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Good Riddance

February 9, 2020 Pastor: Philip De Courcy Series: Life After Life

Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: Revelation 21:1-5

Transcript of our Sermon Audio:

Let's take our Bibles and turn to Revelation 21:1-5. We're in a series on heaven, a series we have called the Life After Life. We're actually towards the end of it. Couple more weeks and we should wrap up, but this morning we're going to come to look at the subject, Good Riddance. The point of that title is that in heaven there will be certain things present. We're looking forward to that, but there will be certain things absent and we should be looking forward to that also and I'm going to show you what those things are, and we're going to use Revelation 21:1-5 to five as a launching point. So stand in honor of God's Word. Follow along. I'm reading from the New King James Translation of Holy scripture. Revelation 21:1, "Now, I saw a new heaven and new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea, then I John saw the Holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

"And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death nor sorrow nor crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away. Then he who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And he said to me, "Write for these words are true and fearful." So reads God's word. You may be seated. I just got to be honest about the fact that when I pastored in Ohio at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, I looked for reasons to visit California in the winter.

I think you can understand that. If I was invited to preach anywhere in California, North or South during the months of December or January, I didn't even pray about it. I just knew it was God's will for me to preach in California. Now, you would understand why because there were certain things about by California I wanted to come and enjoy. There were certain things there. At any one time there was one or two of our girls at The Master's University. That was a good reason. I wanted to be there because of sunny skies, warm temperatures, golden beaches, friends and family, Santa Monica Pier, Seaport Village in San Diego and the In-N-Out Burger joint by LAX. But I didn't want to come to California just because of what would be there, I wanted to come to California because of some things that wouldn't be there, like temperatures in the tens and twenties, gray skies, long, dark, cold nights.

Ice on our windscreens slush on the roads. I think you get it. I wanted to be in California because of what would be there, but I wanted to be in California also because what wouldn't be there, and I think what's true of my desire to be in California during my Ohio winters is also true of heaven. I want to help you think this out. You and I should want to be in heaven because of what's there. Jesus is there. He's prepared a place for us there. Righteousness will be there. Health and holiness and happiness will mark that life. Friends and family are there. But I want to go to heaven not just because of what's there, I want to go to heaven because of what's not there. Tears are not there. Suffering is not there. Distance is not there. Death is not there. Satan who molests and harasses God's people won't be there.

I want to go for what's there and I want to go for what's not there. In that sense, heaven is heaven because of addition and heaven is heaven because of subtraction. One of my favorite quotes on heaven is from Dr. Adrian Rogers. Love Worth Finding Ministries, now in heaven. Southern Baptist pastor. I got to actually go to an evening service at his church just a couple of weeks ago when we were in Memphis with Matt and Ashley Shackelford. Adrian Rogers said this once, "Heaven is the absence of all that is bad and the presence of all that is good. Heaven is all that the loving heart of God can conceive and the omnipotent hand of God can provide." I love that quote, probably one of the best summaries of heaven, and there it is. Heaven is the absence of what is bad. Heaven is the presence of what is good.

Let's come and delve into that thought in a message I've called good Riddance. Now, we're going to look at Revelation 21:1-5. We're going to bounce off that into the rest of the chapter and do a little short excursion into chapter 22, but let me just put the text in its context in Revelation 21 and Revelation 22, we are now in the eternal state. Life on earth has ended, the millennial kingdom, the 1,000 year reign of Jesus at the end of human history is over. The heavens and the earth have been made new renewed and we enter upon an experience of a life far beyond our imagination." It's Eden revisited. It's paradise restored. It's life re-imagined and it's a wonderful thought. It's what Jesus talks about in Matthew 19:20, when he talks about the regeneration of all things. It's what Paul envisions in Colossians 1:19-20 when he tells us that by the end of history, Jesus will not have only reconciled people to himself, he will have reconciled the planet to himself.

He will have reversed the curse. He will have revisited paradise as it once was. We'll have a new creation for a new community. What was lost in Genesis because of sin will be found again at the end of the book of Revelation. At the end of Revelation, we find God saying, "No more, no more sin, no more sorrow, no more Satan." Let's follow that. Open your Bible, follow along, or turn your phone on if that's your thing. Revelation 21:1-5 and beyond. Here's the first thing we'll see. What's not going to be in heaven. No sea. There's no sea. Look at verse one. "Now, I saw a new heaven and a new earth." We're in the eternal state. We're beyond the millennial kingdom. The old earth as we know it is no longer. New heaven, new earth for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away.

