On the Plains of Moab Blog
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August 6, 2012, 8:34 AM

To Go In or Not to Go In


I was just listening to snippets from yesterday's sermon, and I found that the way I delivered the application section may have been lost upon the ears.  You see, when you lay things out on paper (or the monitor, as is the case here), the structure is obvious.  But if you're hearing it for the first time without the benefit of the visual, ...well, it may be a tad bit confusing.

Here's what I was getting at:  The point was the failure of God's people to go in and receive the good gift of the Promised Land that God was freely giving.  They would not do it.  They thought it would be too hard.  They couldn't trust God, even though they knew far better.  As a result, they reaped the consequences of forty years of wandering in the wilderness and missing the Promised Land.

Fast forward to the here and now.  The new Moses, Jesus, has lead us out of sin and death (Red Sea-like) and is ready to march us into the Promised Land...

And we say things like:

1. Sorry, I don't believe anymore.  I've grown up.  I'm moving into the real world.  This is a real concern in the church today.  Our kids grow up and grow out of the Faith -- perhaps returning when they have their own kids to raise.  But really, how can they miss the beauty of the Savior?  How can they think passe something so incredibly awesome?  Think about it for a moment:  If you think the people of God refusing to enter into "the Land flowing with milk and honey" incredibly short-sighted, just be mindful of the sad exodus of the ones raised within the household of Faith.

2. If I accept the invitation to follow in, this means I have to witness?  That I have to share the Godd News?  Hey, wait a minute, I'm Presbyterian.  We don't do such things.  (In my more cynical moments I might say something like, "Hey, we're Presbyterians, we believe everybody gets in!)  Back on track:  I can't do that!  I won't do that!  I come to church. I give every once and a while.  I believe.  Let someone else do that kind of unpleasant work.  Besides, I don't even think I'd be any good at it.  Well, unbelief at work here.  How - Ev - Er ...As I turn through the pages of Scripture, I see God taking even more unlikely potential messengers, and giving them great moments with weak, imperfect, fumbling, stumbling, mumbling words.  Moses complained that he couldn't speak publicly.  The apostle Paul nearly killed a man with boredom as he preached on into the wee hours of the night.  What can God do with you?

3. Relationships.  Loving my neighbor as I love my very own flesh?  Loving difficult people?  Loving those who don't love me?  No thanks!  I think I'll hang out on the border of the Promised Land, but, I don't think I want to go in, thank you very much.  Oh wow.  This one complaint in particular is one that I fear may keep the Church (BIG "C") from going in for a long time. (Read:  Keep Jesus in the Green Room a bit longer.)  We are, quite frankly, stinkers when it comes to this one.  We are unforgiving people who bear long grudges.  We love the loveable.  But, have you considered that God is able to give you a tender heart?  That God is able to make forgiveness an option that's not a million-to-one odds to happen?  But, you have to desire it.  You have to really want it!

4.  Pet sins.  Besetting sins.  Can't beat them.  Don't really want to beat them.  You've tried for years.  No use.  No, I don't want to enter in becuase I'm just too comfortable now in my sins.  In this case, we always have to come back to God's basic promise of forgiveness through his Son, Jesus.  Done deal!  The wiping away of your sin(s) through faith in his atoning sacrifice (on your behalf!)  The washing "in the blood" as I used to hear quite frequently before I came home to the Presbyterian Church where we don't use such graphic language.  The giving and gifting of the Holy Spirit.  THE Mission.  THE future that God has for the world, indeed.  How big do pet sins look compared to THAT?  But I'll repeat what I said yesterday -- If you really want these besetting peccadillos et al gone ... IF you want that, then they can be!  But you have to really want it to be so.  I said it yesterday, I'll say it yet again:  This is a prayer request that God will always answer!  This is what Jesus means by asking for anything in my Name.  (That's another whole sermon, there.)

Okay, there they are. The four practical points altogether.  Four excuses that we offer today to miss God's best for us.  For us, it's not Canaanites, Amorites, Amalekites and Mosquito Bites.  For us, it's the lure of worldliness, the lack of evangelical fervor, the disbelief of and zero desire to live out the greatest commandment and, of course, the pleasures of sin.

