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The New Heaven and the New Earth - 56

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2023 2:00 am

The New Heaven and the New Earth - 56

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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October 9, 2023 2:00 am

God's purpose has always been to defeat and undo the work of Satan in the ruin of paradise. Pastor Mike Karns continues his exposition of the book of Revelation.

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I believe we're helped in our study of God's Word when we are made aware of verses that are contained in a book of a Bible that gives us a purpose statement. It gives us some understanding of why God has given us that particular portion of His Word, why the human author is writing. And many of the books of the Bible have a purpose statement in them. There are other verses in the Bible that also serve as a purpose statement, but they're broader than that. They serve to tell us throughout the whole corpus of biblical revelation what God is about, what purpose has God been working.

And I would like to begin tonight as we're moving into chapter 21 in our study of Revelation with such a verse. And it's 1 John chapter 3 and verse 8 that says this, For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Now, there are other purposes for which Jesus came, but that is very clear, isn't it? For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

The whole Bible from start to finish is a revelation and a record of the Son of God destroying the works of the devil. You're aware that in the beginning God created a perfect and glorious heaven and earth and populated it with every kind of living creature. The pinnacle of God's creation was making man in His own image and in His own likeness. And God looked upon everything that He created and said, It is very good. It was pure, it was holy, it was righteous, it was perfect and beautiful.

There was no death, no sorrow, no pain. But this paradise that God made was invaded by Satan. And he deceived Adam and Eve and convinced them to disobey God's clear instruction.

And paradise was ruined. The works of the devil, ruined and wrecked and defiled the original creation of God, brought depravity, brought death upon mankind and imposed a curse on the entire creation. Now, God was not about to surrender to Satan and He was not going to allow His work to stand.

Satan's triumph in the garden would not prevail. In Genesis 3.15, God declared war upon Satan. And He promised that the seed of the woman would come and crush the head of the serpent.

Jesus Christ is that promised seed of the woman. He was going to come and He was going to destroy the work of the devil. He was going to reverse the curse on mankind and creation and restore the ruined paradise and redeem mankind from sin and all of its consequences. You're aware that there's a very close parallel and proximity as we're studying the Scriptures as you compare Genesis chapter 1 and 2 with Revelation chapter 21 and 22.

Paradise lost, Genesis chapter 1 and 2, paradise restored, Revelation chapter 21 and 22, and many, many parallels like that. Everything Satan had done, Jesus was going to undo. All that Satan had achieved, Jesus was going to dismantle. Satan's work would be like it had never been done. So great would be the destruction upon Satan. And so great would be the restoration made by Jesus Christ.

As history has unfolded over the last 6,000 years, we have seen the seed of the woman come in the person of Jesus Christ. And through His coming and through His life and His death and His resurrection and His ascension, Jesus defeated the devil, robbed him of his power, and invaded his kingdom and plundered it. And this has been going on systematically over the last 2,000 years as God calls the elect out of the kingdom of darkness and translates them into the kingdom of light.

And there is nothing Satan can do about it. We have seen Christ's victory over Satan progressively described in the book of Revelation. In chapter 20, we came to the climax and the conclusion of Christ's work in destroying the work of the devil.

Chapter 20, Satan and all of his helpers are cast into the lake of fire. We have seen Christ triumphantly sitting on His great white throne of judgment. We have seen the vindication and the deliverance of all God's people whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. And now as we come to chapters 21 and 22, we will see the complete ruin and the full reversal of the work of Satan as the curse is completely removed and paradise is fully restored. The Garden of Eden is restored. The way to the tree of life is opened and mankind's dominion over the earth is returned back to Him. Perfect purity, permanent righteousness are now in the possession of every redeemed person and never again can sin enter into the human experience. I don't know about you, but I am absolutely astounded at what awaits the people of God. When we are perfected in holiness, we will be so constituted that we will not be able to sin.

I can't even imagine what that will be like. Temptation, gone, constituted in such a way, not even able to sin. To be able to honor God, do righteousness, walk in holiness, walk in purity. What a day that will be. And any child of God who is tired of the weariness and the battle and the struggle with sin ought to say a hearty amen to that reality that awaits us. In the new heaven, in the new earth, nothing will be left of Satan's work. It will be completely destroyed and everything will be the work of God alone. Satan's work has been destroyed forever and God's work has been permanently established forever. So as we look just in an introductory way tonight at Revelation chapter 21, we are introduced to the new dwelling place of the people of God.