We read about that in 2nd Peter 3:8-10, "Then I John saw the Holy city, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God." And we read in verse one about that time there was no more sea, S-E-A. Now, that kind of hits us, doesn't it? It's kind of a radical thought since we're, in many ways, a coastal community here in Orange County. We can be at the beautiful Newport Beach or Huntington Beach in a jiffy. And now we're being told that won't exist in the new earth. No sea, no oceans. There'll be no seven seas to sail. That's staggering given the fact that right now you know this from your early education, three fourths of the earth are covered in water. Now, we're not saying there's no water, we're not saying there's no mister or moisture, but we are saying there's no sea as we understand it. Now, here's how we can maybe help ourselves.

What is John talking about here? What's he getting at? What is being removed? Here's the point I'm making. Bodies of water would have created barriers between people, and lands and places that had never existed. So here's what I think is being driven at when we read no more sea, no more separation, no more barriers, no more distance between people and places. Don't forget when John writes this in Revelation 1:9, where is he? He's a prisoner on the isle of Patmos for the testimony of Jesus Christ. He was a pastor in Ephesus and now he has to look across a body of water across the sea. He's distant from his people. He's separated from his church. I think John would have embraced this no more sea, no more separation.

If that's the idea, I think, it well could be. Lets roam with that for a moment or two because you and I know right here this morning that life and death puts distance between us, between friends and between family. Ecclesiastes 3:5 says, "There's a time to embrace and there's a time to refrain from embracing." Let me modernize that. There's a time to say hello and there's a time to say goodbye and life tends to pull us apart. Sometimes it's just natural and sometimes it's forced, but life tends to separate us, and that's hard. Partings are never easy. Separations are tough. What about Acts 20:36-37. Paul's been ministering to the church in Acts 20, and he's about to leave them. He's been with them for three years. He has shed tears. He has taught them the whole counsel of God and he's about to leave.

I think it's in Ephesus, and the elders come to meet him as he's about to leave and it says, "They fall on his neck and they cry." It's like they don't want Paul to go. You've got days like that, don't you? Days when a loved one or a friend had to leave, life brought you apart. What about soldiers leaving for deployment? Some of our families know that here this morning. What about missionaries leaving for kingdom service across the world? What about children leaving for college? Married children leaving for another part of the country? That's the human experience. Life pulls us apart, and death is the ultimate separation as it takes our loved ones, young and old from us. But here's the promise. There's going to come a day when there'll be no more separation. We'll be together with the Lord.

You know what? I can identify with this. As I was reading this text, I was reminded of how, on a given day, I can feel the pain of separation from my family and June can feel it too. We have been here since 1994. It's got better, but has never gone away. I'm not a deeply emotional guy, but you put Danny Boy on and I'll just become a puddle of tears. As I think about my aging mother, who I'm going to see in a couple of weeks, God willing. Don't see her enough. When I see her, she tells me she thinks about me every day of her life and the girls. But she's given us up for the gospel, but that's tough. I remember distinctly, so does June, the night we were with her family and my family in Belfast because we were leaving in the morning to go to the Masters seminary.

I remember in the house, my dad saying, "Man, this feels like a funeral." I remember June's dad telling us as he prayed for us, "Partings are a little like dying," and so they are. I remember the next morning we went to Aldergrove Airport outside Belfast to take the flight to London and then into Los Angeles. The girls were five, three and one. They were my mum's only grandchildren at the time. The tears, pastoral friends there. It was tough. I remember saying my final goodbye going down the gangway onto the aircraft, and I decided I wasn't going to look back. I couldn't. I didn't want to look up my mum's face as I took her three ground daughters from her.

We got onto the plane. I think June cried for 15 minutes on the flight to London. The guy next to her was like, "What's going on?" But it's natural. You should cry. You should be moved to be pulled away from friends and family, life does that. Some of it's forced, some of it's natural, some of it's God's will. In fact, here's a beautiful little story I remembered as I thought about this no more sea. Frances Ridley Havergal was a hymn writer. She was English, so she gave us hymns like Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated, Lord To Thee. She gave us Like a River, Glorious is God's Perfect Peace. She struck up a friendship with an American hymn writer called Fanny Crosby, the blind poet and hymn writer who gave us Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, or All the Way my Savior Leads me, what have to ask beside? They struck up a friendship and her British counterpart wrote her a poem one day and she called it an English tribute to Fanny Crosby.

