12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.15 Outsideare the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22)
The majority of the words above are spoken by Jesus, as he invites people to come, trust in Him. The Holy Spirit is also calling us to come, and the church, speaking as His servant, calls on people to come to Him. He then reminds us that He is coming again. When we respond to His call to come, we in turn find ourselves saying: "Come, Lord Jesus, Come!" Knowing Him now, here in this fallen world of imperfection, makes us long to know Him better on His terms, on His turf, in His Time - eternity in the new heaven and earth. May we live our lives today with that prayer on our hearts: "Come, Lord Jesus, Come!"
Revelation 21Then 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.2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.3 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.4 ‘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.” 5 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.”
That's something that is hard to find these days: trustworthy and true. They are words used to describe our words, as well as those things that are made by a craftsman. God's New Creation will be that way: Hand made by God in heaven, bringing together heaven and earth once again. We long for the absence of all these things: death, decay, crying and pain. But may we also long for Who is there: The Lord's dwelling and rule and reign. Trustworthy and true: take it to the bank; take it to eternity.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20) Lots of times we talk about someone's life being "an open book" for all to read. That saying will be no more true than it is at this judgment before the throne of Christ. There He will "throw the book" at death, Hades, and all those who have rejected Him. But there is another book - the book of life. It will be a life-saver for those whose names are written there, who trust in Christ and depend on Him and His righteousness alone to enter the dwelling place of God. What a courtroom it will be, where all shall stand. Open your book and see what's inside today.
20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons,and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk.21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts,their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9) These statements wrap up two chapters full of judgment: natural disasters, pestilence, and war. There is too much to ignore. Yet many choose not to call out to God in repentance, not to come to Christ for the change they need, but to instead cling to their man-made idols and ways of trying to handle it themselves. It is one of those exceedingly sad statements made in Revelation: after all mankind has seen, to still turn away from God. How hard have our hearts become? What does it take for Him to wake us up?
15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?" (Revelation 6)
In the opening scene of this chapter, John is invited to "come" and see what lies ahead for the world, and it's not pretty: war, famine, sickness, and death pile up, as the sense of groaning increases: "How Long!?!" There is this struggle as God's people watch and wait for Christ to return, to fulfill all His promises of salvation. We cannot wait for Him to come. But many do not want for Him to come. In His own words, He has come to fulfill all righteousness. For those who have been made righteous by faith in Him, it is a glorious coming, but for those who refuse and reject Him, His coming is one in judgment, which makes them call out the way they do in the passage above. When He returns, no one can hide. Will you want to? Or will you be calling: "Come, Lord Jesus, come"?
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. (Revelation 5)
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.2 I know your deeds,your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2)
Reputation: Churches all have them. So do individuals. God wants us to be known as holy, not "holier-than-thou". This church had a reputation for doing the right thing, working hard, and standing up against sin and false-teaching, even enduring persecution for Christ. But if we are not careful, we can become self-approving in this situation, smelling like we know how good we are. We lose our passion for Christ Himself, and leaving Him out, we find it hard to repent, or even think we have something for which to repent. After all, we haven't done anything terrible, and have stood up for what is right and true. But as with all the tendencies these churches had, if we do not, we will fall away from God's purposes, and fade away from being the light He made us to be.
I John 2:18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
They left. It is one thing when a fellow believer has to leave the fellowship because they are moving away. It is yet another when a fellow believer leaves the fellowship because of some unresolved relationship conflict. But the most stunning blow is when someone who has seemed to be a part of the body rejects Christ and walks away. It shook this church; it still does today. But John reminds us that it will be this way, and increasingly so, as we approach The Day. We need to be hurt, concerned, and prayerful, but not shocked. Just as the Old Testament believers had enemies in the camp; just as Judas was a part of the Twelve, we will have those who say they're all in, then walk away. Take heart; take stock; stick with the truth: Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.
John 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled." This intimate pray of Jesus to the Father is one of those to be overheard. Often He would go away from His disciples to pray, so they could not hear everything He was saying. That is what caused them to say: "Teach us to pray." Here He teaches through prayer. He lets them, and us, know that the truth He has given is what we need, so that when we receive it, we are receiving Him and the Father, and this opens ups the storehouses of truth we can believe in, we can trust in with certainty. These things bring us into an unbreakable bond with the Father and the Son. Blessed Assurance. Humble confidence. Total security.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.17 This is my command: Love each other. (John 15) Jesus often said things two or three times to drive home His point. He knew how spiritually dense we can be. Here He goes overboard big time: "Remain in my love... Love Each other... Love each other..." And He has set that bar high: just like the Father... Just like Me...... laying down one's life... being true friends. It is so simple, yet so hard, is it not? He has put us into the sphere of God's love, where we are to remain, but then we have to go out into the world of reality and obey Him and love others. Don't be pulled out of His love. That is all. How we need Him to do so.
John 14:1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.
Jesus had just given some disturbing news: He was going away, and they could not go with Him. His words were spoken to those who had been most faithful to Him, so they hit hard. Yet these are the words held more memorable: While He is away, He will be preparing a place - a place where He will take His followers. Still disturbed, Thomas's questioning represents all the concerns we may have: where, how, why and when. But these are all the wrong questions, because the real issue is "Who?" Christ is the answer that calms all this disturbing wondering. He will take care of all the details and He will take us there and get us in. So, He says to them, and to us: "Stop being disturbed."