Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

02/18/2018 A.M.

 

Eternal Life – Heaven – Future Grace

 

This morning... We end our series of lessons on Our Dream For The Bella Vista Church Family...That being we have a daily sense of His... Grace... Presence... Power... And Providence.

 

I want us to understand that God is not only with us moment-by-moment... But that He is powerfully at work in our life... Working all things out to our benefit... To our good... Our betterment.

 

Now...We may not understand the process... What or how it’s happening... And how what’s happening is to our benefit... But by faith... We must accept His grace promise.

 

As I worked on this series... I kept running across the phrase future grace... I kept thinking...

• Future Grace?... What’s that?...

• How do we need something called future grace...

And I realized... Future grace is nothing less than... Eternal life... Living forever... Heaven.

 

Indeed...Our future is filled with grace beyond our imagination.

 

There’s an interesting set of verses in Romans chapter five that says... The Law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased... Grace increased all the more... So that... Just as sin reigned in death... So also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus CHRIST.

 

You see... Eternal life is a mathematical issue... For instance... If we start with an infinite number and subtract any finite number from it... The answer is still infinity.

 

Only finite numbers become smaller when you subtract something from them.  The very meaning of infinite is that when you take something away from it... You have no less than in the beginning.

 

This mathematical truth is expressed in the fifth verse of Amazing Grace... A verse... By the way... That John Newton did not write... But is nevertheless accurate...

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years...

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Then when we’ve first begun.”

 

In this life... Every day that goes by means fewer days left to live...

 

However...In Heaven... Eternity... In Future Grace... Every passing... day... century... or millennium... means that the amount of future left is never diminished... Amazing Grace!

 

Eternal life is life that never ends... Life of infinite duration.

 

Peter puts it in these words... An inheritance that can... Never perish... Spoil... Or fade away.

 

In our minds we see things linearly... They have a starting place and an ending...But with God... He neither had a beginning... Nor will He have an end.

 

Think of eternity as a circle... Without beginning... Without end.

 

Heaven...Eternal Life... Future Grace... Is our stepping into that God circle... Where there is no end... NEVER!

 

Eternal life means we’ll never die... That’s what Jesus said at Lazarus’s death... I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies... Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

 

It’s called… heaven... Eternal life... Future grace.

 

I don’t know how to preach on heaven without starting in Ecclesiastes 3.11 in our modern speech translation... Here Solomon is found saying that... God has placed... eternity... Heaven...Future grace... Within the human heart.

 

New Testament Scripture... Paul in Athens... Tells us that God has placed within us a God-shaped vacuum... That causes us to search for Him and find Him... Even though He is not far from each one of us. For it is in Him live and move and have our being.

 

History tells us that all people everywhere have a sense that this is not all there is to life... Mankind has always believed in some kind of life-After-Life.  

 

This idea of... Heaven...Eternal life... Future Grace...

Is taught throughout Scripture...

 

Job.. One of the oldest books in the Bible… Poses this question in rhetoric... If a man die will he live again?... The obvious answer is yes.

 

Daniel 12.2 says... Those asleep in the earth will awake… Some to everlasting life and some to everlasting contempt.

 

Listen to David from Psalm 16.6-11... I have a delightful inheritance... My heart is glad... My tongue rejoices... My body will rest secure... WHY?... Because you will not abandon me to the grave... Nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life... You will fill me with joy in your presence... I’ll enjoy your eternal pleasures.

 

David ends the 23rd Psalm saying... Surly your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life... And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Jesus picks up this theme in John chapter 14... In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

 

Jesus... In the great sheep and goat judgment of Matthew 25… States that some would be given everlasting punishment while others will be granted... Everlasting life.

 

Again... Peter believed in heaven... In I Peter 1.4 he writes of... An inheritance that’s Incorruptible and undefiled that fades not away… Reserved for us in heaven.

 

Paul in II Corinthians 5.1 writes... For we knowthat if this earthly dwelling... This earthly house... This earthly tabernaclebe dissolved we have a building of God… A house… A home… Not made with hands... Eternal... ETERNAL… in the heavens.

 

Access a Worship Bulletin...

Let’s read about this EternalGrace from Revelation chapters 21 & 22...

 

I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away... I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

 

To  him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

 

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates...

 

The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 staid in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick… The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.

 

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life... Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

 

Well... How do we describe Heaven?...

 

First...We understand Heaven is a place.

Heaven is a place.... Just as much as… Bentonville… New York or Chicago.

Jesus said... I go to prepare a place for you... And if I prepare a place for you... I will come again to take you where I am.

 

Our text says... Heaven is a city...

• Hebrews 11.10 has Abraham... Searching for a city whose Creator is God.

• Hebrews 12.22 refers to Heaven as the city of God.

• Paul was taken there in a vision in Second Corinthians 12.2-4.

• John was there in this vision of Revelation.

The idea from the Holy Spirit is not a physical city... But a community of believers.

• Heaven is a fellowship of the redeemed...

• Heaven is A family of the saved.

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying... Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

 

In Heaven... There’ll be nothing to keep us from having an intimate fellowship... Friendship... Togetherness... One anotherness...

• No private ambitions...

• No hidden agendas...

• No jealously...

• No envy...

• No personal interests...

• No hurt feelings...

• No more discord among brethren...

Only pure love... A perfect community!!