Here's what it says. Now, listen to the words. "Dear sister over the sea, An English heart goes forth to thee. We are linked by a cable of faith and song, flashing bright sympathy swift along. One in the East and one in the West, singing for Him whom our souls love best. Singing for Jesus, telling His love, All the way to our home above Where the severing sea, with its restless tide never shall hinder, and never divide. Sister, what will our meeting be when our hearts shall sing and our eyes shall see" What a beautiful poem. the severing sea that kept them apart. Some of our loved ones are sailing those seas on aircraft carriers and ships, flying across those seas in airplanes for our defense.

Some of our children are on the mission field with our grandchildren. We're longing for the day, aren't we? When there is no more sea. Number two, no sorrow. No sea, no sorrow. Go back to our text. Revelation 21:4, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, no more sorrow nor crying. It's all the same thing. Sorrow, crying, God wiping away our tears. Beautiful. The golden streets of heaven will never be stained by a falling tear. You'll never have a handkerchief in your pocket in heaven because God's going to wipe away all tears. The tears of repentance when we have sinned, the tears of grief when we have lost loved ones, the tears of disappointment when life doesn't work out, our love is rejected. The tears of physical pain and mental anguish when our bodies, our minds are broken. The tears of frustration with a world that really doesn't work. That's something to look forward to. Job 16 verse 16 talks about the fact that Job says that my face was flush with tears.

Psalm 42:3 tells us that the Psalmist experienced sorrow in his life to a point where he says that tears were my food night and day. He's saying "I cried a lot." Wow. All over this world there are children that are crying. People are crying over graves and caskets. Life is a trail of tears. I just read a wonderful book, bought a copy for my daughter Beth. It's called Holding Onto Hope. It's written by Nancy Guthrie. Really strong evangelical voice. She had a little girl called hope. Only lived I think several weeks, if not several months, and she writes about how she handled that, and there's a chapter in the book called Tears. Here's what she says. She said, she went in one day to a cosmetic store to get some mascara, and as she looked at different brands, she said to the girl behind the cosmetic desk, she said, "You know what? You see this mascara. I like it. I like the color. Does the mascara run when you cry?"

The girl says, "No, it doesn't." And then with a kind of chuckle, she says, "Why? Are you going to cry? To which she replied, "Yes, I am." You won't live long in life before you're crying. It's part of the human experience. Sin created tears. God collects tears and heaven canceled tears. By the way, that thought about God collecting our tears, it's beautiful, isn't it? Psalm 56:8. Where the Psalmist says, "Oh God, collect my tears in your bottle or keep my tears in your bottle." I never had read that verse until one day my mother called me up about something and she mentioned that verse, and then I looked it up. And then over the years I've done a little bit of studying.

From what I can tell, both in the Persian culture and in the times and culture of the Bible, there were little alabaster bottles. There was no glass during that time. Alabaster bottles that people kept, and during the most troubling, challenging times in their life, if they were crying or a loved one was crying, they'd collect those tears in those little bottles. You can buy those today. Tear bottles. In fact, I was interested to learn ladies, this would have been a bit of a challenge that Persian Kings had several wives as you can imagine. And when he came back, he looked at all their tear bottles to see which one cried the most in his absence. I don't fancy that competition, but you get the point.

The Psalmist says, "Lord, would you collect my tears in your bottle?" And God does that. God sees every falling tear and those tears are marked in heaven and they move the heart of God. So much so that when his son comes and he's tempted on all points like as, we and he feels our weakness, we see that. Don't we in John 11:35, shortest verse in the Bible, "And Jesus wept." Because he saw the hurt of Martha and Mary at the loss of their brother Lazarus. He saw what death that had come about because of what sin was doing to mankind. In fact, the Bible says he snorted, literally almost, he snorted. It was a word that was used of the nostrils of a horse flaring. It spoke of emotion. Jesus was viscerally agitated by the presence of death, by heartbroken hearts and he wept.

Sin creates tears, but God collects tears and there's a promise here, someday God will cancel tears. Back to that story I mentioned. When my mum called me and introduced that verse just to encourage you. She called me to say, "You know what Philip? Your aunt Margaret just got saved." My Aunt Margaret had a checkered life. Her and her husband had some challenges. My uncle Joe was a drunk and eventually later in life he gets saved. But Margaret's the first to get saved in the marriage. And my mum called me crying with joy and she says, Philip, Margaret got saved." And she says, "You know I've not prayed for her for years, I've shed tears for her years and God has kept my tears in his bottle and He has answered my prayer." That's when I looked up that verse.

