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Future-Town - Part 2 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
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September 18, 2020 2:00 am

Future-Town - Part 2 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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September 18, 2020 2:00 am

A lot of people think heaven will be boring, but that isn't what the Bible teaches. In the message "Future Town, Part 2," Skip shares about the fascinating things we'll be doing in heaven and what kind of people will be there.

This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.




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Connect with Skip Heitzig
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The whole idea and separation of sacred versus secular is gone in heaven. Everything we do is worship. Every activity is worship. I love that because that's how God intended life I believe. I've told you before one of my favorite movies is Chariots of Fire where Eric Little discovers that even running a race can be as satisfying and he believed the calling of God as much as being a missionary in China.

And that famous phrase in the movie where he says, I feel his pleasure. Remember that? Many people want to simplify their lives, but in such a hectic and chaotic world, it seems impossible. Today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Skip gives you some encouragement about how to simplify your life in this hectic and chaotic world. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that helps you overcome life obstacles to pursue the life and opportunities God has for you. This month's Connect with Skip resource, Take Back Your Life, the new book by Levi Lusko.

Here's Levi to tell you about it. It's all around this idea of taking back your life. It's a 40-day interactive journey to thinking right so you can live right. And it's going to be really powerful and special I think for people to have this. Not only is it in hardcover, which just makes me happy because I've never had a book released in hardcover, but it has a ribbon so you'll be able to keep track of your progress through these 40 days. It would be an incredible gift to someone who is looking to grow in their faith or for any of us who want to maybe kind of do an oil change for your heart, a checkup on your wellness, on where you're at.

It'll deal with internal difficulties and help you deal better with external circumstances that are challenging as we explore how we can get to the very best version of ourselves that we are meant to be. Get the book, Take Back Your Life, with a donation of $35 to connect with Skip. Call 1-800-922-1888 or online at This hardcover book by Levi Lusko will help you take back your life. It's a 40-day interactive journey to thinking right so you can live right.

1-800-922-1888. Okay, we'll be in Revelation chapter 21 for today's study, so let's join Skip Heitig. The glory of God permeates that place, God's majesty. Do you remember when Jesus in John 17 prayed that prayer and part of it is where he said, Father, glorify me with the glory that I had with you before the world was. Remember that part of the prayer? Glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world was.

This is the answer to that prayer. They're together, they're glorified, and it's radiant, it's brilliant, it's majestic. Heaven will display the glory of God. And that gives us a little insight actually into the incarnation.

I just want you to follow me here for a moment. Think of what Jesus gave up to come to this earth for 33 years. He gave this up. And so when he prayed glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world was, think about that. He gave all of this up to come here to be rejected, scorned, misunderstood, beaten, crucified, so that you and I could be in heaven with him forever.

That's amazing. Charles Wesley wrote a song, we sing it every Christmas, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. There's a little phrase in that song and it goes like this, veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail incarnate deity, pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.

It's picking up on this thought. Here is God in all of his splendor and glory but veiled by human flesh. Now every now and then while Jesus was on earth, you could see through the veil.

You could peek at the glory. For instance on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter and James and John who wrote Revelation were there. And it says in Matthew 17, he was transfigured before them and his face shone like the sun.

His clothes became as white as the light. What was that all about? That my friends is a preview of coming attractions.

That was the trailer to this movie. What they saw is what ultimately it will be like in the kingdom. Brilliant, bright, resplendent light of the glory of God. And I've heard people say it was a miracle that Jesus shined.

Listen, the greatest miracle is he didn't shine all the time. But it was veiled just every now and then the disciples were able to see into it. So heaven will display, let's call it the unedited wide screen version of the glory of God.

The take your breath away, wow, glory of God. So majesty is a condition. A third condition I want to draw your attention to is activity.

Activity. Now we're not going to go through all these verses again but I'm just going to point out a couple things. A big question people have is, okay, so like what are we going to do in heaven?

And we've covered this before in part. Like we talked about in the millennium what we'll do and what positions will be like, how we'll help administrate. But now this is forever.

That's gone. This is now the eternal state. What are we going to do like forever?

That worries some people. As I work my way through the text, there's a few words that pop out. Verse 24 of chapter 21, the word walk. We're going to walk. We're going to move. We're going to be going places.

