A couple had been debating the purchase of a new auto for weeks. He wanted a new truck. She wanted a fast little sports-like car so she could zip through traffic around town. He would probably have settled on any beat up old truck, but everything she seemed to like was way out of their price range. "Look!" she said. "I want something that goes from 0 to 200 in 4 seconds or less. And my birthday is coming up. You could surprise me." So, for her birthday, he bought her a brand new bathroom scale. Services will be at Downing Funeral Home on Monday the 12th. Due to the condition of the body, this will be a closed casket service. Please send your donations to the "Think Before You Say Things To Your Wife Foundation," Dallas, Texas.
WE JOKE ABOUT DEATH
A women accompanied her husband to the doctor's office. After his checkup, the doctor called the wife into his office alone. He said, "If you don't do the following, your husband will surely die:
1. Each morning , fix him a healthy breakfast.
2. Be pleasant and make sure he is in a good mood.
3. For lunch, make him a nutritious meal.
4. For dinner, prepare him an especially nice meal.
5. Don't burden him with chores as he probably had a hard day.
6. Don't discuss your problems with him.
On the way home, the husband asked his wife what the doctor said to her.
"You're going to die," she replied.
"I'm not afraid of death. It's just that I don't want to be there when it happens." - Woody Allen
THE TRUTH OF CHRIST
I once scorned ev’ry fearful thought of death,
When it was but the end of pulse and breath,
But now my eyes have seen that past the pain
There is a world that’s waiting to be claimed.
Earthmaker, Holy, let me now depart,
For living’s such a temporary art.
And dying is but getting dressed for God,
Our graves are merely doorways cut in sod. (Calvin Miller)
Death is painful, death is an enemy. For those who have a living, real relationship by faith in Jesus Christ, death is the final pain and the last enemy.
1 Corinthians 15:25-26 (ESV) For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
THE HOPE OF HEAVEN: CHRIST WILL SWALLOW UP DEATH FOREVER
Isaiah 25:6-9 (ESV) On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
WHILE WE DO NOT HAVE TO FEAR DEATH, WE DO NEED TO PREPARE FOR IT.
We will reap in Heaven what we have sown in this life…
Galatians 6:7-10 (ESV) Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
HEAVENLY FOCUS WILL PRODUCE CHANGES IN OUR EARTHLY LIFE...
How will this enhance my life in eternity
Could this money be used to benefit someone for eternity?
Will this person enjoy life with me in the New Jerusalem
What can I say or do to touch this person for eternity?
Do I love things that I will be able to enjoy on the New Earth?
Will I get upset over this on the New Earth?
Works of my heart and hands?
Any chance this will survive the fire?
How will this influence the New Earth to come?
PREPARE FOR OUR LIFE ON A NEW EARTH
2 Peter 3:7-13 (NASB) But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
ELEMENTS: stoicheíon - the basic parts, rudiments, elements, or components of something. Among the ancient Greek philosophers, it designated the four basic and essential elements of which the universe consisted, namely, earth, water, air, and fire
HEAVEN BECOMES OUR GUIDE
• Does not mean to abstain from gratification, but to delay gratification.
• It means to find our joy in Christ rather than the things of this world.
• It means we don’t go to places that will not be on the New Earth
• Heaven becomes our North Star, giving us direction and guidance for how to live.
1 John 3:2-3 (ESV) Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
HEAVEN BECOMES OUR GOAL
Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
HEAVEN BECOMES OUR JOY
Hebrews 12:28 (NIV) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
“A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged” CS Lewis (Perelandra)
USE EARTHLY POSSESSIONS TO GAIN HEAVENLY FRIENDS
Luke 16:9 (NIV) I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
BE FAITHFUL ON EARTH
Luke 16:10-12 (ESV) “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?
Luke 19:17-22 (ESV) And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! …
Matthew 25:23 (ESV) His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
ALL THINGS WILL BE MADE NEW
Tell me about those times in your life when you thought “It doesn’t get any better than this!”
It could have been a wonderful Christmas, a storybook romance and wedding, a great moment with some close friends. Perhaps a fun time with your kids, something one of them does or says.
Can you remember even one moment in your life when that seemed to be true-“It doesn’t get any better than this?”
Well, it isn’t true!
The most ordinary moment on the New Earth will be greater than the most perfect moments in this life.
Can you see yourself sitting around a fire, your loved ones gathered around you, talking about some adventure you just shared, some far off planet you just explored, some marvelous project you finished building. No more will you talk of dreams or bucket lists, only to have something get in the way. You will go out and live those dreams. You will share untold adventures. There will be no fear, no failures, no disappointments.
