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Our God Reigns!
"Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." (Revelation 19:6)
On the threshold of a new age, a man once turned his radio dial and adjusted his television receiver and tuned in on heaven.
Spiritual radio and spiritual television are at least as old as John, who wrote the Book of Revelation.
Again and again John writes, "I saw" -- "I saw" -- "I heard" -- "I heard."
It was in the reign of the Roman Emperor, Domitian.
- "I saw seven golden candlesticks." (1:12)
- "I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire." (15:2)
- "I saw an angel standing in the sun." (19:17)
- "I saw the holy city." (21:2)
- "I heard" -- "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice,
as of a trumpet." (1:10)
- "And a voice came out of the throne." (19:5)
John was a victim of his persecution, a prisoner on the island of Patmos.
In the midst of days confused, chaotic, fearful, perilous, this man tuned in on heaven, heard a message,
and then proclaimed it.
It lifted men to the heights of optimism, faith, endurance, and victory.
"I heard," says John, "the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of many thunders."
The voice was like the great human heartthrob that rises from a city mingled with the roar of Niagara
and the roll of thunder -- and the voice said, "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
We tune in on this great fact, and it becomes our firm conviction.
"The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
Tune in on heaven and let that proclamation thunder in our ears.
Under the figure of the radio it is a proclamation transmitted and received.
The Proclamation Transmitted.
It proclaims the omnipotence of God.
This great word, "omnipotence," means all-strength, all-might, all-power.
The word is related to the words grasp, apprehend, control, and grip.
It carries the ideal of the great spiritual:
"He's got the whole world in His hands,
He's got the big round world in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.
He's got the wind and the rain in His hands.
He's got the tiny little baby in His hands.
He's got you and me, brother, in His hands.
He's got everybody in His hands.
He's got the whole world in His hands."
That's what omnipotence means.
Of course there are persons who cannot swallow such sentimental, silly stuff.
As C. S. Lewis points out, they might prefer to quote the nursery rhyme:
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Can't put Humpty Dumpty together again."
Granted that all the king's horses and all the king's men can't put Humpty Dumpty, the broken egg,
the shattered world, together again.
But that is not the complete story of Humpty Dumpty.
Who built the wall and who put Humpty Dumpty on the wall in the first place?
The creative power of God.
God holds the world in His hands.
The world may seem to be going to pieces, disintegrating -- well, it had to be integrated before it could disintegrate.
God has never advocated His creative power.
Science and providence convince us that God's creative power is still at work.
With God working -- something new can always happen in the world.
That is what our text means.
Catch the optimism of that possibility.
The redemptive power of God.
God's redemptive power is active in the world.
Using the word redemptive too narrowly and inadequately perhaps, nevertheless,
it does mean that God can take and does take evil and bring good out of it.
The crucifixion of Jesus was a cruel, sinful, evil thing.
The Cross of Christ has become the greatest symbol and, I believe, the most potent force for righteousness in the world.
Christ is the power of God not only to defeat evil; He is more than conqueror.
He can use that evil as an instrument for good.
When did God abdicate the power which He exhibited in Christ?
That power is still in the world.
"The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
The indwelling power of God.
The Lord God omnipotent has power to indwell His creation.
He flung nothing into this universe to run down like a clock.
Certain religions believe the opposite.
It is not what we hear in the thunderous voice.
God's creative and redemptive power is ever active in every clod, in every stick and stone, in every animated thing,
in the soul of every man.
This belief is a corollary of our conviction that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
This is the message from the throne of God.
What does it mean to receive this message?
What did it mean to John?
It meant endurance.
John was on the island called Patmos -- the salt mines, chains, imprisonment.
Over that environment he had no control.
In that environment "he shared fully the grim reality of tragedy and evil."
But John lived on two levels.
On the upper level he heard the voice from the throne.
That made all the difference in the world.
What did this message mean to those who heard the words from the throne as mediated by John?
- He could endure the imprisonment because he was free.
- He lived in another environment which no temporal circumstance could destroy.
- He lived in a dimension of eternity, as well as in a dimension of time.
Some of these went to the stake, some to the lions, and some to the cross.
These words for them meant serenity.
This word is too weak, but the fact is that these martyrs in their suffering became quite, unperturbed, unworried, serene.
The message meant patience to many Christians across the centuries.
Patience is a difficult virtue.
The vision of John brings to people of faith the convection that God can never be defeated.
"The vision is yet for an appointed time... though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:3)
We have patience because we have hope.
By this conviction, we have comfort.
This is com-fort.
This is strength and courage.
In this conviction, we have the comfort of knowing that life is not meaningless, that God reigns with purpose,
and that God weaves everything into a plan, even disease and frustration and bereavement and sadness.
This conviction carries the overtones of victory.
- This victory annihilates fear, it wins the peace.
- It is a victory, in which we are more than conquerors.
Carlyle pricks us with the words, "Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct."
- If we hear this proclamation from the throne of God.
- If we give response to it in endurance, serenity, patience, courage, and victory.
- If this becomes a cardinal conviction, then we will demonstrate that conviction in our lives.
In our conduct and with our voice, we will want to join in the mighty, "Hallelujah!"
"I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on!"
"Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at hleewhite@AOL.com