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March 2, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Brian Hand of the BJU seminary faculty concludes a doctrinal series entitled, “What Is Man?” from Revelation 21
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina this semester.
We've had a really wonderful series on the theme of what is man and understanding man in creation how we relate to God man in the fall man in salvation and all that.
All that is been taking place and we had some really very wonderful messages. So this morning as we finished the last message in the series Dr. Brian hand, who is a professor in our seminary who teaches mostly New Testament classes hermeneutics New Testament are actions going to come today and really end up with what the end result of what God is doing in our life and that he is preparing us for eternity of life is just a brief moment is a vapor it passes away, but eternity is coming.
We all need to be ready and prepared for that event as a doctor hand you come this morning we turn to Revelation chapter 21 with me. Revelation 21 caricatures exaggerated distinctive physical characteristic or trait of something to such an extent that people begin to identify that thing by the physical trait or characteristic sometimes care caricatures can distort the truth so badly that there actually communicating ally and Satan enjoys caricaturing, particularly heaven and hell. For example, Revelation chapter 14 tells us that there will be music in heaven. But Satan has taken that image and worked it and caricatured it to the extent of these cause many people to believe that heaven involves mindless, mindnumbing, tedious harp strumming on a cloud for eternity. Satan is also caricatured hell to such an extent that you probably run across people in your life whose idea of hell is I am to be down there partying with all my friends and I'd rather be there than be bored in heaven. You think either of these betrayals reflects reality on according to Scripture in Revelation chapters 21 and 22. Give a specific attention to man's eternal destiny is communicated by God himself. Let's begin reading in the 22nd verse of Revelation chapter 21 and I saw no temple therein that is in the new Jerusalem that is just ascended out of God from heaven upon the new heavens and new earth to the created earth, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it in the city had no need of the sun. Neither of the moon to shine in it for the glory of God did lighten it in the Lamb is the light thereof and the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth to bring their glory and honor into it and the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day for there shall be no night there and they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. There shall in no wise enter into it anything that the file with the other whatsoever with abomination or make it a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life, and he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the land in the midst of the street of it, on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare 12 manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations and there shall be no more curse of the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him and they shall see his face and his name shall be in their foreheads.
And there shall be no night there and they need no candle, neither light of the sun for the Lord God giveth them light and day shall reign forever and ever. In August of this year. 12-year-old Taiwanese boy was visiting an art exhibit at a local museum with his middle school classroom when he suddenly and unexpectedly tripped over a railing that was surrounding one of the paintings as he put out his hand to steady himself. He went into the painting and punched a fist -sized hole in a 350-year-old painting by Paolo Pecora estimated by some art critics to be worth about $1.5 million security camera caught the entire incident.
The boys shocked look and lack of understanding even of the gravity of the situation. What can you possibly do in such an expensive canvas has been destroyed. May I suggest to you that the art world's response to this damage can this is a pale imitation of God's response to what we've been studying all this semester and that is the image of God and man has been badly marred but instead of casting us away.
God himself is undertaken to rest restore this image for his image was simply a painting of flowers.
But God put his image in man in many ways we are living, breathing, reflections of something that is true about God.
And yet Adam as it were, put a gaping hole in this image he damaged it badly, defacing it and it was apparently irreparable and every one of us since Adam has action other than Jesus Christ is actually joined Adam and gouging out and tearing and defacing the image of God and man. We've come short of the glory of God. We are an offense to his holiness and his justice as righteousness. What can possibly be done will in the art world art restorers have swept in around four porous painting and they have painstakingly turning it over have connected the individual fibers of the canvas on the back.
The process of restoration that is still ongoing. Here some three or four months later, but they're continuing the process and one day they will touch it up again and finish the painting fully restored and likewise God has committed himself to restoring his image and man and bringing us back to better than our original condition. It takes deliberate time, deliberate effort, a deliberate plan on his part 12-year-old boy and his family were terrified as you can well imagine expecting to be billed for $1.5 million painting. Or at least the damage done to it and it was an expense that could not possibly pay way beyond the amount of money that they possessed. Likewise, when we consider the offense that we are against God and the penalty for that offense is death and eternal separation from God is a penalty. That's too great for us to pay and then to escape or walk out on the other side of it, but but insurance companies swept in and assured the family know you will not have to pay for the painting. It was an accident and God through Jesus Christ to step into the lives of each one of us who has believe and offers to those of you who have not yet believed eternal hope and salvation through Jesus Christ taking a penalty that he knows you could not repay and paying it himself, so that you could be restored.
