Let the Nations be Glad

Brent Aucoin January 10, 2016 Revelation 21:-22

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From the end goal of God’s plan as revealed in Revelation we can see three reasons for the nations to be glad.

1. God’s Glorious Presence Encompasses All the Nations

Revelation 21:3 - Behold the Tabernacle of God is among men and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people and God Himself will be among them.

Revelation 21:16 - “The city is laid out as a square…”

Question: What is the significance of the shape of this city?

Answer: ________________________________________

2. God’s Goal is a Beautiful Diverse City of PEOPLE from All the Nations

3. God’s Plan is for the Nations to be Healed into One Body

Revelation 22:1-4 - Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

Genesis 11: 4 - They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

Exodus 39:30 - They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and inscribed it like the engravings of a signet, “Holy to the .”

Implications for Us while We Wait for God’s Final Heavenly City

a. From the perspective of the Scriptures—you are the “nations”

b. Become a citizen of the future heavenly city—there is only one way

c. Be an alternate city now—a gateway/foundation for all the nations to enter the heavenly city

Matthew 5:14-16 - “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

d. Love the beauty of a diverse city of people like God does

e. Let the future heavenly city motivate you to persevere through the suffering from temporary man-made cities

The cities of man will give way to God’s eternal city and man’s cities will be no more.

Indeed let the nations be glad!

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12 years ago, this church, you guys, sent me away for my PhD in the Old Testament. That sending was to begin my study and my preparation for leading a church-based seminary. The first step on that journey was to move to a really big city, Chicago, and get my Masters of Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. How many of you guys love big cities? Anybody love big cities? Very few of you. You're going to change that after the sermon today. It was my first extended experience with a big city. I found myself enthralled by the experience. Since that time, I have loved visiting cities like London, New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Paola, Brazil. In contrast, this past Christmas I went back home to Oklahoma and visited with my 95-year-old grandmother who lives in Hammond, Oklahoma. Population, are you ready for this? Population, you ready? You ready for the population? 500 people, 500 people. Our church is bigger than that. Jan and I thought, "How could anybody live here?"

Anyway, back to the big city of Chicago. The 9 months that our family was in Chicago, we really wanted to make the most of our time there and be as evangelistic as possible in our apartment complex. We met, across the hall from us, one Polish couple who in 18 years of living on that floor, never had anybody ask them over for dinner. Yes, we asked them over for dinner that night, when we learned that. Down the hall was a Russian family that we got to know as well. We met that Russian family when the wife came down the hallway, and I'll explain this story for just a moment. We were attempting to host an open house, or an apartment gathering for our neighbors on the floors of that apartment complex. We had sent out invitations to everybody on our floor to just drop by on a particular night at a particular time. Our children, who are 5 and 6 at that time, were so excited to have company.

When the appointed time came, and even passed, nobody from our apartment floor had some to the opening of our little party there. It was fairly pathetic. Yet, our 5 and 6 year old, undaunted and not discouraged, were eagerly awaiting for our first guest. They decided to stand in the hallway with the door open and essentially interrogate any passers-byers who might be potentially coming to our party. One unsuspecting Russian woman, this is how I met the Russian family, encountered our two children there. They proceeding to ask her, "Are you coming to our party?" She was cornered. How could you refuse these two excited children? She was not planning to come to our party, but her plans just changed. Thus begins out tale. We got to know the Russian family a little bit more and had them over for dinner the next week. One week later, I get a desperate call from the Russian family saying, "The police are looking for our son. Can your friends in Indiana house them?" I said, "Sure. Pastor Trey can, he would love to." No, I did not say yes.

I pushed the pause button the conversation and asked for additional explanation. Apparently their son had been a witness in some kind of gang murder involving the Russian Mafia. At that point, a fugitive from the police, a fugitive from the Russian Mafia, sure, Pastor Trey can take them. Wow, this is the big city life. Really exciting. Through that experience, the Russian husband and wife came to know Jesus as we ministered to them. It was an exciting and enthralling time, my 9 months in Chicago. I suppose maybe after living there for 9 years, it may not be that exciting. Anyway, I very much enjoyed my time in the big city. What if I told you that the most beautiful of all God's creation is a city, would you agree with that? Alex, you're shaking your head no. Let me unpack what I'm about to say. I submit to you that a city, in God's eyes is more beautiful than the Rocky Mountains, the beaches of Hawaii, the amber waves or grain, or fruited plains.

