Summary: A sermon about heaven and spreading the news about it.
"No More Sea"
Revelation 21:1-6, 10; 22:1-5
He was just a little fellow.
His mother died when he was just a child.
His father, in trying to be both mommy and daddy, had planned a picnic.
The little boy had never been on a picnic, so they made their plans, fixed the lunch, and packed the car.
Then it was time to go to bed, because the picnic was the next day.
The little boy just couldn't sleep.
He tossed and he turned, but the excitement got to him.
Finally, he got out of bed, ran into the room where his father had already fallen asleep, and shook him.
His father woke up and saw his son.
He said to him, "What are you doing up?
What's the matter?'
The boy said, 'I can't sleep.'
The father asked, 'Why can't you sleep?'
In answering, the boy said, 'Daddy, I'm excited about tomorrow.'
His father replied, 'Well, son, I'm sure you are, and it's going to be a great day, but it won't be great if we don't get some sleep.
So why don't you just run down the hall, get back in bed, and get a good night's rest.'"
So the boy trudged off down the hall to his room and got in bed.
It wasn't long, though, before the boy was back pushing and nudging his father.
The father asked, 'What's the matter now?'
The boy said, 'Daddy, I just want to thank you for tomorrow.'"
Our Scripture Lesson for this morning, from Revelation, gives us reason and opportunity to thank God for "tomorrow" or "what is to come," and to especially thank God for our place in God's Kingdom which comes to us by grace through faith in the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Because at the center of these passages and at the center of the Bible is Jesus Christ--His life, suffering, death and resurrection, and promised return in glory.
Everything points to this.
This is what makes the destiny of the entire universe turn!!!
Just think, if it weren't for God's gracious Word and God's self-giving love, we could never know these things on our own--since our minds are so deeply entrenched and colored by the world's heart-breaking news.
Is there news that is especially bothering you this morning?
What are you going through?
Is there pain in your heart that is nearly unmanageable?
Has someone hurt you deeply?
Are you suffering from an illness, a disease?
Do you have a daily battle with depression and anxiety?
Are you so disgusted by the continuing occurrences of hate-filled acts that you are feeling a bit hopeless?
Does life seem so chaotic and dangerous that you can hardly stand?
We know all too well the reality of tears, pain, sadness, darkness, suffering, and death.
But wait, the vision given us in today's lesson reveals the true end or goal of life, the destiny of creation that has been taken up in the life of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.
As we get to the end of Revelation, we find that the opposition to the Lamb has been crushed.
The dragon, along with the beast and the false prophet, have been cast into the lake of fire.
And, as John proclaims, "God's dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples."
This is the first and most important detail of what is to come.
Heaven is the place where God is and where we humans are fully united with God.
John goes on to describe a holy city.
And he describes this particular city by noting what is not in it.
Notice in verse 1 of Chapter 21: "the sea was no more."
Now, what in the world is that supposed to mean?
We love the sea.
The ocean or the beach is where many of us vacation--with the sun and the surf...
...but there is also something else about the sea...
The sea is a powerful biblical symbol for chaos.
The sea also represents what separates humans from one another.
In Genesis and other places in the Old Testament, the sea is a place of primordial danger, out of which evil continually threatens to undo the goodness of God's creation.
And all of us have been witnesses to terrible danger, terrible chaos across our nation and our world.
From tsunamis to earthquakes to hurricanes and terrorist attacks--we live in the midst of dark, dangerous and choppy waters.
Before Chapter 21, the "sea" in Revelation has been a place of the intense struggle between God and Satan.
It is, for example, the place where the beasts of Chapter 13 emerge.
But God is not a God of Chaos.
God is a God of peace, beauty and love.
We are told in Genesis Chapter 1: "When God began to create the heavens and the earth--the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea..."