What Is Heaven Like?

Revelation 21:1-8

Posted by Faith Bible Church on May 5, 2024
What Is Heaven Like?
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This Sunday, we'll hear guest Dr. Bryan Murphy preach from Revelation 21:1-8 about what heaven is like. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' And he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.'" Revelation 21:1–8 (ESV) The New Heaven and the New Earth

Guest speaker: Dr. Bryan Murphy

  1. Heaven is new.
  2. Heaven is holy.
  3. Heaven is wonderful.
  4. Heaven is exclusive.
  • Automated Transcription
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    I want to begin by thanking you for the privilege it is to be here. It is a real joy and a privilege to be in ministry with you, I bring you greetings from Grace Community Church and from Pastor John MacArthur. And from the faculty of the Masters seminary that has hosted us from the beginning of the seminary, I want to thank you and commend you for being a part of fulfilling the great commission by participating in training the next generation of pastors and teachers and professors. As part of the extension campus that you guys are hosting here. I want to thank you for being willing to allow your elders and especially your Pastor Dan, to be involved in that I know there's a lot of time and energy and effort that goes into that. I want to also commend you for opening the doors of the work that you're doing here to men from around the community. A lot of these guys are guys that I have the incredible privilege to be able to invest in, that would not have an opportunity to go to seminary otherwise, some of these guys are even involved in ministries around the area. And so I just want to thank you for the privilege it is to be in ministry with you, I want to thank you for opening up your facility for sharing your pastors for just the joy it is to be in ministry with a church like you guys, I also bring you greetings from Roosevelt Community Church, which has very graciously allowed me to be here with you this weekend. They are making a sacrifice for me not to be there. This weekend, or this coming week, as I'm going to be doing a class for your seminarians that are here. And so we just bring you welcome and greetings. And I just want to say thanks for the privilege, that it is to be in ministry with you really as a joy. And in that context, I want to share with you on the subject of heaven. Before we do that, though, I want to just ask if you will stand together with me get out your copy of God's word as I read through the text that we're going to be focusing on primarily this morning, and that is Revelation 21, verses one through eight, Revelation 21, verses one through eight. And I preached from the New American Standard. So that's what I'll be reading from, but you couldn't follow along with me in your copy of revelation 21 verse one, the apostle John writes, then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any see. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will no longer be any death, there will no longer be mourning or crying or pain, those first things have passed away. And he sits on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. And he said, right, for these words are faithful and true. And then he said to me, it is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning in the end, I will give to the one who thirst from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and immoral persons and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. This is the Word of God, you may be seated

    what is heaven like? If we did a survey, I suspect that we would get a number of different answers and even types of answers because generally speaking, even as Christians we typically use the term very loosely. Some people would say Heaven is where you go when you're when you die. Some might even say it's where you go when you die if you're a good person Some would describe it as a better place, a fun place, a happy place. Some would talk about the things that are there. It's where my friends will be, it's where my family will be, it's where my loved ones will be. It's where I get to do fill in the blank. And I get to do it perfectly. Whatever hobby or pastime it might be. I can shoot threes. I can throw touchdown passes. I can, I can run faster than everybody else. I can play whatever instrument I can sing perfectly.

    I get to play golf, although to me, that doesn't sound like heaven. But I always get an A hole in one. We have a number of different ideas about what heaven is.