I submit to you that the city is more beautiful than that. Turn in your Bibles ... What Alex? My child is more beautiful? We're going to get there, okay? There's a theological reason why I say all of this. Turn in your Bibles to the last book of the Bible. Revelation chapter 21 and 22. That's on page 21 in the New Testament, the back section of the chair in front of you. Today, we launch our new series with our new theme this year, Loving our World. Pastor Viars is doing exactly that right now in the Dominican Republic. Or, maybe he's doing our theme Living in Fun and Sun down there, I can't remember exactly which. Today, our message is let the nations be glad. As we begin to focus on loving our world, we need to talk about God's plan for the nations, and as we kick off this series. As we approached Revelation, let me remind you that these are the last chapters of the Bible, the very last two. With any kind of ending ... Star Wars ending, Harry Potter ending. You don't read the last chapters first because that contains all the spoilers!

Nobody likes spoilers, right? Right? You need this spoiler, though. This spoiler has encouraged God's people for years. This is a spoiler we need. As we approach the last chapters of Revelation, we also understand that there will be some concepts and imageries here that we're just not familiar with. They haven't happened yet, so we won't understand all of it, and that's okay. I'm going to shape the big contours of the picture for you so that we can all understand at least how history is moving. From that, we will talk about ... From the end goal of where history is moving, we're going to see in God's plan 4 reasons for the nations to be glad. Let's read the text now in Revelation chapter 21, verse 1. "Then I saw new heavens and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea." That's significant.

The sea, throughout the Scriptures, if you begin to connect the imagery in the picture the sea, like the flood waters, the sea was always something that was thought of as a calamitous thing. Things that were dreaded when the flood waters come. Even in all the imagery of the Old Testament, and even Revelation, the beast would come out of the sea. The evil kingdoms of man would come out of the sea. There is no longer any sea in the final picture here. Verse 2, "And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold the Tabernacle, God's dwelling place. The Tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them. And they shall be his people, and God Himself will be among them.'" Praise the Lord.

"'And he will wipe away every tear...'" this is a good New Year sermon here, "'...from their eyes. There will no longer be any death. There will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain. The first things have passed away.' And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' He said, 'Write these things, they are faithful and true.'" Verse 6, "Then He said to me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who first, from the spring of water, life without cost.'" Jump down to verse 10. "And He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem..." What was this? A holy what? A holy what, Alex? Holy what, Alex?

Alex: A city.

Brent:  A city, a city. Everybody see that? It's a city. "...coming down out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God, her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall with 12 gates, and at the gates, 12 angels. The names of those on those which are the names of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel." People, people. The gates represented people there. "There were the gates on the east, and three gates on the north, and three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had 12 foundation stones, and on them were 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb." Think people. Again, the imagery here is the beauty of the city is comprised by people. Verse 15, "The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and its walls. The city is laid out square..." Everyone say square. Say square.

Congregation:  Square.

Brent:  That's going to be important in just a moment. "Its length is as great as its width, and it measured the city with the rod. 1,500 miles." Some of you have a note there that says 12,000 stadia, an old kind of measurement. 12,000 by 12,000, 12 apostles, 12 tribes. The imagery here is of completeness. "Its length and its width and its height are actually equal, and he measured its walls. 72 yards, according to human measurement, which are also angelic measurements." I know, some of this is very foreign to us. "The material of the wall was jasper and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were all adorned with every kind of precious stone." Verse 22, "I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun, of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of the God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations walked by its light."

Look at chapter 22, verse 1. "Then, he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the Tree of Life, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every months. The leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations. There's no longer any curse..." Praise the Lord, "...and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his bond-servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name..." His name? Whose? His, God. "...and the Lamb is on their forehead." Verse 5, "And there will no longer be any night, they will not have need of the light of the lamp..." We've seen this before, "...nor the light of the sun because the Lord God will illumine then, and they will reign forever and ever. He said these words are faithful and true. This is the word of God."

