Summary: God calls Abram to begin a journey that will end up bringing salvation and restoration to the world.
Anybody here ever seen a silent movie? Did you enjoy it? Well, I’ve got a vintage silent movie for you this morning. It is called Bob and Craig’s Excellent Dress Up Adventure! Take a look:
SAME BUT DIFFERENT
Did you like that? Funny guys! Anyway, in our little silent feature this morning we watched Bob and Craig play dress up. Why? Well, did you notice how different—yet, the same they looked in each different outfit.
Let’s think about what they wore for a minute. How would you respond to each character they dressed up like? They started off with dumb hats and looked a little slow. What’s your response to that type of person? They dressed in construction hats. How do you feel about construction workers? Stereotypically are the approachable non-approachable? Then they looked like a couple of old ladies? How do you feel about older folks—comfortable or uncomfortable around them? Nerds in umbrella hats—would you make fun of them? Cool dudes with shades and a do-rag? Do they intimidate you?
I could keep going, but the one thing I want you to get is this? There are a lot of different types of people in this world and we all feel different ways about different types of people. In general, people that are different than us can make us feel uncomfortable. Can’t they? And when we are uncomfortable around a certain type of person, it’s hard to share Jesus with them. Isn’t it? Yet, and this is an important yet, when we really get down to it, people, even when they are different than us, they really aren’t that different. Are they?
BEGINNING WITH THE END IN MIND
Now as I start my message this morning, I want to begin with the end in mind. As Christians living today—we really are lucky! We know the ending of God’s story! And the cool part is this: we get to live out that ending! We get to begin to make that ending a reality right here, right now! We get to live out God’s story and move God story along! But we have to know the story for this to happen. So let’s see how the story ends! Look at Revelation 7:9. It describes the throne-room in heaven. Here is what it says:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. …
The movement of salvation history ends with heaven full of people that are worshipping God. Notice it’s a diverse people! The people are from every nation, tribe, people group, and language group!
Now how cool his that! There are Israeli’s and Palestinians. There are executives and hippies. There are Americans and Iraqis and Afghanis and Pakistanis. There are blacks and there are whites. There are poor and rich! There are clowns and students. There are nerds and cool people. People groups that hate each other or who have hated or disliked each other at one time or another are standing together as one before God’s throne! Isn’t that cool! Isn’t that awesome!!
Now here is what happens at the very end of the Bible. Look at Revelation 21. It says:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
John sees a new (the verb can also be translated renewed) heaven and earth! Now I don’t care about your eschatology, we agree to disagree about the specifics. However, there is one thing we can be sure about. There will be a new or renewed heaven and earth filled with a diverse people who are worshiping God thru Jesus Christ! Amen!
I look forward to this. I think this sounds good! As a matter of fact, I can’t wait for it! Do you want to know why this sounds so good? Because we don’t experience this now! Humanity is divided! We are fractured! We are broken!! This is why we have wars! This is why there is hate in our world! This is why there is office politics and church politics and just plain old politics in general!
Let me explain it this way: Do you remember Jr. High and High School! BOY I DO!! I hated both!! Why? There were all these different groups—the preps, the jocks, the stoners, the good students, the nerds, the skaters, and on and on. What I remember is that nobody really liked anybody that was in a group that was different than their group. Yeah there were a couple of exceptions to the rule. But not many!