Revelation: A Picture of the Heavenly City

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the fourth sermon in our series looking at ‘Postcards from Paradise’ from Revelation. Preacher: Michael Calder. Bible Reading: Revelation 21:9-27

Download the Small Group Questions, Going Deeper, and Sermon Transcript (PDF).

Next Steps this Week

BIBLE READING: Revelation 21:9-27

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


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CONNECT: How can you grow in unity with your brothers and sisters in Christ?

WARM-UP Questions

  1. What has been the best experience of community that you’ve ever had?

  2. How does God being at the centre of Christian community radically change everything?

READ Revelation 21:9-14

  1. What stands out for you in the description of the city in these verses?

  2. What is meant by the wall guarding the city? Why would this have been of comfort? How would this be of great comfort to some Christians today who are looking forward to this future?

  3. How are the twelve a reference to the Apostles? Why is this so important?

  4. What is the very different city referred to in Chapter 18? How does this heavenly city compare?

  5. How is it evident that all of the People of God (across all time) will be brought togetherin this city? What do you think that will be like? What most excites you about this prospect? 

  6. Who we will we be unified around? Why is this the most critical part of the entire description?

  7. How has your experience of a unified Christian community brought glory to God? Have you ever had an experience of the opposite? What was the effect in terms of evangelism?

READ Revelation 21:15-21

  1. What was the ‘holy of holies’? In what way is the description here analogous to the ‘holy of holies’?

  2. In what way is the reality that we anticipate so much greater than the sanctuary described in the Old Testament? How close will we be to God and how will that be possible?

  3. How can this future – of being in the Glory of God – fill us with an enduring hope even amidst trouble?

  4. Can you think of someone who has demonstrated this type of hope in their life? If comfortable, please share your example.

 READ Revelation 21:22-27

  1. Why is the Temple missing in the description of this heavenly city? Why is this such great news?

  2. What is so exciting about the prospect of there being no barriers between us and God? 

  3. What is so exciting about there being no sin or evil existing in this city? Who will enter it and how? 

  4. How should the reality of this future shape how we live today?  

APPLY This Week: How can you develop your daily time with God in anticipation of that future when there will be no barriers between us?


Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the glorious future that we can look forward to because of all that you’ve done for us. Please help us to live today in great anticipation of that reality! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.