Revelation 21:1, 3-5 (ESV) 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... 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. 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.” 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.”
Making: To make, form, produce, bring about, cause, spoken of any external act as manifested in the production of something tangible, corporeal, obvious to the senses, completed action. But this is continuous.
New: καινός, kainos: denotes "new," of that which is unused, not "new" in time, recent, but "new" as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV) “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
No matter how good things get here on earth, or no matter how bad things get here on earth, we have the promise of the one who is trustworthy and true, Jesus will make all things new, Je will make all things better than even the best we can experience here on this present earth.
Everything on this planet earth matters to God. The animals, the natural beauty of His creation, our bodies, our possessions. If they matter that much to God, should they not matter to us.
We are not just spirit, but we are spirit soul and body. On the New Earth we will live breath, eat, dress, relate, work, play as spiritual beings, in full control of our resurrected flesh.
Isaac Asimov: I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse”.
Even among Christians, we have succumbed to Satan’s strategies “to blaspheme God and to slander His name and His dwelling place” (Rev 13:6).
WILL WE GET BORED?
Psalms 16:11 (ESV) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
“The ahh! of deep satisfaction and the aha! of delighted surprise meet and they kiss” (Mark Campbell)
No more wishing we were somewhere else…
No more wishing we were someone else…
We will know continual satisfaction and delight with where we are and whatever we are doing.
ONLY SIN-POISONED MINDS BELIEVE THAT SIN EQUALS FUN.
God invented fun. Look at His creation. Look at the animals. God has the best sense of humor. (Aardvarks, Manatees, baboons, orangutans)
Luke 6:21-“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh”.
We’ll also continue in good works. We’ll help God run the universe.
We’ll also continue our life’s work that we never finished here on old earth.
Victor Hugo: “When I go to the grave I can say, as others have said, "My day's work is done," But I cannot say, "My life is done". My work will recommence the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes upon the twilight but opens upon the dawn.
A renewed natural universe and a new city with the best of human culture from the old Earth.
Where will civilization go from there?
CRAFTSMANSHIP IS IMPORTANT TO GOD
The first person described as “filled with the Spirit” was not a preacher, a priest or a prophet. He was a craftsman. (Exodus 31:1-6- Bezalel-chosen and filled to make artistic designs in gold, silver and bronze, along with Oholiab to help him)
Read Exodus 25-40, to see the detail God gave in his instruction on how to build the tabernacle. (And that was only temporary)
It was no accident Jesus was born into a carpenter’s family. Carpenters are makers, God is a maker, Jesus will always be a maker, “I make all things new.”
We will continue to ‘make’ things on the New Earth
TRADE AND BUSINESS
Revelation 21:24 (NIV) The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
LIFE ON THE NEW EARTH AS SEEN IN ISAIAH
Isaiah 11:6-9 (ESV) The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
ISAIAH 60:5-9 (NIV) Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the Lord. All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple. "Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.
ISAIAH 60:11 (NIV) Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations-- their kings led in triumphal procession.
ISAIAH 60:21-22 (NIV) Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly."
LIFE IN HEAVEN
• Ethnic and National Identities (Rev 5:9,10)
• Building (Isa 60:10; 65:21)
• Gardening, Farming (Isa 65:21)
• No more sin, death or suffering (Rev 21:4)
• Learning (Eph 2:6-7; Matt 11:29; 2 Cor 3:18)
• Jewelry, Art, Sculptures, Garments, Embroidery (Ex 35:35, Isa 60:6,7,9)
• Total Safety (Isa 60:18; Micah 4:1-7)
• Music - Voice and Instruments (Rev 8:7-13; 15:2; Isa 38:20; Rev 14:2-3)
• Animals and Pets (Isaiah 11:6-9; Isa 65:25, Psalm 50:10-11)
• Babies and Children (Isa 11:8; 60:29)
• Travel (Isa 60:8)
• Poetry, writing, books, songwriting
• Shipbuilding (Isa 60:9)
• Navigation, Maps (The entire universe)
• Seasons, weather (Ezekiel 34:26-28)
• Sing and Praise to God (Rev 4,5+)
• Dancing (Prodigal Son returned and a party with dancing was held; Ps 30:11 “You turned my wailing into dancing”; David danced 2 Sam 6:16; Jer. 31:5 – “Again you will take up your tambourines and go out and dance with the joyful.”
