Everything Is Going To Be Okay (Revelation 21:1–22:21)

[NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, no recording is available for this sermon.]


“Everything is going to be okay.” It’s a promise everyone wants to hear but, depending on who’s making it, can come across as ignorant, dismissive, and condescending.

“Everything is going to be okay.” “Really? How do you know? We’ve got wars and rumours of wars, political unrest and government corruption, disintegration of the family and the depravity of the culture; there’s artificial intelligence and nuclear weapons, inflation and unemployment, identity theft and identity crises, famine, pollution, and depression. How is everything going to be okay?”

I read an article this week written by a parent expressing the difficulty of raising teenagers who look to her for comfort and assurance in a world that seems to have none. She writes, “I don’t know what to tell my kids about monkeypox, or about the mass shootings, or about the feeling of instability that seems to be bubbling just under the surface of American life. Some of being a parent is believing (or pretending to believe) that everything is going to be okay, but I don’t know if everything is going to be okay. No one does.”

While her distress is relatable, as Christians we must object to the last statement, that “no one” knows that everything is going to be okay, because we know that our God knows that everything is going to be okay and he wants us to know too. 

And that’s what we find as we come to the close of the book of Revelation, a promise and picture of paradise made by a God who can actually bring it to pass.

RESTORE: “I am making all things new”

And this promise begins to take shape as God says that there is a time coming when he will restore all that was lost. John, seeing the future, reports [21:1a]. This restored creation is new in the sense that it’s fresh, like a new pair of shoes are still shoes, but unfaded and free from wear and stink. The new heavens and new earth is pure and unused.

And it’t not only creation but, as verse 2 says, [21:2]. A fresh Jerusalem, breathtakingly beautiful and pristinely holy. 

[21:5] That everything is getting a divine makeover is as certain as God’s unchanging character. Carve it in concrete, the promise is as faithful and true as God is faithful and true. We could say that nothing in history has ever been more sure than this coming restoration.

Starting in verse 9, God describes this heavenly city. [21:9–21] As he has so many times before, John struggles to find language adequate to report what he’s being shown. He settles on superlatives like “great, high, precious, and pure” to describe this heavenly and glorious city, a metropolis built with jewels and gold instead of concrete and drywall.

So, there are new heavens, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem, all fresh, gorgeous, and sanctified. But humanity will also be made new and will be kept new. [22:1–2] Who’s sitting on that throne but he who is “the way, the truth, and the life”? And from the throne of life flows life, a life that cannot be contained as it produces trees that produce fruit and leaves that produce healing for the nations.

That’s right, there are distinct nations forever. There’s unity amidst diversity in eternity, something that brings God even more glory.

It’s like in this assembly. We have major things in common, things like our faith, the Saviour, a mission, and a destiny. Yet, those realities don’t erase our ethnicities any more than they do our personalities. In fact, that God can take a group of wildly different people and knit us together in a way that doesn’t dull the beauty of the variety he ordained is a testament to his creativity and power.

And so it will be forevermore. Humanity will never be collapsed into a single, uniform entity. Instead, we will eternally model divine creativity in language and ethnicities without any conflict between the nations. Why? Because the river of life brings healing to the nations. God has promised to restore all that was lost.

God promised to deliver Noah. He did. He promised to give a son to Abraham and Sarah. He did. He promised to deliver his people from Egypt. He did. He promised to send them into exile. He did. He promised to send a child through a virgin in the line of David, to be born in Bethlehem, to be betrayed, suffer, die, and be raised from the dead. He did.

God makes and keeps promises. He can do no other. So, when he says, “All who believe in my Son have eternal life” what do we have? Eternal life! And when he says, “Behold, I am making all things new,” what are we to expect? God’s promises aren’t true because we believe they are true. They’re true because they’re made by an all-powerful God who cannot lie. And that God has said, “I will restore.”

REMOVE: “There will no longer be any curse”

But, more than that, as we look back at our text, God also promises to remove all that’s broken. And that’s just as important.

Imagine a dentist who never drills out cavities and never removes plaque but only covers them with fillings and polish. To say that’s a temporary fix is an understatement. Likewise, the future restoration of creation is no good if the rot of sin is never dealt with. But that’s not how God operates; he’s going to do the job right.

Back to [21:1]. The Bible sometimes refers to the sea as a source of evil. In fact, back in chapter 13, it was out of the sea that the Beast came. But, 21:1 could also be a nod to the reversal of the punitive flood of Genesis. Either way, it’s a statement of the removal of evil.

And with that, comes the removal of everything evil brings. [21:4] Think of the last time you cried in sadness, were frustrated or hurt, or the last time you stood at a graveside or hospital bed. Remember it and know that everything evil about those moments will be gone!

[21:27] Not only is sin and death removed from the midst of creation but nothing impure is allowed back in. The cavity is gone, infallibly removed! Ultimately, it’s because of [22:3a]. When Adam and Eve sinned, creation was cursed, a situation that has ravaged what God has made up to this very day.

Today, nearly 30% of the world’s population go hungry. Do you think that might inspire some tears? Parents watching their kids starve? Every minute of every day, approximately 116 people die. That means that since we started our service, over 7000 souls have entered eternity, leaving behind grief and mourning. Currently, there are 27 major conflicts going on across the world, 11 of which are projected to be worsening right now. Talk about crying and pain!

