Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Perhaps we have heard the saying that goes something like this: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” Unfortunately, as you hear me rail in Bible Class so often, why are we interjecting ourselves into the equation, as if we have something to do with anything. The more correct saying would be: “God said it, that settles it.” Our belief or unbelief have no affect on what God says or does. In our text for today, as we continue on in the Revelation of John we see, as always, God’s Word does what it says, and gives the gifts He speaks.
John begins by describing the new heaven and the new earth, “1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “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. 4He 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. 1-4).
In the beginning God created the first heaven and earth. The heaven and earth God initially created was perfect and holy. As we read of God’s creating in the first two chapters of Genesis we hear that as God is the one doing the doing, everything is perfect and holy. When we get to chapter three we hear of Adam and Eve and when Adam and Eve hit the scene that is when everything which God created as perfect and holy becomes imperfect and cursed. Thus, God’s perfect creation fell into sin, and is perfect no more.
In his vision John now sees the new heaven and the new earth which will be without sin. When God created all things out of nothing His intent was for all things to remain without sin. We see God’s great love, however, in the fact that even though He knew what was going to happen, what we call His Divine foreknowledge, even knowing He would have to suffer and die for His creation, He created all things anyway. Now as we approach the end of His revealed Word to us, He speaks to us of what will happen in the end, that is that He will make all things new.
John sees how God will dwell with man once again. Remember how in the Garden of Eden we are told that Adam and God had a very intimate relationship. God and Adam would walk together in the Garden. After the fall into sin and the curse, the relationship of God and man has been tenuous at best. After Adam broke his perfect relationship with God, having been cursed, the sin of Adam has been passed down from generation to generation so that even today man’s relationship with God is tenuous at best. Yet, because of Jesus, because of His perfect life for us in our place, because He took our sins and paid the price for our sins, because He died and rose thus earning forgiveness for us and restoring our relationship with Himself, even with God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit our hearts are being renewed daily. So, John speaks of what he sees in his vision and tells us that in the end God will once again dwell with us.
And we might, I think, obviously surmise that it will be a place of perfection. God is perfect and holy. God dwells in perfection and holiness. Where God dwells is perfection, thus as God dwells with man once again it will be a place of perfection.
John goes on to tell us that he was told to write this down, “5And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (v. 5). As we began so we hear from the one speaking to John, God said it and that settles it. God is the one speaking. God is the one who makes all things new. In heaven there will be no more sin.
John, the same John who wrote the Gospel of John in which many times he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, and as he bears witness that his testimony is true, even as he speaks of Jesus own testimony that He is truth, indeed, the Way, the truth and the life, he is told to write this down, because it is trustworthy and true, that is as we say, God’s Word is efficacious it does what it says and gives the gifts of which it speaks.
Finally he says, it is done, “6And 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 from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son”(v. 6-7).
It is done. As we heard Jesus say on the cross, “It is finished,” so He declared that the sins of all people, of all places, of all times had been paid for. The price for sin, death, eternal spiritual death, hell has been paid for by Jesus’ suffering and dying. Indeed as we hear declared here again in this revelation to John, it is done, all sins have been forgiven. Notice this is an already accomplished, past action, completed action. Nothing more needs to be done, as if there is anything we need to do or can do. As we began, it is not necessary that we believe it for it to be done and true. All sins have been paid for because Jesus paid the price, because we are declared forgiven and so as God declares it is accomplished. You are forgiven, thanks be to God.
As we laid out a few weeks ago, Jesus is alpha and omega, beginning and end, even without beginning or end, there at the creation of the world and here at the end of the world, or better said here at the beginning of eternity. Jesus is the alpha and the omega, the one who died and has been raised to life. Jesus is God in flesh who accomplished all things for us.
Jesus gives eternal life, as He is the one who paid the price for our sins in order to earn eternal life for us. We do nothing to gain eternal life. We do nothing to earn eternal life. Eternal life is a gift given to us by the one who earned and paid for it, Jesus. Indeed, we come before our Lord as wretched beggars. He is the one who scoops us up our of the muck and mire of our own sin. He washes us in His blood and robes us with His robes of righteousness. He makes us His own through the waters of Holy Baptism and His Holy Word. He gives us eternal life.
Yet not just to us for He gives this inheritance of eternal life to all who believe. As we have heard many times, we are the true children of Abraham, the true Israel, not by DNA, but by faith. God’s covenant first given in Eden, to Adam and Eve, before there ever was a Jew or Gentile, His covenant reiterated to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and so forth was always a covenant of grace, always pointing to Jesus. God said it and that settles it.
