Sermon for the 5th Sunday of Easter: Cantate: “Sing!” May 15, 2022
Text: Revelation 21:1-6 ILCW 3 Year Series C 22:2324
Theme: Let’s Take a Peek into Heaven.
What’s heaven like? How do you picture it in your mind’s eye?
In one of our Bible classes, a member recalled how her grandmother talked about looking forward to walking down heaven’s streets and kicking up gold dust. I like the picture of gold. In fact, it is in the description of heaven’s appearance in next Sunday’s text. But dust? I hope there won’t be any dust there.
As a child I pictured us in heaven flying around with wings like angels have and singing songs all day long: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise forever and ever” (Rv.5:12; 7:12). The thought of having wings and flying around seemed cool to me as a child. But the thought of singing all day long seemed questionable.
What pictures of heaven do you have? Most come from the Book of Revelation. Although many people seem scared by the book, think of how great it is to have the pictures of heaven given there. They encourage us in our sad and bad times, when troubles here multiply.
They certainly encouraged First Century Christians who suffered greatly for the faith. They were thrown into dark prisons, forced to fight lions and gladiators for Rome’s amusement. Some were beheaded; others were exiled for the faith. It must have seemed like God had lost control and Satan had won. But that was not true; and they should not give up hope. So, the Lord gave them pictures to strengthen faith, bolster their spirits, and give great purpose for living in Him in the midst of trials. These are the pictures of the Book of Revelation. Let’s Take a Peek into Heaven today and gain another sight of that which lies ahead for those who cling to Christ in faith.
I. Heaven – there is nothing of old earth there; all is new.
It’s different from what is now in our lives, infinitely different. John says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer existed. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
Wow! What great pictures are there! They center on themes of brand new, shiny, and beautiful. In addition, everything that was mysterious and fearful on earth is gone. In heaven there is nothing of
old earth there; all is new. You’re moving into a “new home.”
People move into new homes for a variety of reasons. Sometimes their work takes them to a new place; sometimes they move closer to family; sometimes they move for health reasons, seeking to live in a better climate for them. Sometimes people move because they have no choice – fire, flood, or earthquakes have destroyed the place where they used to live.
Something like that takes place at the end of the world. On the last day we know from the Scriptures that our present world will be destroyed; it will be gone. John says, “The first heaven (“sky”) and the first earth had passed away.” The apostle Peter added to this when he wrote: “The heavens will pass away with a roar; the elements will be dissolved as they burn with great heat, and the earth and what was done on it will be burned up” (2Pt.3:10).
Gone! Dissolved Burned up in one great fire storm! “Whoosh!” Why? Because everything that we know here, everything that is a part of the present is infected with sin and its consequences. There is nothing perfect that exists here, except for the Word of God. And God promises that someday He will purify His people completely from sin and its pain, wiping it out forever. The old is gone; all is new. No remnants; nothing of sin lurks behind to afflict us!
The story is told of a little boy who had an operation on his eyes. As the doctor took off the bandages, he said, “Either he will see well, or he won’t see at all.” When the bandages were all removed, the boy put his hands to his eyes, paused, and said, “I can’t see. I must be blind.” His mother started to cry. But the little boy responded, “Mother, don’t cry. I can wait until Jesus takes me to heaven and all will be new. In heaven I will see again.”
What a wonderful thing to know! No troubles in heaven! Nobody will be blind, nobody will be crying, no one will be in pain because sin and its effects on us are gone forever. “The former things have passed away.” There is nothing of old earth there. God makes all new and perfect once more.
Heaven is described “as the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” That’s the shiny part.
You know, in our day the time for weddings lie just ahead. June has always been the wedding month. What a happy, good time it is. You’ve all been a part of something like that. You know how shiny and bright and bubbly the bride looks. It’s a happy time, a time of
celebration, a time to enjoy.
Jesus often used a wedding celebration as a picture of heaven. Heaven is where the Lord Jesus, known as the Church’s Bridegroom in the Bible, wants us all to be – away from the things that destroy us here. That’s why He died for us, to pay the price for sin that we couldn’t. He doesn’t want to leave us here in sin and its consequences. He wants to whisk us away to the new, fresh, shiny, bright, holy, and happy place that He has prepared for those who love Him. The blind little boy understood and was content to wait for that time when his old life of blindness was gone and everything would be new in the Savior.
It’s good to know that a day will come when sin is gone completely, all is new again. It’s what Christians look forward to. So, let’s take a peek here into heaven and allow it to fill our souls with a longing to enjoy it.
