Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Week Forty-Nine - Worthy


“Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain…”
Revelation 5:12

The picture formed by this statement is so precious and soul stirring.  Worthy is Lamb that was slain!  Take time to read this entire chapter and get the whole picture.  The word, worthy, is splashed throughout the chapter and demands that we take note!

Verse 2 asks the question, “Who is worthy to open the book?

Verse 4 gives the verdict, “ man was found worthy to open and read the book…” 
No man is worthy – we come up short.  We do not have the strength necessary, nor have we paid the price demanded for the privilege of opening the book.  But the book must be opened. Weeping springs forth and desperation is felt, then one of the elders speaks up – “Weep not; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book…”  A worthy Man has been found – he has paid the price, he does have the strength.

Verse 9 records a new song sung in heaven, “Thou art worthy to take the book…”  The Lamb is worthy because He was slain in order to have this privilege.  He takes the book and the hosts of Heaven begin with one voice to declare – “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing…”

Worthy – deserving of praise, able to meet the mark, sufficient, honourable. Praise the Lord for this Worthy Man.  Praise the Lord - His will is completed.  Praise the Lord – the enemy has been defeated.  He alone is worthy of our praise.

Do you praise Him enough?


 “Let the elders that rule well be counted
worthy of double honour…”
I Timothy 5:17

I have been privileged to have some amazing men as leaders before me.  The first pastor I remember was a little, round man named Bro McClananhan.  He was a Methodist preacher at the little country church where I grew up.  From him I remember the testimony of his salvation, the love and jolliness in his service and a kind and sweet spirit.  It drew me.

As a very young bride I came under the ministry of another wonderful pastor, Bro Robinson.  From this man I learned about service, holiness, dedication, and missions.  He spent time teaching on the family and was patient with me as I not only came to know Christ, but also began to serve and find the will of God in my life.  He is still today, my spiritual father.

For the past thirty years I have been under a very wise and merciful pastor.  This man is consistent and faithful.  He isn’t easily blow about, but neither is he hard or unyielding.  He has encouraged me to develop my God-given talents and allows me to take initiative with projects and ideas.  He has empowered me to serve and yet watches carefully over me.  He is known as Pastor Gritts.

Ruling God’s flock isn’t an easy job.  Not all of the lambs want to feed in the same pasture or drink from the same spring.  Some will not allow the shepherd to tend their wounds.  Others are vying for his position.  Some will question his leadership, while others will just blindly stumble along.  It takes great patience and wisdom to shepherd God’s flock.

Ruling well is the qualification for double honour.  Double honour means literally twice as much.  A good shepherd – a good pastor – is worthy of twice as much honour as we would bestow upon anyone else. 

But do we do that?  Do we really honour him twice as much?  This can be tested very simply.  Do you pray for your pastor twice as much as you do for your loved ones?  Do you think of his needs twice as much as you do of your own – and do you meet them?  Do you speak well of him twice as much as you do of yourself? 
Quite a challenge isn’t it?  And if you paid that much honour to your pastor, you just might surprise him and encourage him! 

However, giving honour to someone to whom it is due holds blessing not only for the receiver, but also for you.  Why not just quietly, without calling attention to the fact, start doing a little more to honour your pastor?


“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…”
Ephesians 4:1

This little phrase has always been a challenge to my Christian walk.  From the moment I was saved, I knew that I had a lot of catching up to do to come up to the standard of worthiness.  Not to earn my salvation, but to show my appreciation for it and to honour the Lord with the new life He had granted me.

When Paul uses the word “beseech”, he is putting great emphasis on the need for the saints to really consider their walk.  When he uses the word “vocation” (and this is the only time this word is used in Scripture) he is speaking of their station in life to which they are “called” – summoned or bidden.  In Christ we have a new vocation, a new station in life.  We are the “called of Jesus Christ” as stated in Romans 1:6.  There are so many other Scriptures that reveal descriptions of the newness of the status to those who have come to know Christ – heirs, child of God, saints, beloved, etc.  All of these indicate an elevation of status – a new station of life!

