God's Parade of Homes

Steve Viars July 21, 1990 Revelation 20:11

 

- For the last couple of weeks an event has been going on in

  Lafayette called the Parade of Homes

- I'm sure you've read about it and I imagine a number of you

  have even gone through it

- The parade features a number of new homes that have been

  built by area builders with the modern family of the

  nineties in mind

- They have modern energy systems

- They have all the latest conveniences

- They are decorated in all the lastest colors and styles

- the genius of the program is - they're all there - right on

  the same street for you to inspect, admire, choose

- the promoters are essentially saying this:

   - look them over - compare - and then decide which home

     would be best for you and your family

- Here's a Ranch style - look at the cathedral ceilings and

     convenient floor plan

- Here's a Colonial where the bedrooms are upstairs and more

     private

- Here's one thats decorated in mauve - the one accross the

     street's decorated in peach

- Here's one with a screened porch - there's one with a

     jucuzzi tub

   - see, look them all over - compare - and then decide

       which home would be best for you and your family

   - the Parade of homes

 

- Did you that in the Word of God, there was a parade of

  homes?

- Thats right - the homes have been built by God himself

- the Bible gives clearly describes their characteristics

- The Lord graphically lays out their amenities

- in some cases He even gives the floor plans and describes

  the materials from which they were constructed

- Then He says:

   - look them over - compare - choose the one thats best for

      you

 

- Please turn to Rev. 20:11

 

- while you're turning there, let me remind you that during

  our Wednesday Evening Bible studies all this year we have

  been discussing the question "What In The World Is Going To

  Happen?

- we've been talking about eschatology - or end time events

- we've studied the rapture of the church,

  - the Bema Seat Judgement for believers where the

    motivation for their work will be tried

  - tribulation - seven year period of judgement on this

    earth and its inhabitants

  - Marriage supper of the Lamb - where church age believers

    will be united with their Savior

  - Battle of Armageddon - which will be the climax of the

    Tribulation where satan and his armies will be defeated

  - Millennial Kingdom - 1000 year rule and reign of Christ

    on this earth

 

 

 

- the passage that we're about to read describes two events

  that will happen after the millennium

- these events will determine where all people will spend

  eternity

- In a sense, its God's parade of homes

 

- Read 20:11-21:8

 

- without a doubt these are serious verses

- they are hard to even read because of the devastating

  implications to those who don't heed them

- I'm sure there are some churches and some individuals that

  would say, "Well, let's pass those verses by"

- I'll confess that I've thought that muyself

 

 

- Let me give you some reasons why we can't do that:

  1)  We couldn't say we studied the end times if we stopped

      studying at a point that made us uncomfortable.

      - Some folks want to do that.  They want to pick and

        choose the parts of the Bible they would like to

        follow and obey.

      - But thats not the way the Bible was written.

      - Studying the Bible is not like going to MCL!

      - Paul said that all Scripture was profitable and the

        only way we're going to know God and how to please

        Him is through studying His word throughly and

        systematically.

 

  2)  A Church shouldn't call itself a church unless it

      periodically deals very clearly with how a person can

      know for sure that they are on their way to heaven.

      - John said - These things have I written unto you that

        believe on the name of the Son of God that ye might

        know that ye have eternal life

      - we don't deal specifically with that subject every

        week because there is more in the Bible than

        salvation.

      - but - surely we need to deal with this subject very

        clearly from time to time if we're going to say this

        is God's church

 

  3)  This is a major Bible doctrine.  Some folks want to

      say, "Well I believe the rest of the Bible but I'm not

      so sure about that literal heaven and hell business.

      After all, thats just a minor doctrine"

 

      - Printout

 

      - Jesus spoke more about a real heaven and a real hell

        then he did about going to church.

      - spoke more about a real heaven and a real hell than

        he did about giving money to a church.

      - spoke more about heaven and hell than he did about

        being good.

 

      - This is a major Bible Doctrine

 

 

 

      - let me just say something to the person who might be

        here and say, "Well, it may be a major Bible

        doctrine, but you can make the Bible say whatever you

        want"

      - its true that people misuse the Bible, but my

        experience with folks who say "you can make the Bible

        say whatever you want" is that they haven't spent any

        serious time studying the Word of God to make it say

        anything

 

      - to use that excuse without even attempting to see

        what the Bible says on this subject is to badmouth

        God - because it indicates that God gave us a book

        that can't be understood

 

      - if you're here this morning with that excuse on your

        mind, let me ask you to set it aside for a minute,

        and to listen carefully to what these verses are

        saying, and tell me in the end if you don't agree

        that what we are presenting is clearly what the words

        in these verses mean

 

  4)  Jesus promised great benefit to all who studied and

      obeyed these words.

