Last Call [10-23-22]


October 23, 2022

Revelation 22

"Last Call"


If you've ever been around bars, or restaurants with bars, you know sometime after midnight is last call to order alcohol. I worked as a cook at an upscale steakhouse while in college, and I knew all too well the mad scramble at last call. For good or bad, the liquor was going to stop flowing.


Here are the first five verses of Revelation 22:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever

and ever.


Everything is now summed up.


I like to call these first five verses the bookends. In the Book of Genesis, in the creation story, we were introduced to the tree of life planted in the middle of the garden. What do we see here in 22:2? The tree of life. It is Eden Restored.


What did Adam and Eve do in the first Eden? They disobeyed God. They ate the forbidden fruit, resulting in banishment from the garden, forced to work the ground cursed with thorns and thistles. Sin and death infected all of God's creation.


Now here in The Book of Revelation, we see the people who have been saved by the blood of Christ returned to the garden, able to eat the bountiful fruit of the tree of life. The curse has been removed. I love how a favorite hymn captures it:

No more let sins and sorrows grow

nor thorns infest the ground; he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.

A beloved hymn is bookended by the first and last books of the Bible. Joy to the world…no greater good or more joyous truth could be imagined than eternal fellowship with God and the Lamb. Eden has been restored.


We see how far the restoration process goes in verse four. Not only, as verse five describes it, is heaven lit with the radiance of God's glory, but we will see God's face. This is huge. Do you want to know what's in store for us in heaven? In the Old Testament, Moses is told that he cannot see the face of God. As Exodus 33:20 says, "'But', he said, 'you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.'" Remember what we've touched on throughout this series. Nothing unclean can stand in the presence of God. But what has the cross of Jesus Christ done for us? It has cleansed us of all sin. Therefore, those who have persevered…those who have remained faithful to Jesus Christ…will stand in the presence of God and see

His face. As Jesus promises in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they shall see God."


Let's now look at the epilogue, verses six through twenty-one:

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay

each one for what he has done. 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 may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things 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 the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

A key point, if not the key point, of the entire book is captured by two simple words in verse nine: WORSHIP GOD. That is the theme of the entire book. WORSHIP GOD.


The second most important piece in this section is God's final plea to unbelievers to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Only Savior. I love how this final chapter captures, once again, the nature of God's character. God is gracious and merciful. He has spelled out the dire consequences of continuing in sin. Before it's too late, God gives one more invitation:

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 desires take the water of life without price.


God pleads with sinners to come to the Lord. Here's something you might want to write down:

Salvation Comes To Those Who Understand Their Desperate Need For Forgiveness.


Verse seventeen is a majestic call to eternal life. Every sinner is called. How

tragic for those who reject the invitation from the Supreme Ruler of the

universe.


Here's the bottom line - without forgiveness, no one can enter into heaven. As Ephesians 1:7 reminds us, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace." While the world is full of people who assume they're going to get to heaven because they're good enough, heaven is only for those whose sins have been washed away by the Blood of the Lamb. Revelation 22 makes one more plea…confess your sin and believe that Jesus Christ is the only One who can wash you clean. Here's one last thing you might want to write down:

GOD NEVER GIVES UP ON US.

And so, with confidence, we can say, "Maranatha - Come, Lord Jesus."


That's why Paul so joyously affirmed, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Such a beautiful promise…a beautiful promise.


That seems to be an appropriate affirmation to end on. God's eternal plan

for His creation will be carried through. Paradise will be restored. Nothing can thwart the completion of God's sovereign will. Until that day comes, there will be hostility and rebellion. People will be faced with the crucial decision of pledging their allegiance to the beast or to the Lamb. Those who choose to wear the mark of the beast will suffer eternal separation from God. Those who choose to follow the Lamb will enjoy eternal fellowship with God in the New Jerusalem. All things will come to an end. Eden will be restored. And because of this book, while we don't know exact times and dates, what we do know is that Jesus Christ will return. That's the most important thing to know. Because of that, we know that no matter what we experience or go through in life, all is well, because Jesus Christ is Lord. He will forever put away all evil and usher in the eternal state of blessedness. {Robert H. Mounce}


Let's pray:

IT'S BEEN A JOY, FATHER, TO SPEND THESE NINE MONTHS IN THIS BOOK. IT HAS SHAPED US AND CHANGED US. IT HAS GIVEN US A WINDOW INTO ETERNITY. THANK YOU FOR DRAWING FOOLISH SINNERS LIKE US INTO A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SON, JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. WE THANK YOU FOR HEAVEN. WE THANK YOU THAT WE WILL BE IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR ABSOLUTE HOLINESS. IT WILL BE A PLACE OF PERFECTION. LIFE PASSES TOO FAST. WE HOLD TIGHT TO THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY. AMEN. MARANATHA…COME, LORD JESUS.