Car accidents and cancer, loneliness and injustice, broken bones and broken hearts; it will all be gone. Everything that ails you in this life at this moment, every single manifestation of the curse will be dealt with. Every last shred of sinful rot will be drilled out, never to enter creation again. Brothers and sisters, “everything is going to be okay.”

RETURN: “God himself will be among his people”

And all of that—the restoration of creation and the removal of sin—paves the way for the return of our intimacy with God. 

[21:3] I’m sure most of us experienced seasons when God seemed distant and unresponsive, times you want to cry out like the psalmist, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1). Well, there is coming a day when that will never happen again.

On the other side, think of your most precious moments with the Lord: times when he seemed so near, when he spoke so clearly, when he worked so powerfully, or when he lead so obviously. What wonderful memories! Those will pale in comparison to what lays ahead because, in eternity, we will enjoy a level of intimacy with God which is impossible in a world where sin and death are still present.

Speaking of the new Jerusalem, John says [21:22–26; 22:3–5]. All mediating ways of approaching God will be gone. No more go-betweens, no more fog, no more wondering. As one author wrote, “Heaven [is] where questions and answers become one.” The veil will be lifted and faith will be sight. We will all have direct access to God’s glorious presence and we will serve and see him unhindered.

My in-laws live in Puerto Rico and once in a while they’ll video call and chat with their grandkids. I’m sure they’re grateful for the technology that makes that possible but, at the same time, it’s not the same as holding those squirming children, kissing their cheeks, and smelling the baby smell. It’s better than nothing, but it’s far from ideal.

There is a time coming when the wonderful provision of our “long-distance relationship” with our Creator and our Saviour will be obsolete and unnecessary, when we will hug him, marvel at him, laugh with him, and worship him. As Paul writes, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Cor 13:12).

Brothers and sisters, everything is going to be okay. A time is surely coming when God will restore what has been lost, remove what most ails us, and will return the intimacy with himself that we most desire. 

READY: Wash! Worship! Watch!

What’s left for us to do is to get ready. To prepare ourselves. And the text gives us three ways to do that. 

The first of which is to wash. As this future paradise is perfect and as nothing unclean … shall ever come into it, we need to make sure we’re clean—we need to wash ourselves.

[21:6b–8] There are two groups of people. Those who overcome and those who don’t. Those who gain access to paradise and those who don’t. Those with everlasting life and those headed for everlasting death. There are two groups of people and only two groups of people.

And what’s the difference? The first group drinks the water of life without cost. John describes this water in his gospel: [John 7:37–38]. The difference between these two groups is that one has believed in the person and work of Jesus Christ, has come to him thirsty and left forever satisfied.

We wash ourselves so as to enter paradise by believing in Jesus—that he died for my sins and rose from the dead and now offers everlasting life to all who trust him for it. In that moment of faith, the Bible says, we pass from death to life, we’re made clean in God’s sight because of Jesus’s cleanliness. So, if you’ve never washed yourself this way, that’s how you must get ready. That’s the only way you will ever be able to grasp his promise that everything is going to be okay.

For those who already belong to Jesus, though, we need to wash also. We’ve already had the shower of Jesus’s cleanliness, but we have to keep washing our hands as well. [22:10–15]

For Christians, we need to chase holiness in this life, washing ourselves daily in repentance. [1 John 1:9] When we do this, we preserve our walk with God, our witness for God, and our worship of God. The plaque buildup of sin in our hearts and lives stifles all of this. So, we ready ourselves for then by washing ourselves now.

The second way in which we are called to get ourselves ready for what is sure to come is to worship. [22:8–9]

While we may be tempted to worship the bringers of good news in a sea of bad news—politicians, celebrities, friends—there’s only One who deserves our worship and it’s the One who is coming soon. We ascribe to him all he’s due. We give him our allegiance, our lives, our hopes, our attention, our energies. It’s all for him

Why? Because he’s the one restoring creation, removing sin, and returning intimacy. He’s the one we’re readying ourselves to see. He’s the one for whom we wash. He’s the one that’s promised that everything is going to be okay. So, we worship. We sing, we pray, we serve, we love, we grow, we sacrifice. We hold nothing back from him because he has given everything to us.

The final way we’re called to ready ourselves is to watch for Christ’s soon return. [22:6–7, 10, 12a] It was predicted infallibly beforehand and it will truly come to pass. Wait with eagerness and receive the blessing for such watchfulness. [22:16–21]

Brothers and sisters, everything is going to be okay. The God who cannot lie has promised to restore what was lost, remove what ails us, and return our intimate relationship with himself. It is an inevitability. And, knowing that, we are free to get ready—washing ourselves, worshiping God, and watching for Christ.

We’re about to close our service today and our series in the book of Revelation by singing together a song with this chorus: “To our King be highest praise / Rising through eternal days / Just and faithful He shall reign / Jesus shall reign.” Brothers and sisters, everything is going to be okay. Let’s pray. 

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Josiah has served the Oakridge Bible Chapel family as one of its elders and one of its pastoral staff members since September 2018, before which he ministered as an associate pastor to a local congregation in the Canadian prairies. Josiah's desire is to be used by God to help equip the church for ministry, both while gathered (edification) and while scattered (evangelization). He is married to Patricia, and together they have five children—Jonah, Henry, Nathaniel, Josephine, and Benjamin.

Josiah Boyd

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