Red Village Church

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb – Revelation 19: 6-10

If I haven’t met you, my name is Aaron, and I’m the preaching pastor here, and I’m really glad you’re with us today. It’s just good to be together as the church. So if you have a Bible with you, open up to the Book of Revelation, Chapter 19.

Our text to study today is gonna be verses 6 through 10. So let me read the sacred word, and then I will pray, and then we will get to work. So Revelation 19, starting verse 6, and I’ll be reading out of the English Standard Version. This is what the Bible says:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

(Rev. 19:6-10, ESV)

That’s God’s word for us this morning. Let’s pray together.

Lord, thank you for your holy word. We’re grateful for the Holy Spirit who opens up your holy word to us so we can hear from you. Lord, I pray for the glory of Jesus Christ that you would bless this time. God, please help me to be a good communicator of your word. Please help the congregation to be good listeners of your word. Lord, ultimately we pray that you would use this time not just to encourage us, but ultimately to bring glory to Jesus. In his name we pray. Amen.

So, if everyone’s favorite lung doctor, Jay Tuck, had a bingo sheet for our sermon series that we were just setting up here at the end of Revelations, there are two things that I’m sure Jay would have on it that he would assume I’d bring up throughout the study. So first, Jay would assume that I would make reference to one of my favorite books, a book titled “Heaven,” written by Randy Elkhorn. Which, by the way, is a book I would highly recommend to any of you if you’re looking for a book to read this winter. In fact, we actually have some handful of copies of a little booklet written by Elkhorn with the same title, “Heaven,” that are available for you on the back as you leave. So, Jay can check that box off.

Second box, I’m sure he would have, is the assumption at some point in this sermon series I will make reference to a once-in-a-lifetime trip our wife, Tia, and I took to Israel. And to start off our sermon today, let me also check that box off for Jay. Okay?

Now, let me check that box off by starting off with just a story that Tia and I had on that trip that was about 10 years ago. So, now we know this. Every good story always starts out with a phrase, so there we were. And because of that, to start off this story, let me begin with those words. So, there we were. Tia and myself, 14 other pastors and their wives from all over the United States, on an all-expense paid trip to Israel. And on that first night, which was the first time that we got to meet most of each other as a group, where we were was in an upper room in Tel Aviv, just a block or so from the Mediterranean Sea.

And the night we were there was like the picture-perfect night. It was a warm fall evening with a clear, star-filled sky. And the reason why we were in this upper room together was because our host, the one covering the entire bill for all of us, for the entire trip, wanted us to be together to enjoy a meal together, to help us start new friendships together as a group of pilgrims who are about to embark on the tour of the Holy Lands, which is to start the next morning.

Now, in my lifetime, I’ve had many meals. I was doing some simple math this week, and I’m sure I’ve had over 30,000 meals in my 16,000-plus days of life. But in all of those many meals, this is one of the few meals I actually remember. And the reason why I actually remember this meal is not just because of where it took place or how magical a night it was, although I’m sure that contributes to why I can remember that meal, but the reason why I remember this one was just because of how over-the-top it was. I mean, it was over-the-top in terms of the fellowship and friendship that Ti and I experienced as we ate. Even though we just met most of the group that night, it was such a fun night. I mean, it was so much laughter, so much joy. You know, for Ti and me, this is probably like a night that is like the most fun night we’ve ever had. It was so fun.

But it’s not just the fun that we had with others that made this meal stick out to us. This meal sticks out even more to us or to me was just because of how incredible and gracious the host was. That night and that meal, our gracious host, he really, both him and his wife, made Ti and I feel like royalty.

Now, before we arrived to Israel as a group, the host actually went before us, and he was there in advance because he wanted to seek and find the best meal he could find in all of Tel Aviv, which turned out to be a seven-course meal, with each course of the meal being more incredibly eat than the previous course. I mean, really, the kindness, the generosity, the intentionality, the planning, the preparation that the host did, I mean, it’s hard to put to words. I mean, throughout this incredible meal, like, each of us just kept making comments of how overwhelmed we were by how kind and gracious and generous was our host. I mean, it was really because of the host that we had such great fellowship that night, why we had such great laughter. You know, without the host, we just would have been just a group of strangers. But because of the host, that night, it was magical. That night was a night that none of us wanted to end. It was a night like none other.

Now, I tell you that story not just for Jay to check off his bingo sheet box for the sermon series, but I tell you that story just to help set up actually one of my favorite passages in the Bible, a passage that details an even better meal that is to come, where there’ll be even greater fellowship, even greater laughter, a meal given by an even greater host. The perfect host, the one who is filled with all kindness, all grace, all generosity, the host who is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who, in our text, has gone before us to prepare a meal for his people, a meal that our text refers to as the marriage supper of a lamb, which is the great meal that is to come. But unlike the meal that ended in Israel, that ended with the night, this great meal that is to come, this is the one where God’s people will be able to enjoy it together forever.

Now, before we get to the text of today, let me remind us where we left off last week, which was the start of Revelation 19, which started the sermon series, which was a scene that’s very different from where our scene’s gonna be today. So in our text last week, as you remember, God’s people and heavenly angels were together with one voice rejoicing and praising God, which they were doing because God’s judgment just fell on Babylon, which, as you remember in the book of Revelation, Babylon is referred to as a woman who stands in opposition to the Lord and to God’s people. In our text last week, God brought judgment on Babylon with his just, true judgment, which was mentioned, caused God’s people as well as the angels to rejoice, to give to the Lord their collective hallelujahs.

So in short, that was our text last week, judgment to the woman Babylon. Now today, that judgment stands in contrast to how the Lord shows love to his bride, the church, which is love found in this incredible meal, this marriage supper of the Lamb.

Okay, so with that as our intro, please look back with me at our text, starting at verse six, which says this. Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters, like the sound of mighty pales of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah, for the Lord, our God, the Almighty, reigns.”

And this verse six here in our passage today actually parallels verse one of our text from last week, which I think actually links these two passages together. Links in ways that we see this contrast between the woman Babylon and then the bride of Christ. Just to keep these parallels, these links together, please look back with me again at our text today as well as our text from last week.

So we see in verse six today, like verse one of last week, John is detailing a voice of a great multitude, which in verse one last week was one loud, collective voice. Which in our text today is a voice like a loud roar of many waters, a loud sound of mighty peals of thunder.

In verse one of last week, I’ll look back there again. As John heard this loud voice, he recorded what was seen, which included the word of the phrase, “hallelujah.” “Hallelujah, salvation and glory and power belong to our God,” which is kind of what we see in our text today in verse six. As the collective voices continue to cry out, very similarly, “hallelujah, our God, the one who is almighty, he’s the one who remains.” Which also, by the way, or “he’s the one who reigns,” which, by the way, helps us to remind her that Babylon, all that she represents, like they don’t reign, she doesn’t reign. God, the almighty, he reigns.

So verse one last week, verse six this week, these are parallels, these are linking Babylon and the bride of Christ.

Yet while linked here, they’re headed to two different realities, two different eternal realities: one to judgment, the other to victory, to a great celebration. Keep going in our text. Verse six, “because God almighty reigns,” we see that the multitude cried out, “let us rejoice, let us exalt, let us give God the glory,” which go back to our four pillars we talked about last week.

This is a picture of worship here, like rejoicing, exalting in the Lord, giving glory to the Lord that he alone deserves. By the way, for us in this present life, as we wait the better life that is to come, we are to worship the Lord, exalt in God, give glory to God in all things, whether it be whether the Lord gives or he takes away. We exalt in him, we give him our praise in plenty or in want, we give him the glory whether we’re standing on the mountaintop or we’re stuck in the valley, or at any other point in between.

The testament even tells us in the most basic mundane things of life, we’re to approach them, experience them for the glory of God, exalted in him. Whether you eat, drink, whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. Back to our text.

