AGCC Sun. a.m. 5/27/2001
#15 (Book of Revelation Series)

TEXT:  Rev. 20:1-22:6 Isa. 65:17-25


The second coming of Jesus Christ will usher in a unique time in human history, Christ will physically rule and reign on the earth for 1,000 years. The Bible calls this the "millennial reign of Christ." Politicians and rulers have said for a long time that the world would become paradise if everyone was free and had a job, if everyone was educated, if diseases and wars were wiped out. It has been man's belief that if we could achieve these goals then crime would cease and peace would rule the world. WELL ... a day like this will come, but it won't be the result of political or financial success, it will be the power of Jesus Christ ruling and reigning over the earth after binding up Satan for 1,000 years. The human dream will be realized, but only because Christ overcomes and binds up Satan. To be a part of this wonderful time of 1,000 years of prosperity however one must belong to Christ on this side of eternity so they can rule with Him on the other side of eternity. What kingdom do you belong to? ILLUS:By blood and origin, I am all Albanian. My citizenship is Indian. I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the whole world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to Jesus. -- Mother Teresa, quoted by Ruth A. Tucker in Guardians of the Great Commission. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 17. The opportunity to experience the greatest kingdom on earth will only come to those who belong to the kingdom of heaven! PROP. SENT:      The Bible teaches us that Christ will return to establish an earthly kingdom of righteousness, where Satan will be bound and the world will know the reality of the promises God made to Israel long ago for a righteous kingdom ruled by the son of David ... Jesus Christ Himself.

