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Living Daily with the End in Mind
Chip Ingram cuts through the imagery and the metaphors in the book of Revelation to deliver one of the most compelling and inspiring presentations on this often misunderstood part of Scripture. This series puts life into perspective and brings a clarity, and purpose, to your everyday struggles like never before. If you long to make wise choices, live your life with a steadfast purpose, and experience joy and peace, even in the midst of uncertain and chaotic times, this is a great place to start!More from this series
Hope: the definition – it’s the expectation and belief of what will bring a brighter, happier future. That’s kind of what hope is. It’s the expectation that something or someone or a set of circumstances, if it comes about, you live thinking, “Well, if that comes about in the future, well, life is going to be brighter. It’s going to be better.”
Some people put their hope in their health, their hope in having a family someday. For others it’s the hope of a mate, or a good job, or financial stability. Still others put their hope in thinking success, or fame, or fortune, or personal fulfillment through some accomplishments, and hard work, “Then I’ll be fulfilled, I’ll be happy.”
But the problem with most of our hope is that it’s temporal. We’re a heartbeat away, a car wreck, a betrayal, a tornado, a flood, a tsunami, a stock market crash, an unexpected biopsy report - away from having our hopes completely dashed.
Whatever is going right in your life, whatever you’re banking on that isn’t eternal, and you have no control over an awful lot of it, in a second it can be gone. The person you love the most, the job, the health.
It’s kind of like all of us can have a personal 9/11 or who knows? Maybe there’s a 9/12 out there someday. But the problem with putting our hope in anything that isn’t eternal is, bang!
So let me ask you, if you pulled out a pen and maybe on the back of a little sheet of paper and God said to you, “So where’s your hope?” What would you write down? Where is your hope? What are you trusting in? What promise for a brighter future? What do you think, if this would happen, or if this would come about, or if this person would do that, or if these circumstances would align, where is your hope? Where are you believing that if those thing happen, down deep in your heart, “You know what? I can face tomorrow. It’s going to be bright. It’s going to be good. I’d be excited about that.”
John, the apostle, is on an island called Patmos and his hope meter is on “E.” He’s run out of hope. His closest friends have all been martyred, the promises of Jesus seem like a distant promise. This doesn’t look like the kingdom is coming. That prayer that He learned to pray from Jesus, “Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come,” right? “on earth as it is in heaven.”
All he sees is that there’s a sweeping persecution by the tyrant Domitian. People are being killed because they love Jesus, the world doesn’t look like things are changing, and he finds himself, one day, in a hopeless situation and God discloses, or unveils, or reveals…
Remember that’s the title of the book: The Revelation. It means, “to unveil,” to pull back the curtain. Jesus comes and discloses Himself to John and the disclosure that he gets isn’t Jesus, you know, the shepherd. This isn’t Jesus who feeds the five thousand. This isn’t Jesus who has the woman wiping His feet with her hair and tears. This isn’t the compassionate Jesus who came, who set His attributes aside.
This is Jesus the King, the Priest, and the Judge. This is the Jesus who is coming back. This is the Jesus that has power. This is the Jesus that’s going to make everything right. “John, this is the Jesus that you can bank the rest of your life on while you sleep on this rock on the island of Patmos. And every promise I made is true.”
And so He reveals His hope in the Revelation. In chapter 1 He revealed to John that He is alive and that He’s Lord. That’s big. He’s not a religion, He’s not force, He’s not a memory. That time on the Mount of Transfiguration where Peter and James were there with Him and He revealed Himself. It’s not a distant memory, it’s not a religion.
He comes before him and He says, “John, I’m alive and I am the I Am.” Remember in that first chapter, “I am the Beginning and the End; I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Here is the One who was and is and will be forever. He’s letting John know, “I’m in control.”
And His eyes were like fire and His hair was like wool and there was a sharp, double-edged sword coming out of His mouth and His feet were like bronze and He had the sash of the high priest and He was in white linin. “John, there is hope because I’m alive.”
Then in chapters 2 and 3 He said, “John, I’m the Lord of the Church. Not only am I living, I’m faithful. And, John, I’m going to, every promise I made to My Church, I’m telling you, I’m going to be faithful.” And then He went through the seven churches on that trade route and He called them to attention and He said, “You know what? You’re doing well here. I’m very displeased here.” And He affirmed them here, He says, “There’s reward for overcomers, people who remain faithful. And I got news for you. You better shape up or I’m going to ship you out.” And so He was this Judge coming before His Church.
Then in chapters 4 and 5 John learned that Jesus is the Lord not only of the Church but he’s the Lord of heaven. And remember there was the throne, chapter 4. And angels, seraphim, and cherubim, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”
And there was this throne, and there was the sea, and the multi-colors, and the circular rainbow and it was just dazzling. And then in chapter 5 who is it, this Lamb that was slain in the center of throne, and around the center of the throne the four living creatures, and around the living creatures there are twenty-four thrones, and these elders are there, and we find out who they are later.
And there’s this glassy sea, and there is worship of the Lamb, and John realizes He is the sovereign God of the universe and He is alive, and He’s faithful, and He is holy.
And even on John’s bad days he’s seeing so many of his friends die, so many people needlessly killed. And he’s prayed, like a lot of us, “God, what’s the deal? Where are You? Why do the wicked prosper?”
And then, in chapters 6 through 18, John goes on a journey and he sees these judgments, and the judgments of those seven seals, and there’s only one worthy to open it. It’s Jesus. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, boom! Then seven trumpets and then seven bowls.
And there is justice for the nations, and there is justice for Satan, and justice for the Antichrist. And everything that has ever been wrong is made right, and then in chapter 19, Jesus comes back on a white horse. And on His thigh it says, “Lord of lords and King of kings.”