    Some people will focus on what isn't there. It's the place where my boss isn't. It's a place where there's no pain. There's no sorrow, there's no suffering. There's no trials, there's no hardship, tears, disappointments, goodbyes, strife, conflict, etc. Maybe when I say the word heaven, you think primarily about what isn't there? Maybe if you've lost a loved one you think primarily about who is there? The question we want to address today is what is the Bible say about heaven? What does the Bible say about heaven? If we're technical, then the term heaven specifically refers in its highest position to the place where God resides. Back Paul says that with regard to believers absence from the body is presents with the Lord. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and you die today, you will immediately be transitioned into glory into heaven, and you will see the glory of God on display before you. But when we talk about heaven, technically, normally, we're thinking or generally, normally, we're not thinking technically, normally, we're thinking about heaven with regard to the eternal state. We're normally referring to what the Bible talks about, about the new heavens and the new earth, the new creation, when the full consummation of what all that God has promised for those who love Him, and who have loved His appearing, all those who believe in Him and have followed him and are looking forward to the fulfillment of all of his good promises. When we think about heaven, what we're really thinking about what we're really fixing our hope on is that glorious, eternal future he has for us in the new heavens and the new earth. And that's what our passage is all about this morning. As we set the context for studying revelation 21, I want to invite you to take your Bibles and just turn a couple of pages back to the left. And we're going to pick up in the middle of revelation 19, just so that we can hit the text running. And I want you to see in Revelation 19, starting in verse 11, as John records the vision that he is given, not first and foremost of the eternal state, but before that, he is given a vision of the return of Jesus Christ. This is at the end of the tribulation. So the things that have already taken place are all the judgments that God has poured out upon the earth, the rapture has already taken place. And we come now to the consummation of the Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ in glory. Revelation 19, verse 11, John says, I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he you sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. This is our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Having been resurrected on the third day, having ascended back to the right hand of the throne of the Father in heaven, Now returning to establish His kingdom on this earth. I want you to notice the description that is even borrowed from chapter one, the Pastor Dan read the begin our service, the description of Christ as He sits upon that Great White Horse as he comes down from heaven, his eyes or like a flame of fire and on his head are many Daya dems. And he has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. The in Greek there are a couple of different words for crowns. Word Stephanus is a word that speaks of a victor's crown. It's a trophy or an award you get for winning a race. Here the word is Daya DEM. It's a word this specifically refers to a rulers crown. And you'll notice it says he has many Daya dems, many ruling crowns. Why? Because when he comes back, he has full authority over all of His creation, he has come back to reclaim the earth to be sovereign over all. notices in verse 13, He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood and his name is called. The Word of God, who does this have to be has to be the Lord Jesus. He is the word incarnate. And this is his return and triumphant glory, to establish His Kingdom and reclaim the Earth. Notice at the end of verse 11, again, it says, He is in righteousness, He judges and wages war he is at this point coming back to go to war with the beast, and with the wicked one himself and to reclaim His earth. Glorious Day and a terrible day. Verse 14, the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, we're following Him on white horses. Who's this? This is us. This is the angels, this all the Old Testament saints, all the New Testament saints. We are coming back with him in glory. But I want you to notice that we're not in Super Suits. We're not in Iron Man suits or battle armor. Notice how we're clothed in fine linen, white and clean. We are going for the great battle when Christ reclaims his Earth. And we're dressed in our Sunday best white and clean linen, following Him on white horses. Why? Because the battle is not between Christ and his armies against the devil in his armies. It is between Christ and His enemies, period. We're just there. Notice verse 15. From his mouth comes a sharp sword so that with it He may strike down the nations and He will rule them with a rod of iron. That's a call back to Psalm two. And He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty did a call back to Isaiah and his on his robe and on His thigh He has a name written KING of kings and Lord of lords, the king over all kings, the Lord over all lords, the ultimate, only sovereign ruler over the totality of His creation. And then I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried out with a loud voice saying to all the birds which fly in mid heaven come assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and those who sit upon them in the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, small and great. freemen slaves, important people, not so important people. Everybody, everybody that stands against God and against his Christ will answer to Christ. And you have the beast, and all of his armies assembled, verse 19. This is the Antichrist, I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against him who sat upon the horse and against his army. So this is that big Hollywood climax, right? This is that huge assembly of the beasts, the Antichrist, and all of his armies, shaking their fists of God, ready to go to war against his anointed and against all the armies of heaven. Verse 20, and here's how the battle plays out. The beast was seized, and within the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. And these two were just thrown alive in the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. They don't even they don't even die. They don't even go through the first death and await judgment of the great white throne. They are just in grabbed hold up and cast straight in the lake of fire, no battle, no struggle, no fight just gone. First 21 and the rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse and all the birds were filled with their flesh. For everybody else, Jesus with a word, and it's over. It's over, no great fight scene, no great conflict. Understand this, God is not slow as some count slowness. You may think that God is not paying attention or not able to hold you accountable or doesn't see your sin.

