Sermons

Summary: Looking at our Future in Heaven, via our place in God’s presence now

Are You in the Book!

May 13th

Acts 16:9-15 Rev. 21:9-14,21-27 John 16:23-33

† In the Name of Jesus †

May this day, the Lord do to our hearts, like Lydia’s, that we may pay attention, and know the grace and peace of God, given to us in Christ.

The City

In our reading from Revelation this morning, we are brought alongside the Apostle John, as he stands on a mountain top, accompanied by an angel…

As you can, close your eyes, and picture what his words so incredibly describe…

Even from the high mountain, this city’s boundaries are enormous, a square some 1500 miles long, and 1500 miles wide. This entire city, shines with the glorious light of God, like the most brilliant gemstone you have ever seen. Picture the wall which surrounds the city, is over 200 feet thick, and composed of 12 layers of various gemstones, each later 18 feet thick! They too, reflect and shine the glory of God, which reflects, and is refracted through the colors,

On each wall of the city, there are three access points, reminiscent of Israel’s tabernacle in the wilderness. These gates, are each made of one pearl, and at each one stands a mighty angel, that none should pass in, save those who belong in the city.

Such a glorious city, this new Jerusalem, the gathered people of God, all those of faith, whether drawn from Old Testament Israel, or drawn from the New Testament Church, they are all together. Shining with God’s glory, people from every tribe, and tongue, and kindred and people. A city not needing anything, for these people live in the presence of God. A city with the name – the city founded for peace…

This is the city, at the end of time, and the beginning of eternity, where God’s people will dwell in peace,

My question for you today, should I look, will I find our names listed in the city’s phone book?

Are you in it’s “Book”

Better question – are you a resident therein?

Well, perhaps not the phone book, but the book that identifies every inhabitant, every resident of that city. The Book identified in our passage today as the Book of Life, the book that scripture tells us has had the names of its residents listed since before their birth, indeed, before the very foundations of the earth! The Book of Life that according to Revelation 13:8 belongs to the Lamb of God, that was slain.

Will we be residents of that city, with streets that are of gold? The city whose gates are guarded by angels?

Why you might not be listed

Unclean, detestable, false

There is a description of those who will not be welcomed in this incredible city, found in our reading today. It says there, “27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false,”.

In the Old Testament, the same rule existed, when Israel camped in the wilderness. When the people of Israel set up camp, the camp was arranged in a very specific pattern. To describe it, I will use our altar area. The alter area, in the center of the camp, is where we would find the tabernacle – the place where God’s Spirit dwelt among His own people. On each side, we would find three of the tribes encamped in their own tabernacles, with the camp being the entire area surrounding the tribes.

In the 2nd through 5th books of the Bible, written by Moses, goes into great detail about what is unclean, and what is clean. A great deal of that which is considered unclean, is that which is come in contact with sin, and more often, the ultimate penalty of all sin – death. An example is the anything bloody, for it is in the loss of blood, that the loss of life is evident. Or coming into contact with those who were uncircumcised, and worshipped other Gods. Anyone being declared, because of something scripture described, were to be kept outside the camp – outside the fellowship of God.

At that time, being kept outside the camp was for a period of time. In many cases, it was until the evening sacrifice, after which, the person was cleansed, and could re-enter the camp. Interestingly, the bodies of all animals whose blood was spilled to make sacrifice for sin, were also taken and buried outside the camp, taking the place of those who had sinned, and could now return.

But now, in the time described in this passage of Revelation, after the day of judgment, there is no longer the option for cleansing. That which is bound to sin, and to death, no longer has the hope of the sacrifice. Any claim to being part of the people of God, is false, any hope is gone, for their sin is theirs, an abomination to God.

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Bruce Ball

commented on May 19, 2007

Brother Parker, very good sermon. You make the reader feel as if he is with John, looking at the city, too. Thank you - this is very well written!

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