BRAND NEW

Rev.21:5 – Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

The Word of God is quite amazing to me. No matter how much you study it you can never master it. Like God Himself, His Word is limitless. Today’s verse is a great example. In this one verse of scripture are two words that are absolute game changers. The first word is poeio translated as ‘make’. This word is where our word poetry comes from. This is describing the creative power of God. It is used as a continuous action verb describing the constant working of God. The second word is kainos which is our word for ‘new’. Kainos means new in species, better, renovated, or higher excellence. You take these words together and it says that the Lord is continually making our lives new and better by His creative power working in us. This is how Jonathan Edwards describes this verse.

“Hence this new state of things is called a new heaven and a new earth. Christ came to restore all things with respect to the elect that, whatever there is of the ruinous effects of the fall through the whole universe, all might be fully and perfectly healed in Christ; that old things might pass away and all things become new; that man himself might be a new creature, both in his soul by conversion and sanctification, and in his body by the resurrection, and the world as to him might become a new creation; and so not only himself created anew in Christ Jesus, but everything created anew as to him fully and perfectly. Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.” Hence the end of the world, when this shall be perfected, is called the “times of refreshing” and the “times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19–21).”

As John’s prophesy in the book of Revelations is coming to an end He is showing His work of renewal and redemption and how it is eradicating the results of the fall in His sons and daughters. No matter how difficult your life has been, no matter how far you have wandered from Him, His power of redemption and renewal is greater. He is continually making all things new in my life and in your life. His renewing love never ceases. Embrace His renewing power today.

THE PLACE WHERE THE SUN DOESN’T SHINE

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

This may come across as strange to you but one place the sun doesn’t shine is heaven. Now don’t take this the wrong way, heaven could never be a place of darkness. Actually it could be called the City of Light, the only place that never has shadows. No sun, no shadows, how is this even possible? The answer, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is that there is no need for a sun because Jesus Himself is the light of the city. After all, the natural sun is just a picture or image of the real light. The real light is Christ Himself, the light of the world. Heaven will not need a sun, or streetlights or lamps on the inside of any building. The light of heaven will penetrate every crack and crevice of every life. We will see the fulfillment of the last prophesy of the Old Testament, Mal.4:2 – “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall”. Here are some thoughts from R. C. Sproul on today’s verse.

“Revelation 21 and 22 describe the holy city coming down out of heaven. Strangely, it is described as a place where the sun does not shine. There are no candles nor moon nor artificial source of light. You would think that such a place would be bathed in perpetual darkness, but the author of Revelation tells us there is no need of sun or artificial light in heaven because the glory of God and the radiance of his Son bathe the holy city in light perpetually. The glow from the face of God—the manifestation of his glory—illuminates every inch of the kingdom of heaven. The light of the glory of God is never extinguished, which is why the apostle says “. . . to whom be glory forever.” The glory of God began in eternity and will continue for eternity. When we come into God’s presence to worship him, the only appropriate response is reverence, awe, humility, and submission. The contemporary church all too often displays a cavalier approach to worship. Many have no idea about the one they are dealing with, the one for whom the angels themselves have to cover their eyes when they sing of his glory.”

Heaven is going to be better than any of us could ever know. It is the City of Light. As we finish our journey on earth we must remember, this life is almost over; the real life is about to start.

ALL THINGS NEW

Rev. 21:5 ¶ Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

One of the most obvious changes in my life at my conversion was the music I listened to. I have always loved my music. Thankfully, I relocated to California at the time of my conversion and found myself in the middle of the Jesus movement. There was a whole culture being birthed and music was a huge part of it. I traded in the Beatles, Allman Brothers, and Dylan for Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, and the Second Chapter of Acts. I had entered into a new life and my life was filled with this new song. Jesus was making all things new. It wasn’t like there was a rule not to listen to secular music it was just that there was an emptiness in all of those secular songs that no longer had a part in my life. Jonathan Edwards was all about singing, this new song was a major part of his church.
“By this work of God in renewing the heart, the man that is the subject of it becomes a new creature or is a new man, as it is often said in Scripture. And therefore no wonder that his song is new: for we are told that “old things are passed away” and “all things become new with him”. The hearts of the redeemed are new. He has a new spirit put within him. Their natures are new. In some sense their bodies are new. They have new eyes. They are renewed in the whole man. They are said to be “a new lump,” having put away “the old leaven”. They are newborn babes. They have new garments, for their filthy garments are taken away and they are clothed with change of raiment. And they have a new name. “He that overcomesI will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it.” And “I will write upon him my new name.”
How do you learn this new song? You learn it from hearing the melody of heaven in the voice of Jesus Christ. His voice is sweet and His words are food for our souls. His words enter our hearts and actually become a song in our bellies. This song feeds us, sustains us, satisfies, and empowers us. We don’t just sing different kinds of songs, we become this song. Christ is the songwriter, musician, and singer and He lives inside of us.

ULTIMATE INTIMACY

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband.”  Revelation 21:9

For a bride and groom, the wedding day is everything. As the great day draws near, the rest of their life seems to be secondary, their new life is about to begin. The happy couple has great expectations, expectations of a new kind of life; the kind of life that they make movies about. They plan the wedding, the reception, and of course the honeymoon. The honeymoon will mark the beginning of this brand new kind of life.

