Turn with me, if you would, to the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. I want us to read some verses out of the 20th chapter and the 21st chapter. Read…
20:7-10… And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 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. 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. 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.
21:1-5… 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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. 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. 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.
A writer once imagined twins–a brother and a sister–talking to each other in their mother’s womb: The sister said to the brother, "I believe there is life after birth." Her brother protested vehemently, "No, no, this is all there is. This is a dark and cozy place, and we have nothing else to do but to cling to the cord that feeds us." The little girl insisted, "There must be something more than this dark place. There must be something else, a place with light where there is freedom to move." Still, she could not convince her twin brother.
After some silence, the sister said hesitantly, "I have something else to say, and I’m afraid you won’t believe that, either, but I think there is a mother." Her brother became furious. "A mother!" he shouted. "What are you talking about? I have never seen a mother, and neither have you. Who put that idea in your head? As I told you, this place is all we have. Why do you always want more? This is not such a bad place, after all. We have all we need, so let’s be content."
The sister was quite overwhelmed by her brother’s response and for a while didn’t dare say anything more. But she couldn’t let go of her thoughts, and since she had only her twin brother to speak to, she finally said, "Don’t you feel these squeezes every once in a while? They’re quite unpleasant and sometimes even painful." "Yes," he answered. "What’s special about that?" "Well," the sister said, "I think that these squeezes are there to get us ready for another place, much more beautiful than this, where we will see our mother face-to-face. Don’t you think that’s exciting?" The brother didn’t answer. He was fed up with the foolish talk of his sister and felt that the best thing would be simply to ignore her and hope that she would leave him alone.
This morning I want to talk to you about something very exciting; something that’s the hope of every Christian. For you see, no matter what this life may throw our way we can always rest in the fact that this is not all there is. There is something that comes after this life. What we see is not all there is. We have something to look forward to with great anticipation. Because John tells us in the passage that we’ve read today that the One who sits on the throne has said, “Behold, I make all things new.” There is coming a day when Gabriel is going to pick up the trumpet of the ages, and as he blows that horn the eastern sky is going to be split wide open, and the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords is going to appear. And we, His bride, will rise to meet Him in the air. And Jesus said, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
It’s going to be a great day when we are allowed to enter into the joys of the Lord. I don’t know when that day will come. It may be a hundred years from now. It may be today. But we have the promise of the Father that He is going to one day send His Son to get His people. And when that day comes everything we know is going to be changed in the twinkling of an eye. And what a day that will be. This morning I want to talk to you about four things that will be made new on that day.
I. A New Home
First of all, we’re going to live in a new home. Have you ever experienced what it was like to move from a house that was not yours into a home that belonged to you? When Cora and I first went to Peoria, IL to pastor a church there, we moved into the church’s parsonage. That house was huge. Our master bedroom was about the size of our entire apartment that we live in now. Not really, but it was a very large home. But that was about the only good thing about it. It was located in one of the worst sections of the city, with a history of gang violence in the backyard and drug problems were present all around. Things were always getting stolen. It was the kind of house that Cora never felt comfortable sleeping in by herself when I was out of town, even with a big dog by her side. The house was old. The outside was about half painted. Half of it was a nice new yellow, the other half was the old tan color. It literally leaned to one side, not to the point that you could tell by using your measuring tape to see how square it was, but to the point that you could stand outside and see what resembled the leaning tower of Pisa. The house reeked of the rabbits that had formerly been residence in one of the pastor’s terms. The smell only got worse after two serious water problems that Cora and I had. It was just not a really nice place to live.
But the day came when our board decided to sell the church and move to another place. Along with the church, the parsonage was sold, so Cora and I had the privilege to buy our own home. I remember moving day. I remember how good of a feeling it was to get out of that old, smelly, leaning house into our own beautiful home. It was a well-kept house with a nice yard and nice neighbors. It was clean. It didn’t smell bad. It didn’t lean. And it was ours. Moving day. It was a wonderful day.
You know, as good of a memory that day was, I think there is a day coming that is so much more exciting. It’s another moving day. For you see, right now, we’re living in a house that is not our own. And the house that we’re living in has some issues, it has some problems. The world that we live in is full of suffering and hatred and fear. Every day we’re hearing about war that’s happening all over. Every day we hear about another catastrophe. Every day we hear about the evil that seems to be crashing in on every side. No, not everything about our world is bad. There is beauty to be found here. There is some good around. But it seems as though there is always something bad happening to make us forget about the good. This is a house that seems to be torn apart at the seams at times.
