“Pray Like a Sinner” – Psalm 30

The text for the sermon today is Psalm 30. These are the words of God:

A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple.

   I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
   O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
   O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
   Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
   For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
   As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
   By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
   To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
   “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10    Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
11    You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12    that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!


There’s quite a bit happening in Psalm 30. It’s a thanksgiving for God’s mercy. David was sick and dying and God delivered him. (v. 1-3) It’s a Psalm of exhortation, calling the saints to sing. (v. 4) It’s a Psalm confessing sin (v. 6) And, if you look at the heading, it’s likely that Ezra repurposed this Psalm when they dedicated the second temple.

David extols the Lord because the Lord “drew him up.” (v. 1) David cried out and the Lord restored his physical health. (v. 2) We don’t know what kind of sickness he experienced, but David nearly died. (v. 3) And, whenever one of God’s children is delivered from a life-threatening illness, the proper response is for the saints to sing and give thanks. (v. 4) This illness was actually a minister of God’s discipline upon David, but thankfully it was only temporary. (v. 5) David had begun to live as if he was the reason for all his success. (v. 6) And, the moment he claimed to be self-sufficient, God hid his face, and David gets a rude awakening. (v. 7) As is proper, he confesses his sin and pleads for mercy. (v. 8) David mounts arguments. “God if I die, who’s going to praise you? Hear and be merciful.” (v. 9-10) The prayer ends with another round of gratitude and a promise: whatever glory I have, it will sing your praises. (v. 11-12)


Does God send sickness? Of course, he does. (Ruth 1:21; Job 1:21) Why does he do it? Is he a monster; is he petty? No, the Bible is one long story of God using affliction to save and rescue his people.

Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit and sold him as a slave. And through his afflictions, he became a ruler in Egypt and saved his entire family from starvation.

Jacob wrestled with the angel and his hip was put out of joint. But it was for his good because he saw God face to face.

“Who would not be willing to have a bone out of joint, so that he might have a sight of God?” – Watson

Paul was struck blind, but by that physical blindness, God opened Paul’s spiritual eyes so that he might behold the beauty of Jesus Christ.

At the center of the Bible is God taking the greatest evil ever committed—the killing of the Son of God and bringing the most good out of it—the redemption of God’s people and the renewal of all things in Christ.


This teaching, that God sends affliction into the lives of his children explodes several of our deepest assumptions:

First, in the age of modern medicine, we believe physical health is the norm. But we inhabit a fallen world of death and disease. (Gen. 3)

Second, our culture propagates the theological lie that what God wants most is for us to be happy and healthy. Rather, God purposes to redeem all creation through the death and crucifixion of his Son.

Third, we don’t understand what a Father is. Fathers love their children, therefore Fathers discipline their children. God loves us way too much to allow us to disobey him without consequence.

Fourth, we ought to pray less “gimme” prayers, and more “thank you for what I have” & “have mercy upon me for my sins” prayers. One of the great benefits of reading the Psalter is that it balances out our prayer life.


God’s affliction of David’s physical health was a preacher and a teacher to him.

   As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
   By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

The sickbed taught David more than a sermon ever could. It taught him what sin is. When you hear the Word of God preached, you hear what an awful thing sin is, but when the affliction of illness comes we feel the reality of the cursed world in our own body.

Now, mind you, I’m not saying you are to draw a straight line between the runny nose you have and the white lie you told last week. Rather, I’m saying that all sickness is the result of living in a sinfully fallen world, and when you are ill it is a reminder of how sick all of creation is; how desperately we need more than doctors and medicines. We need resurrection and redemption.

The only thing worse for David than dying would be to live eternally in the pride of self-sufficiency. If sinful pride separates us from God forever, then God’s temporary removal of health in order to wake us up is actually a mercy. If our love of this world outweighs our love of Christ and the world to come, then even disease and death, which steal this life from us, are actually a mercy because they force us to let go.

Watson again: “The barrels of God’s mercy are first seasoned with affliction, and then the wine of his glory can be poured in.” If the pains, snarls, sicknesses, and even death of this life make you long for Christ and the age to come then in that sense they have seasoned and prepared you to enjoy the wine of his eternal glory.