Paul taught us that this marriage relationship was a picture, it is a picture of a much higher kind of relationship. It is a picture of God’s plan of intimacy between Christ and the church. Just as a young child has no concept of marital joy (are you kidding, what could bring more joy than ice cream); we have no way of imagining a greater joy than the one experienced by young lovers caught up in marital bliss. There is no way to understand the joys of the other world except from the foretaste we receive in the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jonathan Edwards wrote powerfully about spiritual joy that flows from intimacy with God. Check this out.

“Come hither; I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Then will come the time, when Christ will sweetly invite his spouse to enter in with him into the palace of his glory, which he had been preparing for her from the foundation of the world, and shall as it were take her by the hand, and lead her in with him: and this glorious bridegroom and bride shall with all their shining ornaments, ascend up together into the heaven of heaven; the whole multitude of glorious angels waiting upon them: and this Son and daughter of God shall, in their united glory and joy, present themselves together before the Father; when Christ shall say, “Here am I, and the children which thou has given me”: and they both shall in that relation and union, together receive the Father’s blessing; and shall thenceforward rejoice together, in consummate, uninterrupted, immutable, and everlasting glory, in the love and embraces of each other, and joint enjoyment of the love of the Father.”

Yep, there is a joy greater than ice cream. There is also a greater love than the love between two lovers. Taste and see for yourselves. This joy is reserved for the thirsty.

SHADOWLAND

PASSING THROUGH THE SHADOWLAND

Rev. 21:21 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.

John had a really hard job, he was charged with describing the indescribable. Like the Hebrew prophets that went before him, John was caught up into spiritual ecstasies and saw things that defied human comprehension. He saw animals with human faces, thrones made out of jewels, gates that were made out of pearl, and even streets of some kind of gold that was transparent. At the end of the day that’s what preaching is. We are painting pictures of the unseen world with our words. C. S. Lewis was one of these artists; he loved to use fiction to make real things more understandable (if that makes any sense). Here is a portion of Lewis’s book The Great Divorce that takes a stab at describing the place called heaven.

“Then some re-adjustment of the mind or some focussing of my eyes took place, and I saw the whole phenomenon the other way round. The men were as they always had been; as all the men I had known had been perhaps. It was the light, the grass, the trees that were different; made of some different substance, so much solider than things in our country that men were ghosts by comparison. Moved by a sudden thought, I bent down and tried to pluck a daisy which was growing at my feet. The stalk wouldn’t break. I tried to twist it, but it wouldn’t twist. I tugged till the sweat stood out on my forehead and I had lost most of the skin off my hands. The little flower was hard, not like wood or even like iron, but like diamond. There was a leaf-a young tender beech-leaf, lying in the grass beside it. I tried to pick the leaf up: my heart almost cracked with the effort, and I believe I did just raise it. But I had to let it go at once; it was heavier than a sack of coal. As I stood recovering my breath with great gasps and looking down at the daisy, I noticed that I could see the grass not only between my feet but through them. I also was a phantom. Who will give me words to express the terror of that discovery? “Golly!” thought I. “I’m in for it this time.”

Lewis loved to use make believe to describe the other world. In Narnia, the unexpected trip was through the back of a wardrobe. In The Great Divorce, the journey started in a train station. When he found himself unexpectedly in heaven, he was shocked at the weightiness of everything in heaven. Everything there had a weight of glory about it. In comparison Lewis seemed like a phantom. I guess that is one way to look at it, this world is just a shadowland pointing us to the indescribable place called heaven.

ALL THINGS NEW

ALL THINGS NEW

Rev. 21:5 ¶ And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

I will never forget certain scenes from the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, Gethsemane, the whipping post, and the crucifixion scenes remain seared in my mind. Of all the images, one stands out above all others, it was when Christ had fallen as He carried His cross through the streets of old Jerusalem. As He gathered His strength, His eyes met the eyes of His mother Mary. In that moment, a million unspoken words were exchanged between them. In the movie, Jesus spoke the words which come from the book of Revelation, “Mother, I am making all things new”. Those words always haunt me, Jesus is always there speaking into my life, “Frank, I am making all things new”. Those of us who have experienced conversion know that that is not the end of the Lord’s work in our hearts, it is just the beginning. He is always making all things new in our hearts through the washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Paul spoke of this renewal in Romans 12 as well as in Titus 3. The word Paul used was the word only found in the New Testament, never in secular literature. It is a Bible word describing the spiritual change happening in our heart. Dick Mills said “the word suggests a renovation, restoration, transformation, and a change of heart and life. In Rom.12:2 it indicates a complete change for the better, an adjustment of one’s moral and spiritual vision. In Titus it stresses the work of the Holy Spirit in transforming the life”.
What a beautiful description of the continued work of renewal of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Many times, in renewal services, individuals will be overcome by the Spirit and end up on the floor, caught up in His amazing love. At this point, people will lay in His presence, resting and receiving from His Spirit. For Christians experiencing renewal, this is a precious time. It is a time of healing, correcting, redirecting, and empowering, the Lord is making all things new during those intimate times. For those who have never experienced this profound touch of the Spirit, this can be quite intimidating. Many are afraid to let the Lord get that close and others fear anything supernatural, afraid of the power of the enemy. Those who have not encountered the Lord in this way, many times will criticize this outpouring of the Spirit. That is nothing new, people have accused Spirit baptized believers of everything from drunkenness to emotionalism since the day of Pentecost. For those who have experienced this, it is precious, for those who have not experienced this renewal of the Spirit, it can become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
All I know is I love the touch of God. Every time His presence moves upon my life I am reminded of His words to me, “Frank, I am making all things new”.