The list of four here is by no means exhaustive!  I hope this helps in the case that there was more fog than light yesterday!    




August 2, 2012, 10:18 AM

How To Be An Evangelical.



I want you to know that I am enjoying the series in Numbers so far.  I'm not short timing this thing, but I thought you might like to know what's going on at the nether reaches of my mind these days.  Caution, what follows is a lazy lift from the newsletter article I just finished writing.  So, this is the second time you've seen this.  (I've heard of "preaching from the barrel" but never "blogging from the barrel"!)  Normally, I would not start tooting the horn for the next sermon series right smack in the middle of a current series, but in this case, I feel like it might be a good idea to get you prepared, slowly, but surely for what I have up my sleeves.  I have never done this kind of series before – ever.  But, I think it is long overdue.  A little insight here.  Most Presbyterian ministers that I know usually operate under the working assumption that our congregations are there.  You know, THERE.  You have arrived.  You are mature Christians and all you need is to have Scripture unpacked for your further consumption.  Kind of like I give you the steak, and then you cut it up and put on the A-1.

Bad assumption!  Perhaps we need to get back to the basics more often than not!  So, in this light, I have decided to preach a series on evangelism!  Yes, that dirty word.  That funDAMentalist word.  What does the Bibles say about sharing our faith?  How should we do it?  What should we say?  Is there a right way – or a wrong way?  Why is it necessary?  What could we possibly say about our faith?  Is everybody able to do this kind of thing?  Is sharing our faith un-Presbyterian – I mean, there are a lot of various views out there about ultimate things, and we Presbyterians are, you know, a diverse lot.

Just giving you a heads up!  I’m thinking of calling this series, “How to be an Evangelical.”    ;-)




July 24, 2012, 10:10 AM

Aurora, Penn State & Sin



 

Last Sunday, we began a new sermon series in the book of Numbers.  We kicked off with the beginning of the journey in the wilderness.  As Israel leaves Sinai, we are made powerfully aware that God will go with them.  He will be there.  He will guide them.  They will be prosperous if they are obedient.  IF!  If they turn aside from the path (the Yellow Brick Road) and do their own thing, there will be trouble.  We know that at least some of the people weren't faithful to the task -- as we will see in the upcoming sermons -- and as a result, ALL OF THEM were sentenced to a wilderness wandering until the last adult died off there in the barren-ness short of the Promised Land.

Surely there were more good, faithful Israelites besides Joshua and Caleb?!  Maybe there were some who, while not exactly strong like those two men, nevertheless, were ready to do what God wanted them to do.  Unfortunately, Scripture does not say anything about the masses -- but lumps them in with the few.  They ALL fell in the wilderness along with those who were indeed, rebellious.  Bottom line:  The sin of a few cost an entire generation a destination in the Promised Land!

Now, I've been thinking, in light of the two major stories dominating the headlines these days -- the Penn State scandal and the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado:  For those who decided to go see a movie late last Thursday night, what did they do to deserve the horror that met them that night in one, messed up young man?

How about Penn Sate?  One messed up older man brings down an entire university football program, and in the process, cripples and tortures an entire Pennsylvania community.  What did the fans do to deserve this?  What did the players do, who had no piece whatsoever in this heinous crime?  What did the small business owners who make their living from the popularity of the football program do?

Now, on the Penn State question - I have never much liked JoPa or his football program - I believe the punishment is way too severe, for the reasos I just cited above.  And yet, it gets me to reflecting on the consequences of sin.  When we make bad decisions, the wrong choices.  When we allow sin for a season to over-power a desire to please God.  Our sin never merely affects us -- but is destructive and catastrophic, often taking many "innocent" people down with the guilty.  Sin is a death fertilizer.  Sin is chaos inducing.  Sin is painful.  Sin is like the breaking of an irreplaceable porcelain pot.  Sin is never content to dance alone.  It takes in many unwilling, unsuspecting partners.

