"'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4
John 14:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4
How important is hope for you and your people?
Key point: Know that Christ is our hope! Effective leadership always points to Christ as Lord and operates in the Fruit of the Spirit. Thus, our character will show calmness, personal care, tenderness, and the Love of Christ in meeting the needs of others--never out of arrogance or manipulation. We are to be more than just a personality; as we are from the work of the Holy Spirit within us (Prov. 15:1; Isa. 40:11; 42:2-3; Phil. 4: 5; Matt. 5:5; 11:29; 12:15; Eph. 4:1-2; Col. 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:7). When we operate in this manner, our church will prosper. Pastors and church leaders are being good ministers when we realize we are still human and fallen, and face our own sins and temptations that would cloud us from being true representatives of Christ. When we are good ministers of the God, we point others to Him by our actions and deeds.
What do we look forward to? Total Renovation!
God will be making all things new, and we have hope beyond wonder as a new heaven and a new earth will be formed. We can take comfort that God will remove evil from humanity, separating out the good. The old earth and heaven will be restored prior to sin; even fear will be gone. In Revelation, everyone is celebrating, shouting that the presence of God is now among us all, as God Himself now lives with us and within us for eternity.
Then, the greatest comfort is given; God wipes away all of our sorrows and fears so there is no more death, suffering, or pain as evil is wiped away for good. God's Word is true and trustworthy. He reveals one of His names, the first and last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He promises refreshment to quench the thirst of all who are victorious in Christ, who will inherit everlasting life. Christ gives us springs of water without charging us what is owed, and thus, His grace continues. But, God will also keep His promise of judgment; all those who are evil will be removed from those who are good, and all those evil people will be sent to hell for all eternity.
God the Creator, Redeemer, and Consummator communing with us and making a total transformation and renovation of His creation!
He will bring all things to fruition. He will bring peace and a future to those in Christ! As magnificent as this is, it is only the backdrop of what will be going on; the far more spectacular "center stage" is that God IS among us. He is our Lord, Protector, and Sustainer. He will remove the evil; so those who are in Him will never hear, "depart from me." Rather, we will hear "come to me and I will give you rest." He has saved us, but here is how He continues to save us as His grace is continually at work, involved, and shepherding us now and for eternity. He promises us all things new, and for those who reject Him, all things of judgment. In the meantime, we have Christ in us now, empowering us-a preview, and a real, effectual presence and hope for us now. This is to inspire us for faith, reliability, and steadfastness in our Christian life (Ex. 33:14; Matt. 7:23; 11:28-30; 25:41; John 5:22).
New, in context, means "rejuvenated." God is changing the "old order of things," but that does not necessarily mean He is replacing it. As Paul states, we are being reconditioned in Christ by our "new" covenant of grace, as the "old" is passed away (Gen 3:17; Is. 51:15-16; 65:17; 66:22; Rom. 8:18-23; 2 Cor. 5:17).
God dwells with His people! He is the God Who is now and Who is to come.
We are shown His perfection, holiness, and purity. God is the One who restores, converts, and brings salvation and hope. This also means righteousness, rightfulness, and renewal. Christ is coming again and all will consummate His will and purpose. Justice and His Kingdom will be fulfilled, and every knee will bow (Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5; Tobit; Jubilees; 4 Ezra)!
We have victory in Christ and that God is true to his promises!
Our perseverance of faith in Christ is facing the promises of our Lord. We are a part of His Covenant and thus, He will give us not only a hope, but also a future. Our Christian lives, even in persecution and trials, are of great worth and meaning. Those who are His are called to be faithful and loyal to Him, and Him alone. We overcome the ways of the world when we look to Christ and not to our desires or situations (Zech. 8:12; Mark 13:13; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; Jubilees).
Our lives here on earth, whether joyful or in suffering, is not the end of the story! God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings!
Christ will "wipe away every tear." This must resound in us not just for our personal hope and comfort, but also to enable us to trust in Christ for all things and situations. Those in Christ are His and His for all time; there is no fear or dread when we are with our Lord King. He IS the Alpha and Omega. He will bring all things new to those who know and love Him, and judgment to those who fight Him. We can be encouraged, as we have hope, reason, and purpose, to be faithful because of our confidence in Him, producing active faith that glorifies Christ and builds His kingdom (Eph 1:14; Heb. 12: 18-29)!
The goal in our Christian life is to be apart from sin-not to allow ourselves to be influenced to compromise our faith and life in Christ.
When we choose to mix or add in evil and try to rationalize evil away, we become the evil people Revelation talks about and the fools that the Proverbs talk about. We must be above reproach and open to inspection when we claim Christ as Lord. Our faith matters, because what we do and say does indeed echo into and throughout eternity. Our spiritual growth affects our moral success and failures (2 Cor. 5:10). We will give an account and He will wipe away our tears!
Jesus is our only way, the gate and stairway to Heaven; there is no other way to God except through Him.
Jesus is preparing for us, those He chooses, an eternal home; Heaven. He brings peace and a future to those in Him. God will achieve His purpose; we will inherit His wonders and blessings and we will have no ties to the old nature of sin and evil. Jesus is not just preparing a place for us in Heaven; He is preparing us in our journey of faith in the here-and-now, too (Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8)!
The resurrection of the dead leads to a new life, our life after death that Jesus is able to provide by His death and resurrection. This is also about what is to come, the Second Coming and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus, our Rescuer and Redeemer; He took on our human nature, but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay the debt for our sins (Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:1-4; 2: 7, 14-15).
Jesus lived, died, and rose again for you and me! All we are to do is trust and obey Him, and as we continue in this endeavor, He gives us even more empowerment for enduring life and performing ministry along with His special favor and peace! Even if we do not see Jesus, He sees us, loves us, and helps us persevere. This may seem unattainable or even unfathomable when we are under stress or the hostile occupation of life. However, we can do this because we have access to His empowerment; we are literally kept by God through faith.
As we grow in our faith, we become even more precious to God and He will preserve us through trials and life.
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/