September 29, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 22:6-21

Today we finish up the book of Revelation.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Let me ask a few questions—please post your answers in the comments so we can hear from you.

  • What new things have you learned from this reading through Revelation?
  • How has God spoken to you through this book?

As we conclude this book there are two passages that I want to draw your attention to:

Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  (v.12-13)

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. (v.17)

In verses 12-13 Jesus reminds us who He is (also in verse 16).  He is the Root of David – this confirms His important lineage that prophesied in:

The Lord has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back: “Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne.” Psalm 132:11

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.  Isaiah 9:6-7

He tells us He is the Bright Morning Star – the One who gives us direction.  When we look to Him – he leads us and shows us the steps to take.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

He is the Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet) – the beginning and the end.  God is eternal both ways – no beginning and no end. This breaths peace and confidence into our ever-changing lives.

What an encouragement Jesus’ invitation to us in verse 17 is!

The one who hears… come

The one who is thirsty… come

Take the water of life without cost

Have you drunk from the water of life?  Is there a well springing up in you that will never go dry (John 4)?  If so, take a moment right now and that Jesus for being all He said He would and for offering you the gift of life.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor


September 28, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 22:1-5

What will eternity be like? We often use the word “heaven” in reference to our final destination. However, that is somewhat imprecise. It’s fine to use the term, and in doing so we usually mean, “that place Christians go when they die.” However, our final destination, the ultimate end of all things, is what we read about in Revelation 21–22, the New Creation. (See this article for more information)

Our passage today gives us a glimpse of eternity. It is a place of life (1–2). Despite what some may believe, we will exist in physical bodies, in a physical place, much like we are now—except there will no longer be any curse of sin (3). Central to our city experience will be a beautiful, life-giving river to quench the thirst of our physical bodies. Likewise, along the river’s edge will be the tree of life (Rev 2:7) to satisfy our hunger with its fruit. Much like now, this passage implies that we will have physical needs, but in the New Creation every need is met with extravagance. And every need is met from the source of the throne of God (1, 3).

I have faced the question, usually by kids because adults are too afraid to ask, will heaven be boring? The image we encounter in our culture is a heaven where we sit on clouds, playing harps, and servicing our diapers. Fun is found more south where a giant party has broken out with Satan and his rock band—like Woodstock but with more fire. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although “fun” might not be the word for the New Creation, it certainly won’t be boring. Think of the first time you saw the ocean, or the Grand Canyon, or the birth of your child, or the kiss on your wedding day, or the hug of a parent or grandparent in a perfect moment—“fun” is not a word that captures any of these things. In the New Creation we will see the face of God (4) and the word “fun” is a poor descriptor. Although I think eternity will be jammed packed with “fun,” our experience of witnessing the Almighty God will be, as one of my seminary professors put it, an eternal gasp. We will never get over His beauty and majesty. We will be awe-struck for eternity—that will be an amazing feeling.

At a particular low-point in my life, I was sitting in church on a Sunday morning. I have no clue what the pastor was going on about, but I remember his reading of Romans 8:18. I was a young man at the time and to my knowledge, I had never heard that verse before. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” That verse stood out because of the suffering I was experiencing. Although I cannot fully answer the question of what eternity will be like, I have this verse buried deep in my soul. My mind can’t contemplate goodness on this level. God’s glory will be such that His illumination will put every lamp and light bulb company out of business. We will not see night because His glory will penetrate every shadow and redeem it (5).

I cannot picture that, but I can picture suffering. I can picture the loss of a loved one. I can picture broken relationships. I can picture disease ravaging a body. I can picture fear, shame, betrayal, and worry. And none of that is even worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

September 27, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 21:9-27

I don’t know about you, but I get excited whenever I read this passage. When we read Genesis 3 and how Adam and Eve fell into sin, this is the point of the whole biblical narrative that we are looking forward to. This is the final resolution to the sin problem of Genesis 3 because this is when the people of God will no longer feel the effects of sin.

We read there is no temple, the place where God dwells, in the New Jerusalem because “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” God dwells in the New Jerusalem.

There is also no need for the sun or the moon because the “glory of God illuminates the city” just as God’s glory illuminated the night sky in the pillar of fire for the Israelites in the wilderness that we read about in Exodus.

Think about this: “nothing evil will be allowed to enter” into this perfect new city. Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly feeling the consequences of the Fall throughout our lives. The argument with a family member, the disappoint in your job, and the way your body aches when you get out of bed are all effects of the Fall. Our lives are marked by sin, but in the New Jerusalem, there is no evil.

Those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior can look forward to the day when they enter into the New Jerusalem and live in perfect harmony with their Creator with no pain, suffering, or evil present. We can look forward to that day, but until then, we must be diligent in spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth!

Go back and reread verses 22-27. Now think of the people in your life who do not know Jesus, and won’t get to experience life in the New Jerusalem. It’s my prayer that you will be bold to share the Gospel with those people in your life. God has allowed us to join in his mission to make his name known around the world for his glory.

Take some time to pray today for someone in your life who doesn’t know Jesus.

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

September 26, 2018

Today you should read: Revelation 21:1-8

There are over 3,000 promises of God described in the Bible. Ranging from promises of a future and a hope, to spiritual blessings in Christ, and everywhere in between, God is a God who makes and keeps his promises. Our passage today is ultimate culmination of every promise. Every promise in the Bible finds its “yes” in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 1:20) and our passage today shows us that what we have to look forward to is a full relationship with God that is not marred by sin (all because of Christ!).

  • God will establish this place without sin — “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (v. 3)
  • Sin and its effects will be no more — “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (v. 4)
  • God will restore all things — And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (v. 5)

The ultimate promise of God is that He will restore us to Himself; that sin and its effects will no longer plague us. This is what it means to think about eternity—to reflect on what God is establishing through Christ.

As we long for this glorious day of full restoration, may we learn greater dependence upon this same God who is establishing this Kingdom!

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice