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Posts tagged ‘heaven’

Sermon – Revelation 21-22

Re-recorded sermon preached by me on 27th April, 2008 at Bishopdown in Salisbury

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Heaven and Hell

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Heaven and Hell

 

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Jesus speaking in (John 14v2-3): “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

What are heaven and hell like? Both are physical places where every person will be in one or the other. There is no biblical warrant for purgatory. It is either heaven or hell. Is heaven sitting on a cloud with a harp and angel for company as popular myth has it? Is hell going to be a place where people who knew each other in this life will meet and have constant parties? What does the Bible say about heaven and hell?

1. Hell

Characteristics:

Everlasting fire and punishment (Matthew 25v41-46); Constant and outer darkness (Matthew 8v12)

Everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1v9); Lakes of fire (Revelation 19v20)

Prepared for:

Satan and his demons (Matthew 25v41; 2 Peter 2v4);The Wicked (Revelation 21v8)

Disobedient (Romans 2v8-9); Beast, his worshippers and the false prophet (Revelation 14v11; Revelation 19v20)

Those who reject the Gospel (Matthew 10v14-15);All those who are not written in the Book of Life (Revelation 13v8; Revelation 17v8)

Punishment will be:

Physical (Matthew 5v29-30);In the soul (Matthew 10v28)

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2. Heaven

As opposed to this Heaven has the following

 

Characteristics

Joy (Luke 15v7-10)

Rest (Revelation 14v13)

Peace (Luke 16v19-25)

Righteousness (2 Peter 3v12)

Service (Revelation 7v15)

Reward (Matthew 5v11-12)

Inheritance (1 Peter 1v4)

Glory (Romans 8v17-18)

 

Prepared for

Those recorded in the Book of Life (Malachi 3v16-18; Philippians 4v3); The Righteous (Matthew 5v20); Obedient (Revelation 22v14); Holy (Revelation 19v8)

Described as

House (John 14v2)

Kingdom (Matthew 25v34)

Paradise (2 Corinthians 12v2-4)

Holy City (Revelation 21v2)

Christian Disciples current attitude towards heaven is to be:

Desired (2 Corinthians 5v2-8)

Looked for (2 Peter 3v12)

Put treasure there now (Luke 12v32)

Heaven is

1. Prepared

Jesus promised us “I am going to build a place for you“ (John 14v1-4). Jesus has been working on it for almost 2000 years to this point in time!! Heaven is a beautiful place, prepared for all Christian Disciples, to live forever and ever with Jesus the King! When we get to heaven, Jesus has prepared a place for those who love Him, trust Him and obey Him as King. He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us. We know He loves us now, but that is only in part. When we are with Him eternally, we shall have the full picture of Jesus. He is with us now in Spirit, but then we shall be with Him physically and face to face.

2. Pure

Heaven is also a pure place (Revelation 21v1-4). Today we all suffer in some way. When our King returns, no more will man’s inhumanity to man be allowed. No more pain. No more death. No more suffering. No more sin.

Suffering of any kind leaves a scar or mark. Do you have physical, emotional or mental scars due to sickness, somebody else sinning against you or as a result of your own sins? Scars come as a result of human life. Yet, one day they will be gone!! A pure body we will have as His Disciples!! Perfection attained and it is to the glory of God and His majestic doing, that this will occur.

One glorious day, all suffering will be banished for those of us who love Him. Revelation 21v4 – “God will wipe away our tears. There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying and no more pain, for former things have passed away.” God Himself, with your face in His hands, wiping away your tears. It is a place where “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5v22-23), are both permanent and universal. What a day, that will be when we will enter those gates, thanking Jesus, looking back at how we suffered. Suffered not only medically, but also for His sake under persecution. We will be able to say with likes of Jeremiah and John “It was worth it all. The sufferings I endured and overcame for the sake of Jesus, was all worth it, so as to be here and living with our King forever.” Persecution of Christian Disciples is only going to get stronger in the west. We are going to be shouted down for saying Jesus as the only way to Heaven. Yet we must persist.

3. Pearly gates

We enter heaven through giant gates of pearl (Revelation 21v21). A pearl is formed when an oyster gets an irritating grain of sand within its shell. It covers the grain of sand over with layers of mother-of-pearl until the irritation and the suffering is no longer felt. Now what do you think the suffering was that created these giant pearls that are the gates? I think they are to remind us of the cross and the incredible suffering and pain that Jesus endured, when God who is outside of time and not confined by space, became confined in a man’s body and stepped into history. People denigrate the cross. I have had people say to me that “the cross doesn’t matter” and “your religion is as good as mine thank you very much.” Still others have stated, “that all religions lead to heaven”.

However, the very gates of heaven tell us that it is only through the cross, by which we get to pass through and enjoy heaven in worship and service of God. Our King Himself has suffered for us on the cross, so that we may enjoy His company forever and ever, if we only trust and obey Him now and place our full faith in Him while we are here in this our temporal home on earth.

When the Christian Disciple first decided for Jesus and turned over their life over to Him, that is when eternal life with Him commenced. We should be yearning to be with our Master. Yet, we are to keep one part of our mind on Heaven and the other on the responsible work we have been set to do, here on earth. We are not to be so heavenly minded, that we are of no earthly use. Conversely, we are not to be so earth bound, that we are not tied to King Jesus in our eternal home.

Have you heard people say, that a loving God wouldn’t send anybody to an everlasting place of Hell? The God we serve as Christian Disciples doesn’t send anybody there. He has given everybody every opportunity to reject Hell and embrace Him. As Christian Disciples we are to evangelize, and tell others of the saving love of Jesus Christ on the cross. That is the Gospel we speak and live. Heaven is a great big place, and there will be room for everybody in this world to enter through one of those twelve gates! Look for Jesus coming again! Be expectant, for the King is coming back for us soon! Jesus is coming back as King of Righteousness to judge evil and reject those who rejected Him, whilst rewarding His disciples who patiently trust and obey Him.

For more to think about please do ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

 

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Q1. Read Luke 10v20. How can I help others to have their names written in Heaven?

Q2. Read 2 Peter 3v12. How am I looking forward to Heaven?

Q3. Read Revelation 2v7-11. What do I need to overcome?

 

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Sermon – Freedom to Live

Freedom to Live

Romans 8v18-39

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1. Freedom from pain and suffering.

a. Creation groans (vs. 18-22).

b. The Members of the Kingdom groan (vs. 23-25).

c. The Holy Spirit groans. (vs. (25-30)

2. Freedom from fear of separation.

a. God is for us (v 31).

b. Christ died for us (v 32).

c. God has justified us (v 33).

d. Christ intercedes for us (v34).

e. Christ loves us (vs. 35-39).

So what about you?

If you are a Christian here tonight, the torment and suffering we all endure today, are all part of living in the kingdom of God. As Christians, it is part of our Christian life to suffer for the kingdom, through such things as persecution. It is, as we look to the future, as we see that these things that are temporarily making us suffer, are conforming us to the image of Jesus and to the supreme glory of God, and not for ourselves. In any pain or suffering we endure, we shouldn’t give up, because God has not given up. Get up and go from here knowing that God is holding your hand in these hard times. Keep holding to Him, because He is holding to you with his outstretched arms. We know from the book of Revelation that when that momentous day in history comes about, that our God will take our face in His hands and wipe away our tears of sadness.

And if you happen not to be a Christian here tonight, one thing separates you from God now, and that is your own sin, which God did not create. If you are not yet a Christian and you are not in His kingdom, you are already separated from God. To be in the kingdom of God, you simply have to trust in Jesus, and believe in Him for your future. If that is you, please do not leave here tonight without talking to somebody about how you can take that step.

