The City That Is Lit By The Lamb

 

Text: Rev. 22:1-5
Title: "The City That Is Lit By The Lamb"
Subj:  Heaven

Intro:  The Bible says, "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God"  (Heb. 11:10)
It hangs suspended between Heaven and earth, glowing against the blackness of space with the radiant Shekinah glory of God.  Its light is like that of the jasper, clear as crystal, yet flashing extraordinary hues of brilliant reds and deepest purples.  Its walls extend some 1400 miles high, wide, and deep, for the city is foursquare.  In each wall are 3 gates; at each gate stands an angel; and on each gate is inscribed the name of one of the tribes of Israel.

"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God"
 
The walls themselves, are some 244 feet thick and are made of crystal-clear fiery jasper.  Each gate into the city is constructed of one enormous, pure white, translucent pearl.  Supporting the jasper walls are twelve foundations, inscribed with the name of one of the apostles, and made entirely of one precious stone, yet adorned with innumerable jewels.  In vivid contrast to the pearly gates and jasper walls are the different foundations of flashing jasper, the brilliant blue sapphire, the copper-colored chal-ce-dony, the shimmering green emerald, the blood-red sardon-x, the brilliant red sardius, the golden kris-o-lyte, the yellow-hued beryl, the honey-colored topaz, the golden-green kris-o-pras-us, the turquoise jas-inth, and the purple am-thyst.  The effect of the glory of God being refracted through the foundations and the walls are as the viewing of a celestial rainbow.

"For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God"
  
Shining through the jasper walls is a city of pure gold, itself clear as crystal.  Within the confines of this great city, which if set upon the united States would cover it from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Colorado, and then 1400 miles high, will dwell the saved.  If 20 billion of the redeemed inhabit  just 75% of this city, each person will have the space of a cube 1/3 of a mile on each side!  From each of the twelve great pearl gates radiates the street of pure, transparent gold which leads to the great throne of God and of the Lamb.

Rev. 22:1-5 -- "The City That Is Lit By The Lamb" -- prayer

Note:  In the context and in our text the apostle John is being given a angelic guided tour of this New Jerusalem.  We join them as they move along the golden blvd. toward the focal point of the city.  Before us looms a majestic atrium that stretches the full height of the glorious city.  On every side, leading to and away from the throne room, are innumerable hallways just as Jesus promised, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."  The old English rendering of mansions means "a room down the hall."   We are going to live right down the hall from the Father and the Lamb! 

   I. THE APPROACH TO THE THRONE (v1-2)
(Notice the street of gold, the river of life, and the tree of life)
       A. Street of Gold (v2)
            1. Access to the Lamb
                a. The street leads directly to the Saviour

"In Whom [Christ] we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him"
  Ephes. 3:12
                     1) In the O.T. there hung a thick curtain between the holy place and the holy of holies, preventing access to man but once a year
                     2) In the N.T. that "middle wall of partition" was broken down by the sacrificial death of Christ so we can spiritually enter His presence
                    3) In the N.J. there is direct access to physically enter  
           2. Worth of the Lamb
                a. With every step on the golden street we will be reminded of the value of our service for Christ

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ"
  (1 Peter 1:7)
                b. With every step on the golden street we will be reminded of the infinite worth of the Lord Jesus Christ & His work on our behalf

The N.T. says of Jesus Christ that He is the precious fruit of the earth; that His blood is precious; that He is the precious living stone; and that  Jesus is the precious cornerstone.

                 c. With every step on the golden street we will be reminded that Jesus Christ is the Lord, Master, and King over all
"Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords"
  (1 Tim. 6:15)

        B. The River of the Water of Life (v1)
           1. The River
               a. Proceeds (finds its source and goes forth) out of the throne of God & the Lamb.  This speaks of abundance of grace & mercy (Heb. 4:16).  This speaks of the Holy Spirit's provision.

"He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water"
  (John 7:38)
               b. Is clear as crystal.  This speaks of transparency and truth

"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life"
  (1 John 5:20)
               c. Is a pure river.  This speaks of no admixture, no pollution

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin"
  (Heb. 4:15)
             2. Water of Life
                  a. The water
                      1) The water speaks of refreshment, and sufficiency

"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life"
  (Jn 4:14)
                   b. The Life

Note:  Not just physical life, but the abundant, flowing, cascading, tumbling, sparkling, reflecting, drenching spiritual life in Christ! 

                        1) The N.T. reveals many things that are "of life" or of vital union with Christ

Resurrection of life (Jn 5:29); bread of life (Jn 6:48); the light of life (Jn 8:12); the ways of life  (Acts 2:28); the Prince of life (Acts 3:15) : manner of life  (Acts 26:4); justification of life (Rm 5:18); newness of life (Rm 6:4); the Spirit of life (Rm 8:2); the savour  (zest) of life (2 Cor. 2:16); the word of life (Philip. 2:16); the book of life (Philip. 4:3); the promise of life (2 Tim. 1:1); the crown of life (Ja 1:12); the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7); and the tree of life (Rev. 2:7).

