Lord Jesus, we do know that you are alive, that you are well, that you are good, that you are seated in heaven on a thrown that you are ruling and reigning as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So, tonight as we study your coming back into human history we ask that you would send God the Holy Spirit to instruct us, to lead us, to guide us, to convict us to enable us to understand who you are. What you have done through your death, burial and resurrection and what still waits us in the future. And may we by the grace you give us be able to apply that to ourselves? Personally may we be able to share that with those that we love and Lord Jesus may you help make sense of why we’re here on this earth, and how that is to be lived in expectation of your coming, and so we love you and give ourselves to you. In Jesus good name we pray. Amen.”
Well, I’ll start with a question. Any of you guys have a bad week, a crummy week, a horrible week, a junkie week, maybe just a normal week? I had one of those weeks, the last couple weeks to be honest with, ya. Nothing hugely horrible happened. It’s not like I had woke up and I was married to Kevin Federline, it wasn’t that bad, but – a – (Laughter) Just death by a thousand paper cuts. Kids get sick. You get sick. Every time my kids get sick. Where do your kids want to sleep when they’re sick? In your bed, which means you’re going to get sick.
That happened and some of you know we’re tight financially and so we had a series of layoffs here at the church and the critics are going nuts and just all kinds of work to be done. And the weather’s horrible. I don’t know if you noticed that. The weather’s terrible. We have flooding and mud slides. I’m like, what kind of Old Testament place is this, mud slides, like the earth cannot handle the water. That’s too much water.
And you know, the last few weeks, too, one of the cool things of being a Pastor is get too hear about people’s lives and you get to tell them about Jesus, to bring healing into the most painful and difficult parts of their life. But the hardest part is actually hearing what has happened to certain human beings. And in the last few weeks I have just a lot of conversations where children that were molested and women who were raped and just the most horrible, atrocious, devastating, kind of evil has been done to so many people.
And at certain points emotionally, you just reach the point, at least I do, where I’m just weary and tired and, and it’s not that I don’t love and it’s not that I don’t care, and it’s not that I’m giving up it’s just sometimes emotionally you just want to tap out. And I had one of those occasions this week where I was just sort of done for the day.
And my sweet wife came up to give me a hug and she looked at me, and she said, she had a question, and she said, “What would make it all better?” Which is a dangerous question for a wife to ask, but, I said, a, I said a, “The second coming of Jesus, is about the only thing that will make it all better.” She says, “Nah, I can’t do that.” I said, “I know, honey. I appreciate, I appreciate you asking though.” But if you could get him to come back that would be awesome.” Could I get that for my birthday, that’s what I really want, Jesus to come back.
And, and I don’t say that in a flippant way, but truly the only way that everything in the world including my own life is really going to get straightened out is with the Second Coming of Jesus. And when Jesus returns everything will be taken care of as God intends and that’s the subject of what we’re studying together, this evening.
And I’ll start by saying that the Bible speaks of Jesus coming back. It predicted his first coming into human history to live without sin, to die, in our place for our sin, to rise three days later. We looked in the previous weeks, how then he ascended physically, bodily in a glorified resurrected body to heaven. “That Jesus is alive and well today, ruling and reigning today, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” And the Bible also says “That on, that on one day that God knows, and we don’t, that Jesus will in fact return physically, bodily, in is glorified, resurrected body back to human history.”
Now Jesus said this for example, in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, so you may also be where I am.” So, Jesus was saying, “I’m going to die for sin, rise, I’ll then ascend into heaven, I’ll prepare a place for you and then I will come back, and I will take you Christians to be there with me forever.” This is a common theme of Scripture. Two angels said this at the ascension of Jesus in Acts 1. They said, “This Jesus who you have seen ascend into heaven, he will return in the same way that you will see him go.”
Also, authors of the New Testament, like Paul, James, Peter, John, and the writer of Hebrews all tell us that Jesus is coming back. So, that’s, that’s the issue on the table, is do we believe that and if so how do we live in light of that. The question then begs to be answered, when will Jesus Christ return? Some of you think you know. You’re freaks. You do not know, right. (Laughter) You do not know.
I don’t – you could read the newspaper, Daniel and, you know, not go to bed for four nights and come up with a good idea, and write a book or something. There’s, there’s people who always like to predict the end of the world and the Second Coming of Jesus and they write books and give prophecies and all these things. The truth is we know whose coming, Jesus. I tell you in a moment what he’s going to do. What we don’t know is when he’s coming.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:44, “The son of man will come at an hour you do not expect him.” Okay, lots of people like to guess but obviously they’ve all been wrong. He’s not back yet. And Matthew 25:13 says, “You do not know the hour or the day. We don’t know. We don’t know when Jesus is going to return. It may be a week. It may be thousands of years. We don’t know.
We do know according to Scripture that he will return. The question is what will happen when he does return? And I’ll look at the Scriptures in a moment. But, what is interesting is that there are various people in pop culture who also have curious things to say about the Second Coming of Jesus. And for purposes of breath of concept, I’ll share them with you.
The comedian Woody Allen said, – you may have seen his quote; “If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name. He could, he would not be able to stop throwing up.” I think that’s interesting. It’s interesting who throws stones sometimes, you know.
British historian, Thomas Carlisle says, “If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not crucify him, they would ask him to dinner and see what he had to say and make fun of him,” a very disrespectful view of Jesus. And if he came back we’d have him over to dinner. He’d answer our questions and then we would laugh at him because he’s ridiculous.
