These things have happened. We can believe everything else that he said is going to happen. We're going to go home to the Father.
-An Easter reflection by Fr. Randy Messick
21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’ 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?’ 23 Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.
Love and Father God, Jesus Christ, peace and forgiveness, Holy Spirit, main two commandments, greatest commandment, forgiveness as an act of the will, nature of this world, God has overcome the world, love and obedience, do not let your heart be troubled, Corrie Ten Boom and forgiveness
Last time I spoke a couple of weeks ago, I kind of wrapped it up by mentioning that in obeying Jesus, that that's kind of how we show him that we love him. That's how important it is to obey Him, because that is how we show him that we love him. And in verse 21, of the gospel this morning, that's what what Jesus tells us. He says, They who have my commandments, and keep them are those who love me. And those who love Me will be loved by the Father.
So we can ask ourselves right off the bat, okay, well, what are your commandments, because I want to keep them so because I love you. And I think that's a good place to start with that are the two commandments, the main two commandments that we read every Sunday when we come to church, and that are that you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. So if I love Jesus, I'm going to obey that.
And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. That one's not as easy, but it's right up there. Number two, so. So if I'm going to love Jesus, I need to obey the commandment. So if we think, Okay, well, the same thing applies to Father God, if I love Father, God, I'm going to obey Father God. And Jesus helps us keeps keeps that real simple for us. When in John six, he teaches us that, okay, this is the work of God, that you believe in the one whom he has sent. Okay, so that'd be Jesus. So, if I'm going to love Father God, I'm going to believe in the one whom he sent Jesus, and I'm not going to believe in Him, I'm going to believe him. Because that's what's that's out of that is how I'm going to obey the commandments that Jesus goes on to give us throughout his ministry. So he says, and those who love Me will be loved by my Father. So the Father gives us to Jesus, by His grace and His goodwill.
He loves us and He makes His love known to us. That's the start of how we love is that God loves us first, and gives us this gift of grace that we can know and love him. So to believe in Jesus is to listen to him, to trust in Him to do what he says.
Now our nature, our fallen nature, the nature of this world, does not particularly want to do that.
Does not want to listen to him.
Does not want to believe him.
Does not want to believe in Him.
And Jesus knows that and he points that out in Matthew, He says, you know, you need to enter through the narrow gate that I'm teaching you For the gate is wide and the road is easy. The leads to destruction. And there are many who take it. That's because that's our nature. That's my fallen nature that comes to me naturally. Going through the wide gate, I do my thing. I do my will. It's just like falling off a log. I'm born with it. I just how I go about my day, that wide gate. Whatever I want to do, that's what I do.
But he says, no, no, no, no, because that leads to destruction. So for the gate that is narrow. And the road is hard, that leads to life. And few find it. The narrow gate, faith in Jesus. Few find it. The road is hard. Why is it hard? It's hard because it's contrary to my fallen nature. I have to die to self. I have to pick up my cross. That painful death of dying to self. Right? That's difficult. He says, at one point he says, you know not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. And what is the will of the Father in heaven? It is to believe in Jesus, the one whom He has sent. And in believing in Jesus, we believe him and then we obey him. And then He reveals himself to us. So he says to the group gathered there, he says, Those who love Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them. And that is what Judas not Iscariot or St. Jude, as he's called, in Scripture responds to when he asks him the question that starts us off on this morning's verse 23 says, I will love them and reveal myself to them. He's going to reveal who he is to those who love him. Who he is,not what we think he is, not what we think he should be. But who he is. He's going to reveal that to us.
And Judas not Iscariot said to him, Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world? And I think maybe probably what he's thinking there is, aren't you going to be a king? You know, with the kingdom here on earth, how are we going to know that you're the king and we're gonna reveal that to us, but you're not gonna but the world's not gonna know? And Jesus answered them, those who love me keep my word and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with him. It's a different type of Kingdom. It's not a throne here on Earth, and I'm gonna mount and all, you know. It's the throne that is going to happen in each of our hearts. That's where he sets up his throne. That's where he becomes the king, he becomes the king of me, who I am to obey and follow. And indeed, if we love Him, we will obey Him. We will surrender our will to his.