From the end goal of God's plan is revealed in Revelation, we can see 3 reasons for the nations be glad. This day, as we talk about loving our world, and that certainly includes the nations.

1. God’s Glorious Presence Encompasses All the Nations

First, God's glorious presence encompasses all of the nations. Let me unpack that for just a moment. 21:16 says, "The city is laid out square..." I had you repeat the word square. What is the significance of the square here? Why not a circle? Why not a triangle? Why not a cool shape like a hexagon or something like that? Why? Why is it a square, anybody know? Don't answer me on that, I'll explain it to you. Why is it a square? If you're a student of scripture, even if you're not, I'm going to explain it. If you're a student of scripture though, there's something to do with a cube that goes all throughout scripture. I'll unpack that in just a moment.

Let me give you the answer. It may not be clear immediately, but I'll give you the answer, then I will explain it. What is the significance of the shape of the city? Here's the answer: the Holy of Holies has been expanded to surround all of God's people from all nations, praise the Lord. The Holy of Holies. You say, "Brent, you said I was going to understand this. I'm not getting it." Well, let me explain. Originally, when God created this world, there was no sin. God's presence, he physically dwelled with his people. In Genesis chapter 2, Adam and Eve were there walking with the glorious presence of God. When Adam in Eve, in Genesis chapter 3, disobeyed God, and because God is the holy God, Adam and Eve were separated from the life-giving presence of God. As an aside here, in Genesis 3, the primary problem of all humanity since then has been our separation from God's life-giving presence.

That has been the primary problem, the essential problem that you struggle with and I struggle with. That separation from God creates in us all a brokenness and an emptiness. That emptiness causes us to search for something in this life that will fill the God-size breach in our relationship with Him. We fill that emptiness with all kinds of things, but it never works. What Revelation is saying here, now, is that that separation is fixed. Again, what is the significance of the square and the cube? You said, "Brent, I know. You've asked me that several times now, and I still don't get it." Well, in the Old Testament, God let His people just have a glimpse of a taste of his presence. Although people have been separated from God's presence, God allowed his people to have a small taste of His presence in a box, in a cube. You can read about that in Exodus chapter 25 and Ezekiel 41:4, and that was called the Holy of Holies in the temple and in the Tabernacle. If you will, God allowed a little ray, one ray of sunshine from his infinite sun self that was housed in something called the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and in the Temple. That room, guess what shape it was? Tell me what shape it was.

Congregation:  A square.

Brent:  It was a square, or a cube. In the Old Testament, that cube, that square was 15 foot by 15 foot. My office is bigger than that! Here's the point: God allowed one little ray of His sunshine, His glorious presence, in one little box. One time per year, only one person could enter into that box. The high priest could go into that box to see one small ray of light, and theologically, that ray of light was called the Shekinah Glory of God. If that one person, one time per year, entered into that small box unworthily, he would be immediately consumed and killed because of his stain of sin. Do you see the imagery here? One person on the pain of death could possibly see one small ray of light of God's glory in one small box. Imagine in that small box if there were two rays of light, the person would be immediately extinguished. Again, notice the imagery of Revelation chapter 21, "...a cube 1,500 miles square with people in it."

Here's the point my friends, faith family: the office-size box in the old earth that contained a small glimpse of God has become something enormous on the new earth. If we are just comparing literal numbers here, here is the comparison for just a moment. The box went from 225 foot square to 6.27 times 10 to the 13th power square feet. Or, 2.25 million miles square. Not only that, people are there and they're not dead in God's presence. You say, "Brent, what is the size of that?" Well, let me show you. 225 million miles square, centered around Indianapolis, Indiana, is a box the size of almost the entire eastern side of the United States of America. I don't know if all this is talking about a literal box, but there is the point. God's glorious presence went from a 15 by 15 office-size square to 1,500 square mile, squared or whatever, so 2.25 squared, and it contains people from all nations, tribes, and tongues. Praise the Lord for that.