    You may think that you have all the time in the world and and God is impotent or unable or unwilling or slow to act and respond. The fact of the matter is, there is nothing anyone can do to provoke God to act before this moment. And when this moment arrives, no one will be able to stand before the Lord's anointed. The same God who said Let there be light is the one with a word who lays low all of his enemies, no one stands before God, period. One little word and it's over. The rest were killed with a sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse that has imagery that says with a word, they die. You know, in Genesis chapter one, we have the creation narrative, the creation account. One of the things that has always amazed me is that little expression that you see typically translated in English that says and it was so and it was so and it was so okay, the Hebrew of that expression literally says, And it came into being, thus or in just that way. God said, Let there be light, and light came into existence. And it happened or came about just that way that is echoed over and over and over again, when people want to tell you that the Genesis one narrative is filled with gaps or evolution, or that it's not actually a an historical account. They're just plain wrong that the text definitively says, God spoke and it came into existence in just that way. When you get to Revelation 19, you are reading that same God who said, Let there be light and light came into existence, with a word says die and all of his enemies die. Same power, same God, same authority. And by the way, you notice in Revelation 20 And verse one, that holds true even for the greatest of the fallen angels, God's enemy, the wicked one himself, I saw an angel, Revelation 20 And verse one coming down from heaven holding the key of the abyss, and a great chain is in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old who is the Devil and Satan, and he bound him for 1000 years. God empowers one angel with a chain to arrest the wicked one, and cast him into the abyss. Notice, by the way, that is not the Lake of Fire, which burns with brimstone of revelation 19, verse 20, the beast and the false prophet are cast there into the lake of fire. The devil is chained and bound and thrown into the abyss. This is at the end of the Tribulation. And he cannot withstand even one angel arresting him when God gives the authority. And he threw him into the abyss. And he shut it and sealed it over him so that he would not deceive the nations any longer until the 1000 years were completed. This is 1000 year reign of Christ upon the earth, just like the text says, and for the entirety of that 1000 years. The wicked one is incarcerated in the abyss. He's chained up and unable to have any direct influence on the people on the earth. And by the way, you notice it goes on to say, hey, he threw him into the abyss, the Abyss shut it and sealed it over him so that he would not deceive the nations any longer until the 1000 years were completed after these things he must be released for a short time. God is very purposeful in sealing him up out of the way for this window of time to prove a point Verse four, then I saw the thrones and they who sat upon them and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus. And because of the word of God, those who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand, and they came to life and reign with Christ for 1000 years. Who are these people? What is this resurrection? This is the resurrection of all those who died during the Tribulation during that seven year tribulation. They refuse to receive the mark of the beast, they were willing to die for Christ, rather than deny him. Well, why is it here that the resurrected will because after the rapture, the beginning of the Tribulation, all the old New Testament saints are all raptured, up and glorified, then this is the resurrection for those who died during the tribulation. They do not miss out on the kingdom either. The rest of the dead verse five, did not come to life until the 1000 years were completed. This is the first resurrection. And blessed it is and holy is the one who has a part in this first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power. They will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with him for 1000 years. That's the kingdom that God promised Israel. That's the kingdom that God promised when when he was here on the earth. 1000 years of him ruling and reigning with a rod of iron, Satan locked away. And the only people that enter into that 1000 year kingdom are believers. And the believers that are alive at that point and walk into the kingdom, repopulate the earth. And we are there we are, as Christians, we are there. If you're a Christian, you're there in glorified form ruling and reigning together with Christ. And you will never sin because you will have a new body, a glorified body. And when the 1000 years are completed, verse seven, Satan will be released from his prison, he will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth. Satan gets released at the end of that 1000 years. Why? Because 1000 years of the perfect reign of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, perfectly administrated through glorified saints from the Old Testament from the New Testament and from those who died during the tribulation. A perfect reign of Christ perfectly administrated still does not result in the salvation of everyone. Because what what is required is a new heart. You cannot say Satan made me do it. When he is released from his prison, at the end of the 1000 years, he comes out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog to gather them together for the war. And the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 1000 years later, the Earth is populated with a whole host of people who do not want Christ ruling them anymore, and given even the slightest hope, the slightest possibility of throwing off that yoke of Christ, they jumped to it. And they come up verse nine, on the broad plane of the Earth, surround the camp of the saints, the beloved city. And notice here, another climactic moment, not really such a climax, after all, because what happens, fire comes down from heaven and devours them, and it's over. That's it, it's over. And the devil who deceived them is thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where the feet beast and the false prophet are also on by the way, you notice the continuous tense, it's 1000 years later, and the beast and the false prophet are still they're still alive, still suffering the wrath of God in the lake of fire. And you'll notice that Satan is simply cast in together with them. And incidentally, you may have heard this, that maybe you've heard the expression is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven. Well, the fact of the matter is the same ruler of Heaven is the one who rules hell and that's God. The devil who deceived them is thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beasts and the false prophet are also and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. You want to know who pours out His wrath and lake of fire on all those who persist and rebelling against God. It is not the wicked one. It is God Himself that you have offended. God punishes sin and sinners for ever. Verse 11, then I saw a great white throne in him we sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven flood away and there was no place found for them. This whole creative realm has just gone. And I saw the dead the greatness small. Again, this could be the tall and the short, or this could be the important and the unimportant, it doesn't matter basically everybody saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven flood away and no place was found for them, the whole created realm is gone. And I saw the dead the greatness small standing before the throne, and the books were opened. So the picture a pile of books here, and another book was open, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged from the things which are written in the books according to their deeds. So you have the book of life here, and a stack of books here.

