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Revelation 21:1-7

Preparing for Eternity

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • February 11, 2018

When most people think of eternity, they immediately imagine heaven, up there, with the Lord. These verses shed light on eternity and it’s not what many people think. Heaven, you might say, will be on the earth, but not earth as we know it, even the earth itself will be made new.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture
Preparing for Eternity

Revelation 21:1-7

We have now come to the place in Revelation where the seven-year Tribulation has ended, the Lord has returned to the earth to rule and reign for 1000 years, believers have been judged at the judgment seat of Christ, nonbelievers have been judged at the great white throne judgment at the end of the millennium, Satan was released from the abyss to lead one final rebellion, but then was cast into the lake of fire in eternal judgment.

That brings us to the point where we now look to eternity and beyond. The reason God shows us these things in advance is that we might prepare our lives for eternity. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heeds the things written in it; for the time is near.”

Many people have assumptions about eternity, but many of these come from movies or pithy sayings, or stories and even humor. And for some reason, Peter is always the one standing at the gate welcoming people to heaven.

Like, for example, the story about when a pope and a politician both die on the same day and arrive at the gates of heaven where Peter greets them. The pope was rather surprised to see a band of angels coming out to welcome the politician, music sounding and cheers of celebration as they carry him into heaven on their shoulders. Peter could see the concerned look on the face of the pope, so he said, “Something wrong?” “Well,” said the pope, “this isn’t exactly how I envisioned it…”

No doubt you have heard the phrase, ‘pearly gates,’ that saying does has a biblical reference, but it’s not about heaven, up there, it’s about heaven when it comes to the earth.

When most people think of eternity, they immediately imagine heaven, up there, with the Lord. These verses shed light on eternity and it’s not what many people think. Heaven, you might say, will be on the earth, but not earth as we know it, even the earth itself will be made new.

I. We Will Live on a New Earth

  • If you were to take a survey and ask people where they will spend eternity, most people would say that they will live in heaven.
  • That is such a common understanding that when I speak about eternity, I talk about heaven as well.
  • But here we learn that we will actually live out eternity on earth. Not this one, but a new one.

A. Everything here will burn

  • This is so important to remember because we put so much value on the things of the earth, but the things of the earth are destined for the burn pile.

2 Peter 3:10-13, 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 intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up. 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 and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and 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.

  • We need is a heavenly perspective. In other words, we need to make sure we don’t have too much of our heart invested in the stuff that will burn.

Colossians 3:1-3, Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth; for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Luke 12:15, “Beware, for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

Illus – My very first car was a beat-up Toyota station wagon with dents on every corner. It was easy not to put much value in it, but then I bought a 1971 AMC Javelin with Starsky and Hutch stripes.

  • We need to hold the things of the earth loosely but value the things which will remain. Jesus called it laying up treasures in heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

B. Redeem the time you have

  • We should hold the things of the earth loosely because everything here is going to burn; we should also make the most of the time that we have on the earth.
  • In the new heaven and new earth, time will not be an issue. It’s only an issue for us now; we have an awareness of time to help us make the most of it.

Illus – Our dogs have no sense of the passing of time. Their agenda is simple; play, eat, sleep. They don’t even care if they get old.

  • But we do have a sense of time and Paul instructs us to make the most of what we have.

Colossians 4:5-6, Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person

  • Conduct yourselves with wisdom in your relationships, redeeming the time.When you let your speech be with grace, seasoned as it were with salt, you’re showing the value of those relationships.
  • Redeem the time also by sharing Christ.There will be no need to share Christ in heaven, everyone will know God.

Jeremiah 31:34, “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord.

  • Redeem the time also, because our life here in the earth is very short…

James 4:13-14, Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Illus – In the upcoming movie about the Apostle Paul, there is a scene where he talks to the Roman prefect about eternity. “Have you ever been sailing?” Paul asks…

  • If life is a vapor, then we should do something with the time we have.

App – “Use the good china,” don’t value stuff over people.

Illus – We took our family bowling and I remember thinking, “How much longer will we have them with us?”

The night before our daughter was killed, we spent three hours together at Starbucks.It was a warm, pleasant evening and we just sat outside talking about life.I will cherish those three hours for the rest of my life.

App – invest in that which is eternal.

Philippians 3:7-8, But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,

II. God Himself Will Be with Us

  • Verse 3, God Himself being among us is a wonderful promise.
  • But see also verses 22-23, the glory of God will illumine it. God will be among us in glory. What will that mean to us?

A. The former things will not come to mind

  • John immediately explains that in verse 4.
  • “He will wipe every tear from their eyes… no more crying or pain. Why? Because the first things have passed away.

Isaiah 65:17, For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

  • There are so many things on this earth that cause pain and tears, but these things will not come to mind or be remembered.

App -- There’s actually a great application for us in this.Many people would gain so much freedom if they could let go of the things that have hurt them in the past.Too many carry the accumulation of their hurts and wounds and they live in the prison of their pain and they are robbed of joy and peace.

Philippians 3:12-14, I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

B. He makes all things new

  • Verse 5 then follows powerfully with, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
  • The Greek here is helpful, I am making all things new is in the present active tense. In other words, things will not become old.

App – Here we struggle with things becoming old. Our bodies get old and worn out, cars become old, houses, and all kinds of stuff all become old.

Illus –There won’t be any need for “new and improved.” We keep finding ways to improve on the old; think of how much has changed just in the last ten years.

  • Today we struggle with the flesh, but we won’t have that struggle when God makes all things new.
  • The condition of our flesh here will not be so in heaven on earth.

Mark 14:38-39, “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Romans 7:18, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

  • In heaven on earth, there will be no more sin nature, no more brokenness, no more broken lives, no more broken marriages, no more broken relationships!
  • However, it’s absolutely vital to understand that He is in the process of making you new right now!

Ezekiel 36:26-27, Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

C. He gives to the one who thirsts

  • Verse 6 -- “I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.”
  • That is the gospel in one verse.
  • This is God’s heart for us right now.

Isaiah 55:1-3, “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the water; and you who have no money come, buy and eat.Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.I do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.Incline your ear and come to Me.Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David.”

John 7:37-39, Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Revelation 21:1-7            NASB

1 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 sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 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,
 
4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." 5 And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." 6 Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

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