Oh my friend, God sees our tears, comes an answer to our prayers and some day, but will wipe away those tears. Now, before I leave that thought, let me say this, this idea of God wiping away every tear from their eyes. No more sorrow, no more crying. That's later that's not now. You say, "Pastor, what do you mean by that?" What I mean by that is this, that you will cry and you must cry. God gave us tear ducts. And you know what? Tears are a means of releasing our pain, releasing the stress that life brings and the heartache that comes with certain circumstances. Tears allow us in the company of friends to identify with their pain. I was telling the first service, it came into my mind, it wasn't in my notes, that I came home one day from an examination at the Irish Baptist College during my first pastoral training and my brain was fried.

I'd had a long day. I'd studied late into the night. I was coming home just to enjoy a cup of tea and maybe fall asleep on the couch. June ushered me into our little apartment. We were on the third floor. In kind of hush tone, she says, "You won't believe this." And we talked about our neighbors that we were getting to know. Then she said, "You know what? Their son who had disability, he had fallen down a flight of the stairs on our apartment." And those stairs were concrete and he'd whacked his head. And then as the day progressed, he passed away. They had come home and June said, "You've got to go in." And I said, "No, you go in." Because that's a tough assignment, right? What do you say? What do you do? I'm a minister in training talking about a baptism of fire. No classroom gets you ready for that.

So, I went in and after a few things, they weren't saved, but their daughter was a missionary. We talked a little, I heard the story. I tried to identify with them. I realized I think God impressed on my heart "Don't say much". At some point, it kind of got quiet in the room and you could hear them whimpering. I just cried a little with them. It wasn't forced that God just in his grace, unless you have a heart of stone, at some point, a couple of tears just started running down my cheeks. I think that meant the world to them. Tears. They're part of life. They help release our pain, they help mark our pain and they help us identify with people in pain.

In fact, Nancy Guthrie, to go back to that book. A very interesting statement that challenged me and I want to throw it your way and learn this lesson. She said, "As I was dealing with Hopes loss and the child's death," she said, "others seem to want to rush me through my sadness." I think that's a temptation as God's people, to rush people through their sadness. You know what? We need to identify with people in their sadness, be sad with them in their sadness. Here's what she said in that book, "Our culture wants to put the band-aid of heaven on the hurt of losing someone we love. Sometimes it seems like people around us think that because we know the one we love is in heaven, we shouldn't be sad, but they don't understand how far away heaven feels and how long the future seems.

As we see before us years where we have to spend time on earth before we see our loved ones in heaven". That's just a good thought. Oh, God's going to wipe away our tears. That's later. This is now. You should cry. You will cry and you should cry with others and don't rush them through their sadness. Take the journey with them, and hopefully in God's patience and perseverance, they get through it. Let's move on. No sea, amen. No sorrow, amen. No sepulchers, no graves, no tombs. Look at verse four, "And there shall be no more death." How good does that sound? We just had a funeral here yesterday at 11:30. We've had several in the last few weeks. Death doesn't take any vacations. Death is indiscriminant. It'll come and rob us of our children, it will come and rob us of our parents. What a wonderful thought that there's coming a day on planet earth when the new earth is born and the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, there'll be no hearses driving through the streets of gold.

There'll be no headstones dotting the landscape of heaven. No grief, no graves, no goodbyes. That's something to look forward to. Would you agree with me this morning? I think I'll just say it for myself. I've been to far too many funerals and I hate them. The crying, the heartache, the loneliness that comes on the other side of it, the pain that proceeded it. It'd be great when that's just all done with. In fact, as sweet as life can be sometimes, the Bible says there is but a step between us and death. It's never far away. We live under its shadow. Maybe to help us appreciate the promise that this is, we would need to remind ourselves, and in the 20th century it has been estimated that 200 million people died of starvation, war, persecution, and outright murder. Hitler killed 6 million Jews.