        - remember, these verses are from the Revelation of

          Jesus Christ.

        - these verses are to tell us about Him and His plan

        - I hope one of the major reasons you came this

          morning was to worship Christ and learn about Him

 

        - Jesus said very plainly in chapter 1 verse 3,

          "Blessed is he who reads, and they that hear the

           words of this prophecy, and keep those things that

           are written in it - for the time is at hand"

 

        - that surely applies to unbelievers, but it applies

          to believers as well

        - Jesus promised great benefit to all who studied and

          obey these words

 

    - so the overall point is - we couldn't just pass these

      verses up  - we need to understand them and apply them

 

  - what I'd like us to see from these verses is Three

    Reasons Why I Ought To Be Sure That I'm Headed For The

    Right Home

 

    - this passage makes it clear that there is a real,

      specific, future judgement called the Great White

      Throne Judgement

 

    - The Lord is revealing this material in courtroom

      language - so lets divide this part of the passage that

      way as well

 

I. The Holiness of the Judge

        - the verse says there's a great white throne, but

          doesn't identify who is on it

        - of course other Scriptures tell us its the Lord

          Jesus Christ

        - John 5:22 - "For the Father judges no man, but has

              committed all judgement unto the Son"

 

        - thats consistent with what this book has already

          revealed about the Lord Jesus Christ

        - the book is filled with images, and one of the ways

          Christ is pictured is in Rev. 1:16:

             "And he had in his right hand seven stars, and

              out of his mouth went went a sharp two-edged

              sword"

        - the judge at the great white throne judgement will

          be the God Man

           - the Creator of the Universe

           - the Lion of the Tribe of Judah

           - Lord Jesus Christ

 

        - I realize some folks would say - "That can't be...

          how could a God of love judge people?

        - that question indicates a fundamental

          misunderstanding of the God of the Bible

       - God could not be God, and fail to judge sin

       - Did you know that - God could not cancel the Great

         White Throne Judgement

       - God couldn't be like some parents - "OK, I told you

         were grounded for a year, but its been two months,

         you can come out of your bedroom now" (would you

         like something to eat?)

 

       - see, God couldn't do that

       - now you might say, well God could do anything He

         wanted

       - Oh no He couldn't - God can only act in a way that

         is consistent with His attributes

       - thats why James said - "Let no man say when he is

         tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be

         tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man"

 

       - see, there's all kinds of things God can't do

       - He can't lie, He can't steal, he can't cheat

       - and He couldn't just cancel the Great White Throne

         Judgement

       - See, God's not just a God of love - in fact, love is

         not God's central attribute

 

       - remember in Isaiah 6, when Isaiah received a

         privileged look at the throne of God?

       - Remember what the angels were saying? - Not love,

         love, love - but "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of

         hosts--the whole world is filled with His glory"

 

       - see, there's God's central attribute - his holiness

          - God's holiness demands that unredeemed sin be

            judged

          - his mercy and longsuffering can cause that

            judgement to be delayed

          - his grace can cause Him to send a payment for

            that sin

          - his truth can cause that a book be written

            describing how this judgement can be avoided

 

        - but his holiness demands that unredeemed sin be

            judged

     - see, we ought to be absolutely sure that we're headed

for the right home because of the Holiness of the Judge

Secondly, we ought to be sure we're headed for the right home

because of:

 

II.  The Hopelessness of The Defendants

 

        the Bible says three things about these people:

 

        A.  dead (v. 12)

 

            - these are people who have died whom God has

              raised specifically for this event

            - this event is not for believers - though

              believers will be present

 

            - but its not for believers

            - the believers in the church age were already

              raptured

            - the believers in Old Testament age have already

              been resurrected

            - the believers in the Tribulation have received

              their robes of righteousness

 

            - this judgement is for everyone else

            - this judgement is for unbelievers

            1)  those who wouldn't believe the preaching of

                Noah

            2)  for those who wouldn't believe God all

                through Old Testament history

            3)  for those who wouldn't repent and believe

                during the ministry of Christ

            4)  for those in 1990 who heard Bible messages

                and refused to place their faith and

                confidence in Jesus Christ

            5)  for those who hardened their hearts during

                the tribulation period.