As a great multitude is crying out with their loud voice to the Almighty God who reigns, we see they’re doing so knowing that the marriage of the lamb has come and the bride has made herself ready.

This tells us, as it is granted to the bride to clothe herself with fine linen, linens that are bright and pure, for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Now, let me hit pause here just to make sure we understand all the details of verses seven and eight.

So first, let me start out with the lamb. In the scripture, in the Old Testament scriptures, the lamb is a central, important animal. The lamb was a chosen animal used in the sacrificial system where the lamb would be sacrificed for the sins of God’s people, where the lamb would die so that God’s people would live. It’s mentioned, this is all over the place in the Old Testament. Most famously, the Passover lamb that was sacrificed on the night of the exodus as God’s people fled from Egypt. In that story, the death angel descended on Egypt where all the firstborn of the land would die, that is, unless the blood of the lamb covered the door of the house. Because of the blood of the lamb, the angel of death would pass over; they’d be saved from judgment.

The lamb is also found throughout the book of Revelation. As I mentioned last week, it’s written by the apostle John. Let me give you a handful of these here.

Revelation five. John recorded a lamb who was slain, who was on the receiving end of worship as all heaven sang out with one loud voice to the lamb, singing, “Worthy is the lamb who was slain to receive all power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

In chapter six of Revelation, the lamb is the one who opened up the seals of judgment that are about to fall on the earth. This caused even the kings of the earth to cry out for mountains and rocks to fall on them so they could hide from the wrath of the lamb.

Chapter seven describes a great multitude of people so large it cannot be numbered, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the lamb. In chapter seven of Revelation, there is a group of martyrs who washed their robes white with the blood of the lamb.

Later on, in chapter seven of Revelation, the lamb stood in the midst of his throne, in the midst of his people, to be their shepherd—a shepherd who will guide them to the springs of living waters so that the Lord himself will wipe every tear from their eyes. Which, by the way, this is like an allusion, I think, to the famous Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd,” who leads his people to green grass by still waters.

By the way, I should also mention, I think Psalm 23 is also foreshadowing the great marriage supper of the lamb in our text. Remember how Psalm 23 says this: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Keep going.

Revelation eight: As the lamb opened the seventh seal of judgment, you see, they caused heaven to go silent for 30 minutes. In chapter 13, there is a book of life of the lamb who was slain, which is the lamb’s book of life, filled with names of those who have been invited into eternal life to this great marriage supper.

Chapter 14: The lamb is there with 144,000 with him, which is a number I think meant to symbolically signify completeness, fullness. As this complete group is there, they’re there because they followed after the lamb as his redeemed people.

Chapter 14: Those who reject God will face eternal judgment as the lamb looks on.

Chapter 15: Another song of worship being sung to the lamb.

Chapter 17: The enemies of God made war on the lamb. But in the end, the lamb, the lamb will conquer them. Because the lamb is the Lord of lords, the king of kings.

Let me stop here, but in the weeks to come, we’re going to see more of this. More of the lamb, multiple times coming up in the text. So naturally, the question is, who’s the lamb?

Right, clearly in the book of Revelation, the lamb’s not an animal like the lambs of the Old Testament. Rather, this lamb is one who is divine because he receives worship, which we’ll talk about more in just a second. The lamb in Revelation, he is powerful. The lamb in Revelation, he is a conqueror. Yet, this lamb’s also the one who spilled his blood, which makes this lamb in Revelation ultimately the one who all of the Old Testament lambs were pointing to.

Thankfully for us, scripture doesn’t keep the identity of the lamb hidden from us. It’s not a mystery in the Bible who the divine conquering lamb is. So John, the author of Revelation, also wrote a gospel of John. He wrote this in chapter one, which is actually a quote from a different man named John, who we often refer to as John the Baptist. He’s like the Old Testament, last Old Testament prophet.