But aren’t you glad that moving day is coming? There is a day coming when we’ll be packing up and heading out of this house we’re living in and moving into a home that is our own, a place that is specifically prepared for us. For Jesus said in John 14… Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Christ is preparing a home for us. And in that home there will be no suffering. In that home there will be no hatred. In that home there will be no fear. There will be no catastrophe there. There will be no pollution there. There will be no war there. There will be no strife there. There will be perfect harmony there. The lion and the lamb will rest side by side. It will be a place of spotless beauty. The streets there are made of gold. The walls there are made out of precious stones. The gates are made out of pearl. The water there is crystal clear and pure. The measurements of that city are perfectly measured out. There is no need for the sun, moon, or stars. This earth’s diminishing sun will be replaced by the undying light of the Son of God. This earth’s polluted air will be replaced by the fresh breezes of the Holy Spirit. It will be a perfect home. Full of love. Full of peace. Full of joy. And it will be ours. What a moving day that will be. When we leave this broken down house we live in to dwell in the home that Christ has prepared for us.
John said, I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. This world is not our home. We’re just passing through. Phil. tells us that our citizenship is in heaven. And the day is coming when we’ll be moving and we’ll be living in our new and perfect place where we will dwell forever.
II. A New Body
Not only will we live in a new home, but secondly, it’s good to know that we’re going to live in a new body. These days there seems to be a new craze out. It’s called “getting into shape.” Believe me, I know. I’ve become caught up in it myself. A day does not go by that I am not stepping on my scales one, two, or even three times to see if I’m losing some weight or at least to make sure I’m not gaining any. I can’t seem to go to bed peacefully without knowing I’ve done some exercising, playing tennis with Jeff, walking, or doing some crunches. I am constantly looking at nutrition labels to see how many calories and fat grams I’m getting ready to take in. I’ve gotten swept into this obsession for getting into shape.
But it seems like people everywhere are becoming more and more concerned about taking care of and beautifying their bodies. Diets galore are available to help us reach our goals. You’ve got weight watchers, you’ve got slim fast, Metabo-life, Atkins (maybe not so much anymore), the south beach diet. More and more fitness centers are rising up. Newer and more effective machines are being developed to help us perfectly shape every possible muscle in our body. You can sit in front of your TV for hours watching infomercials about the latest available tools for getting into shape. There are even reality shows now that allow us to watch our favorite overweight celebrities workin’ it as they try to lose their extra weight. Other shows allow us to watch people getting new wardrobes that are more in style and fashionable. Their hair is re-styled. Their make-up is changed to better suit their complexion. Medical lengths can even be taken to make our bodies the way we want them. Liposuction can help us to get rid of all the flab. Permanent make-up is available that will always make you look beautiful, whether you’re at a party or rolling out of bed. Plastic surgery is available to help us get rid of all the wrinkles and imperfections. People are infatuated with having the perfect bodies.
But you know, no matter how much effort we put into making ourselves healthy and beautiful, no matter how many calories we’re burning or how toned our muscles are or what we’re doing to make ourselves look young and beautiful, we still grow older every day. And one day, if we’re not there already, we will experience the aches and pains that come with aging. And one day, if we haven’t already, we will experience what it is to have something go wrong inside of our body. And one day, if the Lord tarries, they’re going to put our bodies into a box and lower us into the ground. And it doesn’t matter how beautiful you are. It doesn’t matter how much body fat you don’t have. It doesn’t matter how big your arms are and how flat and firm your tummy is. No matter how good we try to make this body look, it is still a natural, earthly body. We still age. Things still break down and grow old. We’re still going to die.
And so it should come as a relief to read what Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthian church. He says that our earthly body is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Hallelujah! There is coming a day when we’re going to live in perfect, incorruptible bodies that do not age, that do not suffer illness, that do not succumb to death. Bro. Condon, you’re going to be out of a job. No more picking up bodies for you. Charles, you won’t have to deal with a pace maker anymore. Charlotte, you won’t have to worry about knee surgery anymore. Jeff, you won’t have to walk on a cane anymore. Arnold, you won’t have to wear a mask anymore. Because we’ll live in a new and perfect body.
There will be no more aging. There will be no more aches and pains. There will be no more cancer. There will be no more heart problems. There will be no more surgery. There will be no more disease and sickness. There will be no more death. There won’t be any need for hospitals. There won’t be any need for therapy centers. There won’t be any need for nursing homes. There won’t be any need for hospice services. There won’t be any need for funeral homes. There will be no more graveyards. You won’t need your medicine anymore. You won’t need your vitamins anymore. You won’t need to keep track of your calories anymore. You won’t need food or water anymore. Our corruptible body will be made incorruptible. Our sick body will be made well. Our weak body will be made strong. Our decaying bodies will be made eternal. We will have a new body.
