Surely I Am Coming Soon

Revelation 22:1-21
December 25, 2018
Abraham Hong

I want to begin by saying, “Don’t worry.” I am fully aware that this is Christmas Day. And I want to assure you that my choice of Revelation 22 is not random or mistaken.

Dear saints, as we joyfully celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us also joyfully await his return. Dear church, as we marvel at Jesus’ incarnation and as we humble ourselves in his grace, let us also be strengthened by Jesus’ words and encouraged by his promises.

For this is not just a time to say “Happy birthday, Lord Jesus!” This is, more than anything, a time to say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

At the end of the book of Revelation, at the very end of the entire Bible, we are shown a picture of a holy city. This city shows us that God will be with us and that we will be with God. And this city shows us that the church will be perfect and sinless as God’s masterpiece workmanship and as the sanctified and beautiful and glorious Bride of Christ.

This city is not just about where we are going to be. This city is really about who we are going to be.

In this city is a river. And this river is awesome. Have you ever seen the Chicago River by boat or enjoyed walking the Cheong-gye-cheon Stream in Seoul? The rivers of the cities of this world can be pretty nice. But in the new heavens and new earth, the river of this city is the best. This river is bright as crystal, perfectly fresh and clean and flowing. This river flows with the water of life, a place of perfect rest and satisfaction. This river is awesome.

When Jesus comes back, there will no longer be any thirstiness or dryness or famine… or death. There will only be life and rest and satisfaction and joy. And because the city is us, out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). This is so encouraging for us today.

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

Perhaps we can relate to the Samaritan woman at the well. Perhaps we can feel ashamed of who we are. Perhaps we feel alone in this world. Perhaps the wells that we dig or the wells that we depend upon leave us thirsty. If this is true of you, then I ask you to believe in the word of the Lord this morning. Jesus promises you his water of life! Praise the Lord!

In this city is also the throne of God and of the Lamb. If we know a famous person or if we are next door neighbors with a famous person, it makes sense to be super thrilled about it. Can you imagine living next to your favorite sports athlete or your favorite Korean drama actor or actress? Can you imagine knowing them personally? That would be awesome. The amazing thing about Revelation 22 is that we are going to live with God! In the city is the throne of God and of the Lamb. We are going to dwell with our God who is Immanuel. How awesome is that going to be?

When Jesus comes back, we are going to have this kind of relationship with our God. This is so encouraging for us today. In the Christian life, we are often beset with doubts and worries about God’s love for us. We may feel at times that God is not with us.

But in the new heavens and new earth, we will literally live with Jesus, together, face to face, in the same place. Jesus promises his glorious presence and closeness and friendship and love that will never be taken away (Romans 8). And we have a guarantee and deposit of this already, for the Holy Spirit dwells in us now (2 Corinthians 1:22). Praise the Lord! This is his promise to you. May you believe in his words this morning.

In this city is also the tree of life. This is an awesome tree. In the book of Genesis, the tree of life was the reward of the covenant of works - the reward that Adam failed to earn but the reward that Christ succeeded to win. But the tree of life is different here in Revelation. For here it is in full blossom! The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. And the people of God are able to eat from the tree of life - twelve kinds of fruit, no matter what time of the year.

When Jesus comes back, there will be abundance. Abundance of life. Abundance of reward. Abundance of glory. Abundance of joy. Abundance of healing. This is so encouraging for us today. You have to understand that in the days of old, there was no such thing as advanced food supply chains or temperature management systems. So saints of old would have been blown away to hear about a tree that yielded fruit in season and out of season, each and every month in the year. This is perfect completeness. And the healing of the nations is perfect and compete in Christ.

The lives that we live right now are full of spiritual ups and downs. There are times when we are doing well. And there are times when we are not doing well. But know this: one day, there will be no more sanctification for you! And the reason is because we will have the tree of life in its eternal fullness.

You will be without sin. You will be perfect in holiness. You will fulfill Psalm 1 and you will actually surpass it, for you will be like and you will be even more than “a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” Praise the Lord! This is Jesus’ promise to us. May you believe in his encouraging words of truth.

In this city we will worship God, God will be our light, and we will reign forever and ever. We will no longer worship as weary pilgrims or burdened sojourners. We will worship as full citizens of the kingdom of God. In the new heavens and new earth, there is no longer be anything accursed. There will be no more sin, no more suffering, no more tears or pain. And there will be no more darkness. There will only be light. There will only be brilliant glory. We will be exalted. We will reign as kings and queens forever and ever with our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s glory is so awesome that when Moses came down from the mountain after being in the presence of the Lord, his face was literally glowing. The life that we see here in Revelation 22 is going to be awesome.

When Jesus comes back, we will experience the happiest ending of all. This is so encouraging for us today. Worship is not easy right now. There is still spiritual warfare against darkness right now. And we experience suffering and persecution right now. But soon and very soon, there will be final glory and ultimate victory.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Praise the Lord! This is all Jesus’ wonderful promise to us. May we all believe in the word of the Lord this morning.

Brothers and sisters, everything that I’ve talked about is trustworthy and true. All of this must soon take place. And so I ask you this Christmas morning: do you believe God’s word in Revelation 22? I hope so.

This is not a man-made religion that was designed to just make you feel better or be a better person in this life. This is God’s glorious gospel that was given to us. This is historical fact. This is really going to happen! Jesus is not a concept or a metaphor or an ideal. Jesus is a real being. And we who are real believers in Christ really believe that Jesus is really coming back really soon.

So I command you in the name of Jesus Christ, lift up your eyes to where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God the Father. I command you in the name of Jesus Christ, set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2). Wait on the Lord and prepare for his second coming.

Nobody knows when Jesus will return, but he can come back during your lifetime. Or if not, he can take you from this world before the day of his return.

Either way, I ask you a simple but serious and profound question: Are you eagerly ready to go? Are you eagerly prepared to be with the Lord? What are you really living for? May you heed the words of Christ, who says to you today: “… behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

And be warned. Jesus says that he will bring his recompense with him. He will repay each one for what he or she has done. What you do in your life matters in eternity. And how you live right now is a serious matter.

If you wash your robes, then you may have the right to the tree of life, then you may enter the city by the gates. If you do not, then you are out. For outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

Don’t overthink this. God’s word here is not saying that you can only be saved if you get your act together and earn a right relationship with God through your good works. God’s word is saying that if you have been saved, then get your act together and live in a manner worthy of the right relationship that you have with God already and do good works.

So let the righteous still do right. Let the holy still be holy. In other words, be sober-minded and live with the reality of Revelation 22 on your heart and mind. Don’t add words to the prophecy of this book by hijacking it with your own story. And don’t take away words to the prophecy of this book by reducing its glory. You have been warned. May this warning be of help to you this morning.

I close now with the very words of Christ himself. As we hear his words, let us not just celebrate his birth. Let us anticipate his return. This is the word of the Lord:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

“I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches.”

“Surely I am coming soon.”

Brothers and sisters, these are the very words of our King. And there is only one way to respond to his words. We are to say:

“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.