August 13 2013 by
Troy Rust, senior pastor, Somerset Baptist Church, Roxboro
Focal Passages: John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-4; 22:1-5, 12-14
Many Christians under the age of 40 can be heard complaining about an overemphasis on heaven in the songs and sermons of their youth. While the criticism is true on many fronts, the critics must not respond by minimizing the subject of heaven to near insignificance. Who wants to run a race with no finish line? The splendor of eternity with Christ caused the Apostle Paul to proclaim, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Just as Jesus comforted His disciples in preparation for His departure, we must comfort fellow believers with reminders of His promised return (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Whether at the bedside of a dying loved one or taking inventory of what matters in life, we must take heart in knowing that Jesus has prepared a place for His church and will take them home someday.
The concluding chapters of Revelation bring us to a truth often overlooked: we will spend eternity on the new earth. The destruction of the current heavens and earth (2 Peter 3:10-13) will open the way for the eternal heavens and earth in which righteousness dwells and all the effects of sin and the curse (separation, mourning, crying, pain) are absent. While we don’t understand all the details, we know it will be beyond anything we’ve experienced. Paradise lost will become paradise regained! The throne of God and Christ will be the centerpiece, and free access to the tree of life will be granted to everyone. God and His people will enjoy eternal uninterrupted fellowship as they worship Him.
As John neared the end of Revelation, Jesus reminded him that there will be no general admission to eternity with Him. By the grace of God we don’t have to worry about getting the price right because Jesus paid it all! However, we must recognize the cost and the reason it was paid. We must “wash our robes” by demonstrating repentance and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.