RECAP: RIVER OF LIFE based on Revelation 22:1-17
Around the world, consistently the thing that people fear most is death–whether the death of a loved one or themselves. The fear associated with death is specifically “where is our eternal destiny?” As humanity, we try to delay death through advancements in medicine and technology, or we try to escape the penalty of hell through human efforts. But at the end of the day, the way to heaven, the way to eternal life comes through salvation, through the symbolic passing through the River of Life. When we are water baptized in the river, we are declaring for everyone what God has done inside our hearts. It is a public confession that we have been washed by the River of Life.
What are the benefits of the River of Life?
- It gives us access to the tree of life. The tree of life is the very tree that Adam and Eve had access to, but chose to ignore. This tree bears fruit in its season, providing nourishment for our souls. And Jesus hung on a tree so the river, which comes from his throne, washes away our sin so we can have access again to the tree of life.
- We find healing for the nations. The leaves of the tree can provide healing for all nations. The answer to our world strife is Jesus. When we all submit to Christ and allow his blood to wash us and make us whole, we will find the means of healing.
- Removal of the curse. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, a curse was placed upon all humanity. As much as we have tried in recent years to escape the curse, we all face the inevitability of death. But the other aspects of the curse was separation from God. The river washes away the curse of separation and allows for reconciliation, which in turn allows us to live forever!
- See the face of God. No human, other than those who lived when Jesus walked this earth, has seen God face to face. For God is so holy, no human can stand fully in his presence because of sin. But because of the river’s cleansing, all sin has been removed from us, and we can stand before God sanctified–we have been made holy. We can one day behold the face of the one who saved us by his grace!
- No more night. There will be no more physical night, but also no more spiritual night. No more suffering, shame, or pain. No more sorrow or tears, for we will be in the presence of the Lord!
These are all wonderful benefits that the river’s cleansing can provide. How do we live on this earth as we wait for that day when we can see Jesus in heaven?
- Keep the Word. Jesus said “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the scroll.” If we are faithful to the Word, we know we will see Jesus, for we are being true to his guidance, to his teaching!
- Worship God. Even John had to be reminded to keep his focus on the worship of God. If God is the center of everything we do, we know we will see him someday, for we can’t live without him. Every aspect of our lives have him as the focus!
- Live rightly. Those who are living right and holy need to continue to do so. No matter what direction the world takes, we need to live right and remain holy according to God’s standards. Human standards change, but God’s standard remains forever!
- Wash our robes. We need to repent of our sin, and remain in a state of repentance. It does no good to get clean and then put the same dirty clothes back on! When Christ redeems us and the river of his blood washes over us, allow those sins to leave and never return, just like we symbolically declare with our baptism that our sins are washed down the river!
- Keep sin out. Among Jesus’ final words in Scripture is the warning to keep sin away from us. When we allow sin to creep in, it will undo the freedom the river provides and keeps us outside with the “dogs.” What sins specifically did he name? Those who practice magic arts (divination), sexual immorality, murder, idolatry, and those who love and practice falsehood.
- Answer the invitation to come. The Spirit invites us to come and partake. We can answer that call even now, to taste our eternity even now, living daily in the presence of God.
One day, we will all have a fresh start in heaven. We will have nothing to fear, certainly not the fear of death! But it is up to us. Will we be washed by the river that flows from Jesus? Will we live as people redeemed? If so, we have a big future to look forward to!
Questions for Reflection
1) Do you remember the first time you said yes to Jesus? Remember the joy of that moment!
2) What sins are we holding on to that we need to allow the River of Life to wash away from us?
3) Which of the blessings of heaven do you most look forward to?
4) Which of the six ways to live do we need the most work on? What steps can we take to improve them?
5) Who do you know that needs a fresh start? Can you share with them the good news?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will start a new series called “Faithful in Unfaithful Times” with the sermon titled, “Stand Firm to the End,” based on Matthew 24:1-14. Jesus gave us a strict warning of what life will be like in the last days. What counsel did he give? How can we apply it to today? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for July 12 – 18
July 12: Romans 8:1-17 What is the hope of the gospel?
July 13: Romans 8:18-27 What is our future hope?
July 14: Romans 8:28-39 What is the hope of the gospel?
July 15: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 What is our future hope?
July 16: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 What is our future hope, and current responsibility?
July 17: 1 Timothy 4:1-16 How did Paul encourage Timothy to stand firm to the end?
July 18: 1 Timothy 6:3-10 What keeps us from being able to stand firm?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, July 17–Chasing the Lion Bible Study, Sunset Park, Dayton @ 4 pm
Wednesday, July 20–Ministry Team @ 7 pm
Wednesday, July 21–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Sunday, July 24–Deacon Mtg after church
Sunday, July 31–Vespers @ 6 pm
Friday, August 19 – Sunday, August 21–Church Retreat @ Natural Chimneys
Congratulations to Our Newly Baptized!
Congratulations to Becky, Grayson, and Kailey Whitmore for taking their baptismal vows and declaring before the community of faith that they are a new creation in Jesus and will follow after him! Let’s encourage them to keep the faith!
Lee Strobel coming to Antioch next week!
Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ and internationally known speaker will be at Antioch Church on Saturday, July 23 from 9:30 am-3:00 pm. He will speak about Why God Allows Suffering, The Case for Christ, The Case for the Gospels, and How to Reach Others for Jesus. He will also respond to questions. There is no charge for this and all are welcome. Antioch Church is located at 23502 Senedo Rd near Woodstock.
Bible Study Opportunity!
Six Weeks of Lion Chasing: A Study Series
Do you feel called to step out and do something great in your life? Or are you looking for what to do next? Then this six-week series may be for you! Based on the best-selling Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson, this series has as its theme: If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small
This small-group series will meet at 4 p.m. on six consecutive Sundays starting July 17 at the Sunset Park shelter in Dayton, Va. It will be led by a team of two educators, Lynne Miller Lent and Bill Wood.
Child care will be provided through a close-by kid zone in the park. There will be lemonade and ice water and cookies for the kids — and participants. Each session is designed to go for one hour. We will be covering the first six chapters in Chase the Lion and then gauging the interest in follow-up sessions for fall.
Adult participants of all ages and backgrounds are welcome. Child care will be for those age 2 and up.
To register, fill in the form at williamcwood.com/lion.
About Chase the Lion (from publisher’s description):
Based upon 2 Samuel 23, Chase the Lion tells the true story of an ancient warrior named Benaiah who chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day—and then killed it. For most people, that situation wouldn’t just be a problem…it would be the last problem they ever faced. For Benaiah, it was an opportunity to step into his destiny. After defeating the lion, he landed his dream job as King David’s bodyguard and eventually became commander-in-chief of Israel’s army under King Solomon.
Written in a way that both challenges and encourages, this revolutionary book will help unleash the faith and courage you need to identify, chase, and catch the five-hundred-pound dreams in your life.
We will have summer vespers on the final Sunday of each month for July and August. We will gather for a meal over the fire, sing some hymns and camp song favorites, play a camp-style game or two, and conclude with a vespers devotional. Come out and enjoy!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are still in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
We will have our first Church Retreat post-COVID at Natural Chimneys from Friday, August 19 through Saturday, August 21. Come rent a lot, pitch a tent or park a camper, and spend the whole weekend, or come and go as you please. It will be a great time to get away and simply enjoy each other at Beaver Creek!
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Donnie Cornwell Sr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Leroy Makely (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (well-being)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Winnie Wilfong (knee)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church