II. Heaven – where God lives with His people.
But there’s more that the Lord Jesus wants us to see with this peek into heaven; something more important. In excitement John shouts, “Look! God’s dwelling is with people. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them, and He will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
That’s a most touching scene of God’s deep love for us. It reminds me of occasions like when a little child is first learning how to ride a bike. You know what happens. That child soon loses its balance. Down it goes and scrapes a knee. Out runs Mom or Dad to soothe the child and wipe away its tears. In a similar way our heavenly Father will dry our eyes from all pains that sin causes.
This part of our peek into heaven isn’t complete since it is impossible for God to describe things to us that we can’t fully imagine. We can’t begin to picture what it’s like to live in a place where there is complete absence of sin’s effects. We can’t picture that because from the time we entered this world at birth (Ps.51), sin has hurt us, much worse than falling off a bike. We have never lived in perfection. So how could we picture perfection’s positive side?
Because of that our peek into heaven is based on negative descriptions which no longer affect us: “no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain.” All is gone forever!
That would be great by itself. But that which makes the height of Heaven’s glory is this: God will live with His people and they will dwell with Him.
You know, after the Fall into Sin, that happened only twice before, when God gave visible evidence of living with His people. And the words used in the original Greek language here (skhnwsei) take us back to those times.
When the Children of Israel were wandering through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, how did God show them that He was with them? In the middle of the camp was pitched the Tabernacle. You could call it a temple made out of a tent. In the inner part of it was the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. That Ark marked God’s presence in the midst of Israel. As they traveled, God showed that He was with them by a pillar of cloud and fire that hovered over the tabernacle. It was visible evidence that God dwelt with His people. It told them that He was in control; He was present; He was their God, and they were His people.
The second time this was true was when the Lord Jesus came to us at His birth. John wrote in His Gospel, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (literally, tented among us). We have seen His glory, the glory He has as the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14).
Oh, if the disciples had only completely understood what that meant. Maybe they didn’t comprehend and enjoy it completely then. But they do now as we peek into heaven and see them and all God’s people who have gone before us in faith enjoying everything new again. And one day, dear friend, as you dwell in Christ and Christ in you, you too will see it and sing a new song of joy.
He who is from the beginning and exists to all eternity told John: “It’s done! Write it down! My words are trustworthy and true!” God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: email@example.com
You can also find us on Facebook
The Fifth Sunday of Easter: “Cantate” (“Sing!”) May 15, 2022
“Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things.” Psalm 98:1
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things. His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Break out in joyful song!” (Psalm 98).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Glorified in His work and love. Nearly 2,000 years ago the most impossible yet most necessary work ever conceived was accomplished. On a hill outside Jerusalem, on a Friday we call Good, and three days later at an open grave, our hopeless condition of being lost in sin was dramatically remedied forever. When Judas left the upper room on Maundy Thursday night, it all began. The work will not end until Christ draws the last believer to Himself in faith. In it all He is glorified.
At the present God is glorified as we live our lives for Him and our fellow Christians in Christ’s way of sacrificial love. Lives lived in love that follow Him are powerful witnesses to the work He accomplished. God help us glorify Him for His work of redemption through our love.
To that end we pray: O God, You form the minds of Your faithful people into a single will. Make us to love what You command and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world, our hearts may ever yearn for the lasting joys of heaven; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The First Lesson: Acts 11:1-18
Christ is glorified when His people proclaim salvation to all men. Peter and many of the other disciples had to learn that Christ came not only for Jews, but for all people, Gentiles too. Peter explained how God had given him a vision that showed Christ’s work of salvation was for all.
The Epistle Lesson: Revelation 21:1-6
We are given another glimpse of the glory that is eternal. John sees the new heaven and earth coming down from the sky. In it all things are made fresh, renewed from what had been on earth under sin.
The Gospel Lesson: John 13:31-35
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus addressed His disciples on the “new” covenant of grace He was about to fulfill. The saving work on which He was about to enter would glorify God and would be made known to the world through His love given to and lived by His disciples.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
Out of deep love for the truth of God’s Word and precious souls, we follow the practice of Close Communion in our congregation. This has been the practice of Christians for centuries and reflects the Bible’s teaching on unity of faith in the reception of the Supper (1 Cor.10:17). It does not judge a person’s heart but anticipates agreement in that which God says. Since we do not wish to put anyone in the position of declaring such agreement with us before study in the Word is possible, we ask that only those who are communicant members of this or another Wisconsin Synod or ELS congregation come to receive the Sacrament.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Cantor: Laurie Moon
Point to Ponder: “It isn’t always easy to love fellow Christians when we have differences of opinion or when someone has hurt us or let us down. Yet, this is precisely what the Savior called us to do. “My little children,” He said, “love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” He loved because we needed His love.
