< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Part 2 on what Revelation has to say about Heaven

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Part 2 on what Revelation has to say about Heaven

Next John sees the river.
Revelation 22:1

The river symbolizes the eternal blessing of God. And it flows from the throne. The source of all blessing has been, is and forever will be the authority of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

So the river of blessings flows when Jesus Christ is in full authority in your life, when you have completely surrendered yourself to Him, when His will is your will, when you deeply desire what He wants more than what you want, when you deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him, when you live in a right fellowship to the throne…that’s when the river flows!

Jesus promised this when He said, “whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John explained, “By this He meant the spirit, which those who believed in Him were later to receive.” When you receive Jesus Christ by faith as your Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live within you and when the spirit of the Lord is Lord of your life – the river runs freely within you to fill your life with blessing and to flow from you as a source of blessing to others. But the spirit must be Lord of your life. Then we are not only filled, but we overflow to others!

If something in our life is blocking this, we need to figure out what it is, repent and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with Himself. As He fills our life, we are promised we will be fruitful. Revelation 22:2.

If we are filled with the Holy Spirit there will be outward evidence: love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, gentleness, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. Just like a tree doesn’t struggle to produce its leaves, we don’t struggle to produce these fruits. That’s why they are called gifts of the spirit! Anne says instead of focusing on whether we feel we have enough joy or self-control – just focus on our relationship with Christ. If our relationship with Him is right – the fruits will come.

And not only will His fruit be evident in our character, but also in our service. Note the last part of Rev. 22:2“the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” We are saved to serve and blessed to bless!

People who think they will be bored in heaven will find themselves pleasantly surprised! Anne says that the presence of the water shows we’ll still get thirsty, the presence of the fruit that we’ll still get hungry, that the leaves that are the healing indicate we’ll still have needs to be met, but these will also be met when we abide in Christ.

And then will be freedom – Revelation 22:3

When Adam and Eve sinned, it caused “the curse”. Not only did it affect them, but their descendents, animals and the earth. They were cursed to live separate lives from God and also to die. Cursed to struggle thru life. Now that curse will be gone. Plants won’t die, flowers won’t fade and people won’t die. We will be free from sin and suffering and death.

Romans 8:20-21

Revelation 22: 3 (again) and 5

We will rule with Christ in the universe, we will convey knowledge of Him everywhere and we will never grow tired in well-doing. Our work will flow from our worship and we will serve Him perfectly. And as we serve Him we will experience blessed fellowship.

Revelation 22:4

1 Corinthians 13:12

The entire goal of a Christian’s life is to know God. So we put time and effort in to prayer and reading the Bible and applying what we learn from Bible study. We try to live obediently and serve humbly. To be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. But, during our lives it will be incomplete. Only in heaven, when we see Him face to face and serve him there, will we know Him fully.

So one great thing about the book of Revelation is – on earth and in this life we do face death at some point, but as believers, this earth is not our home. Death does not have the final word. We will walk thru the gates of pearl and live with our Lord forever.

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