If you don't like that picture, try this one. This is a little more interesting. That's the size of God's presence in the New Jerusalem. Again, do I know for sure that this was a literal thing? I don't know, but the imagery here is the Holy of Holies, the presence of God, has been expanded not so that people can go in once a year on the pain of death, but to encompass people, billions of billions of people. The Scripture says, "Behold, the Tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them and they shall be His people, and God will be among them. The nations will walk there." First, what is the reason why the nations should be glad? Because there's been a breach that has been healed, a breach of sin in God's presence now is with His people, praise the Lord.

2. God’s Goal is a Beautiful Diverse City of PEOPLE from All the Nations

Secondly is this: God's goal in this, you have to have not missed this. God's goal in the end times is a beautiful, diverse ... Alex, what is the word again? What is the word?

Alexa city.

Brent:  It’s a city. Alex, do you live in the country by the way? I think you do.

Alex: Yeah.

Brent:  Okay, you're going to move to the city very soon. God's goal is a beautiful, diverse city of people from all the nations. I was helped to consider this concept of city more robustly and seriously from a sermon I heard by Tim Keller, who preached and ministers in New York City, in the heart of the biggest city in the world. I think he has a bias that's affecting him, but indeed I think he's write. The scriptures do say that this is a city. Many folks will say that the scriptures begin with a garden scene and end with a garden scene. Folks, that's not technically true. The scriptures begin with a garden scene with God and two people, but it doesn't end there. It doesn't end there. It ends with a city, not a garden anymore. Yes, there are garden aspects, but the scriptures end not simply with a garden, but a city, a garden city.

Two people, Adam and Eve, have become potentially billions among which God dwells. What is a city? You know this, this is not a foreign concept. A city is a local place where there are many people from all walks of life, all nations living together. What did I love about Chicago? My Polish neighbor across the hall, my Russian friend down the hall. Me getting involved with the Russian Mafia. I never go that opportunity here in Lafayette, you know? It was just exciting. What did I love about Chicago? The nations were there. There were more than Hoosiers in Chicago, although I love Hoosiers. There were more than Sooners in Chicago, although I love my hometown Oklahoma, and my home state. God loves the city and wants to dwell right in the midst of the biggest, most exciting city ever. You still say, "Brent, I look at that map you showed me. If we are talking literal, in some sense, how could even the entire eastern coast of the United States of America contain all those people?"

I don't think you're thinking right here, let me show you. The total square footage [byte 00:21:39] of today's 125 largest cities, so by geography. Look it up on Google, Wikipedia, or something. This is what I did for my sermon prep. 125 of the largest cities today, if you put them all in one state, here's what that would look like. It would comprise the state, what is that? South Dakota? Is there enough space there for all of the billions people and all the nations? Absolutely there is. God will not have a problem with space in His city, but my point is this. God loves cities, and his end goal is to have one massive, diverse city. Please note, God does not love spacious skies more than he loves cities of people. You could note that.

Please not that God does not love amber waves of grain more than He loves cities of people. Please not that God does not love the fruited plains more than He loves the people living in cities on those fruited plains. By the way, since we are quoting America the Beautiful, God does not simply love the people of America more than anybody else. He loves the nations and He wants a massive city in the end time filled with them. Do you? Do you? Why is it that God loves people more than the things of this earth? Why is it? God's pinnacle of creation is not the rocks that he created, like on day 3. It is not that, say it's not that. Say not.

Congregation: Not.

Brent: God's pinnacle creation is not cuddly koala bears, no matter how cute. It's not, say it's not.

Congregation: It's not.

Brent: God's pinnacle of creation on day 6 is where everything was building for. God's pinnacle creation was mankind, and that's who He loves, you and me. Cities of people made in His image is what he sets his affections on. In the end of all times, he will have one massive city of people in the end, all made into the image of the one person He loves the most, His son, in whom He was well pleased. In that massive city the size of the eastern United States there, He will have massive amounts of people from all tribes and tongues in the image of His son, Jesus Christ, there, and He will dwell in the midst of them. Why should the nations be glad? I'm going to apply this more in just a little bit, I'm laying the foundation for the application at the end of the sermon. Why should the nations be glad? Because God has worked to include them all in His glorious presence.