All of this makes me long for the journey's end, when we find God "resetting the clock" to an earlier time of perfection and sinlessness, as it was at the beginning.  But, boy, this journey in the wilderness can really be painful at times! 




July 21, 2012, 2:22 PM

Numbers!


How many sermons have you heard from the book of Numbers?  I bet you haven't heard very many!  But, guess what?  It's in the Bible!  It's in there!  Now you have probably heard Aaron's benediction many times (not as a sermon); and Balaam and the talking donkey thing is pretty cool and gets thrown in for good measure some times.  Of course, the whole spy vs. spy and the blown opportunity to enter into the Land without all the wandering in the wilderness bummer gets a few mentions in churches that aren't afraid to violate Robert Schuller's counsel that there are certain texts in the Bible that shouldn't be preached because they are real downers.  But, oh my, that grape cluster must have been humongous!

You should know by now that I do not approach Old Testament stories with the prime aim of presenting them as mere morality tales or unconnected puff pieces.  My aim is always to connect the books with the larger narrative.  To magnify Jesus Christ.  To follow God's continuing narrative -- the so-called "scarlet thread of redemption."  And so we will do in Numbers.

As we begin this series, you will find that the wilderness generation has much in common with us today.  Their redemption came through a literal Red Sea.  Their wilderness was a literal wilderness and the place they were going towards was as well, a literal Promised Land.  For you and me today, we look back to Jesus Christ and see in his death and resurrection a Red Sea-sized deliverance from the bondage of sin and death.  We recognize in his ascension and sending of the Holy Spirit a beginning of our own wilderness journey through this world, as we look for his return to gain the "Promised Land" of the new heavens and the new earth -- the New Jerusalem.

The journey begins tomorrow!




July 18, 2012, 11:24 AM

Midvar!


New sermon series.  Told you about it in the newsletter, so I won't rehearse everything I said there here.  But, I did want to lay out the preaching schedule for that series.

Here it is:

July-September 2012

1.  July 22        Numbers 9:15-23             Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

2.  July 29        Numbers 10:33-11:15     Manna-Loaf.

3.  Aug 05        Numbers 13:1-3, 17-20, 25-33, 14:1-10     A Failure to Launch.

4.  Aug 26        Numbers 14:11-45           No Penalties; Only Consequences.

5.  Sept 02       Numbers 17:1-13             A Word About Grumbling.

6.  Sept 09       Numbers 21:4-9               The Bronze Serpent.

7.  Sept 16       Numbers 27:12-23          On The Brink.

As you look up these passages, you're going to realize that I am not going to be able to cover a number of familiar events in the book that are somewhat well-known, such as the "Nazirite Vow" and the story behind Aaron's benediction in Numbers 6; the appointing of the seventy elders to help out Moses; a number of details about spying out the Promised Land; the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram; and most significantly, Balaam and his donkey -- the talking donkey!  I really wanted to preach on that episode!  So, what I have decided is that I will come back later in 2013 and do a special mini-series (3 sermons) on it.  Maybe I'll call it, The Revenge of Eeyore!

Nah, just kidding.

(The title, not the series.)

 




July 14, 2012, 8:11 AM

It Ain't Eisegesis


eis·e·ge·sis [ahy-si-jee-sis]

noun, plural eis·e·ge·ses
An interpretation, especially of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.
 
This is a word that preachers hate to hear, especially when someone uses it to describe their sermons!  We are supposed to be exegetes, not eisegetes.  Exegesis, as you might guess, means mining the text for its own meaning...not the preacher's own ideas and or persistent fantasies.  Supposedly, now, we go to seminary and learn the original biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek - or at least attain a working knowledge of those languages.  We sit through preaching classes and learn from the local "experts" in pulpit craft.  We endure the harsh criticism of our preacher wannabe classmates as we clumsily develop our preaching skills in front of them.  We write numerous exegetical papers to demonstrate that we are learning well how to use the tools of language and hermeneutics.  And then, upon graduation, most preachers get in the pulpit and preach what they want anyway, to the abandonment of all those good habits learned in seminary.
 