    You notice that no one escapes this judgment, the sea gave up the dead which were in it Death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them and they were judged every one of them according to their deeds. Everybody that dies without Christ, everybody that dies without having come to repentance and faith now stands before the Lord Jesus Christ Himself with no excuse. A stand before Him. And the books are open. What do you think's listed in those books? Well, since it says the books are open, and they're being judged every one of them according to their deeds, what do you think's written in those books, everything that you've ever thought everything that you've ever said, everything that you've ever done, or not done that God expected you to do.

    And Then death and Hades were thrown in the lake of fire. This is the second death the lake of fire. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown in the lake of fire. We checked the book of life, your name is not there. So guess what? The blood of Christ does not cover your sins. So let's go through these. And you will answer for every sin you've ever committed. No escape. And then is the lake of fire. And what again, is the Lake of Fire verse 10, is a place of torment day and night forever and ever. It's a place where you are not turned over to the devil to to, to torment you. You suffer the wrath of God that you offended.

    Now, this brings us into our text that we're going to look at this morning. This is the new creation. This is the new heaven and the new earth. This all follows the tribulation, and the millennial kingdom, and now, ushers in the eternal state. All of the promises that God has made to his people fulfilled in full right here. And there are four key features I would like to share with you this morning. Four key features of heaven that really ought to motivate you if you're a believer to live for Christ here and now. And it really ought to motivate you to point others to Christ, while you're still here, because you understand the gravity of the eternal situation that all men face. And if you have not come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, you have not recognized yourself as a sinner in need of a Savior. Then I pray as we go through and you see what heaven is like. I pray not only that you see what you are missing out on. I see, I pray that you see the inescapable nature of what is truly in store for you. Four key features of heaven from Revelation 21 versus one day. The first is that heaven is new. Heaven is new. Look at verse one. John says, Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven in the first earth pass away after the judgment of the great white throne. And all those who have never come and repentance and faith, have been judged and cast in the lake of fire. Now there's a brand new creation that God has for us. I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The word new means new in the sense of brand new, fresh, unused just made. It's a qualitative word. Like new things, like new cars. Yes, to get that first scratch, like new outfits, like new guitars. New tools. My wife wants new kitchen cabinets. I like eating. If I buy new kitchen cabinets we don't eat.

    So I guess I like new food. We like new things right? Have you ever considered the world that we live in how amazing it is.