            6)  for those who rebelled at the end of the

                millennium.

            7)  all those who believed the lie of Satan -

                  "go ahead and rebell against God - you

                   won't surely die"

                - Satan the liar was wrong - they died

 

                - they'll all be there-the dead.

 

        passage also says:

 

        B.  small and great

 

            - there will be all kinds of people there

              - rich ones, poor ones

              - nice ones, mean ones

              - big ones, small ones

              - white ones, black ones

              - some will say - I attended a Baptist Church

                all my life

              - some will say - I gave money to a church

              - I was baptized

 

              - you name it - the Bible says, they will be

                there

              - and they'll have one thing in common

 

              - thats the third thing John says about them

 

        C. judged from the books

 

            - Bible says that two books will be opened

            - the first is the book of life

 

            - that book exists for one purpose (to record

              those who sometime in their life trusted Jesus

              Christ as their Lord and savior)

            - sometime in their life that person realized

              that they had sinned against God, and that

              there was a penalty for that sin that they

              couldn't pay.

            - they also learned that Jesus paid the price for

              them if they would only trust Him as Lord and

              savior.

         Every person who's name appears in the Lamb's book

         of Life has made that decision

 

         - but every person who is being judged at the Great

           White Throne Judgement will find that their name

           is not there

         - they'll be standing there with mouth dry, stomach

           churning, knees trembling - hoping upon hope that

           by some mistake their name will be there

         - in every case - the name won't be there

 

         - then another set of books will come out

         - called in Scripture the book of works

 

         - those books will contain everything that person's

           ever done - ever thought - ever said

         - even the things they thought no-one saw

         - the things they thought nonone knew about -

           EVERTHING

 

        - Luke 17:2-3 - "For there is nothing covered that

shall not be revealed - neither hidden, that shall not be

known.  Therefore whatever ye have spoken in darkness shall

be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the

ear in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the hilltops"

 

        - can you imagine what that will be like? - a

          revelation that will actually include everything

          we've ever thought?

 

        - uncensored, uncut sinfullness

        - it will be worse than the filthiest book ever

          written, worse the vulgarist movie ever produced

 

        - now you might ask-PV-why will unbelievers be

          judged from those books?

        - the answer is not to determine heaven or hell

 

        - book #1 - the book of life already made that

          determination

        - here's why the book of works will be opened

 

           - to prove that God's judgement is fair.

 

 

              - see - one of the things that will go through

                the mind of every person at this judgement is

                  - "He knows"

                  - even things that they had forgotten - "He

                    knows"

 

           - freshman in high school - German Class

           - teacher - Mr. Hamilton - made us call him "Herr.

           - school had just purchased a language lab

           - big old console at the front of the room

           - all of us students had earphones and microphones

              - Herr Hamilton would play tapes that

                corresponded to our German books, and they

                would say something in Geman, we would repeat

                it

              - ein, zwie, drie....ein, zwie, drie

           - Herr Hamilton had the abilty to listen to your

             microphone without you knowing it - and then he

             could interupt the tape and correct your errors

 

           - the problem was - this equipment was all new

           - Herr Hamilton didn't know how to operate it very

             well

           - he could figure out how to get the tape going

             through your earphones - but he couldn't figure

             out the rest of the system

           - so he'd turn on the tape, but you'd see him up

             there frantically pushing bottons, pushing

             levers, and looking at dials

 

        - that was the the perfect breeding ground for bad

             students who were'nt as serious about German as

             Herr Hamilton was

           - so we would respond back with statements that

             had absolutely nothing to do with German, and if

             you said it loud enough, the students around you

             could hear it over their earphones

           - so it would go - Ein Zwie Drie Vier - "Her

             Hamilton Wears Army Boots" - everybody would get

             a big laugh

 

        - that went on fine until one particular day when

             I made one of my smart-aleck comments and the

             tape went dead - another voice cut in - it was

             herr Hamilton - He was very angry - he said some

             German words I haven't heard before or since!

