Ten Minute Sermons
All Saints Day
The Book of Revelation of John is, for some, a very scary book. There be dragons in this book, sea monsters…an evil sorceress. The four horsemen of the apocalypse bring disease, famine, destruction…even death. Yes, this book should be very scary for a great number of people…it describes their ultimate torment: in verse 8, just following our reading today, "[…] for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
John paints a very vivid picture of the fate awaiting the damned. And oh what a contrast that is to that which awaits the saints of God.
For the saints, John describes "a new heaven and a new earth" where "the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples and God Himself will be with them"
Imagine it…for the faithful…God Himself "will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more."
And from the Throne of Grace there is a special message for the people of God, "I am making all things new […] It is done […] I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end."
The beginning and the end.
What an extraordinary promise to the saints of God…This is their fate: God Himself is with them…Humankind and its Creator are reconciled. And the Good News is even bigger and better than that: As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be…
As it was in the beginning…
Let's step back from the last book in the Bible and look at in the context of the Bible's first book: the beginning. The Book of Genesis and the Book of Revelation are matched bookends that aptly describe the entire narrative of God's Word.
For our purposes here today, let's look at what Genesis and Revelation describe as God's unchanging promise for His saints. The beginning and the end…the Alpha and the Omega…God's promise is unchanging.
In Genesis is the account of the garden, the original home of humankind, where God Himself walked in the cool of the day. And here in Revelation, God Himself is present in the very center of the New Jerusalem, the habitation of God's faithful saints.
In Eden was the Tree of Life, but more so, in the Book of Revelation the Tree of Life yields twelve types of fruit twelve times a year. Here, in the Book of Revelation is the promise...the realization, not just of life, but of abundant life: abundant life with the very presence of the Lord God Almighty.
Here, in the perfect realization of the promises foreshadowed in the Garden of Eden: "mourning and crying and pain will be no more". The Tree of Life, we know from Chapter 22 that is very leaves are for the healing of the nations.
Last All Saints Day, we talked about the Church Militant: fighting against the devil and all his works. Well, this All Saints Day, we have a glimpse of the Church Victorious. Here, in Revelation Chapters 21 and 22, we have the promise that God's saints…the holy ones of God have an extraordinary promised fulfilled in the New Heavens and the New Earth that the One on the Throne of God is preparing. With this hope…with this promise: God's elect can have hope in this fallen world…they are strengthened in their current battle against the powers of darkness.
So Revelation, a book that is scary to many, should be a comfort to the saints of God: God's holy people. But what about us, what about me? Am I included in the exquisite future that John is painting for the saints of God? I'm not a saint…am I? I certainly don't see myself in the same light as Mother Theresa, Francis of Assisi or the Martyrs of Uganda.
But…you know…It doesn't matter what I think…what matters is what God thinks. And sitting on that glorious throne described in the Book of Revelation is the Father and His precious Son. And if you choose to dedicate yourself to the Son, the Father has promised to look upon you as He looks upon His Son…and see you as He sees His Son.
If you chose to dedicate yourself to Christ Jesus, the Almighty Creator of the Universe chooses to see you as sanctified…even if you need some improvement in that department. Through Jesus Christ, we are reconciled with our Heavenly Father…and thus a transformation process begins where we can become a true citizen of a New Jerusalem.
Dedicate yourselves to the Good News offered by Jesus Christ. Dedicate yourselves to God's will and not your own. Dedicate yourselves…
Dedicate: to dedicate something for God's purpose labels it "holy". Holy…Sanctus.
Isn't that the origin of the English word "saint"? Sanctus…holy…dedicated to God.
The 10,000 times 10,000 saints that victoriously stride though the golden gates to everlasting joy did not start out as perfect…they just dedicated themselves to God's purpose…and God's purpose is assuredly linked with God's ultimate victory...won by His Son on that Cross so long ago.
I urge you…dedicate…re-dedicate your lives to God's purpose: allow Him to transform you. And when this life's reprobations weigh heavily…remember the glorious promise of the New Heaven and the New Earth promised to those dedicated to the Lamb who sits on the Throne.
You may not know it yet…but you are a saint.