11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(This was a day of confirmation, as you will note throughout the sermon)
Not all of you here today know Jordan, but you should because she is the best. Isn’t that right, Jordan? You’re so great at everything. You did such a good job on Thursday night at Examination. Even though you were nervous, you answered questions about the Bible and Jesus very well. Even though a lot of people might consider what you said to be foolishness and nonsense, even though some people would make fun of you for studying the Bible and being here today, and even though God says being a Christian is not and never will be easy, you are here. And that’s awesome. And do you know what else is awesome? You’ve been here a lot at church. You have been a part of the Children’s Christmas service a bunch of times, reciting, reading, and singing. You’ve been at Sunday School, sometimes even when you were tired or under the weather, but you still came. Jordan, you’ve made it this far, and we are all so happy for you. We can’t wait for the service to be over so we can all get pictures with you and eat cupcakes and celebrate because, Jordan, you deserve it. Is this getting awkward for you, yet?
These are the types of things we should be thinking and saying, if Confirmation is your graduation from the Bible. These are the types of things we should be thinking and saying, if Confirmation is all about what you have done to get here. Jordan, these are the types of things we should be thinking and saying, if you are just that amazing. Then, the theme for today should really be Jordan’s life is our praise.
But that’s not the theme for worship today. You and I and all of us are not here because this is all about Jordan. This is not your graduation. And quite frankly, Jordan, you don’t deserve all sorts of praise today. Over the past three years of Catechism class, you didn’t get every answer right and you didn’t learn all of your memory passages perfectly. Over the past three years of Catechism class, there was some daydreaming, there were sometimes when I caught you not paying attention because you were finishing up some French fries from Wendy’s, drinking some Dr. Pepper, or talking with your neighbor. Over the past three years of Catechism class, you didn’t have 100% attendance. You weren’t at every Sunday School class. You missed church every once in a while. You weren’t always excited and happy about being up front for the Children’s Christmas services.
But, Jordan, you are not alone in that. If we brought up every person here today and put them in the front row and started talking about them, we could say a lot of nice things. But, Jordan, you know what else we would have to say about each and every person here? Just like you, they have not been perfect. In fact, all of you have been a whole lot less than perfect. Each and every one of you have failed to live up to God’s standard. You have failed to love God fully and completely. You have failed to use his name properly. You have failed to read and study God’s Word and worship like he wants you to. You have failed to love others in the same way that you are willing to take care of yourself. You have failed to respect and honor your parents and all those in authority. You have failed to keep hatred, lust, gossip, jealousy, out of your heart and mind. You have failed to carry out the actions that are pleasing to God and refrain from those that are displeasing to him.
That means the theme today cannot be Bill’s life or Val’s life, our praise. Not Scott, not Carol, not Linda, not Aaron, not Alice, not Courtney, not Jerry, not Amy, not Jim, not Tim, not Lynn, not Gary, not Perry, not Sherry, not Terry, not Barry. Not one of you can put your name in that spot on the front of the worship folder and think that praise should be yours.
I forgot another name. The theme today is not Tom’s life, our praise. Yes, the pastor is not above God’s law. Yes, this pastor is not above anyone here, because I have failed too many times to count. Every single thing that God points his finger at you about, he points his finger at me. Therefore, this church is not about me. This worship service, this sermon, is not about me. If that were the case, we would be in deep trouble. Because then this church, this worship service, this sermon would be about a sinful man, and I cannot save a single person, not even myself.
But Jordan, you know all about that, don’t you? You know what’s wrong with you, and with me, and the whole world. God’s Word has taught you the law that shows your sins. And God has taught you that you can’t change your position. You can’t change your sins. God has taught you that you cannot by your own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ or come to his side. God has taught you that there is no way that you can earn God’s love and buy your way into heaven.
So, there has to be someone else who does is perfectly for you. There has to be someone who can rescues you and me and the world. There has to be someone who can remove our sins from our record. There has to be someone who loves us enough to take our punishment for sin, because that’s the only way that you and I can be saved. There has to be someone who we can praise for giving us the indescribable gift of forgiveness, life, and salvation. There has to be someone who receives louds songs of joy and gladness from people all over the world and even from the holy angels because of what he did.
Jordan, by God’s grace with the power of his Word, he has taught you that there is: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise… To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
You know, it’s often a sad thing when someone close to you dies. One way people try to cope with loss is to talk about the good times, right? You remember and talk about all the fun and all the positives. But you can’t do that forever and ever. You talk about them for a few days before and after the funeral. You have fond memories for a while but not forever and ever. Because eventually your memories fade.
My first grandparent died when I was a senior in high school. Grandpa Tessmer was a dairy farmer. I still have some memories, but I can’t remember everything. And it will only get less and less as time passes and I get older. Then, I will die and so will all the other people who knew him. And so in less than 100 years no one will remember Glenard Tessmer. No more fun stories, no more praise, no more honor. Nothing. The same thing will happen to me and to you, Jordan.
But for people who make huge sacrifices, for people who win huge victories, for people who do things that are so amazing, they do get remembered in history books, in museums, in schools, online, and stuff like that. But those people do not get to personally receive the praise and honor and glory. They are dead.
This Lamb we are talking about is completely different. This Lamb who was slain can actually still receive and thanks and praise and honor and glory, because even after he was killed for us, even after he died in our place, even after he took the punishment that we deserve, even after he sacrificed himself to save us, he did not stay dead. No, the tomb could not hold Jesus.
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
The Lamb of God who died for your sins and mine and the sins of the whole world, he came back for us. Jesus came back from the dead to save us not just from sins, but also to save us from death and hell. He came back from the dead so that we could live with him forever.
And guess what we will be doing for the one who saved us from sin, death, and hell? Guess what we will be doing for the one who destroyed the power of the devil for us? Guess what we will be doing in the perfect paradise that was purchased for us by Jesus and freely given to us in the gospel? Guess what we will be doing for the one who sits on the throne of heaven and loves us from all eternity? Guess what we will be doing for the one who made us and everything in this world and then made us his very own children through baptism? Guess what we will be doing?
That’s right! We will be giving him all the praise and honor and glory. We will be worshipping him for all the things he has done to save us.
But we don’t have to wait to do that, do we? Jordan, that’s why you are here. Because God has changed your life. He has given you a place in his family. He has promised to love you and take care of you and protect you and uphold you and guide you and bless you. And so, we get to say thanks right now. Sinners that we are, through faith in Jesus, we get to live as God’s children right now. We get to worship him right now. We get to give him praise right now. We get to live for him right now.
Jordan, that isn’t going to stop after today, is it? Jesus is still going to be worthy of our thanks and praise, because he conquered death for us and purchased heaven for us. It isn’t going to stop when you get to high school, is it? It isn’t going to stop when you go off to college somewhere, is it? It isn’t going to stop when you get married, is it? It isn’t going to stop when you have kids of your own, is it? I know you think that’s crazy, but I was in your seat just 20 years ago. Life goes by pretty quickly! But it doesn’t matter what happens to us, because Jesus will always be the one who loves us, saves us from our sins, removes the sting of death, and brings us home to heaven. Jesus is the one who does everything for us.
And so, today on your confirmation day, Jordan, it’s a good day to praise the Lord. And it will be a good day tomorrow, and next Sunday, and a year from now, and 10 years from now, and 100 years from now, and forever and ever in heaven.
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”