Hope for the World

Posted: November 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

I lived in Hollywood for a couple of years back in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s.  One night, I was invited to a backstage party at the Universal Ampitheater where Michael W. Smith was playing.  I wasn’t a Christian at the time and had no desire to hear “Friends are friends forever…” but I liked one of Michael’s managers and wanted to say hello to him.  I was wondering around backstage when Kirk Cameron appeard.  He was wearing the most ridiculous cross and was dying to meet Michael W. Smith.  The next time I laid eyes on Kirk was the DVD cover for the movie Left Behind.  I remember thinking that there had to be more to the end of history than something that could be covered in a hokey made for DVD movie with the kid from Growing Pains.  It marked my transition from rapture theology to something a little deeper. 

Most of us in conservative Christianity grew up with some form of rapture theology, which teaches that the whole point of life is to get to know Jesus and behave until you are zapped out of this trailer park but that’s now what the Bible really teaches.

Let’s look at Revelation 21:1-22:5

21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

So, Revelation teaches that, in the end, we don’t go to heaven…heaven comes here.

There will be a new heavens and new earth…an eternal physical existence right here on earth with nations, government and who knows what else but without sin or death!

Okay, so, either way, God is going to fix it, which leads many of us to think ,”let’s just sit back, have a drink, play COD: Black OPS and wait”…No way, bros.

The only things that will make it into this new heavens and new earth…the only things that aren’t cast out are those that have been reclaimed by the people of God in the name of God.

So, we are to march into enemy territory and fight to gain ground for the coming Kingdom.

This can be a dangerous business.  How can we muster the courage?

We are all hope based creatures.  The way we live now is shaped by the way we believe we will live later.

Tim Keller utilizes an illustration about two people working the same job but one knows he will earn a billion dollars while the other knows he will only earn a few thousand…what do you think the difference in attitude and action will be?  Hope makes all the difference.

Keller also points out that people with no hope or a shallow hope freak out easily while those who have Christian hope can grow to become rocks that are not swayed by the moment.

Why?  How? Keller again points to Jonathan Edwards’ sermon on Christian hope and summarizes it this ways:

 

With Christ…

(1) Your bad things will turn out for the ultimate good.
 
(2)  Your good things can never be taken away from you.
 
(3)  The best things are yet to come.
 
Think about what Jesus did on the cross, he absorbed the hopelessness of a life without God to give us an eternal hope that cannot be taken away.
 
God will remake the heavens and the earth and whatever has been redeemed by His people will become a part of it.  So, we fight for those around us by looking to the hope laid before us.

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Comments
  1. malin friess says:

    Very encouraging post..knowing the best is yet to come!

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