Mind you, this is not confession time for this preacher!
 
So, the long and short of it is, you never want a eisegetical preacher.  However, as I think about tomorrow's sermon, I'm not sure what it is - I pray it ain't that dreaded eis- word.  Let me give you the skinny:  I am preaching on the scene in John's Gospel (20:19-22) where the disciples are holed up in the upper room, terrified becuase they don't know what's going to happen to them.  Jesus is gone, so they think.  Perhaps they will suffer the same fate as the Master?  They just don't know, and they don't know if they can even handle it.  Their world has come crashing down upon them.
 
And then, Jesus shows up, out of nowhere - seemingly.  He calms them down.  He says, "Peace be with you."  Don't be afraid.  He gives them a measure of the Holy Spirit and then sends them out into that world of which they were moments before trembling at the thought.  We know the rest of the story.  How they were brave.  Courageous.  Unafraid of death.  Determined to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.  That was the story of the early witness of the followers of Jesus.
 
Now, what I am doing tomorrow is talking about overcoming restraining, paralyzing fear; getting out of our own personal comfort zones and getting on with ministry - ministry that we never could have pictured ourselves doing before, just like the original disciples!  However, I think this -- while good stuff for sure -- is a tangental thought to the passage.  I don't think John had any interest in helping us to become psychologically healthy and missionally fit here.  I think he did want to demonstrate that the gospel was moving on and out in the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had promised.  He wanted to demonstrate that Jesus was indeed who he claimed to be.  That Jesus was none other than God's anointed.  And, that we could indeed believe in him.  This is the underlying fabric of John's Gospel, (cf. John 20:31).
 
But, often, there are interesting details: biographical, psychological, and tangental thoughts, that present themselves along this basic, gospel story-line.  And they are worth mining from time to time.  So, I don't think I'm going to be engaging in eisegesis tomorrow.  But, I do think that this is a good spark from the story that we need.  And, we can certainly use it in the life of our church here and now!
 



July 11, 2012, 11:29 AM

Finding the Chicken and Swimming with the Pigs.



On Sunday, when mentioning the parable about the one lost sheep as to the 99 that were not lost -- I haphazardly confessed that I had lost one of my wife's chickens while they were out of town over the weekend.  At least she still had twenty more left!  What's one chicken between us?  We blessed a racoon!

Turns out that that one chicken was the one who laid blue eggs.  Valuable chick!  No more blue eggs and ham, I suppose.  Anyway.  Long and short, I was in big trouble.  How could I not shut that door to the chicken house?  Never mind that I've shut it dutifully many, many times over before.  It's the old adage, "One ah, shux! nullifies ten atta boys."

Well, that chicken came home to roost late Sunday!  I didn't blow it.  And I just thought you might want to know that.

Now, about the sermon this past Sunday.  There is another old adage that needs to be put out there for consumption:  "A preacher can't say everything when he says something."  Here's how it works:  What a preacher doesn't say about a particular passage of Scripture in a given sermon will be interpreted by the hearer as a willful omission or a glaring defect in the preacher's theology.  To which we reply, "We can't say everything when we say something!"  When I preach a sermon, I can't cover every angle and nuance of a particular passage.  I have to be selective.  There are going to be things that are not said.  But that's not because of a "I don't want to go there" omission or defective theology or flat-out ignorance -- though in some pulpits this might certainly be the case -- but not with this preacher!  ;-)

On Sunday, the parable of the prodigal presented an opportunity for this preacher to emphasize the love of God.  But, and I hope I made this clear, this does not mean that the love of God comes without conditions.  I love how the father in the parable tells the older son, "This brother of yours was dead, but now he's alive!" (My paraphrase.)  He's not the same man that he was when he stormed out of the house arrogantly with his inheritance.  He has changed.  He has repented.  He has decided to leave his profligate ways behind, and he wants to live.  To this, the father joyously welcomes this one, lost son back into the family fold -- just as God does with every other hard case, profilate sinners who cry for mercy.