How, Not Just Who

The second of the 10 Commandments declares:

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (ESV)

It isn’t enough to worship God. You must worship him only in ways that he prescribes. The only effective means of worship are the ones God gives to us, not the ones we invent ourselves.

The Old Testament is filled with examples of human beings devising their own idolatrous acts of worship. The children of Israel worshiped the image of a golden calf. Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire on the Lord’s altar. And every time the people infused their man-made images, incense, or words with spiritual efficacy God responded in judgment.

God is spirit and we are not to depict the divine as a created image. God’s Words are not our words, therefore we are not to present our words as holding divine authority.

This does not mean we ought to smash our nativity scenes at Christmas, but we are never to use pictures and images to focus our prayers or kneel down to them. We ought to avoid devotionals which pass off the words of a human as if it were Jesus speaking to us.

God has given us his Word. His Word has prescribed how we ought to pray, confess, preach, and believe in Christ. These prescribed means of worship are not merely enough for us, to go beyond or outside of them is to drift into spiritual disaster. So, read the Word, and worship in accordance with its instructions.

And, hear God’s second command for you: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God”

Gimme Shelter – Psalm 29


Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
   Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
   The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
   The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
   The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
   He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
   The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
   The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
   The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10    The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11    May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!


One of the hit movies of 1996 was the Summer blockbuster, Twister. The film opens as a little girl named Jo and her family take refuge from an F5 tornado that ultimately destroys their home and kills the father. The rest of the film follows an adult Jo who obsessively chases these violent storms to understand them and help save people from the same fate as her own family.
Now, aside from the visual effects, what makes the film so captivating is this: everyone knows these storms are caused by natural forces, but they seem to have a mind of their own. They show up unexpectedly and move unpredictably, and the unspoken assumption is that these storms actually target Jo’s family. At one point in the film, the storm chasers are explaining a scale that measures the destructive power of a storm. There’s an F1, F2, F3, and F4. And when someone asks, “What about an F5… what would that be like,” the room goes silent. “The finger of God,” is the response.

In other words, even though these storm chasers believe these tornados are entirely physical weather phenomena, they sense divine power behind them.
In Psalm 29, David watches a storm brew at sea, gather strength, and as it moves onto land it shakes the mountains and causes devastation. It’s a moment of awe, terror, and even praise. First, let’s summarize the text and then we’ll move into application.


Psalm 29 divides into 3 sections: a call to worship (v. 1-2); a description of God’s power beheld in a thunderstorm (v. 3-9); & a final statement of God’s eternal power and blessing for his people (v. 10-11).
The Psalm begins with a call to ascribe or give unto God the praise he deserves. But who are these “heavenly beings or “mighty ones” to whom David is calling? I believe it’s a reference to false Canaanite deities, and we’ll see why in a moment. (v. 1, 2)

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders

North of Israel, over the Mediterranean Sea, a thunderhead gathers steam. As it rumbles David says this is like the voice of the Lord. The thunder which shakes the ground, points us to the even greater strength of God’s power (v. 3, 4)

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

Lebanon was the northern border of Israel in Syria. Sirion is also called Mt. Hermon. Lebanon was the northernmost border of Joshua’s conquest. It was also home of the Canaanite god of storms, Baal. (1 Kings 18) David watches a thunderstorm thrash the homeland of the god of thunder and writes this Psalm to praise the one true God while mocking the false gods of the nations. (v. 5, 6)

David connects every detail of the storm to the divine action of the Lord. The Lord breaks the cedars (v. 5) He makes the Mt. Hermon skip and shake like a wild ox (v. 6) The Lord divides every bolt of lightning. (v. 7) When does are frightened by the storm and prematurely give birth, this is the Lord’s doing. (v. 9) And when the storm exhausts itself and moves west into the wilderness of Kadesh, it was the Lord who told it to go there. (v. 8)

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

The same Lord who brought the flood in Noah’s day brings the thunderhead that passes through Lebanon today. And he is the same Lord who strengthens and blesses his people. This is because he is the Almighty Creator who breaks no rivals. (v. 10-11)


Psalm 29 critiques two false views of the world. First, it critiques the ancient myths that believed in hundreds of deities who all competed with one another. We moderns may scoff at the ancient myth, but Psalm 29 exposes the modern myth that everything can be explained by material causes; that we don’t need God to explain anything. We know how storms work! But do we know why storms are

From a strictly scientific point of view, human beings are “Little more than a chance deposit on the surface of the world, carelessly thrown up between two ice ages by the same forces that rust iron and ripen corn.” – Carl Becker (Historian)

Man’s … origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; [and] … no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built. – Bertrand Russell (Philosopher)

Here is the wisdom of our age: “You come from nothing and no one and you are going to nothing, and no one, now built a life of love and joy and hope.”

Here is the wisdom of Scripture: The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. He knows where you come from and where you are going because he spoke you into existence along with every water molecule. He can direct your path because he directs the path of every lightning bolt. Nothing is impossible for him. Nothing is outside of his control.


Three times we are told in this Psalm to give or ascribe glory to God. Glory (kabod) means weightiness. How do you ascribe glory to the Grand Canyon? You stare at it. How do you give glory to a thunderstorm? You feel small as you watch it. And you give glory to God by recognizing that in comparison to him, the Grand Canyon is a divot and a hurricane is a mist.

Allow yourself to be caught up in the wonder of a thunderstorm, and as you are, sing or pray or simply sit in silent meditation on the one who rides the storm.

One of the temptations we face when reading this Psalm is to demand an explanation. How can God be the cause of such a devastating storm? But Psalm 29 wasn’t written to satisfy our skepticism. It was written to humble our pride.

We don’t sit over God as the arbiter of his creation, laws, and actions. This is someone you cannot control. You have zero chance of manipulating this God. He doesn’t answer to Lebanon, and he doesn’t answer to you.


11 May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!

This God, who breaks trees and shakes mountains also offers peace to his people. He is both the storm and the shelter. But how is that possible? Every single one of us has offended God. We have not given him the glory he is due. We have not ascribed strength to him. We’ve questioned him, ignored him, and disobeyed him?

How is it that this thunderous God can withhold the hurricane of justice that he has every right to send our way? How can he be good and righteous and just if he does not deal out justice for every act of evil?

The answer of course is that 2,000 years ago the Son of God stood in our place. He lived the life that we ought to have lived. He ascribed glory to his Father’s name. And yet, in our place, he was condemned. We’re told that when Jesus Christ was crucified the skies turned black and the earth shook. The thunderhead of divine justice was unleashed upon his head. All of this was done so that God could be both just in punishing sin and yet provide merciful shelter for his people.

Praying for the Destruction of Evildoers – Psalm 28

The text for the sermon today is Psalm 28. These are the words of God:

1 To you, O LORD, I call; 
my rock, be not deaf to me, 
lest, if you be silent to me, 
I become like those who go down to the pit. 
2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, 
when I cry to you for help, 
when I lift up my hands 
toward your most holy sanctuary. 
3 Do not drag me off with the wicked, 
with the workers of evil, 
who speak peace with their neighbors 
while evil is in their hearts. 
4 Give to them according to their work 
and according to the evil of their deeds; 
give to them according to the work of their hands; 
render them their due reward. 
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD 
or the work of his hands, 
he will tear them down and build them up no more. 
6 Blessed be the LORD! 
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. 
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; 
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; 
my heart exults, 
and with my song I give thanks to him. 
8 The LORD is the strength of his people; 
he is the saving refuge of his anointed. 
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! 
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalm 28 breaks down into 2 or 3 divisions: a cry for God to hear and deliver (v. 1-6) followed by praise of God’s deliverance (v. 6-8) along with a final petition for God to deliver all his people (v. 9)
Though we don’t know the exact occasion for this Psalm, the need of the moment is clear: David, the king, is being persecuted and God appears to be silent to his cries. (v. 1)
David wasn’t sinless, but he knows his own innocence. His hands are lifted up in a sign of need and surrender to God. (v. 2)
The king, though innocent, is being treated as an evildoer by those who pretend innocence. (v. 3)
Instead, God ought to be repaying their evil with commensurate justice. (v. 4)
David isn’t being persecuted by those who are ignorant of God, but by those who flagrantly mock him. (v. 5)
The Psalm does not tell us whether v. 6-7 are anticipatory or reflective, but regardless, we are being shown the proper posture of those who feel God isn’t listening: praise him anyway.
He is your strength whether you feel it. He is your song whether you would sing it or not. (v.6-8)
David ends with a final request that God save his people. Why? Because David knows that if he does down, the people go down with him. If the king is killed, the people are next in line. (v. 9)
We are in the same boat as David.
To you, O LORD, I call; 
my rock, be not deaf to me, 
lest, if you be silent to me, 
I become like those who go down to the pit. (Ps. 28:1)
We all cry to the Lord in dire straits because we all inhabit a sinful and broken world. The problem with our world (Rom. 1) is not that we don’t know God, but that we don’t want his rule. And any time you substitute the prerogatives of the creature for the creator bad things happen.
This week I listened to a podcast discussing major a corporation who intentionally sold faulty products knowing they would pay fines— they made promises they knew were false knowing that they’d clear enough profit to pay their fines and retire in luxury. And one of the hosts asked, “When did this kinda thing start happening in our country?” To which every Biblical Christian should answer: “It’s been like this since Genesis 3.”
Secular naturalism holds that “evil” is just a label we attached to anything disadvantageous to our species’ evolution. The Eastern pantheistic monk argues that evil is simply an illusion. But the Christian says there is a moral lawgiver, and all of us have broken his laws. When asked what’s wrong with the world, we can say, like Chesterton, “I am.”
Because evil is an objective reality, the Saints are to pray for the destruction of evil and of evil-doers. And I know that in saying this, I’ve just offended everyone’s social sensibilities. Verse 4 presents us with a prayer request that isn’t what you’d call Sunday School-friendly: “Give them what’s coming to them.” Psalm 28 is an imprecation or a prayer that seeks God’s punishment, not just on evil as a theory, but on evildoers as persons.
How do we square the many instances of imprecation with the New Testament’s calls to “love our enemies.”
First, we recognize that the New Testament is full of imprecations. Anyone who says the New Testament disagrees with the Old Testament has read neither.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. (Matt. 23:13-22)
22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. (1 Cor. 16:22)
Second, imprecations are not a declaration of the Psalmist’s intent to take vengeance into his own hands. Rather, they are prayers, which means the Psalmist is bringing his concerns to the Lord and leaving them there with him to adjudicate.
Third, imprecations express holy or righteous moral outrage at evil. They are a right longing for vindication and justice.
Finally, there are no Polly Anna prayers in the Bible. There are only realistic prayers for the real world. When we love and pray for the triumph of truth, we are praying for all that accompanies that triumph.
In the battle of good and evil, there are no win-win compromises. You don’t get to pray that good will win but get to exempt yourself from all that is required for that victory. When you pray that truth conquers you are at the same time asking God to do everything it will take to secure the defeat of evil.
These are specific prayers over specific evils, and we ought to pray the same way. We ought to pray for God to humble the pride of our nation, for God to close down abortion clinics, and for God to break our idolatry of money and success.
One of the questions that should be growing in your mind by now is this: “What gives us the right to pray such bold prayers for justice when we ourselves are not innocent?” Good question.
When we turn from the Old Testament to the New Testament we see how this Psalm is fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. Look back at the final petition: “Save your people.” David knows that the life of his people is connected to his own life. His people will be saved if he, the king, lives. But unlike David, the only way we are saved is if our King, Jesus, dies in our place.
We are not innocent. We stand under the imprecation and malediction of God. We deserve every ounce of holy justice that is coming our way, and Jesus took our place. Though he lived a perfectly holy life, he was treated as if he deserved punishment. His cries weren’t heard. He was dragged off with the evildoers.
And this means that God, through Christ, has made a glorious new way of destroying his enemies: he destroys them by making them his friends. He buries them with Christ so that he can raise them up to new life. And therefore, our prayers against the enemies of God are that they would first and foremost be destroyed and remade in the wounds and grace of Jesus.