The stories not over no one who is working on her who has worked on the painting intends for it to be restored and then to be put into a closet, but rather they hope to display it again and art galleries and in the private collect collection of the owner of the painting and God does not intend merely to restore you and salvation, only to put you away, but in some senses. He wants you eternally in his presence, glorifying him forever is a representation of his might and his goodness and his power to restore there will be no pointless existence for the trial of God in eternity you have trusted in Christ, get to look forward to a restored humanity in which the fullness of your faculties of creativity and even holiness will glorify God for all time.
In simple terms fulfill man's eternal destiny. If you have trusted in Christ, just as a valued piece of art damaged by fall is destined for repair in this world you have trusted Christ are destined for repair and glorification in the next. Our passage then holds out for us this thing. If you are saved your destined for glory. So conduct yourselves now as a citizen of heaven. If this is your eternal destiny and this is what you will be then live like it in the present and the passage begins by showing us that you are destined to worship God forever need to conduct yourselves now as citizens of heaven in your worship. Worship in verse 22 through 24 is first of all, direct verse 22 tells us that God and the Lamb are the temple of the new Jerusalem. Now temples in the ancient world did two things they simultaneously brought the people near to the deity, but they also kept him at arms length. They brought the people nearby giving the people a place where supposedly the God dwelt in the case of the temple of Jerusalem. It really did bring people near to God, but the temples in the ancient world also kept people away from God because only the priests could enter into the inner portion of the temple. Everyone else was shut out but in eternity. This is overturned, it's already in some sense overturning your life in that each one of us is a kingdom of priests can already approach the father in prayer through Jesus Christ, but one day God and the Lamb will be the temple and we will be in their presence with immediate and direct access and immediate and direct worship of our holy God think what this means for us. People flocked to see the glory of the Grand Canyon people actually pay date great deal of money either to rent cabins or even to buy second homes in the mountains or in the Caribbean so that they can appreciate the beauty that surround them, and no one has to call them to worship or that is to stand in awe of what's in front of them there naturally standing in awe of it, but we had to be in the presence of God himself forever, who is far more glorious and far more grand than any of the created order.
Think of the most majestic site that you have ever experiencing God far outstrips this and the worship will not be from a distance, as if somehow yes, I've seen pictures of the Grand Canyon, but I've never gotten to visit there myself. It's not that we will see, as it were pictures of God that we will see him for ourselves.
God and the Lamb are the temple.
So is heaven boring. That's an absurd question. You might as well ask your vacations to glorious and beautiful spots on this earth. Glory, of course not. There filled with meaningful activity and even the awe and wonder and appreciation that you have is part of the glory of those experiences are application years fairly direct then if our worship. One day in eternity will itself be direct and directed at God. What about your worship now if you find the worship of God, tedious or boring. Now what does that testify about your life. I understand we all admit that there is this fleshly element in us that we is insubordinate it will never be brought under the power of the spirit of God in the sense that it is constantly out of rank and pushing against the Holy Spirit and there's part of that thing just doesn't want to get out of bed on a Sunday morning.
It doesn't want to be in chapel doesn't want to hear God's word doesn't want to sing praise doesn't want to hear other people talk about God either but is there part of you that aspires to worship that really enjoys being in the presence of God.
Does your spirit resonate with these these things and when you hear testimony from the Scriptures.
Does your heart yearn to be in God's presence to be holy as he says he will one day be if not, maybe that's testifying that you don't know God at all, and that your eternal destiny does not involve standing in his presence and worshiping him forever. But the next aspect of our worship is that it will be reflexive or responsive to the people of God don't have to try to come up with things about God to worship. We don't invent his goodness will have to try to imagine his power, his goodness and power are simply facts that exist. You don't have to try to invent the glory that you see in the Rocky Mountains awe and amazement is reflexive. This past summer had the privilege of being in Rocky Mount national Park on Trail Ridge Road writing between Estes Park in grand Lake and we drove over on a pretty cloudy day and at one point we were actually completely enveloped in the cloud and the altitude there is oppressive, tickly to those of us here from Louisville Greenville door looking out at the lightness and the brilliance of the cloud and periodically would break enough that we saw three different herds of elk right beside the road. But there's one point to Trail Ridge Road crosses the ridge it self a 2 Lane Rd. and on both sides of the road with no shoulder is a sheer drop off of many hundreds of feet terrifying awe-inspiring. It's impressive. I wanted to pull the car over to the side, but there was no again, no shoulder. He couldn't do so I can still reflect with wonder and awe at what I experienced that day. It was impressive and I didn't have to have my wife beside me lecturing me on the impressiveness I didn't have to have my children from the backseat calling out that you do understand the Rocky Mountains, or an impressive feature.