So in some ways, love is the root, right? And obedience is the fruit. Some other smart guy said that. I didn't come up with that. Love is the root and obedience is the fruit. But you know, also sometimes obedience is the root. And love is the fruit. And let me use an example there of what I mean by that.
You guys ever heard of Corrie Ten Boom? Yeah, she was a gal from Holland, her and her sister, they hid Jews during World War II from the Nazis. The Nazis found out about it and took Corrie and her sister Betsy to a concentration camp where Betsy was eventually died. Corrie got out just by a miraculous mistake in some paperwork. And her sister was all about forgiveness, right? And so when, when the war was over, Corrie thought, you know, I gotta be about forgiveness, too. And I gotta go preach forgiveness and how important it is.
And so she goes to Germany, and she begins to do these rounds of talks to people and where she tries to convince them that you know, If we confess our sins, God will will cast them into the deepest ocean. So they'll be gone forever, you'll be forgiven. And most of the people were staring at her, you know, huh? And she was done. It was all silent. Everybody got up and just walked out of the room during this one talk she gave. But that's when she saw him, she says, and I'm just gonna read her own words here.
"He was working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat, the next a blue uniform and a visor cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush, the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, that pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor. A shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsy, how thin you were. Now he was in front of me, his hand thrust out, 'A fine message, Fraulein. How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea.' And I who had spoken (this is her talking about herself), and I had spoken so glibly of forgiveness fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take the hand. He would not remember me, of course, how can you remember one prisoner among those 1000s of women, but I remembered him and the leather crops swinging from his belt.
"I was face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze. 'You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,' he was saying, 'I was a guard there.' No, he did not remember me. 'But since that time,' he went on, 'I become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there. But I would like to hear it from your lips as well, Fraulein.' Again, the hand came out. 'Will you forgive me?' And I stood there, I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven and could not forgive. Betsy had died in that place. Could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking? It could not have been many seconds. men their trespasses. Jesus says neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses, forgive your trespasses. I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were also able to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives. No matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids, it was as simple. It was as simple and as terrible as that. And still, I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart.
"But forgiveness is not an emotion, I knew that forgiveness is an act of will. And the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. 'Help,' I prayed silently. I can lift my hand I can do that much. You supply the feeling. And so woodenly mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one out stretch to me. And as I did and incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder race down my arm sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. I forgive you, brother, I cried with all my heart. For a long moment, we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then."
So obedience, love of Christ, and obedience to Him is for our good. You know, we struggle with it sometimes because we think, no, this can't be right what he's telling me to do. I kind of have to override him here. He doesn't fully understand that situation. So we think, "Well, this time I'm going to consider his commandment as a suggestion."
Then the next time something comes up, and we go, "Well, that's just too difficult. Therefore, no, it's just too difficult. You're asking me to do something that's impossible to do." Well, we're to do it. Because why? He's our king. He told us to do it. It's a commandment. It's not a suggestion. And that's what it means to be a Christian.
Say, how will he come to me? How will he come and make his home with me, he and the Father? Well, we know it by the Spirit that Christ abides in us. In First John says, "The one who keeps God's commands lives in him and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us. We know it by the Spirit that He gives us.
It's the work of the Holy Spirit. That's why he sent the Holy Spirit. To convert us and consecrate our hearts. And he comes to us personally, to each of us in a distinguishing way. He comes to us to do that, to set up his throne in our hearts. He goes on to, "Okay, so let me put it another way." He who does not love me does not keep my words. What are his words, all that stuff in Scripture that he that is written there, that's his word. Okay? And the word that you hear is not mine, but it's from the Father who sent me. So I guess I just have to look at it this way, you know, no matter what I may think, or say or pretend. I can't love Jesus if I don't believe what he says is true--and seek to obey Him.
I've shared my story about saying words you're not supposed to say before. Now, I found out the hard way. Oh, no, he really means it. It is for my good. He wants me to be free in his love. He wants me to be able to share that freedom and that love with others. I can't do it if I continue to do things my way, and I don't obey Him. And He says, you know, these words are from the Father who sent Me. The Father gives us Jesus and Jesus turns us back to the Father. Jesus reveals the Father. The Father sent me to teach you these truths. These are truth. It's the Father's word. It's the Father's will. So I don't know what he's thinking, you know, I don't know. Are you worried whether or not you can trust what I'm saying? Let me say to you, it's comes from God, the Father, what I'm saying. And I in my obedience to the Father, am sharing the truth. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. He says "these things." I love that. "I've said these things." These things. The truth of all reality. The truth of salvation in Christ, these things. Yeah, it's mind blowing these things that he told us. That he came, and was sent by the Father to tell us. He says I've said these things while I'm still with you. But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.
