Rev 22:1-6 The Water of Life

  1. Every good garden makes use of 4 things well
    1. Water features
    2. Trees
    3. Harness Light in ways that illuminate
    4. Bring blessing, life
    5. For Example

i.     Butchart

ii.     Van Dusen

iii.     Ohme Gardens, Wenatchee

  1. Rev 22 is a vision about the restorative power of Life
    1. Where Rev 21 showed life as a city, Rev 22 shows life as a garden

i.     All 4 elements of an exquisite garden are prominent – A river, a Tree, Light and a Blessing

ii.     Lets explore these 4 elements of God’s garden paradise

  1. RIVER of the water of Life is God’s Reign
    1. Not merely aesthetic, but visual picture of eternal life

                                              i.     Ezek 47:9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.

  1. Not trickle or stream, pond, but a mighty river – greater than Mississippi, Colorado, Columbia

i.     The river of the water of life, as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. (Rev 22:1)

  1. Flowing

i.     Not stagnant, stationary, doesn’t stand still to grow junk

ii.     Living water, proceeds from throne to people, carry them along, nourish them

  1. Lazy river ride par excellence
  2. Snorkeling without fins and tube and being able to drink the water and breath
  3. From the throne – God is the source, Resurrected Jesus

i.     God’s reign is life-giving

  1. Clear as Crystal

i.     Pure, without impurities

ii.     Perfect life, tasty life, godly life flowing into world

iii.     These will be “streams that make glad the city of God” Ps 46:4.

iv.     Ladd, Revelation “death has been abolished.” P.286

  1. CENTRAL: Down the middle of the Great Street (v.2)

i.     Everything revolves around his reign

ii.     Life is given to the city because of his will is carried out

iii.     Like river flowed through Eden and watered so growth happen, so the eternal reign of God nourished and grows the city of God and the people of God

  1. Can that life-giving reign be experienced now? Or must we wait until the final judgment?  Jesus life – sinless, obedient to Father, loving, joyful, peace…

i.     Flowing out of throne, into the garden to all those who inhabit CITY

  1. We are citizens of the Jerusalem that is above (Gal 4:26, Phil 3:20)
  2. 2.     John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

ii.     The Life of God available in Christ through the Spirit to every believer

iii.     HOW CAN THESE SPRINGS BE EXPERIENCED NOW?

  1. Let’s look at the Next part of the Garden, the Tree for that answer.
  2. TREE of Life IS JESUS
    1. 2nd image communicate eternal life in City, two times = important, pay attn..

i.     1st is reign of God

ii.     2nd is fruit of God’s reign, Tree is beside the river/reign = GOSPEL

  1. 12 crops of fruit, monthly

i.     never time when eternal life is unavailable in the city of God

ii.     This tree never dies.  Death has no more place here

iii.     Life is always present, lasts, never wears out

  1. Leaves are for the healing of the nations

i.     Life has internal and external parts

  1. FRUIT: Internal – nourishes you, heals you, creates you as a person into image of God
  2. LEAVES: External – affects others
    1. Typically used in poultices, wound care

ii.     Life God makes in gospel in his kingdom isn’t merely personal and introspective, it is corporate and effective in bonding people together

iii.     Spurgeon Sermon 1233 on Rev 22:21 entitled “Healing Leaves” articulated a Question I was wondering, “Is this picture of heaven merely future or is it present as well?”

  1. Also present.  The life available is open to all right now
  2. Only this life that can cure the soul or the person and restore the peace of the world.
  3. As long as wars exist – Gospel is only hope; As long as treaties broken – gospel is the only hope; as long as nations compete against one another to oppress the other – gospel is the only hope.
  4. Only when Christ and his spirit are the Center of our lives is life available, peace, prosperity, joy, love…
  5. What is this Gospel pictured as the tree of Life, the fruit of God’s reign

i.     Repentance – agreeing God is Lord, not me.

  1. When we feed on this aren’t our souls transformed, worries mitigated, stresses abolished?

ii.     Confession of sin to God and one sinned against – purges us of impurity

iii.     Obedience to commands of God – Love God and Neighbor, flee sin, refuse gossip, speak divisively

  1. BLESSING: No longer any curse
    1. 3rd image of eternal life, 3x = certainty, better get this

i.     1st Reign of God

ii.     2nd Gospel of God

iii.     3rd brings Blessing of God

  1. Curse was “on the day you eat it you will surely die” = day you deny God’s reign, death comes

i.     Enmity between humanity/Snake

ii.     Pain in childbearing

iii.     Labor at working

iv.     Core – spiritual death, and physical death

  1. Blessing is the day you admit his reign, partake of his blessing, then curse is Gone

i.     God and man are brought together again

ii.     See his face

  1. Life-giving relationship of Father and child restored
  2. When we see the face of God we radiate his glory, just as Moses did
    1. a.     Ex. 34:29, 33-35 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD…
    2. b.     2Cor. 3:7-8 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
    3. 3 images of life – River, tree, No Curse

i.     God’s reign extending through the gospel bringing blessing all of that results in light

  1. LIGHT: No More Night…Lord will give them light.  I am the Light of the World.
    1. God will determine our path.

                                              i.     Psa. 118:27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.

                                            ii.     Num 6:25 Benediction The Lord make his face shine upon us…turn his face towards us….

  1. b.     John 8:12 …Jesus spoke … “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
  2. Reign of God, Gospel of God and Blessing God all bring about Clarity

i.     w/o them there is Night = evil, danger, sin, confusion

ii.     w/ them is clearness, safety, direction, illumination

Jesus himself says these are words that can be trusted, so if you long for the life giving blessing of the Garden of God.  If your world seems dark and confused.  If sin continues to drag you down, then God bids you to come and rest in his reign.  Eat from his gospel promises and his gospel calls to repentance.  Step out in obedience and enjoy the blessings his reign brings.  Come swim in the waters, eat from the tree, play in the garden, and be refreshed in body soul and mind for Christ is inviting you to dwell, even now, in the house of your father.

Notes

1 http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols19-21/chs1233.pdf

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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