The River and Tree of Life aka Back to the Garden

Revelation 22.1-5

John finishes his description of the new heaven and the new earth with a trip back to the garden. Or maybe better a trip forward to the garden. The river and tree of life. The removal of the curse. God’s presence. Seeing Him face to face. Serving Him. Ruling and reigning with Him forever.

But now we live in this in-between time…in between the time of Jesus’ ascension and His return…where life seems to be crashing down around us because of sin and death and the effects of the curse. In this in-between space where the consequences of our own sin…we might call it compromise…and the sin of others, especially persecution, impact us in often tragic ways, we can’t forget that our hope is not in this broken world. Let me say that one more time…our hope is not in this broken world. I think we forget that. We are just sojourners passing through, on our way home.

As I was thinking about that, it struck me…this world is like a burning house. Hang with me for a minute. When you see a house on fire, you don’t go in to rearrange the furniture. You don’t settle in and make yourself comfortable. Nope. You grab the first person you see and pull them out. Then you go back and grab one more. And then you go back and grab one more… Our job is to keep pulling folks out of the fire until God calls us home. To storm the gates of hell until we see our Savior fact to face. To share our story with those around us, investing our mina until the King returns. No…our hope is not in this broken world, but in a new one, a re-created one where Jesus is reigning. So Don’t give up on your faith. Don’t give in to the pressure of this world. Don’t forget…Jesus wins.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

The New Jerusalem

Revelation 21.9-27

The New Jerusalem. A city beyond our wildest dreams. More beautiful and breathtaking than anything we’ve ever seen or even imagined. The home of a redeemed Israel, and the destination of believers from the nations who bring their glory into it. Diamond walls, pearly gates, radiant jewels and streets of gold…

A strong contrast to Babylon and the fate of those who aligned themselves with that city. Those who chose rebellion over submission, subjecting over serving, the dragon over the Lamb.

Again John reminds us of what we are hoping for…why we don’t give up or give in. Jesus wins, and this is what winning looks like. More than we could have ever truly hoped for or expected. A good reminder in the world we live in today that is nothing like that. A world where pain and suffering, the ugliness of sin in all of its manifestations is so obvious. Where maybe most days we feel beat down and trampled under foot. We need to be reminded…we need to be encouraged…not to give up or give in. The kingdom will be worth it.

But only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will be there. And your name will only be in the book if you have trusted in Jesus, so if you have not yet trusted in Jesus, please don’t wait. It’s as simple as admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Believing that Jesus came to save you from your sin. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death on your behalf, and was raised the third day, so that you might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life and might walk in the light of His glory in the kingdom forever.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.

A New Heaven and a New Earth

Revelation 21.1-8

John describes for us a new heaven and a new earth…the realization of the hope for which we have been saved, so that even in the midst of suffering the afflictions and persecutions of this present darkness, this present evil age, we will be encouraged knowing that we will one day be rescued and vindicated by the sudden appearance of Jesus, whose coming will destroy the powers of evil and make all things new. Throughout the NT the message is clear: this future hope should impact our lives today…our behavior and devotion to Jesus. So knowing this let us persevere in the present as we await the return of our King to set all things right…don’t give up, don’t give in, Jesus wins!

This beautiful picture reminds us of God’s amazing love for us. The lengths that He has gone to so that we might be reconciled to Him, that we might become His children are nothing short of incredible. From the first few chapters of Genesis, He’s been relentlessly pursuing us. It started with a promise…Genesis 3.15. One day He would send the Hero to rescue us from the sin and death caused by our rebellion against Him and provide a way back to the garden. That Hero, of course, is Jesus, who lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, was raised the third day, and ascended to the throne of God. By believing in Him we have eternal life. To those who thirst…the water of life without cost. The retirement package is chill…paradise with Him forever.

Now we wait with anticipation His return…not as a sacrificial Lamb, but as the conquering Lion. Not as our Savior on a cross, but as the fierce Warrior-King on a white horse.

Today is the day. John’s encouragement to believers is also a warning to those who are not following Him. Judgment is certain. Jesus is coming back. The consequences are final. No do-overs. There will be no escape. No watching from the sidelines. You are either for Him or against Him. My prayer is that you are thirsty today…I love that His relentless pursuit continues till the end. The offer stands open, to drink from the springs of the water of life without cost.

So don’t give up because following Jesus is sometimes hard. Don’t give in to the culture around you. Why? Because Jesus wins! Amen, come Lord Jesus!

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Revelation series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.