Sermon: The Earth Was At First Uninhabitable: Genesis 1:2

Pre-Introduction

Brothers and sisters, Genesis 1:1-5 is our Old Testament reading for today. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 is our New Testament reading. We will come to focus upon verse 2 of Genesis 1 in the sermon today. Hear now the word of God.

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 1:1-5

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:1–5, ESV)

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1–6

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:1–6, ESV)

Introduction

Genesis 1:2 describes to us the condition of the earthly realm as it was immediately following God’s act of absolute creation which was described in Genesis 1:1 and prior to God’s forming of that realm in the world as we know it as described in verses 3 and following. Continue reading

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Sermon: An Exhortation to Holy Living (Part 2): Revelation 22:6-21

Brothers and sisters, I am going to devote one more sermon after this one to the book of Revelation. I have three reasons which I’ll mention in order from most important and serious to least. One, I’m finding the conclusion to the book of Revelation to be very rich. What I thought could be covered in one or two sermons I’ve found to need three. Two, I’ve thought to myself, this may be the only time that I preach through Revelation, and this might be the only time that the saints at Emmaus hear a series on this book. We might as well take our time. And three, if we devote just one more sermon to the book of Revelation then that will make 66 sermons in the series. I thought this would appropriate given the symbolic nature of numbers in the book of Revelation and given that the key to understanding the symbolism of this book is to consider it in light of the rest of the scripture. As you know, there are 66 books in the Bible, and so there being 66 sermons in this series seemed appropriate. Of course, I make this last point with tongue in cheek.

Let us now give ourselves to the reading of God’s holy, inspired, inerrant, clear and authoritative word. Continue reading

Sermon: Kingdom Consummated: Revelation 22:1-5

Pre-Introduction

The sermon text for today is Revelation 22:1-5. The Old Testament reading is Ezekiel 47:1-12. You’ll notice that we have read often from Ezekiel chapters 40-48 over the past couple of weeks, for that section of scripture clearly stands behind the visions shown to John and recorded for us in Revelation 21 and 22. Long before the first coming of Christ Ezekiel the prophet was shown something of what would happen at the end of time. He was shown a vision of a temple and a city. The book of Revelation makes clear that the visions shown to Ezekiel will be fulfilled, not in some millennium, but in the new heavens and new earth when Christ returns. Let us now turn our attention to the reading of God’s inspired, inerrant, clear and authoritative word.

Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 47:1–12

Ezekiel writes, “Then he [that is, the angel] brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen this?’ Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, ‘This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.’” (Ezekiel 47:1–12, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Revelation 22:1–5

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1–5, ESV)

Introduction

These first five versus of Revelation 22 serve as a conclusion to the section that began at Revelation 21:1. In this section, which runs from 21:1 through 22:5, we are shown something about the new heavens and the new earth that will be established after Christ returns. Continue reading

Sermon Manuscript: The Bride Of Christ In All Her Glory: Revelation 21:9-27

Pre-Introduction

The Old Testament reading for today comes from Ezekiel 40:1-6 and 43:1-12. When we read the sermon text for today, which is Revelation 21:9-27, you will quickly recognize that the Ezekiel passage and the Revelation passage are connected, for the visions that Ezekiel the Prophet and John the Apostle received were similar. The vision of Revelation 21:9-27 shows that the vision of Ezekiel chapters 40-48 will find its ultimate fulfillment in the new heavens and new earth.

Ezekiel was a sixth-century B.C. prophet who ministered to Judah during the Babylonian captivity. Judah and Israel were taken away from their city and temple, but Ezekiel was shown a vision of the temple and city of Jerusalem rebuilt with such glory and spender and tremendous size that the message was clear – though Israel and Judah had been taken captive, God was not done with them, but would accomplish his purposes through them. God would accomplish his redemptive purpose, which was to, through Israel, redeem a people from every tongue, tribe and nation, so that he would be their God and they his people. He would dwell in the midst of them for all eternity in a most immediate way. The glory of the Ezekiel 40-48 temple and city pointed to the fact the Lord would do something far greater in the future than anything Israel had seen before.  This vision and prophesy that we are about to read from in Ezekiel 40 and 43 found its original and inaugurated fulfillment in the first coming of Christ. The prophesy will be fulfilled supremely and consummately at Christ’s return, when all things will be made new, and all will be temple, the new heavens and earth being filled with the glory of the Almighty, as Revelation 21:9-27 shows.  Continue reading

Sermon: A New Heaven And A New Earth: Revelation 21:1-8

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 65:17-25

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.” (Isaiah 65:17–25, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Revelation 21:1-8

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And 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 from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:1–8, ESV).

Introduction

The history of redemption can be compared to a rose which exists first in seed form, then, after springing up from the earth, develops until it finally buds and then fully blossoms. Here in Revelation chapter 21 we are given a glimpse of our redemption fully blossomed and mature.

After Christ returns to rescue his people and to judge all who are not his he will establish a new heaven and new earth. And do you see that the most important characteristic of this new heaven and earth is that in it “the dwelling place of God [will be] with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God”? This is the final state for all who belong to God through faith in Christ. This is the consummation. This is the telos, or the ultimate aim of our redemption in Christ Jesus – for God to dwell in the midst of his people in a most immediate, intimate and everlasting way. This is the end result of the redemption that is found in Christ Jesus – “the dwelling place of God [will be] with [us]. He will dwell with [us], and [we] will be his people, and God himself will be with [us] as [our] God.” Here is the fully blossomed rose of redemption. Continue reading