So it demands that we walk differently now.  We are no longer children of this world.  Tiegreen said, “…as His co-laborer and joint heir, you are no longer under Satan’s thumb; he is under yours.  You represent the One with all authority…”  We ought so to walk – as one with authority, as representatives of the King, as children of the Most High God.  Walk worthy.

For me that means holding my head up high – not haughty, but as a child of the King humbly aware of my station.  It means making choices that would bring honour to the Lord not dishonor.  It means showing respect and care to those around me in order to show the worthiness of my Saviour.  It means guiding my life in a circumspect way with the goal or aim of being blameless – doing nothing that would bring reproach on the name of Christ or on His ministry.

Verses 2 and 3 go on to give us a further description of what a worthy walk would contain – lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, working toward peace and unity. 

So how is your walk? 


 “…rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame…”
Acts 5:41 
There is a teaching that we are “counted worthy” through Scripture.   This accounting can be done two ways.  First and foremost, by the application of the blood of Christ, we are counted worthy to salvation.  This accounting has bearing throughout our Christian life in sanctification, perseverance, service, etc. because without Christ, without the application of His sacrifice upon our lives, we are never worthy.

Secondly, we see we are counted worthy by our actions.  Faith without works is dead, so, in order to show our faith, we must do something.  Scripture tells us over and over that it is based in suffering.  As He suffered for us, we are counted worthy to suffer for Him.  Our suffering does not impute righteousness, but it does reveal righteousness.
Here in Acts the Apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the sake of Christ.  They had been reprimanded and beaten because they spoke up for their faith in Christ.  They saw this persecution as confirmation that they were on the right track – doing the work of God.

Luke 21:36 gives another idea as Jesus is teaching about the end times.  He tells the people to watch and pray that they might be accounted worthy to escape the hardships to come.  Matthew Henry explains, “…we must aim not only to escape that, but to stand before the Son of man; not only to stand acquitted before him as our Judge, but to stand before him, to attend on him as our Master, and serve him day and night.”  We must watch and pray in order to be worthy of this privilege.

II Thessalonians 1:5  “…that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer…”  Again, we see that faith alone is not enough.  We are worthy by faith, but that faith needs to be expressed, and it is expressed in suffering.  Faith, if it is worth anything, is worthy of everything.  If we are not willing to suffer for it, we do not value it – we are not actually worthy of it!

And that brings us to Revelation 3:4 – “…which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.”  The faithful will be rewarded.  Those that “endure to the end” keeping themselves pure will be counted worthy to have sweet communion with Him.  They will be arrayed in white.  They are worthy of that honour.

When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?  Are you active in your faith?  Do you value it?  Do you see that suffering holds it’s own reward?  Will you be worthy on the day?


“…of whom the world was not worthy…”
Hebrews 11:38

Throughout the centuries men and women have given their lives through persecution, suffering and martyrdom for the cause of Christ and love of their Saviour.  You have only to read Foxes’ Book of Martyrs to know that persecution for faith is a real thing.
Even today we can read of stories of believers who are tortured, mutilated and imprisoned for their faith.  The beauty of the stories lies in the fact that they have not allowed these trials to sway them from their faith.  Persecution has made them stronger, more determined, more confident in Christ.

Here in Hebrews 11, the so-called Hall of Faith, God takes time to record the faithfulness, sufferings, and endurance of His children.  God says the world is not worthy of such individuals.  The word means deserving.  The world does not deserve to have such worthy individuals -people who will live out the meaning of the way of the cross – the fellowship of His sufferings. And yet, God calls some to this vocation, this place in life, this purpose of His will.  Only He knows why. 

When I think of my petty problems, my minor afflictions, my temporary trials, I am embarrassed at my weakness.  I shy away from looking too deeply into the persecutions others have endured because it strikes fear in my heart and questions in my mind.
Would I be strong enough to endure if I were in their place?  Would I deny Christ?  Would I sing His praise at mutilation or imprisonment or become angry and resentful?

Am I such a bland unworthy Christian that the world “deserves” me?  Or is my faith worthy - something “out of this world”?

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