Probably in and out of that city. Maybe exploring the new earth or the new heaven. Verse 26, we're going to walk and bring honor and glory into it. That's the idea of praise and worship which we talked about before. In verse 3 of chapter 22, serve is another verb.

That's an action. That's what we'll be doing. We'll be serving him. And in verse 5 we'll be reigning.

So here's four action words that describe actions that we'll be doing forever. And this is just a small sampling of it. But it helps answer that question. David Head wrote an honest prayer to God. He said, Lord, I've been active all my life. This idea of eternal rest frightens me. The beatific something or other that they talk about in sermons doesn't mean a thing to me.

I shall be thoroughly miserable if all I have to do is gaze and gaze and gaze. Isn't there anything to do in heaven? It's a good question.

Answer to that, oh yeah. There's a lot of stuff to do in heaven. Did you know that there was an elderly gentleman, true story, I read about it this week. Elderly gentleman, he was in a rest home. And he was talking to one of the workers there. A younger gal, she was a Christian.

She had been a Christian a lot longer. And the old guy said, are we going to have fun in heaven? And she said, oh no.

No. And she said it like that, like she was even dismayed that he asked the question. Like, what are you kidding? We're going to be in heaven. You think we're going to have fun there?

She said, oh no. And sadly, that's how many people suppose heaven is going to be like. We're going to just be bored to tears. Like the little boy who was talking to his buddy and his buddy said, hey, what's heaven like?

And the little boy said, oh it's boring. It's a lot like church, only longer. It's funny to me, I've observed something. I've observed that some people fancy themselves as fun loving people. But God is a cosmic killjoy. And if you listen to them, it's like, yeah, I'm really fun and life is cool with me. But you know, it's like they're saying the worst thing that could possibly happen to you is that you become a Christian.

Because then suddenly you lose joy. I was in line one time. I'll never forget this because it was only a few blocks away from here. I was in line and there was a lady in front of me and she turned around and we were having a conversation. She said, well what do you do?

I said, I'm a pastor. She took a step back. And seriously, she said, why? Just like that. Why? Like, oh I'm so sorry.

You couldn't get a real job, could you? You know what? The Bible speaks of the Christian life as abundant life. And heaven is described as a place of abundant joy, fun, exhilaration.

Psalm 16, here's a hint. In your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Joy? Pleasures?

How is that possible? Because there'll be many activities. Let's go through just a few that we saw. We're going to walk together. We're going to be moving, interacting, walking together. That means we're going to have to put up with each other forever. But we're going to be in resurrected, redeemed bodies.

We'll be able to handle it. We're going to worship together. Revelation 5. We saw that already. Chapter 4 and 5. And we see it here, hinted at, as they're bringing glory and honor into it.

And I'll remind you, if you're not a singer now, if you're tone deaf now, don't worry. Your day is coming. Number 3, we're going to serve God. Verse 3 of chapter 22. They shall serve him.

I like this. I like the thought that part of eternity and part of eternity's worship is doing. Part of it is doing. That's part of our worship. We're serving.

We get to do stuff for the king as his servants. I love that because here's the thought. The whole idea and separation of sacred versus secular is gone in heaven. Everything we do is worship. Every activity is worship.

I love that because that's how God intended life, I believe. I've told you before, one of my favorite movies is Chariots of Fire where Eric Little discovers that even running a race can be as satisfying, and he believed, a calling of God as much as being a missionary in China. And that famous phrase in the movie where he says, And when I run, I feel his pleasure.

Remember that? He discovered that all of life can be done to the glory of God. All of it can be worshipful. We're going to feel immense pleasure in serving God in a variety of actions.

Now what those actions are, we're not told. It doesn't say you're going to serve him this way or in that capacity. It just says you'll serve him.

It's going to be wonderful. Some people, honestly, they don't get this, and here's why. The idea of heaven includes work or service doesn't set well with people. And I thought about this, and I think it's people who hate their jobs feel this way. I'm like, you mean I'm going to have to work in heaven? I have to serve in heaven? And it's because in our Western culture, our work ethic says we work hard all our lives, and the reward for that is called retirement. Yeah, we take like a long vacation. So we think, heaven, it must be just this long, eternal vacation.

Well, God's idea of rewarding you is more service opportunities. You'll serve him. And you know what? You'll love it.