 

             I can remember that sinking feeling-"He knows"

 

        - thats what it will be like but infinitely worse

               - see - "He Knows"

           - no one on that day will shake their fist at God

             and say - you're unfair

           - because the books have been opened - and the

             kind of life that that person chose to live will

             be exposed

 

        - in fact Philippians says that "every knee shall

          bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus

          Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father"

 

 

    - see, we ought to be sure that we're headed for the

      right home because one that day, the situation for the

      defendants will be absoltely hopeless

 

    - there's nothing they'll be able to say

    - there's nothing they'll be able to do

    - there won't be any last minute plea bargains

 

    - the best lawyer couldn't help

    - the best arguments won't work

    - there's no one to buy off

 

    - the situation that day will be absolutely hopeless

 

- while thats hard to think of, there's one more step in

  Jesus' revelation

 

III. The Awfulness (Horribleness, Awesomeness) of the

     Verdict

 

    - read vs. 15

 

    - you know a lot of folks joke about hell

    - they say things like - "I want to go to hell because

      thats where all my friends will be"

    - "we're going to have one big party"

 

    - listen, I don't have any desire to simply move you

      emotionally, but let me remind you of some things the

      Bible says about hell

 

    A.  darkness

 

        Matt. 25:30 - "And cast the unprofitable servant into

         outer darkness; where there shall be weeping and

         gnashing of teeth"

 

        II Peter 2:17 - "these are wells without water,

         clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the

         mist of darkness is reserved forever"

 

       - see, while heaven is a place where there will be no

         night, hell is a place where there will be no day

 

    B.  torment

 

        - Jesus decribed that in Luke 16 with the rich man

          and Lazarus

 

        - and the rich man "in hades lifted up his eyes,

          being in torments"

 

        - while that and many other things we could say about

          this is horrible, here's the worst part

 

    C. separation from God

 

        the Bible refers to this event as the second death

 

 

 

 

        - there's three kinds of death in the Bible, and it

          always involves separation

 

        - physical death - separation of the body from the

                 spirit

 

        - spiritual death - separation of the person from

                 fellowship with God which can only be

                 rectified through salvation

 

        - the second death - spearation from the fellowship

           of God

             - and here's the worst part:

 

    D.  Everlasting

 

        - fixed condition that can never be altered

 

        - please don't allow anyone to tell you that hell is

          just temporary

            - or that its a holding tank until you've paid

              the debt

 

           - the horror of separation from God is forever

 

        - in fact, Jesus described it as a place where the

          worm never dies, and the fire is not quenced

       (may want to develop this more)

  - you might say, Pastor Viars, why did God put this in His

    Word?

 

  - here's the reason - to get each of us to answer this

    question:

       - Is that really where you want to live?

 

       - see, look it over, check the design, consider the

          amenities, and then decide - is that what's best

          for you?

 

    - now I realize that has been ver negative (I don't know

      any other way to discuss these verses) - but listen:

         - thats not the only stop on the parade of homes

 

         - you're not in a situation where that's the only

           stop on the tour

 

         - God's got another place called heaven

         - while, we won't have time to look at it today, let

           me just say that to the degree to which hell is

           bad, heaven is good

 

         - Jesus said "In my father's house are many

           mansions, if it were not so, I would have told

           you.  I go to prepare a place for you."

 

    - now you might say - well, what do I have to do?  Where

      do I sign?  What do I have to pay?

 

    - this is where the tours become radically different -

 

 

 

        - because entrance to heaven is free

 

    - Jesus paid it all - All to Him I owe

    - Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as

      snow

 

- you do have to do something - you have to believe it

 

- you have to have had a definite time in your life when

  you've said to the Lord -

    - Lord, I know I've sinned - and you know it

    - I've lived my life going my own way.

    - I've told myself I'm pretty good and will probably make

      it into heaven, but I know thats not true

          - not when the book of works is opened

 

    - Lord, I realize I need a Savior to pay for my sins and

       a Lord to rule my life

    - I want to ask Jesus to be my savior and my Lord

 

    - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only

      begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should

      not perish, but have everlasting life

 

- I think there are 2 values of studying a passage like this

 

1) To give unbelievers a clear opportunity ti trust Jesus

   Christ as personal Savior.  If you're here this morning

   and you've never been saved, I want you to know that I've

   been praying for you, and so have others.

