130428 Revelation 21:1-6

Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Revelation 21:1 – 6
Theme: The Risen Savior Offers You H2O
1. Heaven
2. Happiness
3. Optimism

When I was in high school, the subject I struggled the most in was science. One of the more difficult things for me to do was memorize the "periodic table". The periodic table is the chart that lists all the different elements in our world. Some were easy to remember: "H" is the symbol for "hydrogen". "O" is the symbol for "oxygen". But for those of you who have studied the periodic table, do you remember what "AU" stands for? It is gold. Or how about "HG"? This is the symbol on the chart for mercury. It was difficult enough for me to remember what each symbol means. Imagine how lost I felt as we started talking about what is made when parts of the different elements are put together with other parts. One that is maybe easy to remember is the formula H20. If you take two parts of hydrogen and combine it with one part of oxygen, the result is water. Today we want to spend a few minuets talking about H2O. Not the kind of water that comes out of your sinks at home or that you can buy in a bottle at the store. God's Word before us this morning gives us an opportunity to talk about the water only the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, is able to offer us. As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, "Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Today the risen Savior comes to each one of us and offers us this water of life. From God's Word, the risen Savior offers you H20. Through the water of life, you and I enjoy heaven, happiness and optimism.


Before we go any farther this morning, the first thing we want to do is put away any doubts about what we are reading here in Revelation chapter 21. Some critics of the Bible want us to believe that John was on drugs, and was simply imagining those things that were revealed to him throughout the book of Revelation. Others won't go so far as to say John was on drugs, but they will try to convince us that what John writes about here in Chapter 21 is something that he made up. But how does the Lord himself answer such critics of the Bible. In verses 5 and 6 we read, "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.' Who is this that is speaking from the throne of heaven? "He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega (the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet), the Beginning and the End.'" And what does the eternal Lord God have to offer, "'To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.'" We can trust that all that we read here is true because it is the risen Lord Jesus who offers us his H2O.

The book of Revelation makes it clear that in the end the devil and all our spiritual enemies will be defeated once and for all as they suffer forever in the flames and torments of hell. Because of your sin, because of my sin, we deserve to suffer that same punishment and torment. We deserve only to feel and experience forever the full fury of God's anger over sin. Yet, because of Jesus Christ, we enjoy the forgiveness of all of our sins. Because our Savior defeated Satan and the grave, by the grace of our God we enjoy that same victory over the devil and over the grave. Because of the risen Savior we can be sure of our place at his side in heaven. As we read here in Revelation chapter 21, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'" We could spend quite a long time this morning just discussing what the Bible means when it tells us that John saw "a new heaven and a new earth." It is clear from God's Word that this "new heaven and new earth" will be a place unlike anything we have known while here on this earth. As we read in Romans chapter 8, "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." And as the Lord says to us in Isaiah chapter 65, "'Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth...be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create.'"


And this passage from Isaiah brings us to our second point. The risen Savior promises us that as we live with him forever in heaven it will be a place of great happiness. As we read here in Revelation 21 our Lord and Savior "will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." What is "the old order of things" mentioned here? While the gracious Lord does bless us with times of joy and happiness here on this earth, there are also times of great sadness and pain. As Moses was led to write in Psalm 90, "The length of our days is seventy years-or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away." The Lord tells us in his Word that because of sin that is in the world, our lives will be filled with sadness and pain. And by all rights, this is all that your sins and my sins deserve; nothing but suffering and trouble. Yet the Good News for us is that we have one who suffered in our place. All that causes us trouble and sadness was placed on our Savior as he hung on the cross. It is in Isaiah 53 that we read about Jesus, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted." Jesus Christ came as our great Substitute. As our Substitute he not only lived a perfect life in our place, but he took upon himself all of our sins, all of our sorrows and all of our sicknesses. The Good News of the Easter Season is that the tomb is empty. Jesus Christ lives! As our living Savior he promises that we too will live forever in happiness with him. Anything that causes us pain or sadness while living out our days here on this earth will be gone forever at his side in the perfect joy of heaven. Greater than any joy or feelings of happiness that we have experienced, will be the happiness that is ours to enjoy in heaven because of Jesus our Savior. As we read in God's Word last Sunday from Revelation chapter 7, all who live in the happiness of heaven "are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Because it is the risen Savior who is speaking to us today, because it is our risen Lord and Savior who freely offers to us the happiness of heaven, we can live out our days here on this earth with optimism. We have confidence that Jesus will keep all his promises to us. When we feel sorrow over our sins, we are confident of our forgiveness through the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We approach our individual lives with optimism, knowing that we don't go through our life alone, but with the comfort that our loving Savior is with us and is watching over us each and every day. We look forward with confidence to taking our place in heaven because it is Jesus Christ who has given to us the water of life. The words of our risen Savior that place such optimism in us are found in final verse before us this morning when he says, "'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.'"

When I was going to school, it was a struggle to learn the periodic table. It was confusing and hard for me to understand. Thanks be to God that this is not true of his Word! God's Word is clear. In the Bible we read that, because of his great love for us, Jesus Christ came to this earth to win for you and me the forgiveness of all of our sins and our place in the eternal joy of heaven. In response, you and I join in the song of praise found in Isaiah chapter 12, "'I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.' With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." My dear Christian friends, each day of our Lord's grace to you, give thanks that in the water of life, your risen Savior offers you H2O: Heaven; Happiness; and Optimism. Amen.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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