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Author:Rev. Steven Swets
 send email...
 www.urcpastor.blogspot.com
 
Congregation:Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church
 Abbotsford, BC
 www.abbotsfordurc.org
 
Title:The Renewal of All Things
Text:Revelation 21:1-8 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:The Second Coming
 
Preached:2011-03-13
Added:2011-03-14
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

10:00am

Led by: Rev. S. Swets  

Organist/Pianist:

                            Pre-service singing #H 29 & #H30

Silent Prayer

Call to Worship: Psalm 99:1-3
*Invocation-Minister-
Congregation, from where does our

                                             help come?

                    Congregation- Our help is in the name of the Lord,

                               the maker of the heavens and the earth.
*Greeting
*Hymn
# 194

The Law
Hymn # 96:1-3

Prayer of Confession 
Assurance of Pardon

*Hymn # 96:4-6

        Prayer for Illumination
Scripture Reading: Revelation 21

       Text: Revelation 21:1-8

        Sermon: The Renewal of all things

              I. The New Jerusalem

                II. The New Tabernacle           

                III. The New Fountain

        Prayer of Thanksgiving

*Hymn # 471

Offering – Diaconate

    * Hymn # 493

*Benediction- followed by a three-fold Amen

*Please stand if you are able.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Steven Swets, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Revelation 21

Text: Revelation 21:1-8

Beloved Congregation in the Lord Jesus Christ,

            In Revelation 20, we saw thousands of years of world history in one chapter. We studied the millennium. At the end of the millennium, Jesus Christ will return. The Apostle Paul encourages the Thessalonians with these words, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

            The return of Jesus Christ is a wonderful comfort for the people of God. We have mentioned time and again that the book of Revelation is a wonderful comfort to the church. We are reminded again this morning of the theme of the book. The ultimate victory of Jesus Christ and of His bride. Oh, to be sure, we have seen difficult days for the church. Earlier on in the book, we saw some strong warnings to the church. We have seen some graphic images of the beast and the harlot...a beast from the sea, from the land, and even the Devil himself. In spite of all of that, we win. William Hendriksen chose as the title of his commentary on Revelation “More than Conquerors.” We are not just conquerors, but we are more than conquerors. This idea of the church being more than conquerors has been partly explained with the marriage feast of the lamb, but we will see it even clearer this morning from Revelation 21.

            Our theme is: Immanuel establishes a new world by making all things new.

I.                    The New Jerusalem

II.                  The New Tabernacle

III.                The New Fountain

I. the New Jerusalem

            Our text begins by explaining a new vision. John sees a New Heaven and a New Earth, for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away. The sea was also gone. What does this mean? What is taking place in this vision? Realize, before we dig into it, we are not given many of the finer details of the situation...but from what we are taught throughout the scriptures, especially Isaiah in the OT we can fit together something of a picture of what will take place.

            The first question we must answer is what does the text mean by “new.” There are two Greek words that are translated new. The one that is used in our text is the word that means to make new or transform. God will not completely destroy the old heaven and earth and create a new one out of nothing. No, God will make a new one out of the old one. The old one will be burned, it will be purged and all the results of the fall will be removed from them. But the new earth will be similar to this one, it will just be renewed and purged. Think of the new earth like Christ’s resurrected body or even as our bodies will some day be resurrected. You can still tell the identity of the individual, but they are transformed into a body like Christ’s glorious body. So too with the earth.

            When Adam and Eve plunged humanity into sin, the results affected the whole creation. Prior to the fall, there was no bloodshed. Now, after the fall, lion kills lamb, mosquitoes suck our blood, we must kill animals for food and animals must kill other animals for food. An interesting question would be, did lions or bears or dogs have canine teeth before the fall? Why?

            We ought to think of the new world as having trees and rivers and lakes, etc. Verse 1 mentions that there will be no more sea? Why? The sea isn’t a result of the fall, is it? The sea, as it is used in scripture has a very negative reputation. Already in Revelation it is used in 5 ways.

1.      It is the source of cosmic evil (4:6; 12:18; 13:1)

2.      The unbelieving, rebellious nations who cause tribulation for God’s people (12:18)

3.      The place of the dead (20:13)

4.      Primary place of the world idolatrous trade activity (18:10-19)

5.      Or as a literal body of water often used with “earth” and representing part of the old creation (5:13; 1:1-3: 14:7)

Likely what this means in our text is there will be no more need for the sea in any of these ways. It encompasses all five meaning. There will no longer be evil on the earth, the unbelieving nations will be judged, there will be no more death on earth, etc. The picture the scripture gives to us of the new heavens and earth is similar to paradise, but without the possibility of sin and its result.

            There will also be no more night, sun, moon or stars as we see later in the chapter. Verse 5 says that all things will be made new. Something of this picture we can understand from creation, but other parts of it are far beyond our comprehension. The wonderful glory that awaits, will have to be waited for by the people of God.  

            Now in verse 2, the picture shifts to the New Jerusalem. Notice that we are not taken up to the New Jerusalem into heaven, it is brought down to earth. It is described as a bride is adorned for her husband. Think of the wedding feast, when the bridegroom goes to get his wife as at the beginning of the feast. She has been preparing herself to look beautiful to him. But, this chapter will go even further than that. Instead of just being beautiful like a bride, in verse 9, this New Jersulem is called the bride. This is the church...the whole church, all who ever believed in God and His Son Jesus Christ.

