Messages

Date:4/17/22

Series: Revelation

Passage: Revelation 21:1-5

Speaker: Jeff Thompson

Jesus reveals to John His incredible plan to once again create an earth and heavens from nothing, as we look to the Scriptures and dream together about the wonders of Heaven and the ages to come.


Transcription (automatically-generated): 

Well, can you believe it? We are 21 chapters deep into the Book of Revelation and there are still those who are out there trying to claim that the Book of Revelation is hard to understand. Stand, but bunk, say we for you see the word itself. Revelation means that something has been revealed. And the first words of this amazing book tell us exactly who it is that's being revealed. It's the revelation of Jesus Christ. And God wanted us to read this book so much that he promised anyone who would take the time to read and respond to it a special blessing. And we find that in Revelation chapter one, verse three, let's claim it together. It says, Blessed is he or she who reads, and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near. But God knew there would still be those who would say, this book is hard to understand. So to make it simple to understand, he included an easy to follow outline. And we find that in Revelation chapter in verses 19, Jesus tells John to write about three different things.

Firstly, he says, John write the things which you have seen. That was the resurrected and glorified Zeus in chapter one. Secondly, he says, John write about the things which are that refers to the Church age which began around 32 Ad, is documented in the Book of Acts. In chapter two, it happened on the day of Pentecost and that Church age has continued all the way up to the present day. And in fact, it's prophesied in chronological order in Revelation chapters two and three. Then finally, Jesus says, John, I want you to write about the things which will take place after this, after the Church age comes to an end. Now, when does that happen? It happens in Revelation chapter four verse is where John writes this. After these things I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard, that was the voice of Jesus in chapter one was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this. And up John goes, serving as a picture of the Church who will be raptured to be with the Lord.

And Jesus takes all of chapters four and five to make sure we do not miss the fact that the Church is with Him in heaven before he begins pouring out his wrath in chapter six. And as he's pouring out his wrath on the Earth, the Bible makes it clear that those on the Earth will know exactly what is happening. Because Revelation 616 tells us they will identify the source of their judgment as the wrath of the Lamb. And in the Scriptures, who is the Lamb? It's Jesus. So chapter one introduces the focus of Revelation. Jesus Christ, chapters two and three take us through the Church age up to the present day. The Church goes up in chapter four, verse one. We see her safe and secure with the Lord for chapters four and five before wrath comes down in chapter six. That wrath will continue for seven years. It's a time period known as the Tribulation, and it's documented in chapter six through 19, after which Jesus returns to the Earth with his Saints in the event known as the Second Coming. Jesus will then rule and reign on the Earth for 10 years known as the Millennial Kingdom, a golden age when the Earth will be returned to an Eden like state and everything wrong with the world will be undone.

After those thousand years, our universe will be destroyed, and that's where we pick things up in today's study. And though you may not understand all the details just yet, I can tell you this. If you love Jesus, then the story of your life is going to end with the words and they live happily ever after. The Reality of Heaven The reality of eternity with Jesus has provided hope and motivation to the believer since the advent of the Church on the day of Pentecost. Heaven is where we will see Jesus face to face. Heaven is where those who love him store up treasure. Heaven is where our inheritance awaits. Heaven is where we will receive new bodies free from sin and frailty. Heaven is where our citizenship resides and heaven is the home we were made for. Simply put, if you love Jesus, then your heart yearns for heaven. The Apostle Paul exhausted the Colossians writing, if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the Earth. The Apostle Peter summed up the longing in the heart of every believer when he wrote, we according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new Earth enrich in which righteousness dwells.

Today's study finds us in chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation, the second last chapter of the book. Can you believe it? I know some of you are like, yes, I can, because I can't even remember a time before we were studying the Book of Revelation. Jeff, it's been that long. Chapters 21 and 22 are a travel brochure for heaven. These final chapters are intended to make our imaginations run wild with thoughts of the Lord and eternity in his presence. And so today we're going to meditate on and we're going to dream about heaven together. The scriptures provide only a few small snippets of information about heaven. There's a lot of mystery and a lot we simply don't know. And I can think of two reasons why that's the case. Firstly, we currently lack the capacity and ability to even fathom all that heaven is going to be. Can you imagine trying to describe a new color to someone if that color had no relationship to any color they had ever seen before. If it wasn't a lighter or darker version of anything that currently exists, it would be impossible. What frame of reference could you use?