Theologian Mike Tyson says, – (Laughter) you knew this one’s gonna be good. He actually wrote this in crayon but I’ve got it, right here. (Laughter) Oh, come on. “That’s not funny. That’s not funny.” [Imitating Mike Tyson] I know I’m sorry Mike. He says, “All praise to Allah, I’ll fight any man any animal. If Jesus were here I’d fight him, too.” And get whooped I might add.
Another great theologian Carson Daley, the MTV, VJ, who Total Request Live, I think that’s it. I’m not a teenage girl so I’m not totally sure. But, I think he hosts Total Request Live. He says, “Everybody stands on our show that’s our policy. If Jesus Christ comes on the show, guess what, its like, “Stand right here Jesus,” “We got Poppa Roach, comin up at number 6.” That’s what Carson Daley says.
Jimmy Carter, our former President, says, “We should live as those Christ was coming this afternoon.” Mark Twain, the great author, says, “If Christ were here now, there is one thing he would not be a Christian.” And lastly the editor of Wired, his name is, Paul Boutin, he says, “I really think that if Jesus were around today he would have a blog.” I don’t think he would. And if he did, I don’t think he definitely wouldn’t have message capacity for other people to give their two cents. I’m pretty sure of that.
And the question is; what will Jesus do upon his return? Some say he will throw up, he’ll get beat up, he’ll have a blog, people will make fun of him, he certainly wouldn’t be a Christian. What will happen when Jesus comes back?
And so, now we’ll look at Scripture and we’ll ask we’ll what doesn’t Scripture have to say. The first thing that I want to tell you is that Jesus will judge everyone who has ever lived. Now some of you immediately are like, “I don’t like judgment.” Well, the truth is Jesus says in the Gospel of John, “That the Father has entrusted to the son, all judgment.”
So Jesus is the one who judges. And I know that some of you have used this line before, like, “You can’t judge me you’re no better than me with Jesus.” You’re gonna half to -, you can’t do that right. You can’t say, “You’re no better, – dang it – you are better than me you can judge me, dang it. I got – that one has a shelf life, right.
The truth is I don’t know you’re life. I don’t know you’re deeds. We don’t know each other’s thoughts. We don’t see what’s done in secret but Jesus knows and sees all. And he is without sin. And he is all together good. And he is the one who is fit to judge.
And it says this in Revelation Chapter 20 verses 11 through 13, “Then I saw a great white thrown and him who was seated on it – and that’s Jesus – earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead great and small standing before the thrown and books were open and another book was open which The Book of Life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the book. The sea gave up the dead that were in it and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were them and each person was judged according to what he had done.”
Now I don’t know about you. I’m a person who really loves justice. Okay, I’ll just say that. I like to see when somebody is evil, their raping, beating, stealing, molesting, I like them to be arrested and run through trial and not be able to do that anymore to hurt people and do that kind of thing. I like justice. And I don’t like injustice. When’s somebody’s innocent and they have been falsely accused and evidence has been manufactured and people have lied, been falsely accused or slander them. Or perhaps they even get falsely convicted of something they didn’t do. Injustice is a bad thing. We have within us, because we are image bears of God, a desire for justice.
The problem is despite the fact we have, you know, we have police officers. And we have a court system. And we have a judiciary process. And we have jails and such, we have do have an effort in this culture for justice. But the sad thing is in the fallen the world sometimes you don’t catch the bad guys. Sometimes you catch the wrong guy and he get’s convicted of something that he really didn’t do. Sometimes people lie under oath and they a, they don’t tell the truth which clouds justice.
There is coming a day of complete and total an accurate and perfect justice, right. And on that day Jesus knows all of our hearts, all our thoughts, all of our minds, all of our lives. He knows everybody who has ever lived. He knows everything we’ve ever said. He knows everything we’ve ever done.
And Jesus will make a just, perfect, righteous judgment about who we are and what we’ve done and thought, word and deed. And that day is coming. I mean there is so many people that seem to think that, because they are getting away with something that they will be able to get away with it forever, and they won’t.
There is a day when we stand before Jesus. There is a day when Jesus judges us. And Jesus judgment is perfect and it just and it is holy and it is good. And that being said, that will include judgment for Christians and non Christians.
My next two points let me state this thought. The judgment for Christians and non Christians is different. For non Christians there will be a judgment as to what punishment they will receive in hell. And for Christians there will be a judgment as to what reward they will receive in heaven.
And then saying there is a hell. I know I am saying something that is tremendously unpopular, particularly in Seattle. But, Jesus speaks of hell more than anyone in Scripture. And he speaks of it as a literally place of conscious eternal torment. And what he says is there will be the place of justice, that the punishment will absolutely fit the crime. And in saying this for those of you who are not Christians. I’m not trying mean spirited but I’m trying to be
honest. And some of you may say, “I don‘t like hell.” Then do not go there. That’s, that’s the big idea that I would like to communicate, right.
Here’s what it says in Romans, Chapter 2 verses 5 and 6, “But because of your stubbornness, and your unrepentant heart,” – right the heart that says, “I’m not a sinner. Or Jesus can’t do anything for me, or I don’t want to have a change of life – “You are storing up wrath, – a word, a concept that appears more than 600 times in your Bible –“against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed, God will give to each person according to what he has done.”
So non Christians will stand before Jesus at the end, upon his return there will be final judgment and those who are not Christians will be sentenced to an eternity in hell. And the punishment will fit the crime. And there will degrees of punishment according to the life that they lived and depth of their depravity and their deeds and their misdeeds.