Even when the other person isn’t very lovable or loving in return, He calls on us to, “Love as I have loved.” Where do you find the power? As Jesus’ selfless, saving love fills us, it changes us and makes us more Christ-like in our love to others. – adapted from Meditations May 14,1998
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #767
Order of Worship: The Service: Setting Two with Holy Communion: page 172-187
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
No Psalm will be used today.
The Gospel Acclamation pg.179
Sermon: Revelation 21:1-6 Let’s Take a Peek into Heaven.
The Nicene Creed pg.180
Our Response to the Word
Prayer of the Church: pg.182
The Lord Blesses Us
Preparation for Holy Communion
Hymnal page 183-186
(Visitors: Please read the box on page 2 regarding Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymn: #667
Thanksgiving & Blessing Hymnal page 187
The Fifth Sunday of Easter – Series C
The First Lesson: Acts 11:1-18 – God Gives New Life to the Gentiles
1The apostles and brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2When Peter went up to Jerusalem, those who insisted on circumcision criticized him, 3saying, “You went to visit men who were uncircumcised and ate with them!”
4So Peter began to explain everything to them, point by point. He said, 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision in which an object like a large sheet was let down from heaven by its four corners. It came right to me. 6When I inspected it very carefully, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!’
8“But I replied, ‘Certainly not, Lord, for nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9“A voice spoke from heaven a second time: ‘What God has made clean, you must not continue to call unclean.’ 10This happened three times, and then everything was pulled up into heaven again.
11“At that very moment, three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them without any hesitation. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he saw an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and call for Simon, the one called Peter. 14He will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.’
15“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them, just as he came down on us at the beginning. 16Then I remembered how the Lord had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to try to stand in God’s way?”
18When they heard these things, they had no further objections, and they praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted repentance that results in life also to the Gentiles!”
Epistle Lesson: Revelation 21:1-6 – The New Heaven & New Earth
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer existed. 2And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3And from the throne I heard a loud voice that said, “Look! God’s dwelling is with people. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain, because the former things have passed away.”
5The one who was seated on the throne said to me, “Look, I am making everything new!” He also said, “Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6And he said to me:
It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
To anyone who is thirsty, I will give freely from the spring of the water of life.
Gospel Lesson: John 13:31-35 – A “New” Commandment of Love
31After Judas left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once.”
33“Dear children, I am going to be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
34“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you are to love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online -Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
Divine Worship Service
online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Music from the Masters…Motivational speakers…Chicken Soup for the Soul… We look for inspiration from a myriad of sources. But one need only look as far as the Risen Savior. He inspires us not through soothing songs or moving stories, but through His perfect life and sacrificial death. Our risen Lord inspires us to live our lives for Him by living and dying for us.
The Gospel Lesson: John 13:31-35 (answers are found on the back side)
- Jesus spoke these words after Judas left the upper room on the night He was betrayed. How would Jesus be glorified?
- Why is Jesus command to “love one another” a new command?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Dave Ballou; John Workentine; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Lois Wiese; Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter, diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, an autoimmune disease of the brain; Elizabeth Lisenby, looking in the near future at shoulder surgery; Barbara Long, following hospitalization.
Forward in Christ’s next edition for May has arrived. You may find copies on the credenza in the narthex. Also, the next edition of Meditations’ devotions, beginning at the end of May, will be found there.
Sunday, June 5 – Pentecost Sunday and Confirmation Sunday for Emily Mabra
Sunday, June 5-Tuesday, June 7 – WELS/ELS Family Camp at Heit’s Point
Monday, June 6-Thursday, June 9 – WELS Minnesota District Biennial Convention at MLC, New Ulm
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: 27; Bible Class: 12; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offering: $887.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Easter 6: Acts 14:8-22; Revelation 21:10-14,22,23; John 16:16-24 (CW -21, Series C)
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- Judas’ betrayal began the chain of events that led to Jesus glorification. Jesus glorification included his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Through these actions of Christ, we can see God’s glory and give God glory. Through these same actions God gives all glory to His Son.
- The command is not new. Perhaps it is helpful to think of “new” in the sense of ‘fresh,” since the command to love is of the Old Testament Law. That which is new is the motivation for loving one another. The disciples will love because they know Jesus and what he has done for them. He makes all things new. Jesus sacrifice on the cross inspires believers to love. This love is called agape love—love that sacrifices for others.
This week I am praying for……