Thank goodness, I am not leaving you as orphans. Okay. I was thinking as I was reading, like somebody came in and said, ok, Randy, I want you to fly this airplane from Bakersfield to Las Vegas. And here's how you do it. Can you get in there? Push this button over here is, you rev the RPMs to a certain speed here, you're gonna get your paddles and your hands going like this. And you're gonna watch this skill and make sure that thing goes up over here. Make sure your temperature gauge over here, you're gonna watch that cuz like, gets things going on here. blabbity blabbity blah, and this goes on for you know, 30 minutes.
Then he goes, "Okay. See ya."
"The only way you're gonna...?"
"Yeah, things are gonna work out."
Yeah, I can't do it. Could you write it down? Like I could at least refer to it from time to time? Can we make this a process? Like, we slowly learned to learn how to do this? And could I ask you questions once in a while if I don't quite understand things? Yes. That's what the Holy Spirit did a) when he wrote it down for us in Scripture. Thanks be to God. I don't have to remember it. I just have to remember where it is. And go read it. And, you know, so and then he explains it to me as I go.
I read it. What does that mean? The Holy Spirit comes along and He guides me in the truth. "I have said these things to you while I'm still with you but the advocate the Holy Spirit, whom the Lord will send in my name will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have sent to you." Everything we need to know is taught to us by Jesus. Everything that we need to know, we will learn everything we need to know for ourselves, everything we need to know to try to help other people teach other people is given to us. For us to know it. Because that's the key, right? I need to know it.
Now he could give me that book on how to fly the airplane. And I could decide not to read it, and hop in that plane. I gotta know, I got to learn what it is. All I have said to you. And he will be there to remind us. It's just our conditioning. You know, we forget. Each day his mercies are new. Am I right? Yeah, it's yeah, I need to get up and go, Oh, what is his mercy? What am I to do? And that's how we live our lives. One day at a time, serving God, trying to know God. It's not something that we're going to be able to, you know, don't worry about getting overwhelmed with what all this says we're just one day at a time. He's gonna guide us in the truth. We just have to keep suiting up and showing up kind of like Corrie Ten Boom, did. She stood up, she showed up to proclaim the gospel of Christ's forgiveness. She didn't think in advance what if some guy comes--no, it just happened. And in that moment, the Holy Spirit was there to remind her, this is what you do, you reach your hand out.
Start there. Okay. Just start there. I'll make sure it works. Then, as he then he's preparing to leave. Of course, I think I've talked about this recently, too. He lets them know, you know, this is the gift I'm leaving, my peace I leave with you. The Holy Spirit, the Word of God in Scripture, that's his piece. That's where I can go to know when I become discomforted or uncomfortable or worried I can go to his word. That's his peace. My Peace I leave with you My peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Let me remind you that my kingdom is not of this world. My kingdom is in your heart.
See in this world, how do I get my peace? I think I get my peace. It's a mistake. And it feels right. But it doesn't work, is I think I get my peace from getting my way. Right? I'm all in a snafu about something that's going on at work. And I have to get my way and I'm, you know, upset. And so sometimes I'm nice. Sometimes. I mean, I'm just working it. I wake up in the middle of the night, I know what I'll do, I'll say this, then they'll say that, then this will happen. That'll happen, then I'll have peace. That's gotta happen in order for me to have peace. Because we'll be you know, the old thing I always talk about to you know, if I just buy this one thing, then I'll have peace. Then I'll be happy. Well, what happens is that I love that thing. And the best two days of boat ownership: the day you buy it, and the day you sell it. I love it, though. Well, that's true. There are Earth, it's temporary. This peace we try to give ourselves is fleeting and temporary, then it goes away. And we have to keep searching for it over and over and over again. It's not till we find our rest in God, that we find the peace that passes all understanding. And that's the peace that Jesus is giving us. Because it's not about that it's not about getting your way. It's about being made free in the truth of Christ's love. And that doesn't have to do with me getting my way in the world back me getting where the world gets in my way of Christ's love for me and for others.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid. I love that line. There's a commandment I like. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.