I do not want anybody hearing what I said on Sunday thinking that God's love is a blank check.  No one should imagine that they can define God's love down.  No one can determine that a change in behavior or being is unecessary because God loves them just the way they are -- whatever!  Hardly!  When the prodigal was laying in the muck with the pigs, I can't imagine that he was reassuring himself that his dad (or God) loved him just the way he was!  It took some repentance, man.  (And a bath!)  He couldn't stay where he was or even the way he was. (I know, bad grammar there!)  He had to move.  He had to change.  That's why dad said, "My son was dead, but now he's alive!"

The long and short of the matter:  Repentance will always find the warm, welcome embrace of our God in Jesus Christ.  That's the message.  Oh, and God loves you, too.




July 5, 2012, 11:32 AM

The Prodigal


This Sunday, we will be stepping off the sermon series wagon and taking in a solo shot, so to speak.  Luke 15.  I think this is a great opportunity to see anew what God's love looks like in terms we can all identify with.  A great reminder and a great encouragement.




July 3, 2012, 2:12 PM

One of Those Days


Well, I must say that Sunday should have been a very good day.  I was preaching from a passage that really stokes me -- the last two chapters of Revelation.  The heights that this section reaches is just flat out incredible.  When you go back to the prophets, especialy Isaiah, you see how Revelation really cashes in on those prophecies.  Beautiful!

And yet, the Friday previous to Sunday, the electricity goes out abruptly at 9:01 pm in the wake of a sneeky storm.I was just about to type the words, "You have heard the Word of God, now consider it so very well.   Amen."  And then.  Nothing.  The computer screen goes dark, and I realize that I have lost everything!  Again!  Possibly, when the power comes back on, I can recover the file.  Well, here it is Tuesday, and the power is still off in our household!  I understand that there are still 12,000 houses without power in Roanoke County where I reside.  Nice to know that my household will probably, at this rate, be the last one reconnected.  (Thank you so very much APCO!)

I had a bad day Sunday.  Slept in the sanctuary on the pew Saturday night.  Washed my hair in the sink.  Put on a smile, and tried to persuade myself that I could pull off the sermon.  Believed every word I spoke that morning.  But, just wasn't feeling it.  I needed to be in the pews that morning, not behind the pulpit.

I remember a story from my college days about an early 20th century, Texas preacher named J. Frank Norris.  Norris was the first "mega-church" pastor in America.  Extremely charismatic and powerful, but also way too controversial.  Anyway, story was told about the time J. Frank mounted the pulpit one Sunday evening.  The crowds had gathered tohear the popular preacher.  But J. Frank wasn't up to preaching this night.  He reportedly said, "I don't have it tonight."  And proceded to walk out of the pulpit.  The crowd just sat in stunned silence.  Finally, they realized that J. Frank wasn't going to preach, so they got up and went home.

Don't think I could pull a J. Frank.  Don't think that would be right.  Besides, I'm not J. Frank.




June 28, 2012, 12:46 PM

Revelation Wrap-Up [UPDATED!]


We are coming to the last sermon in this series.  I will confess that I am finding the constraints of the pulpit to be a major barrier to unpacking the book.  I don't believe that any of the sermons in this series have been able to do real justice to the message of the book.  There is just not enough time to unwind and achieve any measure of depth.  However, having said that, I would also add that when you do dive in a little more intensely, you end up blowing in more fog than sunshine.

So, perhaps it was well to just scratch the surface?  Perhaps it helped to give you a sense and feel for what Revelation is about?  The flyover and lay of the land?  If it served any of those purposes, then I will be quite satisfied.  As a wrap-up, then, I want to try to frame the picture we have painted of this book.  Please permit this humble summary here of our series:

Sermon #1 - The Throne Room in heaven is opened up.  The thin line seperating the earth and the eternal is peeled back, giving us a preview of what real reality really looks like.  God is, we rightly gather, prepared to finish the work of making heaven and earth one.  It is surely an awesome sight, and one that gives us hope for the future.  God IS sovereign.  He IS still on his throne and he IS ready to move.

