November 3, 2019 [All Saints]  Revelation 22:1-5  J.D.Roekle

 

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

 

The Perfect Home

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

          “Home is where the heart is.”  “There’s no place like home.”  “I’ll be home for Christmas.”  There is something about calling a place home.  A place where we feel comfortable.  A place where we feel needed.  A place where we feel safe.  A place where we feel loved. 

          The reality is that a home like that doesn’t come along all too often.  Even the best homes have their problems.  That’s because of what happened in the first home which God had made for Adam and Eve.  He had made the perfect home for Adam and Eve to live in.  They had everything.  All their needs were taken care of.  They were in perfect harmony with each, with the world, and with God. 

          But then the perfect home was infiltrated by Satan who convinced Eve that things weren’t as perfect as they thought.  He lied to Eve, making her think that God was holding out on them.  Eve bought the lie, and so did Adam. 

The perfect home was now a broken home.  Now all they knew was wickedness, depravity, immorality, and every other corruption.  Their relationship with each and with God was now strained.  The corrupt world which we call home today had become a reality. 

          It wasn’t long after the Garden of Eden incident, however, that God, in speaking to Satan, made a promise of reversing what Satan had engineered.  It was the seed of the woman that would ensure that people would once again be in harmony with the world around them, with other people, and especially with God.  This seed, Jesus, would do this by coming to this imperfect home, reconciling the world to himself through his perfect life and sacrifice. 

          And let’s not be mistaken.  The goal was not to make a perfect home here on earth.  The goal was to reconcile our relationship with God, so that we enter the perfect home in heaven.  This world will never be perfect.  In fact, it will only get worse.

          But God has a special place waiting for all his saints who have gone through the trials and tribulations of this place.  He has a perfect home waiting.  And John records his vision of this perfect home in Revelation.  Let’s take a closer look at that perfect home.  As we do, may it lead us to live our lives in joy as we look forward to being permanent residents of that perfect home. 

          Keep in mind that the book of Revelation gives a series of pictures.  Pictures that assist us in understanding things we are incapable of fully comprehending this side of heaven.  The verses before us today give us a glimpse of the perfect home ahead of us. 

          “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city.” 

          The picture of the perfect home ahead is similar in some ways to the Garden of Eden.  The river of the water of life is one such similarity.  Genesis tells us that a “river watering the garden flowed from Eden.”  This water was responsible for keeping life going in the Garden of Eden.  Water is so necessary for life even today! 

          The river in the perfect home ahead also contains the water of life.  But this is more than the kind of water that covers over 2/3 of the earth’s surface.  This water of life reminds us of the water that Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well about: Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 

          Jesus was talking about His Word!  And the water in the perfect home ahead also has the life-giving power of the Word.  You see, the river of the water of life flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb.   Jesus Christ is the source of life.  He gives life by providing forgiveness through his sacrifice on the accursed tree that gives us life.  It is that forgiveness that will sustain us throughout eternity!  In fact, it is the only thing that enables us to enter into the perfect home ahead. 

          The picture of the perfect home continues: “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.” 

          The tree of life is in the perfect home ahead just as it was in the Garden of Eden.  In heaven, this tree is a reminder that all who enter heaven become perfect and remain perfect forever.  And this perfection won’t be a dull and boring existence.  It will be a full life.  There will be so much there to give us perpetual joy! 

          In fact, there will be nothing there that will make us ever want to leave.  “And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”  As long as people inhabit this earth, nations will be in uproar; kingdoms will come and go; and we will be dealing with sickness and disease; wars and rumors of war; crime and terrorist acts; heartache and pain; broken relationships and lives torn apart.  But in the perfect home ahead, there is healing from all these things.  Perfect healing.  Permanent healing.  We can be assured that it will last because “no longer will there be any curse.” 

          Now remember what caused all the problems in the first place in the Garden of Eden.  Simply, it was sin, and its result… the curse it brought on people and on the world.  The ground that Adam was to work was cursed, causing pain and toil to all who work it.  For Eve, it was pain in childbirth that came as a result.  And as a result of sin, all creation groans as in pains of childbirth.  Everything is affected by the curse due to sin.  We may sometimes wonder what is wrong with our world and wonder why things keep getting worse.  It shouldn’t really be a surprise to us.  As long as we live here, we will experience the consequences of that curse. 

          In heaven, the curse and its consequences will be gone permanently.  Never to return!  Does that make you long for heaven?  You know, God doesn’t remove the consequences of the curse here for that very reason.  So that we long to live where perfection is restored! 

          And the following is a true sign that perfection will be restored: “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.”  What makes heaven so attractive is the fact that God lives there.  The Lamb, Jesus Christ, lives there.  We will live there with him.  And just as we are to serve him while we live on this earth, we will also serve him regularly in heaven.  A form of service to God is worshipping him.  In heaven, we will have opportunity to worship the Lamb constantly.  Let’s not let our feeble minds interfere with the joy that thought should give us.  After all, there are so many factors that interfere with our worship here. All of those will be gone in heaven.  We will be in the presence of our Savior, serving him day and night. 

          And it won’t be like he will be isolated somewhere on a throne where we won’t really get to see him.  We have this promise: 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”  You and I can hardly begin to imagine the joy we will have to see the one who went to such a great extreme to save us.  Think of what a great reunion it is when a loved one has gone off to war and then returns home for the first time in a long time.  Perhaps there was contact through email, mail or phone calls.  But nothing can beat seeing that person face to face.  That’s what will happen in heaven.  You will be face to face with the one who has made you his own through water and the Word, putting his name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, on you.  You became his own then, and he will permanently fixate his name on you in heaven, assuring you that you are forever his. 

          And as permanent members of God’s family, you are assured 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.”

          In heaven, there is no more need for either created or artificial light.  That is because Christ will provide the light naturally.  Remember what that means.  Think the Aaronic blessing, the benediction that we end many of our services with.  The second phrase of it states: “The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.”  The glory of God will illuminate heaven.  And because of that, it will contain so many more blessings than we could possibly imagine.  His blessings will fill the perfect home ahead forever.  

          One of those blessings is this: “…they will reign for ever and ever.”  Because the Lamb who once was slain broke his three day prison, he does reign.  Without end!  And because he reigns, all who believe in him will live like royalty once we reach the perfect home ahead. 

          I pray that you think of this church as your home.  But understand this: First Evan is far from a perfect home.  There is only one perfect home and that comes when the Lord takes us from this world.  It is the role of this home, First Evan, to have you look at things from that perspective.  It is the role of the church here to keep you singing the refrain: I’m but a stranger here, heaven is my home. My perfect home!  Amen.