Don't be afraid of anything in the past. Anything that's presently going on. Anything in the future that you're worried about. Don't be afraid. I have overcome the world. If you put all your faith and trust in me, love me, obey me, I have overcome the world. That's the answer you need, not to try to suit the world to fit the world to suit yourself. But to realize that I, this world is messed up, but I have overcome the world. It's in me that you will find your peace.
I love what Paul says, this is a great suggestion for us all. He says, "Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, keep your minds on the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the father." See what if I'm laying there in bed one night, and these troubled problems pop into my head. And I'm trying to figure out how to solve them and how to get my way. Yada, yada, yada. And then this word comes to me, I go wait a minute. I'm supposed to have my mind raised to Christ, raised above where Christ is. Supposed to keep my mind on those things, you know what happens? I fall asleep. I go back to sleep. Because Oh, yeah, that's right. Christ is my king, my Savior, he's overcome the world. I do not have to let my heart be troubled by anything. Plus to this business of trying to find our peace by managing things here in this world is just about this world. We know this is going to end. But God's peace goes on and on and on forever. Because why? Because we go to be with Him forever. I'm going away says and I'm coming to you. I'm gonna leave I'm gonna come to you, just remember that. I'm not leaving you. I'm gonna send you the Holy Spirit. But I'm not leaving. Of course He comes to them right after the after the resurrection. He appears to them right? Then he leaves again. It is the ascension, goes up to heaven, says, don't worry, I will come back. I'll be with you to the end of the age. And then he's going to come back.
Well we have the same peace in us. You know, we say to each other, like on that last day. We're going to take our last breath here on mortal Earth. I'm going away. But I'm coming to you. That's the truth. Going to sing that song today about going home, see my mother. That is good, too. So the gospel. Christ is overcome the grave. In Him, we overcome the grave. There is our peace that passes all understanding. If all I have is this world, I'm in trouble. And I'm going to be fretful and fitful. But that's not I have a place in heaven, prepared by Jesus, for me to go to. He says, "Look, if you love me, you will rejoice that I'm going to the Father because the Father is greater than I." It's sort of like the call, like I think we read to the Father is great. Because you get to understand, so I'm here with you and with, you know, it's great. But you're still going to have trouble. But take heart, I've overcome the world but, but I'm going to the Father, which is greater than this thing that's happening here. There is no sin. There is no conflict. There is only love in the presence of God the Father. That's where I'm going and rejoice. Because I'm bringing you there with me. You should rejoice that I'm going to the Father. He says in another spot, you know, I gotta go to the Father so I can have the Holy Spirit sent to you, to be with you.
So all this, he told them before it occurred so that when it does occur, you may believe. Well, all those things happened. He resurrected, He came to them. He ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to them and to us. These things have happened. We can believe everything else that he said is going to happen. We're going to go home to the Father. We're going to see all our beloved there who died in Christ. No more tears. And it's all in the counsel of God. It's all done. I told you this so you may believe. There's no change of plans. This is the plan, this is what's going to happen.
Just believe that. Okay, sink all your trust and faith in me. Do the work that the Father has given you to do. Believe in me and obey. And you will find peace and happiness. Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank You again for the gift of your word, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, you've had your words set down for us, that we can always return to and look at and grow in and listen to. We pray, Father, God, that you would your Holy Spirit would continue to open our hearts and our minds to it and guide us to it so that we would desire to know and that we would want to know what he what your word is teaching us. And then of course, we pray we would you would, through your power of your Spirit, help us as we put it into action in our lives, and put it into action as we try to show others the glory of Your love and salvation. So Father, thank you again for this morning we can come together to worship you and to listen to your word, and help us Father God as we go out from here to put it to work in our lives. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
We are on our way to the Resurrection. The Last Day will be The First Day. -An Easter Reflection on Revelation 21 by Fr. Jack Estes
Then 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. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’ 5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ 6 Then 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 water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
KEY TOPICS Jesus' death and resurrection, Jesus' return in glory, the book of Revelation, the living God, judgment of the world, hope of the world, the new creation, the last days, a new heaven, Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end, the new life is perfect
Lord, we pray that you would seal your word, your holy word, your gospel, upon our thoughts upon our minds, upon our lips and things that we say, and upon our hearts as we meditate upon You. Lord, open Your Word to our hearts today, and open our hearts to your word, and your holy name. Amen.
