Beyond the Door of Death: The Bible on Heaven and Hell – Heaven part 5

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Beyond the Door of Death: Heaven – part 5

I would invite you to take our your Bibles now and turn to them to the last book of the Bible, the next to the last chapter, chapter 21, Revelation, chapter number 21.  I think everyone has wondered from time to time what heaven is really like.  It is always interesting to see what a child’s viewpoint would be of heaven and author Bill Adler asked a number of children their thoughts about heaven and I want to share a few of their thoughts with you.  For example, Marsha who is 9 years old, said this about heaven.  When you die you do not have to do homework in heaven unless your teacher is there too.  Raymond, age 10, said a good doctor can help you so you will not die, a bad doctor sends you to heaven.  Interesting perspective.  Jimmy, age 8, said when you die they bury you in the ground and your soul goes to heaven but your body can not go to heaven because it is too crowded up there already.  Judy, age 9, said this, only the good people go to heaven, the other people go where it is hot all the time, like Florida. 

Well, we all want to know more about heaven.  The interesting thing to me is that heaven is not very hip in our day.  We have been studying heaven for a number of weeks and we said at the very beginning that for many people, even inside the church of Jesus Christ, on an every day level, on a functional basis, heaven has largely become unimportant.  The church today seems to be fixated and more enamored with this world than it is with the prospect of heaven.  I think we are in danger of becoming so earthly minded that we are of little heavenly good.  We have a great, great need to reclaim some perspective about heaven.  I do not know if you ever thought about this but I find this very curious.  Do you know that we hear more in the press in this culture about the moon and about Mars than we ever do about heaven?  Really what we have a need for is for someone to pull back the curtain of heaven, someone to open up the door of heaven and we have seen that exact thing has happened. 

We began studying the book of Revelation with chapter 4, in verse 1 where we see the door of heaven opened up and the Apostle John goes on a guided tour and we are going to continue with our tour of heaven today in chapter number 21 of the book of Revelation.  Before we actually get there I do want you to know that the section today that we have before us will be very encouraging to you if, as you came in here today, you are experiencing sorrow in your life.  If you are experiencing that right now you are going to find this a very encouraging section of God’s word.  It will be an encouraging section of God’s word if you are living with pain today in your life.  You will find that the section of Revelation 21 to be very encouraging if you are feeling very weary and discouraged today.  Now some of us will say I do not feel like that today but I might feel that way tomorrow.  In fact, all of us are going to live and experience and feel these different ways, being sorrowful, being in pain, or feeling weary or discouraged from time to time.  We are going to be experiencing that.  This is an encouraging section when we feel that way, when we are experiencing those things.

Our tour of heaven started back in chapters 4 and 5.  When we were in those two chapters the focal point of the tour early on was God’s throne and on the Lamb.  What we are now doing is fast-forwarding from chapter 5 to chapter 21 and when we are doing that we are skipping over a number of events.  For example, in chapters 6-18, we have the great tribulation period.  That time of judgment upon the earth where God judges the earth.  We are going to skip over that.  In chapter 19 of the book of Revelation we have the second coming of Christ.  When heaven opens up again and the Lamb who is the Lion appears and He is ready to return the second time in glory.  Then in chapter 20 of the book of Revelation we have the millennial kingdom, the one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth and we also have the final judgment.  We are skipping over all of those things and we are coming to Revelation, chapter 21. 

What we are going to see in Revelation chapter 21, which is very encouraging and exciting, is that we are going to see our future new neighborhood.  This is where we are going to be living in the future.  As we see, as we study through chapter 21 and 22, this is completely amazing.  It is beyond our imaginations to try to understand our future new neighborhood.  What we are going to do is zero in on verses 1 to 8 of chapter 21.  Let me give you an outline of those versus.  In verses 1 and 2 we have the divine city.  In versus 3 and 4 we have the divine announcement.  In verses 5-8 we have the divine commitment.  So we have the divine city in the first two versus, the divine announcement in verses 3 and 4, and then we have the divine commitment in verses 5-8.  Let us begin as we look at our new future neighborhood by looking at the divine city which we see beginning with verse one. 