Secondly, because God loves diverse cities of people.

3. God’s Plan is for the Nations to be Healed into One Body

Thirdly, God's plan is for the nations to be healed into one body. The nations to be healed into one body. Revelation 22:1-4, let me read this to you one more time. "Then He showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of a street. On either side of the river was the Tree of Life, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his bond-servants..." For a point later on, please not "There will not be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb..." Throne of God and the Lamb, who's the Lamb? You say it. Here's your Sunday School answer, say it.

Congregation: Jesus.

Brent: Jesus. "The throne of God and the Lamb..." Jesus, "...will be in it, and His bond-servants." Who is His, His, His? God and the Lamb. His bond-servants will serve Him, and they will see his face and His name." Whose? God and the Lamb's will be on their foreheads. It's almost like God and the Lamb are some kind of a similar entities. Jesus, God, God the Lamb. Interesting there, but keep that in the back of your mind. Let me park on a little bit of the imagery in this passage for just a moment. This passage also contains an echo back to another city. This is the end times city, but there's an echo back to another city that was the beginning of the brokenness of the nations. This says, "...for the healing of the nations."

There's another place in the Scripture, at the beginning of the Scriptures, where the nations were broken. That's where they originated from, in their division and their separation. Let me explain that as well in history. Do you remember how the different ethnicities came about? It was at something called the Tower of Babel. It was not from evolution, or different animal species. I do not believe, will never believe, you cannot convince me of this, that the different ethnicities ever came from different types of pre-humanoid forms. It has not, say it has not.

Congregation: It has not.

Brent: It has not. The ethnicities that we see today have come from one man and one woman, Adam and Eve, but something happened in history to break them up into their ethnicities now, and that is the Tower of Babel episode. In Genesis 10 and 11 there was also a city, a great and big city that was gathered together. It was not the city of God, it was a city of man. That city had no concern about having God's name plastered on themselves, here's what their concern was. Their concern, in Genesis chapter 11, said, "Let's come and let us build for ourselves a city, a city of man, the kingdom of man whose tower will reach the heavens. Let us make ourselves a name for ourselves." Whose name was on their forehead? Whose name was on their forehead? Their own, not God's name. If you looked at that city, it was all about the kingdom of man, promoting their own agenda. When you looked at them, who did they represent? Themselves.

God judged that city, and confused their languages at that moment in time. They wanted to make a name for themselves right there, and God gave them a name. A name of Babel, which means confusion because they had confused their purpose. They were supposed to bear witness to the great God who created them. All of that is around us, but instead, they wanted to promote themselves. They confused their purpose, therefore God confused their languages and God gave them a name of confusion. The folks that spoke similar, confused dialects apparently got together and they procreated. From there, the nations arose that you and I see today. Each nation, today, is composed of its ruling cities, including America the beautiful. Each nation has been engaged in attempting to make names for themselves since the beginning of this time. The result has been nation against nation, wars, death, confusion.

That has been the history of mankind's cities. The city of man, the kingdom of man, there has to be something different, like the city of God that is coming that will heal that breach. The Tower of Babel story illustrates that if you want to make a name for yourself, God will give you a name, that of confusion and pride. Pride always brings confusion, but God is pointing to a time in the future when the different ethnicities and the different nations that have come from that breach back in Genesis 10 and 11 are together again. The nations are healed into one beautiful city, and they are not making a name for themselves anymore, but the name of God and Jesus Christ is on their forehead. The breach among people, based upon language, culture, and their pride has been fixed. Furthermore, one more piece of note about the imagery there. Remember in the Holy of Holies, one person could've gone in there one time per year on the pain of death. That was the high priest.

It is interesting, in Exodus chapter 39, the high priest wore a crown. The high priest, on his head, it said, "Holy to the Lord." You can it at the last phrase right there. The high priest entered the Holy of Holies, that box, and on his forehead was "Holy to the Lord." What's on the forehead in the huge box at the end of all time? What's on their foreheads? The name of God. They're all priests bearing the name in God's presence. They're bearing the name of God in Jesus Christ there. They don't represent themselves, they represent God. The healing of the nations the third reason why the nations should be glad. Let the nations be glad. Finally, let's talk about some implications and applications for all of us. I've been flying big picture here now for just a moment to give you some of the contours of the final end time. The spoiler, if you will, of where God is going with all of redemptive history.