You'll love it. Here's the fourth condition of the eternal city, and that's diversity. I want to show you this. To me, it's beautiful. Verse 24 of chapter 21, Look at that word. Grab that word. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. And then in chapter 22, verse 2, it mentions this tree that is for the healing of the nations. Same word.

Now, this is what I want to point out. The word nations is ethne in the Greek, ethne. It means ethnic groups. And the ethnic groups who are saved will walk in its light.

Now, typically, it's a New Testament word that is most often translated as Gentiles, non-Jewish people, Gentiles of the nations. But the point here is that heaven is not just for one little group of people. It's for whosoever will let them come.

The invitation is wide open. And there will be people from every tribe, every tongue, every kindred. We know that. Revelation 5, verse 9. One of the things you're going to sing, in fact, I like to tell people, memorize these lyrics.

Because it's going to be part of your eternal song. For you have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And again, in Revelation 7, verse 9, John said, I looked and behold a great multitude which no one could number of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues standing before the throne and before the Lamb. You say, Skip, what's your point?

Here's my point. All of the cultural variety that we enjoy now from all over the world will not be lost in heaven. There will be redeemed, resurrected people, but we're not all the same.

We're not amorphous. We're not blended into one kind of same entity. We will have distinctions, I believe. Just as Jesus, when He rose from the dead, was still a Jewish male in His resurrected form. Think what it's going to be like in heaven to see Aborigines from Australia, Maasai from Kenya, Moldovans, Peruvians, Sudanese, Navajo, all gathered around, saved from all of those cultures, worshipping Jesus Christ.

All the nations gathered together. I love this because, frankly, today Jerusalem is a divided city, a contentious city. New Jerusalem will be united and multiracial and multicultural and ethnic distinctions. And we won't resist those differences. We'll enjoy them. Here's God's creativity and all the different kinds of people that He made.

We'll enjoy that. The fifth and final thing I want you to notice, condition of the eternal city, is what I call vitality. Vitality. Look at the 22nd chapter. And He showed me a pure river of water, of life, clear as crystal.

Think of it, unpolluted, glimmering, shining, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street and on either side of the river was the tree of life which bore 12 fruits and each tree yielding its fruit every month and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. This is Main Street. Every city has its main avenue, Main Street. This is Main Street heaven.

And it's a garden-like environment. It's a street flanked by a river. The fountainhead of the river is the throne. That's why some commentators don't see heaven as a cube but as a pyramid or a prism where at the very top you have the throne of God and cascading outward and downward is this river of life. I don't know which it is.

I'll just take a wait and see approach. Either way, it looks pretty cool just from this description. There's a great psalm, Psalm 46, that interfaces, dovetails beautifully with this. Here's part of it. David said, there is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God for God is in her midst. But here we see the city, the new city of Jerusalem, and part of it is this beautiful garden-like paradise with a river running through it and beautiful trees. And it brings us back, I hope, in our minds to the original Garden of Eden, the original paradise, where there was a river running through it. Not the movie, the garden. And it branched off into four rivers that watered that garden. And so like that original paradise, heaven is reminiscent of that.

Even the tree of life is there. Paradise. Do you remember when Jesus was on the cross and that one criminal trusted in him and Jesus said, today you'll be with me in what? Paradise. Do you know the word he used, the Aramaic term translated into the Greek, comes from a Persian word that literally means a walled garden. Today you'll be with me in paradise. The meaning, a walled garden. Here's a beautiful picture of heaven, this city with walls and gates and a garden, paradise, that's in it.

Now, I'll just say this. There's not a sea, right, in the new heaven and new earth. There's no ocean. If there's no sea, there's no hydrological cycle.

Right? So it means that this river is not replenished by rainfall that comes from a hydrological cycle that comes from having a sea. So I'm just throwing that out because people, how could there be a river?

I don't know. God could figure that out. Obviously the source of its replenishment that is needed is God himself, proceeds from the throne, it's replenished by him. Now, look at verse 2. It says, in the middle of its street and on either side of the river was the tree of life. Now, linguistically, this is an awkward sentence.

In fact, as I just try to mosey my way through it and make sense of it, I have difficulty. Well, I discovered the word street, that's not a really great translation. Literally, it's path. In the middle of its path and on either side of the river. So here's just how I'm picturing this river, okay?