    There's a place out west here. I'm from Ohio. So there's a place out west here. Now I've lived here for going on 30 years. But there's a place out here that my dad calls the big ditch. I later learned it's called the Grand Canyon. It's amazing. At one point I went on a scholars trip down through the whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon at the end we flew out in a helicopter and it was looking down and everything being down in there looking up is just awesome. You know what the Grand Canyon is a testimony to God's global judgment. God's amazing creation and God's universal global judgment in Genesis six through eight. There are some amazing features in our creation and according to Psalm 19. All of creation continually attests to the glory of God, though and the word glory in Hebrew basically means weightiness, importance or significance, all of the creation that we live in the night sky. I've been on Tarawa Island, at tangled table theological college teaching. And at night way out in the South Pacific, one of the things you can see is that the stars go all the way down to the top of the waves. I saw the same thing and eat Top Ramen, Brazil when I was there, and the night sky went all the way down to the edge of the plains in the middle of nowhere in Brazil. The night sky just fills up with stars ever been out far enough that there's no light pollution, and seeing just how many stars there are and how big creation is and how amazing and wonderful it is. David And Psalm eight says when I when I look up, and I see how big this created realm that we live in is all I can think is what am I that you take any thought of me? Look how small I am. The creation that we live in, is amazing. It's It's mind boggling. It's fascinating, but it's a testimony to the sinfulness of man, the glory of God and the sinfulness of man and the certainty of pending judgment. That's a world we live in. So many good and amazing things. If you notice how many things there are to do in life. And those last, I don't know, five years or whatever, I started to try to learn how to play guitar. There's so many amazing things sports activities, hobbies, knitting, sewing, basket weaving, computers, architecture, so many details, so many amazing aspects to the creative realm in which we live. And all of it attests to how wise and powerful a wonderful God is. And yet at the same time, it continually testifies to the futility of life lived apart from God. I mean, that's the whole message of the book of Ecclesiastes. You know what God has in store for us as believers? A world way better than that. A brand spanking new creation. I saw a new heaven and a new earth because the first heaven in the first earth passed away. Commentators debate about whether passed away means even all the elements are all burned up and God starts brand new, fresh, or whether the idea of some of the language here is that he blows it up and uses the same elements frankly does it doesn't make a lot of difference. I will tell you this, though, I'm convinced that it's all brand new, because in Matthew 24, verse 35, Jesus said, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. I would take that to mean that His word is permanent and the entire creative realm you see it's temporary. Peter says it this way in Second Peter three, verse 10, the day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intensity and the earth in his works will be burned up. He also by the way, turns this into practical application for his readers and says since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness looking for hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat. But according to his promise, we are looking for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. You know what heaven is, as far as the eternal state goes, it's a brand spanking new creation, it is easy to get caught up in the stuff of this life, is it not? It is easy to get caught up in the tangible aspects of this created realm. There are so many cool things, there are so many treasurable things, there are so many amazing things. But it's all temporary. What God has for us, is like this. But way better. It's brand new. Listen, this isn't a return to Eden. This is a new creation. Notice the end of verse one, it says there is no longer any see, the Greek literally says the sea is not any longer. Now doesn't mean that there won't be water there because it does talk about the river of the water of life being there, et cetera. But if you think about it for a minute, the earth that we reside upon right now is covered by round numbers. 70% of this globe is covered by water. Now imagine how much real estate there would be. If we had 70% more real estate. That's a world built for inhabitants. Follow me. That's the point. It is a brand spanking new created realm, and a brand spanking new Earth to reside on that is literally created to be a habitation for the inhabitants he plans on placing there. Secondly, Heaven is not only New Heaven is holy. Look at verse two. I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorn for her husband. Now, I want you to think about this for a minute. First of all, the holy city we know what a city is, right? A city is a place where people live, right. And this one is even identified for us. It's named, it's the New Jerusalem. But it's called the Holy City. And it's described as coming down out of heaven from God. Those two features I think are key. First of all, when you talk about holiness, now there are many contexts in which the idea of holy means separated from sin. But generally speaking, the term holy means set apart as special. The opposite of the word holy is profane. And again, in English, we think of profane or profanity. We don't just think of common versus special, we think of sinless, and we think of filth, filthy language, etc. Right. But the terms themselves the root idea of those words of the Holy City means the one set apart as special and distinct from other cities. Okay, it's not common. I'm from Ohio. I grew up in the Midwest. My mother and both of my grandmother's had a thing called a China Hutch or a china cabinet. You know, went in there. The holy dishes, the ones that the kids don't use, the ones that only come out on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mother's Day. Any of you experience going to any of those special family events and sitting at the kids table?

