Heaven

Steve Viars July 21, 1990 Revelation 21:9-27

- This morning we studied Rev. 20 and titled that passage

  "God's Parade of Homes"

- I'd like to finish that study tonight and actually conclude

  our study on the end-time events

 

- This morning we said that in these chapters, God is laying

  out 2 very distinct eternal options

- and He's encouraging us to answer this question - which

     place would like to live in?

 

- now I'm going to assume that those who here tonight have

   already trusted Christ as personal Savior, and as a

   result, you know you won't have to sepnd eternity in hell

   as we described it this morning.

 

 - now in these final two chapters, God says-for those of

      you who have trusted Christ as personal Savior, let's

      continue the tour

    - let me show you your house

 

- read Rev. 21:9-27

 

- We'll read some more of the surrounding verses in a little

  bit, but what I'd like us to see from these verses is:

  Seven Descriptions of the City of God (seven ways God

  describes Heaven)

 

 

I.  Divinely Designed

 

    INPUT - what are some things that stand out to you about

            the design of heaven from these verses?

 

    A.  Foundations - permanence

 

        INPUT - why do you put foundations in a building? (so

                it won't move)

 

        - God wants us to look at this description and

          conclude - this is permanent - its not going

          anywhere!

 

        - Do you like to move?

        -how many of you have moved in the last five years?

        - how many of you have moved more than once in the

          last five years?

 

        - we live in a mobile, temporary society

 

        - people are all the time changing jobs and moving

          around

        - I'm not saying thats wrong, but it sure is

          difficult

 

        - some folks know the people fro Century 21 better

          than they know their neighbors

 

        - but not in heaven - it will be permanent

 

    B. Walls - protected

 

        - verse 17 said the walls were 144 cubits

        - assuming they were using an 18 inch cubit, thats

          a wall of 216 feet

        - that doesn't mean much to you and I because we're

          not used to city walls, but people in Bible times

          knew what that was all about

        - if you had strong walls, you had protection

 

        - not that anything could interupt heaven's

          perfection, (verse 27 says that), but just for our

          assurance God has designed heaven with high walls

          and angels guarding the gates

 

        - can you imagine a city like that

        - no reason to fear in heaven

 

        - we don't know what thats like, even here in

          Lafayette

        - they used to kid Kris and I about being from the

          East Coast till Kris was in the Jewell store the

          night they had the shooting

        - even in a small town like ours, you still have the

          possibility of serious crime

 

        - but not in heaven - its designed for protection

 

    C.  Jewels - Perfection

 

        - we're not sure what all these stones are, but think

          about what thats going to look like

 

        - Jasper is clear crystal

        - Saphire is dark blue

        - Emerald is green

        - Sardius is deep red

        - Chrysolite is yellow

        - Amethyst is purple

 

        - God is a God of beauty and heaven will be a

          beautiful place

 

    Point is - heaven is divinely designed

 

    - Have you ever been in a building that was poorly

      designed?  (hallways too small, not enough light,

      restrooms on the third floor)

    - thats not heaven - its been designed by God

 

- not only is heaven divinely designed, its also:

 

II.  Divinely Prepared

 

    Read Rev. 21:1-2

 

    INPUT - what point is God trying to make with his analogy

            of the bride?  (she's prepared)

 

    INPUT - what are all the things a bride has to do to be

            prepared?

    A.   Prepared

 

    - Q. - Have you ever seen a bride that looked unprepared?

 

    - I never have.  Every wedding I've ever been to has

        taken an emmense amount of planning.

 

    - The bride and groom have worked hard to be ready.

    - The bride especially has worked for hours on the day

        of the wedding to look her best.

         - The veil's just right.

         - There's not a hair out of place.

         - When she comes down that aisle, she's prepared.

 

         - men, do you remember what it was like when your

            wife came down the aisle?

 

      - see, brides are always prepared.

 

    - thats what God wants us to see about heaven.

    - its going to be ready.

 

    - nothing like living in the average town.

 

    - have you noticed that about cities and towns.  They're

      never ready. There always a old building being torn

      down or a new one being put up.

 

    - there's a street being repaired, a bridge being built.

 

    - sometimes you sit there in the hot sun waiting on the

      detour and want to shout - "Hey, is this place ever

      going to be finished?

 

    - It won't be that way in heaven

    - it will be all ready

    - you won't have to call "Heaven's Angels Plumbing" to

      finish installing the garbage disposal

    - you won't have to wait for Moses come plant your

      landscaping (burning bushes)

 

    - its divinely prepared

 

    - both those words are important - we've been talking

      about the prearation side

    - let's think about who's doing the preparing

 

    B.  Prepared by God

 

        - if I asked you tonight, if you could have your

          dream home built, what contractor would you use?

        - I think most of you could give an answer

 

        - word seems to get around town concerning who builds

          the nicer homes

        - you probably know who you'd ask

 

        - think about this - Jesus Christ is building heaven

 

        - you say - how nice will he build it?

