Agnus Dei! The Reason We Sing! (a sermon based on Rev. 5)

Agnus Dei! The Reason We Sing!
Revelation 5:8-14

In Jesus Name

Agnus Dei

It is one of the critical moments of our service, as Chris starts to play, as everyone, having gotten back to their seats begins to sing…the Agnus Dei, or translated, “the Lamb of God” The Lamb of God praised and glorified in the words of all of the company of heaven.

Singing the Agnus Dei as we shall in a moment, we are called back to this thought.  That the bread and wine are not just bread and wine, but in and under, as our Confessions tell us, it is the body and blood of Christ Jesus.

The precious Lamb of God, who was slain, who now reigns.

The Apostle Paul tells the church this,

16  When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17  And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body.
      1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NLT)

As we move from sharing the peace of Christ because we are one body, we re-focus on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, on His giving His body and blood for us, as we are taken into that moment, as we share in His body and blood, our prayers are answered,

And we are given peace.

We are given peace!

That is why as those guitar strings are played, it is time to slow down, to contemplate, to pray, and as you come, to let Christ take away all that robs you of peace, letting you know the peace is there.

It is why we rise up from the altar, and as a whole praise God, for we have again realized His presence, and been assured that we have seen our salvation.  Salvation and peace that we see only in part now, but that which the passage from the Revelation shows us occurring, in all of the glory of heaven.

The Slaughter that Ransomed US

As the four living beings and the elders and all of heaven erupt in a song of praise, there is a reason given, as to why they, why we praise this Lamb of God,

You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10  And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

You are worthy the praises sing out, and then it describes why,

Because He was slaughtered, because he was sacrificed to provide for people.  Not just any people, not specific people, but every way you define the differences in people, from within ever demographic possible, there are people God has saved.  From every nationality, from every language group, from every culture and subculture, even from every political group!  God has saved them.

Specifically, salvation is described in this passage as their being ransomed.  We’ve seen other passage where we are delivered, passages where we are reconciled, but this passage is ransomed, or perhaps putting it simply, we were purchased.

Our debt was purchased, those of us who were enslaved to sin.   That is the purchase, the process Paul describes in Romans,

6  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
Romans 6:6-7 (NLT)

And that Jesus himself describes in John

“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.”    John 8:34-36 (NLT)

It may not be popular or politically correct to talk our propensity to sin with the word slavery, but it is accurate.  Before Christ, sin had such a hold on us; it owned us.  To get what we wanted, what we desired, we agreed and made ourselves its slave.

Yet Christ, in his sacrificial death, as He let them slaughter Him, he purchased our life with His very own.

He gave up His holy life for our lives that can’t be described as holy.  He gave up His perfection, to pay for our brokenness, He ransomed us, He redeemed us.

And that was only the beginning of what His being slaughtered has done for us.   It is only the beginning as to why we sing His praises.

The Slaughter that Nourishes us..

The New Living Translation picked and interesting word for what happened to Jesus, in choosing to translate the word as slaughter. It is a word used for religious sacrifice, but it is also the word used for something being sacrificed to nourish and feed another.  So slaughter works good, and in describing why we worship Jesus, the first part was to ransom us, and then John tells us they sang this,

10  And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

He causes us to be the priests of His Kingdom.  All of us, those He saved, including those from every demographic description you could ever come up with!

When you are in a Kingdom, the King, the High King, is responsible for making sure His people are provided for, that those who serve and govern are taken care of, so they can focus on the task delegated to them.   So it is with Jesus, who makes every one of His people a priest, and tasks them with caring for each other, on His behalf.

Not an easy job at all, for in doing that we have to love and care for people that are, we might say…. Challenging?  People who antagonize us, the very enemies and adversaries Jesus tells us to love, that Paul urges us to pray for, and ask God to bless.

Not an easy job at all, for in doing that we have to love and care for people that are, we might say…. Challenging?  People who antagonize us, the very enemies and adversaries Jesus tells us to love, that Paul urges us to pray for, and ask God to bless.

These are the people we are to be priests for,

And yet that is why Jesus still is our Lamb of God, He still is the one who was slaughtered for us, He is still the one who grants us peace.

For in His nourishing of our souls, in His reminding us of His love, we see His handiwork, we realize that He desires to save that enemy, to reconcile that adversary, to bring comfort and peace to all in His family.

And that too is what we share here, as we bow and kneel, as we praise as sing, as we echo the words sung by angelic choirs,

Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”  AMEN!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on April 10, 2016, in Devotions, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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