"Our Final Journey"
THE NEW EARTH
801 West Buckingham Rd. - Garland, TX 75040
Introduction: In this series (of which this is the 12th of 13 Sermons) entitled OUR FINAL JOURNEY, we have already recognized the sense of eternity that lies in the heart, the consciences, of all humanity. Ecclesiastes 3:11a reads, "He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world (forever, eternity) in their heart." All men, lost or saved, have a God given sense of something beyond this life.
There also lies in the heart of mankind, a hope for a better world, a better environment, where man's inhumanity to man will cease, and everyone will live in peace and harmony. This dream is often exploited in the political arena. Every election year, we hear the promises of politicians, promising what they cannot possibility deliver, yet we long to believe them. They promise to bring our nation into the golden era of prosperity and peace. The dream of a new world is often expressed in music. An example of this is the song "Imagine" by former Beatle member John Lenin. The words are
Imagine there's no heaven Imagine there's no country, it isn't hard to do You may say I'm a dreamer Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can You may say I'm a dreamer
It's easy if you try, no hell below us
Above us only sky, imagine all the people
Living for today, ah ha.............
Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
But I'm not the only one.
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one.....
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people, sharing all the world with you.
But I'm not the only one.
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one........
Imagine there's no heaven
Imagine there's no country, it isn't hard to do
You may say I'm a dreamer
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can
You may say I'm a dreamer
This same hope is expressed by the poets and of authors of literature. Books have been written depicting a utopia, the perfect world and society. Many groups have, from time to time, actually tried to produce this utopia. This is what lies behind the hope and dreams of Communism and the writings of Lenin. He captured the imagination of many with the hope that Communism would be the means of producing a worker's paradise, a utopia upon the earth. All through the history of our race, this hope has blazed forth from time to time with the anticipation, born of a deep inherited hunger within us, of a time when earth would be at peace and at rest, a golden age.
The longing for a new world, a utopia, is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it is a good thing as long as we place God, His Son, His Word, in the midst of it all. Our Lord Himself taught us to pray for this very thing. In the "Lord's Prayer," Jesus prayed, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We are to pray for a time when the will of Heaven will be performed on the earth all the time!
Here is the good news! There will come a time, a day, when we will realize this dream. As good as the Millennial Kingdom will be, it will be visited by sin and end in judgement. In Revelation 20:7-10 read, "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." With the fulfillment and passing of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the hopes and dreams of a new age, a new world, will come to pass. Hallelujah!
Psalm 16:11 says, "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Often times we hear the phrase used on television commercials, "It doesn't get any better than this!" The worldly advertisers are selling pleasure, and they want us to think that they have a corner on the market. Well, I have news for them. Praise God, one day it will get a whole lot better than this! There is not one pleasure, how ever fleeting on this earth, that can be compared to the endless, eternal glory of eternity with God! We presently live in Paradise Lost. One day we shall live with God in Paradise Regained!
The Word of God tells us that as believers, on OUR FINAL JOURNEY, we shall live in God's brand new world, a world that has never, can never, will never, be touched by sin or Satan. The Bible promises us a New Heaven and New Earth.
Isaiah 65:17. "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Revelation 21:1. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." 5a reads, "And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." Have you ever started a project and somewhere along the way, you wish you could start over? We men as a whole are not in to asking directions and following written instructions. When we purchase that new patio grill, do we stop and take time to read the booklet provided? Of course not, that is for wimps! We just push our way forward and do it. Soon we have these extra pieces over here, and we seem to be missing others over there. The next thing you know, we are looking for that little booklet to sort this mess out. Secretly, we wish we could start over and do it right!
There are people who have made a mess of their lives and wish they could start over. If they just had another opportunity to begin again with the knowledge they have now, they would do a lot of things differently!
Our passages tell us of a time when the Lord God, the Creator of all things, will start over. God will create a new heaven and a new earth! We live in a world of the "new and improved." The laundry detergent that they said yesterday was the perfect product, is now "new and improved!" The car you bought yesterday as the best on the market, the perfect car, will be replaced tomorrow with a "new and improved" model. It is the same in the computer world. Listen, the day will come on our final journey when we will hear the voice of God say, "Behold I make all things new!"
Why is there a need to create a New Heaven and New Earth? Was God's first work imperfect? The answer is a three letter word, SIN. The first creation served its purpose, which meant God's allowing it to be touched and tarnished by sin. Sin will have taken its toll on creation. Paul in Romans 8:19-23 tells us that creation groans to be renewed. He says, "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." All creation must be redeemed from the curse and consequences of sin. What was lost in the fall, will be reclaimed and restored by our God!
I John 2:15-17. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." II Peter 3:10-15. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, (big bang) and the elements (the rudiments from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe) shall melt (unloose, break up) with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, (unloosed) what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new (recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn) heavens and a new (recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn) earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you."
Surely you have heard of the big bang theory? The modern understanding of cosmology is that the Universe is some 10-20 billion years old, and that it came into being through an event called, the Big Bang. This theory teaches that the expansion of the universe is a result of the original explosion that created the universe, the so called Big Bang.
In Oklahoma City a few years ago, there was a big bang, but it didn't create anything but destruction and confusion. Death is the result of big bangs, not life! I personally believe the Bible account of creation, that the earth is relatively young not old, rejecting theistic-evolution, that all things were created not by a big bang, but by a BIG GOD!
There is however, a big bang in our future, our final journey. Peter tells us that the creation of a New Heaven and New Earth, starts off with a bang! A quite literal bang! Nuclear scientist claim that enormously strong electrical forces within the atom are repulsing each other so strongly that only a huge force equal to 900,000 volts for each atom is holding all atomic structures together. Scientist agree now that the elements can melt with fervent heat. We know that only a nuclear explosion causes the kind of simultaneous noise, heat, and melting Peter describes. The time will come when God will release the power in all the atoms of the universe, and turn it all into energy that will be spent, thus clearing the way for the new creation.
Revelation 21:1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Verses 3-8. "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.5 And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.6 And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Imagine a world in which all of the values we currently hold sacred were completely reversed. Imagine that monogamy was considered sinful. Imagine a society in which the sole purpose in life was pleasure, no serious thinking occurred, and people constantly amused themselves by playing obstacle golf or participating in massive orgies. Picture a world where if things got too stressful or required too much thought, all a person had to do was take a pill and they would escape into a state of dumbfounded bliss. This is the image of Huxley's Utopia in Brave New World. Although Huxley predicted this society to come about in approximately 600 years, his pleasure-centered Utopia is frighteningly similar to the world that is developing right before our eyes. This is the world presented by the "god of this world," Satan!
Our God however presents His own new world. It will be all we have ever hoped for, dreamed of, and more! Huxley's Brave New World is a Satanic nightmare. God's New Heaven and New Earth will be a bright new eternal day!
We shall enter a NEW LAND. Revelation 21:1 says, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." This is a very remarkable statement. In the New Haven and New Earth, there is no more sea! Now if you have been planning to have a little cozy cottage on the seaside during eternity, forget it. The topography of the New Earth will be totally different! There will be no sea. There is much speculation as to why this is, and we are not sure at all as to what it means. The seas presently divide people and nations. There will be no division in that day. Actually physically the oceans of our world are salt which in some ways prevent the spread of decay and corruption. There is no need for that in the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Revelation 22:1-2 speaks of a river and a tree in that land. "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." It is obvious that this place will be one of exquisite beauty. There will be no pollution what so ever. The rivers and streams are clear and pure. Concerning the tree of life and leaves of healing, some have said, "Well, that means there must be sickness there." No, this word "healing" basically speaks of health. As we eat of the fruit of the tree of life, it will be like feeding on the Lord Himself, bringing health to our spirits, health to our souls, and health to our bodies.
We shall experience a NEW LAW. Revelation 21:4 reads, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." One of the great principles with which science has to deal is the so called second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy, the idea that everything is running down, that no matter how good things are they do not eventually get better. They get worse. They fall apart. They phase out. They lose energy. This law is universal. In the New Heaven and the New Earth, it will be exactly the opposite. There, things will start and you will not be able to stop them from developing. They get better and better, and richer, and sweeter, and fuller, and more exciting. We are awed when we look at the vastness of the cosmos in which we now live, but everywhere we look we see the evidence of sin and decay, the futility that is present in the universe today. In the coming a New Heaven and a New Earth, it will be just the opposite. There will be no sorrow, no tears, no separations, no weakness, no fear, no war, and no death. This is the fulfillment of the dreams and hopes of mankind!
We shall encounter a NEW LIGHT. Revelation 21:23-25 reads, "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there." Revelation 22:5 says, "And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." Something else will be conspicuous by its absence. Not only is there no more sea, there is no sun and no moon. God's own glory will lighten Jerusalem. There will be no night as we know it.
We shall engage in a NEW LABOR. Revelation 22:3-5 reads, "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." Some people present our celestial activity as nothing more than to sit around all day and stare at God. While it will be a thrill to see Him face-to-face at last, and while His face will be something to behold for a long time, indeed, He is not that narcissistic, to say the least, to have us staring at Him and doing nothing else for eternity. God has much more in mind for us to do. We will serve Him! We will reign over God's new creation! We will be able to explore the infinite possibilities of an unlimited universe!
We shall enjoy a NEW LIFE. Do you ever feel like you'll never be what you want to be? Whatever that is? Do you ever feel that all the best parts of your life are behind you instead of in front of you? Do you ever want to just start over? Or did you ever feel that way? Here is good news. Your real life, the greater portion of your eternal existence is still ahead of you! And what a life it will be!!
This life will not be static. What would you dream of doing if your knew you could not fail? What subjects would you study if you had the time and resources? What projects would you pursue if you had the time, talent, and opportunity? Life in this new world will be full and interesting. There will be time for private moments, public moments, exciting moments, inspirational moments, educational moments. Can you imagine the fellowship? We will have eternity to meet people and get acquainted. Can you imagine the conversations we will have with great historical figures and biblical personalities? Would you like to sit down with Jesus and ask Him all the unanswered questions of life?
This life will be full of knowledge. We will have full and perfect knowledge at that time. As Paul says, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 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."
This will be a holy life. Nothing of sin and Satan will be in the New Jerusalem or the New Earth, or the new universe. Satan will be in hell burning, and with him all the pain, sickness, lies, murder, hatred, poverty, loss, grief, death, tears, sorrow, and crying. All these former things will be passed away.
II Peter 3:11-15a reads, "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation." Peter says that knowing these things should change us. How?
These things should keep us looking. Three times in this brief passage, Peter admonishes us to look, anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ and the day of the Lord. We must live with a sense of expectancy. This world is not our home. We are just passing through. It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus.
These things should keeps us living holy lives. If we are looking for the return of Christ, it will impact our living! When He comes, we want to be found living holy lives.
These things should keep us diligently laboring till Jesus comes. The "longsuffering of the Lord is salvation." We may be ready for the coming day of the Lord, but the world is not ready. There is so much to do for Jesus, and so little time to do it!