We are talking about heaven for the next several weeks at Avalon Church. If you miss any of the messages or want to hear them again, make sure to listen to the podcast at www.avalonchurch.net or on iTunes. This also presents a great opportunity to invite people to church! Invite someone to listen to these messages. Each message will be posted on Wednesday after I preach it on Sunday.
This past Sunday I talked about what heaven is like. Heaven is a real place but it is not just a place. It is a fulfillment of God’s promise that Jesus will restore the cosmos to its original purpose to bring glory to God. God created everything for his glory. Sin interrupted that natural order. Because of Jesus, heaven ends up on earth as a new heaven and earth, where he reigns, and gives life abundantly. The Bible is one coherent story about God’s creation of a beautiful garden and it ends with God’s beautiful garden-city coming down to earth. The bloody and violent war in between is won by our warrior-king-priest, Jesus Christ!
Jesus will return! He will rule over the earth. After he gives everything back to the Father and completes what Adam could not do, we will enter the eternal state of the New Heaven and the New Earth and will be with the Father, Son, and Spirit for eternity.
God is going to renew the earth and refresh it. It will be different than we currently know it. God will purify the earth and remove any signs of decay, disease, sin, and the curse. There will be no sorrow, pain, or death. There will be no more sea – ¾ of our planet is currently covered in salt water. Salt prevents decay. There will be no more decay. Here are just a few reminders of what heaven will be like:
· It is a place where God is with us.
· It is a place of unimaginable joy and happiness. Paul said eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, and no one can imagine it. There will be no pain, sorrow, sin, curse, or tears.
· It is a beautiful and perfect place. Walls of clear jasper, streets of pure, clear gold, a city of pure gold. The craftsmanship is beyond anything we can imagine. Imagine gigantic gates made of a single pearl.
· The New Jerusalem. It is only a part of heaven. There will be the renewed heaven and earth. The heavenly city described in Revelation is 1500 miles cubed. That is large enough for 250,000 times the world population to have a 50,000-square foot house each in the city! Needless to say, it will be awesome!
· It is a place of perfect relationships. It is being prepared like a bride for a wedding. We are the bride of Christ. We will have perfect relationships and perfect love in heaven. I will talk about seeing our loved ones in the next few weeks.
· It is a place of perfect worship. God and Jesus are our Temple. A temple is a place of worship and a place to meet God!
· It is a place of eternal light. It is lit by God’s glory. There is no night there.
· It will have The River of Life and The Tree of Life. The river is refreshing and the food is perfect. The river flows from God and represents the Holy Spirit and the refreshing eternal life that flows from God. What life it is! It also represents perfect, eternal fellowship.
· Heaven is eternal. It is outside of space and time. Christ will literally return to earth and set everything back to its original order and purpose. The whole earth and universe will be renewed and we can’t even imagine how great it is.
Over the next few weeks, I will talk about what we will do in heaven, what our bodies will be like, and why children will be in heaven and what they will be like. Heaven is a place where we will work without the curse. We will use our gifts. I believe the greatest art, literature, music, architecture, food, creativity, organization, and discoveries will be made. God is a creative God, and we will be with Him for all eternity, worshipping, praising, serving, ruling, feasting, and receiving His grace and love.