So it’s perfectly just, right. So no everybody is going to get the same exact punishment that will be depending upon what kind of life they lived, in fact failed to live, perhaps is the best way to say it.
Some of you may have been told, “Yeah, isn’t that where Satan rules and demons rule and then it’s just total mayhem.” That is not true. That’s not true, because the Bible also says in Revelation, “That Jesus will judge Satan and demons. And that he will sentence them to punishment in hell as well.” And Satan and demons don’t rule over anything including hell. It does say in Revelation 14, though, “That Jesus rules in hell.” And it’s important that you just don’t think of Jesus as the one who rules over heaven. He also rules over the earth. And he also rules over hell, that when the Bible says, “He is Lord of all.” That means everything.
And it says it this way in Revelation 14:10, “He too, – meaning the unrepentant, those who don’t give their sin to Jesus – will drink of the wine of God’s fury which was been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath, he will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the lamb.” That’s Jesus, that Jesus rules in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, in hell. That Jesus pours out punishment, and justice in, even hell.
So the question is not, “Can I avoid Jesus?” None of us can avoid Jesus. The question, “Is will I deal with Jesus today and become a friend. Or will I deal with Jesus tomorrow as a foe?” And in saying that, I’m not saying that I’m better than any human being who has ever lived. I am a sinner. I have sins of omission and commissions and though, word, deed. There is no reason that God should love me. There is reason that God should take me or any Christian to heaven.
No reason that any Christian should experience the forgiveness of sin. What it is is the gift of grace. It’s the love of God that’s all it is, that Jesus lived the life that I could not live. Jesus died the death I should have died. And because of that I do not need to stand before God at the end and be judged for my punishment in hell. In a very real way I was judged at the cross of Jesus Christ, and he suffered and he died in my place for my sins.
Because of that as Christians, we don’t want those of you who are non Christians to hear that you’re not loved. You are loved and what we encourage you is to give your sin to Jesus so that you don’t have to be punished by him, instead he could have been punished in your place. The result is that there is no hell for those who give their sin to Jesus, in repentance because Jesus has already paid their price. For those who don’t give their sin to Jesus there remains a debt to be paid. And that debt will in fact be paid.
And so there will be a judgment of all non Christians. And all non Christians will stand before Jesus. There is also a judgment for Christians. And it is different in this way. The judgment for Christians is not that we stand before Jesus and he decides whether or not we go to heaven or hell, cause that was decided at the cross. But just there are punishments in hell there are degrees reward in heaven. Meaning if you are someone who loves Jesus and lives a faithful life when you get to stand before Jesus he will say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” He will tell you how you lived your life and whether it was pleasing to him or not.
It says this in Second Corinthians, Chapter 5 verses 9 and 10, “So, we make it our goal to please him, – that’s Jesus – whether we’re at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that is each one may receive what is due him for the things he has done in the body whether good or bad.”
So, even those of you who are Christians, and some of you right now, if you are Christian, I assure you of this there will be days you will get and ask yourself, “Why bother?” I mean, why walk in holiness and obedience. Why love your enemies? Why love your neighbor? Why allow people to make sport of what you believe or how you behave? I mean, why live a life of holiness and obedience to Jesus?
And he says here, “That we should make it our aim to please him.” And I would tell you as a Christian, you and I who are Christians; we will have a lot of competing voices in our life. People telling us, “You should make me happy.” That’s not what I want you to do. That’s not how I want you to live. Do you need to read the Bible? Do you need to do what Jesus says? Do you need to live like a Christian, is suppose to live? Can’t you think this? Can’t you do this? Can’t you support my lifestyle?
Sometimes the heat will be turned up. They’ll criticize you. Make fun of you. Make sport of you. Twist your words to say things that you didn’t say. Take it from a guy who gets paid for that to happen to him. This is fact this does happen. There will be pressure from family, friends, coworkers, to sin, to compromise to change your beliefs. And the key is, is to know that you’re really living for one day. That day when we stand before Jesus and he tells us, what he thought of our life. That’s really the day that matters the most. That’s really the day that matters the most.
That we live for an audience of one; we worship an audience of one, we serve an audience of one, we will die and rise to stand before an audience of one. We will be judged by the audience of one. And we will be rewarded by the audience of one.
That in the middle you and I must always keep on the horizon Jesus. Is what I am doing going to cause me to be ashamed? When I see him, is how I am living embarrassing and were I to stand before him today would my eyes be downcast looking at the ground , saying , “Jesus that was not right.” Or would I be able to come to him and say, “Jesus, I love you and I’m willing to hear the review of my life.” And then hear Jesus say, “You know, I know that was hard. And I know you have a lot of pressure. I know you took a lot of hits. And I know that was tempting. And I know there was a lot of people that wanted you to commit that sin or change that belief, or walk down that dark path. And you didn’t. We’ll done good and faithful servant.”
You and I must always keep before us the fact that we, our aim is to please him, right. And in that we welcome people to speak into our live, particularly people who know Scripture, who love Jesus. Who are pointing us to him. But so many people want us to serve in such a way that, that we approve of them and that we are living for their approval, that our whole goal is to make them happy with us. Scripture says, “No, our aim should be to please him. ”
And that should be for the Christian the goal that is forever set on the horizon. What that means is you and I are going to have to wait awhile to get any sort of vindication, right, if we are walking in holiness.
