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The Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Pentecost/
Festival of All Saints

Option #1: "A Tour of the Holy City"
Revelation 21:9-11, 22-27
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, M.Div.

Introduction: The captain of an airplane will sometimes point out places of note as you fly over the city. What would we see "on approach" to the Holy City and upon entering it?

I. A wedding celebration is taking place; text, v9; see also Matt 25:10ff; Rev 19:7-9; Rev 21:1-7; Matt 22:11-14

II. The banquet hall is glorious; text vv22-26; Rev 21:11

    A. God Himself and The Lamb are the Temple, v22; John 17:24; John 1:14

    B. No artificial light is necessary, v23; Isa 60:19

    C. The light shining from God has brought the nations here and they have brought their best; Zech 2:11

    D. There is no danger there; 21:4 & 25

        1. The gates are always open--Ps. 24:7-10

        2. There is no night there

III. No one enters without righteousness; v27

    A. Repentance is necessary--Lk 13:5-9, 15:7; Acts 2:38-39, 3:19, 17:30-31; Rev 3:19-22

    B. One must be "in Christ"--Rom 6:11 & 23, 8:1; 1 Cor 15:22; 2 Cor 5:17 & 19; Gal 2:15-16; Eph 2:10 & 13, 4:32

Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol 6: General Epistles & Revelation--Robertson, Archibald Thomas Revelation 21:27: There shall in no wise enter into it (ou me˘ eiselthe˘i eis aute˘n). Double negative again with the second aorist active subjunctive of eiserchomai with eis repeated. Like Isa 52:1; Ezek 44:9. Anything unclean (pa˘n koinon). Common use of pa˘n with negative like ouden, and the use of koinos for defiled or profane as in Mark 7:2; Acts 10:14, not just what is common to all (Titus 1:4). Or he that (kai ho). "And he that." Maketh an abomination and a lie (poio˘n bdelugma kai pseudos). Like Babylon (17:4 which see for bdelugma) and 21:8 for those in the lake of fire and brimstone, and 22:15 for "every one loving and doing a lie." 

These recurrent glimpses of pagan life on earth and of hell in contrast to heaven in this picture raise the question already mentioned whether John is just running parallel pictures of heaven and hell after the judgment or whether, as Charles says: "The unclean and the abominable and the liars are still on earth, but, though the gates are open day and night, they cannot enter." 

In apocalyptic writing literalism and chronology cannot be insisted on as in ordinary books. The series of panoramas continue to the end. But only they which are written (ei me˘ hoi gegrammenoi). "Except those written." For "the book of life" see 3:5; 13:8; 20:15; cf Dan 12:1.

Morning and Evening Devotions by Charles H. Spurgeon: "The city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it." (Revelation 21:23) Yonder in the better world the inhabitants are independent of all creature comforts. 
* They have no need of raiment; their white robes never wear out, neither shall they ever be defiled. 
* They need no medicine to heal diseases, for the inhabitant shall not say, "I am sick." 
* They need no sleep to recruit their frames--they rest not day nor night, but unweariedly praise him in his temple. 
* They need no social relationship to minister comfort, and whatever happiness they may derive from association with their fellows is not essential to their bliss, for their Lord’s society is enough for their largest desires. 
* They need no teachers there; they doubtless commune with one another concerning the things of God, but they do not require this by way of instruction; they shall all be taught of the Lord. 

Ours are the alms at the king’s gate, but they feast at the table itself. Here we lean upon the friendly arm, but there they lean upon their Beloved and upon him alone. Here we must have the help of our companions, but there they find all they want in Christ Jesus. Here we look to the food which perishes, and to the raiment which decays before the moth, but there they find everything in God. We use the bucket to fetch us water from the well, but there they drink from the fountain head, and put their lips down to the living water.

Here the angels bring us blessings, but we shall want no messengers from heaven then. They shall need no Gabriels there to bring their love-notes from God, for there they shall see him face to face. Oh! what a blessed time shall that be when we shall have mounted above every second cause and shall rest upon the bare arm of God! What a glorious hour when God, and not his creatures; the Lord, and not his works, shall be our daily joy! Our souls shall then have attained the perfection of bliss.

Rev. Wayne Dobratz

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Option #2: "Holiness=Happiness!"
Matthew 5:1-12
Rev. Kelly C. Bedard

1. Less of me means more of God
2. Less treasure means more Treasure
3. Self-acceptance counters self/stuff-absorption
4. Fed up? Feed (from) Up!
5. "Care-full"ness assures "cared-for"ness
6. Insides out enable an "in" on the outside (world)
7. Cooperation precludes competition
8. Persecution leads to X-ecution

Notes

a. The beatitudes are not a new set of commandments added to those proclaimed on Sinai. Instead of being normative, they are descriptive, a portrait of the life that is possible for those who believe in the love and compassion of God. The portrait is impossible to live up to perfectly, but we are all invited to do our best to use it as a paradigm for Christian life. Moreover the promise is that those who do so will be "happy," which is what "blessed" means. The way to happiness, we are told, is to be found in the service of others. (Andrew Greeley)

b. ...it is not a statistical, quantitative perfection which becomes immediately irrelevant for us mere mortals, but a qualitative perfection: a total commitment, letting God rule and knowing that there is forgiveness when we fall, as the Lord's prayer indicates. The beatitudes are good news, but also a hefty challenge. (William Loader)

c. If our trust is expressed as obedience, then we will not worry unduly about food, shelter, and clothing. If we take care of the things God cares about, God will take care of the money. God really does care for money--in the most practical, matter-of-fact sense. (John Purdy)

 

d. The church is never an end in itself. Karl Barth says, "When the church becomes an end to itself, it acts pious and begins to turn sour. Anyone with sensitive nose will smell that and find it dreadful." (Dennis Anderson)

e. There is someone who knows you and loves you. There is someone who has spoken definitively into our darkness. He knows the games we play and blind alleys we prefer. Nonetheless, for those who want to listen, Jesus wants to speak. (Greg Herrick)

f. Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time. (Is 41:17, Lu 18:1-8) Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will. (Gal 5:23) (Strong's)

g. dikaiosune: righteousness, in a broad sense: state of those who are as they ought to be; the condition acceptable to God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting; in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each their due. (Strong's)

h. katharos: pure, clean, clear; physically; purified by fire; in a similitude, like a vine cleansed by pruning and so fitted to bear fruit;
in a levitical sense, clean, the use of which is not forbidden, imparts no uncleanness, ethically; free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt; free from every admixture of what is false, sincere, genuine; blameless, innocent; unstained with the guilt of anything. (Strong's)

i. Consider consulting and/or reading this text from Eugene Peterson's The Message, ę1996, NavPress.

Rev. Kelly Bedard

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