I. THE REIGN     20:1-15     Isa. 65:17-25

A. Promised     20:1-6     Isa. 65:17-25 1. The first thing Jesus does when His second coming occurs is to capture Satan and have him bound by chains and thrown into the Abyss where he is locked away for 1,000 years. a. Satan will not be able to deceive humanity during this time. b. The power of evil will be severely restricted. 2. This 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth will fulfill the promises God made to Abraham and the Israelites in the Old Testament, promises of a great kingdom where God would rule and Israel would be a nation of priests. 3. God never forgets or ignores His promises. a. So many of the hopes of the Jews in the Old Testament were wrapped up in this future kingdom, a time of great joy and peace, where the laws of nature reflected the presence of God and Satan was conquered. b. Such passages as Isaiah 65:17-25 show the anticipation of that future kingdom ... the one fulfilled here in Christ's millennial reign. 4. Satan and his followers are deceived by their pride right now ... they act as though God doesn't exist and they don't have to obey any spiritual truths ... they just do their own thing and not worry about consequences. a. This is the tragedy of all sinners who reject Christ's offer of salvation. b. Sin makes one self-sufficient and arrogant, but there is coming a day when this pride will end, and it will be costly! c. If only sinners really knew what was coming, they might act differently today! ILLUS:A lot of nice, fat turkey gobblers would strut less if they could see into the future. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990). 5. Satan likes to keep his followers blind to the future, even as he himself stays blind to the future. 6. God however will never ignore His promises, and He had promised over and over again that He would come and rule and reign over a kingdom of great beauty on the earth ... Christ will fulfill this and all the promises of God. a. As Isa. 65:17-25 states, that millennial kingdom will be one of great joy, long life spans, fulfillment and joy like the world has never seen before. b. With Satan locked up and away from mankind the world will be set free from his influence ... but this doesn't mean that all sin is gone, for it still resides in the hearts of fallen men who survive the Tribulation period and live on into the millennial reign of Christ. B. Participants     20:7-15 1. All those who lived for Christ will be a part of this millennial reign of Christ. a. Citizenship is based on our relationship with Christ, not what political party we belonged to on earth or our connections with the right people. b. Those who lived for Christ will enjoy this kingdom in the future. ILLUS:While serving as a missionary in Laos, I discovered an illustration of the kingdom of God. Before the colonialists imposed national boundaries, the kings of Laos and Vietnam reached an agreement on taxation in the border areas. Those who ate short-grain rice, built their houses on stilts, and decorated them with Indian-style serpents were considered Laotians. On the other hand, those who ate long-grain rice, built their houses on the ground, and decorated them with Chinese-style dragons were considered Vietnamese. The exact location of a person's home was not what determined his or her nationality. Instead, each person belonged to the kingdom whose cultural values he or she exhibited. So it is with us: we live in the world, but as part of God's kingdom, we are to live according to his kingdom's standards and values. -- John Hess-Yoder, Portland, Oregon. Leadership, Vol. 7, no. 3. 2. Those whose lives have been touched by Christ will enjoy His presence and His kingdom rule in the future. a. All those who lived by kingdom principles on this side of eternity will participate in the future kingdom reality of Christ's rule. b. Those who rejected Christ's ways on earth will not participate in this future kingdom ... they lived for themselves here, and they will live with themselves in eternity ... away from God and His kingdom! ILLUS:The one principle of hell is "I am my own!" -- George MacDonald, Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 1. c. It will be a tragic time for those who rejected Christ in this lifetime. 3. At the end of the 1,000 years Satan is loosed for a short season, WHY? a. To allow all those who were born during this period to make the same choice all humans have had between following Christ or the Devil. b. This will be short, and tragically there will be those who will turn away from God even after living in a perfect environment and world for 1,000 years! c. This only goes to prove that giving everyone a job, good health care, and their own place won't wipe away the sinful heart, only Christ can accomplish this! II. THE REWARD     21:1-27 A. Permanent     21:1-8 1. Following this 1,000 years God will cast Satan, and all sinners into Hell, and it will be removed forever from God's presence and His people ... a. There is no escape from the Lake of Fire ... it is eternal Hell. b. Today is the day of salvation, don't neglect so great a gift! 2. Now God destroys all the old things, even the old universe as we know it. 3. God will create a new heavens and earth ... without sin, without Satan's presence, and without sinners ... only righteousness. a. With no defects in this universe there will be no decline or decay, everything will be permanent. b. God will restore man to Paradise, the real one! ILLUS:Some years ago the three cities of Spray, Leaksville, and Draper, North Carolina, merged. They called the new city Eden because early explorers had described the area as a paradise. North Carolina is indeed a pleasant place, but there is no earthly paradise. The new Eden is in Heaven. It is the New Jerusalem that shall not pass away! -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). 4. No more death, no more mourning, no more pain, no more sickness or sin! a. Indeed it will be paradise! b. This is what God intended for man all along, turning away from God caused all the heartache the world has known since that day. 5. What a wonderful future is in store for those who live for God! B. Perfection     21:9-27 1. The New Jerusalem will live up to its name unlike the old one! (name means "Possession of Peace" or "Foundation of Peace" ) a. It will be a beautiful place. b. The Bible even gives us its size: 12,000 stadia in 3 dimensions (approx. 1,380 miles in each direction) c. It has been estimated that if only 25% of this space was used for living quarters or dwellings it could accommodate 20 BILLION people, surely large enough to hold all of God's people down through the ages. 2. It will be the city of paradise that we could never imagine here on earth! ILLUS:There is a legend in Scotland that when Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden of Eden, they settled in Scotland. They did so because it was the next best thing to paradise. On that point all Scots agree. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). a. It will be far better than any paradise here now! b. It will belong to God's people for eternity! 3. It will be all that God wanted for us before we sinned in Eden. III. THE RIVER     22:1-6 A. Power     22:1-2 1. God's power will give us life forever, He who is the "Living Water" will fulfill all our needs throughout eternity. a. Our strength comes from Christ not only now, but forever! b. This river of life flows from the throne of God for all to enjoy in the New Jerusalem. 2. Christ's power sustains us now, and will in the future too. 3. Our life consists of Christ's power. He who resurrects us will keep us eternally. 4. No other power on earth has been able to promise a city like this, the place of God's presence. ILLUS: The old city of Babylon is no more, but you can still see the Gates of Babylon at the great Pergamos Museum in East Berlin. Babylon means "Gate of God" but the gate of that particular god is no longer in use! The gate of the living God is no place on earth. His kingdom is not of this world. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997). 5. Mankind has tried again and again to create paradise, but always with disastrous results! a. Man's efforts will never match God's! b. The only hope for paradise begins with Christ! B. Perpetual     22:3-6 1. Forever is a long time! This is why it is so important that we make wise choices now. a. The blessings of God will last forever ... pleasures of sin only last for a short season. b. It is important that we choose wisely today, tomorrow hinges on what we do today. 2. Even now we experience God's goodness in our lives, but this will be nothing compared to what God has in store for us ... ILLUS: An old theologian once said, "Who chides a servant for taking away the first course of a feast when the second consists of far greater delicacies?" Who then can feel regret that this present world passes away when he sees that an eternal world of joy is coming? The first course is grace, but the second is glory, and that is as much better as the fruit is better than the blossom. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990) 3. If we can get excited about God's blessings now, imagine what we will experience in the New Heavens and New Earth that is coming. a. No more separation from God. b. No more pain or sorrow of any kind, no more death, no more darkness, etc. 4. This is much more than "pie in the sky" theology or escapsim ... it is reality! a. There is nothing wrong with having hope in the future, looking forward to being with Christ in eternity ... b. In fact, it often has very practical implications in the present ... for when we hope in the future like this we live more circumspect in the present, hardly the stuff of escapism! 5. Are you anticipating what God has in store for all those who love Him and live for Him? a. You can be ready for it when it comes, no matter when it comes! b. Living for Christ now will guarantee your presence in His kingdom in eternity. c. You are going live forever somewhere, why not pick a great place like the New Jerusalem, the other option is a "dump!" CONCLUSION:    The tragic power of sin will one day fade away and be replaced by the glory of God's power and rule. The course we take tomorrow begins with the choice we make today. Knowing Christ will rule and reign forever why not choose now to follow Him? God has great things in store for all those who love His appearing!