Implications for Us while We Wait for God’s Final Heavenly City

You say, "So what Brent? What does that means for us today?" I'm glad you asked, here's what that means today. 1) Do you realize, from the perspective of Scripture, you are the nations? You're the Gentiles, you're not the Jews. You're the nations, and God has done all of this and prepared a place for you. He has loved you, the Gentile nations. If God has loved you so much to prepare this kind of place for those in His son, then how much more, when we look across the river, or look across our houses to somebody of different ethnicities in us, God has loved us, how much more should we continue to allow that love to motivate us to love the world around us. Secondly, you're not automatically a citizen of the eternal kingdom. You can't just go to the eternal kingdom, the eternal city by I-65 to Chicago, or something like that. That was a really bad comparison of Chicago to the eternal holy city, I recognize. Scratch the metaphor.

You can't get to the holy city by any highway you want. The imagery of Revelation 21 and 22 is also very clear on this. Let me bring out some of the implications of how do you get into the holy city of eternity. Again, you noticed at the text that the people who are in the expanded Holy of Holies, the people who have the name of the Lord on their forehead, they will see God face-to-face. This is not just a "one single ray of light in an office-size box", they see the full glory of God. How is that possible without being extinguished and killed? There is only one way. Those who are in the city are not just wearing God's name on their forehead, but they're wearing the name of His son, Jesus Christ. The only way to God is through the Lamb. Why? Why? In our culture right now, there's all kinds of people saying, "Do we worship the same gods?" And all this kind of stuff.

The name of Mohammed is not on their foreheads, do you understand that folks? The name of Buddha is not on their foreheads. The name of Brent, my good works, is not on their foreheads. Whose name is on their foreheads? I didn't read this verse, but it's also called the Lamb's Book of Life. Whose book of life? Jesus's book of life. Those are the people who are there. There is one way, and why is there one way to the holy city, through the lamb? Here's why. The passage mentioned something about the curse is no longer there. Jesus the Lamb took the curse. The curse is gone because Jesus Christ took it on the cross so that you might live and not die from the curse. It was the Lamb who experienced separation from God on the cross, where the Lamb said, "Why have you forsaken me, oh Lord?" At that moment in time, the Lamb took the separation that you and I deserved from God, separated from the Holy of Holies forever.

The Lamb took that separation from the face of God so that you could see the face of God. It was the Lamb who experienced the spiritual thirst. When He sat on the cross, "I thirst." He was not and only talking about his physical condition. The spiritual life, the water of God from God the Father was cut off from the Lamb on the cross, as he bore your and my sin. He thirsted spiritually for our spiritual thirst, and you'll notice in the eternal city that there is no longer any more spiritual thirst. The river of life is there, nobody will thirst again because the Lamb took that thirst for you. There is no darkness in that eternal city because the Lamb experienced the darkness on the cross for you as well. There is only one way, and if you do not know Jesus Christ as your savior this day, today is the day for you to become a citizen of the eternal city.

3) The other implication is this: this is not just eternal theory out there that should not have any impact on us today. Yes, God is moving all of history toward an eternal city, a people that He loves. Always, always, always, He wanted to create an alternative city, even right now, calling out people to live differently, right now, in this city. After the Tower of Babel, where the nations were broken up, He called one man and he says, "I want you to be a different kind of city. You bear my name in the land of Canaan, you be a different type of city." Always, through Scripture, God was calling out his people to be an alternative community now. The end goal shows where we're going, but right now, we need to take steps of being a different kind of city, even right now. Matthew chapter 5 says, "You are the light of the world. A city ..." Notice that, "...a city set on the hill."

