The Glorious Future of Christ’s Building

Dustin Folden March 25, 2018 Revelation 21:10-22:6
Outline

3 glimpses into God’s future building that lead us to glorify God today

I. A Glorified City (21:10-21)

A. The Glory of God (v11)

Exodus 40:34-35 - Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

B. The Foundation of the Plan of God (v12-14)

1. 12 gates built on the foundation of the 12 tribes of Israel

Hebrews 11:8-10 - By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

2. 12 walls built on the foundation of the twelve apostles

Ephesians 2:17-22 - And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

C. The perfection of God (v15-17)

1. The New Jerusalem is an exact cube just like the Most Holy Place of the Israelite Temple

1 Kings 6:19-20 - Then he prepared an inner sanctuary within the house in order to place there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in width, and twenty cubits in height, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid the altar with cedar.

2. The glory of God now fills the entire city of the New Jerusalem

“The point here is that the New Jerusalem is a perfect cube, which was the exact shape of the inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place of the Israelite temple. In earthly Jerusalem the glory of God was limited to a single, tiny, cube-shaped room; in New Jerusalem the glory of God fills a vast cube-shaped city.” Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), pg. 399

D. The beauty of God (v18-21)

1. City gates of pearls

2. The adornment of precious stones on the foundation stones

3. Walls of crystal clear jasper & streets of pure gold, like clear glass

II. A Glorified People (21:22-27)

A. People who can approach God (v22-23)

Revelation 21:22-23 - I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 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.

“On the one hand, serving God in his temple in the earlier passages means being near God’s presence—most readily understood through the language of temple—forever. The passage here means that God’s presence will not be limited to a single building but will permeate the entire city.” Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), pg. 401

Isaiah 60:1-4 - Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms.

Isaiah 60:11-12 - Your gates will be open continually; they will not be closed day or night, so that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined.

1 Timothy 6:13-16 - I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.

B. People who are secure (v24-26)

C. People whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life (v27)

Revelation 21:27 - …and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

III. A Glorified Purpose (22:1-6)

A. Bearing God’s image

Genesis 1:26 - Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

B. Enjoying Him

Revelation 22:2 - …in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

C. Serving Him

Revelation 22:3-4 - There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

D. Reigning with Him

Revelation 22:5 - And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

Intro: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In writing classes, they teach to show don’t tell…in other words, use adjectives and paint a picture with words. Furthermore, every commercial you ever see uses imagery to get you to look forward to something that you can experience…how much fun it would be to drive this truck, or eat this food or go on this vacation.

  • Any vacation commercial is going to show you the best pictures of the destination they want you to visit.
  • And if you are going on vacation, inevitably, you look up different sites to see, and what the place looks like…as you get excited and look forward to visit….
  • You might never thought about going to Norway [PICTURE]…but after you look at this picture…you might consider it.,…or maybe the Pyramids [PICTURE]….or maybe just a really beautiful beach [PICTURE].

We love pictures don’t we…we love seeing the beauty of creation and experiencing it.

Did you know God gave us a picture of what life with him will be like for all eternity?

 -John 14:2 In my Fathers house are many mansions…I go and prepare a place for you….

  • And he gave us this picture so we would look forward to His return and look forward to being with him….to such a degree that that way we look forward to the Lord’s heavenly building, would help and motivate us to build our loves around Him now.

What are you looking forward to….and how does what you are looking forward to impact what you build your life around now.

Our annual theme this year is Being Careful how we build. Making sure we help one another build our lives around Christ with what Lasts.

  • Past Viars emphasized how God is building his church. A group of called out people, redeemed by the Blood of Christ and Howe God gives us the privilege of being  part of His building.
  • Pastor Green emphasize Christ the chief cornerstone and how the scripture not only talks about how we build on the foundation of Christ with good works, but also how we are being built into a spiritual house, we are the structure. That provides us with a great many benefits, a wonderful identity and a important purpose.

Just like later today we will get a sneak peak of the NECC, that is going to encourage our hearts and help us look forward to being able to minister from that building…so we also have a sneak peak of heaven…that motivates us to look forward to serving the Lord in heaven, which helps us focus on serving the Lord now.

