Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost/
Festival of All Saints
Series B

Option #1: "Comfort From A Seemingly Scary Book"
Revelation 21:9-11, 22-25
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

Introduction: the purpose of the book--to comfort Christians undergoing a severe persecution during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, died 95 A.D. Date: 90's A.D. It often refers to events like the birth of Christ which have already occurred, to their life situation during the persecution, and some verses are prophetic in a predictive sense. It is simply wrong to use Revelation as a collection of "scare tactics" when it was clearly written for comfort. (An excellent resource is Siegbert Becker's Revelation: The Distant Triumph Song [1985], available from Northwestern Publishing House.) John reminds us in 1:5 that Jesus loved us and has freed us from our sins by His blood. Today’s text gives us more comfort from a seemingly scary book

I. There is hope in the midst of trouble--21:9-11

    A. The "Bride" is the Church of Jesus Christ--cf John 3:29, Rev 19:7, 21:2-3, 22:17; see also Matt 9:15, 25:1-12; the "Bride" is described more completely in 19:7ff

Word Pictures in the New Testament: the marriage of the Lamb (ho gamos tou arniou). In the OT God is the Bridegroom of Israel (Hos 2:16; Isa 54:6; Ezek 16:7ff). In the NT Christ is the Bridegroom of the Kingdom (the universal spiritual church as seen by Paul, 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25ff, and by John in Rev 3:20; 19:7, 9; 21:2, 9; 22:17). In the Gospels Christ appears as the Bridegroom (Mark 2:19f; Matt 9:15; Luke 5:34f; John 3:29). Made herself ready (he˘toimasen heaute˘n). First aorist active indicative of hetoimazo˘ and the reflexive pronoun. See 22:2 for he˘toimasmene˘n ho˘s numphe˘n (prepared as a bride). There is something for her to do (1 John 3:3; Jude 1:21; 2 Cor 7:1), but the chief preparation is the act of Christ (Eph 5:25ff).

    B. The Scene of the celebration is the City of God, the site of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 25

Barnes Notes on the New Testament: Having the glory of God--a glory or splendor such as became the dwelling place of God. The nature of that splendor is described in the following verses. And her light--in Rev 21:23 it is said that "the glory of God did lighten it." The word here rendered "light," pho˘ste˘r, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament except in Phil 2:15. It means, properly, a light, a lightgiver. It is used here to denote the brightness or shining of the divine glory, as supplying the place of the sun, or of a window.

II. The glorious eternal home of the Bride, God’s Holy Church, text, 22-27

    A. Its lighting

Word Pictures in the New Testament: 22) I saw no temple therein (naon ouk eidon en aute˘i). "Temple I did not see in it." The whole city is a temple in one sense (verse 16), but it is something more than a temple even with its sanctuary and Shekinah Glory in the Holy of Holies. For the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are the temple thereof (ho gar Kurios ho theos ho pantokrato˘r, naos aute˘s estin kai to arnion). "For the Lord God, the Almighty, is the sanctuary of it and the Lamb." The Eternal Presence is the Shekinah Glory of God (verse 3). In 2 Cor 6:16 we are the sanctuary of God here, but now God is our Sanctuary, and so is the Lamb as in chapters Rev 4:5. See 1:8 and often for the description of God here. Cf Isaiah 60:19-20.

    B. As with our weddings, gifts are brought--text, v24

Barnes Notes on the New Testament: And the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it--al that they consider as constituting their glory, treasures, crowns, scepters, robes. The idea is that all these will be devoted to God in the future days of the church in its glory and will be, as it were, brought and laid down at the feet of the Savior in heaven. The language is derived, doubtless, from the description in Isa 60:3-14. Compare Isa 49:23.

Queen Victoria hoped that Christ would return during her reign. She said as she lay dying, "I so much wanted to lay my crown at His feet."