Please be seated. Good morning, good morning. Once again, welcome. Good to see everybody. Quite taken by the Scripture and the book of revelation this morning, where Jesus says, it is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty, I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Lord, we come today we are thirsty for that water. quench our thirst this morning we pray. Amen.
We are living in the season living through the season of Easter, here in the church, on the church calendar, these 50 days which are taking us onward, through the Feast of the ascension in a couple of weeks, and on to Pentecost and the outpouring of the Spirit. And as I was reflecting recently, we're also living in a manner of speaking historically, in the season of Easter, we're living in the time the post resurrection time, the time after Jesus burst forth and was raised from the dead. In many ways, this is true. On that first Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead. And that changed everything. The resurrection altered, everything. History was changed, our humanity was changed. Even the very Cosmos the very nature of the universe, was fundamentally altered. When Jesus came forth out of the tomb. He is the beginning of a new creation; the new creation has begun. He is the first born of that new creation. And at the same time, he is the completion of the old.
As we read in the book of revelation this morning, as I just quoted, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning, and the end, he is the beginning of the new creation, He is the beginning literally. Physically, this is a new atom, he is the new atom that has come forth, fundamentally changed, altered with a with no longer subject to sin, the anguish of sin or the death, the consequences of sin. He is the beginning, a new creation, new humanity of a different order, a different quality, it's from quality of life has come for he is the beginning he is also the end, the completion of God's plan of salvation, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, the conclusion of the matter. In the resurrection of Jesus, the judgment of the world is finished. He took the judgment of the world upon himself the judgment of sin, the judgment of rebellion against God. He took it he fulfilled the law. He fulfilled the prophets. He went to the cross and He took all of that absorbed it and triumph over it. As he comes forth. The beginning is the beginning is also the end.
On the first Easter Sunday Jesus rose from the dead the first born of the new creation. And at that moment, we entered the eschaton. The in times the last days. The Last Days have begun. I think Father Randy commented on this recently in one of his sermons. The last the End Times began when Jesus rose from the dead. The new creation began when he walked out of the tomb. But the old is still hanging around a little bit, trying to draw us aside trying to draw us back in the resurrection means a new beginning has come, new life, fresh hope for the world. But inherently it also means the old order of things is coming to a conclusion. This world must come to an end. This old, broken, wounded, decrepit world must end so that the new world the new life is perfect, and full of God's life can come into being, this world must come to an end to give place for the new. These bodies that we have is these are caught in struggle with a sinful nature, they must come to a conclusion so that we can enter into the resurrection, our resurrected life is no longer afflicted, no longer in angst and anguish. That's part of our journey here to this world, isn't it that this world must come to an end. Now these bodies must change the world systems and those forces that stand in opposition to God, they must come to an end. So that the kingdom of God, His righteousness, his peace, his joy, his truth will be established. Jesus is embodies the beginning. And he effects the end.
We are living in the last days, I don't know you might say, well, the last days have been going on for a little while now. Father died? No, it's been like 2000 years, the last days are going on? How many of them were last days, or we're gonna have? Well, I'm not too sure. No one knows Correct? Only the Father. But there is a scripture that says 10,000 years are but as a day unto the Lord. And a day is 10,000 years. So in the fullness of time, we will come to the end. So from the Day of Resurrection until now, the new creation and the old are running together, side by side, side by side down through history, the kingdom has come. But it has not yet come to complete fruition has not come to completion. The old is done away is is undone. But it hasn't vanished off of the screen yet. The two are running side by side, in the person of Jesus, they are perfectly balanced. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first born of the new creation, and the completion of God's plan of salvation. We are living in the time of the already but not yet. Amen. It's already present. We're already invited to live into it. We get to choose day by day; I would say even moment by moment. are we choosing to live into the new creation? Or are we choosing to live in the old world which is vanishing away.
