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Revelation’s Sixth Beautiful Beatitude
Revelation 22:7


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost—September 12, 2010

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

We continue our sermon series on “Revelation’s Seven Beautiful Beatitudes” as printed on the back of the bulletin.  This morning we consider “Revelation’s Sixth Beautiful Beatitude,” which is the last verse of today’s Epistle Reading:  “Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

Coming as it does in the last chapter of the last book in the Bible, this beatitude applies not only to the book of Revelation, but also to the whole Bible.  “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

James says, “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.”  But, we often fail to fulfill that command.  For, often we hear God’s Word, but don’t actually do it.  We read the Bible, we listen to the sermon, we sit in Bible Class, Sunday School, Confirmation class, we hear the Word, but does it really make a difference in our everyday lives?  Does the message of God’s Word move us to make the changes God desires in us and the way we live?  Or, as the old adage says, does it just go in one ear and out the other?

The Lord says in Ezekiel, “Take to heart all the words I speak to you.”  Take to heart first of all the Lord’s word of condemnation upon your sin.  As today’s Epistle Reading says of heaven, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful.”  But, Jesus says in today’s Gospel Reading, “There is . . . rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.”  Take to heart the Lord’s word of condemnation, and repent!

Take to heart also the Lord’s word of forgiveness for all your sins.  There is a massive cross at the front of our church because Christ’s death on the cross is the focus of our faith.  As Peter says in Acts, “They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day . . . everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

That is the meaning for you of Christ’s death on the cross.  He suffered in your place the punishment for all your sins, his death and resurrection earns you full forgiveness.  As Peter says in his First Epistle, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross . . . by his wounds you have been healed.” 

It is an old custom for churches to have their front doors painted red.  But, you may not realize that isn’t just for decoration, it actually has a deeply symbolic meaning.  The red front doors of a church symbolize the blood of Christ.  For it is through his blood that we are made worthy to enter in and come before the Lord and worship him in his house.  And it is through his blood that we are made worthy to ultimately enter in to heaven and come before the Lord and worship him there for eternity.  The opening verses of Revelation put it this way: “He loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.”  Take to heart the Lord’s word of forgiveness, and believe!

Take to heart Jesus’ call, “Come, follow me.”  Paul puts it this way in 2nd Corinthians: “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him, who died for them and rose again.”  Live no longer for yourself, but follow him in your daily life.  Take to heart Jesus’ call to you, “Come, follow me.”

“Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”  How can you keep his Word in your everyday life?

Jesus told his disciples at the Last Supper, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Keep his Word by showing his love in your life.

Paul says in Ephesians, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Keep his Word by showing his forgiveness in your life.

Paul says in Philippians, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”  Keep his Word by showing his holiness in your life.

Hebrews says, “Let us not give up meeting together,” and Psalm 100 urges us to “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise.”  Keep his Word by faithfully worshipping him in your life.

“Do this in remembrance of me” Jesus said.  “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup,” Paul says in 1st Corinthians, “you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  Keep his Word by coming to the feast here at his holy table.

And, of course, keep his Word in your life by reading, hearing, studying his Word, in your own devotions, in Bible Class, in Sunday School and Midweek School.  “If you continue in my Word,” Jesus says, “you are truly my disciples.”

Don’t’ let God’s Word go in one ear and out the other, but keep his Word in your heart and life.  “Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

Amen.

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