            So, the picture of our text is the New Jerusalem being placed on the New Earth as the bride of Christ. In our next sermon we will have to get into further detail on this part of the vision.

II. The New Tabernacle

            You might be thinking, I thought the tabernacle was finished with the coming of Christ. You are right, the tabernacle was an OT shadow of what was to come. What was to come was the Son of God in the flesh. In John 1:14 we hear, “And the word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.” That word dwelt, literally means tabernacle. So, you could say, the word became flesh and tabernacled among us. This is in fulfillment of OT prophecy, one place being Ezekiel 37:27-28 (read) In verse 3 of our text we read, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God himself will be with them and be their God.”

            So, what does this picture mean? Does this mean that in the New Heavens and Earth God is going to be living in a tent, which is what the OT tabernacle was? No. God will be the tabernacle, the Himself in His own presence. The bride of Christ will be dwelling in the midst of Almighty God.

            Finally in that day, which is to come, even the promise which is given to us in our baptism will be fulfilled. God places his mark upon us in baptism and says, I will be your God and you will be my people. Through faith and union with Jesus Christ that promise begins to be fulfilled already in the life when we believe. God is our God and we are His people, but in the New Jerusalem, where there will be a new tabernacle, who will be God himself, the communion and the fellowship will be perfect and complete. It will be greater than it is now on earth or in heaven. We will be resurrected and completed by God in body and soul to live with him in eternal fellowship of which no eye has seen or ear has heard.

            In this state there will be no more sorrow or tears...they will have been wiped away by God our Father. Read verses 4-5. In verse 4 we read of the results of sin.  Tears, death, sorrow, crying, pain...these will pass away. They will be done away with. We will be perfected, fully restored. There will not possibly be anything to be sad or angry or hurt about. Our bodies will be transformed, but also our wills and emotions. We will be restored in the image of God. What Adam had lost, Christ has regained. There will be peace. In fact, the things mentioned in our text were prophesied by Isaiah.

            Isaiah 25:8 (read) Isaiah 35:10 (read) Isaiah 51:11 (read) which is coming after verse 10 and the drying up of the sea, think back to verse 1. This whole prophecy is rooted in the OT.

            In verse 5 we read ,”Behold, I make all things new.” This is taken from Isaiah 43:19. Verse 1 of this vision brought in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22, vs. 4 alluded to Isaiah 65:17 and 43:18 and now we see it again. In verse 5 and following, it is God who is speaking. These beautiful promises of our text are given the authenticity of God himself. “these words are faithful and true.”

            Congregation, our whole lives we have been struggling under the result of sin. Every hardship we have ever had, is a result of sin. Every time a woman has a child and think, “wow that was painful”, remember, it is not supposed to be that way. Every time you see a family or marriage broken, a child abused, the misuse and abuse of the good things God has given us, realize that God did not create it this way. This world is in disarray, the creation groans for the coming of the Lord, for He will make all things new. We are betrothed to the Lamb of God, and each time we are hungry in this life, it ought to give us the long for the great marriage feast of the lamb.

            We are pilgrims and sojourners on this earth, but on the day of the renewal of all, we will finally be home, with the tabernacle of God in the New Jerusalem which will be placed in the New Earth. Praise God, for He will dwell with us, He is our Immanuel.

III. The New Fountain

            Here in verse 6 we see the identity of the speaker. He is the Alpha and the Omega. This is clearly a reference to God the Father. In fact, this is only the second time in the book of Revelation where it is God the Father who is explicitly speaking. The previous time, he also referred to Himself as the Alpha and Omega in chapter 1. But, what does this name mean, Alpha/Omega, Beginning and End?

            Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. This is a common way for ancients to speak about the all-encompasing nature of things. This shows God’s power and sovereignty over all history. This shows itself most clearly when our text says, “It is done.” To be sure, this echoes the words of Christ on the cross, which was a completion of the redemption of the people of God, but now, it is a complete restoration and consecration and renewal of all things in the world.

            Since God Almighty is the Alpha and Omega, the sovereign creator and sustainer, as we will see this afternoon from L.D. 9, He is the one who is able to make such glorious promises, for He is the one who is able to carry them out.

            This God will give to us from the fountain of the water of life. Language here is of Isaiah 49 and 55. In this life, we drank with the physical mouth and thirsted, but in Christ in the New Earth, there will be no more need. We have a glimpse of this already, as Christ tells us that he is the living water of which we partake with the mouth of faith. This promise is repeated for us again chapter 22.

            Once again in verses 7-8, we are reminded that the present earth is not like the new earth. The present earth is full of sheep and goats, the elect and reprobate. (read vs. 7-8) But on this glorious day, it will only be true and complete fellowship. The wicked of verse 8 will be thrown into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. The goats will be removed forever. The antithesis will be removed, the enemies will be destroyed, we will be able to enjoy the Lord our God for all eternity.

            We will inhabit the New Heavens and the New Earth. We will live in the restored and purged garden of the Lord. We will have, as verse 7 says, this inheritance.

            Congregation, this life is not easy. The road to glory is full of ups and down, mountains and deep valleys. But the Alpha and the Omega, the sovereign God over world history will protect the bride of Jesus Christ, His church, and will supply her with the glorious inheritance which has been purchased in Christ. Praise God. “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall by My son.” Amen.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Steven Swets, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?sermonID=31311141697

(c) Copyright 2011, Rev. Steven Swets

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