So John wrote this in John one. So John the Baptist looked over and saw Jesus, the Christ, the eternal word of God, who became flesh to dwell among us, fully God, fully man. Friends, John the Baptist declared this about Jesus. He declared this for all to hear, including us here today. He said, “Friends, Jesus Christ, he is the great, true, eternal lamb of God.” Why? Because on the cross, Jesus was slain for his people. Where on the cross, he proved to be the true Passover lamb who spilled his blood to take on the judgment of God for the sins of the people.

Where on the cross, Jesus Christ, the lamb of God, he died for us. But not only did he die, scripture is clear that he did not stay in the land of the dead, which Revelation reminds us. Rather, it proved that indeed, he is the conqueror, the conquering lamb over all things, including sin and death and the devil. Jesus Christ, the lamb, rose again on the third day and is now seated in his heavenly throne, where he has gone before his people to prepare a place for them.

Whereas the entrance of this place, Jesus, the lamb, will greet his people with this incredible meal in our passage, a meal that he graciously, generously has prepared for them as the great host. Say it again, friends: Jesus, the Christ, he is the lamb of Revelation, the lamb who is worthy of all of our praise. Amen.

This leads to this other character I want to point out to us from this passage, which is the bride, the one who gives her praise to the lamb. So just like the word “lamb,” the word “bride” is a phrase or term that actually comes up quite a bit in Revelation. It’s going to be coming up a few more times in the weeks to come. But rather than pointing to those two right here, let me just mention that thankfully for us, the identity of the bride is also not a mystery in the scripture. The scripture is actually very clear who the bride of Christ is. Friends, it’s clear, the one Jesus is appearing in the mirror for.

The book of Ephesians simply tells us the bride of Christ is the church. And the church, in this sense in Revelation, refers to the entire assembly of God’s people throughout all time. The church, God’s people. That’s the bride of Christ. Ephesians tells us that Jesus loves his bride with such love that he actually gave himself up for her, which is referenced to his death on the cross.

So that through his death, through his resurrection, Jesus might wash his bride clean with the water and of his word. So he might present his bride to himself in great splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. So that his bride might be holy and blameless before him. Which is what verse 8 in our text is picking up upon. As the bride of Christ was able to wear fine linen that is bright and pure.

Which by the way also stands in contrast to what Babylon was wearing. It’s Babylon in chapter 17. She was arrayed in garments of purple and scarlet. Which are colors that represent worldly wealth, worldly power, all that which fades away. The bride of Christ, the people of Christ. She’s dressed in white. She’s presented as being morally pure. She’s presented as pure of his dimension. The bridegroom, Jesus Christ, has made her pure. As we saw, he has washed her clean with his blood. According to his grace, according to his eternal plan and purpose.

Keep going in the passage. As the lamb, Jesus did this great work for his bride, for his people of faith.

See in verse 8 that the bride, now in turn, is able to respond back to the lamb—back to her great bridegroom, as saints now give forth their righteous deeds. I do want to hit pause here again, just to help us think through the righteous deeds of the saints.

So, these deeds are not deeds by which one receives an invitation to the wedding feast. Meaning, like, we can’t do enough good deeds, or like righteous acts, to make Christ, the bridegroom, look upon us with such favor that’s like, “You know what? I think I’m going to invite that person because of their righteous deeds to this meal. They’ve earned it.” That’s not how this works. The invitation to this meal only comes because the bridegroom graciously calls. It’s because of his righteousness that, for his people of faith, are counted as their righteousness.

So, the righteous deeds in this scene, these are deeds in response to what the lamb has done. Maybe we simply say it: Righteous deeds are not means for the bride to get invited. Rather, these deeds are a response to the bride because she was invited. These are deeds of overflowing with praise and gratitude.

I think these righteous deeds are present in our text at this meal in eternity. I think these are like any and all acts of worship that the bride gives to her bridegroom, to the lamb.

