Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Our Heavenly City"

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PRAYER POINTS
"Our Heavenly City" | Brian Chesemore  |  Revelation 21:9-27
These written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 21:9-11, 14, 21-23, 27

The believer’s heavenly home is an experience of God’s unsurpassing delight in his people, so let it capture us to the point of wonder, let us anticipate it to the point of longing.

PRAYER: Father, eternity will not be enough time for us to grasp the wonder of your love and your delight in your people – a love so great that you would sacrifice your own Son in order for us to know and experience it. Holy Spirit, so fill our hearts with the grandeur of this vision, that we will not only desire it, but long for it! And in so doing, may we increasingly loosen our grasp on that which is passing away.

“John is straining the limits of his hearers’ experience to try to communicate a beauty that lies beyond the capacity of the “first earth.” Light will pervade his description, as will the loveliness of jasper and other precious stones and the transparency of crystal.” – Dennis Johnson, The Triumph of the Lamb

This city, that helps us understand the Bride of Christ, has the light of the glory and presence of God. In other words, as Johnson goes on to say, “The Lord of glory indwells his people and floods his new community with the beauty of his holiness.” 

PRAYER: Lord, this world is filled with displays of glory, and beauty, and creativity, and wonder. Thank you that you have given us senses by which to enjoy them. May our appropriate thoughts of absolute wonder, always be followed with the anticipation of that which will one day gloriously and eternally exceed all of this!

“This city symbolizes the whole Israel of God, redeemed by the Lion/Lamb of Judah from every tribe and tongue and people and nation to become God’s kingdom of priests.” – Dennis Johnson

PRAYER: Lord God, thank you for your love and desire for the salvation of the world. Thank you for the assurance of salvation to all you have chosen and called. So move us with faith, compassion, and a desire for your glory that we are compelled to share the good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

In the new heavens, perfection and beauty will pervade our senses. The church of God, this bride and wife of the Lamb, he has made beautiful. The work of God in preparing a people is complete. And if you are in Christ, this is what heaven will attest to upon your arrival. In Christ you are perfect, mature, complete. In Christ, you are beautifully adorned without blemish.

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, it is wondrously incomprehensible and humbling reality to know that our welcome into the infinite glories of heaven is all because we are in Christ – redeemed by your sacrifice, cleansed by your blood, and clothed in your righteousness! Thank you!

Our 3rd and final observation: The city’s heavenly residents assure us of our eternal joy. (v. 22-27).

Stunning for John’s audience is this revelation: John “saw no temple in the city.” The temple exists, if you will, in our glorious God. We go to him. We dwell in him. The Father and the son, in their glorious habitation, fulfill what was previously symbolized. He dwells with us. No longer by faith, now fully by sight.

But our heavenly home, that exceeds all that our world has to offer, it never fades, never closes, never exhausts its residents, it only refreshes, only satisfies, only delights all who by grace enter. And it is a world of love and of glory because the Triune God of Love and Glory dwells there with his redeemed. Forever.

PRAYER:  Our Lord and our God, we fall to our knees in adoration and worship when pondering the awesome wonder of going one day...not to a place to worship...but face to face to a person ...the very God and creator of heaven and earth!

The believer’s heavenly home is an experience of God’s unsurpassing delight in his people, so let it capture us to the point of wonder, let us anticipate it to the point of longing.”

PRAYER: Our Father, our Savior, our Comforter, please continually flood our hearts and souls with loving anticipation of eternal glory with you. And in so doing draw us away from finding our hope in anyone or anything but you. May our longing for the glories of heaven bring increased faith, purity, holiness, and faithfulness to all that we do. And may the light of that joyful anticipation draw many to ask of the hope within us – giving us the opportunity to share about the joy that awaits all who trust in Christ!


OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
In Revelation 21, John describes a city in which God dwells: the Bride of Christ. Describing such a picture is no small task. John's description of the gates and foundations, named for the tribes of Israel and the apostles, reveals the beauty of God’s covenant love in his building of this city. The work on the city is shown to be fully complete through the perfection of its measurements. The eternal joy of the inhabitants of this city is seen in God being the temple and light of the city and the fact that nothing unclean and no one outside of the Lamb’s book of life will ever enter that city. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Throughout the Bible, including chapter 21 of Revelation, God gives specific measurements for his dwelling places. Why does God give so much attention to the measurements and details of his tabernacle and city?
  2. What reminders do we see in the city of God’s covenant love displayed throughout the Bible?
  3. Review Revelation 21:4, 22,25 and 27. How does knowing those things which will not be in this city inform your understanding of our eternal joy in this place?
  4. Review Revelation 21:9-27 and Revelation 17. What are some of the striking differences between the two pictures John speaks of?
  5. How can you use Revelation 21 in your evangelistic conversations this week?