    Do any of those Holi dishes make their way to the kids table? No. Why? Because they are set apart as special. And, and grandma or mom cleans them off by hand dries them by hand and put them back the ones the dishes from the kids table. Now in my day, plastic was paper and it just got thrown away or you ate off of the everyday dishes. But those those special ones went right back on put on display because they were set apart as special. Okay, this is a holy city. It's not just talking about it there being no sin. They're all Sin has already been dealt with. This is special on a whole different order of magnitude. Notice it is the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. Okay, listen, we have a brand new creation here, don't we? It's a brand new world. Everything that sinful has been done away with, why not just build this new Jerusalem out of the stuff of the new creation? I'll tell you why. Because it's not just a new city that doesn't have any flaws. It is the absolute holy city, the New Jerusalem, the actual residence of God in heaven, comes down into the new creation, and God takes up residence among us. This is a city that is described in Hebrews 11, as the city whose maker and builder is God. This is a city not made with human hands, not even sinless human hands. This is a city crafted by God personally, a heavenly city, misses where God is today. This is where Christ is seated today. When you read in Hebrews, the description of the right hand of the Father, etc. You will notice that the tabernacle that Moses constructed the temple that Solomon built, and later the same one that was built, starting in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, and fashion during the and and remodeled during the days of Herod, it follows the template that matches the actual heavenly residence of God, the heavenly temple. God's personal residence comes down from heaven into this new creation. If we were to go further into the book of Revelation, you would see the dimensions basically stretch from Los Angeles to Denver cubed. In in square dimensions and height, some take it as a pyramid, okay? pyramid or a cube. It's the size of Los Angeles, the distance from Los Angeles to Denver, Colorado. cubed. That's how big the city is. And it comes down as the residence of God. You remember when Jesus in the upper room, said to his disciples, In my Father's house are many residences, many dwelling places, I go to prepare a place for you, you know, the Father's house he's referring to is right here, a place where the father resides, the place where God lives that what what is so cool about heaven as far as what God has promised for us in the future, is that it's not just a new world and a start over. It's brand spanking new, utterly distinct from before, okay, there's no CS and by the way, it's got God's own residence comes down, it is holy. I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. And I love the description that John Hughes's here made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. If you are married Do you remember the day you got married, what your wife looked like? I do. I got married at Clear Creek chapel in Ohio. The room is very similar to this except that we had basketball hoops on both ends and an Awana thing on the floor. Chairs are very similar though. And I still remember my wife walked in from a door I was standing right about here. My wife walked in from the door right there went right over into the center. And I still remember seeing her the flowing white gown, her hair all perfect. The color of her lips was red like a rose. She had a dozen roses in her arms and they were fire and ice with a white around the edges and her lips perfectly match the roses. And it was all I could think of as Wow Lord, I god I cannot believe I get to marry her. Do you know I've married a lot of couples. And I spend most of my time with the groom's and I'm just making sure that they actually put their coat on and that they have a tie and it's tied. I don't even worry typically about the dimple because that's a little much for most guys. But you know something, there's always a little bevy of women around the bride making sure everything's perfect and when she walks in. It is no that's the kind of descriptive language that John is using of the New Jerusalem right here. Look at it. It says made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. This is descriptive language. This is the kind of analogy or description, you know, there's no fancy type here is he's literally saying, I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, he names it, coming down out of heaven, into this new creation. And you know what it appeared like? It was, it was like a bride. So perfect. So glorious, so beautiful. If you want to read the rest of the description, you can start in verse nine, and work around verse 10, and work through the rest of revelation 21. And see the streets of transparent gold. See the colors of the throne and everything else. The best description that John can come up with is when I saw that city coming down from heaven, it looked so beautiful. It was like the look of a bride, having been prepared for her for her husband, right as she walks in. That's it. John talks about this moment this way, he says, or excuse me, Paul talks about this moment this way, First Corinthians two verse nine things which I has not seen, an ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. That's the same word prepared, by the way. When you see this new creation, when you see that holy city, which is the residence of God coming down in a new creation, listen, that's what God has, for us. So much better than anything we have now. That's what heaven is. It's holy. It's set apart as absolutely distinct, and separate under God. So different from this world, and so different from this existence. The third feature is that Heaven is not only new and holy, it's, it's wonderful. You may think that's a little bit of a lame description for verses three to five as the best I can come up with. is so cool. I couldn't use the word righteous or awesome, spectacular. And apparently today, I could use terms that used to mean evil things like dope and wicked to mean good, but I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet. Amazing, marvelous, fantastic. intimate, personal, incredible, perfect. There's a bunch of ways to describe it. I'm just gonna put it all into one category. Wonderful. Well, what is it that makes it wonderful? For for, for Brian and Michelle's sake, I mean, just let me just ask you, have you ever I know they like snow globes I've ever seen snow globe. You just shake it up, and there's all the snow there, right? And you just wait as the flakes come down and it just kind of unfolds for you. And you see how glorious it is. Okay, let me just shake the snow globe for a second. snowglobe. Now, look at it as it falls out. Verse three, I heard a loud voice from the throne. Saying be a hold. That word behold is one of those words that we as we're reading the Bible, we just skip over, right. You know, I remember when my son was about a year and a half old. We live in the middle of the desert and the aloe Valley. And I got home from church one day. And my son meets me at the door. He says Dad, dad, dad, dad. Yeah, Dad, come, show. Okay, so he grabbed my hand, he runs me out to the backslider. Here, we open the sliding glass door, he steps out and he stops literally right outside the door almost fell over him. So then I stepped around him and he points up, and he looks up at the sky. This just shows you the difference between where I live and where you live. He says that broken. He points at the one cloud in the sky. The sky is broken because there's a cloud but he was so excited and it just that that that that that's like Behold, okay. Your