So, we also see this in our scripture readings. Throughout the season of Easter, you might have noticed that this dichotomy between the beginning and the end in the beginning, as we are reading through the Gospels and acts on Sunday morning, we are living into and hearing of the beginning. Alongside that writing right alongside as the old and the new run together, we're reading Revelation, the book of revelation given to the apostle John the vision given to the Apostle John. Apocalipsis, which means Revelation in the Greek to show those things which we'll come to past. At the end of the last days when the last days finally come to the conclusion. And we come to the last day. So in this season of Easter and in historically as we're living in the post resurrection time, we're living in this dichotomy between the the oldest is ending and the new which is coming into being you. And Revelation then describes that the sequence of events that will take place at the end.
Have you guys noticed that we've been reading Revelation, along with the gospel of resurrection, gospel, road, resurrection, Revelation, all things that are coming to you in Jesus's birth for throwing the team, the firstborn, Jesus is coming to conclude the whole matter, there is running side by side. As they run side by side in our lives, because we're living in this time, as part of who God has called us to be, as his church to live in the last days, so revelation then describes the events, the tribulation that's going to take place, just prior to the return of Jesus. And that will be the last day. Amen. The last day, when we look up, Jesus, the heavens are open, Jesus appears in glory. We're surrounded by clouds of His saints flying coming together, coming to establish the kingdom forever and ever to complete the process, the conclusion of the matter.
So Revelation then describes these events that are a sequence that will come upon the earth at the end, wars, nations striving against nations, plagues, famine, lawlessness, the rejection of God, Christ, false religions, false prophets rising up to draw many astray. Earthquakes, storms, hail from heaven. Oh, I'm sorry, I picked up the newspaper by mistake here. I thought I thought I was picking up revelation.
It sounds like the newspaper, doesn't it? signs in the heavens, you know tonight. For those of you who like to watch the sky, events in the sky, there's a full Eclipse a total eclipse of the moon. Are you guys tuned into that? Now, this moon is a very special moon. This is the full flower moon of May. And it happens to be a super moon. Super Moon is when the moon is in its closest orbit to the earth. And so then the size that we can see of the moon is magnified even greater. This will be a total eclipse of the moon. And when the eclipse is at full apex. Is that the right word? Somebody help me. Yeah. When it's fully eclipsed, the moon will turn blood red. This is known as the Blood Moon. And there are certain prophecies about the blood. Now I'm not making predictions here this morning. I've just saw one wars. Yes. Okay, let's check wars. Oh, yeah. We’ve got them! Famine. The famines, yes. Blood Moons. Yeah. Okay, signs and the stars in the heavens.
So, we're reading the newspaper and we're reading Revelation or thinking, Well, we are living in the last days, perhaps. And we can look to the sky to see if Jesus is about to appear. And there's a fresh fascination with this book of Revelation in these days. The book of Revelation is the number one searched topic on our website--the number one, the most people that are coming, that are out there searching that are clicking in and getting directed to our website. The number one topic they're searching for is the book of Revelation. Because they're reading the newspaper, and they're thinking, Wait a second, what's go I need to go to God's word and find out what's happening here. There's a certain fascination I think, a certain fear of these events coming upon us. But my friends, we do not need to be afraid. God has not called us to live in fear. He has called us to live in confidence in peace and joy. He has all things in his heels, all things in his hands. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. But this fascination is there, and people are thinking, when will the end come? Are we getting close? Does the news match the prophecy? Well, perhaps, but as I said before, no one can say. Only the Father. But Jesus did say, Be watchful, when you see these things taking place. And he likens it to the birth pangs that would come upon a woman in travail when she's giving birth and birth pairings. Ladies, you could probably explain this better one of you can come up explain this for me. Fr. Jack, let me tell you what happens. As is my understanding, you get the contractions and then then there's some time goes by and then another and and as it goes along those contracts is getting closer and closer and more intense. Am I right? Until you have a new child, son or daughter. Now, was that so difficult? I mean, really? I'm in trouble, or did you have to help me out of here, I'm just, I don't know where I digress to. So Jesus likens this, this time, in the same manner that as we see these events taking place, that and they these things have happened down through history. And there's many times when people think this is the end, but they'll keep waxing stronger and closer together until we come to the conclusion. So we can't say exactly when that will take place. Even Jesus himself did not know only the Father, we can say with certainty, that it's getting closer. We can't say with certainty that the end will come. But we can say with equal certainty that the beginning has come. Amen. The big beginning will come the last day will actually be the first day.