So I think that we simply lack the capacity and ability to understand all that heaven is going to be from our current vantage point. The second reason I think the Bible might not have too much to say about heaven is because if you're a parent, then you know or will soon know the special joy of surprising your children with something wonderful. Be it a Christmas or birthday gift or something completely out of the blue, there's not much better than surprising your children with something they love their reaction. Blesses your heart as a mom or dad on a deep level. And in that moment where they are overwhelmed with joy, the cost of that gift does not compare to the joy you feel because their joy is priceless to you. We get that from being made in the image of God, because that's how he feels about you. Do you know what is greater than the suffering Jesus endured on the cross? The joy he experiences when sinners repent and are adopted into his family? God delights in blessing you. He delights in blessing you. I remember the Christmas when our family was living in South Florida, and we got our whole family annual passes to Disney World.

And the kids opened these Christmas cards on Christmas morning and there was just dancing and jumping and screaming and they were going nuts. And it was the best. It was so much fun. I remember when it had been two or three years since we started New Hope and our family hadn't had a vacation for several years. We didn't have any money for a vacation. And so we told our kids to pray because pro tip God cannot seem to turn down the prayers of children. So you might want to leverage that if you're a parent of children sometime soon. We had two families from thousands of miles away just send us checks so that we could afford to take our kids on an amazing vacation. Charlene and I planned the whole trip, but we kept the whole thing a secret. I rented an RV. I parked it in front of our house, and then I took the kids out and I took them into it. I didn't tell them anything yet. I just sat them down at the kitchen table in the RV. And then I got to tell them, hey, guys, you know how we've been praying for our family to be able to go on a vacation this summer?

Well, God said yes, and we're going on vacation today. That's right. I waited till the actual day, pulled up the RV and told them, and we're going today. And then I said, not only that, but we're going on vacation for one day. Two days, three days. And I counted all the way up to eleven days, one at a time. And then I told them all the places we were going and the places we were going were just awesome. We went all the way down the West Coast as far as San Francisco almost. It was fantastic. And their eyes just got bigger and their smiles just got bigger and bigger as I revealed all the details of this amazing trip we were going to do that just blessed me as a dad on that deep, deep level. I believe that God cannot wait to surprise us with the wonders of heaven and the ages to come. He can't wait to experience our joy with us. And so I suspect he's saving the best parts for when we get there. I don't know what your expectations of heaven are. They've been a lot of funky and terrible descriptions of what heaven is going to be like.

And I can tell you this with absolute certainty. You will not be transformed into a naked harp playing baby for all eternity. I can tell you that. Here's another terrible description of heaven that I've heard before. It's going to be like a Church service that never ends. And I know some of you are thinking I've already experienced that several times in my life. Jeff, listen, I love Church services and I love our Church, but even I would not want to go to a Church service that never ends. I have never once said to someone, I'm thinking of just switching our Sunday services to 6 hours long because they're just so great. I just never want to leave. I've never said that. I've never had that thought. Even though I love our Church now, why is that? It's because even though I love our Church and I love our Church services, they are not heaven. They are not heaven. So let's find out. What is Heaven? In our previous study, we learned that at the end of the millennial Kingdom, our universe will be destroyed. Jesus told his disciples, Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.

In biblical cosmology, there is a difference between heaven and the heaven leaves, also known as the heavens or the heavenly realm. Heaven is the dwelling place of God. It's where his throne resides. The heavens, the heavenly or the heavenly realm refers to the supernatural dimension that exists between Earth and heaven. It's the realm where Angels and fallen Angels currently wage war, and it's the location of the divine Council where Yahweh meets with Satan as depicted in Job chapter one. It's where he meets with the gods of the nations and the powerful Angels like the watchers mentioned in Daniel chapter four, verses 17. At the end of the millennial Kingdom, our physical universe, the heavenly realm, and even death in Hades will be destroyed. Heaven, the dwelling place of God, will not be destroyed. Verse. One then tells us what happens next. Now I saw a new heaven and a new Earth underline that for the first heaven and the first Earth had passed away, God will create a brand new Earth and new heavenly realm. Why? Because our universe and the current heavenly realm both have a history of sin. Would you write that down?