 

Heaven is a new City… The New Jerusalem…

Behold old things have passed away… All things have become new…

• No more persecution…

• No more politics…

• For the First Century Church… No more Caesars..

• No more sin…

• No more tears… mourning

• No death…

• No more parting...

• No pain.

He who was seated on the throne said… I am making... Everything...everything... New.

 

This city will be a Holy City… A sinless place.

Heaven is…

• A place…

• A life…

• An economy…

Where sinning is over… Symbolically represented by white robes.

 

It’s an economy where there is no more curse... When man sinned in the Garden... There was a curse placed on mankind and his world... So... Sickness...Violence... Chaos... Death... Weeds and thorns...came. But in heaven... the curse is lifted…

• No more sin…

• No more remorse…

• No more regret….

• No more guilt.

 

In heaven we will have a clean conscience… Made permanently clean by the blood of the lamb.

We will be…

• Sinless…

• Shameless…

• Blameless…

Forever.

 

With the curse removed... Heaven becomes a place of eternal joy and happiness.

 

Heaven will be the place where we’ll hear God say... Well done… Good and faithful servant! You’ve been faithful with a few things… I will put you in charge of many. Come and share your master's happiness…Come share in the Joy of your Lord.

 

In Heaven... We will share in God’s happiness... Share in a GOD’s joy… God’s happiness… God’s joy?... I don’t know what that’s like… I can only imagine!

 

Heaven is a walled and gated city...

Heaven has gates... This means some will be given a welcome entrance... Others will be kept out... There shall by no means enter it anything that defiles… Or causes an abomination or a lie… But only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life... The overcomers... Those who persevere.

Who will not be there?...

The cowardly…

• The unbelieving…

• The vile…

• MURDERERS…

• The sexually immoral…

• Those who PRACTICE magic arts…

• Idolaters…

• And all liars.

Heaven is secured by high walls… Thick gates... With angels guarding... Meaning no longer any chance for… Attack… Abuse… Mistreatment… No reason for fear OF anything anymore!... Walls signify... protection... Security

 

Heaven will have ample room.

• Ample room for the Patriarchs of old…

• Ample room for those in the Old Testament who based their lives on the Law of Moses... The saved from theTwelve Tribes.

The Hebrews’ Writer refers to these as those Just Men Made Perfect by the Blood of Jesus.

• There’s ample room for the saved of the New Testament… Those who have stepped into the life-giving flow of His blood by aligning their lives with the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. As the angel measures the city... We understand this measurement is not to be taken literally. God just wants us to know that there’s Ample Room to accommodate the saved of all ages.

 

Heaven will be a city of ample provisions to sustain eternal life...

Provided by the tree of life and the river of life...

God is the LIGHTand LAMP of that city...

 

Heaven is a place of UNIMAGINABLE BEAUTY.

Streets of pure gold... Gates of pearl... Foundation of precious stones.

 

It was Paul who wrote... Eye has not seen...Neither has it entered into the heart of man what God has in store for us at home forever in heaven.

 

The Holy Spirit is describing a place beyond our comprehension.

 

Heaven is a presence with God.

We will meet him face-to-face.

I want you to think of the most awe-inspiring sight you’ve ever seen...

• Perhaps the Grand Canyon...

• Maybe you stood in Yellowstone gazing at the Grand Tetons...

• Walked through the Painted Desert...

• Crossed over the Royal Gorge...

• The Garden of the God's...

• The Redwood Forest of the Northwest...

• Stood on a beach on the Pacific at sunset... On the Atlantic at sunrise.

Listen!...If we gasp in awe at his creation... At His handiworks in this world… What will it be like to see him face-to-face?

 

If we shudder in God’s shadow... Think about what will happen when we see the reality of God and what he has prepared for us in Heaven.

 

Now... Let’s go back to our introductory thoughts on infinity...

 

Church...Know this... God is infinite... And it will take us an eternity to just get to know Him.

 

We’ll need an eternity to explore...

• His Glory...

• His omnipotence... 

• His omniscience...

• The riches of His grace...

• We’ll need eternity to... See...Taste... Feel... Experience... The wonders of His being.

 

If God is infinite... And He is... Then Heaven will never become boring... Because it will take... An infinite time... Eternity... To explore and get to know...

• His infinite nature...

• His infinite love...

• Mercy...

• Grace...

• Glory...

• Holiness... Etc... Amen?

 

Finally...We note that heaven is… attainable…ACCESSIBLE!

 

The city has twelve gates... I think the Holy Spirit is telling us that any and all can go there.

 

Jesus who said... I am the gate to the sheepfold... I am the way... I am the truth... I am the life... No man comes to the Father... Except by Me.

 

• In 4.12 of Acts... Peter says... There is salvation in none other... There is no other name… Given among men… Under heaven… Whereby we can be saved.

 

Heaven is God’s prepared city for a people who will confess Jesus and name Him as the Lord of their life.

 

You see... No one goes to Heaven by accident.

 

HEAVEN IS FOR...

• Those who believe in Jesus...

• Those who are willing to confess His name above all names...

• Those who are willing to change their lives... Live by God’s principles...

• Those washed in the blood of the lamb by being born again in New Testament baptism...

• Those whose names are in the lamb’s book of life...

• Those who persevere...Faithful unto and until death.

 

Does that include you and your preacher?

 

Make sure of your eternal Home in heaven... As we stand and sing together.