Summary: Good riddance to a tough year, and here's to the promise of a new year, where Jesus can and does make all things new.
[I am thankful for Charles Spurgeon's New Years Sermon of 1885. Much of the thought of this sermon came from that one.]
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” — Revelation 21: 5
Good morning. Please open your Bibles to Revelation 21.
I hope your Christmas was blessed, that you had great time with family, that you stayed safe during this weird, weird season.
We come to the last Sunday of 2020, and I don’t think I have ever been more ready to turn a calendar page than I am this year.
The great 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon, in his first sermon of 1885, had this to say about the year that had just passed:
We are at this moment especially ready for a new year… We are glad to escape from what has been to many twelve months of great trial. The last year had become wheezy, croaking, and decrepit, in its old age; and we lay it asleep with a psalm of judgment and mercy. We hope that this newborn year will not be worse than its predecessor, and we pray that it may be a great deal better.
I think most of us would describe 2020 in much the same way Spurgeon described 1884.
And so for this last Sunday of 2020, as we are back to virtual worship services for a couple of weeks, while we are still under quarantine, while I am still processing the loss of yet another friend to covid, while I’m wondering if there is anyone who is even going to tune in on you tube because we are all just so over virtual everything; I’d like to share a passage with you from the second-to-the-last chapter of Revelation. I think God must have known I would need this passage this month, because in the Scripture memory app I use, Revelation 21:3-7 has been the passage I’ve been memorizing for the past several weeks. Let’s read it together, and wherever you are, let’s stand to honor the reading of God’s Word:
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And 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 from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Before you sit down, again, wherever you are right now, would you please repeat this part of verse 5 with me.
He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.”
You can be seated. Let’s pray…
We all love getting new things. Our kids got up Christmas morning to see what new thing was under the tree for them. It’s kind of in our DNA to chase after whatever is new and bright and shiny.
So it’s no surprise that the mere words of Revelation 21:5 make our hearts beat a little faster. We hear Jesus say, “Behold, I am making all things new,” and our spirit feels a little lighter. Our eyes gleam a little brighter. The promise of something new gives us hope.
Five days from now, we will celebrate a brand new year. By grace, we’ve made it to 2021. So let’s say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 by camping out just on this one verse: Revelation 21:5. I’d like us to look at it phrase by phrase, and maybe even word by word. Let’s start with the first word:
BEHOLD: that’s a Bible word if ever there was one. It means to look at something, but these days it always means to look at something truly awesome or amazing. You don’t say BEHOLD for just any old thing. BEHOLD I HAVE WASHED THE DISHES! So when someone, says “BEHOLD,” we’ve got to stand up and pay attention. When God says BEHOLD, open your eyes.
I AM … Who is speaking? The beginning of the verse says, “He who is seated on the throne.” When someone is on a throne, that someone is in charge. He rules. In this case, it is the throne of the universe. So again, the “I” here isn’t just any old “I.” This “I” is the Great I am. Verse 7 says He is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end.