    C. Proper clothing is required--text, v27, in light of Jesus’ Parable of the Wedding Garment, Matt 22:11-14; see also Gal 5:19-21, 1 Pet 4:3-7

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the New Testament: The unmixed purity of all who belong to the new Jerusalem, v27. [1.] There the saints shall have no impure thing remaining in them. In the article of death they shall be cleansed from every thing that is of a defiling nature. Now they feel a sad mixture of corruption with their graces, which hinders them in the service of God, interrupts their communion with him, and intercepts the light of his countenance; but, at their entrance into the holy of holies, they are washed in the laver of Christ’s blood, and presented to the Father without spot. [2.] There the saints shall have no impure persons admitted among them. In the earthly Jerusalem there will be a mixed communion, after all the care that can be taken. Some roots of bitterness will spring up to trouble and defile Christian societies; but in the new Jerusalem there is a society perfectly pure. First, free from such as are openly profane. There are none admitted into heaven who work abominations. In the churches on earth sometimes abominable things are done, solemn ordinances profaned and prostituted to men openly vicious, for worldly ends; but no such abominations can have place in heaven. Secondly, Free from hypocrites, such as make lies, say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie. These will creep into the churches of Christ on earth, and may lie concealed there a long time, perhaps all their days; but they cannot intrude into the new Jerusalem, which is wholly reserved for those that are called and chosen and faithful, who are all written, not only in the register if the visible church, but in the Lamb’s book of life.

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Children's Message on Revelation 21:9ff

Visual aid: a wedding invitation

Try to think of the last time you attended a wedding. It was planned by two people, one man and one woman, who love each other very much. They invited you to come because you love them too. They wanted you to share in their joy.

As you hear their promises to be true to each other until they die, you can see why the Bible tells us that God’s love for us is a lot like a wedding. Jesus is the man in the wedding; the church, you and I and all Christians, are the bride. We promise him that we will not go to another god for as long as we live.

After the pictures are taken, everybody goes to a big place where there is plenty of food and music for dancing. There are weddings that are so joyful that you don’t want to go home.

In Jesus’ time, a date was set for the wedding, but they did things a little differently than we do. The man and his friends went to the home of the bride’s parents and after the wedding took them to the wedding hall where the food and the dancing took place.

Just as the bride and her bridesmaids didn’t know when the groom was coming with his friends, we don’t when Jesus is coming back to take us to heaven. So we have to be ready.

When he comes back, he will take you to our Heavenly Father’s house. The food will be great, the music and dancing joyful, and the wedding guests will be the people you’ve read about in the Bible: Abraham, Noah, King David, Peter, John, St. Paul--they will all be there. Half the fun of a wedding is to see old family and friends and to talk with them.

And it will never end. Whatever problems you have, you will leave them behind. We will never get sick. No one will ever die again and we will see God as he really is. Jesus will show us the nail wounds and we will walk and talk with him forever in the heavenly home.

You have the wedding invitation here in God’s Word. Make sure you’re ready when Jesus comes again to take us home.

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"Eternity Now"
Revelation 22:1-5
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Goal: that the glimpse of heaven would empower us through the "limps" of life
Malady: pre-occupation with the glitz, glitter and, ultimately, "gunk" of this world
Means: Enthroned by God, atoned by Jesus, intoned with the Spirit
1. katharos {kath-ar-os'}, v1: clean, pure; 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)
2. lampros {lam-pros'}, v1: shining, brilliant, clear, transparent, splendid, magnificent; splendid things, i.e., luxuries or elegancies in dress or style. (Strong's)
3. therapeia {ther-ap-i'-ah}, v2: service rendered by one to another, especially medical service: curing, healing; household service; body of attendants, servants, domestics. (Strong's)
4. latreuo {lat-ryoo'-o}, v3: to serve for hire; to serve, minister to, either to the gods or men and used alike of slaves and freemen; in the NT, to render religious service or homage, to worship; to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for his worship; of priests, to officiate, to discharge the sacred office. (Strong's)
5.  As the Bible opens with the story of "Paradise Lost," so it here closes with the story of "Paradise Regained." (Erdman) Paradise is regained in terms of a river, a tree of life, revocation of the curse, intimacy restored, reigning resumed. It is a perfect consummation:

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