Stalin starved 7 million Ukrainians. That's the world we live in. Why don't we come closer to home? 57 million babies have been murdered and cut to shreds since 1973 because of Roe v. Wade in the United States, 1 billion abortions worldwide since 1980. That's staggering. Think about that, 1 billion. On top of that, 170,000 people die every day, 60 million every year. If 2020 is anything like 2019, 600,000 Americans will die of cancer. I want to tell you, life's journey is a death March. As soon as you find your feet as a toddler, thank God you don't know it then, but you're starting to walk towards death because life's journey is a death march. Psalm 89:40, it tells us, "Which man living can escape death?" Is it appointed unto men once to die. Because of Adam's sin, death came in to the world, but thank God Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

Jesus came to abolish death. 2nd Timothy 1:11 tells us that Jesus came to abolish death and bring light and life and immortality through the gospel. He says, "I'm the resurrection and the life, though a man die yet shall he live." That's where we're at. We've got the hope of the gospel Jesus paid for our sins in his death. Jesus conquered the grave in his resurrection and right now, though we die yet shall we live, but right now Christians are dying and non Christians are dying despite the resurrection, despite the gospel, but there's coming a day when the full work of God is done within history and death itself will cease. I love what Philip Graham Ryken says, "Someday death will find its death in the death of the savior and life will come to life in his resurrection from the grave". Oh, I love that. There's coming a day when death will die a death because of the death of Jesus and life will come to life because of the resurrection.

That's where we're at in Revelation 21:1-4. It's such hope and we've got to bring it to our friends and our neighbors because you're not ready to live until you're ready to die, and the gospel makes you ready to die and the gospel promises that at some point death itself dies. Listen to J. K. Rowlings who was the author of the Harry Potter series of books. I think she speaks for many people around us. My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry's parents and then there is Voldemort's obsession with conquering death and his, listen, quest for immortality at any price. The goal for anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We're all frightened of it, but death has been conquered, and it wasn't magic. It was a supernatural act of a supernatural God who sent his son to abolish death through his own death, and wants to bring life after life through his resurrection. I love that.

Voldemort was on a quest for immortality at any price. I want to tell you the price of immortality, the blood of Jesus Christ. If you put your hope there, that he tested death for all men, you can be saved, you could have eternal life. My father told me when he became a young Christian, he used to go to a service in Belfast on a Friday night or a Saturday night. My mind doesn't remember, but it was called the Coleman's mission, and it was led by several men, but one was a man who had been just wonderfully saved and had a tremendous testimony. He was a bit of a character. He was a man by the name of Sammy Spence, and my dad said, "You know what Philip? I want to tell you something. When Sammy Spence drove around Belfast, he drove around in a hearse." He went and bought himself a hearse as a car.

Then he wrote down the side of the hearse these words, "From death unto life." The hearse was a living testimony to the gospel, that some day, you know what? Hearses go to the scrap yard and we go from death unto life in Jesus Christ. Okay, no sea, no sepulchers, no sorrow, no suffering. Amen. No suffering, that sound good? Look at verse four. No more sorrow, no more crying. There shall be no more pain. Anybody experience pain recently in your head, in your foot, in your heart, physical or emotional? Of course, you have. Ours is a world writhing in pain. And you know what I think it's interesting, that after saying there is no more death, he says there's no more pain, because you see, sometimes ongoing pain can be worse than death. I've said this before, I say it in this context.

Sometimes it takes more courage to live with ongoing pain than it does to die, but there's coming a time when death will be ended and pain, suffering will be brought to a finish. Ours is a world right now populated by broken hearts, broken minds, brains that don't function, broken bodies. As you look around you, unless you go through life with blinkers, if you look close enough, you'll see very quickly people all around you in the vice grip of pain. Think about the pain killers we consume as a society on any given day. I'm going to tell you that one of the greatest pain killers, the promise of heaven, where there is no pain, no suffering. What is Paul saying in Romans 8:18-25 that, "Our present suffering cannot be compared to the glory that awaits us." Do you have physical pain this morning? Because of illness or chronic condition? Gone.

You have mental pain this morning where you have reoccurring bouts of anxiety and depression? Gone. Do you have circumstantial pain this morning because of some bitter providence, a situation you've got to go on living in that's hurtful and challenging. Gone. Relational pain, broken hearts, friendships, spiritual pain like a fractured faith or a big fall into sin? Gone. Even the parental and paternal pain of a loving father who disciplines his children, gone. There's the promise of passing pain. Here's the promise of healed bodies. Here's the promise of peaceful minds. Here's the promise of pleasant circumstances. Here's the promise of right relationships. Here's the promise of faith without a fight. Heaven is pain free.

