- Sermon Notes
What Heaven will be Like – 2
September 26-27, 2020
There is a saying that hindsight is 2020. Somehow, I think every time someone uses that phrase in the future, it will remind them of what an epic year 2020 was, and it’s not over yet! There is still an election yet to take place in the inevitable meltdown that will immediately follow.
I’m praying that when believers in Jesus Christ look back on 2020, I’m praying that it is remembered as the year that God is strengthened their faith, that it was a year of revival!
This is why I felt it was so important to study through the book of Revelation. Christians with spiritual discernment have long felt that a storm cloud has been rising on the horizon. The storm has not yet passed, in fact, I’m convinced that what we have seen is just the beginning of birth pangs that will lead toward greater troubles ahead.
We now come to the last chapter in Revelation. Before the events of this chapter, the seven-year tribulation of God’s wrath poured out on the earth is completed, the Antichrist, the false prophet, and even Satan himself have all been cast into the Lake of Fire.
There will have been a thousand-year millennial reign of Christ, where He rules, or more literally, shepherds the nations from Jerusalem where He will establish His throne. It will be a time of peace. As Isaiah the prophet describes, they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. The nations will come into Jerusalem to give Him honor. The earth itself will be changed; the wolf will lie down with the lamb; the leopard will lie down with the young goat and a little boy will lead them. The cow and the bear will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like an ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand into the viper’s den. In that day the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
After the 1000-year reign of Christ, the earth as we know it will pass away; it will be destroyed by fire. Even the current heaven will pass away.
There will be a New Heaven and a New Earth and there will be the New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven upon the New Earth. That will be the place of our eternal home!!
In chapter 22, John describes what will take place in the city of the New Jerusalem… He is describing eternity for those who believe in Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior and put their hope in Him.
I. It Will Flow with the River of Life
- In Chapter 21 God said, “I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life.”
- In chapter 22 we understand that the spring flows into a river of the water of life.
- However, there are truths here that should be applied to our lives right now. He gives Living Water right now to anyone who receives Christ into his heart as Lord and Savior.
A. Go farther and deeper into the river of life
- Last week we read Jesus’ words in John 7…
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.’” By this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.
- The point is that the Holy Spirit that flows as the river of life in heaven is the same Holy Spirit that flows as a river of life in our hearts now.
- The question is how much of us will you surrender to God? How deep and how far will you move with the Holy Spirit? That’s the image we see in Ezekiel 47 that describes the river that will flow from Jerusalem in the Millennium…
Ezekiel 47:1-12 Wherever the water flows, there is life.
B. Choose well what you will drink
- In eternity, we will drink of the water of life without cost.
Illus – We’ve come to understand the value of good water. People will pay more for water than for gasoline. I was at an airport once where bottled water was more expensive than grapefruit juice!! I’m certain there is more involved in harvesting grapefruit juice, but there it was, people paying more for water.
- What you take into your soul has a great impact on what happens in your life.
Ephesians 5:15-16, 18, Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil… Do not get drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit.
- And though we have the same Holy Spirit now, we also have our flesh; and as a result, there is a battle between our flesh and our spirit.
Illus – The battle within is a battle for control. It’s a battle between the flesh and the spirit. The body says ‘eat whatever looks or sounds good…’ if the flesh is in charge, however, it will destroy itself because it doesn’t care about the consequences, it only thinks of the pleasure of the moment.
Romans 7:15, 18, For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate…. 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.
Galatians 5:16-17, Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another.
App – What that means is that sometimes God will fight against your flesh to strengthen your spirit. People sometimes lay the ax at their own tree and God must resist and intervene to keep them from harming themselves spiritually.
Illus – When I was 14 years old, I had a ruptured appendix. As I was in the hospital recovering from surgery, I didn’t feel like doing anything. The nurses struggled, cajoled, urging me to move, to get up, to cough, because I didn’t want to do any of those things. In other words, the flesh doesn’t know what’s good for it.
- We won’t have this battle in heaven, but now, in this life, there must be a denial of the things that will harm you.
Romans 12:1, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
- Our flesh doesn’t want spiritual things, but our soul knows it will bring life.
Galatians 6:8-9, The one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
- If only we could settle this in our hearts; that in the presence of the Lord, there is fullness of joy.
Psalm 16:11, You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
II. There Shall No Longer Be Any Curse
- At beginning, Adam and Eve lived in the glory of God before the curse. But they sinned and the earth came under the curse of the consequence of that sin.
- Here in Revelation 22, the New Heaven and New Earth are being revealed and we read that once again there will no longer be any curse from the original sin of Adam.
- As a result of their sin, Adam and Eve could not eat of the Tree of Life and were cast out of Eden.
A. The Tree of Life will bear fruit
- The history of man can be traced through an account of three significant trees.
- Trouble for man began with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the one and only tree from which Adam and Eve were not allowed to eat.
- ‘Why did God place it there in the first place?’ many have asked.
• Love is a choice, and everyone must choose to love God and choose to obey God of their own free will.
• Reliance on God is also a choice. When Adam walked with God he could ask whatever he wished. But when Adam and Eve chose their own way, they became independent of God. They knew good and evil apart from Him.
App – God wants you to rely on Him by walking with Him in constant fellowship. There are many things that happen in life that cannot be fixed in a moment. You must walk with Him step by step.
Illus – When I had to fly to speak at a stockholders’ meeting of a company that was helping us in missions and I missed the flight, I learned that walking with God is step by step…
- The second tree in the history of man is the cross of Calvary. It was there that Jesus paid for the sins of our lives, redeeming the lives of those carrying the consequences of Adam’s sin.
- But the fullness of the curse will not be removed until the day when the last believer has come to faith in Jesus and God establishes the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Romans 8:19-21, The anxious longing of creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him was subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
- Finally, the 3rd tree is the Tree of Life in all its fullness described in Revelation 22. It yields its fruit every month with twelve different kinds of fruit.
Illus – Fruit trees are awesome. Growing up we had many fruit trees on the farm, there were cherries, apples, and plums. But I had no idea what other kinds of fruit God had created.
It wasn’t until I was older did I discover mangoes, kiwi, durian, star fruit, papaya, and who knows how many more types of fruit God has created.
Illus – God longs to show you the riches of His glory that He has prepared for you. In this life, you experience only part of what God has created and He longs to show you riches of His glory.
You’ve experienced just a taste of that when you eagerly wait for your kids to wake up on Christmas morning and discover what you’ve prepared for them.
Ephesians 2:4-7, But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
B. We shall see Him face to face
- Verse 4 – the bondservants will see His face.
- The scripture says that we cannot see His face now.
Exodus 33:20, But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”
- In this life we see as through a glass darkly.
1 Corinthians 13:12, For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Psalm 17:15, As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.
Illus – There should be a longing for the presence of God and seeing Him face to face. I remember when the kids were young how excited they would be when I came home.
C. Blessed is the one who heeds these words
- Verse 7, “Blessed is the one who heeds the words of this prophecy.”
- Interestingly, the book of Revelation is the only biblical book that is not read liturgically by the Orthodox Church.
- Some avoid the book considering it to be too difficult, but not only are we to study and understand these words; we are to heed them, or literally to guard them in our hearts.
App – But those who will not hear, those who will not heed, those who do not want Jesus will get their wish. But those who heed, even it’s late, will come.
Illus – I had an early morning talk with my dad where he said, “I’ve wasted most of my life… I want to make something of what I have left… will you help me?”
Matthew 25:21-22, His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
Revelation 22:17, The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Revelation 22:1-7 NASB