And there’s an ending battle: Armageddon. And He speaks a word and it’s a done deal. And then finally, in chapter 20, John will learn, and we will learn tonight, that He’s the Lord of eternity.
He’s going to set up, after this great battle, there are going to be people that, who were martyred who get raised from the dead and also those who have died earlier that will be raised from the dead.
And He’s going to say, “I’m the Lord of Eternity but I have something I want to make sure that you understand.” And for a thousand years Jesus will actually reign on the planet earth and at the end of that time, after Satan has been bound for a thousand years, he will have freedom to deceive the nations and people, to our astonishment, after living for a thousand years with Jesus, ruling in an absolutely perfect world, with perfect education, perfect economy, perfect politics, perfect environment, perfect everything, will be deceived and turn away.
And then they’ll be destroyed and there will be a new heaven and a new earth and we’ll learn what it’s going to be like forever and ever and ever, for those that receive the grace of God.
And so John has this hope revealed, and then Jesus commands John, and then us through this book, to apply that hope in every day life. And if you look at the application, if Jesus is alive, if Jesus is my life, then Revelation 1, my application is: “I’ll abide in Him.”
You might jot in your notes John 15:1 to 10. That’s how you do it. But I’m going to abide in Him. The only thing you really need to do as a Christian, just do one thing. Just stay connected to God through Jesus. That’s all you need to do. Just stay connected to Him. And the life of Christ will be reproduced in you.
Second, you learn that Jesus is my Lord in chapter 2 and 3. If He’s the Lord of the Church then I will obey Him. And you might jot down John 14:21 in your notes. “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves Me. And he that loves Me would be loved by My Father, and we will come to him and will disclose ourselves to him.” Obedience is the organ, or the channel, through which spiritual growth occurs.
Third, we learn He’s the King, in chapters 4 and 5, and so I will worship Him. And you might jot down Romans 12:1 and 2. Worship isn’t just singing songs. It’s your life as a living sacrifice.
Then, in chapters 6 through 19, we know that Jesus is my avenger. You ever thought about it that way? And I will rest in Him. You might jot down Romans 12 verse 20 where it says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God. I will repay.”
When you’ve been betrayed, when there’s been injustice He says, “Look, I will balance the scales. You can rest in the fact you’ll never get a raw deal. All the scales won’t get balanced in this life but no matter what you’ve been through, how used, how abused, there will be a day.” He is your avenger. You can trust Him.
And then finally, in chapters 20 through 22, Jesus is my joy. And I will live with Him. I will live with Him now, but I will live with Him, one day, face to face. And you might jot down Psalm 16:11 - great passage. “In Thy presence is fullness of joy. At Thy right hand are pleasures forever.”
And we’re going to see that fully tonight but you can experience it moment by moment, day by day. We get a glimpse, in Revelation, of what living with Him will be like forever and ever.
Now here’s the principle that’s going to tie this whole book together. The Revelation principle: The clearer you see your eternal hope the more anchored your soul in temporal storms. That’s why this book was written. The clearer you see your eternal hope. A biopsy report, a changed economy, a tsunami, a flood, a betrayal, and cancer cannot change your eternal hope.
That’s why… did you notice on the top of your notes Hebrews 6:19? We have this hope as an anchor for the soul. Then notice how it’s described: Firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
The clearer you see your eternal hope the more anchored your soul in temporal storms.
Solomon reminds us, remember he’s the wisest man who has ever lived on the earth, in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
When we are expecting something to happen, when we think the job is going to come through, when we finally got to buy that house and the deal falls through, when we think the treatment is going to work and then we don’t go into remission. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. But notice what He says, “Desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
So now, in the final three chapters of Revelation, God will reveal how He will fulfill your deepest desires, one day in the future, in order that you might endure life’s stiffest storms today.
So as you open those notes, the big idea, very simply in these last three chapters, is that Revelation 20 through 22 is going to reveal how God will fulfill our deepest hopes so that we might endure life’s stiffest storms.
And as you look at those notes here’s what I’d like you to do with me. I want to give you a preview. Let me give you just a quick picture. As human beings, we all have some very, very deep, deep hopes.
Sometimes they’re so obvious but they’re not conscious. And it’s interesting that there are three major things that happen: The Millennial Kingdom, judgment, and a new heaven and a new earth. And this whole book is about hope.
Let me give you a preview of what we’re going to see. First, our deepest hope and, by the way, hope is that yearning, you know, that longing. If this would happen…then…feel.
Our deepest hope, to live in a world as it should be, will be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom. How many times have we had this, “You know, it shouldn’t be this way,” right? It just shouldn’t be this way. Kids shouldn’t be abused. You know? Discrimination shouldn’t happen. It just shouldn’t be this way. Twenty-five year olds shouldn’t get killed by drunk drivers, right? It shouldn’t be this way.
All of us have this hope, there’s something… where did you get that idea? Every human being has it, every culture, every race, every background. There’s this sense of “ought.” In fact, that’s how C.S. Lewis came to Christ. He was an Agnostic, an Atheist before that. And at some point, he just realized this sense of “ought,” this sense of, “this shouldn’t be,” there are some rights and there are wrongs.
This sense of, “that is wrong,” led him to believe, “Well, that’s a moral issue and if there’s a moral issue then there must be a right and a wrong and if there’s a right and a wrong then there must be some moral person behind the right and the wrong,” and his book Mere Christianity traces his steps of becoming a Christian.
But I have that and you have that. I mean, almost every day, right? I mean, you’re there and you’re waiting in traffic, you know, it’s Atlanta. And so there’s this great way we’ve figured out how to do these things where we put fifteen thousand houses on two lanes.
