24th April 2016 08H00 & 09H30
Staying strong in the storms of life.
A New Heaven and a New Earth
We need to be aware of the world we are living in as being full of storms. I don’t know of anyone not experiencing some anxiety and tension as we watch things around us happening. We have a lot of challenges and need to be reassured that God in his wisdom is wanting to partner with us in restoring a broken earth. It was earth day on Friday and I suddenly became deeply aware of the need for the church to do something urgently – listen to this scripture and then lets explore it.
One of the best books on Revelation that I know is Reversed Thunder by Eugene Peterson.
1. The picture of newness – God‘s plan is restoration -Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” [a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
2. A church prepared as a bride for her husband preparing a world for transition. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3. A God who dwells amongst his people -And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. While some may claim Revelation has an otherworldly or escapist theological bent, we see in this periscope just how poor that interpretation really is. As we’re coming to the culmination of the Revelation we see that it’s not about us being pulled away from this earth, it’s about God drawing close to this earth! The home of mortals isn’t in heaven, the home of God is among mortals! In the lyric of verse 3 we hear about the incarnation. God “will dwell” with them; skēnō. Literally, God will “tabernacle” with humans. This is the same description as John 1:14, “the Word became flesh and lived among us…”
4. A time of healing and restoration – ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ [b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5. Everything is made new not by us but by God however he has called us to partner with Him – He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 .Beginning and the end in infinity and water that comes from the spring of life – 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 water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
Pictures at best of eternal glory but also of an eternal plan.
The Revelation of Jesus given to John isn’t about the faithful avoiding difficulty or being raptured out of tribulation but is about God making God’s tabernacle, dwelling place, in the heart of this earth. God will wipe away every tear. This is the new thing God is doing. And it’s real! For some it may be too real.
In taking on our humanity in Jesus Christ, God has married his life to ours, joined himself totally and irrevocably to our existence. As we search how to respond daily to life in this world, we ask Christ to help us look at others around us and to see our city as God’s city. Each of its inhabitants is worthy of being considered and served, because God, as the voice in the vision tells us, will wipe away every tear. If we should ask, “how can this be”, the words John then hears come in reply: “I am the beginning and the end.” It is not our understanding but God’s good intention which embraces creation. And God gives water for the journey not to the satiated but to the thirsty.