• Tell stories (even Angels-Job 38:1-7)
• Relationships and Reunions (1 Thess 2:19-20; 3:9; 3:13; I Thess 4:14-18; Matt 8:11))
• Family (Luke 8:19-21; Mark 10:29-30
• Memories (Luke 16:25, Rev 6:9-11)
• Learn of all the things Jesus did on earth (John 21:25)
• How will we react to family and loved ones not being in Heaven (Matt 25; John 5:22-29; Rom 1:18 - 2:16; 2 Thess 1:7-9; 20:11-35) God’s judgments are just and we will praise Him because of it)
• Movies? (without evil); Drama (without evil characters)
• Laughter (Luke 6:21)
Laugh – Martin Luther said “If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there”.
• Play-yes, because God created and values a child-like spirit. (Mark 10:14-15)
• Sports, even games we haven’t imagined. (Competition is good – 1 Cor 9:24,24; 2 Tim 2:5)
• Fishing (Eze 47:9-12)
• Hard Work
• Sweat? Hurt? Sore?
• Skydiving without a parachute? Scuba diving without an air tank?
When someone dies young, we think how tragic.
Michael Coomer (17) and Taiann Wilson, 15. Died on August 31 1995. He was a Senior and she a Sophomore at Southwestern High School in Somerset Kentucky
Matthew was murdered with his girlfriend, Taiann Nicole Wilson on their first date while having a picnic behind his house at a little stream that he said was one of the most beautiful places that he knew of. The accused murderer testified that Matthew and Taiann were sitting on a little bridge taking off their shoes and socks when he came out of the woods and splashed mud and water on them. He then walked off and latter returned with a gun and shot Matthew, then turned and told Taiann that he could not leave any witnesses. Taiann was stabbed to death with a bayonet and a hunting knife. She had close to 100 knife wounds over her body.
Both were Christians, active in their respective Baptist Churches. Both had dreams for their lives, but those dreams were tragically ended, or were they?
You know someone who died young, or was stricken with a disease, or born with a disability. So tragic, those unfulfilled dreams.
WHAT ARE WE THINKING?
We assume that life on present Earth is superior to life on New Earth. That is foolish thinking.
What of the father who abandoned his family and then later came to Christ? What about the young woman faced with an unwanted child and decides to abort the baby?
What about the young man killed in combat before he gets to see his son born?
What if the God of second chances allowed us to re-live all those missed opportunities? What if that Mom could raise that baby she had aborted. What if that Father could return and raise those children he left?
God promises to make up for all the heartbreaks on this earth.
Matthew 5:3-12 (ESV) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Are you living with the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams? In Heaven you’ll find their fulfillment!
Did poverty, poor health, war, poor decisions, lack of time prevent you from pursuing an adventure or dream? Good news…On the New Earth you will have a second chance.
WHAT ABOUT REGRET, SCARS OF THE PAST?
Rev 21:4 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.” Revelation 21:4
There are tears because of suffering and death, because of injustice, orphans, widows treated unfairly, the oppressed, those imprisioned wrongly, those who are hungry, thirsty, diseased.
God will wipe away all those tears for all eternity.
This verse addresses the cause of those tears. But certainly we will still have tears of joy. It seems impossible that one would not cry upon gazing at the wounds of Jesus for the first time.
People in Heaven will have lots of feelings-all good ones.
We are told in the Scriptures about banquets, feasts, singing. People will laugh (Luke 6:21)
All of these involve feelings. When the curse is removed, our emotions will no longer have a bend in the wrong direction.
I don’t believe we will be on a constant emotional high, such a life would not allow the appreciation of special moments of joy. As humans we experience an ebb and flow of our lives. That rhythm is part of our humanity and finiteness – and we will always be both.
NEW EARTH – PLACE OF HEALING
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:2
Jesus healed as a foretaste of Heaven, and of His reign as Sovereign King. Every act of healing spoke of wholeness and health-a memorial to Eden.
HEALING LOST OPPORTUNITIES
I suffered from really bad asthma when I was in junior high and even into high school. I could not participate in sports. I could not run. I believe I’ll be able to do all that I want in heaven. Sure I’ll still have my DNA designed restrictions, but I won’t have the restrictions of health.
Joni Eareckson Tada: I haven’t been cheated out of being a complete person-I’m just going through a forty year delay, and God is with me even through that. Being ‘glorified’-I know the meaning of that now. It’s the time, after my death here, when I’ll be on my feet dancing!”
God can allow us to fulfill our God-honoring dreams, and expand them as well.
When you experience disappointment and loss as you serve God here, remember, the loss is temporary! Every day on earth will be an opportunity to live out the dreams that matter most!
James 1:2-4 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.