Notice verse 1, John says, and I saw.  What happened is that John is propelled up into heaven and then John is propelled ahead in time to future events.  What really is happening in chapter 21 are future events that occur after the one thousand year millennial kingdom on earth and after the final judgment.  So after that final millennial kingdom that had been promised in the Old Testament and after the final judgment that occurs to those who had rejected Jesus Christ, we have the events of chapter 21.  John says, and I saw a new heaven and a new earth.  Now in the original there are two words for our word new.  I want to give them to you and you may want to write them down.  The first word for new is the word neos.  That word for new means new in time.  It means something that is newly arrived.  The second word for new in the original is the word kainos.  Kainos means new in quality or newly improved.  You have two different words.  One means new in time or newly arrived and another one means new in quality or newly improved.  It is the second word, the word kainos, that is used here where John says I saw a new heaven and a new earth.  It was new in quality, newly improved.  What we really have here in verse 1 is the divine upgrade.  The divine upgrade of heaven and of earth.  I want you to see that this divine upgrade was predicted even in the Old Testament.  Turn to the Old Testament to the book of Isaiah.  The book of Isaiah was written 27 centuries ago.  In 27 centuries ago, it was predicted that God would do a divine upgrade of heaven and earth.  Isaiah chapter 65 and verse number 17.  Looking ahead God says in Isaiah 65, 17, For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.  The psalmist in Psalms 102 said the earth and heavens God are the work of Your hands, like clothing You will change them.  That is an interesting picture.  Saying God is going to upgrade heaven and earth like we might discard a dirty shirt and put on a clean one.  You are going to change heaven and earth.  This has long been predicted. 

Look in the New Testament to Second Peter, chapter 3.  We see this divine upgrade not only predicted in the Old Testament but it is also predicted in the New Testament.  Second Peter, chapter 3, verse 7 says, but the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  Look to verse 10.  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.  And then He says in verse 11, since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and Godliness.   He carries on in verse 12, He says, the heavens are going to be destroyed by burning and the elements will melt with intense heat but, in verse 13, according to His promise, which goes all the way back to the Old Testament, we are looking for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 

So you see God is going to do this divine upgrade of heaven and of hell and that really brings us two questions.  The first question is why is He doing this and the second question is how is He going to do this.  If we are going to answer the why, we have to go back to the Old Testament, all the way back to the book of beginnings, to Genesis, chapter 3.  It is here where sin is introduced into the world and then God produces a curse that He places on the creation because of man’s rebellion.  Remember how the Bible talks about three heavens?  You have the atmospheric heavens where planes and birds fly, then the heavens of outer space, and then you have the third heaven which is God’s abode.  What is really happening is that the earth and those first two heavens have all been infected with the curse that comes with the fall in Genesis, chapter 3.  The earth in those first two heavens has been tainted, they have been polluted, and they have been desecrated by sin, rebellion, and death.  In Romans, chapter 8, it talks about how all of this creation, the first two heavens and the earth are waiting to be free from the desecration that has come upon them.  It is necessary that these things–sin, rebellion, and death–be purged from the heavens and from the earth.  That is the reason why it has to happen. 

Another question would be how does this actually occur.  Biblical scientists who have looked at Second Peter, chapter 3, and have looked over those verses which we read just a few moments ago, say what they really see pictured there is nuclear meltdown.  One of the mysteries of the universe, if you study much about science you will know, is that when they look at atoms, one of the mysteries about atoms is what exactly holds the particles of the atom together because they are opposite charged.  They should be repelling from one another but something is holding them together.  Remember in our study of the book of Colossians, in chapter 1, verse 17, it tells us really what is holding them together because it says Jesus Christ is what really holds all things together.  He is holding the atoms together.  When you take an atom ( we have developed some technology to do this) when the neutrons are released, what happens?  There is heat and there is an explosion and there is a lot of destruction. 

Some people really believe that what happens is that when God decides that when He is going to upgrade is that Jesus Christ is going to stop holding all things together and the atoms are going to come apart.  Dr. Henry Morris has written this, the first heavens and earth were contaminated with sin with the very elements themselves in bondage to God’s curse.  The only way they can be completely cleansed was to be completely renewed.  All these things have to be dissolved with the elements melting in fervent heat.  Then he says things which are a little over my head.  He says, by the principle of mass energy conservation, when this happens, nothing is really lost except the effects and the evidences of sin.  After terrestrial matter has been converted into pure energy, God will once again exercise his mighty powers of creation and the new heavens and the new earth will appear out of the ashes, so to speak, of the old.  Now that may be exactly how that happens.  One thing I do know is that God knows what to do when He decides to do it and God knows how to do it.  He is going to do a divine upgrade. 