 

        - I don't know, but think of it this way

        - are you impressed with the earth?

           - does the grand Canyon impress you

           - does Niagra falls impress you

           - do the smokey mountains impress you

           - does Gary, IN impress you? (how'd that get in

             there?)

 

           - see, does our earth impress you?

           - Well, God made that in 6 days

               - he's had 2000 years to work on heaven

 

           - it will be quite a place

 

- the next verse makes it even better - read 21:3

 

III.  Divinely Inhabited

 

    - this is by far the greatest thing about heaven

 

    - this is the culmination of God's plan and program

    - this is what redemption is all about

 

    - this is why Jesus died

    - this is why the Bible was written

 

    - see, one of the main themes of the Bible is that men

      have been separated from God.

        - Sometimes those passages talk about how God had to

          separate Himself from us.

        - Sometimes those passages talk about how we

          separated ourselves from Him.

 

    - INPUT - can you think of any passages that fit into

      that theme (where God separated Himself from man or

      where man separated himself from God?)

 

      - Garden of eden (man banished from his presence)

      - when God wrote Ichabod over the temple - Glory of God

        departed from the temple

      - Isa. 53 - All we like sheep have gone astray

      - Isa. 59:2 - Your iniquities have separated you from

        your God

      - I Tim. 2:5 (different version) - "God is on one side

        and He is on the other side, and Christ Jesus,

        Himself man, is between them to bring them together,

        by giving His life for mankind."

 

    - see, heaven will be divinely inhabited

    - He will be our God and we will be His people

 

    INPUT - Why is that so good?

 

        1) we'll finally know Him.  - Do you ever get

            frustrated with ability to know God, or your

            ability to understand his word?

              - in heaven He will be our God

 

    - As most of you know, a good of the hymns in our

      hymnbook were written by Fanny Crosby.

    - Fanny was blind, but used the gifts and abilities God

      gave her to sing and write beautiful music.

 

    - in 1890, L.W. Mulhill was holding a camp meeting and

      Fanny Crosby was providing the special music

    - one evening before the meeting, there was a beautiful

      sunset, so Dr. Mulhill described the colors to Fanny

      since she couldn't see them

    - you'd think that that might be depressing for a person

      that was blind, but Fanny Crosby left Dr. Mulhill and

      went to her room and wrote these words:

 

     Some day the silver cord will break,

     And I no more as now shall sing

     But Oh the joy when I shall wake

     Within the palace of the king

     And I shall see Him face to face

     And tell the story, saved by grace

     And I shall see Him face to face

     And tell the story, saved by grace

 

     - thats what it will be like in heaven, because its

        divinely inhabited

 

        2) there will be no guilt

 

           Col. 1:20 - "And having made peace through the

blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto

himself, by him I say, whether they be things in earth, or

things in heaven.  And you, that were once alienated and

enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He

reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present

you holy and unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight"

 

  - see, heaven will be divinely inhabited - He will be our

    God and we will be His people.

 

- so heaven will be divinely designed, prepared, inhabited

 

IV.  Divinely Blessed

 

  - read 21:4

 

  - passage says there will be no more tears, death, sorrow,

     crying

 

  - we've been talking about what heaven will have, but John

    also describes it by what heaven won't have

 

  - Surely this would have been encouraging to the folks who

    were originally reading this book

  - they were going through persecution and needed to hear

    about a place where the curse of sin would not exist

 

   - but we all need to hear that

   - we all know what its like to live in a fallen world

   - there is death, sorrow, crying, tears

   - if we took time tonight, I'm sure many could illusrate

     that truth graphically

 

- but it won't be that way in heaven

- it will be divinely blessed

V.  Divinely Populated

 

  - read vs. 7

 

  - its important that we don't miss what John says about

    those who are in heaven

 

  INPUT - how does he describe us?  (Overcomers)

  INPUT - how would we say that today? (winners)

 

  INPUT - why do you think I would say that its important for

          us to pick that up? (Ted Turner - Christianity is

          a religion for losers)

 

  INPUT - how does that come accross in other ways?

    - Creation/Evolution debate

    - media - Christians portrayed negatively

 

    - if we're not careful, that attitude will start rubbing

      off on us.

    - advertising people say that if you tell people

      something long enough, they'll believe it.

    - Can I try to prove that?  What do you think of when you

         think of Maytag appliances?  (They don't break down)

    - Why?  Because Maytag has run the commercial for years

       that shows the Maytag repairman with nothing to do.

    - And some folks here tonight believe that who have never

       owned a Maytag appliance.

 

    - Point is  that we live in a world that is very negative

       towards Christians and christianity.

            - they're a bunch of losers

            - Christianity is just a crutch for those who are

              weak.

 

    - listen - if you listen to that stuff long enough, it

               will start affecting your behavior.

    - if you hang around the crock, you start smelling like a

       pickle.