Today I want us to take a look at …..

The Glorious Future of Christ's Building (Rev 21:10-22:6)

Read Passage…start in verse 9

With our time remaining let’s look at, 3 Glimpses into God’s future building that lead us to glorify God today

We will see today that God’s future building will be marked by a glorified city, a glorified people and a glorified purpose. WE are going to talk about glory a lot today, and when we say glory we are talking about a heavy, valuable visible representation of the splendor and beauty of God.

I.                   A Glorified City (21:10-21)

We start with a picture of the Holy City of God coming down out of heaven. This is after the last plagues…and it is after Satan is defeated and thrown into the lake of fire…this is the glorious victory after God has defeated sin and death…he is going to dwell among mankind…the city is describes as a bride…the wife of the Lamb…if you remember Pastor Aucoin message from a month ago we remember that God is concentrating people in a city that he would dwell with them, and they would be in community with each other.

This building project that the Lord is embarking on is non other than glorious…this picture of what God is doing…is something for us to be in awe of and look forward to….

This city is marked by….

A.      The Glory of God v11

The city reveals …

B.      The Foundation of the Plan of God v12 -14

This city, this wonderful example of God’s glory is the culmination of his plan to as Ephesians says to sum up everything in Christ….this city has markers, names that point to God’s plan of redemption that leads to this Holy City. These markers are…

Often times you bury the foundation…but in this city it is shown off as it is part of God’s glorious plan….the gates and the foundation indicate it was God’s plan to bring people together from very different backgrounds and unite them in Christ and bring them together to dwell with God and with each other.

The city also reveals…

C.      The perfection of God v15-17

Similar to Ezekiel chapter 40 we have a person with a measuring rod walking us through the detail of this building. What we find is that…

This city is enormous…it goes from Montana, to New York, down to the tip of Florida, and then back past Texas. It is big…and it is filled with the glory of the Lord. (PICTURE of map over US and PICTURE of Globe)

This city also shows …

D.     The beauty of God v18-21

The building materials lead us to marvel at the beauty of the Lord…

  • Maybe this is where the phrase pearly gates comes from
  • But the gates aren’t pearly…they are one single giant pearl
  • That just blows my mind…I am reminded of the parable of the merchant in Matt 13 who found a pearl of great value and he sold all he had to buy that pearl. The point is that the kingdom of heaven is like that great pearl….more precious than anything else, and here we have imagery of the kingdom of heaven with each gate a single pearl…this imagery is just too amazing….but there is more.
  • Cf. Juanita Fords family…meet at the middle south gate

These stones remind us of the stones that were in the Garden of Eden and on the Priests breastplate…they are there to remind us of God walking with Adam and Eve and dwelling among the nation of Israel and his people in the holy city.

Does anyone else wonder why everything is clear?

I think this is really important that these amazing building materials, are not there so you just marvel at their beauty, but they are there so you can see the beauty of God…everything is clear so the light coming from the glory of God would be reflected and you would be able to see the light coming from God.

One commentator pointed out

The symbolism is not meant to give the impression of wealth and luxury but to point to the glory and holiness of God. The wall of jasper points to the glory of God, while the fabric of the city is pure gold—as clear as glass Such imagery portrays the purity of the bride and her splendor in mirroring the glory of God (cf. Eph 5:27).[3]

So two application points…one are you amazed that God would go and build this for us to dwell with Him forever….How gracious and generous and wonderful is He….will you look forward to this.

Likewise…will you think about being a living stone, and how we really are to reflect His light…if everything in heaven reflects His light, his glory, his goodness…do you think maybe he gave us an image of that so we would reflect His light now by the way we structure our lives.

That leads us to think about how the city is marked by….