We now have no need to have fear of the last day. Because it will be the first day. The first day that we read about in the book of revelation this morning. This morning. I want us to look past the end and see the beginning. In the season of Easter, we look back to see the beginning of the resurrection of Jesus that started the whole thing. But we also look forward to see what to see the resurrection of all. We look forward to see your resurrection, my resurrection, the resurrection of those who we love. Those who have seen no longer the resurrection. Think about this, how many billions and billions are going to be resurrected on the first day. The first day is coming I can say that with absolute certainty. We are on the way to the resurrection. We're ascending the holy mountain we are Ascension Anglican. We are climbing up we are on the way to the resurrection on the first day. Look past the end. Everyone's fascinated with the end. Everyone's afraid of what's going to happen and all these events that are going to take place. Yes, they will take place. But where are we destined?
We are not destined for the end, my friends, we are destined for the beginning.
Let me calm down. We are destined for that. We've already made the beginning. If you put your faith in Jesus, you are already in the resurrection, you're living in him. He's already resurrected. We're on the way to the resurrection, yours mine. This is our destiny. How should we describe this destiny? What awaits us on that first day? Just take a look at the reading from Revelation once again. I saw a new heaven and a new earth a new creation is coming forth. The first Earth and first heaven are passed away. The old is gone. And the sea is no more the sea is always a metaphor for chaos and rebellion against God. Or chaos ism or rebellion.
There's only the peace, the peace that passes understanding. And it's holy city, the New Jerusalem coming down from God, prepared as a bride for a husband, and a loud voice from the throne saying, see the home of God is with mortals. He will dwell with them. And they will be his people, and God himself will be with them. Now we know God is with us by the power of the Holy Spirit. But it's an invisible force. What is our destiny? What can we expect on that first day? Jesus Himself, standing here in our midst, we see we'll see Him face to face, God the Father present. The God of life, the god of holiness, the God of love. put his arm around you. He will be with them. And He will wipe every tear from their eyes, death will be no more, no more mourning, crying, pain. No more--for all that is part of the old that is gone.
The end we are destined for is the beginning. To live in the newness of life. "See, I am making all things new." I am making all things new.
All the things that were lost in this journey. All the times of angst and despair and disappointment and all the things that were unfinished that where we began but we just couldn't. The world, the flesh and the devil conspire to prevent us from completing what God wanted to do. All things will be made new. You will be made new I will be made new. This is what awaits us.
We are destined to stand in the presence of God.
We are destined to live in a new heaven and earth.
We are destined for eternal life.
We are destined to drink from the spring of the water of life, the crystal-clear river that flows from the throne of God and we are destined to know Jesus our Lord, see Him face to face and hear him say I am the Alpha, the beginning. I am the omega, the end. It is done. I am making all things new.
And we are destined to be together. We are destined to be together. On the first day, what joy will be, we won't be able to contain the joy. I mean the song, you know, "Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts." We are destined to be together with joy--to be once again with all the all those whom we love. That's where we're going. We're on the way to the resurrection. On the first day, that is our destiny.
We do not know for certain when the end will come when the last day will be here. The final conclusion. But we do know that the end has already started. And we see as we read the newspaper, we see the birth pangs coming forth in our time as they have been coming forth throughout this time of the last days. We do not know when the last day will be we can't be certain, but we do know for certain that the beginning has started and that Jesus is that beginning. Amen. Jesus is that beginning. The beginning of a new creation. And we do know for certain that he is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of the old, the beginning of the new creation. At the end of the old order of things, we are destined to live in this new creation, my friends. And we can choose to live in it day by day, moment by moment. The last day. We need not fear the last day. We may be fascinated along with the others, but we need have no fear, only confidence, because the last day will be the first day. This is the fresh hope and joy of the resurrection of Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega. Amen. In the name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I love the Book of Revelation. Truth be told, it's the first book that I ever read in the Bible!