No prescriptions, no pills, no physios, no physicians, no pharmacies. Meditating on heaven is the greatest pain killer. I like the story Rick Warren tells, he was out shopping one day with his wife, they're in a car, they had one of their children in the back seat. His three year old daughter strapped to the child seat, and his wife ran in to the store, and he decided, hey, it's not going to be that long. He kind of calculated. She'll be out soon enough. So he decided not to take his child out of the seat. It was one of those warm Southern California days so he put the windows down a little bit and then the kid started to get a little antsy and started asking to get taken out of her chair, and he refused.

Every time looking over to the doors to see if his wife would come out, and this would end before it ended badly, but it ended badly. Because as little daughter, three year old stuck her head out the window and for everybody to hear in the car lot, she shouted, "Please God, get me out of this." To his embarrassment, but aren't we all stuck like the little girl? Stuck in dying bodies, stuck with minds that don't always function? Bad habits. Crippling circumstances, bad choices and the consequences, and don't we all say, "Oh God, get us out of this." He will. Right now, you're going to have to walk by faith. Right now, you're going to have to look on to Jesus and endure. Right now, you're going to have to persevere, but he will get you out of this.

No sanctuary. No sanctuary. What an interesting promise here. Look at verse 21, scroll down now to verse 22. This the description of the glory of the New Jerusalem. Next week, I'm going to kind of work my way through 21 and 22 with you, but we're just kind of cherry picking some ideas here. Notice this. Speaking of the new earth, the new heaven, and the New Jerusalem come down out of heaven, "And I saw no temple in it." Wow. So there's no sea, no death, no tears, no pain. Now, there's no temple for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are in its temple, and the city had no need of the sun. You could kind of lump that in. No sun, no sanctuary. Now, let me think about that. No temple. What do you think that means? What's John being shown here? What comes to mind when you think of the temple?

If I said to you, "Hey, speak now of the temple." What does that conjure up? You'd go, I think, fundamentally, that would remind me of the temple in Jerusalem built by Solomon. It's the place where God's presence dwelt, the Shekinah Glory was found. It's where the Israelites worship God. It's where the Levitical priests served the people and served God. Within that temple, it was the Holy of Holies and only the high priest could go in there, but once a year to atone for the people's sin. If you know your history, you'd say, "As magnificent as that temple was, Jesus told us it would be destroyed," and it was destroyed in AD70 by Titus, the Roman. It is laid in ruins. In fact, you might say, "Hey, pastor, remember, two years ago, or a year ago, I was with you in Israel and we stood and we saw remnants of that wall. That's about it that's all that's left.

When we read our Bible, we hear that in this dispensation, the church is the temple of God, but we also believe that there's coming a rebuilding of that temple in the millennial kingdom. But now we're beyond history in the church age, we're beyond the millennial kingdom. We're in the eternal state, and it says here, no temple, no temple. We're going to enjoy God's unfiltered presence. I think the point is this. No temple means that there's no limited localized expression of God's presence on the earth. Because where there's a sense in which God is omnipresent, he's everywhere, to the Israelite, the temple was where the glory of God could be found. It dwelt there. The Shekinah glory covered the temple. It's where the transcendent glory of God resides and abides.

But here's what we're told, that the Almighty and the Lamb is the New Jerusalem's temple. We're told in Revelation 21 and 22 that God will dwell among us. What's it saying here is there's no need for sacred structures, there's no need for human mediators, believers will have immediate and intimate access and fellowship with God through Christ, and there's no need for sun or moon because his glory will illuminate the place. The Lamb is the light in the new Jerusalem. That's a wonderful thought. So here's what it's saying. You and I will have immediate and intimate access and fellowship with God through Christ all the time. No distance, nothing clouding that. In some sense, the new Jerusalem will be a Holy of Holies.

Isn't it interesting when you study the new Jerusalem and the measurements of it. It's 1400 miles long, 1400 miles wide, 1400 miles high. We'll look at that next week, but that means it's a cube. And if you go back to the measurements of the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and the temple, it was a cube. Why don't we connect the dots? I think it's justified. It's saying that the New Jerusalem is just like the Holy of Holies, but here's the difference. Unlike one man having limited access, all of God's people will have full access. That's a wonderful promise that God's presence won't be manifest in some centralized location. You and I will enjoy the full manifestation of God's presence.