II.                A Glorified People (21:22-27)

A.      People who can approach God –  (v22 – 23)

The city is marked by glorified people…

B.      People who are secure – (v24-26)

C.      People whose name are in the Lambs book of life (v27)

  • Note that the key to this whole wonderful picture is the lambs book of life…it is a record of those who have washed their robes in the blood of the lamb….it is just another way of saying, those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus dying on the cross as their only hope of eternal life.
  • This passage changed my family’s life.
    • Cf. funeral message that my mother heard at a Funeral of Uncle Edward in New Folden Minnesota.
  • Is your name in the the Lambs book of life…have you placed your trust in Christ….are you united to Him.
  • If so are you building your life around Him, and building your life in a way where you are telling others about the lambs book of life.
    • The end of revelation says, do not seal up these words, the for th tiem is near….in other words, this is to effect how you live now…and specifically that you share the truth of how a person can have their name in the lambs book of life.
      • Notice all the references to life…the lambs book of life, the water of life, the tree of life….all this goes back to the Garden of Eden, when God first created Man…what was the purpose then, what is life all about….when God breathed the breath of life into dust….we know that.
        • Genesis 1:26 — 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
      • Notice that we will get to see His face, and His name will be on our foreheads…we will be image bearers of His name, not marred by sin.
      • God’s original creation was very good, and He blessed Adam and Eve, and he gave them food to eat, and a beautiful place to enjoy their relationship with God and with Each other.
      • Likewise there is life giving water, and the tree of life that runs along the river like an interconnected grove…that is characterized by fruit and healing.
      • It is a restoration of the original good creation…complete with delicious fruit
      • The leaves are for the healing of the nations…I think this just continues to speak of the fact that there are no more divisions between the nations…those deep wounds between people groups will be healed.
      • Revelation 22:3–4 — 3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.
        • We are referred to as Bond servants – our purpose is to serve the Lord.
        • This phrase bond-servants is repeated twice…I think it speaks to the fact that we are His, that His name is on our foreheads, and we are to represent Him.
        • The wonderful thing is that there is no more curse…so when Adam and Eve served God, they tended the Land, the garden, and it was joyful, it was not burdensome or hard, but when sin came into the world, work became difficult, and in this city, serving the Lord because there is no curse will be a delight.
        • But we are reminded that we are bond servants now….we will be bondservants in heaven but we are bond servants now….will you think about yourself now as a bondservant, and serve Him now, even though it is difficult at times, knowing that one day there will be no curse.
      • Revelation 22:5 — 5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
      • Being a bond-servant of this king is really good…he not only gives us good things…he calls us to reign with Him….He in all His glory and splendor will exult us and give us important purpose.

Think about what relationships will be like in heaven, when there is no concern that someone is going to hurt you, embarrass you, slander you or take advantage of you.

There is no fear of the righteous wrath of God or consequences of our sins, because there will be no sin separating us from a holy God or separating us from each other…we can just enjoy fellowship with Him and with each other.

Your relationships may not be perfect this side of heaven, but they can allude to what it will look like…you can do all you can to be at peace with all men now…you can return good for evil now, and seek to walk by the light of God’s word now in the way you treat people.

As we think about this city, and all it’s benefits we also are instructed to think about how ones functions in this city….what our purpose is in this city.

We have …

III.              A Glorified Purpose (22:1-6)

A.      Bearing God’s image

B.      Enjoying Him

C.      Revelation 22:2 — 2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

D.     Serving Him

E.      Reigning with Him

This image…this is your home if your name is in the lambs book of life…the bible says we are heavenly citizens…this is our city….right now, we are sojourners now in a foreign land….will we function based on our kingdom or the kingdoms of this world, or on the heavenly city, the heavenly kingdom described in Revelation….will we live our earthly lives based on our heavenly citizenship…

Everything in this city is about Him, His glory…but with that focus comes incredible blessings for us, because from Him come all good things. In His right hand are pleasures forever the psalmist says…if you have that kind of focus in your life now….you will be blessed and have a taste of what is to come.

So the question is….what are you building your life around and looking forward to….Are you trying to build your own kingdom, one that can’t stand and is no where near as glorious as the one we have just read about…will you instead focus your life on being a part of God’s building project…He is building His kingdom as men woman and children’s names are being added to the lambs book of life….and it is exciting to get a sneak peek.

Matt 6:33 - Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you….you just got a picture of that…may it motivate you to live for His glory today.

[1] Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 399.

[2] Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 400.

[3] Alan F. Johnson, “Revelation,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 12 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 597.

[4] Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 401.

Dustin Folden

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.