Revelation 21:1-22:5 WWWD

Revelation 21:1-22:5 WWWD

WHAT WILL WE DO IN HEAVEN?

In this lesson we learn what will, and will not, be in heaven.

OUTLINE

The best way for a person who has a biblical worldview to imagine what heaven is like is this: The absence of everything that breaks the heart burdens the soul, and grieves the spirit and the presence of everything that rejoices the heart refreshes the soul, and lifts the spirit—forever.

I.There Will Be No Sanctuary in Heaven

II.  There Will Be No Sun in Heaven

III. There Will Be No Sickness in Heaven

IV. There Will Be No Sadness in Heaven

V.  There Will Be No Separation in Heaven

VI. There Will Be No Sin in Heaven

VII.There Will Be in Heaven ...

     A.   Singing

     B.   Serving

     C.   Sharing

 

OVERVIEW

   I read a story once about a little blind girl whose idea of the beauty of the world was based solely on what her parents had told her. A surgical procedure was developed which would allow her to gain her vision and she did. After her convalescence, the day came for the bandages to be removed from her eyes. The first person she saw was her mother, and after embracing her she went immediately to the door to look outside. For the first time, she saw the beauty of creation. She turned to her mother and exclaimed, "Mama, why didn't you tell me it was so beautiful?"

   Of course, her mother had done her best to describe the world in the most colorful ways possible, but the fact is "a picture is worth a thousand words." And I think someday when we get to heaven we are going to have the same reaction that little girl did— "John, why didn't you tell us it was going to be so beautiful?" I do not know that anyone, in the limited space in which John the Apostle wrote, could have described heaven any better. But his description will fall far short of actually being there.

   When we consider being there, the next question is "What will we do in heaven once we are there?" One of the best ways to think about that is in terms of the words the Bible uses to describe heaven itself. When it is referred to as a "country" we think of its vastness. When it is called a "city," we think of inhabitants. Calling heaven a "kingdom" suggests the orderliness and structure of rule and authority. "Paradise" makes us think of beauty. But if there is one word that makes us think about what we will actually do there, it is the word house (John 14:2).

   "House" makes us think of home and family and relationships and living. We live in a house here on earth, so what will life in our heavenly house be like? There are six things, among others, that will not be in heaven, and three that will.

THERE WILL BE No SANCTUARY IN HEAVEN

   There will be no sanctuary or tabernacle or temple in heaven— and no churches. Revelation 21:3 and 22 say that "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." Because God will be dwelling in the midst of His people, just as He started off doing in the Garden of Eden, there will be no need for a sanctuary for Him to dwell in.

   We incorrectly call our churches "sanctuaries" today because they are where we draw together once a week to worship God and hear His Word proclaimed. But God does not dwell in buildings

in this age; He dwells in His people. At present we cannot "see" His presence as we will be able to in heaven. Instead of dwelling in us in heaven, He will dwell among us, in our very presence! No building or structure could improve on His very presence in our midst.

   The same Jesus who healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the multitudes, died on Calvary, was raised from the dead, and who ascended into heaven will be walking among us in heaven. We will have unbroken, personal fellowship with Him forever.

THERE WILL BE No SUN IN HEAVEN

   Revelation 21:23 says plainly there will be no sun or moon in heaven to provide illumination because "the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light." We forget sometimes that

there was light before God said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3). God Himself is light "and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Jesus said we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), but in reality we are only reflectors of His light. He is the only source of eternal light for even our sun is slowly dying out. Light in heaven for eternity would have to come from the Light which is God Himself.

   No sun or moon means there will be no night. We will live constantly in the light in heaven. Think what that means for our lives: continual, uninterrupted fellowship and activity. The depression and discouragement that often accompany the darkness will nowhere be found in heaven.

THERE WILL BE No SICKNESS IN HEAVEN

   Like every church, we have members in our congregation

who struggle with significant health challenges. My heart goes out personally and as their pastor, to them as they suffer. Having had my own bout with cancer, I am all too able to identify with the frailty our bodies manifest as we walk through this wounded world.

   Whenever I am in pain, or meet with someone who is, my thoughts go immediately to the day described in 21:4, a day when there will be no more tears, death, sorrow, crying, or pain. All of us are touched by the pain of sickness and infirmity, both physical and emotional. Whether it touches us or someone we care about all of us have reason to anticipate a pain-free heaven.

   Think of it. Those today who are blind, deaf, lame, mute, congenitally impaired

or deformed . . . all will receive completely whole resurrection bodies for their eternal stay in heaven. All doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and undertakers will be out of business forever!

THERE WILL BE No SADNESS IN HEAVEN

   Verse 4 also says, by the wiping away of tears, there will be no sadness in heaven. That promise was made initially in 7:17 where John saw the Lamb wiping away all the tears from the eyes of the saints. But if there are no tears in heaven, what tears is he wiping away? I mentioned this in an earlier lesson, but it never

hurts to call it to mind again. These are the tears resulting from the Judgment Seat of Christ.