It's your first fill in. Both our universe and the current heavenly realm have a history of sin. Our universe is unclean because of Earth's history of sin that traces back to Adam and Eve's rebellion in Eden. The heavenly realm is unclean because it was the location of Lucifer's rebellion, and it's where he has been accusing us before God day and night in the divine counsel. Job 1515 tells us that currently the heavens are not pure in his sight. The Lord intends to give sin and death no place in his new creation. They shall be stricken from the record in every sense of the phrase. Things will not simply be refurbished. For Isaiah tells us that the Lord declares, Behold, I create new heavens and a new Earth, and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. The word used by Isaiah for create is the Hebrew word Bara. It's the same word used in Genesis One one. And it means to create from nothing. It's the phrase ex Nahilo in the Latin. Unlike everything that our minds can conceive of, God does not need raw materials to create. He can create from absolutely nothing.

Whatever raw materials you're thinking of, he created them. God doesn't need to refurbish the heavens and the Earth because he's not limited to working with what already exists. And so once again, he will create a new reality from absolutely nothing. Then we read also, there was no more sea. What, no beaches in the new heaven or on the new Earth? Well, not necessarily. It says no more sea, not no more water. We'll soon learn that there's a river, so we know there's water in this new creation. All this means is that whatever there is instead of the sea is better. Whatever there is doesn't leave sand in your cracks and crevices when you're done swimming in it. Whatever there is doesn't divide people from each other. Whatever there is doesn't sanitize the world's waste as part of the water cycle because there's nothing impure to sanitize in eternity. Whatever there is doesn't pose any type of danger. Whatever is in heaven is better. And hopefully by this point in our study we can all just trust the Lord with the details when it comes to things like this. And remember, those who belong to Jesus will have 10 years to enjoy the best beaches on Earth during the Millennium.

Nobody's going to be missing out on anything. What this sentence is really addressing is what the sea represented in the Hebrew mind. The Jews were not a seafaring people. They didn't spread out across the Middle East by navigating the seas. They viewed seas and oceans as representations of chaos and death, places where dark powers exercised great power. The Jewish man or woman reading the sentence would interpret it as another way of God, saying that in his new creation there will be no more chaos, no more death, no more fear. Additionally, both the Hebrew and surrounding cultures at this time viewed the sea as a place where things are buried, concealed, hidden, and where things disappear, never to be seen again. As we'll see in later verses of this chapter, one of the defining traits of God's new creation is its transparency, literally and figuratively. There will be no secrets in it because there will be no sin and therefore no shame. And shame is the only reason we keep secrets, really, in the new heaven and new Earth, there will be no reason for anyone or anything to ever be hidden. Verse Two Then I John saw the Holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

The New Jerusalem is what we refer to today as heaven. It's the city of God. It currently exists, and it's where God is sitting on his throne. It's the city Jesus called his Father's house, the place he told his disciples he is preparing for those who love him. The new Jerusalem is currently isolated from the heavens and the Earth because they are tainted by sin. But in this new creation, there will be no division between the Earth, the heavens, and the new Jerusalem. Heaven will come down and join to the new Earth because this new creation will be as pure and as Holy as heaven itself. Hebrews Twelve declares to believers, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of Angels, to the General Assembly. And I love this phrase and Church of the first born who are registered in heaven, to God, the judge of all, to the spirits of just men, made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant. We'll get more detail on the New Jerusalem later in this chapter, but for now, just know that this is where we'll live in eternity.

So make a note of that. We, the Church, will live in the New Jerusalem. We will live in the new Jerusalem, the city of God, the city of his Saints. And as John looks at this beautiful city filled with people made beautiful by the Lord, he compares what he sees to the moment a bride is revealed to the guests at a wedding. You ladies who are married are beautiful today, but you looked unbelievably beautiful on your wedding day. Many of you husbands remember, as I do, the moment when she walked in the back of the room at your ending and you thought, man, how did I pull this off? How did I trick her into marrying me. You can see that moment in your mind, the way the room gasps when the beauty of the bride is revealed is the way John describes the revealing of the New Jerusalem, full of the Saints of God. Her beauty takes his breath away. We don't know how exactly it happened, but Hebrews tells us that Abraham got a glimpse, a revelation of the New Jerusalem. This is what it says. By faith, he dwelt in the land of promise.