    kids may say check it out. Or, or my daughter for some reason says dude to her mom. I can't track and connect all these dots. But this is the idea. Now here's what I want to point out to you. Notice who it is that says, Behold, a voice from the throne. This is God saying, check this out. Be a hold. The tabernacle of God is where among men. The moveable residents of God is among us. It's with us and He will dwell among them. them and they will be his people and God himself will be among them. This is this is emphatic, he personally will dwell with us. We personally will be as people, God himself will be among them. First Timothy six verse 16. Paul says that God is the One Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light whom no man has seen or can see. You can't see God why? Because he dwells in unapproachable light. And yet Jesus says in Matthew chapter five and verse eight, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see what God how can how can you put those two things together? I'll tell you how. Because in a new creation, we are glorified. We are completely free of sin. There is no longer a separation between us and God isn't a listen in this life, I have a new heart. I have the Holy Spirit residing within me, but I still am bound to the body of this death. In the new creation, all sin has gone all sin has been forever dealt with either at the cross or at the lake of fire. And now God can literally pitch his tent among us. That's the real reward of Heaven. The biggest thrill, the greatest joy, the most magnificent blessing, the most astounding promise given to us concerning heaven. What makes it truly wonderful is that God is there and he will bring us permanently into his sovereign Almighty holy presence and live with us in perfect communion and fellowship forever. Listen, if that doesn't thrill your soul, it's because you have way too low view and way too high view of yourself and of this sin curse fallen world. The greatest loss in all of human history happened at the garden and it wasn't man's innocence. And it wasn't the Garden of Eden and it wasn't the perfect relationship that he and his wife had with each other. It was our perfect relationship with God. And listen, when you're talking about heaven with regard to the eternal state, that's what He promises us. He's there. Notice verse four, He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will no longer be death, there will no longer be mourning or crying or pain. These first things have passed away. It's all over. It's all gone. It's all done. That's passed. That's the sin, cursed fallen world that was all burned up this new realm, this new creation, this new Heaven and new Earth where righteousness reigns and dwells where we are fully glorified, where God literally comes down out of heaven, in the New Jerusalem, and resides personally with us. That's the wonder and glory of what God has in store for those who are His suffering, conflict sin of all kinds, it's all a thing of the past. The threat of disease and death accidents, tragedies, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, war, cancer, AIDS, birth defects, murder, kidnapping, rape, theft, assault, corruption, wickedness and deception. And all of the corruptions of a sin cursed and fallen world and society, cultures that seek to define evil as good etc. all gone, all gone. There's always a threat that at any time your whole world in this life could come crashing down with the loss of a child or a loved one. There's the threat of losing employment, your home, your health, your ability to work. There's the fact of old age which is continually creeping up on all of us some seemingly faster than others. And then there's a struggle with your own flesh in the corruptions of this world, your inability to put down sin in your flesh permanently because you still dwell in the body of this death. The fact that no one in this world is perfect and so there is pain and heart ache and broken relationship and on it goes even between believers. That's all gone. Heaven isn't just better. It's wonderful. Verse five, he sits upon the throne said Behold, I'm making all things new. You know, I did a little study on that word, all. You know what the word all literally means in Greek means all. All things new. Isaiah 65 Verse 17, for behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. And this is a verse we all ought to memorize and live in accordance with the former things will not be remembered or come to me. Mind everything that's so important to us so easily distracts us in this life. They're never even going to come back to our mind when we are in the new heaven and a new earth. Is your life governed by things of eternal consequence? Are you really concerned about all this stuff in this life? Verse five, he says to John, right for these things are faithful and true. John, write down what you just saw. Because as sure as I'm showing you, you can count on it happening. That's my promise. The last feature of heaven I want to share with you just as we close is this heaven his new Heaven is holy heaven is wonderful, but heaven is also exclusive. Heaven is exclusive look at verses six to eight. He said to me, it is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning in the end, I will give to the one who Thurs from the spring of the water of life without cost, he overcomes will inherit these things, I will be his God and he will be my son. For believers, you know what the promise is, this is for you.

    This is what I promise you. This is what I guarantee you. This is what God looks forward to sharing with us.