                       2) There are but 2 things "unto death" or eternal separation from God
"And the commandment
(God's Law), which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death"  (Rm 7:10)
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
  (Rm 6:16)

          C. The Tree of Life (v2)
               1. The tree
                    a. It defines the river of water of life.  Though the river provides the never ending abundance of life, the tree is the source of life

"And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever"
  (Gen 3:22)
                    b. It adorns the street of purest gold.  The gold speaks of deity, while the tree of life prepares the approach to the deity.
                    c. It provides 12 different fruits each month, perhaps one fruit a month, or 12 kinds of fruit each month.  Speaks of the many facets of Christ
                    d. Its leaves are for healing ("voluntary service, attendance").  Since there is no death nor sickness, the leaves of these trees provide a service in some way.  Certainly the leaves speak of rest, protection, respite, refreshment.
                       1) Christ is that tree of life

"As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved
(Christ) among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste"  (Song 2:3)

Note:  Think of itóbasking in the Shekinah glory, sitting on the street of gold, dangling our feet in the water of life, and eating the fruit of the tree of life!!  Now that's living!!

   II. THE PURITY OF THE CITY (v3ab)
      A. No More Curse (v3a)

Note: Almost an after thoughtóno more curse!!  Think of itóno more curse!  God's curse on man and earth, deserved because of man's disobedience; the curse that impaled Christ on the cross; the curse that brought disease, death, and destruction; will be lifted and removed!!  A place with no more curse!!  What will the new heaven & earth be like?óno more curse!  Let your imagination run wildóno more curse!

               1. "Curse" = an evil prayer or expressed wish for evil on another.  A curse is considered to have an innate power to carry itself into effect.  The word is used in contrast to a blessing.
                  a. O.T. the serpent was cursed
(Gen. 3:14); the ground was cursed (Gen. 3:17); and the wicked were cursed (Gen. 4:11)
                  b.  N.T. the lost are cursed
(Matt. 25:41); God's law brought a curse (Gal. 3:13); and Jesus Christ became cursed by God's law by hanging on a tree (Gal. 3:13)  

Note: Where there is a new heaven and a new earth there is no more curse!  Where the river of life runs free and clear there is no more curse!  Where the tree of life sustains and satisfies there is no more curse!  Where the throne of God and the Lamb is there is no more curse!  Like sin, the curse cannot stand in the presence of God!

  III. THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB (v3)
       A. The Throne of God (v3b)
             1. The throne.  This is not the throne of His judgment, but the throne of His glory, majesty, and eternal presence.
             2. Theos/Elohim = the triune God.  The throne of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit

Note: We will approach the throne of the eternal God who spoke the worlds into existence.  The eternal God who rules the storms on sea or on land.  The eternal God who called the Nation of Israel from the field of blood to be His own.  The eternal God who rules in the affairs of men.  The eternal God who will judge both the living and the dead.  The eternal God who calls you to Himself through faith in Christ.  The eternal God who dwells in His churches, and the inhabits the praises of His people.  The eternal God who promised never to leave you nor forsake you.  The eternal God who has met your every need.  The eternal God who sticks closer to you than a brother.

        B. The Throne of the Lamb (v3b) (but on that throne sits the Lamb)
            1. The throne.  We are not surprised to see God on the throne, but a Lamb enthroned?  Rev. is the book of the Lamb, so used of Christ 28 times.  God has chosen to represent Jesus Christ, throughout eternity, as a Lamb.  Rev. reveals Him as the Lamb as it had been slain; the Lamb that is worshipped; the Lamb that is worthy; the Lamb that is honored; the Lamb of wrath; the Lamb of salvation; the blood of the Lamb;  the Lamb in the midst of the throne; the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; the Lamb on Mt. Sion; the Lamb that is followed;  the song of the Lamb; the Lamb that overcomes; the marriage of the Lamb; the Lamb's apostles; the Lamb as the temple;  the light of the Lamb; and the throne of the Lamb .
                  a. "Lamb" speaks of purity, offering, sacrifice, propitiation, redemption, forgiveness of sins, and identification with the sheep.
            2. Jesus Christ is the Lamb
                 a. Pictured in the O.T.
                   1) Ex. 12 & the sacrificial system
                 b. Identified in the Gospels

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
(Jn 1:29)
                 c. Glorified in the Epistles

"But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot"
  (1 Peter 1:19)
                 d. Magnified in Revelation as the Lamb enthroned     

  IV. THE SERVANTS OF THE LAMB (v3c-4)
       A. Shall Serve Him
            1. We should serve Him here, we shall serve Him there!  I do not know what we will do, but I know we will do whatever He wants us to do.  Certainly our service for Christ during the millennium will be determined by our service here. 

