Paradise Restored

nehemiah-new-jerusalemThis coming Sunday at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are going to finish up our study of the book of Revelation. The Bible opens up in Genesis with the story of a perfect creation. In chapter 3, Paradise is lost because of sin (disobedience to God’s Word) and as a result, every generation of people has lived under the curse of sin, in a fallen world. God had a plan of redemption and restoration, even before the foundation of the world was lain. Human history has been a progressive revelation of God’s redemption and restoration. The end of the book of Revelation completes God’s redemption and restoration of all things. Paradise is restored. I want to take a look at how this plan will unfold. Here is a quick outline of God’s redemption and restoration plan.

  • Creation
  • Paradise Lost (the fall of creation into sin)
  • God’s redemptive plan: A Savior is coming to pay the price for sin and redeem what was lost.
  • The nation of Israel is formed, through whom the Savior will come.
  • Christ is born, ministers on the earth, goes to the cross, dies to redeem what was lost, and rises from the dead.
  • The church is formed on the day of Pentecost, comprised of Jews and Gentiles forming the body of Christ.
  • Christ returns to rapture His church from the earth.
  • Christ’s 2nd coming when He places His feet on the earth for the second time in human history.
  • God restores the earth and dwells among His people on the earth.

This is a 30,000 foot view of God’s redemptive plan of restoration. So, with all of that, let’s jump into this week’s lesson.

I. Christ’s Second Coming

By this time, the church has already been raptured and is in heaven. We saw that in our last lesson as we saw the church worshiping the Lord in heaven. In Revelation 19, Jesus Christ returns to the earth from heaven. He is described as being faithful, true, righteous, and He is riding on a White Horse. This is important because when He came to earth the first time, He came to Jerusalem riding on a donkey. This was a sign of a king coming to make peace. Jesus came the first time to offer peace between God and mankind. At the second coming, He is riding a white horse, which symbolizes a Conquering King. Jesus is coming to reign in righteousness. He is wearing a robe that had been dipped in blood. This is a reference to His death on the cross when He first came to offer peace. When Jesus returns the second time, He is not alone. He is joined by the saints who are also riding white horses. How do we know that these people who return with Him are believers from heaven? It is because they are wearing white robes. Why is that significant? Revelation 3:5 and 22:14 tell us that the believers in Christ are dressed in white robes. During His second coming, Jesus brings the wrath of God to those who do not believe. He is going to set up His earthly kingdom and rule for 1,000 years. Are you going to be with Christ at His second coming? If you are not sure, place your faith in Jesus Christ today. Allow Him to cause you to be born again and it is guaranteed that you will be with Him at His second coming. After the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth, another major event is going to take place.

II. God’s Tabernacle

The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought about the possibility for the redemption of mankind. God also promised that He would redeem the earth that has suffered under the curse of sin for close to 6,000 years. In Revelation 21, before God comes to dwell on the earth among His people, He creates a new earth that is no longer subjected to the curse of sin. This new earth comes down out of heaven with a new Jerusalem as the world capital. Now God is able to set up His dwelling place among His redeemed creation. In doing so, God does away with tears, death, mourning, and pain. Paradise lost becomes Paradise fully restored. In verse 5 of Revelation 21, God proclaims that these promises are as good as done. Time has to pass and certain events have to happen before these promises come to pass. Those who live as overcomers during this life are the ones who will be allowed to experience Paradise restored. Who is an overcomer? He or she is one who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. These are the ones who became followers of Jesus Christ during their lifetimes. How is that evident? What have they overcome? Verse 8 tells us that they have overcome the power of their sin nature by faith in Christ. What have they overcome?

  • Fear
  • Unbelief
  • Sin
  • Murder (physical, mental, words)
  • Slavery to sexual sin
  • Sorcery (magic, mind altering drugs)
  • Idolatry
  • Lying

Are you an overcomer? You can be if you will bow your knee to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and learn to follow Him moment by moment, day by day. If you choose not to be an overcomer, then you will experience the 2nd death which is eternal separation from the presence of God.

III. Rewards and Responsibilities

There are many rewards (benefits) for following Christ as Lord and Savior. The major benefit is that you will be in the presence of Christ for all eternity. You will also avoid the wrath of God that Jesus will pour out on the unbelievers. You have the privilege of being a child of God. You will get to live in Paradise restored. During this lifetime, you will be an overcomer.

In Revelation 22, there are other rewards (benefits) that you will be able to experience as a follower of Jesus Christ. Once Paradise is restored, you will no longer have to live under the curse of sin and its terrible consequences. You will live eternally in the psychical presence of God. Finally, you will rein with Christ during His 1,000 year reign on the earth and you will reign with Christ on the new earth, in the presence of God, Himself.

What are my responsibilities?

According to verse 10 of Revelation 22, I need to share these truths with everyone in whom I come into contact. This message has been revealed and it needs to be shared with all. If I have learned this message, I have the responsibility to share it with others. In verse 11, I am encouraged to practice righteousness. Not only do I share the message of the Gospel, I also apply the message of the Gospel to my own, daily life. I live in a right relationship with God, moment by moment, day by day. Finally, the only way for this all to be possible is if I am cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

What about you my dear friend, have you bowed your knee to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Have you been born again? Do you follow Jesus Christ moment by moment, day by day? Do you live as an overcomer? Are you sharing this glorious message with anyone who will listen? Pray for one person within your sphere of influence who needs to hear this message and then ask the Lord to open a door of opportunity for you to share with that person. You will be amazed at what God will do. May the Lord bless us as we seek to live as overcomers in this fallen world.

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