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A New Home For The New You, Part 1

From the series The Real Heaven

Jesus told us that He was going to prepare a place for us - those who are His followers. Ever wonder what that place is going to look like? Chip takes us on a tour of the place Jesus is preparing for us, and it just might blow your mind.

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Message Transcript

Perhaps one of the most classic movies of all time, Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz, and there’s a scene that I bet, when I start it, you can join with me. There’s chaos everywhere, Dorothy is going to get to go someplace special. And she is clicking her heels and repeating, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Remember that? And then all this stuff happens with the limited technical graphics they had in those days. But I’ve got to tell you, Dorothy is right. There is no place like home.

I mean, there’s no place like your – home is where you belong. Home is where you thrive. Home is where you can just totally be yourself. Your home is designed with your personality and your taste, the kind of furniture, the kind of drapes, the people you love the most.

And that old hymn writer was really, really correct who said, “This world is not our home.” And that raises a very interesting question, in fact, a series of questions. If this world is not our home and if heaven is our home, what’s it really going to be like? How do you prepare for it? And so, open your notes if you will. Let’s talk about some of the questions we have started to ask and answer. And we are going to really dive deep into these today.

Question number one is: will heaven be an actual place? You hear people talk about, “Well, maybe it’s a state of mind or you kind of float around.” Second question is: what will we look like in heaven? Like, if you die when you’re ten, will you be a ten-year-old forever? Or, like, if you die when you’re ninety-seven it might be like, “Well, that’s a pretty nice place but…” Saint Thomas Aquinas actually believed that everyone will be thirty-three years old, because that’s when Jesus died. He may be right. I don’t know.

Third question is: will heaven be boring? It’s a long time. Or, if it’s not boring, what will we do for all eternity? Forever. Ever. Will there be animals in heaven? Some of you are really concerned about your dogs and your cats, and a couple of horses. I’ve had people say, “Look, I’ve got a couple questions. I’ve got to talk to you about this. And you know what? You actually might be surprised. I’m not sure about your particular dog or cat, but pretty rest assured, animals are going to be where we are.

Where will you live in heaven? I mean, is it mansions? Condos? Apartments? Huts? And then, finally, who gets to go to heaven, and why? And so, what I want to let you know is: this is a really big topic and we have only spent a short amount of time. The two books I would recommend – I hope that this has whet your appetite. Randy Alcorn probably the most exhaustive book on heaven. He read a hundred and forty books in preparation for writing this. And every question you have ever thought about heaven, and probably twenty-five more, at least I thought, Hm, never thought of that. Really good resource.

And there are times where he kind of makes conjectures, but at least he tells you. He says, “I don’t know this for sure, but…” And then on the exegetical, kind of, if you really wanted to dig into a couple of the core passages, The Glory of Heaven by John MacArthur also, good resource.

Here’s what you need to understand about heaven. It’s the abode of God. So, at the heart of everything about heaven, it’s where God is. The second thing you need to understand is that God made us for Himself; He loves us, He wants to be with us. And just like there are different environments for different species, if you will, some only can thrive in the desert. Some can only thrive in a rainforest.

God made mankind and He made us to thrive in a place called the earth. And so, what you see is when you really study heaven and what the Scripture says carefully is there are three eras of mankind in relationship to God and they all have something to do with the earth.

I put a little chart, notice your notes. There is the first earth, or Eden, the garden, the very first perfect world or environment. It says God visits man. Heaven is above but the pre-incarnate Christ, I believe, came and walked in the cool of the day and talked with our original parents.

And it was a perfect environment, there were trees and fruit and animals and there was beauty and it was breathtaking. There was absolutely no sin. No one had made any mistakes. There was complete vulnerability, transparency, and love between God and mankind and people for one another. That’s the first two chapters of the Bible.

Chapter 3 begins with what’s called “the Fall,” or we rebelled. There’s a coup against God. We want our own way and it’s been passed on so chapter 3 all the way to Revelation 20, sin enters in – and because of sin, death. And then it not only impacts the human being, but it impacts the creation.

Romans 8 says, “The whole creations groans, longing to be restored.” And so, tornados and tsunamis and earthquakes, all the kind of things that were never a part of the perfect environment, with the fall of man and sin entering, impacts not only us and our relationships with God, each other, but the creation.

