Chapter 22: 12-20
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.’ 14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. 16 ‘I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’ 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
18 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
First, let me make a correction. I had mentioned that J.R. Tolkien, a good friend of C. S. Lewis, would be in Heaven. He very well may be, but I was informed that he was a devout Catholic. Of course, if he truly believed in Jesus as Savior, then he will be there with us. But if he remained true to his religion and its doctrines, he would have missed heaven by trusting in rituals and rites and not in Jesus alone as Savior. Sadly, there are many, some that I know and love, like this. Bewildered by religion and missing the relationship with Jesus that they need.
In today’s article, we will explore the last few verses of the Revelation of Jesus. This by no means ends our study of this book; rather, I hope that this will inspire you to explore more; read more; ask more questions; read Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah and other books and see the continuity of the scriptures; see the way that the prophecies are being worked out right before us; and see that hand of God over the course of history.
- Rewards, verse 12
We will all give an account of our lives to the Lord. We will be examined as to how we lived our lives for the Lord in regard to life after salvation. No one gets to heaven because of works. Heaven, eternal life, is a gift according to Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9. But in Ephesian 2:10 we are told,
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
We are created in Jesus for ‘good works,’ to live a good life before the Lord as the new creation in Jesus. In a more ‘forceful’ way, the New Testament writer James tells us this in 2:14-17, that works and faith go hand in hand:
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
One is not saved by works; you cannot do enough good to get to Heaven. But once you have been saved, a natural evidence of this is that you do good works. James uses the example of showing genuine care and empathy for a brother or sister in the Lord. Faith requires action, and it requires that we do certain things because we are people of faith. One of these things is to provide for the basic needs of our own. One of the copouts of the modern church is “I will pray for you” rather than “I will do for you.” There is nothing wrong with prayer, but if we have the power to satisfy a need, then we should do so, and do it gladly that we can serve.
Jesus tells us in verse 12 that He has rewards for us. In 1 Corinthians 3:14-15, we are reminded by the Apostle Paul of this:
“If what he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If it is burned up; he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as if through the flames.”
Some will receive a reward, but some will suffer loss. We need to be diligently working for the Lord, not to be saved, BUT because we are saved. We are saved to serve Him and our fellow man, beginning with those in the family of God and their ministries. I look back on my life and try to make a judgment each day as to how I lived it. I have learned that what we make out to be big things with man are not big with God. God values relationships. He is a God of relationships. Be a good wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, friend, worker, manager, pastor, church member and citizen. Put God first and faithfully do whatever He has given you to do. God honors this.
- Blessed are the Obedient, verse 14
Obedience is the highest form of worship. I will say it again; obedience is the highest form of worship!! Often, we see that the Lord says He does not want sacrifice, but an obedient spirit. David writes in Psalm 51:16-17,
“For You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
Further, in Hosea 6:6, we see these words:
“For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
And in Micah 6:7-8, we find these words to live by:
“Would the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mankind, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Obedience pleases God. Obedience pleases any parent, and God is our heavenly Father. We can sing, we can raise our hands, we can fall on the floor, we can dance, we can kneel, we can have the best worship bands and the most articulate preachers, we can have the latest technology and the best that all man has to offer. But, if we are not obedient, it is nothing to the Lord. David the Psalmist writes these words to live by in Psalm 119:11:
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Do you love your wives sacrificially, husbands? Are you the best servants in your home, dads, showing your sons how to be good husbands and dads? Do your children see you reading and studying God’s Word? When was the last time you said sorry to your kids and asked their forgiveness for the times you failed them? If your daughter married a man like you, would she be marrying a man who will lead her spiritually, love her, serve her, cherish her, be faithful to her and give up all but God for her?
Do you love your neighbor as God loves you? Are you available to God to be used at any time and any moment? Is all you have already His? Are you running from God or to Him? Are you serving Him joyfully, thankful for His redemption, and simply His? Are you in a Job-like situation? Is life hard? Are times tough, no goodness on the horizon? These are the times to trust Him more, read the Bible more, seek Him more and stay that course.
Lately, I have struggled with walking humbly. I have had ideas of grandeur in my mind, and I have to fight it. All I do is His ministry, not mine, and He can find someone else to do it if I don’t. Micah calls us to ‘walk humbly’ with our God. Remember that we are just dust held together by the power and grace of God. God, we are told, blesses obedience.
Jesus warns us that He is coming quickly; He says it 3 times in chapter 22. This repetition should serve as a warning to us to live expectant of His return. Will Jesus find us to be humble and obedient servants at His appearing? Watch, look up, be ready; Jesus is coming soon! I leave you this week with this, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”