When Jesus returns another thing that will happen that is just amazing. Is that we will sit with Jesus in authority and we will judge angels, that includes demons. Okay, it says this in First Corinthians 6:2 and 3, “Do you not know that the saints” – and saint here means Christian. Some of you might have been raised in a tradition where a saint is a holy person who dies and then miracles accompany their legacy. And then they go up for a vote. Saint means Christian. Someone is holy. Who is made holy by Jesus? Set apart for Jesus. “Do you not know that the saints, Christians will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world are you not competent to judge trivial cases. Do you not know that we will judge the angels of how much more of things of this life.”
Now this sounds wonderful to me. Not because I want to sit on a thrown and judge, but because I long for that day of clarity. I love Jesus. I hate sin. I believe every word of the Bible is true. But in this life the truth is sometimes things are complicated and they’re hard to call. Certain political issues, wars, social agendas, candidates politically, sometimes things are not obvious, crystal clear. The Bible says, “We know in part. We see in part.”
And in that day when we sit with Jesus, over the world and over the angles, and we’re participating for the final judgment, the glory of that moment is that we will see clearly. We will see hearts, motivates, deeds. We’ll see the whole picture. We’ll get all the facts. Not just the spin, and the marketing and the adverting and the half truths and the out of context statements, we’ll get the whole truth.
And we’ll see everything as it is. We’ll see thing as God sees it. Not that we want to be God. But that we want to have God’s perspective. And sometimes we don’t in this life because of sin, because of rebellion, because of heart hardiness. Sometimes we see clearly and we don’t like it, so Romans 1 says, “We suppress the truth and unrighteousness.” Not that we don’t see we just don’t like it.
We also have a three pound fallen brain. I went to public school. There’s just a lot of reasons, right, why you don’t get a 100 percent clear accurate objective view of everything, but on that day with Jesus. We’ll see it all like God sees it. And that’s a gift that he gives us. Furthermore, what happens at the Second Coming of Jesus, he will lift the curse and all of its effects? I’ve been meditating on this for a really long time. He says this in Revelation 22:3, “No longer will there be any curse.”
Now’s here’s what I want you to know. We live in a fallen cursed sinful world. You think about it. How much money has been spent to make the world a better place? How many wars have been fought? How many elections have been held? How many petitions have been signed? How many organizations have been started? How many dollars have been given? I mean, this is the effort of human history to improve the human condition, yeah. Depending upon how you look at it, statistically the world may be a worse place than it’s ever been. More danger, more death, more, destruction, injustice, more famine, more plague, more devastation, the issue is if we’re all trying so hard and all these organizations and all these governments and all these soldiers, and all these wars, and all this money, how come it’s not getting any better, because we live in a fallen, sinful, cursed world.
Now God didn’t make it that way. The Bible says, “Now when God was done everything was very good.” It wasn’t very bad like it was today. That sin has affected everything.
And, it was interesting. When I was a non Christian, I didn’t become a Christian until I was 19, when I was a non Christian, growing up in Seattle, going to high school. You hit high school you all of a sudden realize that the world is bigger than you, your four buddies, your favorite band, and your hobbies. You start like reading the newspaper and realizing that there are other nations, things of that nature. Like the world gets a little bigger for, ya. And all of sudden I started studying world affairs and human history and realized man the world is a horrible place, People starve and dying, atrocity, murder, mayhem, injustice, Tierney, dictators. The world is a horrible place.
And I, as a non Christian, I didn’t know how to explain that. And as a non Christian, I didn’t know, emotionally, how to process that. And this is gonna sound silly but what I started doing, is listening to old jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, like somehow that would fix it. I’m not sure how I thought that would like topple evil dictators. Jazz will do it.
So I started listening to Louis Armstrong and I remember in some of the darker times when I really felt sort of overwhelmed by some of the condition of the world. I would put on the song, where he sings, and “I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” Now I think what a stupid song that is. (Laughter) What a wonderful world. I mean doesn’t this guy watch the news, you know. I mean, I look forward to the day when they get on the news and they say, “It was a good day. We’ve got nothing for, ya.” And then go have some fun. I look forward to that day, alright.
But there’s no shortage of carnage because we live in a cursed, fallen, crocked world. Sometimes we listen to pop songs and we just think, “Well, just think good thoughts.” Like, about what – you know – I mean. The world is a very hard place. It’s a very wicked place. It’s a very unjust and oppressed
place. And we don’t have anyone to blame for all of the condition except for ourselves that we’re part of this world, too. And I know you would say, “Yes, right Mark, there’s evil people out there and they do bad things.” Well, you know what we could all so bring a bunch of people and they would say you’re the evil doer who has ruined their life.
The truth is when it comes to sin, we’re all victims. We’ve all been sinned against. And we’re all sinners. We’ve all sinned against others. And the world is just cursed. Everything is crocked. Everything is messed up. Everything is inverted and upside down. And the Bible says, “That when Jesus comes back there won’t be any more curse.” I mean – It’s just not going to be as hard as it is today, to live a life that is pleasing to God, because the curse, all of that resistance will be removed.
And in Revelation 21: 4 and 5 we get some specific, images of what that curse free world will be like, it says, “He will wipe every tear from our eyes.” What do you cry about? What do you cry about? I don’t talk about it a lot but I do cry. Usually it is when someone is telling me sin they’ve committed or sin that has been committed against them, something horrendous.
And in recent memory here’s what’s made me cry. People telling me, “I was brutally raped.” I just weep. I just – it just slays me – it’s just devastating, hearing of children who were raped and molested, and I know far too many. I mean, just hearing that a spouse has committed adultery on the spouse and betrayed the marriage covenant and everything is destroyed. It just slays me. It breaks my heart that someone is sick or dying, I mean – it just slays me.