There are really some application principles here that we need to be thinking about.  It is talking about the earth and the heavens, the first two heavens and they are going to go through the divine upgrade which is really an apparent melting down of everything.  When we see that, when we see really that everything that we see, everything that we see, with really one exception, while we are on this planet is going to be melted down.  The exception of course would be people because people are eternal.  So here is the point.  When everything that we see is going to be melted down, isn’t it just a little bit silly that we become too attached to a car or to a truck?  Isn’t it a little bit silly that we might become too attached to a house someplace?  You see it is going to undergo the divine upgrade, it is all going to be melted down with intense heat and He is going to bring forth a new heaven and a new earth.  New in quality and yet it is going to be somewhat different.

  It says in chapter 21, verse 1, in the new heaven and the new earth, there is no longer any sea.  There is no real explanation as to why that is.  Our planet is basically about three quarters of water, ocean, we can not live really on about three quarters of this planet.  But the new heaven and the new earth will have no sea any longer, it will be fully usable and inhabitable.  Things get even more amazing.  In this divine upgrade, things get even more amazing.  Look at verse 2.  He says, not only is there a new heaven and a new earth, but also he says I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  There is this city, the New City, the Holy City, the New Jerusalem.  We know from this chapter and the next chapter that this is a literal city because in the following verses it tells us that this city has walls, gates, streets, buildings, rivers, and it has trees.  In the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, it talks about a city, and I like the way this is worded, whose architect and builder is God.  Guess what city that is?  It is the New Jerusalem.  The New Jerusalem is the city whose architect and builder is God.  I believe what we have here in the New Jerusalem is the new capitol of the eternal state. 

This is a huge city, the size of a continent.  We are going to be looking at it in more detail next time.  It is a huge city that is the capitol of the eternal state.  I want you to notice, he sees the holy city, New Jerusalem and it is coming down out of heaven from God.  We have three heavens in the Bible.  What heaven is it coming down out of?  The third heaven.  The place where God has His abode.  The New Jerusalem comes down from out of heaven, from God, and then you will notice that it says in verse 2, it is made ready.  We could easily translate this as, it is prepared.  Do you remember what Jesus said to the disciples when He was talking to them in the upper room and He says He is getting ready to leave?  He said, I am going to go and prepare a place for you.  Same exact verb.  I am going to go and prepare a place for you.  Do you know what is fascinating to me?  This world that we live in was created by God in six days.  Two thousand years ago, Jesus said, I am going over here to prepare a place for you.  Before these events happen where the New Jerusalem comes down prepared out of heaven, you have another thousand years of Jesus Christ’s earthly reign here on the planet.  So from the time Jesus said, I am going to go and prepare a place for you, to the time the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, comes down out of heaven, you have at least three thousand years of time.  Isn’t that amazing to think about what this could be like.  He does creation in six days but He takes three thousand years to prepare the New Jerusalem for us. 

He is trying to come up with language to describe what he sees in this city that is prepared and so he says it has been prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  Over the years I have done a lot of weddings and one of the things I have noticed is that a bride puts in a tremendous amount of preparation for the wedding.  Sometimes they put in so much preparation that they come to the wedding and they are exhausted from everything that they have been doing for months to get ready.  They put in a tremendous amount of preparation, brides do, and it seems like when you see a bride there is just that special kind of beauty that shines through because she is a bride.  I remember the day that Janet and I got married and I have had a lot of experience at being in front of people.  When I was standing up there and that door opened and that girl came out in that white dress, literally, my heart was pounding like crazy.  I thought it was so visible, I thought everyone was going to see it.  That is because there is something breathtakingly beautiful about a bride, sort of this heart-stopping thing that is going on and I experienced that.  That is what John is trying to say.  He says that when the holy city, the New Jerusalem, comes down out of the third heaven from God, it has been prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  There is this breathtaking beauty involved.  There is this heart stopping glory.  That is the divine city.  That is our future neighborhood. 