 

      - we've been praying that you'd be here, and that you'd

        make the decision for Christ that God wants you to

        make

      - I can say that without hesitation

      - thats the decision God wants you to make

 

      - God wants you to choose Christ and live with him

        eternally in heaven

      - God never created hell for people - he created it for

        the devil and his angels - every person who goes

        there will do so because thats the home they chose

 

      - Peter said that God was "not willing that any should

          perish, but that all should come to repentance"

 

      - I realize that I could be criticized for preaching

        this so forcefully that it might cause someone to

        doubt their salvation.

 

      - Can I answer that with this - in my mind - there's at

        least one thing worse than a true believer doubting

        his salvation and wrestling with this issue for a

        little while

          - See, what's worse than a believer doubting his

            salvation is an unbeliever going through life

            thinking he's saved.

          - thats possible, for a person to come to church,

            enjoy the singing, enjoy the friendship, benefit

            from some of the teaching

            - without ever settling the matter of his eternal

              home

- One of my concerns this morning is for individuals who may

  be pretty good folks, but have never taken the first step

  in the Christian life, namely salvation

 

- In 1925 a man named Goose Goslin played for the washington

  Senators.

- Goslin was a great center fielder, and the team had had an

  excellent year

 

- In fact, if you check the history books - you'll find that

  the Senators made it to the world series that year against

  the Pirates.

- after the first 6 games, the series was tied 3 games

  apiece.

- The 7th game was played in Wash., D.C.

- After 8 innings the score was tied 2-2

- the Pirates got up to bat and went down in order, 1, 2, 3

- Then the Senators got up

- The president was watching from his special box seat

- Everyone was watching intently

 

- the first batter for the Senators struck out

- the second man up hit a long fly ball that was caught

 

- the next man up was the best hitter of the series, Goose

  Goslin

- Goslin let the first pitch go by - a fastball - call strike

- he let the second ball go by - another fastball - called

  strike

- Goslin knew that pitcher had never thrown 3 fastballs in a

  row in his life

- and he didn't that time either

- it was a slow curve and Goslin hit it with everything he

  had

 

- the left fielder leaped up with all that he had and the

  ball hit the top of the wall and bounced back into the park

 

- By that time Goslin had already rounded second base

- he rounded third and headed for home

 

- everyone's eyes were fastened on home plate

- Goslin slid, the throw came in, and when the dust settled,

  the umpire signaled him safe

- Goslin had won the game!

 

- but no he hadn't, because the firstbaseman and the first

  base came charging in, and reported that Goslin had missed

  first base

- if you check the books, you'll find that the Pirates beat

  the Senators that year and won the world series in the 11th

  inning - 4-2

 

- A reporter grabbed Goslin after the game and said - Goose -

  didn't you know you had misses first base

    - Goslin reportedly said - I knew, but I didn't think

      anyone else did

 

- See "These things have I written unto you that believe on

the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have

eternal life"  - and if you don't know it today for sure - I

would encourage you to trust Christ as Savior today

- theres another benefit of studying this passage

 

2) For believers to be committed to spreading this message to

   everyone they can.

 

- its no accident that these verses are placed at the end of

  the Bible.

- they are the capstone of God's plan and program

 

- Jesus wanted these things written down

- Jesus wanted them shared

 

- His first method is not public preaching

- While it ought to be done in public group settings, God's

  first choice is that believers, because they've been

  growing and changing, have the opportunity to tell others

  about how to have a home in heaven

 

- God deliver us from the attitude "Well, I'm saved - I don't

  have to worry about these verses"

- we ought to read these verses and think "Oh my-I have

  people all around me who don't know Christ as Savior - I

  need to find some natural and creative ways to tell them

  about Christ"

 

- Can you think of some folks like that?

- family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends

- listen, many of those people God has placed around you are

  ones that our church will never come in contact with

- if you don't tell them - who's going to? (the other guys in

  the office - the liberals - the secular media?)

 

- There's nothing more important to God than where a person

  will spend eternity

 

Question is - Has the truth of these verses had the prominent

  place in your mind that they have in the mind of God?

 

- Perhaps the decision you need to make this morning is to be

  much more concerned about where those around you are going

  to make their eternal home.

 

Believer or unbeliever - if there's a decision you need to

  make, I hope you'll make it this morning.

 

(illus - intern - "I can't do anything about it today" - he

   was never more wrong in his life)

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