Summary: The smaller our sense of the world is…the more enclosed it is…the less hope we will grasp. The bigger the world…the more open it is…the greater hope lies within us.
What Will Eternity Be Like? - Part I
Brad Bailey – May 4 2014
Opening Question: How big is your world?
We’ve had our share of laughs when we think what our dog must be thinking about the world… or when our children were really little.
I can’t help but think of us trying to imagine the glories of heaven…the reality of eternity. Have you ever tried to think of eternity?
We’re like children… tell a child that it’s a big world out there…and they may think about the small neighborhood outside the front door. Then we learn we live in a city…then we are introduced to maps...then a globe…and finally solar system. And we think now we know all that exists.
The more we look into what God tells us about eternity…the more I think we may think we’ve grown up and grasp it all… but may still be far more like children.
The smaller our sense of the world is…the more enclosed it is…the less hope we will grasp.
The bigger the world…the more open it is…the greater hope lies within us.
We began on Easter Sunday…talking about hope. The resurrection of Christ is our “living hope”…it creates a new world within us.
So we are continuing to engage this hope in a series entitled “afterlife.”
Prayer: God…here we gather…to let our earthly minds consider the glory of your heavens…how you must be smiling here with us. Our minds …worlds feel closed in…let the walls of time and temporary struggle fall down.
Our ideas of heaven can become confusing for two primary reasons…
1. Infinite God … speaking to finite beings…and so while some statements are literal…some descriptions are filled with imagery…symbolic metaphorical.
2. Present heaven…and a future heaven. Last week… analogy…trip with a layover.
Last week…present heaven…that which awaits all who die before the culmination
of history…or what the Bible calls “this age.”
Today… “the age to come”… or what we could refer to as the…FUTURE HEAVEN.
In the Book of Revelation…which is a revelation or vision given to the disciple of Jesus named John…the word “Heaven” occurs more than fifty times.
It is visionary in nature…and very similar to Ezekiel’s long before.
In each…we find a human given a revelation by God and their use of human language to describe divine glory.
Though wild in nature…the essence of John’s Revelation…is simply an unfolding of that which was revealed through the prophets (especially Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel) and Christ…a glimpse into the future which culminates in a glorious new world. 
Revelation 21:1-7 (NLT)
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.
What a marvelous sight…what a stirring revelation of what lies ahead.
What I hope you will feel…is the walls that enclose your world expanding…a lot.
Here we are told how in an ultimate sense…the walls that enclose our lives will come down…and our lives expanded by the reality of eternity.
What is God telling us about our future?
1. The future of eternity will be the fulfillment of a climatic restoration.
Verse 1 describes the climatic point at which history as we know it comes to a close…a final judgment comes followed by the emergence of a new heaven and a new earth, for the first earth and the first heaven pass away.
Some reading this for the first time might wonder if such a vision is really a part of God’s Word as a whole. For the Bible has stood the test of time…and proven prophetically profound.
God spoke long before such rational perceptions… listen to the words written between the 8th and 6th century BC…in Isaiah: