This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Revelation 7 verses 9-17 A Look into our Heavenly Home
Have you ever wondered what it
will be like in heaven?
Revelation 7:9-17 is a
priceless picture of the blessed dead. It has comforted many people in the face
of suffering and death. Some ministers believe that the multitude in this
reading consists of those who have been saved during the Great Tribulation. They
argue that these people are the harvest of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses. The
ones who will be saved during the Great Tribulation will not be individuals who
had a chance to be saved during their lifetimes. They will be those who heard
and received the gospel message for the first time during the seven year period
and who were martyred for their faith. The tribulation will be a time of
unexpected affliction and unprecedented grace.
The church is seated below the
throne, but this group is standing and wearing robes that have been washed in
the blood of the Lamb of God. Their outer garments are worn with dignity,
beauty and distinction. Palms were a part of the celebration of the Feast of
the Tabernacles. The Jewish people sat on booths and waved palm branches to
recall the joy of God’s complete deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
The practice of falling before
the throne in worship is customary for the multitudes in heaven.By saying “Amen!” the angels agree with the
praise of the multitudes and then add their own anthem of praise.
In God’s temple, the way to
the presence of God is open to everyone, as opposed to the Old Testament
temple. In that temple, God resided in the section called the Holy of Holies.
The only other person who could enter the Holy of Holies was the high priest,
and even then he could only enter on the Jewish Day of Atonement. The Holy of
Holies was separated from the rest of the temple by a curtain. This was the
same curtain that was torn in two when Jesus died on the cross. When Jesus
died, he torn down the barrier between us and God. People could have direct
access to God through Jesus Christ.
God’s son is a lamb and a
shepherd. The statement “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” is very
exact. The tears are not just wiped away, they are wiped completely from the
eyes so that nothing is left but joy and abundant life in Christ. What a
comforting and hopeful statement! It provides hope not only for those in heaven
but for those who suffer and mourn here on earth. No matter how hard things are
for us here on earth, we can be comforted by Christ’s love for us.
This passage leads to a
discussion of heaven. It’s like window shopping. In this passage we are looking
through a window and are seeing a small picture of what heaven will be like. We
see a group of people who are no longer tainted by our evil, sin-filled world.
People of every race, colour, creed and religion are together and can
understand each other. There are no divisions or groups. They do not suffer
from fear, want, hunger or hurt any more. God will guard and protect them just
like he guards and protects us.
Scripture teaches us that
there is a personal, once only resurrection to eternal life. Believers have the
sure knowledge that death is not the end but the beginning in a new life in
heaven. The only answer to death and its power in this world is Jesus. He died
and rose again to defeat the power that sin and death have over us. He has
promised that all who believe in him, trust him, and put their confidence in
him will have eternal life.
This scene is impressive. A
huge crowd of people has gathered before the throne of God. Angels and other
heavenly creatures are also in the crowd. The people in the crowd are wearing
robes that have been washed in Christ’s blood. In other words, Christ gave his
life for them and for us.There is power
in the death of Christ to do what no one else can do. The white robes do not
make anyone pure. They represent the purity and personal holiness that comes
only from the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Book of Revelation,
white is a symbol of holiness.
John has given us a glimpse of
heaven. We see that the healing that will go on in heaven is broader than that
of our own personal lives and the lives of our loved ones. Heaven is a place
where all of life’s injustices of this world will be made right, where the
lowly will be lifted up and the mighty will be brought low. It is a place where
God’s vision of a community of justice, peace, and equality will finally hold
As wars rage on and as
diseases and disasters continue to exist and as the global economy continues to
struggle, we may know more than we think about the “great ordeals” and
blood-stained robes that John identifies. Amid all of this chaos, there is
hope. When war, famine and disease have done their worst, salvation belongs to
the God above and not to worldly Gods.
Today we are celebrating All
Saints Day. Today is a day to remember those who have died-those who have been
made clean by the blood of Christ and are now celebrating with the crowd
gathered around the throne of God. That thought gives us comfort. It’s hard to
be sad for them when they are in a place where there is no more suffering,
sorrow or pain. The only sadness is for those of us who aren’t there yet, but
at the same time we have hope that when we die we will join them in front of
that great white throne. This gives us something to look forward to. On that
day, we will get a complete picture of heaven instead of the glimpses we get in
the Bible. We will go back to the one who created us-Jesus.
Our souls, which were once
condemned to spend eternity in hell, have been given new value. Jesus paid the
price with his life so that we could be washed from our sins. The old self is
gone and we become new people. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we
can be assured that nothing in our past and nothing anyone else says or does can
change the value God has given us. We have become priceless to God. God wants
us to come to the knowledge of the truth of hope, help and eternal life in
Today you might be reminded of
your loved ones who have died. Today is a day to remember them with thanks for
what they have meant to you. Today is a day to praise God for their faith and
the peace they are now experiencing. We can be assured that the Lord who walks
with us each and every day of our lives is the same Lord who will be waiting
for us in heaven.
1.Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Nashville,
TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)