Gas is a foreign country, dwelling, intense with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. Why did he dwell in tents? For he waited for the city, which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Abraham lived to 175 and spent most of those years as one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, men on Earth. But because of this glimpse of the New Jerusalem, he never built himself a house on the Earth. He could have built a palace. But after seeing what God had in store for him, his attitude became, what's the point? Any home I could build here would be a shack compared to what the Lord has prepared for me in heaven. Verse three, and I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men underline the Tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them underline he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. God Himself will be with them underline that and be their God. Notice that God says twice that he will be with his people. He will dwell with them, and God Himself will be with them.

God wants us to know that he will literally be among us. We will see Him, speak with Him, behold Him, hear Him fellowship with Him, worship Him, and serve Him. In John 114, it says, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and truth. Obviously that's speaking of Jesus, the phrase dwelt among us is actually the phrase tabernacled among us in the original language, as accessible as Jesus was to his disciples in his earthly Ministry, he will be accessible to us in eternity only he won't be in a human body. He'll be fully glorified. Do you realize the day is coming when even faith will be fulfilled? What I mean by that is that the day is coming when faith won't be necessary because the Lord will be with us in such a tangible way. I don't need to have faith that my teaching notes are in front of me because I'm touching and looking at them right now. That's going to be the nature of our relationship with God in eternity. You need faith for what you cannot fully see yet.

But in eternity, God will be revealed to us to such a degree that even faith will no longer be required because we will see Him and be with Him. The Tabernacle of God is with men. We will know the Lord as he knows us. I love that it says with men because here's what that means. It means even in heaven, even in eternity, we're still ourselves, but we're the fully redeemed version of ourselves. It's my personal belief that in heaven, our God given passions are still intact because they're part of who God made us to be. I don't know anybody who has fulfilled all their passions. Everybody I know deep down wishes they could have devoted more time and energy to their passions or accomplished more around their passions. Or maybe you feel like there's a song, a book, a business, something inside of you that you just can't seem to get out. For nearly all of us, the limitations of time got in the way. The fact that we have to work, we have to raise children, we have to do all the things that come along with life. You know, when you're young, the word potential is exciting.

When you're older, the word potential stings a little bit because it reminds you of all the things you could have done in your life, the things that deep down, you'd love to do that just didn't happen for good, bad, or neutral reasons. Why would God put those desires and ambitions in us if he knew we couldn't fulfill them? I believe it's because in the ages to come, we will. It's part of who we were created to be in the Millennium and the new creation that follows it. I believe all those unfulfilled God given desires are going to be loosed. Time won't be an issue. Resources won't be an issue. Distractions won't be an issue. In fully redeemed reality, God's fully redeemed people will create and design and build in an atmosphere that is somehow stimulating, an electric, yet simultaneously serene and restful. There are desires and dreams that God has built into your spirit so that they can be freed and fulfilled in his presence. In the ages to come in heaven, we will recognize our loved ones who love the Lord. After the death of his infant son, David said, I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

Not only that, but it seems we will intrinsically know who everybody is. At the Transfiguration, Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, let us make here three Tabernacles. One for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Even though Moses and Elijah weren't in their resurrected bodies yet, and even though they had never met them, Peter, James and John recognized them. This brings me great comfort because I am terrible with names and faces, and it is awful being a pastor who wants to make people feel loved and valued but cannot remember names and faces. Great to meet you. How did you find out about the Church. I've been here for three years and you've been a blessing for three years. Excuse me, I think I hear my wife calling. In heaven, you will intrinsically know who everybody is. There won't be any awkwardness for people like me. I'll never have someone say, hey, Jeff, only for me to respond, hey, brother, in heaven, we're going to recognize everybody. So make a note of that. In heaven, we will recognize everybody. In fact, I want to suggest to you that we don't really know anyone and we won't really know anyone until we get to heaven.

