Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

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

Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost/
Festival Of All Saints

Series B

Option #1: "Comfort From A Seemingly Scary Book"
Revelation 2:9-11, 22-25
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.D., 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. 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 honor into it--all 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

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Children's Message on Revelation 21:9ff

Visual aid: a wedding invitation

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 love 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. Some weddings 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 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. We will walk and talk with Jesus forever in the heavenly home.

You have the wedding invitation here in God’s Word. Come to the wedding!


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Option 2: "Lambo!" or "Lamblight!"
Revelation 21:9-11, 22-27 [22:1-5]
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Point: The Lamb lights our lamps! Our names are written in the Lamb's book of life!
Problem: We are on the lam--walking by other so-called lights, impure, shameful, cursed.
Promise: Because God "wrote off" Jesus, we are forgiven and, through the Holy Spirit, reflecting His Light so that others might see and believe in Him. 
1.There is a sense in which the focus is deliberately not on a place or on rewards but on the person of God and the Lamb who in a sense defines God's being. Ultimate hope is to be in the presence of the God who is beyond all and in all. To speak of God's glory is to speak of God's being in all its richness. (William Loader)
2.Didn't some ancient cities have a channel running down the middle of the street to collect effluent? Might such an image be what gives meaning to the pretty little cascade running down the middle of Celestial Boulevard in 22:2? (Marcus Felde)
3. "Nothing unclean will enter it" (21:27)! Or, as Lady Macbeth would say, "Out, damned spot!" Exclusion is damnation here. "Nothing accursed will be found there any more" (22:3)? That means anything accursed is lost--out. "Out, damned spot!" indeed (and "spot" is not a dog but is the place where God is not). As my mother would say, "You're not coming in here looking like that!" To put it plainly: the unclean and accursed are written off. (Ibid)
4.The Lamb is the scribe, his blood the ink (I think). (First article, God spoke. Second article, God wrote?) Writing in those days signified a permanent word. (So: Write on, write on in majesty! Hear all the tribes hosanna cry!) (Ibid)
5.Lamblight disposes of the need to bring your own "torch" (the British word for flashlight) to heaven. Here citizens recognize the light of the world, and here they no longer see anything dimly, through a glass, partially. In luce tua videmus lucem. Pack your shades. (Ibid)
6. The crystal river feeds a tree of life that bears 12 kinds of fruit--conveniently, one for each month of the year (22:2). Its nation-healing leaves look to me suspiciously like manna or communion wafers. This is one healthy environment! Peoples and kings will enter here by the always-open gate, and dwell secure forever. No more yo-yo empires, either--with the Lord God they will reign forever and ever (22:5). But do not take this prognosis as "pie-in-the-sky-in-the-sweet-by-and-by." This vision is introduced as a picture of the bride of Christ, who already is. Upon earth, even now, we bear fruit. We bathe in that sparkling canal. We eat the leaves. And, in Christ, the nations are even now experiencing healing, not only from Foot-and-Mouth Disease but from Heart-and-Mind Disease and a host of other abominations. Before we are there in the heavenly city "for good," we are here "for good." (Ibid)
7. God's write-in vote is for us!


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