The Greatest Story Ever Told part five

3 Sep

God’s not finished with His great REDEMPTION PROJECT YET.

There’s one more part to the story the Bible tells.  It goes CREATION, FALL, SALVATION, RESTORATION. 

God made it, man broke it, God fixes it and the way in which God fixes it is bigger than simply what we are seeing all around us now. He didn’t only die and rise again to forgive people of their sins and then have them die and go into the ground, and you know what, He didn’t only die and rise again to forgive people of their sins and then take them to heaven, no, it’s BIGGER, it’s BETTER, when Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered sin and its’ power and He promised that He would come back and finish up the work He began. 

God the Father has appointed Him as the judge of both the living and the dead, and He has fixed a day in which He will return to judge the world through this man Jesus, and we know that He will do that because He raised Him from the dead.  He will be revealed one day from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, and he will inflict vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey His gospel, they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His might; but that’s not all He will do when He returns, He will also deal with the way in which sin has corrupted this world, the heavens will pass away and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved and He will recreate a new heavens and a new earth in which His people will live. 

The book of Revelation describes where everything headed so beautifully.  

Revelation 21:5, “Behold I am making all things new….”

As one man has explained, “One day, God will set all things right when He restores creation to what He intended it to be all along.  God is creating a new heaven and earth, where everything will be as it was in the beginning, but better.”

God’s children will fully enjoy a completely restored relationship with Him.

1 John 3:2, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

There will be no more aging, sickness or death.

Revelation 21:4-5

Believers will live in a world of absolute love. All people will be joined together in perfect harmony.

Revelation 7:9,

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…”

Sin will be judged and unrepentant sinners cast out of God’s presence forever.

Revelation 20:11-15

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. 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.”

We will finally experiencing unending joy, peace and purpose.  

Do you see how big this is?  As someone has put it, “The world we always wanted once existed, and will exist again.”

Isaiah 11:6-9,

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

And the best part of this great plan of God’s, is that we will be with Him forever.

Revelation 22:3-5

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  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.   And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb…”

“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. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 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. 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 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. 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.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 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.”

And I love talking about this part and it’s difficult for me not to say too much, because you can just see how beautiful God’s plan is, how He is in the process right now of making everything better than it was in the Garden of Eden.

Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration.

This is God’s story of the universe.  This is the story that answers all our important questions.  This is the story that tells where everything came from and how it all went wrong.  This is the story that answers whether there is any hope for people like us, and describes where absolutely everything in the universe is headed.

God had a great purpose for this creation, and for us, to worship and obey Him as King.  But we sinned, rebelled, and instead of fulfilling God’s purpose, substituted our own, to worship ourselves, this rebellion had tragic consequences, making us dead to God and alive to sin, unable to fix what we so tragically broke.  But as someone has said, “God would not let His beloved creation suffer permanently under the weight of sin like this.  He promised He would send a Savior to rescue His people and make His purpose for man possible once again. And, here at the end of the story, we see that God will fulfill for man the purpose He planned at the very beginning.  Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we now through faith have the opportunity with all of creation to be completely renewed, to be with God forever, and to fulfill the purpose God had in mind all along.”

I told you this was my favorite story. 

Now I hope you see why. 

It’s fascinating isn’t it? But you know, it’s more than that.  It’s not just a story, it also is a kind of announcement, a declaration, a proclamation. And because of that it would be wrong for me to end without calling on you to evaluate your life as to whether you are living in a way that matches up with what God’s doing in this universe.  

You see, this is reality.  

This is the history of the world that you are living in.  This is the future of the world as we know it.  And I want to ask you, I need to ask you, are you living right now in a way that matches up with it?

It may be that you are doing exactly what Adam and Eve were doing way back when.  You are living as if you were your own king. You are thinking about yourself as if you were the center of the universe. You are looking to yourself or some other created thing as the solution to the problems of the universe. 

And I wonder if you know what that is called?

Looking to yourself or another created thing for your identity, for your purpose, to fix what’s wrong in your life, in the world around you, and in your relationships is called idolatry. 

 And God hates it. 

Which I think you can understand.  It’s reasonable.  Imagine your wife pretending someone other than you was her real husband.  I am guessing that would make you jealous.  And it should.  You wouldn’t love her if it didn’t.  And because God loves you and this world He created, He’s not content with us pretending like He isn’t God.

He lays out the results of worshiping a non-God really plainly so we don’t miss it.

It’s judgment. 

Judgment now because a non-God can’t help you.  And judgment forever, because a non-God can’t save you. 

So can I plead with you?  Stop living like this! Stop living at odds with the entire universe as it actually exists.  There is only one King, there is only one Savior, there is only one point of the universe, there is only one means of salvation, and it is not you.  It’s the God who created you, it’s the God who reveals Himself in Scriptures, it’s the God who sent His Son Jesus, it’s the God who will send Him again one day to rule over the Universe.

Turn to this God. 

And make a deliberate decision to stop trying to be your own king and Lord.  Bow your knees to the One God the Father has placed in charge of the universe, Jesus and entrust your all of your hopes for salvation, for being fixed, to Him.

The Bible calls this response, repentance and faith.

Repentance and faith are when you turn from being your own king, from worshiping yourself, and bow down before Jesus Christ, and worship Him instead, trusting God to show mercy to you because of the work He performed through His life, death and resurrection, looking to God the Father through Jesus Christ to rescue you from yourself, from your sin, from your brokenness, and looking to Him alone.

God holds out great hope to those who do.   

The apostle John puts it like this,

For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

And I think that pretty much sums it all up.  

I have told you God’s story of the universe, where it all started, how everything got to where it is now, and where it all ends.  The question now is what part you will play in it?  Will you rebel against God and end up an eternal demonstration of His justice and hatred of sin?  Or will you submit to God and make Him look great as He shows His kindness to you forever and ever, time without end?

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