Maybe there are some Christian brothers and sisters who come to mind when we talk about heaven because you find yourself immediately thinking, how am I going to avoid them for all eternity? It's going to be tough. Listen, they're going to be fully redeemed. Who we really are. Who we were created to be is going to be unlocked in eternity. Our full potential is going to be realized. And when you encounter those people in their fully redeemed States, you'll find yourself thinking, I love this person. They're amazing. And by the way, people will have that experience with you and me as well. You know, nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, I wonder how I can alienate everyone who cares about me. Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, I wonder how I can drive everyone who interacts with me crazy with my annoying habits and communication style. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, I wonder how I can make people dislike me by constantly complaining about everything. The more you get to know people, the longer you live, the more you realize that there's always a reason why we are the way we are.

I'm not saying there's always a justification. I'm saying there's always an explanation. There are negative factors that have impacted and shaped our lives. There were or are positive factors that are missing from our lives. But in eternity with Jesus, all that baggage is going to be removed. All the junk is simply going to fall away. And when those who love Jesus are freed from all that, we will become the people Jesus created us to be. We will be our true selves. For the first time in heaven, everyone will be beautiful in every sense of the word. And I promise you won't have to avoid anybody in eternity. There'll be no guilt, no shame, no awkwardness, no weirdos. Just amazing people redeemed and glorified by the Grace of God in heaven, we'll bump into those people who bugged us on Earth and we'll say, wow, look at what the Lord has done. You're no longer a giant pain in the well, there's no cussing in heaven, but you get the idea. And again, I'm sure people will have the same experience with us. The Apostle Paul wrote about the effect the cross of Christ should have on how we view people now.

And he said, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh, meaning that those who love Jesus are not to view their Christian brothers and sisters based solely on who they are now, but rather who they are in Christ and who they are destined to become in eternity. I wish I were better at doing that, but I know the Holy Spirit is changing me bit by bit, day by day. Take a look at verse three again. Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. I want you to notice that the emphasis is on God being with us and us being with God. We will recognize and know our loved ones in heaven, but our focus will be on Zeus. It's okay to long for heaven so that you can be reunited with loved ones who love the Lord. It's okay. It's a great thing to hope for. But hear me on this, please. It's not okay to long for them more than you long for Jesus. The presence of those loved ones in heaven will be wonderful, but our hope and joy shouldn't be solely based on the fact that we will see them again.

Rather, our joy should be that we will behold Jesus together. And I really say this because I love you. If you're longing for heaven so that you can be reunited with your loved ones, just be sure that you don't allow your longing to be with them, to exceed your longing to be with the Lord. Because if you do, you've turned that covet one into an idol. And if they love Jesus, that is the last thing they would want you to do with their memory. What a blessing it is that those who love Jesus will be reunited in his presence to enjoy Him together. I don't know how anybody's supposed to read the next verse out loud and keep it together, but I'll try. Verse four, it says, And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. And some will say this verse is pointing out that there must be tears in heaven that God needs to wipe away. And then they'll speculate as to the reason for those tears missed evangelism opportunities, regret over not living more radically for the Lord and storing up more treasure in heaven, things like that.

But that's really not what this verse is saying. This verse is saying that because the former things have passed away, nothing will exist that can cause death, sorrow or tears or crying. Those things all died. They all ceased to exist. They all passed away with the old Earth and old heavens. Write this down. Every source of sorrow is destroyed with the old Earth and old heavens. Every source of sorrow is destroyed with the old Earth and old heavens. Someone I follow on Twitter posted this earlier this week. All the sadness believers feel when leaving dear friends, all the nostalgia for days gone by, that God blessed all the pain that rocks you when death strikes loved ones. All of it is a call from a distant land where you never part, you never mourn, and most of all, you never die. No more sadness, no more disappointment, no more bitterness, no more depression, no more anxiety, no more fear. Our eternity will be sorrow proof. I have some incredible things to share with you on that point, but I need to save them for next week, so please don't miss next Sunday. It will bless you so much.

I promise we won't remember our sins and our failures in heaven. Neither will we remember those who rejected the Lord, something that's both encouraging and sobering. Remember Isaiah 60 517. The Lord said, Behold, I create new heavens and a new Earth, and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind. There shall be no more pain for the former. Things have passed away in our earthly lives. There are seemingly endless sources of sorrow that could appear at any given moment. Issues in friendships, marriages and families, addiction, poverty, sickness, death. And on and on the list goes. This will be news to some. But the Bible does not say that everything happens for a reason. If you've been with us for our study through revelation, then you'll know that the Bible teaches that Satan is the God of this age and Jesus has not yet begun to rule the nation. That happens in the Millennium. This is the promise God gives in Scripture. All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. That verse doesn't say that everything happens for a reason, nor does it say that only good things will happen to those who love Jesus.