Like all the deeds of worship, all the received, all are honored by the Lord eternally at the meal in this passage here. And by the way, if I can be an encouragement to you this morning, even deeds that we might seem like small to the world or overlooked by others, unnoticed by others, even those deeds when done out of a heart of worship, you see, they have eternal value to the Lord.

Like none of our righteous deeds, done out of a heart of worship towards Jesus, like none of them are in vain. None are wasted. Like Jesus overlooks none of them. Go back to what I said earlier, even simple things like eating, drinking for the glory of God. Those most simple of deeds are honored in eternal life.

If I can be a further encouragement to you on this end, I have wondered, the saints who have contributed maybe the greatest number of righteous deeds, these great acts of worship that we see in this passage, I often wonder, it’s probably not going to be like the famous pastor, or the popular Christian podcaster, or the semi-influential blog writer, or others that we might label as great, who contributed the most. In my mind, I wonder if it’s going to be like the least of us who have contributed the most. These may be like the woman, who served in a church nursery virtually her entire life, like who prayed for the babies as she changed their diapers.

Or it’s going to be like the quiet, unassuming man, who is always the first person to volunteer with whatever felt need is there, where often he wasn’t even noticed that he was involved. I wonder if it’s going to be the person who’s like really suffering, like physical pain, for much of his or her life, that has continued to trust and praise the Lord through all the pain.

Or it’s going to be like the person who just was a faithful witness to Christ in their neighborhood, who just faithfully was trying to love their neighbors to Jesus. Or it’s going to be like the widow, who gave her last seemingly insignificant pennies to the Lord, who proved to be greater than like the rich donor.

Friends, I say it again, all the righteous deeds done out of worship for the Lamb, they matter. They will be honored in heaven. They will be present at this great marriage supper of the Lamb. Keep going, verse 9. As the multitude sang out their praises to the Lamb, their praises to the Lamb, we see the angel said to John, the author of Revelation, “John, I want you to write this: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'”

And he, meaning the angel, said to me, “These are the true words of God.” And I want you to point here to the word “blessed” or “blessed.” This is also a word scattered throughout the book of Revelation. In fact, seven times “blessed” is found.

The word “blessed” is a word that conveys happiness, joy, peace. And this sevenfold blessing in Revelation actually correlates with multiple other groupings of seven that are found throughout the book of Revelation that also help convey fullness, completeness. So, I won’t give you those groupings of sevens here, but let me encourage you to read through those or look for those next time you read through Revelation.

But I do want to give you the seven blessings just because I think they’re meant to be grouped together as a whole. So, here are the seven blessings of Revelation. In chapter 1, it says; chapter 14; chapter 16 says this; chapter 19, which I just read for you, are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb; chapter 20, which I’ll get to in a couple of weeks; chapter 22, which I’ll get to a few weeks after that. Finally, once again, chapter 22, “So they may have the right to eat of the tree of life and enter the city by its gates.”

Now, back to our text. These sevenfold blessings, including the blessing of being invited to this great marriage supper of the Lamb, our text tells us, these blessings, these are the true words of God. The true words of God, the God who never lies. These blessings, this is where happiness, joy, peace are ultimately found.

You know, back to Babylon again, all the ways that she lived herself, whether it was by pursuing wealth and power, or how she gave her ways through idolatry, sexual immorality, to greed. In the end, those things are not where happiness, joy, peace are found. That’s not true. I’m sure maybe in the moment, they may feel like they might deliver some type of happiness, joy, and peace.

We know those things certainly promise that they’re going to give us happiness, joy, and peace. But that’s just not true. Those things end to misery, judgment, the blessings of God, including the blessing in her passage. That’s what’s true. That’s what’s true. That’s where the longings of our hearts will be satisfied. Which are blessings I think in part we can experience in this life. This is a part of the abundant life that Jesus talks about in John 10. But these are blessings that we will evermore experience in the life that is to come.