What Does this mean? I attended college enrolled in the teacher education program. Having taken many methods of teaching classes and student teaching and one phrase that continually sticks in my mind is this that the best way to teach is to teach and reteach, in other words to teach the same thing over and over until it is mastered. The Sunday morning Bible class actually expressed it well a couple weeks back, the fact that we attend Divine Service and Bible class every week because we so easily forget. Thus we need the constant reminder of God’s love and forgiveness for us. This morning John, through his vision reminds us once again of the fact that in the beginning God created all things perfect and holy and man sinned.
As we approach the end of God’s revealed Word of Holy Scripture, in this book of revelation of the vision to John we hear what John sees which is God’s recreation, that is the fact that Jesus has paid the price for sin, for all sin, for all people, and most especially for your sin and mine. In the Gospel reading for this morning, John’s Gospel nonetheless, we are reminded of Jesus’ words to love one another. Indeed, as we hear these words most certainly they remind us of how much we fail. Time and again we fail to love one another. And as I have said many times, it is only as we see just how sinful we truly are that we can then truly understand how gracious and loving God truly is. The less sinful we are the less we think we need Jesus and truly the more we simply think we can rely on ourselves, which leads only to death. The more sinful we realize we are the more we understand how much God has suffered and forgiven and the more we understand God’s grace and love.
John sees the end. Johns sees God recreating, making a new heaven and a new earth. John sees how God makes all things new, like in the beginning, except this time God will not allow for sin and a curse. God creates everything new, perfect and holy and dwells with us in perfection and holiness.
God gives eternal inheritance to all who believe. Heaven is not a matter of DNA. It is not a matter of who are your parents. It is not a matter of having your name on the roles of a congregation, especially if you never step foot in the door of that congregation. It is not a matter of what you know rather it is a matter of who knows you, who has redeemed you, who has given you faith, and who gives you eternal life, Jesus.
As we read and hear John’s words we know that we can believe his words because they are God’s words and He is faithful and true. And it is not a matter of our believing that make it faithful and true, rather it is a matter of the fact that He said it that makes it faithful and true. God said it and that settles it because He is all powerful and gives what He says and makes what He says happen.
This morning we come and see again a glimpse of heaven. As is said in a bit of a pithy song I learned in college, Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with God’s glory and grace, heaven is a wonderful place, I want to go there. Heaven is Eden undone and redone. Heaven is gift, earned and paid for by Jesus’ blood and given to us by faith, which He gives as well. Again we see, we get it right when we point to Jesus. Again, God said it and that settles it, not anything from me, but wholly from Him. And we rejoice as He stirs in us to rejoice and say, to Him be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Just a bit of personal observation: I have noticed what I believe to be an interesting bit of irony about the desire of young people to reach intellectual independence, that is their attempt to be intellectually independent, especially of their parents and that is that what they seem to fail to realize that in their attempt to be independent, usually practiced by going against everything they have been raised to know, they have simply adopted an intelligence usually espoused by the liberal “free” thinking professor whose last desire would be that they would actually be “free” thinking (like them) unless it is to espouse their own values or lack thereof. My thought continues to go back to the Apostle Paul who reminds us, we are either slaves to sin or slaves to God. In our search for intellectual independence we eventually realize that we have to agree with someone. Thus we hold to the hope of God’s promise, “raise up a child in the way that they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.”
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Have you ever wondered what heaven would be like? If you have, listen up, today’s text, and as we continue in the book of Revelation, we will see a glimpse of heaven in John’s vision. This morning we continue with “The Distant Triumph Song” of Revelation. We continue to see the resurrected Jesus alive in all His glory, the glory that He had given up to be born as one of us in order to give His life for ours on the cross.
I should also preface our text with a reminder of what was happening at the time of John’s vision and the writing of his vision. While John was in exile on the Island of Patmos, having this vision, the Holy Christian Church was being persecuted for their faith. John is writing to many people who saw no hope for their lives. The people were being beaten down for their faith and the only place they could turn was to the Lord, or deny their faith. John’s words in this vision are words of comfort and hope for these people, for these Christians and even for us today. As the persecution of Christians continues around the world and even seems to be on the increase and as that persecution may in fact one day soon reach our shores so that we are persecuted, perhaps we would do well to take heed of John’s Words for us when our day of persecution comes. John encourages us by reminding us that yes, Jesus did rise from the dead. Yes, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. Yes, Jesus does care. Yes, Jesus will come again with great power and glory to judge the living and the dead and to take the faithful to heaven to be with Himself forever in eternity. John’s vision gives the people of his day and even us today the strength they need to hold up until the end. John’s vision brings to mind Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans when he said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
The first few verses of our text show that John understood the struggle of the people to whom he is writing. To John the question is asked, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seal?” And John was rather discouraged because he believed no one was able and John believed this might mean the end of God’s revelation and counsel to humanity. But he too is comforted to know that there is one who is able to open the scroll and of course that one is Jesus Christ Himself.
