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*Revelation 22.6-21*
Introduction – We all know what it is like to anticipate something.
We can hardly wait for our Caribbean cruise, summer break from school, new iPhone, or the visit with friends or family.
We recently anticipated having some friends visit from Alaska where they serve as missionaries.
I recall our three boys constantly peering out the window to see if their van was in our driveway yet.
And this was several days before we expected them!
In some of the things that we anticipate, it hinders us from doing things in the present – or at least affects our thoughts and attitudes.
Sometimes our lives revolve around our vacations or recreation and, as a result, we minimize the importance of other things.
We have been studying the Book of Revelation.
And we know that this book speaks primarily of things that are to take place in the future.
God, in his grace, has decided that he would let us peer into his plan for the end of history.
And we have seen that this largely consists of great judgment on those who do not call on Jesus for salvation – those who have chosen to serve and worship themselves.
But we have seen that God will be gracious even to those as he gradually intensifies the judgments and allows for repentance.
This will ultimately demonstrate the hard hearts of people as they shake their fist at God even as they are destroyed and leave him no choice.
The fact that God has revealed this to us shows us that he controls all of history.
He knows all things, has ordained (or planned) all things, and is all powerful – which means that he WILL bring it about as he has planned.
This is what we mean we say that he is sovereign.
It is pointless to try to oppose this plan.
Some find this disturbing.
I find this */tremendously /*comforting.
Because God is good.
God is good and he wants what is best for those who love him.
So I want to serve this God.
But people, along with Satan the Adversary, refuse to bow the knee to the only true God and will reap the consequences of their actions.
I pray that this does not pertain to you.
In fact, if it does, I hope that you will listen to the Spirit this morning as we look at *“Invitations.”*
Please turn in your Bibles to the last book, last chapter.
We are in Revelation 22 and will be concluding this great study by looking at these final words.
As I said, we anticipate many things in this life – some that sidetrack us from important things.
I want you to see that what is anticipated in the future should do the opposite.
The Bible anticipate the return of the Lord Jesus Christ where he will set things right.
This means that he will receive his children, judge the wicked, and establish a new kingdom, a new heaven and earth for all eternity.
Those facts alone should cause you to stutter or shutter.
For the believer, we should be on the edge of our seats, waiting eagerly for our Lord because we have seen just a glimpse of the glory of our eternity.
How can we not */long /*for this??
And for the one who does not know Jesus, this should cause you to shutter in horror.
The second death is reserved for those who do not bow the knee to the Lord of all.
And we have seen in these last several weeks that it consists of eternal torment in the lake of fire.
So the dividing line is clear.
We have seen it all through the Book of Revelation.
You belong either to Jesus or Satan.
My first point is “*Jesus is Coming.”
*Our text indicates this several times.
In fact, he says he is coming soon.
Now this concept trips people up.
And I think that this is largely because our concept of time.
So for John to have written in the first century that Jesus is returning /soon, /most get confused over why it is nearly 2000 years later and we still haven’t seen his return.
So we’ve got this issue of an apparent delay.
We quickly forget that God operates with no time parameters.
Remember the words of 2 Peter 3.1-9:
 “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved.
In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the *last days* with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.
They will say, “*Where is the promise of his coming*?
For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
So we see that with each passing day, God is expressing his patience, his longsuffering and grace, and allowing more people the opportunity to repent.
His coming soon is often referred to as “imminence.”
And what that means is that He can come back at any moment.
According to the prophets in Scripture, there is nothing else that needs to be fulfilled before he returns.
Everything is poised for Jesus.
Remember what this entire book has been telling us: God is sovereign and has ordained the beginning and the end.
He is faithful and will bring things about when he is ready.
And he says that he is coming soon.
The fact that Jesus is coming demands a *Call to Obedience.
*The text says he is coming soon and adds this curious statement.
The one is blessed who keeps the words of prophecy of this book.
I believe that this is more than just a suggestion for which someone will be blessed.
I think this is command and expectation.
But how do you “keep” or “hold fast” to prophecy?
In this context, I believe it implies several things.
Believers are to long for the return of Jesus and the anticipation of eternal fellowship with him.
We just reviewed briefly what the book consists of.
And we see Christians persecuted and martyred for their faith, evil permeates our world.
And to live lives according to this book will make us stick out.
We are swimming upstream folks!
That is, if we are faithful to the task.
In this world we will have trouble.
But our Lord is coming back!
But beyond this, the fact that the King of the Universe could “show up” at any moment should cause us to consider our condition and our lifestyle.
You will find that all throughout Scripture, the passages that speak of his return are an exhortation to make sure that you are living correctly.
One commentator puts it this way, "In light of the sovereignty of God and the realization that he has foretold the imminent end of the world, the Christian must at all times be ready for Christ's return.
That readiness consists of right ethical and spiritual living.
Every passage on the return of Christ ends with this demand."
Let’s think this through honestly and practically.
When we invite guests over for dinner, it is usually our desire to be on our best behaviour – especially our children.
If we were to entertain the Prime Minister or Wayne Gretzky, we would likely put on our best appearances.
Now these are largely motivated by pride and the fear of man.
“What will people think?”
But just think about how our lives would look if we actually believed that Jesus is coming back.
This is not someone that we can pull the wool over their eyes.
He has eyes of fire and knows all.
More than that, he holds our eternal destiny in his hands.
We say that Jesus is coming back.
Do we really believe it?
But our obedience is not only motivated by fear and urgency.
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