And so, you’re in this line, you’ve been waiting for the red light, right? And the light has turned red once, twice, three, four, five times… And then there’s this right turn lane on the right. And this dude blows by everybody. Two miles. And at the very end then he cuts in, and what do you feel inside? “That shouldn’t be!” Or then it turns red and one car goes, two cars go, three cars go, and you go, “Boy, that just shouldn’t be.” And that’s a funny, little one but we have them in so many areas of our life.
I want you to know the Millennial Kingdom is to allow you to experience what life ought to be, on this earth, the way it ought to be. And you get to taste it, you get to see it. Where the government and the traffic; people treat one another well.
The second deep hope is our longing for all wrongs to be made right. It will be fulfilled at the great white judgment. The great white throne.
And what we’ll see at the great white throne is God is a just God. He’s compassionate, He’s loving, He gives opportunity, His grace is beyond all description. But there comes a day where He draws a line in the sand, for those who refuse to turn, and I will tell you what, there is judgment and He makes things right.
The third thing that we’ll discover is our deepest hope and longing for a love that will last forever, is fulfilled in the new heaven and the new earth. I mean, how many books, and how many songs, and how many times of daydreaming have we all… We want a love that lasts forever, right?
I mean, we want it with a mate, we want it with our kids, we want our that have kids, we want them to like us, we want to be close to them, we want to be close to each other, want to have great relationships. Every person in the world wants a love that will last forever where you’re accepted, where you’re significant, where there’s connection, where things work! Right?
I mean, the biggest problems every single person has in this room are not economic although they may feel that way. When relationships are broken, when there’s rejection, when there’s pain, when there’s separation, when there’s divorce, when kids don’t talk to their parents, when grandkids have no connection with grandparents. Those are the most painful…
A day will come when you will be loved, accepted, affirmed for exactly who you are, you will be in an environment where you can be who exactly who you were made to be, and in the presence of Christ, knowing and enjoying and fellowshipping with other people, in a real, concrete place called a new earth - and you will be loved forever.
And that deep hope, that longing, that thirst… Jesus says, in the very end of this book: “He who is thirsty, let him come and drink without cost.” What’s thirst? It’s those longings. They’re going to be satisfied.
So that’s an overview of what we’re going to cover, and I wanted to give an overview because with this much material we’ll go fairly fast and you got the big picture. So open your Bibles, Revelation chapter 20, and let’s jump in and get an overview of what’s occurred here and this great hope. God will fulfill our deepest hopes so that we may endure, faithfully, life’s stiffest storms.
We pick up the story in chapter 19 verse 19, just to get a running start. “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and His army.” It was Jesus. “And the beast was captured,” remember that’s the Antichrist, “along with the false prophet who performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.
“With these signs he had deluded those who received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfer. The rest of them were killed,” the rest of them are those who are opposed to God, those who did not believe, those who would not repent, “the rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse,” Jesus, “and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”
Chapter 20: “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and he bound him a thousand years. he threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”
So first round we see: The battle is over, all those who resisted, all those who refused to believe, who wouldn’t repent die. Satan is now bound for a thousand years, the Antichrist and his prophet are in the lake of fire.
We pick it up, what’s he see, verse 4, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony and because of the Word of God. And they had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.
“They came to life and they reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)” The “rest of the dead” is referring to all the unbelievers of all time. They will be resurrected, we’ll see later, at the great white throne. This is a thousand year reign, Jesus will reign upon the earth, and we’ll answer the questions in just a second. But just that phrase I wanted you to get.
“This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death,” which is the lake of fire, “has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
Verse 7, “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breach of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, and the city that He loves.
“But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire, of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Now I thought the best way to handle this would be to ask a series of questions that when I read it I thought, “These are the questions I want answered.” So let me go through and answer a few questions for you.
What is the Millennial Kingdom? The word “millennial” simply means a thousand years. A kingdom is the scope of one’s authority. A kingdom is simply where what a person says goes. And if you got two kids that share a bedroom, I had twin boys, and they had this line. Sometimes it was imaginary and sometimes not so imaginary.
And Eric’s kingdom was on this side - and his twin bed, and his dresser over here, and his part of the closet; and Jason’s was on the other side. And they had battles of kingdoms, when “you’ve got your stuff on my side.”
A kingdom is the reign, or role that you have over, where you have just authority. And what we have here is the kingdom of Christ, where He is going to rule over all the earth for a thousand years.
Jesus, at the climax of human history, the battle of Armageddon, will rule personally the nations and the earth for a thousand years.
Well, who will be in this kingdom? Well, there’ll be Old Testament saints… It’s interesting, the NIV, right in between verses 3 and 4 where it talks about “those who have been beheaded,” it leaves out a little phrase, “and also those,” and what you see here is you’re going to have Old Testament saints, you’ll have New Testament saints, those that were martyred and resurrected from the Tribulation, and then those who survive the Tribulation.
Let me go over that a little bit slower, okay? Basically anyone who has trusted in Christ ever, Old Testament, right? New Testament, those who are martyred, but some people believed in Jesus, did not take the mark of the beast; they go into this thousand-year kingdom, alright? But they go in as human beings; they don’t have a resurrected body.
Remember the Rapture occurred, right at chapter 4, so Old Testament saints, those, the Church now, all those promises about getting to reign with Christ, they’re going to occur here. And then those that were martyred – they are resurrected right now. And then you have people that did not take the mark of the beast. So you have four groups of people that are involved in this.
Now here’s what you need to understand. As you’re reading this you might, like me, have said to yourself, “Now wait a minute. How could these people have rebelled? How could they turn away if it was a perfect environment?”
Those people who were believers, have been sealed by God, they have a resurrected body but for this thousand years here you have a lot of people… you can have a lot of kids in a thousand years.
So the people that went into the Millennial Kingdom, that didn’t take the mark of the beast, are going to have kids and there’s going to be government, there are going to be nations, and there’s going to be responsibility, there’s going to be rulership, and there’s going to be authority, and there’s going to be culture.
And after a thousand years, that’s a long time, with a lot of reproduction… what you’re going to find is that Satan will be loosed again and so a lot of people, even though they live in a perfect world, and they will externally acknowledge Christ - there won’t be any evil.
There’s not a world system. There’s no devil, but their hearts, when given the opportunity, will turn away from Christ. So that’s who is going to be in the kingdom.
A thousand years, they’ll have many children, in a perfect environment with no evil. What will we do in the kingdom? Well, it says we’re going to reign with Christ. Those who, notice it said early on, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who have been given authority.” Remember Revelation 3:21? The promise to the Church: “You will reign with Me.”
Jesus also said in Matthew, I’ve got it in my notes here, Matthew 19, He talked to them about, “If you’re faithful you’ll reign with Me.” We will judge as priests and kings. And then we’ll live and work. We’ll experience, are you ready, life as it should be. We’ll experience life as it should be. People will get along. There won’t be pollution, there won’t be injustice.
I love Anne Graham Lotz in her book The Vision of His Glory on Revelation she said, “Here’s what it’s going to be like in the Millennial Kingdom: No more fear, no dishonesty, no secret deals, no more land grabs and loan foreclosures, no more pandering to big money and big corporations. No more run away inflation and trillion dollar deficits; no more contracts with small print; no more clandestine operations; no more organized crime, in fact, no crime at all. No more civil disobedience, no more riots, no more sexual harassment in the workplace, no more racial prejudice. No more discrimination for any reason.
“No more ethnic cleansing; no civil wars; no wars at all; no more homeless people; no more beggars; no more poor; no more starvation, no more naked, hungry, barefooted pastors in Bosnia or anywhere else.”
That’s what it’s going to be like. Life, as it should be, will be experienced. And, by the way, here’s just a note because, you know, there’s, we hit these little corners and we could go off on...
Somehow, we’ve been led to believe that everyone’s eternal existence is going to be uniform. And it’s like what you want to do is believe in Jesus, and then you get this fire insurance policy, and that means you’re going to go to heaven if you believe this certain, little set of beliefs. And it’ll be the same for everybody.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Salvation, first and foremost, is solely by the grace of God; solely based on Christ’s work, resurrection; believing and receiving His grace.
And then, are you ready? The entire Christian life is never earning God’s favor. It’s saying, “Thank you” for what you already possess and how you live out your life, determines the rewards that you have in eternity.
So, when Jesus says, “Send treasure on ahead,” did you notice there, where He says it in Matthew 6? We miss this. Who is it for? For yourself! You know? If you actually believed in eternity, if you actually believed there is authority, if you actually believed in rewards…
And you know what? We think, “Oh, that’s not very spiritual.” Well I guess Paul wasn’t very spiritual. Paul, in the very last letter, II Timothy, what’s he say? “Hey, Timothy, man, I have done the deal. I have fought the fight. I have run the race. And I am tired and I’m wiped out and, boy, I will tell you what, it’s really been rough.” That’s sort of a loose translation. “And laid up for me is a crown, and for all those who love His appearing.”
And we talked about crown of righteous, the crown of people who love His appearing, the crown…
There are very specific rewards. You’re going to live on a real earth, for a thousand years, where Jesus is the president, and the governor, and the magistrate, and many people believe that David will be the vice regent.
Because remember some of those Old Testament passages? “David, upon… you will have a throne forever.” Abraham, remember those passages about the land? See, in Romans chapters 9 through 11, Israel used to be the agent of God’s blessing. They rejected their Messiah and King, Jesus.
So God takes them out of the game, if you will, remember that? And He puts them on the shelf, as an agent of blessing. Now what did He do, in chapters 6 through 18, during the Tribulation?
A hundred and forty-four thousand - what were they? Jewish evangelists. They are the key to His blessing. And millions and millions of people come to Christ during that Tribulation time.
And now He’s going to fulfill, literally, those promises He made to Abraham; those promises He made to David.
Why is this literal kingdom important? I kinda jumped ahead. One, God keeps His promises. He’s going to fulfill His promises to David for the throne, Luke 9:7. Mary, in her response in Luke 1, to the angel talks about what? The throne of David and what God will do. He’s going to fulfill His promises to Abraham. Why is it important? He’s going to reward faithfulness to the overcomers.
Remember, the very last word He said to those seven churches? Chapter 3 verse 21, “To him who overcomes, just as I, the Father, I reign with Him on His throne,” what did He say? “you will reign with Me on your thrones.” And what’s it say in this passage? “And I saw those who had been given authority and they were on thrones.”
And then finally, to redeem the earth. Romans 8. Have you ever wondered what that passage is about? You know? The earth, because of the fall and because of sin… and the earth is groaning, waiting for the day of redemption.
Guess what? God is going to make all things new. And one of the things He’s going to do in this Millennial Kingdom is He is going to redeem the earth.
There’s not going to be pollution. This is that time where the Lion, remember that passage in Isaiah, where the Lion lays down with the Lamb? And a lot of things are going to change.
This is where the swords are turning into plowshares. God is going to do this in a real thousand years, and if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you’re going to be there. And you’re going to reign. And you know what you’re going to experience? Life as it should be. That feeling, “That shouldn’t be that way. It ought to be…”
What’s it look like when people really get along? What’s it look like when there’s harmony? What’s it look like when life really is the way it ought to be, and governments, and politics, and families, and races and, you know what? You get to experience it. And I don’t know about you, it’s a lot of hope.
How will this kingdom end and what should we learn from it? Well, Satan will be loosed after a thousand years, he’ll deceive the nations, there will be one last battle, Satan will be thrown in the lake of fire. And what we learn from it is God’s justice is once again affirmed.
I remember, I took a lot of philosophy classes, and it’s kind of part of my background and graduate work, and I remember just thinking through all of those issues, all those different arguments like, “Is God just?”
And really most of the arguments in our day are, “You know what? If we could change the education, if everyone was really educated, then, the world could be a utopia.
“If we could just get the environment completely cleaned up, and everything really ran the way it ought to be, then, we could live in this perfect utopia.
If we could just get the money equalized so there’s not haves and have-nots but we could spread it out, where everyone got what they ought to get, well then, everything would work out. If we could just get…”
And it’s interesting that God says, in His justice, “I’m going to take a thousand years and I’ll create a perfect environment. And after a thousand years of Me ruling, and loving, and providing, and caring, and people experiencing life like it should have been in the garden, for a thousand years,” given the opportunity, the issue is not God’s lack of justice.
The issue is the hardness and deceitfulness of the human heart - that deep within us, even without sin in the world, even without the temptation of Satan, given the opportunity we want control.
By the way, that’s why it’s so hard to become a Christian. And that’s why it’s so hard for the rich because we can hold ourselves up with stuff that makes us feel like we’re in control.
We can drive our own cars, and we have our own money, we can do our own thing. That’s why it says all through Scripture… why are the poor rich, spiritually? Because when you’re destitute and you have need, guess what? You understand you have need, “Oh, God, help me!” They have a built in humility.
Those of us that have a lot, we have to willfully say, “God, I could fake it and try and be in control. That’s a stupid thing to do. You’re the CEO of the universe. I want to bow the knee. I want to be your son, I want to be your daughter, I want to surrender.”
And, you know, it’s easy if all that you have is a couple bowls of rice to say, “You know, I surrender all my rice to you, Lord. And I hope you give me some tomorrow.” But when you got a couple cars and you got a 401k and you got a job and you’re upwardly mobile and you have one house, you got another house over here and people kind of think this about you and then…
And so God, in this final thousand years, affirms - and even in a perfect environment - it’s men’s hearts that are depraved. The answer is not better education, politics, and environment. The only lasting change comes with a change of heart.
Now does that mean we shouldn’t work for a better environment and better political, absolutely not. I mean, for sure we do. We’re salt and light and we make a difference everywhere. But it’s just very interesting this thousand years is a very revealing time for what the core issue is.
Secondly, we find that our deepest longings for all wrongs to be made right will be fulfilled at the great white throne judgment. We pick it up in chapter 20 verse 11. Satan has been put into the lake of fire, joining the Antichrist and the false prophet.
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books,” plural, “were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in them, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
And, by the way, at the very end that phrase where it says, “If anyone,” in Greek it’s called a “first class condition,” assumed to be true. So he’s not saying, “I wonder if this is going to happen or not?” he’s saying, “Assume to be true those whose names are not in the book of life.”
Well, who is the Judge on the great white throne? Will you keep your finger here and will you turn to John chapter 5 with me? I mean, this is worth, literally, going back and reading. And after going through the book of Revelation, I don’t know about you, but I have not been a big Revelation reader, I mean, I read it when I read through the Bible every year. But I have not, like, studied this in depth.
And now after reading it, I’m reading some passages in the gospels and I’m going, “Whoa! I never saw that before.” John chapter 5 verse 22, “Moreover,” Jesus is talking about judgment, “the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgments to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent Him.”
Verse 24, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live,” speaking of the righteous that will be saved.
“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming,” notice He’s talking about the future, “when all those who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out, and those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.
“By Myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and My judgment is just, for I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me.”
And so just as we had the Father in the middle of the throne and the Lamb, here we have Jesus who is going to execute judgment. Here’s the throne; here’s the Father. And so it is very, very clear – it’ll be on the basis of what? They’ll be judged on the basis of all believers of all time.
This group that was referred to, “And the rest of the dead,” in chapter 20 verse 5 and, “The rest of the dead,” now they come to life. What you see is that the dead are now raised and you have judgment and this is the final judgment.
Notice, what’s the basis of these unsaved people of all time that are going to be judged? Notice the phrase, “books,” and then, “book of life.” First, their judgment is based according to their deeds. Notice that that’s repeated twice.
This is the judgment of the unbelieving. So it’s not like did your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds. This is a judgment of what do your deeds reveal about where your loyalty and your faith was?
I love David Jeremiah. He talks about the books that were opened. And we don’t know anywhere in Scripture, we don’t know what these other books are except they kept a record of people’s deeds.
But you do have about four different places that talk about the basis of judgment. In Romans 2:15 it says God will reveal the secret thoughts of our heart. So, you know those sins, those things that no one knows about? Those private lusts, those anger fantasies, that envy, right?
It also says that our conscience will be our judge. That there are times we will know what’s right to do and we’ll refuse to do it. There are times we will know, “I shouldn’t do that,” and we’ll do it anyway. And He says we’ll be judged according to - did we betray what we knew was right?
Jesus said in Matthew 12:37 that every careless word that comes out of our mouth - we’re going to be judged on what comes out of our mouth. And then finally, we’ll be judged according to our works.
Now, here’s what you need to see: not by works of righteousness can anyone ever have right standing with God. What these works do is - unbelievers are going to get to see all these works, and they’re going to realize, “I’m being judged fairly.”
And the difference between them and us is there came a point in time, for every believer, where you realize no amount of works, no amount of good deeds, the secret thoughts, your conscience you violated – you needed a Savior and the blood of Christ has been applied over the doorpost, if you will, of your soul, and you have trusted in Christ to give you a righteousness that you could never earn.
And by grace you have been saved, and therefore those have been the first resurrection and the second death. And so the message of the good news… I think sometimes we’re out there trying to convince people and twist their arm like, “Won’t you believe in Jesus?”
The real message is: the early Church called it happy news! “Have you heard, have you heard, have you heard, have you heard? Your sins have already been forgiven. Your sins have been forgiven. Christ died for the whole world.” I John 2:2, he says, “Not only did He die for us but also for the sins of the whole world.
The happy news is that forgiveness is available. Would you receive this free gift? Would you accept what has already been done on your behalf? It’s like there is a movie for eternity and the door is right over there. Here’s a ticket, it’s already been purchased. You can’t be good enough to get through that door. But it’s been purchased. Will you receive this ticket so you can go through that door for eternity and have relationship with Him based on what He did, not based on what you can do?
And what we saw, what? All through chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 – even after the seals, even after the trumpets, even after the bowls – people curse God. Even after a perfect environment, they reject God. And what you find here, very hard doctrine to accept; one that’s not taught much. I’m not sure it’s believed much anymore.
Jesus talked more about heaven and hell than any other subject combined. And if you believe what He says about heaven you gotta take what He says about hell. And He is a just God.
Notice the books were opened and then this book of life. David Jeremiah, I think, has a great quote: “Finally the last one that’s opened is the book of life. ‘If anyone’s name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ This book is an amazing record. It will contain the names of every single person who was born into the world. If, by the time a person dies, he has not received God’s provision of sacrifice to remove his sin, his name will be blotted out of the pages.”
What is God’s desire? II Peter 3:8 and 9: His desire is that none would perish. You need to understand, no one will get a raw deal. God’s heart, God’s love is that no one will get a raw deal. And He is revealing Himself through creation, He’s revealing Himself through His Son, He’s revealing Himself through His Word. His passion and desire is that whosoever would come.
Christ’s death paid for the sins of all people of all time. But He will not force people to come.
I love the quote by C.S. Lewis where he says, “There are only two kind of people in all the universe. There are people to whom they say to God, ‘God, Your will be done,’ and they go to heaven. And there’s the other group of people to which God says, ‘Your will be done.’”
See, the issue is God doesn’t send people to hell. God has created… we’ll get to this in just a second, hell is a divine necessity, for not violating the free will and the dignity of people.
If they stiff-arm God, “I don’t want to be around You, don’t control me, I don’t love You, I don’t like You, I don’t want any part of You,” basically they’ve said that all their life, all their life, all their life, all their life, all their life, all their life – at the very end God’s not going to say, “Hey! You gotta come to heaven with Me because I love you.”
He says, “No! If you want your own way, I will now give it to you forever. You’ve rejected Me, you want to be separate from Me, you don’t want My love, you don’t want anyone, even though I rule the universe, you don’t want to have any relationship with Me. I grant you the freedom to now be separate from Me forever and ever and ever.” And that’s what hell is.
What does this passage teach about hell? It’s reality and it’s necessity. This passage and with Christ that it’s terrible, that it’s literal, that it’s eternal, that it’s separation from Christ, and unmistakably taught by Christ here, as the final destination for those who want no part of God.
Its necessity is to honor men’s dignity, to fulfill ultimate justice and retribution, and the fact that heaven is a perfect place that can’t tolerate any sin. And so, God created a place for those who don’t want any part of Him, that won’t receive His forgiveness.
And I don’t know about you but the last part, it’s motivation. I just thought long and hard about this and I thought of people that I know, relatives, friends, and going to the cleaners, walking in and out of Starbucks, passing people in the neighborhood that are walking their dog, out hanging at the park, playing pick-up basketball.
I play on Saturdays with a group of Asian guys, young kind of 20, early 30-something guys that are all have these computer jobs and travel around the world and…
I just really like them and you know what? They like me. And I was just studying this and I thought, I’ve given a guy a book here, and had a little conversation here, but my confession is when I look into the eyes of this passage and a great white throne judgment, my evangelistic temperature really needs to get raised, and I need to care more about their soul and about what God thinks, than the personal rejection that makes me afraid to share what I really need to share an awful lot of times.
And, by the way, I don’t mean we knock people over the head. But I mean where we care enough and pray enough, where we literally invite them.
We’re going to look at a quick snapshot of our deepest longing for a love that will last forever and ever.
And here you get the end of chapter 21 and so you see that, “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea. And I saw this Holy City in the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now! The dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.’” Get that. He’ll live with them.
“They will be His people,” and notice, “God Himself,” He’s, grammatically here, He’s real, “God Himself,” He’s not going to send an angel, there’s not going to be some sort of mystical presence. “God Himself will be with them and be their God. And He’ll wipe away every tear from their eyes. And there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” I’m going to refresh, it’s the word, “a new thing,” “a renovation.” “Then He says, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then He said to me: ‘It is done.’”
Now, it’s like we’re back to chapter 1. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To Him who is thirsty,” who has hopes, who has longings, who has endured, who went through a difficult marriage, the person who had a child that was abused, the drunk driver that hit, the abuse that happened there in Rwanda. To those that are thirsty, to those that life never, ever satisfied… what’s He say?
“I will give drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes,” those who remain faithful, that trusted, “will inherit this, and I will be his God and he’ll be My son.” This is a love that lasts forever.
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magical arts, the idolaters, and liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride,’” speaking of the Church, “‘the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and he showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
“And it shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like very precious jewels, like jasper and crystal. And it had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at each gate. And on the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
“And then there were three gates on the east and three on the north and three on the south and three on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were names written of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
“And the angel who talked with me and had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. And the city was laid out like a square,” actually it’s more like a cube. You’re going to see that it’s as wide as it is long as it is high and the projection is it’s about fourteen hundred miles. Fourteen hundred miles wide, fourteen hundred miles long, fourteen hundred miles high. And it’s a city. We started out in the garden. We’re going to end up in a city.
What happens in the city? There’s fellowship and there’s life and, oh man, it gets pretty darn exciting here.
“And the angel talked with me and gave me this measuring rod and he measured the city twelve thousand stadia in length, and he measured its walls one hundred and forty-four cubits thick,” which is about two hundred feet.
“The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, and the gold was as pure as glass. And the foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.” And he goes through all those different types of stones that I can’t pronounce half of them so we’ll just skip those and realize there’s a lot of great stones there.
And then verse 21, “The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was pure gold, like transcendent glass.”
And then notice some of the observations, “I didn’t see a temple in the city,” no place to go and worship because you don’t do that, “because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need sun or moon or light because the Lamb,” Jesus, “is the lamp. The nations will walk by the light and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
“Oh, on that day the gates will never be shut, for there will be no night,” no separation. “The glory and the honor of the nations will be brought. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
And then chapter 22, “The angel showed me there is this river of water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the very throne of God and the Lamb down the middle of this great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.
“And the leaves of the tree are for the healing,” or, literally, the health, “of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no more night. And they will not need a light of a lamp or a light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will,” here’s what you do, “reign.” You’ll reign. You are a priest and you are a kingdom and you will reign. How long? Forever.
You don’t think you can take some difficulty, “I just can’t hold up in this temptation, it’s too strong. I’ve gotta, I know it’s wrong but I’ve got to.” Stop! You’ll reign forever. Start doing the P&L about what you do with your life here and what’s going to last forever and ever and ever.
And what you give up - when you get seduced by this invisible enemy and his invisible angels and this world system and the seduction of the lust of the flesh and the lust and the pride. And all the stuff that tells you it’ll make you a somebody.
Do the spiritual profit and loss, and say to yourself, “Now let me see, do I want some of this pleasure that will turn sour,” you know, Satan’s sins are like sweet tarts, they’re always sweet on the outside and then you bite into them and then they’re sour.
And the affair turns into a divorce, and alienated children, and herpes and HIV, and alienation and loneliness. And the porn turns into addiction. And the accumulation turns into greed. And in small measure, we become like Howard Hughes, focused on ourselves with our spiritually long fingernails, being a drug addict, just absolutely consumed with ourselves.
And God says, “I want to deliver you from all of that.” He says, “You’re going reign with Me.”
“And the angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent angels to show His servants the things that must take place soon.’”
And so, man, that’s the end of the story. I’m going to ask and answer some questions but that’s the end of the story. But then notice, I’ll just go ahead and read it, there’s a warning.
I want you to read in the warning how many times: “I’m coming, I’m coming, I’m coming soon,” and how many times the people who get it, right? These are angels. They see the big picture. This is John, “Whoa! This is eternity, this is heaven, this is the Millennial Kingdom, this is Jesus, this is the King, here’s what really matters, and here’s where I’m living.”
And I’ll tell you what, when you get that, you start living with anticipation. Right now, if you take the average Christian, and God says, “You want to go to heaven now or later?” Nine out of ten would say, “Uh, could you maybe check back in about twenty-five years?”
Because our view of heaven is so warped, we think it’s floating around… iced tea, maybe get wings, like an angel, some…
Wait until you see what heaven is really like. By the way, a great read on this is Randy Alcorn’s book. It’s a long read. It’s a slow read. This’ll be on your nightstand for three months, okay? But it’s very interesting about how concrete and tangible it is.
But we think of heaven as this ethereal… we’ll see, in just a second, notice he said there’s a new earth. On a new earth what do you do? You run, and you eat, and you have a new body, and there’s culture, and there’s music, and there’s ruling, and there’s politics, and there’s learning, and there’s growing, and there’s adventure.
And I’m getting ahead of myself, but get the warning: “‘Behold,” Jesus says, “I’m coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.’ I, John, the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’
“Then he told me, ‘Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because,’” what? “‘the time is near.’” Notice second time, the time is near. “‘Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.’
“Behold, I am coming soon!” Jesus says. “My reward is with Me, and I will give it to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
“Blessed,” happy eternally, “are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magical arts and sexual immorality, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and Morning Star.” Perfect humanity, perfect deity.
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’” Notice again those longings, that hope. “Whoever is thirsty, let him come.” Anybody in here thirsty? Anybody tired of trying to satisfy a thirst that can’t be satisfied with more stuff, or the next relationship, or the next accomplishment?
What’s He say? “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. I warn everyone who hears the words of this prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.” Boy, that is a bad deal.
“And if anyone takes words away from this book of the prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says,” that’s John, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus,” John responds to Jesus’ quote there. “The grace of our Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
Well, let me answer these final questions, as we wrap up our study in Revelation. What happens to the earth we currently live on? It says, Revelation 21:11, actually, that’s Revelation 21 verse 1. I put an extra “1” in there.
“A new heaven and a new earth,” fire will destroy or sanitize, completely redo to perfection and bring to perfection, the original paradise. The New Testament word here for “new” means, “fresh,” “renovated,” “new quality.”
The best picture, I like one commentator who said, “It will be like our bodies.” You’ll have a new body but it’s recognizable. It’ll be familiar. We’ll be able to tell who you are but this new body will be of a completely different quality.
It’s interesting that Anthony Hoekema, theologian, wrote a couple systematic theology books. “In His redemptive activity,” he says, “God does not destroy the works of His hands but cleanses them from sin and perfects them so that they may finally reach the goal for which He created. Applied to the problem at hand,” speaking of this new heaven and the things that passed away, “this principle means that the new earth to which we look forward will not totally be different from the present one but will be a renewal and glorification of the earth on which we now live.”