The First Commandment: A Prayer of Confession

The first of the 10 Commandments declares:

You shall have no other gods before me.

This commandment is the foundation for every other law God gives because this command declares God to be the ultimate foundation for everything else. There are no other gods, therefore we ought not to treat any other person or thing with the same adoration, trust, or respect that we give to God.

It’s good to compliment your spouse or children, but they are not to receive your highest praise. God certainly works through doctors and medicines, but we cannot hold them as our deepest trust. You can read books and go to universities, but God alone is your ultimate source of knowledge. You are to give thanks to your parents and benefactors when they are good to you, but you are to always remember who it is that made your parents, the ground you stand upon, and every star in the farthest flung galaxies.

It’s also important to note that when you break any of commandments 2-10 you are also breaking the first. The man who steals by cheating on his taxes breaks the 8th commandment. But he has also broken the first in loving comfort and possessions more than God. The woman who lies to her friend breaks the 9th commandment. But she also breaks the first because she values the approval of her friend more than the approval of God.

This means idolatry is our fundamental problem—and you need not bow to a stone image to be an idolater—rather all of our failures to trust God wholly and live rightly are, at the root, grasping for gods other than the one true God.

So, hear God’s first command for you: “You shall have no other gods before me.” This reminds us of our need to confess our sin, so let us pray.


O Lord,

We confess that you alone are God and there is none beside you. You are the maker of all that is, and you sustain every living creature by your power and provision.

You made us. You formed us in our mother’s womb. We are the sheep of your pasture. And yet, Father, in our sinfulness we have not always loved and adored you above all else. We have broken your command against loving, serving, and respecting other things and persons in ways that elevate them to the level that only you occupy.

Lord, have mercy on us sinners. We humble ourselves and acknowledge our guilt. And we know if we say “Amen” to this prayer while intending to worship false gods this prayer will have no effect in our lives, so help us now as we silently confess our individual sins to you.

In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

Revelation: Recommended Reading

“And though St. John saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators.” – Chesterton, Orthodoxy

As I prepare to preach through the book of Revelation I want to share several of the helpful resources I have used in preparation with brief commentary on why I have found them helpful. I hold to what G.K. Beale has termed an “Eclectic,” or “Redemitive-Historical Idealist” interpretation. Therefore, this bibliography does not include commentary suggestions for alternative interpretations (Futurist, Historicist, Preterist).

The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text

If you want the most exhaustive and academic treatment of Revelation, this is it. At over 1,300 pages long, Beale’s work in the book is comprehensive. He leaves no stone unturned.

* Beale, Gregory K. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids; Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Carlisle, 1999.

Revelation: A Shorter Commentary

A far less soul-crushing treatment on Revelation, Beale’s shorter commentary is designed to be more accessible to the lay reader. That is, if you consider 576 pages to be “accessible.”

Beale, G. K., and David H. Campbell. Revelation: A Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015.

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Revelation contains more Old Testament quotes and allusions than any other New Testament book. Carson and Moo help us make the connections. This is a massive reference work, but it covers the entire New Testament. It can be rather academic.

Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007.


This commentary by Joel Beeke would be a great volume for the lay reader. It reads like a sermon, not a commentary and is full of practical application.

* Beeke, Joel R. Revelation. Edited by Joel R. Beeke and Jon D. Payne. The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2016.

An Introduction to the New Testament

Another large reference work. Any time you begin studying a book of the New Testament you ought to give consideration to “critical issues.” These are questions of authorship, audience, occasion, provenance etc. They help you frame the entire context of the book.

Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.

Revelation: Four Views

This commentary shows the 4 main interpretations of Revelation (Preterist, Historicist, Futurist, Idealist) in parallel. I’m using this work to be aware of where other Christians disagree with my interpretation.

Gregg, Steve. Revelation, Four Views: A Parallel Commentary. Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1997.

