“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. [NRSV]
Some of the most stern words of John’s Revelation of Christ.
First a contextual note:
When this was records, and biblical scholars give a range of dates around 90-100 AD which would make the closing admonition concerning “the book” related to the specific book of John’s Revelation and not referring to the Bible as a whole. Even though many people read this it is more like the conclusion of Daniel’s vision, except Daniel’s vision was sealed and John’s remains unsealed. Which means it is for both the church then and the church today.
Secondly, This vision if from John who is a religious prisoner, held on the island of Patmos, and is not likely to be the same as the author of John’s Gospel, as he would be recorded as such and the difference in age, 70-80 years, makes it most unlikely to be the same person. This is also confirmed in the difference of vocabulary and style of the author of the John’s Gospel.
We are reading the end of the story. It is the finial scene in the grand pageant of “The Apocalypse of Jesus” is a better name than the “The Revelation to John of Patmos”. This, finally, brings the need to learn a non-biblical word, Apocalypse. Websters: “the expectation of an imminent cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and raises the righteous to life in a messianic kingdom.” calamity, cataclysm, catastrophe, debacle (also débâcle), disaster, tragedy
After the Apocalypse: At the end of this letter, this collection of visions is the final bookend of the cataclysm and catastrophe between ‘now’ and Christ’s return, during his remaking of heaven and earth as well as after.
We began with a warning to individual churches, the bookend with a final warning to all church, all living to be in Christ. We look in the rear view mirror at the revealed sights, portents, visions and accounts of heaven and are left with final words.
Again these final words are the most stern.
- 1. A call for baptism – be washing
- 2. Drink – for all who thirst
- 3. Do these because there will be those who don’t.
The stern part in revealed in those who are outside heaven. So many verses and repetitive images of Christ at the center and the multitude of those around the throne, but these final verse look outside the gate, and find a motley crew.
Those on the wrong side of Good and Evil:
- 1. Dogs and –
- a. Not a statement about animals in heaven,
- b. Is a statement about fall teachers. Jesus parables and teaching refer to those who lead others
- astray are like dogs and would be better to wear millstone necklaces.
- 2. Sorcerers and
- a. Those who search for power other than the power and workings of God and the Holy Spirit
- 3. Fornicators and
- a. Those who prefer to trample fidelity, trust and seek to satisfy physical needs OVER spiritual health.
- 4. Murderers and
- a. Those who do not value life, nor the work to find community with God’s children.
- 5. Idolaters, and
- a. Those who place wealth and possessions above God. Or those who identify themselves by
- what they have rather than whose they are.
- The One we don’t like on the list – (The catch all that might include the rest of us.)
- 6. Everyone who loves and practices falsehood
- a. Those who do not find truth in God. This is the most encompassing one.
- b. This is not about isolated behaviors nor events, but the daily practices.
- c. Do we love the comfort of routine over the challenge to mature in faith?
- (I’ve already figured that out and I’m done having my foundation rattled or threatened.
- d. Don’t question my faith or faithfulness I’m right and I know it.
- e. as well as, those who say: Go along with the crowd, with logic, with
The plumb line measure
- If we value our stuff more than God’s call to come,
- If we want every physical comfort over God’s love
- If we value our lives more than anyone else
- If we want our will, power, authority, idea, ahead of God,
- If we love fitting in with the crowd for convenience
- If we lead others astray by our actions and words or our in-action and silence.
These are the reasons that we don’t place Jesus on the throne of our lives daily and eternally.
What we do now is what we will do in heaven.
Our only hope
remains in Jesus Christ.
Finally, these parting words are the invitation to “Come”
I believe that after all is said and done in the rapture, through the judgment, through the new heaven and earth, we are stubborn folks. (We prove this here on earth, why will that be different in heaven?)
I believe with all my heart that God’s grace remains open, the gates are open, and the father runs out to the end of the road and meets us to welcome the prodigal home, but some siblings, some people, some of us will question, doubt and disagree with God and will “REMAIN OUTSIDE the HOUSE” (LK 15:11-32)
Hear the call today,
- “COME” to Jesus,
- come to hope,
- come to grace,
- come to find your thirst quenched
- come to find you heart at peace
- come to find life from your grief
- come to find forgiveness from your sin
- come to find fellowship with God’s children
- come to find home in the heart of God.
God is waiting and they questions is why do we live 1 second without him first in our heart and mind?
We believe we have more second to spare.
I tell you
There is no need to
- be outside,
- out of hope
- out of help
- out of reach
- out of sorts
- out of line
- out of love
- nor out of time.
Prayer of confession and a prayer of acceptance and reaffirmation
This is what we need and this is what we share:
- Who is among us that needs to reaffirm today?
- Who is will we see, meet, experience TODAY that needs to hear that invitation to COME
- Who will God place in our lives this week to share this joy and life
- Who will not be with us in a short time, in the blink of an eye?
The urgency is not in the second coming, the urgency is in all the seconds we live without God creating hope in this world through us.
The second and minutes, hours and day, weeks and years of seconds
The Christ is not on the throne of our hearts
The seconds and decades we struggle with the power and guide of the Holy Spirit.
The invitation is for us.. COME
- Come the faith
- Come the throne
- Come to the heart
- Come to Christ’s
- Come to the fountain
- Come to the spring
- Come to the river of live and drink, live, and thrive.