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WISE – Heaven

Partake – Words in Scripture Explored – Heaven

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What is heaven like? People, both believers and non-believers have an opinion about Heaven! To some its where everybody will meet up after death providing they weren’t too bad in this earthly life! The caricature of the comedians is that heaven will be floating around on clouds and playing a harp! So what does the Bible, the foundation for all serious Christian thought, have to say about heaven?

Physical Place: The first thing to say is that Heaven is a physical place! The Bible describes Heaven as a House (John 14v2); a Kingdom (Matthew 25v34); Paradise (2 Corinthians 12v2-4); Holy City (Revelation 21v2)!. These are all descriptions of Heaven’s physical properties!

Characteristics: Now, look & listen at all these characteristics the Bible offers about heaven!
Joy (Luke 15v7-10); Rest (Revelation 14v13); Peace (Luke 16v19-25); Righteousness (2 Peter 3v12); Service (Revelation 7v15); Reward (Matthew 5v11-12); Inheritance (1 Peter 1v4); Glory (Romans 8v17-18). No sitting around on clouds there – for instance: service implies working!

Who is it for and who can enter?: Who is it prepared for and who can enter Heaven? It is for all those recorded in the Book of Life (Malachi 3v16-18; Philippians 4v3); the Righteous (Matthew 5v20); the obedient (Revelation 22v14) and those who are declared holy (Revelation 19v8). People enter heaven through giant gates of pearl (Revelation 21v21). A pearl is formed as an oyster suffers, covering a grain of irritating sand, until the irritation ceases. Now what do you think the suffering was that created these giant pearls that are the gates? It can only be the cross and the incredible suffering and pain that Jesus endured upon it. It is only through the death of Jesus on the cross that you can be declared holy and righteous! Only those who have been declared holy will be able to stand in the presence of Almighty God!

Christian Attitude: As a Christian Disciple, your current attitude towards heaven should be to desire (2 Corinthians 5v2-8), eagerly keep watch for (2 Peter 3v12) and to put your treasure there (Luke 12v32)!

We also see from the Bible that Heaven is prepared, and a pure place!

Prepared: Jesus promised us “I am going to build a place for you” (John 14v1-4). Jesus has been working on heaven for almost 2000 years!! Jesus has prepared a place for those who love Him, trust Him and obey Him as King. He is expecting us, wanting to lavish His love upon us.

Pure: Heaven is also a pure place (Revelation 21v1-4). Today we all suffer in some way. When our King returns, no more will man’s inhumanity to man be allowed. No more pain. No more death. No more suffering. No more sin. Perfection attained and it is to the glory of an Almighty and merciful God, that this will occur.

What does this mean now?: All this doesn’t mean you are not to be so heavenly minded, that you are of no earthly use. Rather, you are not to be so earth bound, that you are not tied to Jesus in your eternal home – heaven! Won’t you tell somebody today, about heaven and how they can get there with you?

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WISE – Judgment

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Judgment

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There is certainty of judgment – He will judge the whole world with justice (Acts 17v31).

Who is the Judge?

Almighty God is the judge of all the earth (Hebrews 12v23). God the Father has given all judgment to the Son, Jesus Christ (John 5v22-27)! All of humanity is destined to die once and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9v27). But what kind of judgment, and for which kind of people?

Judgment of unbelievers

For all those who do not profess Jesus Christ as Lord and God in this earthly life, judgment will come to them. They will appear before the great white throne of Judgment (Revelation 20v11-15) to give an account for their sin and wickedness. Because they have no righteousness of their own to pay for their life of sin and wickedness, they will be cast into the lake of fire with satan and his angels (Revelation 20v15; Matthew 25v41). This punishment is eternal (Matthew 25v46).

Judgment of Christians

There will also be a judgment for all those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour! Did you know that? Not a judgment for sins and wickedness, because their sins are forgiven! Not judged for sin, because this has already been judged (Isaiah 53v4-6; 1 Peter 2v24).They will be accepted by the Lord Jesus Christ! Accepted because during their life on earth, they responded to the offer of forgiveness from God, which is an act of grace. This group of people are forgiven through the Lord Jesus Christ, and his blood that was shed as he died on the cross.