If you caught the Revelation passage, the city came down and was set on a great and high hill. You are a city set on the hill. God's people are now a city set on the hill. What does it mean for Faith Church to be an alternative city now? Think about that this year. The way you work should be different than the way people who are not citizens of the city should work. The way we manage, the way we have our values, the way we handle our marriage and parenting should be all different kinds of divine city living than the way that the world lives. When people look at you, do they see an alternative community? Fourthly, love the beauty of a diverse city of people like God does. Alex, are you ready to move to the city yet? Okay. We'll see the realtor sign upon your house tomorrow, so that you move to the city. Love the beauty...

Congregation: Not this city.

Brent: What? Not this city, the heavenly city. All right, we're going to talk about that too, in just a moment. Love the beauty of a diverse city of people like God does. Lafayette, when you see this, the Hartford Hub, does it now begin to even create in you a passion for the city of Lafayette? Do we love the diverse people downtown? Do we cherish them downtown? Folks, again, what God is doing is creating a beautiful, diverse city in eternity, but He's wanting us to mirror that even now. How does this play into our plans of loving the world and starting right here, in our own city? Loving the people around downtown that may not be exactly like us, and they're not. Let me challenge you in this, I would challenge you to do this: I don't think we will ever love the downtown folks well, even with a nice building like the Hartford Hub.

By the way, we got the demolition permit for that beautiful building, the demolition permit on the Kooler Keg, we got that this week. It's going down baby! We are going to have a demolition party soon, but we got the permit now. I don't think we will love the downtown people well if we don't even start here in Faith Church loving one another well. I'm going to challenge you on this. Here's something that I would challenge you on. Every Sunday when you come here, you know the eternal city is a city of all the nations, tribes and tongues who have accepted Christ as their Savior, of all different kinds of people. What I loved about Chicago was the diversity. When you come on Sunday morning, every Sunday morning, here's the first thing that you should be doing. After you've had your time with Jesus, after you have prayed, you should come here and look for people who are different than you, and be an encouragement to the person who is different than you.

I'll challenge you, Faith Church. A lot of you do this very well, but some of us need some challenging in this. Every Sunday morning, every Sunday morning for this year, come here first and look for the person who is most different than you. Encourage them every Sunday morning. If we can't do that here in our own church, how are we going to do that at the Hartford Hub? How are we going to do that "loving the world" thing if we can't do it loving in our church? Let's do that. You got that challenge? Our first inclination is go to the people we know, the people we're comfortable with. The people that we have all of our friends with. I understand that. Take one of your friends and go love somebody different, different than you. You might find you might get involved with the Russian Mafia too, I don't know. It will be exciting! All right.

Trey, did you know that illustration? Were you here for my first ... Okay. I didn't know if he came in the last part of the ... Why was this vision given? Why was a spoiler given to the people of God? The final thing is let the future imagery of the spoiler of where God is going motivate you to persevere now. The end time revelation was given to a group of people who were highly persecuted [at 00:42:00] the beginning of the martyrdom of Christians. They needed a spoiler about the end times, where all of this was going. The reason why you have this spoiler in your possession today is because the people survived and persevered because it motivated them to persevere. They recorded this for you encouragement, as well. This world, this is not our home. The cities of man, yes Chicago, New York City, Lafayette, are all not the city of God, but they need the city of God.

While we're here in this world, and possibly the persecution increases, the suffering and the injustices, which have always been there, increase, this city provides us with the hope to persevere. That the city of man, as corrupt as it is, will not prevail, and the city of God will. Let's let the future heavenly city that we've studied this morning motivate you to persevere through the suffering from the temporary, man-made cities that will not last. Time may be short, and we need to tell all the people about the city of God urgently. That starts here, by loving one another here. Let's pray. Father God, thank You for this message. This message from Your Word, Father, Your Word. God, thank you for giving us the spoiler, the hope of where all of this is moving so that we might love the world in the way that Your son loved us, the world. We pray these things in Christ's name, Amen.

Brent Aucoin

M.S. - Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Central Baptist Seminary
Th.M. - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Ph.D. - Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Brent Aucoin and his wife, Janet, came on staff in July of 1998.  Pastor Aucoin serves as overseer of Faith Seminary and Soul Care Ministries at Faith Church.

View Pastor Aucoin's Salvation Testmony Video