What it says is that whatever happens to those who love him in this life, God will do something good through it. When a loved one dies unnaturally early, when sickness strikes a child, when jobs are lost, when abuse happens, when tragedy strikes, God will pull something good out of all that sorrow, even when it seems hopeless. He'll create a testimony. He'll empower you to Minister to others who have gone through the same thing. He will shake people out of complacency and make them realize the importance of eternity. He will store up treasures in heaven for you. He will humble you and shape your character. He will reveal himself to you in a new way and give you greater understanding. The promise of God is that our hurt and pain is never wasted, and that's a blessing. There is meaning and significance in the trials of a believer. In contrast, the trials of the unbeliever are meaningless. Romans 828 helps me because it reminds me that Revelation 21 four is talking about heaven, not Earth. The place where there is no more pain is heaven, not this earthly life. And this is so important because there are too many churches teaching people lies by leading them to believe that if you love Jesus, then everything will work out great for you in this earthly life.

That's not true. That's not what the Bible teaches, and it's not how your life and my life are going to play out. And when people buy into this type of false teaching, they end up disillusioned with Christianity when their life doesn't play out that way. Hear me on this Church. This is not heaven. This is not heaven. I have walked with many people through times of tragedy. And when they strike, we all naturally want to know why, why? And sometimes we do each other a great disservice by trying to come up with, with baseless explanations. A lot of the time. The explanation is simply that this is a fallen world and this is not heaven. This is not everything as it should be. This is not where wrong things happening is abnormal. This is not heaven yet. And that's why we long for heaven. The bottom will fall out of your life one day, and it'll happen more than once. When I understand the difference between this life and heaven, I won't get mad at God when tragedy strikes my life. I'll remember that Jesus told his disciples, in the world, you will have tribulation.

And guess what? We are still in the world. Write this down. This isn't heaven. Don't expect it to be. This is not heaven. Don't expect it to be. Heaven is where verses four takes place, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain. For the former things have passed away. Now. Verse five, a verses so great and glorious, I cannot find the words to expound upon it sufficiently. Then he who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, right, for these words are true and faithful. I like that John is seemingly so overwhelmed by all that he's seeing there. He's sitting there with his mouth open. And God has to say, John right. This verse means the world to me. And I want to tell you about the moment this verse came alive most powerfully in my life. It was early in the fall years ago, and it was one of our family days that we try to take once a week where we do something together as a family.

And on this particular family day, we decided to head down to White Rock. It was low tide, and we practically had the whole beach to ourselves because while it was clear and sunny, it was still a bit windy and cold, but as is generally the case, children don't care. We blinked, and they were all soaking wet from running through the shallow pools of water that had been left behind by the tide. And they were running, as only kids do, for no apparent reason. Kids get this surge of excitement and joy, and they just run. And I was smiling, watching them play. Because if you're a parent, then you know that your kids joy brings you joy. When Caleb was younger, he loved weapons. I mean, he still likes them, but when he was younger, he just could not get enough of weapons. And on this day, he found a stick almost as tall as him, and he decided that it was his lightsaber. And I remember watching him play. He was completely in his own world. He was fighting bad guys, running, spinning around, splashing in water, laughing and smiling and just having the time of his life.

And as I found myself alone for a minute, I was struck by this deep grief, a wave of profound sadness, because Gas Is watched Caleb playing. As I watched his anabash joy, I realized that I didn't know how to be that kind of happy anymore. There was a level of joy that he was experiencing that was beyond my grasp, because he had a measure of innocence that I no longer had. You see, living in this fallen world has weathered me like a coastal rock exposed to the endless pounding of the Ocean's waves. Life just the process of living in the world wears you down, and it steals from you. Children are still fallen beings, obviously, but they're closer to Eden because most of the time they haven't been exposed to very many storms yet. I think that's why there's something so magical about the laughter of children. It's a sound that comes from a place that we don't know how to find anymore. Because life on a fallen Earth has robbed us of the natural optimism that we once enjoyed in eternity. Jesus will declare, Behold, I make all things new. And his statement will include us.