And here’s the point I want you to get: We have so believed that heaven or eternal life is going to be this, sort of, ooey-gooey, mystical – it’s not. It’s going to be the earth. But it’s a new earth exactly how God wants it to be, in resurrected bodies and without a sun and without stars. You don’t need them. But it’s going to be the earth, as intended, in ways beyond our wildest dreams.
Alcorn quotes in… both he and David Jeremiah have some good quotes about the freshness and the newness in the new world. What will be new in this new world? The answer: Verse 5, everything. “I’ll make everything new,” He says. But God calls it, “The earth.” It’ll be familiar.
I xeroxed a page out of Randy Alcorn’s book and it has, “What we assume about heaven,” on the left hand side and “What the Bible says about heaven.” And I’ll just go through them because this is really good.
What we assume about heaven: It’s non-earth. The Bible said it’s a new earth. We assume it’s unfamiliar, otherworldly. The Bible says it’s familiar and earthly.
We assume we’ll be disembodied. No. We’ll have resurrection, be embodied. We assume it’ll be foreign. Actually, it will be home. All the comforts of home with all the innovations of an infinitely creative God.
We assume it’s leaving the favorite things behind. The Bible says it will retain the good and the fine, the best ahead. We assume there’s no time and there’s no space, we kind of float around. The Bible talks about a new time and space.
We think it’s static. Scripture says it’s dynamic. We think of heaven of neither, old like Eden, or new like the earth – just strange and unknown.
It’ll be both old and new. It’ll be familiar but, in everything you’ve tasted of desire, every beautiful sunset, every intimacy in a relationship, every sense of satisfaction – if you think of that as a thimble, then what you’re going to get is an ocean of that, eternally. That’s what heaven is going to be like.
Concrete, real, recognizable people, adventure, music, sports, creativity, learning - at levels we never dreamed. Most people think heaven is going to be boring. The Bible says it will be fascinating.
Many people think it will be a loss of desire. It’ll be continuous fulfillment in desire. And then many say the absence of the terrible, but the presence of little we desire. The Scripture says the presence of wonderful, everything we desire, and things that we haven’t even tasted yet that are beyond our wildest dreams.
What will life be like on this new earth? God Himself will be with us. We will see, know, enjoy loved ones; it will be, literally, heaven on earth; our deepest desires and longings for acceptance, security, significance, and meaning will be exponentially fulfilled.
No death, no sorrow, no sin, no disappointment, but real life. Remember that supper we’re supposed to have? You eat in heaven, you sing in heaven, you learn in heaven, you create in heaven, you rule in heaven, you relate in heaven. Arts, music, adventure.
And then you get the warning. First, “I’m coming soon,” second, “Obey what you know,” third, notice what He said, verse 9, “Worship God.” By the way, that’s been the biggest takeaway of this whole thing for me.
I’ve just found, by stopping, it doesn’t seem like you accomplish anything… and I like to get stuff done, you know, some of you type A and driven people? To sit quietly before God, and ponder His majesty, and sing songs about who He is, and allow My heart to get more exploded with how great He is, just doesn’t feel like I’m getting anything done in my prayer time.
But you know what happens is the person, what? What’s the Scripture say? II Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed from glory to glory just as from the Spirit from the Lord.”
See, the way we get transformed is seeing God, more accurately, for who He is. And when you see Him and you begin to worship Him, He gets bigger and your problems get smaller. He gets bigger and you, and all your stuff, and me, and all my stuff, and all my demands and all my selfishness, little by little by little.
And I just, I just have just seen… it’s interesting. The book opens and he falls down and worships, and the book ends in heaven. And we’re commanded to worship.
And then the final thing here, is don’t mess with this book. Don’t mess with this book.
Notice the questions, it says, “What hopes or longings have not been fulfilled in your life, and made your heart sick?” Could I encourage you to jot a couple of those down?
See, this is a big picture but those deep, deep longings God is going to fulfill in the future but you need to isolate, what are some, what, you know, they’re legitimate. They’ve been deferred.
Maybe you always wanted to get married but you’re not married. And maybe you had a marriage that ended in divorce. Or maybe you wanted to have kids or something happened with one of your kids. Or maybe you always thought you’d do this vocationally and you’re doing this and you’re thinking, “Boy, this isn’t what I planned.”
Or maybe you thought, by this time in your life you’d be financially secure and you’d have health and, you’re thinking, “Gosh, I’m kind of old now and this picture just didn’t plan out the way I thought it would.” Write down some of the things that make your heart sick.
And then ask yourself, “How does the certainty?” And, see, that’s the difference between eternal hope and temporal. The certainty of the Millennial Kingdom, the final judgment, and a new heaven and new earth, give you hope.
How does knowing that things are going to be as they should be one day? That things that were wrong are going to get made right one day. And that you’re going to be loved unconditionally forever and ever and ever one day.
Then, some questions about how the study has encouraged you in your relationship with Christ, your concern for holy living, your view of heaven, and your concern for unbelievers.
Let me just, take some time and this week, maybe tomorrow morning, and just go through some of these questions and jot a few down. Ask God to speak to you, ask Him to remind you.
And then finally, what specific thing is God speaking to you about from this passage? And I just wonder why is the last verse so important? Remember the last verse? “Grace, grace, the grace of the Lord Jesus, the grace of…” You know?
You know, when I’ve gone through this book I just feel like, “Ohhhhhh, God, help me!” You know? I mean, it’s just like, “Oh, Lord, You know the secrets, and thoughts, and intents, and the hearts, and you evaluated those churches and, boy, I see the distance between, ah…”
Praise God. It’s His grace. I can’t live the Christian life. You can’t live the Christian life. But I can abide. And I can own my stuff. And I can grow. And I can be transformed from glory to glory. And I can accept His love. And I can be a Romans 12 Christian.