However, we will be judged for the things we have done, with the gifts and talents we have been given!. We will all, if we profess to be Christian, give an account of ourselves to God (Romans 14v10), and will be judged according to what we have done with what we have been given (2 Corinthians 5v10). The quality of our work will be tested (1 Corinthians 3v11-15), and our motives will be exposed. Exposed as to whether things were done for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 4v4-5) or for our own glory.

As we give account of the opportunities and abilities entrusted to us (Matthew 25v14-30), rewards may be gained or lost (1 Corinthians 3v14-15). Rewards such as the Incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9v25); the Crown of glory (1 Peter 5v4); Crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4v8); Crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2v19) and the Crown of life (James 1v12)

So as you go, do all you can for the glory of God, as you submit to the Son Jesus Christ in the power of God the Holy Spirit! Go and tell somebody the good news of Jeuss Christ, so that there may well be one person with you in heaven, because you told them about the free gift of grace who is the Lord Jesus Christ!

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WISE – Christ

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Christ

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The word Christ is the New Testament word for the Old Testament word, Messiah. So we look to the Old Testament first, in order to understand what the New Testament word Christ means! It certainly means more than just a swear word. It was not Jesus’ surname, although it was appended to His name in the New Testament, more as a way of expressing who He was!

So how is the word Messiah used in the Old Testament?

The word translated ‘Messiah’ is found only twice (Daniel 9:25-26). The New International Version translates the word ‘Messiah’ as the ‘Anointed One’. The Old Testament idea of Messiah has five principles attached to it: God’s chosen and anointed man; He will bring salvation for God’s people; He will judge God’s enemies; He is an appointed ruler over nations; He is an active representative of God. Surprisingly, these five principles can be applied to King Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1). Cyrus, is an example of a Messiah, the anointed one of God, even though he was not one of God’s people, the Israelites. This shows that the word Messiah can have a non-religious meaning behind it.

The Messiah, God’s Anointed One, is pictured in several ways in the Old Testament. There is the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 40-55); the Conquering Warrior (Isaiah 56-66); the Branch – particularly of David (Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8); Son of Man (Daniel 7); and finally Anointed Prince (Daniel 9:25-27).

All of the Old Testament Covenants pointed towards this future coming of the Messiah, God’s Anointed One! Through all these Covenants we see a God who is willing to interact with His creation and bless it.

When first century Christians such as Paul, Peter and John checked all the events surrounding the life of Jesus, they searched their Scriptures, our Old Testament. It was as the Holy Spirit illuminated their minds, that they wrote down and passed on the whole gamut of Old Testament promise which was fulfilled in God’s Messiah and the world’s hope: Jesus Christ and Him alone. Jesus Christ is all five of those principles referred to in the Old Testament Messiah. Investigate the New Testament for yourself to find how, why and where!

For example 2 Samuel 7v12 predicts the birth of Solomon as David’s successor to the throne with his role being to establish David’s throne forever (2 Samuel 7v13). We see this link to Jesus Christ, though the genealogies to both Joseph: a legal right to David’s throne (Matthew 1v1-17) and to Mary: a blood right to David’s throne (Luke 3v23-38).

Or the Mosaic Covenant, or Law of Moses, was given that they could realize the helplessness of their own efforts, and their need of God’s help. Galatians 3v22-24 explains that the Law was only a protective fence, until through the promised Messiah, humanity “could be made right with God through faith.” All of history pointed to the coming of this Messiah, this Christ, if you will. This was all part of Paul’s reasoning from Scripture with the Jews he came in contact with. Of course for Paul, as for us, the Messiah is Jesus Christ. All of history, points to this Jesus Christ, coming back again. Coming back, not as a baby next time, but as a King in glory!

