Summary: A Sermon that reminds us that heaven is what awaits all of God’s children.
There’s A Lot To Look Forward To 3rd Sunday in End Time November 14, 2004
Isaiah 65:17-25 17 “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. 23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ:
Where are you going? The question implies that you have plans. Everyone has plans, and in our daily lives those plans are carried out in one way or another, and for some purpose, be that business or pleasure, or service of others. In other words, when you have plans, you are looking forward to something.
The Lord of our lives, our Creator, Savior and Judge also asks the question, "Where are you going?" Knowing the hurts and the weightiness of living under sinful conditions, the Lord has made it possible for us to look forward to something very special, heaven. This morning I want you to try to block out any present burdens, and just let your imagination go. Think about the implications of these words that Isaiah wrote about heaven. And when we’re all done talking about it, you will agree that THERE’S A LOT TO LOOK FORWARD TO. Particularly: 1. Unmarred joy 2. Unlimited life
It doesn’t take one long to understand the conditions in a sinful world. The people of God in Isaiah’s day understood well. They could recall some bitter times, and some almost unbearable situations when joy seemed like a lost commodity. The trip to the promised land was long and dangerous for their bodies and souls.
How many places in the present world are there where joy isn’t marred by weather conditions, fires, tornadoes, oil spills, bombs, terrorists, or someone’s garbage carelessly left behind? But come the end of time, there will be a change in all that. "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth," God said. This is how the writer to the Hebrews speaks of the contrast between the old and new: "In the beginning, O Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe." The shell, the make up of this world will remain, but everything within will become new.
In God’s new creation, where will heaven be? We don’t know the exact place. That’s unimportant. What is important is this: "The former things will not be remembered." Do you know what I think of first? Our sins. Think of all the human relationships marred by sin. Nothing does that better than jealousy, self-centeredness, selfish ambitions, and anger. That’s terrorism of our own making, and aimed at others. You and I have our names written on those sins. And the gloomy verdict is that each sin separates us from God. For just one sin, we shouldn’t even be talking about the prospect of heaven - except for the grace of God. He sent His Son to heal the broken relationship between our Creator and us, not by magic, or the snap of His fingers, or by gold and silver, but by the only payment for sin acceptable to God, the body and blood of Jesus. Through that sacrifice He has put sins behind His back. He doesn’t remember them any more.