What makes you cry? You know the appropriate response to sin is anger, right. It shouldn’t be that way. And sorrow. Just brokenness, it’s just, it’s just devastating. And, and what I love is that in this life we can and should cry. And when Jesus was on the earth, he did weep. But, in the Kingdom of heaven, when Jesus comes back, he’s lifted the curse and he’s straightened out all that we made crooked. I love that image of Jesus coming and wiping the tears from our eyes. We won’t need to cry anymore because there won’t be sickness, sin, death, evil, injustice, there won’t be the curse. There won’t be anything to cry about, right. That in the eternal Kingdom that Jesus is going to rule over as King, we won’t need to cry. I just look forward to the world in which we won’t need to cry anymore, and if we cry its tears of joy that would be fine.
Furthermore it goes on to say, “When Jesus returns there will be no more death.” When’s the last time you buried someone that you knew? The last funeral I preached was a few weeks ago for a young man, most of you know this story. He was in this church. He was in his 20’s. Loved Jesus met a gal that he totally loved. He was engaged and ended up getting diagnosed with cancer, young guy in his 20’s.
You know, he wants to live and be a husband and be a daddy and do all the stuff that God wants all of his men to have a heart for. And they got married in the hospital because they couldn’t even have a wedding. And he died. And I stood on this stage a few weeks ago and preached his funeral. And his lovely wife sang the opening song.
And death, I mean – don’t you look forward to the world where there’s no obituary, and there’s no funerals, and there’s no cemetery’s and there’s not even hospitals, ‘cause nobody’s sick. There’s no physical therapy, there’s no medication, there’s no wheel chairs, everybody’s okay. There’s no more death. We all sin so we all die. And death is an enemy that comes for each.
And the Bible says, “When Jesus is done taking away sin and the curse the living God just brings life and there’s no more death.” It goes on to say, “Or crying or pain.” Some of you live with constant chronic pain, don’t, ya. Some of you know what it’s like to feel pain.
Some of you know what that’s like, constant chronic pain, and some of you the pain is physical. And some of you the pain is relational, sin has come into the relationship. It has killed the relationship. You know, you’re relationships are not good. You’re not close to people you should be. Family friends are distant, hostile. There’s just a lot of pain on this earth. That’s why we have pharmaceutical companies making drugs. That’s why we have counselors and therapist meeting with people trying to help. I mean there’s just so much pain. Pain marks this world.
And when Jesus comes back we get the world where pain is not because sin is no more. And deep down isn’t this the world we all want. What’s interesting is I think everybody wants Jesus and nobody knows that it’s him that they really long for. It goes on to say, “For the old order of things that has passed away he is seated on the thrown, said, “I am making everything new.” I love that new, new body’s, new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, new Kingdom, new rules, new order, the way the things are suppose to be.
And with the curse lifted everything is made new. And what I love too, about this it means also, that we will have good weather, seriously. (Laughter) I, I know some of you grew up in Seattle I did too. And I know that some of you say, “Well, I like the rain.” Repentant that is not a Biblical concept. It’s not man. The Bible says in Revelation, “That it will always be sunshine in heaven.” That’s, that’s wonderful. It is raining so much we have floods. We have mudslide that means the earth can’t handle the water. It’s too much water. We – that’s far too much. It’s not equally distributed.
There’s people right now that are dry – I don’t – like – I mean it’s just the weather is not good. But some of you will say, “But it’s, but it’s, well, I like the gloom.” Well, that’s your fallen nature, that still needing to be sanctified. This time of year I log on and I’m checking flights to San Diego Vegas, somewhere warm, sunny. You know, somewhere with a pool. I mean I don’t want to swim down Main Street I just want a pool, you know.
And one of the things that Jesus does when he lifts the curse and it’s affects he restores creation to the way it was suppose to be. What I think is so curious about this. This is the dream about every environmentalist who loves Mother Earth and doesn’t understand Father God. It says that, in Romans 8, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration not by its own choice, but by the will of one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to the King and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
Here’s what it saying. We, we, human beings, men and women, we sin. Sin has affected everything in God’s good creation. Everything is now affected, stained, marred, polluted, corrupted by sin, including creation. What that means is now we get tsunamis, earth quakes, and we get tornados and hurricanes and we get floods, and mudslides and droughts, and famine and plague. And the creation itself is now subjected to the curse because of our sin.
And the creation is yearning and anticipating for the day when the curse is lifted and creation can be unveiled in all of its glory. And I know that some of you love the outdoors and you love creation and you love all that God has made and it is beautiful, but imagine what it would be like apart from sin. But all we get now is the cursed fallen imperfect world. That if it was perfect as God intended how much more glorious and beautiful it would be.
And I know some of you what a world where there is not pollution. Where there is no environmental catastrophe. I’m not saying we don’t work to be good stewards of creation but I am saying that the Second Coming of Jesus is also the Good News, not only for us but also for all God’s creation and all of God’s creatures and that is the hope and promise and longing of Scripture.
It says these as well in Second Peter 3:12 and 13, “Look forward to the day of God and the speed is coming, that day will come about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat, but in keeping with his promises we’re looking forward to a new heaven, a new earth and the home of righteousness.” New earth, new heaven, all things made new, curse sin and its effects lifted.