Sermon #2 - The "Love Letters" to the Church.  Seven churches representing the entire church throughout time.  Here is the message:  God is present.  God is watching.  God is looking after his own.  God corrects his own.  God exhorts his own.  What we do and what we believe matters to God.  Keep your sights on the finish line!

Sermon #3 - The Lamb of God!  The Lion of Judah!  The one who is able to (and does!) unfold the plan of God.  He is able by offering up himself as the perfect, obedient sacrifice for the sin of the world.  He, by his faithful action, sets in motion the redemption of the world.  From the cross, all that follows is the unfolding of this plan.  Symbolically and at times, graphically, this consequences are portrayed in what follows in the incredible, self-offering of the Son.

Sermon #4 - The Seal Judgments -- what I would suggest is a direct result of Jesus on the cross.  Sin is judged and all hell rebels!  The judgments expose our natural inclination to kick against the goodness of God.  Just as the appearance of Jesus usually brought out great demonic activity in the Gospels, so too the redemption accomplished and applied at Calvary tends to send shock waves out in the world.  Two other similar cycles of judgment follow the Seals:  The Trumpets (Rev. 8-11) and the Bowls (Rev. 16).  These judgment cycles serve the same purpose, only in ever-increasing intensity and scope.

Sermon #5 - You are the Apple of God's Eye!  This was perhaps my favorite sermon in the series, because it spoke of the care and Providence of God for his own in the midst of upheaval in the world.  The 144,000 from the tribes of Israel representing God's people - counted for and accounted for in the midst of so much uncertainty in a crazy world.  God's people are truly the apple of his eye!

Sermon #6 - Stink, Stank, Stunk!  Yes, there is such a thing as a devil!  The devil is personal.  The devil wants to be like God.  The devil, the beast and the false prophet paint the picture of a bent, un-holy trinity.  You just can't miss how much they are presented as the antithesis of the real thing.  However, unlike a modern day horror movie -- there isn't going to be an unending string of sequels here.  Evil will be defeated in the end!

Sermon #7 - The World.  Oh, the world.  We are to be in the world, but not of it.  God loves the world.  It ain't bad.  Don't run.  Don't hide.  But God doesn't love everything the world does!  Christians really need to be discerning when it comes to the choices we make.  The entertainment we indulge.  The philosophies we embrace.  The politics we approve.  The lifestyle and ethics that define us.  So much out there.  Lots of good, and plenty of bad.  Know God.  Know His Word!

Sermon #8 - The Returning King.  The King of kings and Lord of lords.  Jesus comes back.  And God does indeed judge.  Remember the quote from Miroslav Volf:  If God doesn't answer evil, then he is no God at all.  The flip side of that is that we do not have to exact vengeance ourselves.  We can get about the business of doing what God calls us to do.  Never rejoicing in the downfall of any, but working for the good of all until there is no more time.

Sermon #9 - The Millennium!  I suggested to you that this thousand year millennial reign of Christ began at the cross.  That the thousand years were not literal years.  That Satan had been bound at the time of Jesus and his earthly, gospel ministry.  Oh, and I know that was a tough sell!  But, please understand that being "bound" in this sense doesn't necessarily mean that the devil is chained and unable to function as much as it speaks to his certain demise and his inability to stop the advance of the Kingdom of God!  I believe that this is the meaning of all of the verses that I brought to your attention on this point.  See the text of this sermon just below this post!

And, this week, Sermon #10.  This week we are looking at heaven on earth.  I know, youhear this theme from me often.  But it is an important one!  The New Jerusalem.  Eden Recovered.  We will be looking at how the Bible has presented this final time, from Genesis all the way through to Revelation.  I think you may be surprised how much the Bible speaks on this topic -- and hence, why I do as well!

And so, I leave you with the text that we will be using this Sunday.  Please meditate on these passages, and ask yourself, what words or phrases here in these final two chapters of Revelation speak to your heart the most?

Revelation 21:1-5, 9-11, 22-27, 22:1-6

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."  And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."  Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

"Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day--and there will be no night there.  They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more.  They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.  And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."

 


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