The setting of our text is that we are enjoying a glimpse of heaven. We see and we hear the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sing a new song to Jesus, the Lamb of God. Their song is: “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (v. 9-10). And then we hear what we might call the first chorus of their song, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (v.12). John begins by trying to describe something that is undescribable, which is most of what he has been seeing. He is trying to describe the number of angels he sees. What he is seeing is all the angels in heaven which is truly an uncountable number. So, John says, “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousand” (v.11). Again, what John is seeing is an enumerable number of angels, all the company of the heavenly host.
These angels were in a circle around the elders and the living creatures, who are all creation. So, we see a picture of heaven that looks something like this: Jesus is at the center. He is seated on the throne. He is the Lamb of God. He is the light of the world. There are four living creatures surrounding Him. Next is a circle of the twenty-four elders and the last circle around the throne is the circle of the countless angels.
The angels sing a sevenfold song. Remember that the number seven is a number of completion, thus their song is a song of complete blessing. Also, the number seven is made up of two numbers, the number three which is the number of the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and the number four which is the earth number, thus this song of sevenfold blessings reminds us that it is Jesus who came to give His life in order to restore our relationship with the Father in heaven and to restore the fellowship between God and the world which was destroyed at the fall into sin.
Just briefly let us look at the words in this sevenfold blessings. The hymn begins with the word “power.” Power does belong to Jesus, it is His as can be seen in the creation of the world, as well as in His defeat of Satan on the cross. Jesus is all powerful. Next is “wealth.” All the wealth of the world is His. He created all things and all things are in His hands. As we say in stewardship terms, “God owns, man owes.” What we have when we are born in this world and what we take with us when we die is what is truly ours, thus nothing is truly ours. Everything we use in this world, no matter how much we want to possess it (and we have to admit, we do get pretty possessive at times), is only ours on loan until we pass on into heaven. Next is the word “wisdom.” Divine wisdom is evident in all the works of God: His creation, preservation, and justification, all things dealing with sin and its result, redemption, sanctification, justification, and glorification of the saints and the eternal condemnation of the lost. And, as we were reminded not too many Sunday’s ago that, the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom. Next in this sevenfold blessing is the word “strength.” We see strength in the all creating and in the all preserving hand of His creation. And we were reminded, along with wisdom, that the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. The next word is “honor.” Jesus is due honor, even all honor. We say in the explanations of the commandments, “we should fear and love God.” Honor is fear, reverence, awe and respect. The next word is “glory.” All glory belongs to Jesus. He is the one who gets the credit, the glory for all things. And the last word in the sevenfold blessing is “praise.” Christ is worthy of all praise because He has done all things and He has done all things perfectly. Yes, these words of sevenfold blessing are indeed both appropriate and descriptive of Jesus.
Following this first chorus comes the second chorus, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (v. 13b). This chorus is sung by “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea” (v. 13a). Notice that there are four “places” mentioned. The number four is the earth number, thus we see that every created thing, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, now raises its voice to sing. When we first hear these words they might remind us of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the Pharisees asked Jesus to tell everyone to be quite. Jesus’ response was to tell them that even if the people were quiet, the very stones would sing. Here we have all creation, animate and inanimate objects, praising the Lamb, Jesus.
And their song is a fourfold, earthly song. Their fourfold chorus echos four of the seven words that the angels sang in their chorus, “praise,” “honor,” “glory,” and “power.”
Finally, “The four living creatures said, ‘Amen.’” The imperfect tense is used here which indicates that they said “Amen” not once, but a number of times. Amen, the word we use to conclude our prayers. The word which literally means “God is faithful.” God is faithful. Because of His faithfulness Jesus came to give His life. Because of His faithfulness Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to bring us to faith. Because He is faithful Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to work to strengthen and keep us in faith until He comes again. Because of His faithfulness Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, in all His glory. Because He is faithful Jesus continues to watch over us, rule over us and intercede for us.
This morning we are given another glimpse of heaven. We are allowed to see Jesus, the Lamb of God in all His glory. We hear the first chorus, the angels, the heavenly creatures, sing a sevenfold praise to Jesus. We hear the second chorus, all the earthly creatures sing a fourfold praise to Jesus.
We are reminded that every Sunday and every day that we sing praises to the Lord, we join in this unending hymn as we sing with all the saints above. We may think we are singing alone, but we are not singing alone. We are indeed singing with all the saints. And we echo the loud “Amen,” confident that God is faithful.
