Summary: We are blessed when we keep the words of God.
1. Wrong Running
One evening a woman was driving home when she noticed a huge truck behind her that was driving uncomfortably close. She stepped on the gas to gain some distance from the truck, but when she sped up the truck did too. The faster she drove the faster drove the truck. Now scared, she exited the freeway. But the truck stayed with her. The woman then turned up a main street, hoping to lose her pursuer in traffic. But the truck ran a red light and continued the chase.
Reaching the point of panic, the woman whipped her car into a service station and bolted out of her auto screaming for help. The truck driver sprang from his truck and ran toward her car. Yanking the back door open, the driver pulled out a man hidden in the backseat. The woman was running from the wrong person. From his high vantage point, the truck driver had spotted a would-be rapist in the woman's car. The chase was not his effort to harm her but to save her even at the cost of his own safety.
Likewise, many people run from God's provision of atonement on the cross, fearing what He might do to them. But His plans are for good not evil -- to rescue us from the hidden sins that endanger our lives; that threaten our eternal destiny and the current blessedness of this life.
2. Revelation 22.1-7
a. Apparently eternity with God is a reset to his original intentions as in Eden -- Tree of Life; River;
b. The Ultimate "Tree of Life" was the cursed tree of Jesus' crucifixion
c. Through the cross we are reconciled with God -- real life -- 1 Corinthians 15.21-22
21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
3. Verse 7 reminds us of blessings that come when we keep God's word
a. It is a reflection of God -- Deuteronomy 7.9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
b. It is a source of blessing -- Deuteronomy 29.29 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.
4. Consider the importance of Keeping the words of God
I. To Keep is to Obey
26 "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known
A. Obedience comes from the Hearing of God
1. Eyes on the Ball
Imagine landing a jet on the rolling deck of an aircraft carrier in the pouring rain--in the middle of the night. It's complicated, but it boils down to a single request from the Landing Signal Officer to the incoming pilot: "Call the ball." The "ball" is a round light shining toward the plane that the pilot uses to line his plane up with the carrier's deck. When the pilot sees the "ball" and is confident of his path, he responds, "Ball." From that point until he lands he has one lifesaving task: to keep his eye on the ball.
Think now of dark times in life when you're looking for a port in the storm, a place to land safely and in one spiritual and emotional piece. Lots of things may help--friends, funds, family. But there is one thing absolutely essential: keeping your eyes on the Lord. When Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was surrounded by a vast army, the people of Judah came together. Jehoshaphat led in a prayer for God's help, the last words of which were these, "Nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You." 2 Chronicles 20:12b
We can only follow God if our eyes are on Him. The destination is wherever He leads. Therefore, we guard his word to be sure that we have his direction.
2. The Reason Incorporating God's Word is Key -- Psalm 119.11
3. The Book of Revelation Encourages the Readers to Hear and Heed God at all times -- Revelation 2.10
B. Obeying is Foundational to Our Lives in Christ -- Matthew 7.24-27 -- v. 24: 24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.