May 22, 2011 Sunday School Lesson
Revelation 21:1-8, 22-27
Christians know this world grows less attractive by the day. The world’s beauty gradually fades physically and spiritually the longer we walk with the Savior.
The Apostle John tells us that he saw “a new heaven and earth” because the first heaven and the first earth “were passed away.”
Recently, tornadoes swept through our area and other parts of the South, resulting in death and destruction. Now, we are watching as many of our fellow Americans suffer devastating floods along the Mississippi River.
Eternity for believers will mean that we will never be troubled by devastation caused by the atmosphere or the earth itself. We will have no need for weather forecasters or an emergency broadcast system.
John said he saw the New Jerusalem, which might be seen as God’s capital city. Of course, God will be everywhere, but His presence in the new heaven and earth will be symbolized by the New Jerusalem. It even seems likely that Christ Jesus will rule from New Jerusalem.
A voice from heaven, John tells us, will announce that the presence of the tabernacle of God is with mankind. In the Old Testament, the tabernacle was the center of worship because it was a place God gave those people to show He was present with them. The tabernacle in Revelation 21 is far better than a place because this is the Person and presence of Almighty God with believers forever.
In that day, there will be an evident perfection of believers. Now, people experience all kinds of suffering, but one day God will wipe away our tears. Death will no longer be in existence. There will be no grieving, no crying and no more pain.
Our heavenly Father, who is sovereign over all the universe, will speak, “Behold, I make all things new.” He will also declare that His words are “true and faithful.” Every word that God speaks, He is able to accomplish. The way to look at this is to see it as so sure that it is already accomplished.
John saw two groups of people. One group is made up of the people who have been loyal to Christ Jesus. The other group of people are those who have rejected Jesus as Lord and Savior. Some people love living in the world and against the Savior, and it is this latter group that John saw burning in a lake of fire and brimstone.
As we look at the first group of people, those who have been loyal to Jesus, we will find they come from everywhere on earth. Time and geography have separated believers in the world, but one day we will walk together in the light of God’s glory.
The apostle wrote that the city’s gates will never close, and I take this to mean it will be a place of absolute comfort and security.
Nothing will ever enter the city’s gates that will bring defilement to the inhabitants of the new heaven and earth.
Who will inhabit this place that John wrote about? Only the people whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will live in the glorious presence of God. Is your name in that book?
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton. email@example.com