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Come, Lord Jesus...Revelation 22:20-21

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“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen.   Come, Lord Jesus!”      Mark Twain wrote, “Men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread…age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief…Death comes at last…and they vanish from a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.”      This hopeless perspective is overturned by the book of Revelation.   This letter to the churches of yesterday and today reveals a God who has shaped history according to His good purposes.   He has sent His Son to redeem and restore sinful people, and one day Jesus will come again to banish sin and death and inaugurate a new heavens and new earth.      As we read, “These words are trustworthy and true.”   Because of the testimony we have been given by Jesus through John, we need not wander through this world with the hopelessness of Mark Twain and many other people.   In the words of

A Warning...Revelation 22:18-19

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“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy,   God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city,   which are described in this book.”      What is the purpose of a recipe?   You want the right ingredients in whatever you are cooking or baking, and you want the right amount of each ingredient.   If you have too much of this or too little of that, you will ruin the food envisioned by the person who wrote the recipe.      As John nears the end of Revelation, he offers a strong warning to his readers: Don’t add to these words, and don’t take away from these words.   Why?   They are not merely the words of a man, but they are the words of God.   Revelation is a revelation from God.   He has inspired the words written in this prophecy.   His words are perfect, and you sin against Him when you add to th

Come...Revelation 22:17

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“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’   And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come;   let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”      One year our family joined me in Atlanta for a meeting, and on a free evening, I took my son Andrew to an Atlanta Braves’ baseball game.   As we approached the ticket booth, I heard a voice behind me say, “Are you here with your son?”   I hesitated and planned to ignore the voice because I assumed the man was a ticket scalper.   Then I realized I was in a place where scalpers weren’t allowed.   “Yes,” I said.   “Here,” he said — and handed me two tickets for seats about ten rows behind the third base dugout.   They were far more expensive than I would have purchased.   All I could do was stammer, “Thank you.”      I did nothing to earn or deserve this invitation.   In the same way, sinners never deserve or earn God’s invitation to salvation.   But He invites us anyway.   John now repeats the invitation

The Morning Star...Revelation 22:16

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“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”      My regular exercise occurs in the early morning, and for much of the year, most or all of this exercise occurs in the dark.   As I loop around toward the east, I always look for even a hint of the dawn.   Even if my journey will be finished before it is light, it is comforting to observe the start of the light of a new day.      Jesus now offers beautiful words of assurance to the readers of Revelation.   They now suffer for their faith, and surely they wonder if the struggle will ever end.   Individually and collectively, they long for the new day described in the last portion of John’s letter.        Jesus begins by reminding the readers that He is the fulfillment of the promises to David.   The reference to David has already occurred in the worship scene of Revelation 5, and now Jesus simply states the reality.   God’s promise

Robes...Revelation 22:14-15

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“Blessed are those who wash their robes,   so that they may have the right to the tree of life   and that they may enter the city by the gates.”      “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.”   You see those signs occasionally, especially on the doors of restaurants.   One presumes this admonition reflects local ordinances about food and hygiene.   While you may believe the law or the owner are being overly picky, they are trying to preserve the cleanliness of the establishment.      John now offers this declaration — from him, the angel, or Jesus: Blessed are those who wash their robes…   We saw this image in Revelation 7, where the ones coming out of the great tribulation “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”   Now this proclamation distinguishes between those who will enter the holy city and those who will not.   Only those with clean robes will have the right to the tree of life and enter the city by the gates.      It is worth emphasizing the basis of th

Still...Revelation 22:10-13

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“Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy,   and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”      “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”   Do you believe this?   Perhaps I have become too cynical, but I believe this statement is largely true.   We form our habits, and our habits form us.   By the time we reach middle age and beyond — and often before then — we are set in certain ways.   This includes everything from the toothpaste we use in our bathrooms to the tone we use with our spouses.   Stated another way: The older you get, the less likely I am to believe I will ever see substantial change in you.      This may be the point of the declaration in these verses.   The angel tells John not to “seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”   In other words, do not keep this revelation to yourself!   Then the angel declares, Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right,

Worship God...Revelation 22:8-9

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“I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,   but he said to me, ‘You must not do that!   I am a fellow servant   with you and your brothers the prophets,   and with those who keep the words of this book.   Worship God.”      How do you know your car is out of alignment?   If you are driving down a straight stretch of road and take your hands off the steering wheel, the car will push in one direction or the other.   Sometimes the misalignment is so serious that you can feel the car fighting against you as you hold the wheel and try to keep its path straight.   In either case, you have tons of force pressing against your efforts to keep the car where it should be.      The human heart is out of alignment.   This is central to the story of the Bible, and this reality invades John’s beautiful description of the new heavens and new earth.   For the second time in this book, John attempts to worship an angel.   Is he confused?   Is he stubborn?   Just as with the