And what is that? It is the new heaven and the new earth. Here is where we will dwell for eternity.

Here is our future home. Here is a place of perfect righteousness, of holiness, and dare I say, happiness that awaits the people of God. I certainly don't want to get bogged down in chapter 21. However, there is so much in these opening verses. There is so much in these two chapters that there is no way we could even possibly come close to exhaust what God has set before us. I was told one time to get a copy of Richard Baxter's work on the everlasting rest. And I thought, well, I like Baxter. I read his book on pastoral ministry.

So I ordered the book and it was a hardback and it came and it's 732 pages. And I'm thinking, okay, that is going to be a task. To read that and to understand the mind of Baxter as he's trying to relate what it will be like to enter into everlasting eternal rest. And again, that just reminds us of how unexhaustible this subject is. But in the time I have, we're not going to get out of chapter 21, verse 1. John says, Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no more sea. Think about that statement, there is no sea, and see what you might be able to learn before we come together again and consider that particular subject. This has been quite an enlightening study for me. I had already a preconceived idea of what that meant, that in the new heaven and the new earth there would be no more sea. But I was challenged in my thinking and I've come to a different conclusion.

And I want to try and help you see what I've seen, but that's for another night. Verse 1 says there's going to be a new heaven and a new earth. That does not mean that there will be a brand new heaven and earth as though God was going to create something out of nothing like he did in Genesis chapter 1. The Greek word that's translated new in verse 1 means new in kind, new in quality.

It does not mean new in the sense that it never existed before. I think we're helped a little bit with the language when it says, Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Passed away is a way we sometimes refer to departed saint. What do we mean when we say so and so has passed away? Do we mean never to be seen again, never to be known again? No, we don't mean that.

We don't mean annihilation. We mean they've passed away. We will see them again. We will see them, we will know them, and they will be constituted differently. They will be in a glorified body if they're of the redeemed people of God. So the language here, a new heaven and a new earth, it's similar to our resurrection bodies. Our bodies that are corrupted by sin will, because this mortality cannot take on immortality, this corruption cannot take on incorruption, we're not made for heaven.

These bodies have got to die and return to the dust. But God is not done. God is going to renew. God is going to remake. And the new body that comes out of the grave in resurrection glory will be similar to the old, not a brand new person, but very much like the old person. And I think that helps us understand what God's purposes are with this present heaven and earth. The old creation will not be annihilated, but it will be regenerated.

I think we were helped a few weeks back, maybe it's been several months back, as Pastor Barkman's been preaching through the book of Hebrews. And we came to that study in Hebrews chapter 1. Let me read these verses and make a few comments.

Verse 10, 11, and 12 of Hebrews chapter 1 says, And you, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain. They will all grow old like a garment, like a cloak.

You will fold them up, and they will be changed, but you are the same, and your years will not fail. The writer of Hebrews is telling us, and John is telling us, that the earth is being used up and worn out. And just like a worn out garment, when it is finally too worn to wear, it's folded up and put away. But the creation does not remain in that situation. The worn out creation shall be changed. The word in the original means to be transformed. So the original creation is going to wax old like a garment, and then it is going to be transformed. It's not going to be annihilated.

It's going to be changed, not eliminated. I remember Pastor Barkman expounding that to us when we were going through that study in chapter 1. And it was helpful. Jesus said something, I think, of significance in Matthew chapter 19. I want to turn you there, Matthew chapter 19.

You can follow me if you'd like, or if you don't, you just want to listen, that's fine as well. Matthew chapter 19. Peter, verse 27, says, Then Peter answered and said to him, See, we have left all and followed you, therefore what shall we have?

So Jesus said to them, Assuredly I say to you that in the resurrection, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, and everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or fathers, or mothers, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake shall receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life, but many who are first will be last and the last first. Jesus calls the end of the world, when he sits on his throne and gives rewards to his faithful servants, the regeneration. The word means to restore something to its pristine state.

It means to renovate or to renew. And there will be a transformation of the old heaven and earth into the new heaven and earth, and Jesus calls it here a regeneration. I say, well, the language that is describing the destruction of this present world seems like there's not going to be anything left. Well, what means is God going to use to destroy this present heaven and earth?

Well, not a flood. He promised that he would never destroy with water again, but he will with fire. And what purpose does fire have?