 

    - the Bible says that we are overcomers

    - I'm talking about some pompous "we're #1 business"

    - But I am talking about the way you think about yourself

      and your position in this world

 

    - its not how you feel about yourself, but it is how you

      think about yourself

    - if you wanted to call that self-image, in that limited

      sense you would be using that phrase acurately

 

    - see, the Bible does say that we are supposed to think

      about ourselves in certain ways

         - and in this context we better remember that the

           believers are the overcomers

 

    - there's something wrong with the believer who hangs his

      head when he's around unbelievers thinking - well

      they've got their life together and I'm just a little

      Christian

    - surely, one of the results of our studies this morning

      and this evening should be to convince us that it

      doesn't matter if a person is powerful, attractive,

      wealthy...

         - if the person doesn't know Christ as Savior, he's

           lost

         - as Pastor Dutton says - lost as a ball in high

           weeds!

 

    - we've been calling this passage the "Parade of Homes"

      but thats not really accurate

 

    - to extend the metaphor, its really the parade of one

      home, the heavenly home, or the parade of the dump!

 

    - Can you imagine that in next week's paper - the Parade

      of the dump!

    - and thats literally true - because the word often

      translated hell in the NT is the word Gehenna which

      literally was their dump.  All their garbage was burned

      in Gehenna.

 

    - Heaven will be divinely populated by the overcomers

 

VI.  Divinely Illumined

 

    read 21:23, 22:5

 

    - this morning we said that hell would be a place of

      utter darkness

 

    - but heaven will be just the opposite

 

    - it will always be light, and the glory of God will be

      the source

 

    - God has shown his glory in different ways throughout

       history

 

        - in the OT, God's glory led the children of Israel

          as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night

 

        - later, God's glory resided in the tabernacle, and

          then in the temple

 

        - in the NT, God's glory resides in individual

          believers whose body are the temples of God and who

          are supposed to bring glory to Him

 

        - but all of those ways have been veiled or hidden in

          one way or another -

             - but not in heaven - His glory will be visibly

               evident, even to the point that artificial

                lights will not be needed

             - it will be divinely illumined

VII.  Divinely Sustained

 

    read 22:1-3

 

    - this morning we saw that the judgement at the Great

      White Throne Judgement is referred to as the second

      death

 

    - the person has died physically, spritually, and now

      they have experienced the second death

 

    - but heaven is just the opposite

    - it will be life at its fullest

 

    - a pure river of life proceeding out of the throne of

      God and of the lamb

 

    - Because of Christ's death and God's goodness, we'll

      experience life at its fullest

 

    - think for a moment what you would list if asked to list

      your 10 best days

         - your salvation

         - your marriage

         - the birth of your children

         - an opportunity to lead someone else to Christ

         - a pleasant time with a friend

         - watching Purdue beat IU

 

         - you best days - and then think of this - even your

           best days are nothing compared to what heaven will

           be like

 

         - it will be life that is divinely sustained

 

         - did you also notice that there will be a new tree

           of life?

         - except this time men and women will be able to

           freely partake of it, because the passage says

           there will be no more curse

 

         - no more struggling against sin...no more living in

           a sinful world

 

         - no more fearing death

 

         - In heaven, we'll be divinely sustained

 

- well, we've seen that heaven will be divinely

   designed, prepared, inhabited, blessed, populated,

   illumined, sustained

 

- lets talk about some applications:

 

VIII.  Applications

 

    A.  Be motivated for continued service

 

    read Heb. 11:8-16

 

    - the truth of heaven is a truth that has motivated

       believers for centuries

    - I realize you may be here tonight & you'd say, PV,

      there's are times I grow weary of living for God,

      fighting against sin, serving him

 

    - maybe you've tried serving him and things haven't gone

      very well

 

    - Maybe someone has hurt you even though you were trying

      to do what God expects

 

    - listen - the truth of a heavenly home has motivated

      believers for centuries - it can motivate you as well

 

    B.  Be Reminded where a believer's real home is

 

        - I realize that you may be here tonight and would

           say, PV, these truths honestly don't move my heart

           that much

 

        - if thats true, thats a sign for alarm

 

        - there's nothing wrong about having goals, or

          looking forward to certain events in life,

          but to hear some believers talk, its almost as if

          God put the question of the rapture to a vote,

          they'd vote to table the discussion until I got

          this, or did this

 

        - listen - if thats true for you tonight - you are

          holding onto the things of this world far too

          tightly

 

        - One of the old choruses goes -

            This world is not my home,

            I'm just a passin through

            My Treasures are laid up,

            Somewhere beyond the blue.

            The angels beackon me from heaven's open door

            And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

 

        - these truths were so important that God has

          designed a special crown just for those believers

          who have loved his appearing

 

        - there's something drasticlly wrong with the

          believer who doesn't have a special place in his

          heart for the subject of heaven

 

    C.  Be Looking For Opportunities To Take Someone With You

 

        - It is great to think about heaven, but I hope you'd

          also think about how great it would be to have a

          part in seeing someone choose heaven as their

          eternal home.

 

        - Illus - painting - hands outstretched - why not one

             reaching back?

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video