robe dipped in Blood and the name by which he is called
23:35word of God Jesus himself and the armies of Heaven arrayed in fine linen and
23:41white and pure were following him on white horses what a spectacular thing
23:47this will be to see from his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the Nations and he
23:54will rule them with an eye a rod of iron and he will tread The Wine Press of the fury of the wrath of God the almighty
24:01and on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written
24:06King of Kings Lord of lords look at that Jesus has designer clothing
24:13right you think about those women walking around with Abercrombie you know
24:19whatever Jesus has got King of Kings Lord of lords and it’s all over his clothes so then I saw an angel standing
24:25in the Sun and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead come gather for the
24:31great supper of God to eat the Flesh of Kings the Flesh of captains the Flesh of Mighty Men the Flesh of horses and the
24:38Riders and the Flesh of all men both free enslaved both small and great and I
24:43saw the Beast and the kings of the Earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse
24:51and against his army and the Beast was captured and with it the false prophet who in its presence
24:58had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image
25:05these two were thrown alive into the Lake of Fire that burns with sulfur and
25:10the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse and all the birds
25:17were gorged with their flesh and everybody said you
25:24awesome and awful all at the same time that righteous are the judgments of God
25:32who of us did not deserve that fate we all do yet God in his Mercy has sealed us
25:41so that we do not suffer that fate with those who are so foolish to stand against
25:47the King of Kings and the Lord of lords then I saw an angel coming down from
25:53heaven holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain and he sees the dragon that ancient serpent
26:00who is the devil and Satan bound him for a thousand years and threw him into the pit shut it sealed it over him so that
26:07he might not deceive the Nations any longer until a thousand years were ended and after that he must be released for a
26:13little while and then I saw Thrones and seated on them were those to whom the authority to
26:19judge was committed I also saw the souls of those who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of
26:26God quick note church history is not and I mean this not full of
26:36Martyrs who have been beheaded that has not and I mean this been a
26:42popular way to kill Christians until now
26:50makes me worried because it makes it sound like there’s been going to be a lot
26:56of Christians who will lose their head but that’s an aside those who had not worshiped the Beast or
27:02its image or who had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands they came to life reigned with Christ
27:08for a thousand years the rest of the Dead did not come to life until a thousand years were ended this is the first resurrection blessed and holy is
27:15the one who shares in the first resurrection over such the second death has no power but they will be Priests of
27:22God and of Christ and they will reign with him for a thousand years and when the thousand years are ended
27:27Satan will be released from his prison will come out to deceive the Nations that are at the Four Corners of the
27:33earth Gog and Magog to gather them for battle their number is like the sand of the sea and they marched up over the
27:39broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the Saints and the Beloved City but fire came down from heaven and
27:46consumed them and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the Lake of Fire and sulfur were the Beast and
27:53the false prophet were and they will be tormented day and night
27:58forever and ever as we consider
28:04as lent comes to a close our own sinfulness and this time of repentance
28:11let us Ponder again the fate of those who persist in sin and unbelief
28:19it’s terrible so many Christians and theologians have tried to figure out a
28:24way to get the white out and get this out of scripture
28:29but they can’t it’s there then I saw the great white throne and
28:34him who was Seated on it and from his presence the earth and the sky fled away and no place was found for them and I
28:40saw the dead Great and Small standing Before the Throne the books were open another book was opened which is The
28:46Book of Life and the dead were judged by what was written in the books according to what they had done
28:51the sea gave up the Dead who were in it death and Hades gave up the Dead who were in them and they were judged each
28:57of them according to what they had done quick aside here as well cannot even tell you how many times I’ve had the
29:04question asked of me Pastor do I have to be buried or can I be cremated
29:10okay let me ask you the person who perishes at sea
29:18What Becomes of their mortal remains
29:23fish food fish food right they become one with the calamari with a
29:31tuna with the little creatures and the shrimp and all the little things right so their bodies go as far away as they
29:38can possibly go right and yet it says here God doesn’t seem to have a problem pulling them all back
29:45together so don’t worry about that don’t let somebody legalistically tell you you
29:51have to do it this way or that way because if that’s the case legalistically then apparently the
29:58people who perish at Sea are committing a great sin right and they’re not
30:03all right so the sea gives up their dead death and Hades gave up their dead who were in them they were judged each of
30:08them according to what they had done and he sit there and go ah Yeah well yeah of course
30:14but see remember we as Christians and Colossians too it says the testimony
30:21of rules that stood opposed to us has been canceled
30:27that debt has been taken out none of the pages that contain sins are in your book
30:33or mine all that’s left are our good works even our feeble ones
30:40then death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire this is the second death the Lake of Fire if anyone’s name
30:47was not found written in the Book of Life he was thrown into the Lake of Fire
30:52and then I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth the first Heaven the first Earth
30:58passed away and the sea was no more I saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming
31:04down out of Heaven from God prepared as a bride there it is a bride adorned for her husband
31:12so we’ve read about our white robes washed in the blood of the lamb and made white and now here we see the
31:20culmination of all of this and we do see it is true those white
31:26robes our wedding gown Christ
31:31himself adorns his bride
31:37beautiful I heard a loud voice from the throne saying Behold The Dwelling Place of God
31:42is with man he will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be there as their God he will wipe
31:49away every tear from their eye Death Shall be no more neither shall will there be mourning nor crying nor pain
31:56anymore for the former things have passed away and see this is the story of every
32:03single one of those princess fairy stories is it not
32:10you think of Cinderella poor girl born with a father who loves
32:16her comes under the power of a woman who hates her and she’s living in abject
32:23poverty right and we all know how the story goes with the prince who sends out the invitations
32:29and how her fairy godmother shows up and how she makes it to the ball
32:36and the prince Falls madly in love with her and then she loses her glass slipper as her carriage turns back into a
32:43pumpkin and her horse is turned back into mice right and just when you think
32:49evil is about to win the great turn comes when the prince shows up with the other
32:56glass slipper and despite all the efforts of the wicked stepmother
33:03and her daughters the truth is found out and then we see
33:08always at the end always at the end the great wedding
33:13them getting into the carriage the rice being thrown and them wandering off and
33:19it says and they live happily Ever After
33:24it’s us it’s us we’re Cinderella
33:30we’re that bride we’re the ones redeemed and here we get
33:36this picture of all of this coming this is where it’s all going
33:43Christ clothes us and he adorns us and no longer are we naked and shameful and
33:49pitiable we are now Decked Out in the most beautiful wedding God ever
33:57created in all of the universe none can surpass it
34:04and that’s us and so we see from these texts
34:11a unified theology from the beginning of scripture to the very end
34:17clothing theologies a big deal and the Holy Spirit
34:23would have you pay close attention to the details Ponder them in your heart and cherish the hope that’s to come
34:31future that is coming when Christ himself shows up not in glory to judge
34:37you to Eternal damnation but shows up in glory
34:43to put a wedding dress on you so that you could live happily ever
34:50after with him it’s all there in scripture and this is
34:58our hope all of this is gift so let us repent of the Deeds of
35:04darkness and wickedness where those who continue to follow after these ways find their fate not at the
35:10wedding Feast but in the in the Great Lake of Fire let us put behind our sinful Deeds
35:18trust in the mercy of Christ so that he can clothe us wash us and take our robes and make them
35:27white with his blood what an amazing Jesus and an amazing God we have
35:33I’m so looking forward to the happily ever after and it will be here sooner than you
35:40think Maranatha come Lord Jesus in the name of Jesus Amen
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