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12. Twelve Days to Christmas – Messiah’s Kingdom

12. Partake – Twelve Days to Christmas – Messiah’s Kingdom

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Please do read Zechariah 14:1 – 21

As we saw on Day 11 of this series, from Isaiah 61 to 63, God has commenced doing a good thing through the Servant Messiah. At His first coming as a baby, this Servant Messiah ushered in the Year of the Lord’s favour. We live in that period of time now, and it will continue until the Servant Messiah, Jesus Christ, comes again in glory and majesty. He will take those obedient followers to the City of God. For those who reject Him and the free offer of God’s grace, there is the Day of Vengeance. Now in Zechariah 14, we get a different perspective. We get a vision of the Kingdom of God at that tie in the future. So let us take a flight with Zechariah, into the future to see what this Messiah’s Kingdom is like, where Jerusalem where mentioned, is in fact the New Jerusalem, the City of God!.

God Will Be King!

God will be king and lead the battle (Zechariah 14:3)! The original hearers and readers of this letter would remember how in times past, God has done mighty things for them! Things such as the parting of the Red Sea in order to escape the rampaging Egyptians. Just as God caused the Red Sea to split in two, so says Zechariah, God will split a mountain in two, and leave a valley in the middle to escape their enemies! The Almighty and Living God is coming with His legions of angels and the saints! You can almost feel Zechariah getting caught up in the ecstatic vision!

That day, as described in Zechariah 14:6-7, will be unique and special. That day is only known to Yahweh! There will be a special and unusual light! Then in Zechariah 14:8, there will be living water permanently. The old Jerusalem had poor water supply, but the New Jerusalem will have a permanent supply of Living Water! This day sees the end of the “Year of the Lord’s Favour” and leads in the new heavens and new earth we discussed a couple of days ago.

Zechariah 14:9 “Yahweh will be King over all the earth. In that day Yahweh will be one, and his name one.” God will not just rule over Jerusalem, but will rule and reign over all the earth. There is a day approaching with all the world, whether they want to or not, will acknowledge the Messiah’s lordship, glory, beauty, majesty and authority to rule over them. There will be One Lord to rule over all. Remember the ancient Israelites used to quote the Shema “Hear O Israel; the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Enemies Defeated!

What of those who stand against God and against God’s people? They will be defeated and as God’s opponents, they will not be able to stand, and won’t be able to see or speak. Decay has overtaken them as plaque and panic confuse and debilitate them. So it is with the enemies of God and His people, they wont be able to travel and flee as their transportation will also have decayed. .

The New Age Has Come

In the Kingdom of the Messiah, under His rule, reign and authority, all will be holy. As a result there will be no more sin, death, destruction or decay. Everything will be devoted to the Lord God and His Kingdom. All has been transformed, for the glory and sake of the Servant Messiah.
How is Jesus this Messiah?

Jesus describes this day in Mark 13:24-27 “But in those days, after that oppression, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Then he will send out his angels, and will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the sky.

Jesus is the light of the world and giver of Living water! Remember just a few days ago, we discussed this! In Zechariah 14:7, we see again that light of the world shining in the evening and the New Jerusalem flowing with Living Water!

Paul writing in Philippians 2:5-11 says “Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When Jesus ascended into the heavens in Acts 1:1-14, two angels appeared to the disciples saying “You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky.

When in the final book of the Bible, Jesus says these words in Revelation 21:5-7 “Behold, I am making all things new.” …”Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.” …”It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.

May it be so, Lord Jesus, and help all of us who love you to overcome and be obedient to You! Through these twelve brief studies in Isaiah and Zechariah, we see the promises of God being fulfilled in the Messiah Servant, Messiah Shepherd, Messiah King, Messiah Prophet, Messiah Priest and Messiah Disciple. This is only fulfilled in and through that God-man, Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate. But also remember that this Jesus, is no longer a baby in a manger, but will be coming back again one day to rule the world with justice and grace to the praise and glory of Almighty God.

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