Saturday, May 06, 2006

New Life

I'm trying sort of to post these in somewhat logical order. When I finish what I have of this series, I'll search for some other studies I've led or participated in and get those up on this blog.

In your own words, what do these words mean?
  • Old
  • Disappeared
  • Vanished
  • Grief
  • Heaven
  • Earth
  • Home
  • New
  • True
  • Trusted
Now find each of these words in the Bible passage.

Revelation 21

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, dressed as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"See, the home of God is with humankind!
God will dwell with them and they shall be his people.
God himself will be with them and he will be their God.

4 "God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or grief or crying or pain,
for the old things have disappeared."

5 And the one who sits on the throne said, "Behold, now I make all things new." Also he said to me, "Write this, for these words are true and can be trusted."

On the remote island of Patmos, a man called John wrote Revelation, the last book of the Bible. God gave John a vision of the way life would be when people lived close to him and to one another in the way Jesus lived.

Many things in the book of Revelation are hard to understand. But there are also a lot of words and a lot of images, or pictures that can be clear to us.

Back to the beginning: God created us to live in an open, free relationship with him and with one another. God knew none of us ever could be truly happy any other way. But people kept acting in ways that broke this closeness. To bring us back together to him and to one another, God came to earth in Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus' death on the cross of Good Friday and God's raising Christ to new life on Easter, we can live free from past sin and failure.

  • How does God want us to live?
  • What does God's kind of life include?
  • What does God's kind of life exclude?
Unless we trust something is possible, we won't be able to do it. While John, the writer of Revelation lived in exile on a wilderness island, God showed him a vision of life, reunited with itself and with him. God gave John promises of a reunited world. John saw the vision and heard the promises. He believed God. He wrote Revelation to tell other people what he saw, heard and believed. We call this telling others a testimony.

There are two main themes in this part of John's testimony:

  • Newness of life
  • God's being at home with the People of God
After Jesus' resurrection and ascension to the Right Hand of God, the Holy Spirit of God filled the world on the day of Pentecost. Because God's Holy Spirit is here with us now, we can make real to each other the kind of world we read about in Revelation.

  • What does it mean to really fill something?
  • How does the Holy Spirit help us?
  • What does God making his home with us mean to you?
  • For something to become new, what has to happen to the old?
  • What does "all things new" mean to you?

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