You know what? That's going to be different because there are times we know God is with us, we feel it. The circumstances show it in demonstrable manner. But let's be honest, there are times on our journey to heaven in our walk with God, when a sense of God's presence is clouded and seems absent. Maybe that's me, but I think it's you. In fact, I know it's the experience of God's saints at different times. I'll give you a few verses and I'll read them. You can write them down. Write down Psalm 10:1. What do we read here? Is the Psalmist. "Why do you stand far away, oh Lord. Why do you hide in times of trouble?" Do you ever feel like that? Where you look out, and you know what? It seems that I don't see God's hand in this and I don't know God's presence in this. Psalm 13. "How long, oh Lord, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide and be far from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul having sorrow in my heart daily?"

What about Psalm 22:1-2? Jesus will take these words on his lips, but they reflect an historic situation, probably in David's life. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Sin separates us from God. It corrupts our experience of God's presence. Ugly emotions can cloud our thinking. In fact, our hearts and our experience of God. Satan loves to challenge the believers experience of God's presence. But some day, there'll be no distance, nothing will cloud our experience, our knowledge of God and our experience of God will not be indirect. It will be direct. We will see his manifest presence. In our new body, we will be fitted to be able to live in his unapproachable light.

It says, no man has seen God and lived. Well, there's gonna come a day when we'll see him face to face and live. It's going to be beautiful. It'll be the sense that, maybe multiplied by a million trillion, the sense that a child has in the presence of a parent love knowing they're secure. That's what's being promised here. No sanctuary. The whole of heaven as a Holy of Holies. Just recently, I was rereading the story of Oswald Chambers. Does that name ring a bell? If you've read the book, My Utmost For His Highest, well, he's the author. When you read that book, you'd maybe tend to think, man, this guy was probably a professor at Oxford, or was an endowed chair at Cambridge. He was a good thinker. No, no, he was a chaplain to the British army.

Born in Scotland. He then goes out under the auspices of the YMCA to Egypt during the 1st World War, and there he dies at a fairly young age. He dies because of a complication with regards to appendicitis. Dies at 43, 1917. His wife was a gift to him in so many ways if you read his life story. She was a stenographer by trade, and when he dies, that's when his books actually start to come out. She had written down word for word many of his sermons and she will put together some 40 books of his. What a wonderful gift she was. When he dies, she sends out a telegram to some selected friends and family back in Britain Oswald In His Presence. That just about says it all.

You want to describe a Christian leaving this life for the next, that will do in his presence. It's not that we're not in his presence, but our sin gets in the way, our emotions cloud it, circumstances can press in against us and block out that sense of God, and we walk by faith, not by sight, then we'll, by sight and by direct encounter, experience the presence of God. That's something wonderful to look forward to. He will be the son. He will radiate his presence in that final home. Okay, final thought. We'll probably come back to this next week, but skip over into Chapter 22 in verse three, and notice one more statement about the no more. I think there's 12 of these. I've only covered several. You can do your own study.

Look at verse three. There shall be no more curse for the throne of God and the lamb shall be in it and his servants shall serve him and they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. That's a staggering statement, staggering in its implications, staggering in what it promises. It promises to reverse and remove all the consequences of Adam and Eve's disobedience and the intended judgment of God upon them upon the earth. It's all going to get rolled back. Wow. If you go back to Genesis 3:16-19, God makes childbirth painful, God acknowledges that sin not only separates men from Him. It will put animosity and competition between men and women, husbands and wives.

The ground was cursed, death comes. We could go on. In fact, all of that language, think about that, the garden, death, sorrow, is that not the language of Revelation 21 and 22? We're back with the tree of life. We're back in a garden. There's a river of life. God removes pain. God removes death. See, history is coming full circle. Don't limit the doctrine of salvation to the saving of your soul. As glorious as that is, as wonderful as that is, don't limit the doctrine of salvation to the gathering of God's people in the church. As glorious as that is, I want to tell you, salvation will take in, not only God reconciling his people to himself, God will reconcile all things to himself.

He'll make a new earth and a new heaven. He will expunge the heartbroken, horrible history of humanity in rebellion against him. It's all going to get reversed. Man's rebellion and mismanagement of the earth is over. Satan's reign of terror ended. The old earth, subject to futility no more. The effects of sin, expunged, death, disease, disaster, disappointment, despair, all things made new. Isn't that a wonderful thought? All things made new. The former things will have passed away. I don't know about you. I like new things. I like new cars. I like new clothes. I just like new things. Not that I get to enjoy them all the time, but I just make the point. All things made new. We can't wrap our heads around that, and that newness means that the oldness is gone.