I want you to see that we then have a divine announcement that is given.  It begins in verse 3.  John says, I heard a loud voice from the throne.  An authoritative voice.  The idea of something very important that is going to be said.  I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, behold the tabernacle of God is among men and He shall dwell among them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be among them.  The tabernacle of God, it says, is among men.  The tabernacle of God is a reference to God’s abode.  Think about this for a minute.  God’s abode has been in the third heaven and now God’s abode is going to be changing to the New Jerusalem.  He shall dwell among them and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be among them.  If you mark in your Bible, you might want to double underline the word Himself.  It is very emphatic, God Himself is going to be in the New Jerusalem.  Not His representative, not some delegated agent, but God Himself.  His abode is going to change from being in the third heaven to being in the New Jerusalem.  He now indwells in hearts through the Holy Spirit but there is a time coming in this new neighborhood when Immanuel is truly going to be Immanuel.  Immanuel means God with us.  There is going to be a time in the New Jerusalem when He will be Immanuel, He will be God with us.  God is going to be our neighbor!  Think about that, that is incredible.  God is going to be our neighbor.  We are going to live in the immediate presence of God.  We are going to be able to see Him and hear Him.  You talk about a neighborhood.  People always like to upgrade their neighborhood.  You want to talk about a neighborhood, talk about neighbors, it does not get any better than this.  Immanuel being your neighbor.  That is exactly what is going to happen. 

I want you to see in verse 4 the announcement continues.  God is going to be our neighbor and then it says, He shall wipe every tear from their eyes.  Their eyes is in reference to us.  He shall wipe away every tear.  You know, in this world, at times tears fill our eyes, at times sorrow fills out heart, at times pain touches our soul but He is personally going to wipe away every tear.  He goes on to say, there will no longer be any death.  There will be no more fatal shootings, no more widows who are left to raise young children by themselves.  There will be no obituaries anymore.  There is going to be no more cemeteries on the hillsides of the New Jerusalem.  He says there will no longer be any mourning, no more auto accidents where we have the life of a young person taken and a family is left mourning.  There is going to be no more earthquakes like we have seen in India where hundreds and thousands mourn the loss of their loved ones.  There is going to be no more lonely wives whose husbands die decades before them.  He goes on to say there is going to be no more crying, no more weeping over failed marriages.  There is going to be no more divorces which rip homes apart and rip kids up.  There is going to be no more pain, no more cancer pain which needs to be medicated with morphine.  There will be no more children, who because they had some twisted parent, find themselves doused with gas and then end up having severe burns.  There is going to be no more beating at the hands of a whiskey-laced husband.  There is going to be no more insults delivered because someone’s skin color was different.  There is going to be no more headaches, no more ruptured discs, no more arthritis, no more pain from strife and rejection.  Incredible isn’t it?

  Look over at chapter 7 where we have a forward look to chapter 21.  The last two versus of chapter 7,iIt says, and they shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore, neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat, for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their Shepard and shall guide them to the springs of the water of life and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.  Incredible to think about what this upgrade really means.  You notice back in Revelation, chapter 21, in verse 4, he says, the first things have passed away.  See the old creation and its corruption is gone.  That is the divine announcement.  The last thing we see of the divine commitment is in verses 5 to 8.  Notice it says, He who sits on the throne.  God wants to communicate a commitment that He has.  He says, behold I am making all things new. 

Do you know how exciting it is to sit in a brand new car?  I only experienced this one time in my life when I bought my 1974 Datsun 610 before I went to Seminary.  Datsun became Nissan later – that tells you how old I really am.  I can still remember we got the new car and it smelled so good and everything is so clean and you just sit there for a while.  This is really neat.  It is brand new and it is cool.  It really is exciting to get to go into a brand new home, which by the way, I have not done that yet.  It is neat to have a brand new home and you go inside and no dogs have thrown up on this carpet at all!  You can tell we have had a lot of dogs over the years.  It is exciting.  I have been in people’s brand new homes.  Everything is so fresh and so cool.  Can you imagine what it is like to have a brand new world?  I am going to make all things new, all things new. 

Many of you know the story of Joni Eareckson, who at the age of 17 dove into a bay and ended up fracturing her neck and ended up being paralyzed from the neck down.  It changed her life drastically.  Very physically oriented girl, loved all kinds of sports and did all kind of sporting things.  She went through quite a period of despair and anger over those events that occurred to her.  Quite a bit of time when she was angry at God.  She had to go through a tremendous amount of pain to rehabilitate herself to be able to basically sit in a wheelchair paralyzed from the neck down.  Yet, over a period of time, she decided to let go of the anger and depression and really embrace the truth about heaven in her life.  It is interesting, if you know much about her, she has really proven to be a blessing not only to believers but also to unbelievers.  She is a blessing to disabled people as well as to physically fit people.  She is now married and her name is Joni Eareckson Tada.  She has written a number of magazine columns, spoken to a great number of groups and crowds and what is interesting is how much heaven dominates a lot of what she has to say.  In fact, recently she wrote a book called, Heaven, Your Real Home. 