In this window of time, there’s the intermediate state, as theologians call it, or heaven where God’s abode is, right now. And what we know is during this season, God rescued mankind.

The second person of the Godhead, Jesus, came to earth, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, demonstrated what the Father is like, and then He died upon a cross to pay for or cover sin to break the curse, rose from the dead the third day, and then for a period of about forty days, before five hundred varied eyewitnesses, in a resurrected body, told them what the future would be like and He was their hope. “For whosoever would believe, would trust in the free gift.”

So, you have a first earth, you have a fallen earth, and then you actually have a future earth or a new earth and a new heaven, Revelation chapter 21 and 22, it’s what we’re going to look at. We’re going to actually learn that heaven is going to come down on a new earth that God creates so that God can be with us and we will thrive yet again like that first earth.

So, with that as the backdrop, I want to talk about what it’s actually going to be like when heaven will be on earth. And that’s not a misprint in your notes where it says, “What will heaven be like on the new earth?” Circle that real big word “heaven.” I didn’t purposefully write, “What will life be like on the new earth?”

Because we will learn what life is going to be like but what you’re going to learn is the New Jerusalem, heaven, new heaven, is actually going to come down on a new earth and we’re going to see what this new earth is like and what our experience will be.

To answer that question, “What will heaven be like on the new earth?” There are three, what I’ll call, “truth” statements from Scripture. Truth statement number one is it will be a lot like the new me. Circle “new” if you will.

And what I mean by that is that something happens to you before you make it to this new earth, in the future, and the earth will be a lot like the new you. A resurrected body is what you’re going to experience.

When you die, the very end of time, there will be a full resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked and followers of Christ will have a resurrected body. Open your Bibles, if you will, to 1 Corinthians 15. I just want you to look at a couple verses here. 1 Corinthians 15.

And the apostle Paul is talking about the resurrection. And the issue comes up, is it true? And if so, what’s it going to be like? And if it is true and it is so, then what kind of bodies will we have?

And so, you pick it up in verse 35, and he’s giving a defense of the resurrection. He says, “But someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised?’” And here’s the question, “With what kind of body will they come?”

And then he goes into this explanation where he looks at nature and he goes, “Look, when seeds go in the ground, something that comes out of the ground isn’t like the seed.” So, in other words, our physical bodies die and his argument will be, just like in nature, you’ll have a different kind of body.

The word “Adam,” in Hebrew, is “Adamah,” for “ground.” The first Adam, our forefather, had a physical body and then the last Adam is Christ and He came and He brought eternal life. And so, what he’s going to, his whole argument about the resurrection is going to be, the first Adam will die, and we all had a physical body. Christ, when we’re united with Him, when we’re resurrected, we will have a resurrection body that is just like Christ’s.

So, you remember when He walked on the earth after His resurrection? He had a meal, He ate fish, He drank. He said, “The next time we’re going to drink this, we’re going to do it in the kingdom.” He had some capabilities that were quite different in terms of He was in this place, then He was in this place.

But it was real, it was physical, it was concrete. He wasn’t floating around, He wasn’t a ghost, He wasn’t a spirit. Here’s all I want you to get: What this new place on this future earth is going to be like is just as your body will be transformed and resurrected into something new, but not completely foreign or different. You will look like you.

Jesus, in His resurrected body, could be recognized. He actually, to this day, in heaven at the right hand of the Father, you can see where His hands are, you can see where He has been pierced. So, it’s not like so different that it’s weird. It’s familiar but it’s new.

Now, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. The Bible says that just as that happens to our physical bodies, the same thing happens, the earth will be restored. The earth will be restored.

Sometimes when you think this thought of a new heaven or a new earth, if you’re like me at least, it sounds kind of foreign because it’s not been taught much in the Church. In fact, one of the things about Randy Alcorn’s book, he read a hundred and forty books and he said, “We’ve gone, like, a hundred years and not talked a lot about certain parts of what the Bible is really clear about.” We’ve sort of got this idea that people float around and they sing with angels and they play harps all the time.”

And he said, “Really the Bible, all the way back, seven hundred years before the time of Christ, a prophet named Isaiah prophesied in advance that God, in the final day, would make a new heaven and a new earth. Isaiah 65:17, follow along as I read.