The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation

Another helpful and accessible commentary on Revelation. Essentially, I am relying on Beale’s larger commentary to help me with interpretive issues while looking to Beeke & Poythress for examples of preaching and application.

Poythress, Vern S. The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2000.

Symbols and Reality: A Guided Study of Prophecy

Ryken helps us read Revelation as a piece of literature. He teaches us a proper approach for viewing/imagining the symbols of apocalyptic and prophetic literature.

Ryken, Leland. Symbols and Reality: A Guided Study of Prophecy, Apocalypse, and Visionary Literature. Reading the Bible as Literature. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.

Preaching Outline of Revelation

This August I’ll embark on the most ambitious sermon series I’ve ever preached: the book of Revelation. Here’s the outline I plan to follow. Throughout the series, I plan to rely heavily on the work of G.K. Beale and Joel Beeke. This outline borrows from Beeke’s own preaching plan.

Preaching Outline

  1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: Introduction to the Apocalypse of John (1:1-3)
  2. Every Eye Will See Him: Christ on the Throne (1:4-8)
  3. His Face was Like the Sun: Christ in the Church (1:9-20)
  4. Remember Your First Love: Christ’s Words for a Church Whose Love is Fading (2:1-7)
  5. Be Faithful Unto Death: Christ’s Word to a Suffering Church (2:8-11)
  6. Repent: Christ’s Word to a Worldly Church (2:12-17)
  7. Hold Fast: Christ’s Word to a Compromised Church (2:18-29)
  8. Wake Up: Christ’s Word to a Dying Church (3:1-6)
  9. Keep My Word: Christ’s Word to a Faithful Church (3:7-13)
  10. Be Zealous: Christ’s Word to a Complacent Church (3:14-22)
  11. Holy, Holy, Holy: Worship in the Throne Room of Heaven (4:1-11)
  12. Worthy is the Lamb Who was Slain: Christ Unlocks Everything (5:1-14)
  13. Behold, a White Horse: The Gospel Conquerors (6:1-8)
  14. How Long: The Prayers of Persecuted Saints (6:9-17)
  15. They Shall Hunger No More: The Joy of Victorious Saints (7:1-8:1)
  16. Hail & Fire: God’s Answer to the Petitions of the Saints (8:2-13)
  17. Woe: The Reality of Demonic Judgment (9:1-21)
  18. You Must Again Prophesy: The Sweet & Bitter Gospel (10:1-11)
  19. Two Witnesses: The Church Bears Witness to Christ (11:1-14)
  20. He Shall Reign Forever & Ever: Final Victory (11:15-19)
  21. They Loved Not Their Lives: The Church, the Christ, and the Devil (12:1-17)
  22. A Call for the Endurance & Faith of the Saints: The Two Beasts of Political Power & Religious Idolatry (13:1-18)
  23. Follow the Lamb: A Heavenly Contrast to the Beasts (14:1-5)
  24. Fear God & Give Him Glory: The Saints Endure & God Preserves Them (14:6-13)
  25. The Winepress of the Wrath of God: A Final Harvest on Earth (14:14-20)
  26. A Sea of Glass Mingled with Fire: Worship & Wrath (15:1-8)
  27. It is What They Deserve: All of the Earth Under Judgment (16:1-21)
  28. Alas, Babylon: The World is Passing Away (17:1-18:21)
  29. Hallelujah: The Song & Supper of the Saints (19:1-10)
  30. King of Kings & Lord of Lords: The White Rider Returns (19:11-21)
  31. Bound Him for a Thousand Years: The Now & Future Reign of Christ (20:1-10)
  32. A Great White Throne: The Last Judgment (20:11-15)
  33. A New Heaven & a New Earth: The Consummation of All Things (21:1-8)
  34. By Its Light Will the Nations Walk: The New Jerusalem (21:9-27)
  35. The Healing of the Nations: The River and Fruit of the New Jerusalem (22:1-5)
  36. Let Anyone Who is Thirsty, Come: An Invitation to Leave This World Behind (22:6-21)