Series: The Return of the King
Sermon: Paradise Found – Neil Hough
Scripture Reading: Revelation 19:6-10, Revelation 21:1-7
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:5-7)
Monday September 26 — Revelation 16:1-21
Even though apocalyptic writing, like prophetic writing, envisions the future, its purpose is not to promote speculation. The purpose of apocalyptic writing is to challenge hearers to change their lives right now. Revelation 16:15 is a parenthetical reminder from the living Christ to be prepared at all times for his return. Read Matthew 24:36-44 to find out what Jesus said about watchfulness. Note that Jesus also says that “only the Father” knows the day and hour of the end of the age. What would you do differently if you knew for certain the day and hour of Jesus’ return? What would be important to you? What trivial matters would you let go? How can you live like that today?
- Prayer: Eternal God, remind me that only you know the day and hour of Jesus return. Prepare me to be ready, whenever that day arrives. Help me be ready every day. Amen.
Tuesday September 27 — Revelation 17:1-18:24
Chapters 17 and 18 describe the fall of Babylon—Rome, the “Great Whore”—which stands in stark contrast to the New Jerusalem described in chapter 21. God’s judgment of Rome is consistent with themes of warnings and judgment found in the writings of Old Testament prophets. In the images of Revelation, we find both the justice of God’s judgment and the hope of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 43:18-19, it says that a “new thing” means the “former things” must go away. Can you give up “former things” so that God can do a “new thing” in your life?
- Prayer: Almighty God, I am ready for you to do a new thing in the world, beginning with me. Help me let go of “former things” so that you can make all things new in me. Amen.
Wednesday September 28 — Revelation 19:1-21
Revelation 19 begins with a description of the heavenly celebration of God’s victory. It reminds hearers that worship is the primary response to God’s salvation. In many respects, the Book of Revelation is a book of worship. It describes how God’s people worship God, even on the most difficult days, and in the midst of trials and tribulations. If you can, find a recording of The Hallelujah Chorus by Handel and listen to it today. Join in the celebration of God’s victory.
- Prayer: Lord God, I worship you today, not only for the promise of future glory in heaven, but also for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ today. Amen.
Thursday September 29 — Revelation 20:1-15
In Revelation 13, John describes God’s people as those whose names are written in the “Lamb’s book of life.” This is a vivid image describing everyone who has accepted the grace of God that has been offered by the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—the Lamb of God. The judgment described at Jesus’ return is meant to inspire repentance, acceptance of God’s grace, profession of faith, and holy living in the present. This is a day for giving thanks. Give thanks for God’s gift of salvation by accepting His grace and becoming a follower of Jesus.
- Prayer: Heavenly Father, today I confess my sin and I accept your grace and forgiveness. With your help, I will be a faithful follower of Jesus. Write my name in your book. Amen.
Friday September 30 — Revelation 21:1-27
The Revelation ends with the vision of God’s new heaven and new earth. The city of Rome—the city that represents the empires of the world—was a whore that was judged and ultimately defeated. The holy city—the New Jerusalem—is a bride. It is the bride of Christ. This new city is not built with human hands. It is God’s new creation: a gift of God. The last chapters of Revelation offer an image of what God intends for us. If this new life is what God desires for you, what is preventing you from living this new life right now? By God’s grace it is possible. Are you able and willing to trust God?
- Prayer: God of Hope, give me the courage I need to trust you completely and fully enter your Kingdom. Today, I will live the new life you offer through Jesus Christ.
Saturday October 1 — Revelation 22:1-21
The Bible ends in the same place it begins: in a garden. The paradise lost when Adam and Eve fell from grace, because they wanted to “be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5) becomes paradise found. The world, that God loves so much that he sent his Son to live and die for its salvation, is redeemed by God’s grace. This story has a happy ending. It gives us hope. How do you keep hope alive when it seems that all hope is lost? What instills you with confidence in God’s promises? Are you ready to live your life—today—as if you believe God’s Word?
- Prayer: Merciful God, grant me the wisdom to look to you, and you alone, for hope. Help me live the life you intend for me to live. Help me be the person you want me to be. Amen.