This is me. I'm picturing a river and in the middle of the river an island, a path. So that essentially you have two forks or two streams with a land mass in the middle and then it's flanked by the banks on either side. And in the middle is this tree of life which is large and covers both sides and extends on both sides.

This beautiful, eternal river. Notice, though, it says the leaves are for the healing of the nations. Now, this poses a problem to some because they read this and they say, why do the nations need healing if there's no curse, right?

That would be a problem. Again, this is where translation helps. The best rendering of that isn't healing or healing in the sense of here's somebody sick that needs to take some medicine to get better. The word is theropaea. Theropaea means well-being or therapy or vitality. So it's not like nations are sick because there's no death, there's no pain, there's no sorrow, there's no tears. It says in the first part of Revelation 21.

Why? Because it says here there's no curse. And so the nations don't need to be healed of any curse.

That's gone. It's simply theropaea for their vitality or well-being. Whatever's in or on these leaves is simply to enrich life, to enhance life. Look at it like supernatural vitamins.

People don't take vitamins because they're sick and they want to get better. It just enriches their lives. It's for the healing of the nations. So the Bible opens with a garden. The Bible closes with a garden. The Bible opens with paradise lost.

The Bible closes with paradise regained. The Bible opens with man banished from the tree of life. The Bible closes with people invited to partake of the tree of life.

I want to close with this thought. If you think about it, the whole history of the world hinges on three trees. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life, both in Genesis 2. And the third is the tree on which Jesus Christ was hung on Calvary's hill 2,000 years ago. The first tree took away man's spiritual life, right?

And the day that you eat thereof you will surely die. Man died spiritually that day when he took up the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The second tree, the tree of life, threatened to keep man in that separated condition forever if they were to eat of it. That's why the cherubim said, you're not going to touch the tree of life.

You'll forever be in this condition. But that third tree, the tree that Jesus hung on, on Calvary, makes it possible to have life restored again. Now all of that to say this, do you know that forever and ever and ever in heaven we're going to always be looking back to that tree of Calvary as well as this tree of life? Because the only reason we're in heaven is because of what Jesus did for us.

You say, well how is it that we're always going to be looking back to that tree? Because Jesus is called what here? The Lamb. That's sacrificial language. John said, behold the Lamb that was slain or the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And in Revelation 4 John turned, or 5, and he said, I saw a Lamb as though it had been slain.

It's Christ. So forever and ever we're going to be always grateful for the fact that we're in heaven because of what the Lamb did for us on that tree which gave us access here to this tree of life. William Barclay puts it this way, the cross is the proof that there is no length to which the love of God will refuse to go to win men's hearts. If the cross will not awaken love and wonder in men's hearts, nothing will. You know what, that's so true. If your heart is not awakened by the thought that Jesus left this glory to come to planet earth for 33 years, he gave that up so that we could be saved.

If that doesn't awaken love and response in your heart, nothing will. But God loves you. He loves you enough to make it possible for you and everyone else who has ever lived if they trust in Christ to get to heaven. But he won't make you go there. If you don't want to go, you don't have to.

But he wants you to go there. He's provided a way for you to go there. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from his series From the Edge of Eternity. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages going strong to connect more people to scripture. Living as a citizen of heaven and earth can be tricky. That's why every single believer needs God's word to guide them.

And that's why we make these Bible teachings available to you to connect you with the uplifting truths of scripture. But your help is critical to keeping them on the air, and your generous support means that we can keep going strong for years to come. Here's how you can give right now. Give us a call at 800-922-1888 to give a gift.

800-922-1888. Or give online at slash donate. That's slash donate. Your support is vital to continue encouraging you and many others with these messages.

So thank you for giving generously. Did you know there's a great biblical resource available right at your fingertips through your mobile device? Skip has several Bible reading plans available in the YouVersion Bible app.

You can dive deeper into several books of the Bible to gain new insights. Just search Skip Heitzig in the YouVersion Bible app. And real quick, did you know you can catch Connect with Skip Heitzig on the Hillsong Channel on Saturdays at 4.30 p.m. Mountain? Or catch it on TBN on Sundays at 5.30 a.m. Eastern.

Check your local listings. And be sure to come back again next week as Skip Heitzig shares how you can overcome one of the biggest challenges you'll face as a Christian. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-12 01:45:29 / 2024-03-12 01:55:42 / 10

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