I’ve been thinking some more about the sermon on Sunday. The services are usually “multi-media”...tastefully done but a bit gimmicky. This was the first Sunday of the new sermon series...and they kicked it off with a “re-enactment” of a narrative John might have given long ago. An older guy played John...in costume (head thing, robe, sandals and all) and he talked about his experiences with and feelings for Jesus. He talked about the Samaritan village, a story found in the Gospel of Luke. The village turned them away without “a crust of bread or a sip of water.”
"John" told of how his anger got the better of him and he cried out, wanting to call down fire on the village....”like Elijah.” Jesus rebuked him saying, “you do not know what manner of spirit you are of.”
Too many people still today, more than 2000 years later, don’t have a clue what manner of spirit they are of. How can people read that account and give any merit to a literal interpretation of Revelation ala the Left Behind Series? How can they believe in a hell where God will eternally call down fire on people who do not “welcome him into their heart?” A mystery? Yes, indeed!!
Anyway, the sermon veered into Revelation (which was written by the same John) The pastor said that he could sum up the entire book of Revelation in one sentence. Wow...one sentence. Hmmmmmm, I wondered, could he really be going to hit the nail on the head here?
See, I know the one sentence summation of Revelation. I learned it from listening to Lynn Hiles preach. He says that Revelation is the only book in the entire Bible which flat out, plainly, unambiguously declares what it is about. In one sentence, no less. None of the other books have a lead in quite like it. Revelation clearly states, first sentence...
This is a revelation of Jesus Christ.
But, instead, the pastor on Sunday declared that the whole message of Revelation is this....
We win. God’s people win.
In the battle of good versus evil, God wins. We are on the winning team. In a way, he’s right...God does win. We ARE on the winning team. But so is everyone else!!! There are no losers in God’s world view. There are the "first fruits" followed by "each in their own order" but eventually every knee bows, every tongue confesses and every tear is wiped away.
In Revelation chapter 22 .... which is the very last “that’s all she wrote” chapter....verse 17 says
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Huh? To whom is this invitation extended? Aren’t all God’s people already included in the “bride”? Could it be the ones still “outside”...the dogs, the sorcerers, the immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying? The ones from verse 15? Who else would they bid, “Come”? Come and drink...without cost."
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
And the invitation remains open until the last “each in their own order” hold out straggles through the Gates...weary knees finally bow....joyful proclamations that Jesus is Lord. Tears of joy and repentance gently wiped away. Behold, he makes all things new.
The offer never expires, the invitation is never withdrawn, the welcome mat is never rolled up and put away, the Gate is never closed. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”
Talk about digressing...more tomorrow...