Certainly, we do not face the trials and tribulations that many of the early Christians faced, although there are many in our world who are facing just such trials and tribulations, yet we do daily face the struggles of this world. John’s vision reminds us that Jesus is with us, that He is watching over us, that He cares for us and that sometime soon He will come to take us from this vale of tears to be with Himself in heaven for eternity. The question we might ask ourselves is, are we ready? Now, more than ever, is the time to set our hearts and minds on the things above. We have seen Jesus die on the cross, for us, for our sins. We have seen Him, risen from the dead. As we continue in our trek through the book of Revelation we see Him ascended into heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father in all His glory. We see Him being given all the glory that is His by all creatures in heaven and earth. But, again, are we ready for His return?
As I reminded you last week, we ready ourselves by making regular and diligent use the means that He has given to us to get us ready, His Word and His sacraments. As we make use of these means that He has of coming to us, He gets us ready. How do we know if we are ready? Might I suggest that if we have a strong sense of urgency about our own spiritual well being as well as a strong sense of urgency about the spiritual well being of others, we might be getting ready. If we have a strong sense of urgency to remember our baptism, to confess our sins and even more to hear those most beautiful words of absolution, that our sins are forgiven, that we have a strong sense of urgency not only to read our Bibles, but to be in divine service and Bible class where we might also hear the Word of God, and that we have a strong sense of urgency to partake of the Lord’s body and blood through His Holy Supper. This sense of urgency is how we know we are ready. My prayer for you, continually, is that the Lord will work in you through the means of grace so that you will be ready for when He comes again. So that you will be ready to stand at His throne and sing with all the saints. To Him be the glory for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Sunday, April 3, 2016
Jesus is risen from the dead. He is alive. We worship a living God. This morning we continue in the afterglow of our Easter celebration, and really, as Christians we are reminded that each and every Sunday is an Easter celebration. This morning we continue with using the Epistle lesson as our text and although you might not think it, Revelation is a fitting after Easter text. Let me put it this way. Maybe you remember that Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the follow up book of Acts. In much the same way, John wrote the Gospel of John and the follow up book of Revelation. As we get to our text we will see that Revelation is indeed “A Distant Triumph Song,” as one of my commentaries calls it. I might also begin by saying that John’s revelation is appropriate because what John is seeing is the resurrected Jesus, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, who is in all His glory, which He had given up to be born as one of us.
Our text begins right at the beginning of the book. Immediately after introducing this writing as a revelation from God in the first three verses, John continues with words of doxology and greeting in the next four verses. John writes “to the seven churches in the province of Asia.” Many times in the Bible numbers have special meaning. Yet, we need to be careful, because not every number has special meaning. Here in the book of Revelation, which is a vision, many of the numbers do have special meaning. Here John uses the number seven, “the seven churches” to mean the number of completion. In other words, John is seeing this vision which is for the complete number of churches, the whole church of God, all believers in Jesus.
John begins with doxology. He begins with trinity. He begins with “grace and peace” “from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,” in other words, he begins with God the Father. God is eternal. He always was, always is and always will be. He is forever.
John then speaks of God the Holy Spirit, or as he calls him, “from the seven spirits.” It is possible that John uses the term “seven spirits” to bring to mind “the seven-fold description of the Holy Spirit found in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (11:2).”
And John speaks of God the Son. John describes Jesus in His role as the faithful witness, which is the role of the prophet; the firstborn from the dead, and here I would make an aside to remind you that He is the firstborn from the dead after having made Himself the sacrifice for our sins, which we are reminded that the role of the priest was to make sacrifices; and He is the ruler of the kings of the earth (v.5), meaning that Jesus is our King, even the King of kings. So, we see Jesus as prophet, priest and king. And we see that John begins with the trinity, Father, Holy Spirit and Son. And he begins with Jesus threefold office of prophet, priest and king.
John reminds us that Jesus is the one who has freed us from our sins. He did this by the shedding of His blood on the cross for us. He did this by His death and resurrection (v.6) for us, in our place. And John reminds us as Paul does in many of his letters, that we are redeemed, not for nothing, but so that we might serve Him in His kingdom, so that we might do the good works which He has prepared in advance for us to do.
John reminds us of the coming day of Judgement. He reminds us that Jesus is the one who is coming to judge the world. In His coming to judge the world, the unbeliever will mourn because of Him (v. 7), because he will know that means his eternal destruction.
John goes on to share Jesus’ words of greeting and his description of what he saw (v. 8-18). John tells us that Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, that is, He describes Himself as the beginning and the end (v. 8). Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. It would be like saying in English that He is from A to Z. Notice also that Jesus’ words remind us that He is one with the Father and the Spirit and that He was with the Father and the Spirit even from the beginning, even at the creation of the world.
