Revelation Series: All Things Made New

Revelation 22:1-21
Finally, we want to look at the river of life. Images of rivers are used often in the Bible. They are used to show how God brings his grace, often from unusual places — water from a rock, how healing comes from the place we least expect — dirty Jordan, how great the grace of God is — river from the temple, that rivers of justice and righteousness must flow, that we must be washed in the river from the cross.The river of life, where all things are made new, where God is dwelling with his people, in the city of God. It is a river of reconciliation, rejuvenation, and reunion.The Panama Canal makes it possible for ships to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific, saving lots of time.  That canal became a reality because of a vision, but not only a vision, but because of a great engineering feat, a job that involved 1000’s of people moving an incredible 175,000,000 cubic yards of dirt.It is nothing compared to the great feat God did, removing the soil of sin that stood between God and man. Each generation has added to that barrier, and each generation has wondered how to get rid of it. All sorts of engineers have come along, with all sorts of tools, but God accomplished what everyone else tried to do, he built a canal through which flow the resurrection waters. (See Ephesians 2:13-16) All of this is from God who reconciled us to himself in Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 5:18)Mankind has long yearned for the assurance that our souls will survive death, never has man had that assurance till God stepped in. He stepped into our uncertainty and despair, and from the throne of God and the Lamb flows the river of reuniting, that river that flows into the dwelling place of man and back to God.What do you cling to carry you in the stream, but a ship. One of the old names for the part of the church that you sit in is the NAVE, it comes from the latin word for ship. That is right, the ship that carries you and I is the church, the body of Christ. Not the bricks and nails and chairs, not this place, but the people, the body of Jesus Christ brought into existence by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. That is why the fellowship, the gathering, the being here is so important. The passport or ticket for the ship is given by Christ, paid for by him. When Jesus Christ comes into your life, your journey to eternity begins and that passport is faith, a free pass given by the captain Jesus Christ. With that ticket, you are on the journey. If that ticket is not in your possession, reach out your hand, empty your heart of all that is there, and take the ticket so freely given. With that ticket, you may run the rapids of life, but no matter what happens, the ship is strong, for the Lord himself built it, steers it, and in it, you will ride out all the storms.I happen to grow up in country where there was all sorts of lakes and rivers, many so clean that you could dip water out of them and drink them without fear of pollution. There was one lake, West Hawk Lake, we would go snorkeling in that was so clear, a 20 foot depth seemed only a few short feet. The river running through the new city, is described as clear as crystal, no stagnant pool, no four odor. The scene is one of purity, dazzling beauty, radiant colors, a birth of new creativity. It is as Paul says: (See Romans 8:18 and 1 Corinthians 2:9)Too often heaven is painted as a dull place where people are burdened down with wings and harps, dully sitting around. That is not particularly appealing to me, I like activity, it would be terrible if heaven were a place where I sat doing nothing. In fact, if that is the way it is, I don’t really want to go. The picture we get here, is a picture in which all the ills, all the hurts, all the pains are gone, a place where — well, the best way to describe it is like this earth, only much better, where the river is clear and clean, and brings healing. It is a place where we will work like we are supposed to work, where we are healed and life is worth living. It is a place where you will reach fullness, because God is not the God of unfinished businessIf we were finished on earth, then heaven would be nothing. In death, we cry out, God is not finished with me yet and in heaven God says now is fullness.The river running through the new city speaks of motion, activity, life. When we arrive, we will find new tools, better working conditions and the benefits are fantastic. I am looking forward to working, to wandering all over God’s great creation, exploring, enjoying, working etc.The people of the Old Testament, the Israelites, God’s chosen people, knew what it was like to wander, their shepherds wandered looking for grass, the people spent years in captivity. The writer of the book of Hebrews describes their plight and their eternal hope. (See Hebrews 13:14 and Hebrews 11:10) The city meant home, the new city coming from heaven.We call this planet home, but only for a few short years, there is an eternity that waits. Heaven is like home, and you know how they describe home: Home is the place where all the masks we wear, are dropped and we can be who we really are.  Home is the place that when you get there, they have to take you in.Where will your home be, will it be with God, will you be reunited with the one who made you, or will you be reunited with the one who dragged you down.The joy of reunion with Jesus can be yours, because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ for in Jesus Christ when you die, and you step through the door of death, you find heaven, you wake up from death’s sleep and find yourself home.The river of life leads right down the main street of life to heaven, it can carry you home on the ship of faith, that is what this book is all about, the news that is yours.

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