III. A New Freedom
The third thing I want you to notice with me is that when the Lord returns we’ll live in a new freedom. You see, right now we live in a world that is dominated by the power of Satan. The Bible tells us that he’s roaming about seeking whom he may devour. It calls him the god of this world. It calls him the prince of the power of this air. He’s called the ruler of the darkness of this world. Scripture tells us that he has come for no other reason to steal, kill, and destroy. And he is doing just that.
Today he is wreaking havoc in the world we live in. It is because of him that we see so much hatred. It is because of him that we see so much killing. It’s because of him that we see so many homes destroyed by divorce and unfaithfulness. It’s because of him that we see so many people lost in their addictions to alcohol and drugs and pornography. He’s the reason that we are so bombarded with news of another preacher who’s fallen. He’s the reason that we are grieved because of another church being split by dissension and bitterness. He’s the reason that so many people that we know personally have been swept in by sin. And he’s the one who is assailing you with temptation and doubt and confusion.
But I’ve got good news for you. Satan’s time is short. His end is nearing. He’s a lame duck. Do you know what a lame duck is? The term lame duck refers to a political leader who, although still in power, will definitely be out of office in the very near future. The term is most often used for a president or prime minister who was not re-elected, and who is now just occupying the position until the set time when the new leader officially takes over.
You see, Satan was ultimately defeated 2000 years ago when Jesus died on a cross and paid the price for our sin, and then rose from the dead 3 days later to conquer death and the grave. And so right now Satan is a lame duck. His time is short. Rev. 12:12 says… Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. Satan is working hard to do as much damage as he can because he doesn’t have very much longer to work his evil. There is coming a day when Satan’s power will be stripped away from him. There is coming a day when we will no longer have to worry about him. His doom is inevitable. His destruction is near. And he knows it.
In chapter 20 of our text today John tells us that the devil that deceived us will be 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. When the day comes that we see Jesus, Satan will no longer have the ability destroy another church. He will no longer have the power to destroy another marriage. He will no longer have any way to steal away your children. He won’t be able to pillage our nation and our world. He won’t be able to cause you to stumble again. He won’t be able to distract you from having a vibrant, growing relationship with Christ. He won’t be able to make you fear or doubt. He won’t be able to cause any more confusion in your mind.
The Bible tells us that sin will have no place in heaven. It tells us in Rev 22:3 that there will no longer be any curse. Temptation will be gone. Doubt will disappear. Ps. 37 tells us that evil and wickedness will have no place there. It tells us that “there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles.” Satan and all of his demons will be no more. But they will be thrown into the pit of hell to suffer the punishment and judgment that they know they’ve got coming to them. And you and I will be free from Satan’s reach.
IV. A New Fellowship
Someone once wrote, "As a boy, I thought of heaven as a city with domes, spires, and beautiful streets, inhabited by angels. By and by my little brother died, and I thought of heaven much as before, but with one inhabitant that I knew. Then another died, and then some of my acquaintances, so in time I began to think of heaven as containing several people that I knew. But it was not until one of my own little children died that I began to think I had treasure in heaven myself. Afterward another went, and yet another. By that time I had so many acquaintances and children in heaven that I no more thought of it as a city merely with streets of gold but as a place full of inhabitants. Now there are so many loved ones there I sometimes think I know more people in heaven than I do on earth." Lastly, this morning, we will live in a new fellowship.
When I was very young, my dad’s mother died of cancer. I have very few memories of my grandmother. I remember staying at her house when my sister was being born, and I remember gathering around her with all my cousins when she was near death to have one a final picture with grandma. I didn’t know her all that well, but I have always missed her. I wish so badly I could have really known her. From what my father tells me she was very strict. But she was very godly. And I would love to have the opportunity to talk with her and get to know her. So don’t you think I’m excited to one day walk through the gates of heaven to see my grandmother awaiting my arrival? You see, that’s one of the greatest hopes for the Christian. One day we’re going to see all of our Christian loved ones again.
A few days before his death, Dr. F. B. Meyer wrote a very dear friend these words: “I have just heard, to my great surprise, that I have but a few days to live. It may be that before this reaches you, I shall have entered the palace. Don’t trouble to write. We shall meet in the morning.” The grave is not the end. There is no need to say, “Goodbye” when you can say, “See ya later.” One day we’ll live in a new fellowship with those who have gone on before us. Every hero we’ve read about in Scripture will be there. Every saint that has given their lives for the sake of the Master will be there. Every loved one who has made an impact in our lives for God will be there. Every child that has been lost will be waiting for us there. What a time of fellowship that will be.