John writes that he is suffering as Jesus said he would (cf. John 16:33). Interestingly enough, the word that John uses for suffering is the same word that Jesus used for trouble in the Gospel of John when He reminded us that we would have trouble in this world, but we are to take heart, because Jesus has overcome the world. In other words, Christ has overcome the suffering and troubles of this world.
John says he saw the seven golden lampstands. These lampstands are symbols of the seven churches. As we said earlier, John is speaking to the whole Christian church.
John goes on to describe God (v.13-16). His head and hair were white like wool, not because of His old age, even though I would wonder if it could not be from the trouble we have been, but His hair is white to show His wisdom and dignity. His whiteness shows His purity, holiness, and righteousness. His eyes of blazing fire show with what purifying fire He will judge, as He sees absolute truth from a lie (v.14). His feet were bronze “showing his authority and the exercise of His power over His enemies, who must serve as His footstool,” and His voice was the sound of rushing water, both frightening for sinners and calming for believers (v.15).
John describes what came out of His mouth as being like a “sharp double-edged sword.” And what comes out of Jesus’ mouth is nothing but His Word. Paul reminds us that as Christians the only offensive weapon we carry into battle against the devil is the sword of the Word of God.
John, quoting Jesus, again, says that He describes Himself as the “living one.” That brings us back to the understanding that we worship a living God. And we worship a God who holds the keys to heaven. Faith in Jesus is the key. Faith saves, unbelief condemns.
So, why am I excited about having the book of Revelation as our text? One reason is in the book of revelation we have an answer for those who knock at our door dismissing the idea that Jesus is truly God and truly man. Follow along with me if you will. And you may use the Bible in the pew if you do not have your own with you. I would suggest marking this in your Bible at home so you have it when someone knocks at your door. First, we want to establish that God is the Alpha and Omega. We do that by looking at Rev. 1:8 (p. 1377 in the pew Bible). “I am the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” So, we ask, who is the Alpha and Omega? The answer is, God is. Now turn to Rev. 21:5-7 (p. 1395) “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” Again, who is the Alpha and the Omega? He is the Beginning and the End, in other words, He is God. So, not only is God described as the Alpha and the Omega, He is also described as the Beginning and the End. Now, turn to Rev. 22:13 (p. 1396). John writes: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” And again we ask, “who is saying this?” and the answer is that God is saying this. Now for the clincher if you will, turn to Rev. 1:17-18 (p. 1377-1378). And this is again from our text for this morning. John writes: “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he place his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Now we ask, once more, “who did we say was the Alpha and the Omega?” We said it was God. And then we make our case that Jesus is God by asking, “when did God die and come back to life?” And of course, we know the answer, when Jesus, who is God, died on the cross and rose again. Which is what we just celebrated.
A another reason I am excited about having the book of Revelation as our text is because we do not get to have it as a text too often, probably because it is so misunderstood by our society. As I said earlier, the book of Revelation is the second half of John’s Gospel. It is a book of Gospel, reminding us that our God is not dead but is alive. It is a book in which we see Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of the Father ruling over us, interceding for us, watching out for us and caring for us. The book of Revelation shows us Jesus in all His glory. He is in heaven living in all the glory that is His, that He gave up to be born as a human being. He is in heaven where He is using His divine attributes to their fullest.
The book of Revelation reminds us that Jesus is our Judge. that He will come again with power and great glory and might. He will come to judge the living and the dead. He will come to take us, the faithful, believing Christians to heaven to live with Him forever in eternity. He will do this because that is what He earned for us by His death on the cross for our sins and by His resurrection.
Finally, the book of Revelation reminds us of our need to be ready. We need to be ready at anytime and at all times, because we do not know the day or the hour when He will come again, only the Father knows. We need to be ready and we ready ourselves by being in the word, by reading our Bible, by remembering our Baptism, by confessing our sins and hearing His Word of absolution, by partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We ready ourselves and we show that we are ready by being about the Lord’s business, sharing His Word with others, being good stewards of our time, talents and treasures, using them to extend God’s kingdom, and especially to extend God’s kingdom here in this place. We show we are ready through our thoughts, our words and our actions, as they are directed heavenward. We need to be ready and we are ready as our Lord makes us ready through the means of grace.
Again, I cannot say it enough, our text for today, and as we will be in the book of Revelation for the next few Sundays, John reminds us that Jesus’ death and resurrection was not for nothing. His death earned life for us. His resurrection reminds us that we too will rise again. Jesus has accomplished all things for us and to that we say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.