On the Plains of Moab Blog
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June 28, 2012, 12:46 PM

Revelation Wrap-Up [UPDATED!]


We are coming to the last sermon in this series.  I will confess that I am finding the constraints of the pulpit to be a major barrier to unpacking the book.  I don't believe that any of the sermons in this series have been able to do real justice to the message of the book.  There is just not enough time to unwind and achieve any measure of depth.  However, having said that, I would also add that when you do dive in a little more intensely, you end up blowing in more fog than sunshine.

So, perhaps it was well to just scratch the surface?  Perhaps it helped to give you a sense and feel for what Revelation is about?  The flyover and lay of the land?  If it served any of those purposes, then I will be quite satisfied.  As a wrap-up, then, I want to try to frame the picture we have painted of this book.  Please permit this humble summary here of our series:

Sermon #1 - The Throne Room in heaven is opened up.  The thin line seperating the earth and the eternal is peeled back, giving us a preview of what real reality really looks like.  God is, we rightly gather, prepared to finish the work of making heaven and earth one.  It is surely an awesome sight, and one that gives us hope for the future.  God IS sovereign.  He IS still on his throne and he IS ready to move.

Sermon #2 - The "Love Letters" to the Church.  Seven churches representing the entire church throughout time.  Here is the message:  God is present.  God is watching.  God is looking after his own.  God corrects his own.  God exhorts his own.  What we do and what we believe matters to God.  Keep your sights on the finish line!

Sermon #3 - The Lamb of God!  The Lion of Judah!  The one who is able to (and does!) unfold the plan of God.  He is able by offering up himself as the perfect, obedient sacrifice for the sin of the world.  He, by his faithful action, sets in motion the redemption of the world.  From the cross, all that follows is the unfolding of this plan.  Symbolically and at times, graphically, this consequences are portrayed in what follows in the incredible, self-offering of the Son.

Sermon #4 - The Seal Judgments -- what I would suggest is a direct result of Jesus on the cross.  Sin is judged and all hell rebels!  The judgments expose our natural inclination to kick against the goodness of God.  Just as the appearance of Jesus usually brought out great demonic activity in the Gospels, so too the redemption accomplished and applied at Calvary tends to send shock waves out in the world.  Two other similar cycles of judgment follow the Seals:  The Trumpets (Rev. 8-11) and the Bowls (Rev. 16).  These judgment cycles serve the same purpose, only in ever-increasing intensity and scope.

Sermon #5 - You are the Apple of God's Eye!  This was perhaps my favorite sermon in the series, because it spoke of the care and Providence of God for his own in the midst of upheaval in the world.  The 144,000 from the tribes of Israel representing God's people - counted for and accounted for in the midst of so much uncertainty in a crazy world.  God's people are truly the apple of his eye!

Sermon #6 - Stink, Stank, Stunk!  Yes, there is such a thing as a devil!  The devil is personal.  The devil wants to be like God.  The devil, the beast and the false prophet paint the picture of a bent, un-holy trinity.  You just can't miss how much they are presented as the antithesis of the real thing.  However, unlike a modern day horror movie -- there isn't going to be an unending string of sequels here.  Evil will be defeated in the end!

Sermon #7 - The World.  Oh, the world.  We are to be in the world, but not of it.  God loves the world.  It ain't bad.  Don't run.  Don't hide.  But God doesn't love everything the world does!  Christians really need to be discerning when it comes to the choices we make.  The entertainment we indulge.  The philosophies we embrace.  The politics we approve.  The lifestyle and ethics that define us.  So much out there.  Lots of good, and plenty of bad.  Know God.  Know His Word!

Sermon #8 - The Returning King.  The King of kings and Lord of lords.  Jesus comes back.  And God does indeed judge.  Remember the quote from Miroslav Volf:  If God doesn't answer evil, then he is no God at all.  The flip side of that is that we do not have to exact vengeance ourselves.  We can get about the business of doing what God calls us to do.  Never rejoicing in the downfall of any, but working for the good of all until there is no more time.

Sermon #9 - The Millennium!  I suggested to you that this thousand year millennial reign of Christ began at the cross.  That the thousand years were not literal years.  That Satan had been bound at the time of Jesus and his earthly, gospel ministry.  Oh, and I know that was a tough sell!  But, please understand that being "bound" in this sense doesn't necessarily mean that the devil is chained and unable to function as much as it speaks to his certain demise and his inability to stop the advance of the Kingdom of God!  I believe that this is the meaning of all of the verses that I brought to your attention on this point.  See the text of this sermon just below this post!

And, this week, Sermon #10.  This week we are looking at heaven on earth.  I know, youhear this theme from me often.  But it is an important one!  The New Jerusalem.  Eden Recovered.  We will be looking at how the Bible has presented this final time, from Genesis all the way through to Revelation.  I think you may be surprised how much the Bible speaks on this topic -- and hence, why I do as well!

And so, I leave you with the text that we will be using this Sunday.  Please meditate on these passages, and ask yourself, what words or phrases here in these final two chapters of Revelation speak to your heart the most?

Revelation 21:1-5, 9-11, 22-27, 22:1-6

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."  And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."  Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

"Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day--and there will be no night there.  They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more.  They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.  And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."

 


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