   Believers are not judged as to salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ but as to their faithfulness to Christ. And I think there will be many tears shed at that time. Just as Peter "went out and wept bitterly" over his own failure to be loyal to Jesus (Matthew 26:751, so many of us will weep at things done which we ought not to have done, and things left undone which we ought to have done. Wasted opportunities, broken promises, words spoken in anger, sins not repented of—all will be brought to the fore and result in tears in the eyes of believers. Thankfully, those tears will be temporary as our forgiving Savior wipes them away.

THERE WILL BE No SEPARATION IN HEAVEN

   Have you ever realized that; in heaven, you will never again be separated from the ones you love? Just as space and time did not seem to be an issue with Jesus in His resurrection body, neither do I think it will be an issue for us. Geography will be a moot point in heaven; we will be able to be in the presence of anyone at any time.

   This was probably a poignant moment for the apostle John as he came to this realization, recording the vision of heaven. He was exiled on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, having been sent there to die by the Roman Emperor Domitian. Those in the household of faith in Ephesus were separated from him by an expanse of water which was unbridgeable. John was totally cut off from those he loved and longed to serve as an apostle. He no doubt lived every moment in lonely anticipation of being reunited with loved ones, if not on earth, then certainly in heaven.

   Anyone who travels sees the pain of separation constantly in airports as families and friends say goodbye to one another one more time. For believers, that pain will soon disappear forever.

THERE WILL BE No SIN IN HEAVEN

   John names categories of sinners in verses 8 and 27 who will not find their way through the pearl gates into the heavenly city. Revelation 22:15 says they are "outside" the city, or shut out of it. Why? Because there is no sin in heaven, and therefore no sinners. Only those who have chosen to be forgiven their sins will enter heaven. It is not that they never sinned. All have sinned. Rather, they accepted God's offer of forgiveness for their sins.

   Theologically, the reason there is no sin in heaven is that 22:3 says: "And there shall be no more curse." When Adam sinned, all creation fell under a curse resulting from sin (Genesis 3:1749). But because Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law when He died on Calvary, we enter heaven free from propensity (ability) to sin, the proclivity (tendency) to sin, and the penalty (continual sinning and ultimate death) of sin.

   We do not even know what it would be like to pick up our daily newspaper and not find one instance or example of sin being reported, for we know if it is out there, the media will report it!

We see things happen in our high schools and colleges now that used to happen in the world of gangsters and hoodlums. We hear occasionally about the decrease in certain kinds of crime, yet somehow we have no overall sense that sin is decreasing in our society. Instead, it seems all the more prevalent and pervasive. But a day is coming when it will be gone forever.

THERE WILL BE IN HEAVEN...

   It is good to revel in the absence of negative things in heaven. No one could deny his or her excitement about being free for eternity from much of what burdens us in this life. But if we take off our "worldly garments," what shall we put on in their place?

Singing

   The book of Revelation has more songs than any other book of the Bible except Psalms. That gives us a clue as to what the priorities in heaven are, doesn't it? Anyone who has ever had the privilege of singing in a large choir of hundreds and hundreds of people, perhaps in a very large church or at an evangelistic crusade, knows the power and thrill that comes from voices united in worship and praise. The first day I attended chapel in seminary and heard 700 men singing together in unison was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. Those experiences are only a foretaste of the perfectly pitched praises we will offer to the Lord forever.

Serving

   There is an important probably often overlooked, phrase in 22:3: "and His servants shall serve Him." It comes in the context of the throne of God and the Lamb of God and suggests a priest-like service of worship in the presence of God. Service is not a new concept in Revelation. All who have been used by God on earth or in heaven have been referred to as servants (1:1; 7:3; 10:7; 11:18; 15:3; 19:5; 22:6). To be called, or known as, a servant is one of the most honoring titles in Scripture. What will we do to serve God in heaven? I think we are going to get to do exactly what would fulfill the desires of our hearts, that thing which we feel most fulfilled doing, that thing we always thought we were "made to do."

Sharing

   Heaven is going to be the greatest experience of fellowship you have ever had. All of your friends in Christ plus millions more you have never met will be there. The Father, Son, and Spirit will be continually available. The saints from the pages of the Old Testament and the New Testament will be on every corner of the holy city. Perhaps you have a couple of favorite personages from the Bible or the pages of Church history with whom you would like to chat. You will have unlimited time to do so when we get to heaven. If all of us would become as excited about those future meetings as we are the lunch or shopping date we have with a good friend this week, our whole perspective on heaven would change. Think about who you are going to get to fellowship with!

   You are going to love heaven. I look forward to meeting you there and learning about everything God has done for you.