All Things Made New
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
A. Rereading a Good Book
1. We are reminded every day of how close it must be until Jesus returns.
a) That can be a frightening thing for many people.
b) How can you remove that fear?
c) Trust in the Lord and in His wisdom and in His plan.
d) But you can also trust in His promises and especially in his promises for what is to come!
2. Have you ever read again a really good book?
a) Of course you have! The Bible
b) But what about other books that you have enjoyed reading?
c) Do you ever read them again?
3. I have and what I really enjoy doing is going to the end of the book if that is where the best part of the book is.
a) That is what we are going to do today.
b) We are jumping to the end to remind ourselves how great the ending is!
B. Richard Baxter – Meditation on Heaven
1. Richard Baxter was an excellent and very effective pastor in England in the 1600s.
a) But his whole adult life was spent battling one sickness after the other.
b) He had a constant cough, frequent nosebleeds, migraine headaches, digestive ailments, kidney stones, and gallstones.
c) He believed in supernatural healing and said several times he was restored to fruitful labor because of God’s direct intervention.
d) He said once a cancerous looking tumor in his throat vanished while he was in the pulpit testifying of God’s mercies in his own life.
e) But this physical suffering was with him to the very end.
f) He once said that from the age of 21 he was “seldom an hour free from pain.”
2. Richard Baxter’s Regular Meditation on Heaven
a) One of the effects of this suffering was to make him intensely conscious of how temporary his life is and how inevitable death is.
b) Once, when he was 35, he was bed-bound by one of his diseases and thought he would probably not recover.
c) He began to meditate on the joys of heaven and the age to come in preparation for leaving this world.
d) He focused especially on “the hope of glory” and began to write his thoughts.
3. Much to his surprise Baxter recovered!
a) His thoughts became a book entitled The Saints’ Everlasting Rest.
b) He began the practice of meditating on heaven a half hour each day because of the powerful impact it had on his life.
c) He commended the same thing to his readers.
4. He said,
a) If you would have light and heat, why are you not more in the sunshine? For want of this recourse to heaven, your soul is as a lamp not lighted, and your duty as a sacrifice without fire. Fetch one coal daily from this altar, and see if your offering will not burn . . . Keep close to this reviving fire, and see if your affections will not be warm.
b) This is really good advice!
C. We Are Citizens of Another Age
1. Paul told us to do this in Colossians 3:1–4.
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
2. In other words, if your resurrection with Christ is so true and sure that it has virtually already happened, then you should live constantly aware that you are a citizen of another age.
a) We should set our minds on that age.
b) We are not to be conformed to this age, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
c) And that renewing means to be conformed to the newness of the age to come, because God says in Revelation 21:5 “Behold I make all things new”.
I. The Age to Come
A. Thinking about the Greatness of the Age to Come
1. So I want us this morning to see again and be reminded of what it is that God has waiting for us after the end times are over and the new times begin!
a) Romans 6:5 “If we have been united with Christ in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
b) In living each and every day, we need to focus on the reality of what is coming for us in the age of the resurrection.
c) So we are going to look at some of what that will involve both for us and for all of creation.
2. Some people seem to believe that thinking about things to come makes a person less useful for this age.
a) I think exactly the opposite is true!
b) When a person knows that his future is glorious and certain, then that person will be free to live the most radical life of love and sacrifice possible here on earth.
c) That is why God told us about all these things in His Word.
d) He wants us to know about and look forward to what is coming for each one of us!
3. If somebody falls out of an airplane with no parachute on and you don’t have one either, you aren’t going to jump out after them.
a) It won’t do any good.
b) Two deaths aren’t better than one.
c) But if you have a parachute on, you just might try one of those awesome rescue attempts, and free fall like a bullet to catch the helpless person and then pull your cord.
d) It’s the hope of safety in the end that releases that radical, sacrificial love right now.
4. Paul said in Colossians 1:4–5
a) “We have heard of the love you have for all the saints because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”
b) It’s the assurance of the hope of heaven that releases the radical, risk-taking love that makes people look at your life (like Peter says) and “ask a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
c) What do those people see when they ask that? They see you jumping out of an airplane to save another person. So they say, “Hey how can you jump out of the comfort and safety of this airplane?” And you answer, “I have a parachute called the hope of glory.”
5. That’s what I want us to think about this morning. What will that hope of glory be like?
B. Four Ways in Which God Will Make All Things New
1. The invincible purpose of God for creation and for his people will not be complete until all things are made new and the glory of the Lord fills them all.
2. In verse 5 God says, “Behold, I make all things new.”
a) And he enforces the certainty of it in two ways.
b) He is sitting on his throne when he says it—the throne of the universe. “He who sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold I make all things new.'”
c) And after he had said it, he added, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
d) So God wants us to read this and be sure of it.
e) God wants us to have assurance that no matter how much evil and suffering and futility we see now, he will make all things new.
3. Let’s look at four ways the newness is coming for us.
II. Spiritually and Morally New
God is going to make you spiritually and morally new and glorious.
A. The Greatest Frustration of This Age
1. The greatest frustration of this age is that we still sin.
a) Romans 7 describes this painful truth.
b) verses 23–24: “I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind.”
2. This war with the law in your mind is the most frustrating thing about life in this age—at least it is for the children of God.
a) It is the root of all the problems in life today and it always has been since the Garden of Eden.
b) We want to be holy and we fall short of the holiness we long for.
c) We want to love others but we say hurtful things.
d) We desire to worship God but sometimes we feel cold and alienated.
e) We want to walk in peace and yet we often feel anxious.
f) We want to be pure in our thoughts, but impurity bombards our minds from all sides.
3. There is some progress in all these areas as the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.
a) But what we long for is to be totally delivered from this fleshly tendency toward sin.
B. John’s Vision of the Bride of Christ
1. God promises to deliver us from the flesh when He makes all things new.
a) We will be made spiritually and morally new—not just partially as now, but wholly.
b) verse 2: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
c) This is a picture of the church prepared and beautified for her husband, Jesus Christ.
d) When God makes all things new, he makes the church—the people of God—spiritually and morally beautiful as a bride for his Son.
2. Look at the way this is described in verses 9–11:
a) 9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
3. When God makes the bride ready for the Son, the way he does it is by giving us his glory—verse 11 “having the glory of God.”
a) And this glory will purify us so deeply and so thoroughly that we will be like a rare jewel, clear as crystal.
b) Don’t you long for the day when you will be so good and so right and so pure that you will be like a beautiful radiant jewel that people will look at and see straight through without seeing any impurity at all?
c) There will be nothing hidden and nothing shameful in you when God makes you new!
III. Physically and Bodily New
Second, God is going to make us physically and bodily new and glorious.
A. Our Final Hope Is Not Disembodied Spirits
1. The Bible does not teach that the final state of glory is one of a spirit without a body.
a) Plato and his students wanted it that way because they thought the body was a drag on the freedom of the spirit.
b) But the Bible teaches a very different destiny for God’s people.
c) God will make all things new—including our bodies.
2. Verse 4 tells us what that will be like.
a) “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
b) No more death.
c) No more pain.
d) No more tears.
3. What that means is that the body we know now will be changed.
a) Because your body today dies, it hurts, and it cries.
b) If death is gone and pain is gone and tears are gone, then the body as we know it here is gone.
c) Good riddance to the body of pain!
d) Revelation is clear that it is not good riddance to the body but that God will make all things new and give us a new glorified body.
B. A Glorified Body Like Christ’s
1. Paul put it like this in Philippians 3:20–21,
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
2. That’s what Paul meant in Romans 6:
a) “We shall certainly be united to him in a resurrection like his.”
b) It is a new body.
c) It will never die again.
d) It will never hurt again.
e) It will never cry again—except maybe for joy!
3. There are a lot of people who are not happy with their bodies.
a) Some people have serious deformities, some have lost limbs, some are paralyzed, some can’t hear, some can’t see, some severe skin problems, some have trouble breathing.
b) But God has no intention of leaving anybody in that condition if they will trust Him in this life.
c) God has his purposes in allowing these issues in people’s lives – letting a man be born blind and leaving him blind for much of his adult life – John 9:1ff
d) 1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
e) But he has no intention of leaving anyone with pain and disability who trusts him.
4. When God makes all things new, he will make your body new, too!
IV. The New Creation
Third, God is going to make the creation new and glorious.
A. A New Heaven and a New Earth – v. 1
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”
1. I don’t think this means that God picks us up and takes us to a new solar system—though he certainly could if he wanted to.
a) The hope of the prophets seems to be that this earth and these heavens will be made new and that is exactly what this verse says.
b) God will remake the whole thing.
c) And in this new creation everything futile and evil and painful will no longer exist.
2. Paul put it like this in Romans 8:21,
a) “The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the liberty of the glory of the children of God.”
b) The newness and the glory of the church, the children of God, is primary and first.
c) But then God promises that the glory of his people will need a glorious new creation to live in.
d) That new creation will have no evil and no pain and no futility.
3. So when God makes all things new, he makes us new spiritually and morally, he makes us new physically, and then he makes the whole creation new so that our environment fits our perfected spirits and bodies.
4. That leaves one last work of renewing when God makes all things new.
V. A New Relationship with God
God will make our relationship with him new and glorious.
A. “The Dwelling Place of God” – v. 3
1. John tells us about this in verse 3
a) “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them.”
2. It’s true that God is with us now.
a) His Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 6:19).
b) Jesus promised never to leave us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
c) But in 2 Corinthians 5:6–7 Paul said, “While we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, here we walk by faith and not by sight.”
3. So there is a deep and painful sense in which we are “away from the Lord”
a) We do not see as we will one day see.
b) “Blessed are the pure in heart,” Jesus said, “for they shall see God.”
c) It’s a promise from Jesus Himself!
d) Something greater is coming for all of us in our relation with God.
4. How many times will a little child say what we all feel, “But daddy, I can’t see him”?
a) That is a real heart cry that we should never lose.
b) Revelation 22:4 gives the answer to it: “They shall see his face and his name shall be on their foreheads.”
5. When God makes all things new, he will make us spiritually and morally as pure as flawless jewel.
a) He will give us a body like His glorified body.
b) He will remake all of creation to take all futility and evil and pain out of it.
c) And finally He himself will come to us and let us see His face!
d) Forever and ever we will live with pure hearts and glorious bodies on a new earth in the presence and the glory of our heavenly Father.
e) You and I have the greatest hope we can ever have in Christ Jesus!
f) And we need to think about it and remember it all the time!