Fire has a refining, a purifying purpose, so maybe that will help you as well. What else can we learn? Well, in the future, paradise will be restored in the new earth and heaven. The curse will be gone. The dragon, the beast, the false prophet, Babylon, and all those who wore the mark of the beast, they will be absent, and the beauty and perfection of creation and nature will be restored. This idea of there being a new heaven and a new earth is not something that's unique to the book of Revelation. It was spoken of in the Old Testament in several places. And I want to draw your attention to a couple places in Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 65 and Isaiah chapter 66.

And let me read those verses to you. This is Isaiah 65 verse 17 through 19. And listen to the language, listen to the words, and you will see where John is borrowing from the prophet Isaiah in his description of the new heaven and the new earth and what it will be like. Isaiah 65 verse 17, 18, and 19. The prophet says, For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind.

But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create. For behold, I create Jerusalem, a rejoicing and her people a joy, and I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her nor the voice of crying. God is saying to the children of Israel in Isaiah's day that at some point in the future, He's going to make a new heaven and a new earth. And what will characterize the new heaven and the new earth? It will be joy and gladness, and there will be no sorrow or crying. Isaiah chapter 65 verse 22, again the prophet says, For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.

What's the emphasis on this verse? The emphasis here is on the permanence of the new heaven and the new earth. The present earth, which is waxing old like a garment, will be changed, but the new heaven and the new earth will have a permanent quality to it. This earth that we are living in now and the heaven that is above us have a limited lifespan.

Those who are concerned about climate change and all of that seem to miss this. This world is winding down. Now, on purpose, God made it that way. It's not intended to be permanent.

It's temporary. And when Jesus Christ returns, this heaven and this earth are going to be transformed into a new heaven and a new earth. And again, Isaiah 65, 17 through 19 tells us the new heaven and the new earth will be characterized by joy and gladness rather than by sorrow and crying.

And Isaiah 62, 22 tells us that this new heaven and the new earth are going to be characterized by permanence as opposed to temporariness. Now, so you see why we're not going to get out of verse one tonight. I have tried in my preaching through the book of Revelation to try and keep my finger in the text in Revelation. We've not done much going here, going there and looking at other passages, unlike what I'm doing tonight, but because it's a Lord's table service and because we're moving into a completely new area of study, I thought this might be helpful. So would you turn with me to Romans chapter 8. Romans chapter 8. I want to read verses 18 through 23. And I want to draw your attention to the fact that four times in these verses, Paul is drawing attention to creation.

So look for the emphasis on creation. And I want to unpack these verses for you. Paul says, beginning at verse 18 of Romans chapter 8, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, for the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Verse 20, for the creation was subjected to futility and willingly.

I'm sorry, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope. Verse 21, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Verse 22, for we know that the whole creation groans and labors with growth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

And Paul goes on, but I want to stop there. Verse 18, he says, For I reckon or I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. There is in this present time a time of suffering. The future time is a time of glory.

That's the contrast. The present time, the time of suffering. And what does he say about that? The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Verse 19, he says, For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. That is, the natural creation is waiting for something. It is waiting for there is to be a public declaration of who the true sons of God are. And there will come a day when it will be manifest who the true sons of God are. And the creation is waiting for that day. Do you see that in verse 19? For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits.

Waiting for what? For the revealing of the sons of God. I want to come back to this thought as we transition to the Lord's table.

But for continuity's sake, let's continue in our study. Verse 20, For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him, notice capital H, who subjected it in hope. Creation was brought into a state of futility. Why? Because the creation chose to be brought into that state?

No. It says, Not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. In other words, God brought a curse upon creation because of Adam's fall. This world is under a curse.

You can't get away from it. We see evidence of it every day of our lives. That's the nature of this creation. But at the same time, in the promise of the coming Redeemer, He also subjected that creation to the hope that, too, it would be redeemed. Notice again, verse 20, For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope. Verse 21, Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

What do we know, according to this verse, about the creation right now? It is in bondage to corruption. The world is corrupt, the heavens are corrupt, and they are corrupt as a result of being under the curse. The curse was universal. It affected every aspect of the created order. It didn't just affect man and his relationship to God. The entire created order came under the curse because of Adam's sin.

But it shall be delivered from that corruption and curse, and it shall be delivered into the same liberty that the children of God have, which is freedom from the curse and the corruption of sin. Notice verse 22, For we know, Paul says, that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. This world and this universe are groaning and travailing in pain because of being under the curse. Why do we have earthquakes and volcanoes and diseases? Why do we have natural disasters, not only on the earth but in the universe as well? These things are the groaning of the creation because it is under the curse of God. Now the universe is not functioning the way God originally designed.

