The Story: “The Great Day”
The Story, Chapter 31
Revelation 21: 1-6; Luke 24: 44-53
Pearl: All things will be new.
Function: To motivate worshippers to take in the truth that God’s Story is ongoing, making everything new and is accessible even today.
Today is the end of The Story; yet in Jesus Christ it is also always the beginning of a new story!
1. Most people are fascinated with the book of Revelation. People always list it as a book they want to study with others if given the choice to select a book of the bible.
a. Why is this? What is the fascination with Revelation?
i. It must be the way in which it has a future dimension to it; not only future but “end of the world” kind of dimension to it.
ii. It must also be the way it has such strange and amazing pictures. It seems a lot like the stuff of dreams. Actually, John received this vision in a dream-like state. That should be kept in mind in terms of not expecting things to literally pan out as described in this vision.
iii. There is fascination with evil being stamped out once and for all as everyone deep down wants to see happen.
iv. People love Revelation because of the assurance that in the end God wins! Everyone longs for this in the same way that they long for happy endings.
v. You are fascinated with Revelation because you imagine what it will be like to encounter God face to face. That certainly fires the imagination.
2. Here are a few pearls from the book of Revelation.
i. There is the assurance that in the end God wins!
ii. John, the Apostle, received this “revelation” from God while in exile on the island of Patmos. At that time it would have appeared that Rome ruled the world. But things are not always as they appear. It is written in 1:8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. So who was in power at the time of John’s exile? Who is in power right now?
b. The book of Revelation is a book of sounds, images, and numbers.
c. The lampstands represent the churches.
d. John is an artist with a series of metaphors and Revelation is more a book of imagination than explanation, more a symphony than a sermon, more theater than classroom lecture.
e. The number 7 is used 54 times in Revelation; it is the number signifying completion.
i. In chapters 2-3 the seven churches are written to in the form of letters. The fact that the number is seven means that these words of correction and encouragement were for all of the churches in existence (likely more than seven). These same words of correction and encouragement apply to the church even today.
The book of Revelation gives a glimpse into the throne room of God. You could say that this glimpse is of the very center of existence itself.
1. The center of the universe is heaven, and the center of heaven is a throne, and there is Someone sitting on the throne: Jesus Christ.
a. Rome was not in control of the world; God was. Washington, D.C. does not run our world. God does.
2. In the immediate presence of God is the full worship of God. Imagine what it is like! John did and it is recorded as follows:
a. “Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures…each of them with six wings…day and night without ceasing they sing, ‘Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come’…the twenty-four elders fall before the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
3. From this awesome image of the immediate presence of God you gain the confidence that the Christ reigns almighty over all.
4. Finally Revelation reveals that God will create a new heaven and a new earth. (Everyone stand and read aloud together Rev. 21: 1-6).
a. This is the ultimate destiny of the world—a new world. A restored world. Can you even imagine what it might be like when everything is new? Imagine back to when Jesus appeared in the resurrected body. It was a new body. He could walk through walls but he had a physical body so he could eat like you and me.
b. When everything is new you will see, hear, touch, and taste things you have never experienced before. I went to Malawi (south central Africa) in 1993 with a group of 40 people from Pittsburgh Presbytery. We were taken to visit with a different church each day. We would get off of our bus and we would be greeted each time by the dancing and singing women of the church. They made high-pitched trilling sounds with their mouths in excitement over our being with them. I had never heard anything like it before. The new earth will be like nothing we have ever experienced. But it will be earth.
Not only will everything be new, but EVERYTHING WILL BE RIGHT! This is huge! All injustice will be gone. Everything will be just and right.
1. Genesis presents the creation of the heavens and the earth; Revelation speaks of the new heavens and the new earth.
2. Genesis tells of the creation of the sun, moon, and the stars; Revelation tells that there is no need of the sun because God will be the light.
3. Genesis tells of paradise lost; Revelation presents paradise regained.
4. Genesis reads that Satan was in the first garden; Revelation reads that Satan will be banished from the earth—destroyed once and for all.
5. The “new” in the new heavens and earth mean restored, not replaced.
Last Sunday when you ate the bread and drank the cup in the way in which Jesus the Christ told you to do, you entered into the new covenant and so you entered into the new heavens and the new earth. Jesus said, “This is the New Covenant.” In communion you get a glimpse of the new thing that the Lord is doing.
Communion is an enactment of God’s incredible Story. The whole story, the whole Bible, is encapsulated in The Table. Your stories are meant to be taken into God’s Story which is about a new world in a new relationship with God in Christ.
At the end of The Story…
Behold! Jesus the Christ is making all things new!