Eden revisited, paradise restored. Genesis and Revelation tells us that God has allowed history to come full circle and sin is not victorious and Satan is not triumphant. God is. Did you notice verse three again? "And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and the Lamb are in it." The throne of God. God has taken dominion back once more in a manifest and maner. The mismanagement of the world is over because this morning you and I live East of Eden. You understand that? Morally and geographically, we live East of Eden. Man was kicked out of the garden, banished from God's presence. Death, disease and disaster marks human history. Tears, sorrow, bereavement, conflict, wars. You get up in the morning, life may be good for you.

You may be drinking your coffee, put the television on, or go to your news app, and what are you learning about? Learning about the coronavirus spreading like a plague? We've lost several more troops in the Middle East. Some Thai soldier ran a rampage yesterday and shot 27 people and wounded another 40. We're living East of Eden, but not for long. That's what I love about Genesis and Revelation as we close. Have you ever noticed that all the language of Genesis one to 11 is found in Revelation 19 to 22? Marriage of Adam and Eve, the marriage of the last Adam and his bride and the church. Satan introduces sin into the world. Satan and sin are judged. God gives human dominion over the earth. God's people will reign with him forever.

Death enters the world. Now, death is put to death. Sin brings pain and tears. God comforts his people, wipes away every tear and removes pain. Sinful people are banished from God's presence, but in the New Jerusalem, we live within God's presence and he lives among his people. Languages of sinful humanity are confused. God's people are a multicultural people. The nations go up to the New Jerusalem to worship God. Sinful people are cursed. The curse is removed. I could go on. You get the point. Genesis and Revelation, the book ends, it tells us it all comes full circle and we're back to the beginning, but it's a better beginning because it's a new beginning that will never be like the beginning gone wrong.

As we close this morning and the team comes up, let me tell you a story that I think just puts a bow on all of this. I don't know if you know much about the Scottish Covenanters. June and I have traced their history a little bit. We've gone to several of the graves of Scottish Covenanters in Scotland. I've preached at conventicles during that time in Scotland where these men and women are remembered. The Scottish Covenanters were butchered by the Crown of England because they wouldn't recognize the throne of England as the sovereign over the church. They believe that King Jesus was over his kingdom, and they wouldn't acknowledge that the King was the head of the church. For that, they paid a heavy price. They were butchered, they were harassed, they were hung. Let me tell you the story of one of them. Donald Cargill, 27th of July, 1681, it's a long time ago, but he deserves to be remembered.

He's sentenced to death. He climbs up the steps to the scaffold. Here's what he says. "The Lord knows I go up this ladder with less fear than I ever entered a pulpit." He's saying when he comes up a set of steps like this and stands behind something like this, he's more fearful of that than he is of the hangman's noose oh the sacred desk, the hallowedness of preaching God's word. Then as the noose is put around his neck, here are his last words, "Farewell all created enjoyments, pleasures, delights. Farewell sinning and suffering, farewell praying and believing, and welcome heaven and singing. Welcome joy in the Holy Spirit. Welcome father, son and spirit. Into thy hands, I commend my spirit. Farewell, welcome." I leave all that is bad for all that is good because heaven is the presence of all that is good and it's the absence the of all that is bad.

It is all that the omniscient mind of God can imagine and the omnipotent hand of God provide. Lord, we thank you for this hope, it bursts vague in our hearts this morning in the presence of death, troubled by anxiety, crippled by our sin, living in a broken world. We see movies that try to imagine utopia. There are novels written that imagine a better world, but we thank you for the Bible. We thank you for the historical record of your work within history. Thank you for Jesus Christ. We thank you that someday death will die a death in the death of Jesus, and life will come to life because of his resurrection. And we thank you that we can look forward to a world made new, Eden revisited, life reimagined. No, sea, no sorrow, no sepulchers, no suffering, no sanctuary, no sin.

It's no wonder John said, "Even so come Lord Jesus." So do we, come quickly, but oh God, as we pray that we pray for our loved ones, our children, our friends who haven't come to you before you come back? May they rush to the cross this morning. May they find hope for life and death in the gospel of Jesus Christ, for we pray and ask it all in Jesus' name, amen.

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