Our sermon yesterday was based on two passages in Revelation but it was the second one that stood out for me. Now the message from the preacher was a great message but I sat there feeling very much like the preacher had glossed over the most important part (maybe it was just me felt that way!) but in a full church what an opportunity to preach and teach about how you get to heaven because it clearly shows us in this passage who isn’t going to get there and that’s agonising because there will have been people there (in any church) who need to hear that going to heaven is a two way thing, Jesus died for us but we need to turn away from sin and claim that victory.
Revelation 21: 1-7 – Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.’
I am making everything new (and his words are trustworthy and true), a new heaven and a new earth which means those who have enjoyed the second birth will live in a Holy City, the new Jerusalem, a city of diversity, full of the richness of humanity from across the centuries, no evil, no pain because unlike the current world filled with the rain of despair the new world will see the eventual and rightful reign of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, full of indescribable joy.
I am making everything new, to the thirsty I will give water and my obedient sons and daughters will inherit all this, for I am their God and they are my children, but I urge you to see that whilst heaven is freely available it is unattainable unless you turn from your sins and OK this world can be unsatisfying and it’s tempting to thirst for something new, for our longings to be met right here, right now, but we know that there is a new heaven and earth and that through our rebirth we are no longer of this earth, but part of God’s chosen nation, his children redeemed, receiving salvation.
I am making everything new and that includes you, take courage and know that God loves you, believe in his redeeming power, turn from immoral practices, harbour no hatred in your heart, have nothing to do with magic arts and worship only the Lord your God, speak the truth, do not lie and God will satisfy all your earthly needs and more, just remember God adores you and yearns to spend eternity with you, search your heart and turn back to Jesus, may his joy be in you for his joy completes us.