Some of you are aware of Ken Medema who is a blind Christian singer and songwriter.  One time, Ken Medema and Joni Erickson got together and spent a little bit of time together.  Ken, the blind singer and composer, said to Joni, I would like to compose a song for us together about heaven.  He sang the song to her and this is one of the lines in the song.  Ken is saying to her, I can’t wait to see you and to have you dance in my arms.  See how their perspective is on the fact that one day all things are going to be new and the blind person is going to be able to see and the person who is paralyzed from the neck down will be able to dance in the arms of her friend. 

Notice what He says there in verse 5, when He says, I am making all things new and He says, write, for these things are faithful and true.  Jesus is really communicating here, I am not kidding, this is not pretend, this is really going to happen, you can count on it!  He says in verse 6, it is done, it is completed.  I am the alpha and the omega.  You remember alpha and omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  I am the alpha and the omega, I am the beginning and the end, I am the first cause, I am the last cause.  Here is His commitment:  I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.  Without cost.  Jesus said in John 14, whoever drinks of the water that I give him shall never thirst.  It is very strongly worded in the original.  He who drinks of the water that I give him shall absolutely, positively never ever in any way thirst.  The water I give him shall become in him the well of water springing up to eternal life. 

In the book of Romans it says this, the free gift of God is eternal life.  The free gift of God.  He who overcomes shall inherit these things and I will be his God and he will be My son.  At this point you are on this glorious high having seen all these things but you will notice there is a little word that erupts at the beginning of verse 8.  It is the word “but.”  You see there is another part of God’s divine commitment.  His divine commitment is that I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost, but I have another part of my commitment.  What we have in verse 8 is the roll call of the damned.  That is really what it is.  We have a number of types of individuals listed here and these are people who practice unrepentant life styles.  Charles Ryrie, who was one of my favorite professors at Dallas Seminary, wrote this regarding these individuals listed in this roll call in verse 8.  He says, people who are characterized by any of these eight traits listed here will be in the lake of fire and thus excluded from heaven.  He writes, Notice that the text does not say that anyone who has ever committed any one of these sins will be excluded, but people whose lives are characterized in these ways.  There is a difference he writes, for instance, in ever telling a lie and in being a liar as a habit of one’s life.  This is a roll call of individuals who have unrepentant lifestyles.

  I think Dr. Ryrie’s understanding is corroborated in First Corinthians, chapter 6.  Remember that Paul wrote to those Christians there and he says, Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Do not be deceived.  It is part of my commitment.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And then you have those beautiful words, And such were some of you but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, declared righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the spirit of our God.  See the people we have listed in verse 8 are people who have unrepentant lifestyles, they are people who refuse the water of life in Jesus Christ.  You can read down through the list.  Some of the terms we understand pretty easily.  He talks about those who are abominable in verse 8.  The NIV translates that word vile.  Literally it means polluters.  People who are polluters of their life and the lives of others with their sinful practices are not going to be a part of the New Jerusalem.  He mentions those who are immoral.  Really it should be translated sexual immorality I believe.  Those who live a life of sexual perversion are not going to be in the New Jerusalem.  Sexual perversion is defined this way:  Anything outside of God’s plan between a husband and wife in marriage is sexual perversion.  That would include adulterers, homosexuals, child abusers, pornography. They will not be part of the New Jerusalem who have that unrepentant lifestyle. People who are sorcerers, people who practice witchcraft, spiritism.  That term is connected with the concept of drugs, drugs are involved in some of those practices.  Notice what he says there: Their part will not be the New Jerusalem.  Their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.