Will they be full? Will they be complete? Blessings that we’ll fully, completely get to experience together at this Supper of the Lamb. We’ll be first together as pilgrims from this life. Who arrive together in the better life that is to come. And finally, this morning, our text of study ends verse 10. John, as he hears these words, we see him fall to the ground to worship the angel who communicated this blessing to John. We see in the text that John fell to the ground.

We see the angel pick him back up by giving him like a loving rebuke. “You know the passage? John, what are you doing? You must not do that. John, I am simply a fellow servant with you and the other brothers. I’m a servant like you who is holding fast to the testimony of Jesus. John, get up. You should know that. Don’t worship me. John, worship God which is at the core purpose of all created beings. Including the most powerful of angels.” To worship God.

By the way, let me just point out here, this is one of the reasons—many reasons—why we don’t believe Jesus is some type of like created being. You know, some type of angel. We believe that indeed he is the eternal Son of God, the second member of the blessed Trinity. Because throughout Revelation, other places in the New Testament, Jesus receives worship as God.

The final words of our text today, the final words of our text today, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Or it could be said this way: “For it is the spirit of prophecy who bears witness or bears testimony to Jesus.” Which only further links Jesus Christ as divine, the God we are to worship. This scripture is bearing witness about him.

Now, for us, for the remainder of time this morning, there’s just a few things I want to point out concerning this marriage supper of the Lamb, which is an incredible feast that God’s people will enjoy together.

As mentioned, as pilgrims in this life, headed to the next. So let me give us a few things here. So first, this great marriage supper of the Lamb. Just notice, just realize, just understand: This meal belongs to Jesus. It’s the marriage supper of the Lamb. It’s his. It’s not ours. Jesus is the one who paid for this meal with his blood. It’s his righteousness, his righteous deed, that made this meal possible for us. This is his meal.

Jesus is the kind, gracious, generous meal—or generous host. Because this is his meal, he’s the one who invites us into it. Which in scripture is an invitation we can only receive by faith in him. That’s the only way. So Matthew 22, Luke 14, both recorded a similar teaching of Jesus concerning a wedding banquet. And in that banquet, there’s a man who tries to sneak into the wedding banquet without wearing the proper wedding garments. Only for him to be caught and thrown out to a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Friends, the only way we can enter into this meal is by responding by faith to the invitation of Christ. To believe in the deed that Jesus died for your sin, only to rise again on the third day. To have faith to believe that Jesus is worth leaving all things behind in order to have him. To have faith that Jesus, in the end, is just him, him alone, who is worthy of all of your worship.

This morning, if you have yet to respond by faith to the invitation of Christ, I want to plead with you to do that right now.

To turn from sin and turn to Jesus. To see Jesus as better and to worship him. This is the second thing I want to point out to us this morning before we close: The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Friends, it’s better than anything this life can offer.

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, this is going to be a party, a celebration of fullness, of joy, and peace and happiness and manliness. I think sometimes we see eternal life either as some type of neutral setting, neutral like we’re grateful, things like sickness and pain and hurt and death aren’t there. But otherwise, we’re just going to kind of be there, kind of neutral, kind of floating around in the clouds. Not bad. Not really great either.

Or perhaps you see the Marriage Supper of the Lamb as some type of formal, stiff, button-up meal. We’re like sitting around tables but everyone’s like silent, like proper, stoic, maybe intimidated. That’s not how eternal life is presented in the scriptures. This meal, eternal life, friends, it’s a party. It’s a great celebration.

This meal is going to be one filled with laughter, smiling. This meal is going to be filled with loud dinner conversations with good friends engaging in great talk. We’re going to be filled with such joy because we’re talking about our host. We’re going to be talking about Jesus and just how over-the-top gracious and generous He is. The best part about this meal that is to come, why is it going to be so great?

Our Lord, Jesus, He’s going to be in the midst of the meal with us. Eating this meal with us. As a friend. I mean, what could be better than that? I’ll give you the answer. Nothing. Nothing is better than that. I actually think this is really important for us to see and understand how much better this is.

