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Good Afternoon!
I hope that everyone is doing well today.
Today we get to talk about one of the greatest truths that is revealed in the scriptures.
It is, I believe, one of the most amazing promises that is made to those that put their faith in Christ Jesus.
All who believe in Jesus will spend all of eternity with Jesus in a place we call heaven.
Now, that’s not quite accurate it is not going to be heaven.
But we might just consider it heaven on earth.
Because you see we will spend eternity with Jesus here on a new earth, recreated as it was meant from the beginning with neither sin nor death.
In Philippians chapter three verse twenty Paul says,
Our true and ultimate citizenship is not found here in the United States.
No, it is found in the heavenlies alongside our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the home that we should long for the home we should hope for.
And this truth needs to make a difference in our lives today.
Not just when we stand together before Jesus.
But right here and right now.
I have heard the phrase stated and I believe I have mentioned it before, “he is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.”
But let me tell you today that this phrase goes against what scriptures teaches.
Our mind and our thoughts are meant to be focused on what is to come in Christ Jesus.
We are to be looking towards and yearning for the day we witness the new heavens and the new earth.
Paul in Colossians chapter three verses one through two writes.
But all too often, and I say this from my own experience, we are for too focused on those earthly things that drag us down and keep us from walking the path that Jesus has set before us.
And look the things of the earth that cause us to loose focus and listen this are not necessarily sinful realities but they so often get in the way of what we truly need to be focused.
For instance it could be worry about a family member, worry about health issues, worry about financial issues, or focusing too much on gaining financially security, or focusing on having that perfect family, or even focusing on becoming the most health person possible.
Again none of these are necessarily wrong or evil.
But all of them can become a distraction from that which is truly right and good, and that is a life lived eternally in the presence of Christ Jesus.
So, my hope today is to help us to refocus.
To step back and see that which is one day awaiting us in eternity.
To help us to focus on that which truly matters.
To focus on the eternal, not that which will one day simply cease to exist.
So, let’s look at the coming of the new heavens and the new earth.
That place where Jesus will dwell among his people eternally.
Let’s begin in verse one which reads.
Remember we have already seen the announcement of the destruction of the old order in the last chapter where we read the the earth and the sky fled from the presence of the glory of God.
John now looks and he sees a new heaven and a new earth.
And as I hinted at earlier the earth is the ultimate destiny of the people of God.
You and I were created for an eternal earthly existence.
The beauty of a sun rise or a sun set was created for us to enjoy eternally not just for today.
Then in verse two we read.
Here John simply speaks of the arrival of the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
In verse nine and following he is going to go into significant detail concerning what he sees.
But here and now John is focused on the fact that a city descends from the heavenlies that will be the eternal home of the Son and His bride the church.
In Hebrew tradition prior to the wedding the husband would go and prepare the home for his bride to be.
It was essentially his wedding gift to his bride.
And that is what we are reading here in this verse.
The new Jerusalem is the dwelling place of Jesus and he has gone ahead to prepare it for our eventual arrival.
We will all one day open access to the New Jerusalem.
Some suppose that we are meant to live within the New Jerusalem with Jesus.
They say this because Jesus has gone to prepare a home for this bride.
However, I don’t believe that our final home is the New Jerusalem.
I believe that the new home that our groom has gone to prepare for us is the new earth, not simply the new Jerusalem that is but a part of what he has gone to prepare for his bride, the church..
I believe that we will all be spread out upon the earth living in nations as Christ has created them.
What that all looks like I am not completely sure of those details are never given.
But the fact that nations will exist is given.
And we will see that in the next chapter.
Then in verse three we read.
In the Old Testament the first dwelling place of God that we read about is the tabernacle as the people of God wandered in the desert.
And then later his presence is found within the temple in the city of Jerusalem.
And then God in the person of Jesus took up yet again another temporary residence, we might say, among men.
In John chapter one verse fourteen we read.
The word dwelt is the Greek word that is used to translate the Hebrew verb tabernacled.
Which is used for the dwelling place of God.
And this brings us to the age of the Church and during this period of time, which is right now.
And now in the age of the church it is you and I that have become the dwelling place of God.
But this dwelling today is one that is accomplish by the Holy Spirit and so is only “in the Spirit.”
Which can only be known through faith and not by sight.
However when the consummation of the relationship between the groom and the bride is made complete all of that is changed.
Our faith and our hope will then be rewarded and we will have the opportunity to see the very face of Jesus.
When we all finally gaze upon the face of Jesus in the new heavens and the earth all of the covenants that Christ has made between himself and men from Gen 3:15 forward will all finally be made complete.
Then in verse four we read.
The primary blessing of the age to come is face-to-face access with our Lord and King, our Christ, our God, our Jesus.
However, the benefits of our relationship with Jesus go far beyond that.
Our entire existence will be completely transformed.
All of the old hurts, habits, and hangups that weigh us down will be completely gone.
In fact the thing that tends to cause humanity the greatest fear, death, shall be no more.
Death will be destroyed in the new world.
Everything that has ever burdened and cursed your life will flee from the very presence of our God.
Then in verse five we read.
So great a transformation is not possible unless every single thing in existence is made new.
None of that which is old can continue to exist, for it has all been tinged and tainted by the curse that is sin.
And God wants to ensure us that we can trust the words that John has recorded here for us.
We need to know that we can cling to these promises and find hope in a future with Jesus.
Then in verse six we read.
It is done.
All things have be made complete in Christ Jesus.
We can rest secure because God is the eternal one.
The alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.
He encompasses all reality in himself.
He is the one who brings all things into existence.
And so he is the only one who can make all things new.
Listen we are all born with this deep spiritual need that all of us have.
There is this deep need to know and experience life eternally.
I am going to come back to this idea later.
But we need to see here that God Almighty is the only one that can satisfy this deep need that all of us have.
This need is the reason that all of us fight against and fear death so much.
Then in verse seven we read.
This water of life is not for everyone.
But it is meant only for those who conquer and overcome this world through the faith of Christ Jesus.
And those who conquer are those who have already been adopted as son of the Most High, our God.
Finally in verse eight we read.
John now lists several types of individuals who will not be given access to the water of life.
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