Summary: Part 2 of 2 in "The Day After Tomorrow" series. This sermon takes a look at the present realities of the city of God as found in Revelation 21.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW – PART TWO
The City of God
June 20, 2004
Last week we looked at The Day After Tomorrow in the context of the worries that we have about the future. Whether it be weather related worries like in the movie or family or finances or one of a million other things that we worry about. We looked at these in the light of the immanent return of Jesus Christ and saw that as concerning as many of these things are there are more important issues at stake. Like am I ready to stand before Jesus when he returns? How have I invested my life?
This morning I want to go a step further. I want to go beyond the return of Christ and see what happens next. So today we will turn our attention to The City of God as it is described in the 21st chapter of the book of Revelation.
But I am going to be taking a little different look at this passage than what you may be used to. I am not as interested in what the future heaven will be like – I think that will take care of itself in time – as I am in what this passage means for us today. And so I want to show you that for the Christian everyday can be heaven on earth. Everyday we can experience a foretaste of our eternal paradise. You may be interested or even surprised to find that the images found here all describe in some measure the experience of the Christian life. They all describe the New Testament, Christian era. In eternity these things will be perfected or brought to completion.
Before we begin I want to share a story with you. A couple from north Oklahoma decided to go to Florida for a long weekend to thaw out during one particularly icy winter. Because they both had jobs, they had difficulty coordinating their travel schedules. It was decided that the husband would fly to Florida on Thursday, and his wife would follow the next day. Upon arriving as planned, the husband checked into the motel. He decided to open his laptop and send his wife an e-mail back home. However, he accidentally left off one letter in her address, and sent the e-mail without realizing the error. In Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral. He was a pastor of many years who had been called home to glory. The widow checked her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. Upon reading the first message, she fainted and fell to the floor. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
TO: My loving wife
FROM: Your departed husband
SUBJECT: I’ve arrived!
MESSAGE: I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is hot down here. (SermonCentral/Greg Madden)
The City of God Is:
A City of Grace
The City of God is a city of grace. John introduces us to the city of God with these words: “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.” (21:1-2). The first thing we learn is that the old has passed away and so God is making a new creation. This reminds us of what Paul taught in 2 Cor. 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” My old life of sin and selfishness has passed away and in its place is a new and righteous life through faith in Jesus Christ. I am no longer the same person. What I used to be no longer counts. “What counts is a new creation.” (Gal. 6:15) God has made of us a new creation “in order that … we too may live a new life.” (Rom. 6:4)
This is grace – that my sins are no longer held against me - that my old life is gone and in its place is life that is pleasing to God. By God’s grace I am enabled to live a new life – a heavenly life – right here and right now. You don’t need to wait for heaven to start living a heavenly life. Start today.
We also see the city of God coming down out of heaven. That this city comes from heaven reminds us of where we truly come from. Now that our old lives are gone and our new lives have come ‘our citizenship is in heaven.” (Php. 3:20) You are a citizen of heaven now. So live like it now. Act like it now.