Today is the 7th and last Sunday of the Easter season, and this morning we find ourselves right between the Ascension and the Day of Pentecost – which comes next Sunday. In the same way a member of the military longs to see their family following a long deployment; the same way a mother longs for her children after an absence, that is how you and I should long to see our Risen and Ascended Lord, person to person, face to face. Listen again to the first few verses of our text: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp, or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
Normally we maintain a balance, like Paul did, between our desire to be with the Lord in heaven, and our desire to continue living life here in this world. I have, however, ministered to more than one person who wanted very much to go to be with the Lord. One dear lady prayed every morning that God would take her and reunite her with her sainted husband. Every time I visited her, she demanded to know why God was ignoring her pleas for Him to end her life. She was difficult to care for spiritually because what she really wanted was to be in control of her own life and death.
Other temptations make their way into our daily lives, as well. This is 2 Timothy chapter 3: “Mark this: there will be terrible time in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – have nothing to do with them.” In those times when we are tempted, we have generally lost sight of the fact that Jesus came into this sinful and evil world to redeem us from these and other sins, and to make our admission into God’s Kingdom possible. Heaven always has been, and always will be, a far better place than this messed-up world. And today, Jesus makes this promise to you: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing My recompense with Me, to repay everyone for what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Jesus, the One who saved us from sin, death, and the power of the devil, He is the Almighty, the Everlasting God. He created everything that exists, He sustains everything that exists, and one day He will transform everything that exists, making all things new by removing every trace of sin, death, and destruction. We believe in Him, we trust in Him, and we have been saved by Him. In Christ you are pure, holy, and righteous. Your rightful place is in God’s eternal Kingdom right alongside all the company of heaven, worshipping and praising The Lamb on His throne.
So that there would be no misunderstanding, Jesus addressed you in the first person and used His given human name. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star.”
Jesus is speaking to each one of us individually and personally. He states that he is the Messiah promised of old, that he is the rightful descendant of David, and that He is not just your Savior, but He is your friend, as well. We look for Jesus just as the watchmen of the night look for the dawn. We see that first morning light rising on the horizon, the dawning of a new day. Jesus is that first morning light, risen from the grave and ascended high above all things. And when He comes again, He will bring to us a bright and glorious new life, life in His glorious and majestic kingdom.
As we await Christ’s return, we are warned not to add or delete anything from the Scriptures. There is to be no ‘adding in’ or ‘filtering out’ of God’s Word. To do so is to incur the wrath of Almighty God. Unfortunately, the last 20 years have seen church groups, even entire denominations disregard God’s Holy Scriptures and embrace the sins and perversions of our culture. Today it is just as Jesus said it would be. What God’s Word clearly calls evil, they call good; and what God’s Word calls good, they call evil.
Thank God you and I hold all of Scripture to be God’s inspired and inerrant Word, intended to not only guide us in all matters of faith and life, but to actually make us wise unto salvation.
Paul writes, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the men and women of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
At mealtime, many of us pray, “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest…” We ask Jesus to join us, as well as bless the food we have been given. In the early church there was an ancient writing called the “Didache” or ‘teaching.’ This writing included a prayer to be used during the Lord’s Supper, which pleaded, “Come, to us soon, O Lord.” This helped the church not only look to Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, but that Jesus would also keep His promise, “Surely I am coming soon.”
There is nothing in this life that’s better than to be with Jesus in His glorious Kingdom. Truly that will be our greatest possible joy! Amen!