Sunday School Material 5-22-11: All Things New
(Rev. 21:1-8; 5/22/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is God has great things prepared for His people. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure we are saved and living by the promises of God.
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Read Revelation 21:1-4
I. A New Order. John sees a vision of a new Jerusalem in this section of the Sunday School material. It is a holy city from God.
A great/loud voice declares in essence that God shall dwell among His people. The new Jerusalem is known for God's wiping all tears away and no more pain.
- Replacing the old with the new. Notice in vs. 1 of the Sunday School material that the old order of things are scheduled to pass away and be replaced by the new order of things.
The sea had a negative meaning attached to it – a place of trouble, storms, and unpredictableness – but it to shall pass away. It is good to know that our best days are not behind us.
They are before us.
No matter how terrible things look in our lives, the old order of things will pass away. Even if this happens after our death, it is good to know that in our new bodies, we will not have to deal with certain things that we deal with now.
Let's live like we believe that the best is yet to come. This kind of living should put a smile on our face, a song on our lips, and encouragement in our hearts, in spite of current challenges (e.g., financial, relational, and health).
- Loud for God's glory. Notice in vs. 3 of the Sunday School material that there is a great voice. The NIV translates the word as loud.
On one hand, there is a certain thing as too loud. Young people tend to like music that is louder than that which is healthy for their hearing. Often the loudness of the music makes the lyrics hard to hear.
But on the other hand, there is a such thing as too quiet. When we are talking about the greatness of God and His kindness towards us, there should be some excitement in our voice and music.
Dry boring worship is contrary to the greatness and awesome kindness of our God. Let's work on being loud enough to show God and one another our enthusiasm about the greatness of God.
- Dwelling with God. Notice in vs. 3 of the Sunday School material that God will dwell among His people. God shall be their God. And they shall be His people.
If we think that it is wonderful to have God the Holy Spirit living in us then we will surely be blessed by having God the Father right up the street.
Not only is this a marvelous situation to hope for, but it should challenge us to make sure that we live in ways that don't embarrass or anger God. When we sin, especially in the direct presence of God, it moves Him to want to punish our sins.
As a reminder, failure to give to God as God has given to you, failure to be kind to especially fellow church members, and failure to give our best in Christian service are all sins.
Let's work on living as those who enjoy the immediate presence of God.
- All tears wiped away. Notice in vs. 4 of the Sunday School material that God will wipe all tears away. In fact, the causes of the tears will be passed away – death, sorrow, crying, and pain.
Again this is simply marvelous for those who are saved. Make sure you are saved. And then remind yourself that no matter what is happening now, brighter days are ahead. Let's live like we believe that the best is yet to come.
Read Revelation 21:5-8
II. A Divine Pronouncement. In this section of the Sunday School material the One who sits on the throne talks with John. He tells John to write about how He makes all things new.
John is told about how God satisfies the thirsts of those who belong to Him. However, those who don't belong to God are on their way to the second death – the lake of fire and brimstone.
- Writing, learning, and obeying. Notice in vs. 5 of the Sunday School material that God had John to write what was going on.
We should thank God that we don't have to simply guest about what happened in the past, what God wants us to do right now, and what is going to happen. God has move people to write what we need to know about Him and His will for our lives.
Now as great as the Bible is, it will not help us much, if we don't study and obey it. Let's prayerfully study and obey the Bible like we believe that it is true and trustworthy.
At the core of God's word and instructions to us are the issues of accepting Jesus as our savior by faith and then living our lives focused on loving God and others, as we love ourselves.
- Encouraging promises. Notice in vs. 7 of the Sunday School material that God has so much prepared for those who overcome the things of this world. This is a redundant theme in this text.
God is trying to get us to see that He is aware that life is difficult for many of His people right now. However, if they can just hold on, the best is yet to come. Let's work on trusting the promises of God.
Furthermore, let's help one another remember and live the by the promises of God. The church ought to be a place where we remind one another about the promises of God and encourage one another to hang in there.
- The lake of fire. Notice in vs. 8 that there is a terrible future for those who have not accepted Jesus as savior by faith. As we look at the list of sins, we should be careful about our attitude.
Many of us have some of these sins in our lives. All of us have some kind of sin in our lives. When we think about the lies too many of us tell in our "Church Covenant" it should make us tremble.
We say we will do things like "giving as God has prospered us, diligently studying the Word of God, cultivating Christian courtesy, etc." – even though many do well, too many do terribly.
Since we are in the same body, those who do well should not be as concerned about being recognized for doing well as they should be concerned with helping the weaker often lying members.).
The only reason we are not going to the lake is because Jesus paid the full penalty of our sins. Let's live like we really appreciate the grace of God that keeps us out of the lake.
We should be so appreciative that we obey God's word and rejoice on the journey that He is working out for our good.
Conclusion: Let's make sure we are saved and living by the promises of God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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