Now I just did. It was amazing.
It was wonderful.
It was glorious. You know, the more we understand about God, the more glorious he is to us in the more we just overflow and worship. Eternity is not somebody twisting our arms behind our backs, compelling us to worship God, but rather a worksheet that simply bubbles up and overflows our spirits because we are to get to see him in all of his Majesty and power and glory and this encourages us and then to think on God in the present age when when worship seems tedious to us. Go back to the Scriptures and think on God in your heart will overflow and praise while worship is a glorious part of eternity is not the only part man's eternal destiny involves worship but involves oh so much more. Our text indicates that God intends for us to engage in many other activities. For instance, our passage reminds us, you are destined to work productively forever should conduct yourselves now as citizens of heaven work in eternity will produce objects of beauty and value. Can you see that in the text look at it carefully. Here we have to recognize that a city in the ancient world, which shut its gates at night for a variety of reasons. One is to keep out robbers.
The course invading armies but another is to keep out merchants, people of commerce who would otherwise interrupt the peace of the city with hawking their wares at night. But the Scripture passage here in front of us, tells us of the new Jerusalem is a vibrant, lively, bustling city that will keep its gates open all day long. It will never have to shut them there is never a threat to security and there's no night there and so it is perpetually a vibrant and bustling city will what makes a city vibrant and bustling is not just the churches. All of the activities of genuine human culture that are redeemable or that God can set in us and restore a remake in his own image, in other words God intended Adam and Eve in the beginning, to be productive people sit around in the garden doing nothing. They were active about their work and God intends to restore that activity in the future work will produce objects of beauty and value, but secular text links the concepts of glory and honor with the nation's and think in these terms. What is the glory and honor nations what possibly do nations possess that they can actually carry into the kingdom. The passage says twice. They will bring the glory and the honor of nations into the new Jerusalem has to be portable then may I suggest to you based on this passage of Scripture as well as Isaiah 65 and 66 chapter 66 of which references the glory of nations in terms of industry and commerce that one day in eternity. There will be music there will be arts and metallurgy architecture.
We will still work with our hands and produce many good things there may be poets and writers.
There may even be technology. We don't know for sure. But God will take everything that is worthwhile everything that is meaningful and safe. Go at it for all time. The nations of the world will create and I'll get better and better at the creating the get better at their trades better at their skills wiser and what they're doing all time and all of this will be brought as glory to God himself.
But this kind of work that we see in eternity will stem from holiness and truth. There is one exclusion that the passage mentions with reference to this work and that is all that would corrupt our work.
All the self glorifying aspects of our work.
All the selfish, greedy aspects of our work.
All the gluttony and NV that we might pursue in the pride of life that we have now that is done away with, but the glory of the work remains and the opportunity to glorify God through that work remains, all that this passage rolls out his wicked human activity.
Now imagine a created a newly created humanity with the newly created heaven and earth that lines the earth so carefully.
It never does damage or farmers in the new heavens and new earth who never deplete the soil and you never have to pour harsh chemicals on it.
There is no pollution everything that is done is done purely and done perfectly. Our work will absolutely exclude that which is wicked and that which is the filing.
Imagine painters and musicians who skill gets better every year for all time for all time. In other words, what you are doing right now has value if, instead of doing it for yourself and instead of living merely for the resources of this world, instead of making your way through this world as if you are the object of your own art. You are the object of your own music either performance or writing the music itself composition. You are the object of your own accounting and your own business and management skills.
You are the object of your own political skills in writing of laws instead of living like that if you live for the glory of God. Now directly practicing skills that apparently apply in eternity, but nations will exist at the very end of our passage will reign forever and ever.
There is a genuine holy sanctified human activity for all time does your heart throw that prospect. Can you imagine carrying on your trade or your work whenever you're training to do but without ever getting tired without ever getting sick without ever missing handling or misusing it or misrepresenting God either intentionally trying to serve yourself or just accidentally because we don't know him perfectly. Yet and sometimes our art and sometimes her music might misrepresent God. Even if were trying to glorify him in the present age but one day it will represent him perfectly and everything that we do will have value in everything that we do is worthwhile, but our passage next terms to the fact that you are destined to experience blessing forever should conduct yourselves now as citizens of heaven, and I got to separate these next three points out too much.
But God gives us perfect sustenance.
Perfect health and perfect conditions in eternity look at those in quick succession.
