Summary: Is what I'm doing and going through worth it?
“The Journey of a Lifetime: Will It Be Worth It All?”
“Hang in there – it will get better!” “Just keep thinking of end results – you’ll be glad you did this.” “It will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better!” Ever get tired of these and similar responses? They all are meant to answer the same basic question: Is what I’m doing or going through worth it? Certainly Christian, on his difficult journey towards the Celestial City – towards Heaven - asked the question more than once: “Will it be worth it all?”
Just think of the difficulties Christian encountered in his journey of a lifetime. He had to leave his family, friends, and neighbors behind – they, in fact, mocked him. So he began the journey all by himself. He walked carrying a heavy burden of sin, care, and worry. Despair and despondency overwhelmed him. The monster of evil and all his spiritual forces wounded Christian during a heated, prolonged battle. Vanity Fair - the world system that despises God - pressured Christian through constant temptation – and eventually killed Christian’s faithful comrade. Giant despair imprisoned him in doubt and the great deceiver led him astray. Death stood before him and threatened to end his journey. For Christian, the journey was tough.
Does this sound at all like your life? Tough journey? Always a struggle here and a setback there? Loneliness? Burdens? Despondency? Battles with evil forces? Temptation? Doubt? Death? Bullying? Rejection? Ever wonder, “Will it be worth it all?” If only we could see the end, have some guarantee that the end of the journey will make the journey worth it. If only someone who’s concluded the journey could visit with us and reassure us.
There is One – and only One – who can do so. Only One has completed the journey; only One has conquered the last obstacle, the last enemy of death; Only One can visit with and reassure us. The One is Jesus. His residence, in fact, is Heaven. On the evening before His death He told his disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them; He was leaving for Heaven, by way of the cross, to make it ready for them – and for us! So this morning, as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we can catch a glimpse of Jesus’ insights as to why Heaven will make the journey worth it.
Rev. 21 & 22 paint for us a PICTURE OF HEAVEN. The Christians in John’s day were undergoing great persecution; John himself had been sent into isolation to the Island of Patmos. The churches were asking, “Is it worth standing up for Christ? Is He worth dying for?”
Through the vision he received from Jesus, John emphatically said, “It does get better than this! It will be worth it all!” First, we discover that Heaven is CHARACTERIZED BY NEWNESS. “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. He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (21:1, 5) Our world is so far fallen and Heaven is so grand that nothing in this world is worth keeping.
There will be a NEW BEAUTY – the image used in verse 2 is that of “a beautiful bride prepared for her husband” coming down from Heaven. Earthly brides are astonishingly beautiful. Can you imagine the heavenly bride? There is a heavenly beauty we cannot begin to comprehend.
There will also be a NEW ENVIRONMENT. Verse 3: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Heaven is a place filled with the perfect presence and fullness of God Himself! He appeared to Moses in a special way; He appeared to Israel in a special way through the cloud and pillar; He appeared to the High Priest in the Temple; He appeared to the world in Jesus; in heaven He will appear as Himself in the midst of His people. And that also means that our earthly companions will be there as well! We will be reunited with all those loved ones who’ve gone on before us – permanently reunited – never to be separated again! And we’ll all be in perfect eternal harmony with God. There can be no better environment.
Heaven will also contain a NEW HAPPINESS. All of the effects of sin – separation, destruction, unrest, turmoil, enmity, rage, unpredictability, sorrow, death – all the effects of sin will be gone forever. Forgiveness will be the rule of the day – our sins will be forgiven! Verse 4 puts it tenderly: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." When was the last time you cried? The last time you were in pain? The last time you mourned? There is coming a day when “no more!” God doesn’t just wipe the tears – He removes them! Imagine: “Home – where no one ever has a heartache; Home – where no one ever gets angry; Home – where no one ever gets lonesome; Home – where no one gets tired; Home - where no one ever gets sick; Home – where no one ever dies; Home – where no one ever says ‘good-bye!’” God will make all things new!