Some of you may have very improper view of heaven in your mind. You probably got it from the Road Runner Cartoons or something. And it is that we will all be sort of fat, kid, cherub, angels, sitting on, you know, big fluffy white clouds in diapers playing halos with wings looking board forever, right. That is not the picture of heaven. The picture of heaven in the Bible is back to the way God intended things in Genesis 1 and 2, “Before there was sin and sickness and death and evil and injustice and Tierney, before all of the wickedness that comes with human and demonic rebellion against God, comes into human history.”
My boys have asked me about it and this is how I explain heaven. I say, “Boys you’re going to get a perfect body. You won’t get sick. You won’t get the sniffles like I’ve got tonight. You won’t die. You won’t get hurt. Creation will be perfect.” My boys have asked me questions like, “can we climb trees?’ Could we go swimmin’? Could we go fishin’? Could we go hikin’? Can we jump and run and play and wrestle and the answer is, yes, because those things aren’t sinful. That’s what boys are supposed to do.
My girls, whom I love with all my heart, they’ve asked me things like, “Daddy, can we go for walks?” Because they love to go for walks and look at flowers and creation. They’re both really creative arty girls. And they love to go to the nursery and look at all the flowers and the plants. “Daddy when we get to heaven can we go for walks and just go look at all the pretty flowers? Yeah. Yeah, we’ll have plenty of time. Everything will be great. And you and me we can go for tons of walks and enjoy God’s new earth. In the new bodies that God gives.
The picture of heave is a very real earthly Kingdom with a real King named Jesus, who rules and reigns in peace and justice overall peoples times and places. And he will give us a glorified resurrected body after the pattern of his. Jesus died. Jesus is eternal God entered into human history as a human being. “He took upon flesh,” which is what Philippians 2 says.
He lived a life without sin. He died with a broken body, shed blood on the cross in place for our sins, three days later he was buried. And then three days after that, rather he rose and he conquered sin and death and he appeared physically in a body. He ate food and he embraced people and he walked in all of those things and then he ascended into heave after 40 days of appearances, physically, bodily in a glorified resurrected body. Jesus is alive today in a physical, glorified, resurrected body in heaven. You and I will get a physical, glorified, resurrected body.
How many of you have looked in the mirror and thought, yeah, this demonic. This is not – this is not what God intended. The devil has been at work. (Laughter) right, how many of you your body doesn’t work like it’s supposed too? How many of you have pain and injury? How many of you are on medication because of physical ailments, physical therapy, chronic pain. Some of you are getting older and you know that your body is falling apart and the end is coming near.
I mean a few weeks ago, I actually got a sleeping injury. It was the weirdest thing. I was sleeping and I woke up and I had this stinging, searing pain in my shoulder. I wish I had a good reason like, you know, there were terrorists but I defeated them, or something. (Laughter) and actually I was just sleeping and I deeply hurt myself, sleeping. And you know, it’s weird, I mean, that tells you there is something wrong with the body, I mean. A mattress is such a simple piece of equipment. It doesn’t even come with directions, you know. I mean it’s like – lay down. Okay, that’s about it and I got wounded, sleeping. (Laughter) And – a – and some of you are feeling that, right. You’re body it’s falling apart. It doesn’t work like it should.
And here’s what it says in First Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with a voice of the arch angel with a trumpet call for God and the dead in Christ will rise first.” As Jesus rose so the children of God will rise. As Jesus rose in a perfect glorified resurrected body so the children of God will resurrected in a perfect glorified resurrected body. No more sickness, more death, I can’t wait for that.
You know, I have a buddy of mine. He rode a motorcycle way too fast one day. And he hit a telephone pole, and he is a locksmith, but now his hands literally just completely incapable of doing anything because his arms and his hands are so mangled after the accident. He met Jesus after the accident. But, he’s, he’s just constantly frustrated because he can’t do what he wants to do with his hands. I mean a locksmith who can’t even use his hands.
I have friends who have been in wheelchairs most of their life. I have friends who are bedridden who have constant inpatient care or an at home nurse to look after them, right. And the body that we live in is so fragile, so frail. You can get hurt so easily, so quickly. And this resurrected glorified body will
no longer be subject to the curse, the sin, and death, and to pain. And I love the day when people don’t need wheelchairs. And people don’t need crutches. And they don’t need physical therapy. And they don’t need surgery. And they don’t need medication. And in the meantime I praise God for all of those things but even the doctors would tell you. If everybody was fine we would be happy with that too.
That, that sin as affected everything including our physical body. And upon the resurrection into the eternal Kingdom with Jesus we will get the glorified body that is no longer subject to sin and its affects, I, I just long for that day. I long for that day. It is, it is a horrible thing as a Pastor to do hospital visits to see people who are constant and chronic pain. To see people who want desperately to be parents but for whatever reason physically their incapable of conceiving or women who suffer repeated miscarriages. I mean, sin has affected everything including the human body, in a catastrophic way.
And lastly when Jesus returns he will set up a Kingdom that will extend over all peoples, all places, all times. I’d love that. I’m so ready to have Jesus be King. I, if we don’t, you know, get to have him we won’t have to have anymore elections. No, you know, no missed ballots, no campaign finance reform, just Jesus that will be so great, benevolent dictatorship. If there’s an issue everybody’s like, “What do we do?” I t doesn’t matter Jesus what do you want? Just simple, clean, easy, perfect all knowing, loving, gracious, King of King, Lord of Lords, Jesus in charge, everybody does what he says, clean, simple, nice, easy. I long for that day.
