NOTE: These are outline notes for a sermon that is available online at Three Rivers Church
The Restoration: Creation Fully Renewed
We have studied: Revelation (the bible as God’s word) / The bible as the story of the gospel / Trinity / Trinity and fellowship with each other / Man as the image of God / Man in God’s image and implications for humanity / Creation / Fall / God’s plan – the cross for people, nations, created order / The gospel of the kingdom / Church as the community of the kingdom / Church as the place of reconciliation / Church and biblical eldership / Restoration of all things.
We are in the restoration.
- Jesus said, “It is finished.” Jesus has completed redemption.
- Salvation is a fruit of the completed work of redemption in the restoration.
- It used to be always winter and never Christmas, but since Jesus died, was buried, rose and ascended, and sent the Spirit, Spring has sprung and the restoration has begun!
The big ideas:
- Jesus is revealing himself to his church as the end all and be all of all things, the ruling King, in order that they will persevere in holiness and mission and not turn back.
In our passage today:
- Jesus will himself bring about the completed restoration of all things by saving a people for himself and making all things holy and new, and we are to believe this truth and take courage.
Revelation 20:11-21:27 (Isaiah 65:17-25; Colossians 1:15-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Introduction: Genre, what is Revelation?
Revelation’s title is actually “Apocalypse”.
- Apocalypse means “revealing”.
- The book of Revelation is all about the revealing of Jesus as the God of history.
- Apocalypse as a genre was popular from 300 BC to roughly 300 AD. It is laden with symbolism (predominantly biblical symbolism).
- Conflict between God and evil (Satan and his forces).
- God as the determining factor.
- Suffering and difficulty precede victory, and suffering is redemptive.
- The end is imminent, therefore, hope runs high so that John can say, “Come Lord Jesus!” Rev. 22:20, and the result is living in a manner that expects and anticipates Jesus’ return.
- Revelation is an apocolyptic letter written to the 7 churches of Asia, and to us, to exhort us to holiness, readiness and perseverance in the conflict of his kingdom as we obey the Lord’s word in doing his work.
- Chapters 1-3 are letter like because this apocalypse is written personally to churches. .
- Chapters 4-22 take the form of apocalypse.
- The key to understanding Revelation is to know your Old Testament like the back of your hand.
What does our text say/mean?
- In the completed new creation, there will be no more evil, and the holy people of God, the church, will be presented to Jesus. V. 1-4
- Only evil things come out of the water in Revelation, so evil will be done away with. V. 1
- The holy city, the new Jerusalem is the “bride” of verse 9, and the church described in Ephesians 5:22-33. V. 2
- The angel’s announcement: God himself comes to be physically present with his people, and he will completely heal all that is broken. V. 3-4
- Zechariah 2:10 (ESV) Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord.
- God himself speaks, and he makes 3 statements. V. 5-8
- Statement 1: God is making all things new. V. 5
- Statement 2: Write down these trustworthy and true statements. V. 5
- The word of God is central to the bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. When God speaks, it is of supreme importance.
- “Write down these words for they are trustworthy and true.”
- Statement 3: It is done! V. 6-8
- God’s identity is forever made known. Alpha and Omega.
- Those who thirst for righteousness will have that thirst quenched.
- Those who have believed and stayed with Jesus are daughters and sons of God.
- Those who have not believed and/or turned their backs on Jesus will go to eternal punishment.
- God himself is the real treasure of the new creation. V. 9-27
“The treasure in the new heaven and new earth is God. Look at how casually what is treasured by sinful hearts is used in the new heaven and the new earth. They take the largest pearls in the world and make them into gates; then they leave the gates open, even though the city is made of pure gold; and they have the audacity to take all that jasper and build it into a wall, all that gold and use it to pave streets. All this shows that the real treasure of the new heaven and new earth is God himself.” – Dr. James Hamilton, “Preaching the Word” p. 392.
How is it this section talks about the church and yet it is about God?
Because it is Jesus who came, saved and transformed this bride into this beauty by his gospel alone, and he will be the people of God’s very everything forever in Eden regained and sin abolished.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus has done.
- The one people of God are one with Jesus fully, finally, in person and forever. V. 9-14
- First, note that 21:9-14 is contrasted with 17:1-4. The people of God contrasted with the enemies of God.
- The high mountain is a reference to Ezekiel 40:1-3, where Ezekiel sees the new temple.
- So, the new temple of Ezekiel is the people of God redeemed.
- Unity in OT saints and NT saints.
- The gates with the 12 tribes and foundations with 12 apostles shows us the unity of the people of God in the OT and the people of God in the NT as one people who are saved by the same faith in the same Jesus who made them and redeemed them all.
- The church will be made perfectly beautiful in overflowing abundance. V. 15-21
- John gets a guided tour of the people of God like Ezekiel in 40-48 of his preaching.
- The measuring of the people as a city is a fulfillment of Ezekiel 40, a perfect cube, like the holy of holies in the temple, and the entire city, or all the people of God is the location of God’s dwelling. V. 15-17
- The people of God are pure and beautiful. V. 18-21
- The Lord is present fully, like in the garden before the fall, so there is no need for a “temple”. V. 22
- The Lord himself is our light. V. 23-24
- Psalms 119:105 (ESV) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
- Jesus, the word, is now present and himself will impart his word to us and lead us right with nothing to keep us from understanding.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
- Nothing will restrict us from coming to him to see him, and we will bring the fruit of our labor to him for his glory and our fulfilled joy. V. 25-26
- Only those who are his will be there. V. 27
Application: What do we do with Revelation 21?
- Believe that we are already the first fruits of this new creation if we are in Christ, that the new creation has already begun.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (Referencing Isaiah 43:18-19; Isaiah 65:17-25)
- Supernatural things are afoot, keep an eye open for how Jesus is preparing someone for you to harvest into the faith.
- Believe that the church is the first fruit of the entire city of God being prepared from those in Christ on mission together.
- Believe that what Jesus has begun, he will bring it to Revelation 21 completion.
- Philippians 1:6 (ESV) And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.