This week, Pastor Chris continued in our series on Heaven. Chris described a longing that lives in every human heart for the new Heaven and new earth. There is an “already, not yet” tension that plays out in every one of our lives. We get tastes of Heaven on earth, but we consistently feel the pangs of sin and death. We must allow the longing for Heaven to change how we live today. If we truly understand what God has in store for us, we cannot and will not live the same.
Ephesians 2:6 (ESV)
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
“In nature, everything moves in the direction of its hungers. In the spiritual world it is not otherwise. We gravitate toward our inward longing, provided of course that those longings are strong enough to move us.” – A.W. Tozer
“Our greatest affliction is not anxiety, or even guilt, but rather homesickness—a nostalgia or ineradicable yearning to be at home with God.” – Donald Bloesch
- What is life on earth supposed to be like? – This world is currently under the curse of sin but in the beginning, Heaven and Earth were united. Each human was and is created in God’s image.
Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 2:7 (ESV)
7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis 2:15 (ESV)
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Genesis 2:24–25 (ESV)
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 1:27–28 (ESV)
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 2:3 (ESV)
3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
- Perfect relationship with God and other Divine Beings including angels.
- Perfect access to Heaven and earth.
- Perfect relationship between your body and soul.
- Perfect job under perfect work conditions.
- Perfect mental/emotional health w/o sin or shame.
- Perfect relationship with others, starting with spouse.
- Perfectly blessed by God in every way.
- Perfect dominion over creation with all of creation to explore and create in.
- Perfect health leading to perfectly healthy families.
- Perfect rest for your body and soul.
- What went wrong on the earth? – Sin entered the world and separated man and God.
Genesis 3:1 (ESV)
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Genesis 3:7–8 (ESV)
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:17 (ESV)
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
Genesis 3:22–24 (ESV)
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
- How will God repair the world? – When we call upon His name, He makes us a new creation. We partner with Him to bring His Kingdom to this Earth, and He will restore it fully when He returns.
Romans 8:18–22 (ESV)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
- What will the New Heaven and New Earth be like? – Our bodies will be resurrected.
Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
2 Peter 3:10–13 (ESV)
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Acts 3:21 (ESV)
21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Revelation 21:1-5 (ESV)
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.”
- What is eschatology? Do you know what your end times theology is? Share with the group.
- What is the “already, not yet” tension that Christians find themselves in the middle of, according to Pastor Chris?
- Answer honestly: what is it that you most long for? Share with the group.
- How can we be followers of Jesus who live each day with eternity in mind?
- Do you have a yearning to be at home with Jesus? Answer honestly this week before the Lord.
- What do you most long for? Is it a spouse or a specific career path? Answer honestly this week and determine whether it is temporal or eternal.