You know, one other temptation I think we can have? I want to say, like, heaven is like a letdown. Particularly if there’s something right around the corner that you’re excited about. Like maybe a movie is coming out. Or maybe your favorite team is playing a big game. Not my team this year. Maybe some big family celebration that you just can’t wait for. You’re just kind of like hoping, could the Lord just hold off until I get to see the movie or watch the game or do this big celebration? I really don’t want to miss that. “Lord, please come back, sure. But maybe after I get to experience that.” If we think like that, that’s wrong thinking.

Heaven is going to be great. Not just because things like sickness and death will be removed from us. I’ll say it again: Heaven is going to be great because that’s where God’s blessings are found fully. Fully experienced. It’s going to be pure joy, happiness, peace. We’re going to be fully with Jesus. There’s nothing in this life better than that.

Finally, third: Friends, live your life looking forward to and longing for this great meal that is to come.

Not that you shouldn’t enjoy life. You should. But enjoy life in ways like what the New Testament tells us. That you see yourself as a pilgrim, a stranger, an exile, on your way to a better country. That is the heavenly one. Headed to a better meal. This is what Christ has done for us. So because of that, live your life doing righteous deeds that honor the Lord.

Which, by the way, always starts out by doing righteous deeds by serving your local church—the bride of Christ. Serving one another with your gifts and your time and your talents. Friends, live this life thinking about the next life that is to come. Doing so in ways that you’re storing up treasures in heaven where moth and rust will not destroy, where thieves will not be able to break in and steal.

Friends, live this life thinking about the next life. And do even the most mundane things of life, like eating and drinking, for the glory of God and heart worship. Friends, live this life thinking about the next life and see the good things that you enjoy in this life, or even the bad things. See them as preparing you for this great meal that is to come. Or even like the hard, difficult, painful suffering.

The New Testament tells us this: “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory that is beyond comparison.” As we look not to the things that are seen but to things that are unseen, the things that are seen are transient. The things that are unseen are eternal.

The things that are hard in life, let that take your heart and your mind and your thoughts to the better life that is to come. Likewise, even when life is good, let that also prepare you for that which is to come. If we can find good things to do now, enjoyment of life now, how much better will they be when we’re with our Lord?

So maybe, like when you’re here on Sunday morning and you’re just so encouraged by the singing, receive that encouragement here and now. But also let that encouragement cause you to wonder and anticipate how much better the singing is going to be in heaven. Or maybe when you have a great meal with friends where that night is filled with laughter, give glory to God now. But also let that excite you: how much better will the meal and the laughter of heaven be?

Or when we take the Lord’s Supper together, what we’re going to do here in just a second, we’re in great unity, we’re going to be remembering back to what Jesus did for us. So receive that here and now; we’re thankful for unity in Christ. But as we take this meal, let it excite us, let it point us to this better meal that is to come where we’re going to have perfect unity. How sweet will that be?

Or if you can find yourself on some type of once-in-a-lifetime trip where everything seems so picture-perfect, you just don’t want it to end, yeah, receive that trip, receive God’s grace on you in that trip, but let that trip increase your longings for heaven, for the marriage supper of the Lamb that not only will be better, but that one’s going to be eternal. Amen. Where the blessings of God will forever be on his people.

So the story of eternal life will never be a story of “like, so there we were.” Rather, the story of eternal life—that’s where we will always be. With our great bridegroom, with each other, fullness of joy, peace, happiness, every longing fully satisfied.

Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for Jesus. Lord, thank you for Jesus. Lord, Jesus is better. Lord, please help us to live in light of that. Lord, thank you for this great passage this morning that points us to this great meal that is to come. Thank you indeed that you are the great, perfect host who lavishes grace upon grace upon grace on your people.

And Lord, please help us just to trust that your word is true, that what you tell us is true, that living for you, following you is what’s true. And not only what’s true, that’s what’s best. So Lord, please bless our little church family here. Lord, please help us to bring all praise and glory to the great lamb who purchased us with his blood. In Christ’s name, amen.

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