We have the river of the water of life and threat flows directly from the throne of God in the passage tells us into pure river unpolluted. This is a river that has no GRD assists and it is not a river that has bacteria in it is not a river that we have to chlorinate or run through reverse osmosis in order to be drinkable is perfectly pure, and God says here drink and he creates a tree of life that bears different fruits each month and 12 month successions God provides variety in our sustenance for all time. A great blessing here, God provides perfect health history of life that has leaves that are for the healing of the nations. Some people have misinterpreted that to mean then that the nations could fall sick. But we can just feel it. Rather, what the text is doing the same. Even if there could be sickness there is an absolutely divinely provided perfect cure.
There will be no sickness in the earlier part of chapter 21 has iterated that as well.
There also perfect conditions. Other perfect conditions in eternity. Revelation 21 four reminds us, and then later on reminds us there is no curse. The environment that surrounds the people of God will be one of sustained blessing. So if you are destined to live in a perfect environment one day.
It is not, then the social gospel to say that on this side of the cross is redeemed, citizens of that coming heavenly kingdom. You ought to exercise wise stewardship of that earth today, as we near rabbit and some crazy environmentalist, you don't worship the earth.
There is no Gaia, goddess, but as wise stewards. If you can't envision yourself littering and marking up and marring the heavenly kingdom is brought down out of heaven into the earth, the dwelling place of God and man for all time. If you can't envision yourself trashing that then can I just recommend to you that it might not be the best thing that when you get out of your car in the parking lot to take your fast food cups and stick them under someone else's tire might not be the best reflection of a Christian disposition to throat in the back of somebody else's truck to just drop in the parking lot. In other words there so many minute practical ways. This is just one example, but I think you can think of probably hundreds or thousands of other examples in which if this is the perfect sustenance in the perfect protection the perfect blessing that God intends for us in the future, and live in light of that now we stop worshiping this earth and what it offers us and instead we look to God and trust him in eternity. Finally, this passage teaches us that you are destined to enjoy a relationship with God forever should conduct yourselves now citizens of heaven. The last three verses chapter 22 verse three through five.
Remind us that we have a relationship with God, to such an extent that he will write his name on our foreheads at the mark of ownership and while that might seem a little awkward to us because in the Western world. We don't like the concept of people owning other people. That's because were on par with each other. We have no right to own other people but God is our Creator and he is our Redeemer and his mark of ownership, far from being a a brutal or savage tyrannical ownership he owns us having redeemed us from the curse he owns as having saved us from sin and death and hell and is ownership then guarantees to us blessing in eternity. I have three children each time when I was there at their birth.
I did not think we held them for the first time.
Yes, I finally have another one to boss around a child bears my last name in some sketchy sense he can say I own that child child has to obey me.
But that's not what a father focuses on isn't never ran through my mind that I finally have somebody that I can control what ran through my mind is here is one who is in my image that I can love and protect and provide for and take care of and witness to and lead in paths of righteousness, Lord willing. Your heart overflows with joy and love and so does God's for you for him to stand his name on your foreheads is not a curse. It's saying you are mine and it's the forging of an eternal relationship. So, consider for a moment, those things that make life worth living. Security, health, peace, prosperity, meaningful activity somebody got bored even over Thanksgiving out for him every once in a while is okay. Just like not having to live frenetically paced lifestyle, but if you had nothing to do.
It would be very tedious. The things that make life worth living in this activity meaningful activity in God provides all of it in eternity to the passage of her mind this. If you are saved, you are destined for glory conduct yourself now as a citizen of that heavenly kingdom worship God now work productively with God in mind now live in light of the blessing that he's already given you in Christ now and in the end. Enjoy this relationship with him, but you have already begun in the present. Father were thankful for the testimony of your word. We do pray that is badly marred as this image is in us, we will see the day in which the image is fully restored, but the sanctification of our lives will be complete in glorification. They will take each one of us who knows you and make us like our Redeemer. We will see you and seeing you we would be like you father.
We also pray that those who are still here, who are still in the process of defacing that image and who have not come to know you would hear a passage like this, in which you represent yourself in the blessing that is held out for them and would turn from sin and recognize you are not a malignant and hateful deity, you're a God who loves his people and is calling each one of us into righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord in all things, may we fulfill for the glory and greatness of your name man's eternal destiny for Christ sake, you've been listening to Dr. Brian hand seminary professor at Bob Jones University and this concludes our series about the doctrine of man join us again tomorrow for another chapel sermon here on The Daily Platform