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us [the privilege of serving]."
 (2 Tim. 2:12)
(By serving Him we shall see Him)

       B. Shall See His Face (v4) 

Note: This is the face that on the Mt. of Transfiguration shined like the sun.   This is the face that in the garden of Gethsemene sweated great drops of blood.  This is the face that was stripped of its beard, spit on, smote, and buffeted by the Roman soldiers.  And this is the face that has given us the  knowledge of the glory of God.  We shall see His face!  He who died for us will ever be accessible to us. 

            1. We shall see His eyes
                 a. Not the eyes set like a flint (Isa. 50:7)
                 b. Not the eyes of sorrow when He wept over Jerusalem and Lazarus  (Jn. 11:35)
                 c. Not the eyes of righteous indignation when He cleared out the temple (Matt. 21:12)
                 d. Not the eyes that looked upon the multitude with compassion (Matt. 9:36)
                 e. But the eyes that reveal His soul
                       1) We will see in His eyes the depths of the pool of love He has for us 

"Twas but for a momentóand yet in that time; He crowded the impressions of many an hour; His eye had a glow, like the sun in its clime, which awaked every feeling at once into flower!" 

            2. We shall see His countenance
                 a. Marred only by the thorn scars of the cross, we will look into the face of perfect peace and contentment
            3. We shall see His smile
                 a. The smile of satisfying the Father
                 b. The smile of seeing the fruits of His sacrifice before Him 

       C. His Name Shall be in Their Foreheads (v4) 

Note:   Certainly this speaks of identification, authority, and servant- hood.  Jesus said in Rev. 312 "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."  (Rev. 3:12)  Though all of us will be "conformed to the image of Christ" (Rom 8:29), and "shall be like him" (1 Jn. 3:2), perhaps this is a divine seal that sets the person apart as on a mission (144,000 in Rev. 7:3) or as a ruler for the Lord (v5b).  Whatever else it means, it means our close identification with our Saviour, and Him with us.  

        D. They Shall Reign (v5d)
              1. "Reign" = to be a king, possess regal authority 

 V. THE LIGHT OF THE CITY (v5)
       A. No Night There (no curse & no night)

Note:  I do not have to remind you that we live in a world of darkness. The Bible speaks of bodies full of darkness; those that sit in darkness; the power of darkness; the ignorance of darkness; the love of darkness; the walk in darkness;  the darkness of Satan;  darkened hearts; the light of darkness; the blindness of darkness;  the works of darkness; the hidden things of darkness; the unrighteous darkness; the darkened understanding;  the darkness of this world;  the power of darkness;  the  children of darkness; the chains of darkness; the mist of darkness;  the hatred of darkness; and the blindness of darkness.  But in the eternal city there is no darkness!! 

            1. No need of candlelight (personal light)
            2. No need of the sunlight (corporate light)
            3. No need of spiritual light (spiritual illumination) 

        B. God Giveth the Light There
             1. God gave the sun

"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also"
  (Genesis 1:16)
             2. God gave the Shekinah Glory to cover the children of Israel, and to dwell in the tabernacle and temple (Num. 9:15)
             3. God gave the Son who was the Light of the world
             4. God's glory, or all that makes Him known, lights the city (21:23
) 

         C. The Lamb is the Light There (21:23)
               1. He was & is the Light of the World

"The same
(John the Baptist) came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world "  (John 1:7,9)
               2. He is the Light of every believer

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life'"
  (John 8:12)
               3. He is the Light of the city, the bringing to perfection and completion of the manifest purpose of God.  It is He which will bring to light or make known all the wisdom and knowledge of God.  And we will sit in that Light! 

Note: Where the Light is there can be no darkness.  Where the Light is there can be no shadows.  The diffusion of the Light of Christ will be complete and all encompassing.  We think of light as beams that travel in a straight line (unless refracted), but Christ is the light that fills all in all.  The new heavens and new earth will be "baptized/immersed" in His Light.  There will be no dark corners, nor dark thoughts.  All will be living Light! 

Concl:  What are you looking for tonight?  Is it the city whose Builder and Maker is God?  The city is prepared for you, but are you prepared for the city?  Your citizenship is on high, but are you living like you are an illegal immigrant?  What has captured your affections to turn your eyes from the eastern sky?  What exactly is it that is standing in the way of your testimony and service for Christ while we linger as strangers and pilgrims on earth?  Are you an ambassador for Christ in your neighborhood, on the job, in this church?  How about your marriage, and your testimony to your children?  Tonight is the night to fill out some repentance papers, sign them with tears, seal them with prayer, and get prepared for "the City that is Lit by the Lamb." 

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