Thursday, March 26, 2015

Amen. Come Lord Jesus

Week 6 in our 6 week study of "True Faith" at

What better place to wrap up a course on walking by faith than in anticipation of meeting Christ? During this six week study, students have progressed from hoping in things unseen, humility, obedience, action, and making God’s glory known among the nations to the account of John literally seeing the end of time when all nations experience the glory of God forever. The result of going from faith in the unseen to the revelation of what was seen but not yet realized on earth was awe and worship. Students will be encouraged to have hearts like John’s so that they faithfully anticipate eternal life with Christ beyond this world. Faith will ultimately be rewarded by eternal life with Christ.

Revelation 22:6-21 (NIV)
John and the Angel
The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”
10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
Epilogue: Invitation and Warning
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Supporting Passages: Revelation 21:1–22:5

Christ’s return is more than a prophetic promise. It is the future reality that is coming soon. We tend to think of Christ’s return as some future event that will likely happen in the distant future. However, we rush toward Christ and He rushes toward us as we live each day of our lives. He longs to return to us to rescue us from death, give us life, and live with us forever.

1. We respond to Jesus’ redemption with worship and obedience (Rev. 22:6–9).

John had received a great vision about the end times. At the end of this vision, John is told that Jesus is coming back soon. When Adam and Eve fell, all humanity was cursed with death and separated from God. Jesus’ salvation offers His followers everlasting life in the dwelling place of God. In response to the thought that He will see Jesus again—his faith become sight—John falls to the ground in worship and is instructed to worship God and to obey the commands of God. His proper response was one of worship and obedience.
Here's a good illustration: It is often easy to observe the relationship of cause-and-effect. With the assistance of YouTube, there has been a smattering of “Mentos in a Two Liter of Diet Coke” videos made and set out virally. The premise is that if you drop Mentos into a two-liter of Diet Coke, it will cause a volcanic carbonation eruption. The effect of the Mentos is an almost immediate reaction of the carbonated beverage to flee the container. Our reaction to Christ’s salvation should be similar in that it should cause immediate worship and obedience.

To worship and obey does not mean that we are suddenly placed under a set of strict regulations and forced to sing all the time. Worship means to think correctly about Christ and salvation and to glorify Him with our lives. We worship with our minds, our hearts, and our actions. Our obedience is not just conformity to rules but a loving response to follow Christ wherever He may lead us.

2. We can persevere in faith because Christ’s return is certain (Rev. 22:10–15).

Jesus repeated to John that He would be returning for His followers. He will return to bless them and to bring punishment against those people who have rejected Him. Jesus explains that He has given this vision to John for the sake of the churches. He understands that evil pervades the world, and he encourages believers to persevere in their faith because He will, without a doubt, be coming back for His people. The world is full of struggles, uncertainties, pain, and suffering. We live with the hope of our faith. Our faith is the hope of what we cannot see. However, Jesus assured us that He will come back. We don’t have to wonder if He was telling the truth. His return is sure. We can live with the hope that our faith will be sight one day, and it will not be the hope of what we cannot see but the certainty of what we do see.

3. The Holy Spirit invites us to proclaim Christ in faith (Rev. 22:16–21).

In Revelation, John described how both the Holy Spirit and the Church wants all of humanity to come to Christ and works toward that purpose. Jesus explains that He invites everyone to follow Him. John responds with an excited proclamation that he wants others to experience this salvation and for Jesus to return quickly.
When we are excited about something, we tell others about it. In the classic Christmas motion picture Elf, Buddy the Elf leaves the North Pole to meet his father. Along his travels, he comes upon a restaurant boasting to have “The World’s Best Cup of Coffee.” In his innocent enthusiasm, Buddy rushes in to congratulate the staff on their apparent huge accomplishment. The comedy of the situation is that the sign merely communicated a common boast that many restaurants make. We laugh at such misplaced enthusiasm because it’s funny. However, we should have an even greater enthusiasm about Christ’s return. - We do not wait for Christ’s return in silence. We are called to tell people about what Christ has done for us. We should long for His return and tell everyone we know and meet about this gracious God that gives live and longs to be with us.

So what's the big idea of the passage?