We'll get back what was lost in Eden. We'll get back what was lost before we were even born. We will be new. We've all been shaped by our life experiences in a much deeper way than we realize. What would you be like? Who would you be if they had never made that comment? If that abuse had never taken place? If they hadn't broken your heart? If you hadn't fallen into that addiction? If you hadn't done that thing that you wish every day you could take back, take it a whole lot further? Who would you be if you never felt embarrassment ever or shame ever? If you'd never been criticized? If you'd never experienced disappointment, who would you be? How would you live? How would you laugh? How would you sing? What would you share out loud? How would you love. We will be young again. We will have knowledge and wisdom and understanding, but we will be as free as children who have only ever known. Love and joy and peace will bear no scars of any kind, mental, emotional, spiritual or physical. We'll never worry about the future. We'll never worry about having enough or being enough.

We'll never worry about screwing up because there won't even be a concept in heaven. We won't be able to be self conscious because we'll be so consumed with Jesus that there'll be no room to be consumed with ourselves. Heaven is the hope of all who hope in Christ, and our hope is not misplaced. As we've talked and dreamed about heaven, I want to remind you that Jesus said to John, These words are true and faithful. The question is, do you believe Jesus? I'm not asking if you believe in Jesus. I'm asking if you believe Jesus when he tells you about heaven, because if you do, it's going to be very evident in the way you live your life. Abraham believed God, and he lived his whole life in tents wandering the Promised land because he was convinced of the reality of the New Jerusalem. Does your life serve as evidence that you believe what Jesus says about heaven? In his word, Jesus said, Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away. If you're a believer, make sure your life reflects the reality of heaven. If you've not placed your faith in Jesus, if you're not following Him as your Savior and Lord, I want you to know that he is what you are looking for.

Whether you realize it or not, he is what you are looking for. He is what your soul is crying out for. He's what your life is missing. And today you can have Him. When we pray in just a moment, you can ask Him to come into your life and there'll be some instructions on the end of this video as to next steps that you can take to begin that relationship with God. Make sure you do that if you've never known God for yourself. In Hebrews Eleven, the famous hall of Faith chapter, it says this regarding the Old Testament Saints. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the Earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. They desire a better that is, a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. If you love Jesus, then he has prepared a place for you. More than that, he has prepared an eternity for you, and he has done so for the same reason he lived a perfect life on your behalf, the same reason he suffered and died on your behalf.

And the same reason he Hosea from the grave and glory on your behalf because he loves you, because your joy brings Him joy. And he knows there is no greater joy that we can have than knowing Him and being known by Him. So he has moved heaven and Earth to make it so. Jesus is wonderful. He's wonderful. What more can we say? Let's pray. Would you buy your head and close your eyes? Jesus, thank you that you have gone to prepare a place for us and you will come again. You will receive us to yourself so that where you are, we may be also. Thank you that our future is better than we could possibly imagine. And Jesus, what we look forward to more than anything is being with you, being with you in the place where we will see you face to face, we will fellowship with you where everything that is wrong will be made right around you and in you and through you. Thank you that that future is assured for us and Jesus. We ask that the way we live our lives right now would reflect that we truly believe and understand what you have revealed to us in Your Word.

May we realign everything in our lives around the reality of heaven and the future You've prepared for us. Lord, help us to live for it, be motivated by it, and be comforted by it. And if there's a change we need to make Holy Spirit, show it to us that we might walk in greater obedience and live for eternity, more profitably, bringing greater joy and glory to the Lord through our earthly lives. We love you. We're so thankful for you. We bless you. It's in Your name we pray. Amen. Hey, thanks for being with us for this study. Before you go, I want to share just a few quick things with you. If you've never given your life to Jesus, then you need to go to Gospelcity. Ca gospel right now you'll find a short video where we share the best news you'll ever hear in your life. It's more important than whatever else you're doing, so go to Gospelcity Caspel right now to learn more about Jesus. If God has blessed you through this message, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at info at gospelcity. Ca and let us know how God has impacted your life through His Word.

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