It's broken, it's corrupted, it's defective. As a result, it is waiting to be delivered from that brokenness and corruption, just as we are waiting to be delivered from our brokenness and corruption. And then verse 23, he says, Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Our bodies. Our bodies are going to be redeemed at the resurrection. That is when the sons of God are going to be manifest. And that is the same time the creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption also.

These things will happen simultaneously. Now, if indeed, as it says there in verse 18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us, for the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Now that is a future hope. That is a future longing.

And yet there's an aspect to this of already and not yet. You say, well, what do you mean by that, preacher? There is a way in which the sons of God are manifest in this life.

Now, there will be a manifestation in the consummation that will cause the manifestation that I'm ready to speak about to pale in comparison to that. But the Lord's table is a place where the true sons of God are manifest. If you have an interest in the work of Christ and what he did at Calvary, you are part of God's covenant community.

It's an amazing thing to think because this time at the table becomes so personal to us. We're not asking you to search your neighbor's heart. We're asking you to search your heart, whether you have an interest in this covenant community. Are you one of the redeemed? Are you one of the sons of God that's manifesting yourself by participation? You're saying, yes, I have partaken of Christ and yes, I continue to partake of Christ. I continue to feed upon Christ.

I continue to look to him for life and godliness. Now, we talk about a covenant of grace. And when we talk about a covenant of grace, we're talking about a covenant that the Godhead entered into in eternity past.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. And they came together and covenanted together for the purpose of redeeming part of fallen humanity. God the Father chose a people out of the world, out of the corruption that has come under the curse of God. He chose a people, an elect people, and he chose those people and gave those people as a gift to his son.

God the Son's part in this covenant, he said, Father, for those people that you gave me as a love gift, I will go to planet Earth. I will live a life in their place. I will go to the cross of Calvary. I will die the death they deserve to die. I will redeem them.

I will purchase them. I will pay their sin debt. That's the Son's part in this covenant of grace.

And then the Holy Spirit said, Father, Son, I will be involved in this covenant. I covenant together with the Father, with the Son, to work in the lives of the elective God, those for whom Christ will die. And I will convince them of sin. I will regenerate them. I will impart divine life to them. And I will keep them unto the day of Jesus Christ.

So that in that grand and glorious day when the people of God are gathered in the throne, not a single person for whom the Father promised, the Son died, and the Spirit regenerated will be missing. And it's good, I think, to come around the Lord's table and say, to the degree we can say, I want it to be known, I want it to be manifest that I am one of the sons of God. I've identified myself as a sinner. I have looked to Jesus Christ as my sin bearer.

And I am believing upon Him, and Him only is my only hope of eternal salvation. And I want everyone in the created order to know it. All those in the angelic realm, I want them all to know it.

I want all who know me to know it. I want the people of God to know it. So we are testifying when we come to the table that we belong to the people of God. We are part of this covenant of grace. And we are renewing that covenant. We are renewing communion. We are renewing fellowship, not that we've broken fellowship, but it's another opportunity to declare our allegiance. To say, there was a time when I declared my allegiance to Jesus Christ and nothing has changed.

I'm still a follower of His. And by partaking of the elements, it's one of the ways in which we manifest. As it says there, for the creation was subjected to futility. I'm sorry, verse 19, for the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Now that's a future reality. That will be a part of the new heaven and the new earth.

But as I've said, there's an aspect of the already and the not yet. So already we're here. And tonight is an opportunity, again, to affirm our allegiance to Jesus Christ and to rejoice in the fact that we are part of the covenant community. That God set His election, electing love upon us in eternity past. The Father gave us to the Son. The Son went to the cross of Calvary and died in our place. And the Spirit of God wooed us, convicted us, and regenerated us and made us alive in Christ.

That's what we rejoice in. And again, the table is a place where we come together as the people of God and affirm that. Pray with me as we continue to make our way through the Book of Revelation. These are exciting. This is an exciting place we've come to. I'm excited to unpack these truths for us as we think about what life is going to be like for us for all eternity and for what life is already like for those who have gone on ahead of us.

They're entering into it, and we will join them by God's grace and kindness. Let us pray. Father, we thank you again for your Word. We thank you for its instruction. We thank you for its encouragement, and we pray, our God, that your Word would find lodgement in our hearts. And Lord, for any who are strangers to your grace, work in their lives, we pray, for their eternal good and for your honor and glory, we ask in Jesus' name, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-23 03:54:59 / 2023-10-23 04:06:23 / 11

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