Our Savior will return to dwell with us forever. Description: Jesus loves us like a husband loves His bride. He longs to be with us and to bless us. Even though we are physically separated from Christ, we can still know Him more by reading His words to us. We should live in anticipation of being reunited with Christ. Our faith will become sight!

The Church has historically considered the apostle John as the author of the book of Revelation. John likely wrote the work between A.D. 90–95. Leon Morris suggests that this date is highly likely for two reasons. First, emperor-worship appeared to be prevalent. Second, it was written during a time of persecution. Gerhard Krodel notes that it must have been written after A.D. 70 because John seemed to mention the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman Empire (Krodel, 62–63).
The word apocalypse means “revelation.” Krodel points out that the book of Daniel and portions of other books such as Isaiah and Ezekiel were written in this same style (Krodel, 42). More recent apocalyptic books include Dante’s Inferno and The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. These recent works follow the biblical model by presenting a warning of the Last Day and a call for repentance to follow Christ. Apocalyptic literature often contains two additional distinct features. First, it is written with symbolic and often complex images, which require explanation. Second, the main character has a mentor or guide, which explains the meanings of the symbolic dreams and images. In the book of Revelation, an angel comes to guide John. John has vision after vision of the coming Christ and all things being reconciled to Him. The angel guided John through these visions so that he might understand them.
This passage teaches the Essential Truth that [The Future is in God’s Hands]. At the end of this book, John showed how the end times were really a return to how things were in the beginning. The final chapters of Revelation parallel the opening chapters of Genesis. In Genesis, Moses described the creation of the heavens and the earth. This was followed by the marriage of Adam and Eve and God blessing them and providing for them with everlasting life. Moses described this everlasting life as having access to the fruit of the Tree of Life. Moses also described the great enemy of humanity by introducing the serpent, which tempted Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve succumbed to this temptation and fell. This resulted in humanity being cursed with death.
In Revelation, John explained how Christ resolved all of these things in the Last Day. John’s description of Christ’s return mirrored Moses description of the Creation and Fall in Genesis. In Revelation 19, John described Christ’s marriage to the Church. Christ came to rescue His Bride from the serpent. The small serpent of Genesis 3 was seen as a mighty dragon in Revelation 20. Christ bound this dragon and cast him into the lake of fire on the Day of Judgment. Christ overturned death, flinging open its gates, so that the saints could march out. In Revelation 21, John described the resurrection as the renewing or remaking of the heavens and the earth. In this New Heaven and Earth, all of the saints will enter into the New Jerusalem. In Revelation 22, John described the Tree of Life in the center of the city where all the curses of the Fall will be lifted. As we read Revelation, we should not be surprised by the visions and prophecies. We should be comforted to see Christ lifting the curse of death from us. We should be encouraged that He is not coming to set things up and leave but to dwell with us forever.
Christ is coming soon. John wrote of the return of Christ with the certainty of seeing Him already ruling upon the throne forever. His return is more than promised. It is a future reality. It is easy to lose sight of this reality by becoming distracted with the problems and promises of this present age. Christ, though, longs to come to us and bless us. What things or issues distract us from living with our sight planted firmly on Christ’s return? Do we respond to the promise of God’s blessing with obedience to Him and worship? Do we respond by telling others about Christ?
Students can be easily distracted as they juggle competing forces demanding their time: family, school, sports, hobbies, friends, church, and jobs. When students plan, it is often laid out one week at a time. Diligent students might have a multi-year plan on attending a specific college or studying in a specific program once high school is done. However, it can be difficult for students to understand that they should be living now as if Christ’s return has already occurred. It is easy for students to compartmentalize their lives with little crossover between each area. Christ can become just one more compartment in a busy life. Yet He should be our motivation. His love and desire to bless us with life should instill within us a desire to obey and worship Him. This worship is not a Sunday or even midweek event. Worship is meant to be a lifestyle that is lived in every compartment of our lives. By contrasting those who will receive Christ’s blessing with those who are still outside the city, we should be prompted to share Christ with all those who share life with us in our many compartments. This is more than yelling, “Repent! Jesus is coming!” on street corners. This is living our lives with Christ’s return in full view of our minds.

Small Group Questions 
  • Why can we trust the promises of God?
  • How do our hopes for eternity affect our lives now?
  • In what ways can you worship God more freely?
  • What most amazes you about God?
  • How should your awe over God fuel your worship?

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