He says, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.” So, seven hundred years before Jesus is even born, there’s this prediction that at the very end of time, this will occur.

Well then, the question during Jesus’ time, He dies, He’s resurrected, and the disciples are out preaching and teaching of this heaven and this hope and it’s a very difficult world and they begin to say, “Well, when is He going to come?” And Peter says, “He is not slow, He’s patient because He wants everyone to be there.”

And then people are arguing and saying, “Oh, you know, I don’t know if He’s ever really going to come,” and so in the context Peter says, “That’s the way they thought in the time of Noah.” And there was a flood and there was a destruction.

And then Peter explains, “This is what is going to happen and how it’s going to happen before there is a new heaven and a new earth. Follow along, 2 Peter chapter 3 verses 9 through 13.

He says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Can you just hear something? That is God’s heart. God’s heart is that every person that has life and breath on the face of the earth, would understand there is a free gift available and would repent or have a change of mind and receive that gift.

And then he goes on to say, “That’s why it’s slow.” “But the day of the Lord,” that final day, “will come like a thief,” so you don’t know when it’s going to happen, “in which the heavens will pass away,” how? “with a roar, with the elements, it will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”

And then the application, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” In other words, if you really got and understood that this world and the stuff of this world and some of the agenda of this world is going to be gone, you might think about how you would live differently every day.

And then he says, “Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking forward,” notice again, “to new heavens and a new earth,” and notice the characteristic, “where righteousness dwells.”

One Bible dictionary describes, if you just looked up, in the Bible dictionary, “New heaven, new earth.” I mean, that phrase is in Isaiah, it’s in Peter, and it’s also in Revelation. And they summarize. “The new heaven and new earth is a way to refer to the new creation that will come about at the end of time. The theme of the restoration and the re-creation of the world is a central aspect of Christian hope.”

So, this isn’t some little thing. This is a thread that goes from the beginning all the way through. Finally, they say, “The concept of restoration means something or someone is returned to its original state through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, His birth, His humanity, eventually, and then His resurrection. All things will be restored.”

So, here is all I want you to get: There’s a coming day, there’s a new heaven, there’s a new earth, it’s going to be a lot like the new you. You’re going to be a new person, resurrected in a resurrection body, and this earth is going to be restored.

The second truth statement is that it will be a lot like the first earth. In other words, if it was perfect, the future earth, it’s going to be a lot like the first earth. Can you let your mind go back and think of, “What would it be like to live here?” I mean, this is heaven, this is for real. This is where every follower of Christ is going to end up forever and ever and ever.

And I don’t know about you, I want to sing, I want to worship, I do not want to play the harp, I do not want to float around, I do not want to sip iced tea, and I do not want to be bored.

And the Bible doesn’t teach any of that! But what it teaches is, what our first parents experienced is in a perfect environment, there’s a tree of life, there are rivers, there’s fruit, there’s food, there are animals, there’s harmony, there’s peace, there’s beauty that is breathtaking!

There’s no death, there’s no shame, there’s no curse, no sin, no sorrow, no pain, no divorce, no betrayal, no struggle, meaningful work to accomplish.

Adam wasn’t created and said, “Okay, you know, I think I’ll just… the next few thousand years ought to be a lot of fun.” “Adam, rule! Eve…”

He had an agenda, “Be creative, be a co-creator!” God has plans for us! Meaningful work to accomplish and intimacy with God. God’s creation of man on the earth, before there was sin, was a real place. It was tangible. It was concrete. He ate, he worked, he talked, he played, he made love with his wife, he had walks with the God of the universe, he saw beauty, he felt absolutely encompassed and loved, he had no concept of sin, he had this environment before him that was pristine and beautiful and he was in charge of making and creating and expanding his territory and his reign and rule with the mind and the heart that, I would imagine before sin, was a lot smarter than all of us and a lot more creative.

See, if you want a little parallel think about those three categories. First earth. As man was, so was the earth. Innocent, innocent, pure, pure. As man is, currently fallen, so is the earth. It’s fallen. It’s messed up. It’s polluted. As man will be, so will be the earth. It’s what the Bible teaches. That’s the summary.