    You know, the cool thing about Hebrews 11 Is that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Daniel, Isaiah and all the rest. They were all looking for a city whose maker and builder is God, and they didn't see it. You want to know why? Because it hasn't come yet. God's intention is we all get to see it together. God is not slow as some count slowness. God's not gonna bring it to pass until the fullness of time has passed. Even the Tribulation will not begin until all of the the fullness of the Gentiles has come in Genesis, or excuse me, Romans 11. He overcomes will inherit these things and I will be his God and he will be my son, he will be my child. That's what God has for us, we who are believers. But I want you to notice in verse eight, not only is dwelling in this new creation and a perfect relationship with God forever, a fixed and blessing reality for those who believe it's also a fixed and frankly, frightening reality for those who never do. Look at verse eight. But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. That's what we talked about at the end of Revelation 20, isn't it? I could go through and define all of these. There's just a couple I want to point out for you. Verse eight, for the cowardly, how on earth is cowardness a sin? I'll tell you how. You remember Jesus in Matthew 16 says to those who are as disciples, he says, if anybody wants to come after me, he's got to deny himself take up his cross and what? Follow me. What does it mean to deny yourself take up your cross and follow Jesus it means you say no to you. Even if it cost you your life, in crucifixion, and you follow him. You know what Jesus says in Matthew 10, a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. If you love father, mother, sister, brother and more than me, you're not worthy of me. You put your hand to the plow and look back. The kingdom is not for you. You've got to be willing to come forward and commit your life to Jesus Christ, no matter what it costs you. You got to be willing, in the tribulation time to say no to taking the mark of the beast, even though it costs you your life. You got to say you got to be willing as those in the apostolic error to be crucified, to be sawn in to in the Old Testament context, etc. You got to be willing to die for your beliefs. How many of us are even hesitant to suffer the loss of an earthly relationship? That's why cowardly is the first one that stated here. For the cowardly those unwilling to stand up and no matter what it costs them be identified with Christ. Their part isn't like a fire because a partial commitment to Christ is not acceptable. Oh, believing is an obvious one. I just don't believe abominable, murderers, immoral person sorcerers and idolaters. Maybe you look at those and say, Well, I'm not a murderer. I'm not an immoral person. You know what Jesus says in Matthew five? You are, you know, the ancients were told You shall not commit murder. But I say to you, whoever fires off a hateful word is guilty enough to go into the fires of hell ever fire off a hateful word is somebody according to God's ultimate standard. That's, that's murder. Do he says you, you've heard the ancients were told, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, God's standard that He's measuring you by is not just whether you commit the act of adultery. But whether you're looking at a woman with lust for in your heart, you've already committed adultery, where in your heart, God is not just evaluating externals. He's not just evaluating you on a basis of what you do. He's not just evaluating what you say. He's also evaluating what you think, what you want, your motivations and your desires. If you came to saving faith in Jesus Christ, you remember that conviction of sin, and you ran to Christ no matter what it cost you, right? And you turn from all of that, and you stepped forward and you got baptized, and you joined the church. And from that point on, you've dedicated yourself to learn the scriptures, to fellowship with the saints, to encourage one another on to love and good deeds, and to make your life one great big thank you card to God who died for you. But for the cowardly For the unbelieving, abominable, murderers, immoral persons, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. And the key thing to point out here is, there is no escape. There's no second chance. There is no alternative path. Jesus said, on the night in which He was betrayed, I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except how through me, and then he went to the cross and paid for our sins. Listen, if you're a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, God has made us incredible promises has he not. And He has blessed us so richly with the fullness of forgiveness of sins, because He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we could be the righteousness of God in him right. Given that we're in a no condemnation status, that he has fixed our love upon us, or his love upon us in a perfect way, and nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. We need to live our lives as an expression of worship and praise to Him. And if you have never come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, I encourage you now. I don't know how long any of us have. But I personally have buried a lot more people than I've married. And no one escapes death. However young, however old, your eternal destiny is what we're talking about. Consider whether your eternal destiny is in a glorious new creation, or in a lake of fire. Because God rules in both. Father, thank you so much for this day. And for the many ways that you have blessed us in Christ. Thank you for this church and for the many ministries that you have blessed them with and sustained them in and enabled them to do. Thank you for the privilege you've given me to be a small part in some of it. I just pray that for those among us, who know you that we might be all the more motivated to live for you and point others to you. And for those among us who have never bowed the knee to you, I pray today would be the day of their salvation. In Jesus name, amen.

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