Look at the last verse of the previous chapter.  The last verse of chapter 20.  It says, if anyone’s name is not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  There is a whole lot more heat in the lake of fire than there is in Florida.  Just want you to know.  A whole lot more.  He says this is the second death.  The death in the Bible is always separation.  Physical death is the separation of our physical body from the real you.  See this is (pointing to his body) the tent in which I live and you are living in your tent, but the real you is inside.  Physical death is simply the separation of the real you from your physical body.  The second death is eternal separation from God.  You know when you are looking beyond the door of death, isn’t it interesting how heaven and hell, those two destinies, they just seem to come up beside one another only because that is how many destinies there are.  Your destiny is either going to be the New Jerusalem or it is going to be the lake of fire and everyone who has ever taken a breath is going to experience one or the other.  It is either going to be the New Jerusalem or it is going to be the lake of fire. 

You know you go through a passage of scripture like this and about the only thing you can say is WOW!  Or as we might say in Latvia, Johaidi_.  Or maybe in Spanish, Caramba.  Or as I might say, good golly Miss Molly.  Wow.  Incredible stuff.  Immediately my thoughts want to race ahead to some life application…something that we can do in response to this, and there are just two life applications that leap out to me.  I want to give you those two life applications.  The first one is a question and the second one is a simple statement.  The first life application to me that just leaps out of this text is a question and that question is, Where do you stand with Jesus Christ?  Isn’t that just the obvious question that leaps out of this?  Where do you stand with Jesus Christ?  When the roll is called up yonder, will you be there?  This is the ultimate gut check.  There are only two kinds of people, it does not make any difference where they are from, or the color of their skin, there are only two kinds of people in the world.  You have sinners and you have forgiven sinners.  The word for one in the Bible is unbeliever, the word for the other is believer.  An unbeliever refuses the water of life that is without cost.  The believer trusts in the water of life that is without cost. 

An amazing thing to me is and this is an important truth to understand.  Do you know that many people are going to miss heaven by 18 inches?  Because, you see, even people who go to church can have the information go into their head but if it doesn’t come down to the heart where life choices are made, a person can miss heaven by 18 inches.  Jesus Christ died the death that you deserve to die.  He wants you to embrace him and to count on His death and His resurrection.  Do not miss heaven by 18 inches.  I do not care how long you have been coming here, or how long you have heard all this data, but if it is stuck in your head and it has not gone down to your heart in terms of the life choice to trust in Christ, you are headed for the wrong destiny.  Where do you stand with Jesus Christ? 

The second life application is simply a simple statement.  I think it is the kind of a statement that as you study heaven, it has to keep surfacing over and over again.  That simple statement is, Be encouraged.  Be encouraged.  No matter what you may be going through, there are better days ahead.  There is a better life ahead.  There is deliverance ahead.  Heaven is worth living for and heaven is worth dying for and God is going to personally wipe away all of your tears.  God is going to personally comfort you.  That should breed in us a sense of encouragement, that should breed in us a sense of security.  We should be like Abraham who was looking for a city whose architect and builder is God.  When you are looking there, it brings a lot of security and stability into your life.

The story is told of John Quincy Adams, one of our early presidents.  He was in his 80th year of life and one day he was walking in a Boston street rather slowly because he had a cane.  In that day, if you lived to be 80, that was pretty incredible.  He was walking along the street in Boston and he was approached by a friend who said to him, how is John Quincy Adams today?  The former president of the United States smiled and said, Thank you, John Quincy Adams is well sir, quite well, I thank you.  But the house in which he lives is at present has become dilapidated.  It is tottering upon the foundations.  Time and the seasons have nearly destroyed it, its roof is pretty well worn out, its walls are shattered and it trembles with every wind.  The old tenement is becoming almost uninhabitable and I think John Quincy Adams will have to move out of it soon, but he himself is quite well sir.  And with that, the statesman, leaning heavily on his cane, continued to walk on down the street.  See, when we are looking for a city whose architect and builder is God, it brings encouragement in the sense of security and stability to our life.  I think about the song that Andre Crouch wrote called Soon and Very Soon.  Soon and very soon we are going to see the King.  No more crying there, we are going to see the King.  No more dying there, we are going to see the King.  Hallelujah, Hallelujah, we are going to see the King.

Let us pray together.  Father, we thank you so much again for the living book that we hold in our hands.  And for the very clear picture that you have delivered to us of something that we really cannot fully imagine.  And I think Father of people who have maybe heard about Christ and are in danger of missing heaven and the New Jerusalem by 18 inches.  Help them to see that the destiny that they can have is fully in their own response to Jesus Christ.  And for all us Father, help us to remember that soon and very soon we are going to see the King.  And we pray in His name, Amen.

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