But the greatest hope of the Christian is not the hope of seeing our loved ones. It is not the hope of living in a beautiful home. It is not the hope of obtaining an incorruptible body. It isn’t even the hope of being free from temptation. But our greatest hope is that on that day we will get to see Jesus. He said, “Where I am you may be also.” John said he heard a great voice call out and say, 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. One day we’re going to live in constant fellowship with the One who paid the way for us to be forgiven of sin. One day we’re going to live in the presence of the One who gave His life for us. One day we’re going to see Jesus.
This morning, I feel like the song writer who said, I dreamed I went to that city called glory so bright and so fair When I entered the gates I cried Holy the angels all met me there. They showed me from mansion to mansion and oh the sights I saw I thought as I entered that city my friends knew me well They showed me the streets of heaven the sights are too numerous to tell. I saw Abraham, Isaac, Jacob Mark, Luke and Timothy but I said I want to see Jesus the One who died for me.
Isn’t that the way you feel? As excited as I am to see my grandmother again; as excited as I am to meet Joseph and Moses and David and John and Peter and Paul; as excited as I am to sit and listen to the stories that people like John Wesley and D.L. Moody and Martin Luther have to tell, the first One that I’m going to be looking for is my Savior. Because He’s the One who died for me. He’s the One who paid my penalty on Calvary. He’s the One who made it possible for me to walk through those gates. He’s the One that heaven is all about. I want to see Jesus.
One day a preacher was talking with Fanny Crosby, the hymn writer whose songs like To God Be The Glory; Praise Him, Praise Him; All The Way My Savior Leads Me; Blessed Assurance; and My Savior First Of All, as well as countless others. She had been blind from the age of six weeks, and the well-intentioned minister remarked to her, “I think it is a great pity that the Master, when He showered so many gifts upon you, did not give you sight.” Ms. Crosby replied, “Do you know, if at birth I had been able to make on petition to my Creator, it would have been that I should be born blind.” “Why?” asked the surprised preacher. “Because when I get to heaven, the first sight that shall ever gladden my eyes will be that of my Savior.”
Oh, I can’t wait for the day that I’m able to look upon His face. I can’t wait for the day I’m able to bow at His feet in worship. I can’t wait for the day that I’m able to express my gratitude to Him face to face. I can’t wait to feel His arms of love wrap around me as He welcomes me home. The first face I look for when I enter those gates will be the face of Jesus. One glimpse of His face will make every trial worth while. One touch of His hand will make every battle worth it. Every heartache will be forgotten. Every doubt will be cleared away. All sorrow will vanish forever. All of our questions will be answered. Every tear will be dried. Every fear will disappear. Only joy and peace and happiness and satisfaction and rest will remain when we look upon the face of Jesus.
What a day that will be when my Jesus I will see. When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace. When He takes me by the hand and leads me through the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be. What a day of worship that will be. What a day of thanksgiving and praise. What a day of rejoicing it will be when we see Jesus. What a time of fellowship we’ll have with Him.
There once was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was given 3 months to live. As she began getting her things "in order" she called her pastor and asked him to come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her service, what scriptures she wanted read, and what dress she wanted to be buried in. She also requested that she be buried with her Bible in her left hand. Everything was in order, and as the pastor was preparing to leave, the woman suddenly remembered one final request that was very important to her.
"Please, Pastor, just one more thing," she said excitedly. "Sure, what is it," came the pastor’s reply. "This is very important to me," the woman continued ... “I want to be buried holding a fork in my right hand." The pastor gazed at the woman with a loss for words. "That surprises you, doesn’t it?" the woman said. The pastor replied, "Well, to be quite honest I am puzzled by the request." The woman explained, "You see, pastor, in all my years attending church socials and potluck dinners, I remember after the main course and the dishes were being cleared somebody will inevitably lean over to me and say.... ’keep your fork.’ That was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming, like the velvety chocolate cake, or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful was coming up that would put a perfect end to a great meal. So, you see Pastor, I just want people to see me there in my casket with a fork in my hand, and I want them to wonder... ’What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ’Keep your fork ~ the best is yet to come!"
This morning, it’s good to know that the best is yet to come. No matter what life puts in our pathway we can rest assured that a day is coming when all those things will be put aside and we’ll enter into a new home in new bodies to enjoy a new freedom and spend eternity in a new fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord. What a day that will be. Are you ready?