Not against politics, politicians, the government, we need all of it. But there will be a day when we just need Jesus. And the Kingdom will be set up and the King will be seated and everything will be fine. It says it this way in Mathew 25:34, “Then the King – that’s Jesus – will say to those on his right, come you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
I want you to get the concept that when Jesus returns he is a King. And when he returns he sets up a Kingdom. And that Kingdom has no sin, no sickness, no evil, no injustice, no death because he will take it all away and conquer it. There will judgment for the non Christian and proper punishment in hell. There will be reward for the Christian and proper acknowledgement in heaven, and so if you are here today. We all fall into one of two categories, Christian or non Christian. And if you’re a non Christian let me tell you some bad news. If you are a non Christian this is as close, this life as you will ever get to heaven. To use the title from the movie, It’s As Good As It Get’s, right. This is your heaven. This is the best that it will ever be and you will die stand before Jesus and be sentenced to hell. And I say that not to be angry, or mean or rude but to tell you that is not what we want for you. And that is not what you should desire.
For those of you who are Christian. I have Good News for you. This is as bad that it can possibly get. This is as close to hell as you will ever be, right. Some of you, some of you wonder, “Gosh, can it get any worse?” Well, maybe in life it can. But upon death, I assure you, it gets better with Jesus, if you belong to him, that this is our hell. That this is as bad as it gets. And after this everything will be made new and things will be made perfect.
And so for the Christian this is hell. For the non Christian this is heaven in a very real way, that being said, how many of you right now find it very frustrating because you’re here, right. We have taxes, traffic. Tomorrow you will get up and go sit in a cubical. Cubical, Satan invented cubicles, not the Lord Jesus. (Laughter) Jesus is not a cubical God. He would not do that. Hell maybe filled with cubicles. (Laughter) But, I’m sure there will be non in heaven, right.
How many of you, who believe in the promises of Scripture. Believe in the Lordship of Jesus. Believe in the life after death. Believe in the resurrection of the dead. Sometimes it’s just really hard to live on the earth knowing what ahead, right. I mean, to be honest with you, for me, I don’t have suicidal thoughts, but there are days that I just think a lot about Jesus and think about how cool it would be if he came back.
For you and I who are Christians, who have our hearts in heaven, Have our minds in heaven, have our imagination in heaven, we look forward to seeing Jesus in the Kingdom and the resurrection of the dead and the eternal life that is promised. Sometimes is hard part is this middle, called like, right. Sometimes the hard part is what do I do in the middle? How do I not grow weary and lose hope?
I tell you what we don’t become naïve optimists thinking that everything is going to be fine, all we need to do is elect out candidates, picked at protests, blog, call talk radio, get fired up, make demands, raise more money, start another organization. We’re not, we’re not people, apart from Jesus, everything is gonna be find. We’re also we’re not total pessimists that think, well let’s just hunker down, wait for Jesus to get back. It’s all gonna fall apart. It’s all gonna burn. So let’s just quit, right.
Paul, struggled with this tension in Philippians 1, he essentially tell his church this, “I would love to just be with Jesus and have it all over,” right. As a Christian, that’s probably your heart too, if you’re a Christian. If Jesus came back that would be the best. That would be great. He says, “Yet, there’s a lot of people who don’t know Jesus. Some of the people who do know Jesus, they’re still struggling, they’re immature. They need comfort, encouragement and conviction. There’s a lot of grace and truth that needs to get shared.”
He says, “So, I’m torn. I would love to be with Jesus, because that’s best for me. But I need to be here because that’s best for other people.” So Paul tells his church, and I would tell you the same thing. That we are here as Christians because there are still people that need love, need truth that need Jesus. There are still people that need charity, love, and service and compassion and mercy and conviction and repentance, and sometimes hard words as well.
And that as long as we are here, we should make it our aim to live in a way that please him. Knowing that we understand the King and the Kingdom and if we live our lives according to the goal of pleasing Jesus, then we can bring a little bit of the Kingdom here. We could share a little bit of love, and grace, and mercy and truth, and repentance and humility with others, including our enemies. And it so doing we’re, we’re bringing a little for taste to the Kingdom here on the earth, hoping that others will have an appetite for the King, Jesus Christ.
And in the meantime some of you may think, well, if I’m going to heaven, why does it matter that I live a life of holiness? Why does it matter if I’m guaranteed eternal life? I dealt with one guy, some years back who kept cheating on his wives and divorcing them and all kinds of sexual sin. And I sat down and with him and I said, “Are you a Christian?” And he said, “Yes.” “Then how could you live the life that you live?” He said, “I’m going to heaven, what does it matter?” He didn’t understand the judgment of the Christian. Then I said, “We’ll if you are a Christian. I said those who are Christians live a life that is pleasing to Jesus, right. You can’t say I love Jesus and I love sin. You can’t have two loves. Jesus says, “That a tree will be known by its fruit.” “And I don’t see fruit in your life and I’m worried for you.”
I would say if you are a Christian it is easy sometimes to look at life on the earth and say, “Why not sin? Why not compromise? Why not give up? Why not give in? If everything is messed up until Jesus comes back, why not just mess it up. Paul says this to Titus. He says, “Say, no to ungodliness and worldly passions and live self controlled, up right, and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
He says, “You know what? Until Jesus comes back, know that he is still alive; he is still your king. He’s still your Lord. He’s still your God. You still will give an account to him, that he loves you and his commands for you are for good not for harm. And that you’re not here to sin. You’re here to serve so that others would see that there is a better way of life, made available through Jesus.
That being said, those of you who have perfectionist streaks, who are idealists, people who think that everything should be fine and perfect and good. I want you, to as a result of this have the long view of things. I want you to have a long view of your life, of your friendships, of your ministry, of your life with Jesus, of your marriage, of your children, and of our church, the long view of things. Otherwise my fear is some of you are going to get all fired up for Jesus and then sort of lose enthusiasm. And then have another cycle of great enthusiasm and then sort of lose enthusiasm. And some of you will drive in that loop because you don’t have that long view of things.
There is a great verse in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 verse 11, that I will share with you in closing. It says, he has made everything beautiful in its time, he has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end, He says that, “there is a desire in us as God’s image bearers for eternity, for there to be live not death. For there to be health not sickness, for there to be truth and not lies, for there to be justice and not injustice, for there to be eternal things.”
That’s why everybody gets frustrated. We have so many organizations and pickets and protests, and blogs, and elections and everybody is yelling at everybody else to fix the world. Deep down, what we need, what we want, what we long for whether we need it or not, is the Second Coming of Jesus. That’s the only answer that gives any clarity. And what he says is, “That God does, make everything perfect, in its time.”
You’ve heard the statement nobody’s perfect. Well nobody’s perfect, yet. Well nothings perfect. Well nothings perfect, yet. “But everything will be made perfect in its time.” When is that time? That time is the Second Coming of Jesus. People and things will be made perfect. People and things will be made perfect.
I’ll close with a story. There’s dear friend of mine who, is a Christian and had a parent who was a Christian. And the relationship just never came together. Some of you know what this is like. The friendships never get figured out. The family relationships don’t get dialed in. The lies that are told about you never get cleaned up. The misunderstanding never get’s clarified. That so much is left undone in this world that things aren’t beautiful. There not perfect. They’re not pure. They’re not clean. They’re not redeemed. They’re not reconciled. They’re not whole. They’re not right. It’s frustrating. It’s agonizing.
And I ask this friend of mine. His mom died. And I asked, “How are you doing? You and your mom are Christians but it never got all worked out. And my friend had a really good insight. He said, “My mom is with Jesus now and she’s perfect. And one day, I’ll be with Jesus and I’ll be perfect. And we’ll have a perfect relationship.” That’s the long view of things.
That means that we work as hard as we can for beauty, truth, and goodness in this world. Knowing that ultimately until God makes all things new and that time of Jesus reign begins on the earth. And until that time comes for everything to be made beautiful, that we must maintain the long, patient, hopeful view of all people and things. That’s what God calls of us. And I’ll be honest with ya, there are days as a Pastor, just all of these people, all of these sins, all of these pains, all of these hurts, all of these needs, all of these criticisms, all of these misunderstandings, all of that is not yet, clean, and right, and pure and good. God will make everything perfect in its time. That time is the coming of the Lord Jesus.
At this point we give you a time to respond to him. It’s all about Jesus. If you’re here and you’re not a Christian, you need Jesus. You’re going to stand before Jesus, so you may as well stand before him today. And you may tell him of your sin today to be forgiven rather than to tell him your sin on that day and be condemned. You can’t avoid him. So you may as well come to him in the end as friend and not foe. Repent of your sin. He is alive and well. He’ll hear you. He’ll forgive you through his death, burial and resurrection.
If you’re here and you’re here and you’re A Christian maybe you have not lived a life of holiness. Maybe you have thought, “I’m a Christian what does it matter?” You will stand before Jesus and give an account and you will be judged for your life, too. And so it is important for you to repent of sin and live a life of holiness out of loving obedience to Jesus.
When you’re ready and you have repented and you’ve gotten time in prayer with Jesus, you could take communion which is remembering the body and blood of Jesus and it’s remembering that we are to continually remind ourselves of his sacrifice, body broken, blood shed. Until we eat the wedding supper of the lamb with him in the Kingdom. And I would just ask you.
Do you believe that Jesus is God? Do you believe that he lived, died, rose? That you do believe the he ascended into heaven? Do you believe that he is alive today? Do you believe that he is the way, the truth and the life and there is on salvation apart from him? Do you believe that you will stand before him and give an account? Do you believe that there is eternal life for all, some in joy, some in sheer horror? Do you believe that today is an important day, because it is a day to get right with Jesus?
If you are a Christian do you believe that it is an important day because Jesus wants you to live with a heart towards heaven and hands and feet committed to service on the earth? If so you are welcome to join us in the worship of Jesus, until we see him again. And we’re practicing for that day. When we sing and worship to Jesus and we are practicing today.
The Bible closes with these words in Revelation, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus. We’ll just leave it at that.
“Lord Jesus, you are alive and well. Thank you for living the life we could not live. For dying the death we should have died. For rising to show us what awaits us all, thank you Lord Jesus that we do not need to stand before you for judgment if we stand before you today in repentance. Lord Jesus, I thank you that our lives, for those of us who are Christians to count, that how we live matters that we are supposed to be outposts of the Kingdom living under the Kingship of you Lord Jesus, loving and serving well. Lord Jesus, I pray that for those who are Christians that we would maintain the long view of things, that we would know Lord Jesus that you will make everything perfect and beautiful in its time. That we would not grow weary and loose heart. That we would not give up and give in to sin. That we would live lives of holiness, that we would long for the day when we stand before you face to face and hear you determine how we have lived. And so Jesus we respond to you know in faith and in repentance and in worship. We love you and we ask you to be with us. Amen.
In the sixth sermon in the Vintage Jesus series, Pastor Mark talks about what will happen to creation, Christians, and non-Christians upon Jesus’ return.