Study Guide: A Vision of Beauty

Sunday March 2, 2014 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Everyone believes the world will one day come to an end; however, we disagree on how, when and why. In this sermon, Greg begins the series on Revelation and shows us three things to keep in mind when reading the book of Revelation.

Extended Summary:

Everyone believes that the world will one day come to an end. Many Christians use the book of Revelation as a roadmap for the end of the world. They see it as a literal interpretation of the future. However, this isn’t the reason that the book of Revelation was written. It was written for a specific time and place, and for a specific reason. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking about this book and what it means to the Kingdom.

We need to understand that the book of Revelation is a thing of beauty and not to be feared. Whenever we hear about the end of the world, or hear that a book portends the end of the world, it can cause people anxiety and fear. But the book of Revelation is a thing of beauty. It was written to the Kingdom to tell them about God’s work on Earth and how we should persevere. Revelation was written so that people would act in the here and now, instead of worrying about the future. Today, we have three things to focus on as we start this study.

First, the people of God are called to trust God. Many people have turned to others to help predict the future because we feel it gives us power. The Bible uniformly condemns the use of divination, which is tapping into the spiritual world to foretell the future. When we think we need to have some sort of eye into the future, it shows a lack of trust in God. Jesus said don’t worry about tomorrow. So, trust God.

Second, our job is not to figure out the future but to be passionate disciples of Jesus now. God is the great I AM who is always present with us. He’s not waiting in the past or future. He’s actively at work today. To dwell in the future means that we will miss God now. Live for God with all your heart now and the future will take care of itself.

Finally, Revelation should not motivate us with fear but with beauty. If you take all the symbols of the book literally, it can be quite fearsome. Many people dying, darkness, and destruction pervade the pages of this letter. But the book of Revelation is a book of good news more than anything else. So, never let fear be your motivator.

As we begin this series on Revelation, it’s important to keep these three things in mind. They will be our guide as we read and learn from Revelation. This picture of beauty is something we can trust and never fear. We only ask that people keep an open mind as this isn’t the common understanding of Revelation in modern, Christian circles.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. How have you understood Revelation in the past?
  3. Does the end of the world scare you? Why or why not?
  4. How does knowing that Revelation was written as a thing of beauty change how we understand it? What do you think we might find in it that is beautiful?
  5. Why is it important to be focusing on our work today and not try to divine the future?