No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!
SOME CALL IT HEAVEN;
BUT I CALL IT HOME
Intro: In our last study we began a survey of a place called Heaven. Of course, we all know that Heaven is more than just a place. Heaven is the home of Almighty God. It is the home of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the glorious land where the redeemed of the ages spend eternity. It is the place where we all long to go.
Of course, if you listen to most folks talk, you will find that we aren’t as anxious to get to Heaven as we sometimes claim. When sickness comes, we try everything we can to stay here as long as we can. We call on the doctor. We call on the church to pray. We call on the Lord to help us get better. We love this life and we want to stay here. That is understandable.
In 1540 a man named Philipp Melanchthon grew sick and was nearing death. His friend and fellow reformer Martin Luther came to see him. Realizing that his friend was there, Melanchthon said “O Luther, is that you? Why don't you let me depart in peace?
Because we can't spare you yet, Philipp. We cannot spare you yet.” For nearly an hour, Luther knelt in prayer. Rousing from his stupor, Melanchthon once again begged his friend to let him die, but Luther kept praying. And he ordered some soup for the dying man.
Refusing the soup, Melanchthon said a third time, “Luther, why will you not let me go home and be at rest?
Because we cannot spare you yet, Philipp, came the thundering Reformer's reply. Now, take this soup, or else . . . or else. . . .Or else I will excommunicate you![i]
Well, Philipp Melanchthon did get better and was used of the Lord is a powerful way during his remaining years, but that scene with Martin Luther revealed a man who was anxious to go to Heaven.
Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am looking forward to going home. So, let’s take our journey into our future today. Let’s try to wrap our minds around what the Bible has to say about a place called Heaven. As we do, let’s remember that while we may call it Heaven right now, one day, we will call it home. That is the thought I want to magnify today. Let’s consider the wonders of that city as I preach on the thought Some Call It Heaven; But I call It Home.
I. 21:5-8 THE GATES OF THE CITY
(Ill. The Lord begins this section of Scripture by reminding us that He is still in control and that He is about to make everything brand new. As soon as He makes that promise, the Lord says, “It is done! with that simple statement, God pronounces an end to this world with all its turmoil and strife and He proclaims the beginning of that new world with all its glory and splendor.
Before He shares the wonders of Heaven with us, the Lord first reveals the gates of the city. These are not physical gates that can be shut to keep people in or out. After all, the gates of Heaven will never be shut, 21:25. These are the true gates of the city for it is these gates which determine who enters and who does not.)
A. v. 6-7 Who The Gates Permit These gates permit those who have taken the water of life. They permit those who are overcomers. This is a clear statement that Heaven is opened only to those who are in a personal, faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, He is the water of life, John 7:37-38; Rev. 22:17. And, it is our faith in Him that makes us “overcomers, 1 John 5:4.
Those who enter Heaven will enjoy a perfect inheritance, Rom. 8:17; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; and profound intimacy, 1 John 3:1-3 with their Heavenly Father.
In very simple terms, the gate to Heaven is the Lord Jesus, Matt. 7:13-14. He is the Door into life, John 10:9. To believe on Him by faith is to be saved, John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:31. To reject Him is to cast into Hell, John 8:24; 1 John 5:12.
B. v. 8 Who The Gates Prohibit Some people will not be allowed to enter that city, but they will be sent away to the Lake of Fire. Let’s examine the list of those who will be banned from Heaven for a moment.
· The Fearful Those who allowed fear of the Lord or the fear of man to keep them from coming to Jesus.
· Unbelievers Those who refused to believe and receive the Gospel, John 8:24.
· The Abominable Those who gave themselves up to vile, wicked lifestyles.
· Murderers Those who willing took the lives of others.
· Whoremongers Those who gave themselves over to sexual perversion.
· Sorcerers Those who practiced the magical arts. The word sorcerers comes from the word pharmakeus. It gives us our word pharmacy. It refers to those who create and use chemical concoctions. In other words, it speaks of those who are addicted to the use of drugs and alcohol.
· Idolaters Those who give themselves to the worship of false gods and false systems of belief.
· All Liars Those who do not know the truth, but live a lie.
If you saw yourself in that list, I invite you to come to Jesus today. He will forgive your sins and prepare you for a home in Heaven. If you refuse Him and reject His offer, there is nothing for you, but the flames of Hell forever.
I. The Gates Of The City
II. 21:9-21 THE GLORIES OF THE CITY
(Ill. Having told us how to enter the city of Heaven, John now shares some of the details of that place called Heaven.)
A. v. 11-14 The City’s Distinction This earth and every city and home on it requires some source of light. If it were not for the sun, the moon and for lighting systems developed by men, this world would be nothing but a dark tomb. Heaven, on the other hand, is brilliantly lit by the glory of God Himself.
John described the city as being like a “jasper stone. The jasper stone is what we call a diamond today. The city will be like a great diamond in appearance as it reflects and refracts the light of the glory of God. Imagine a world where the glory of God is on full display! (Ill. Moses Ex. 33:18-23)
The city is surrounded by a gleaming high wall, v. 12. There are twelve gates in this wall, each gate attended by an angel, v. 12. These gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel inscribed on them, v. 12. The wall of this great city rests on twelve foundations named after the twelve Apostles, v. 14. What a city!
B. v. 15-17 The City’s Dimensions An angel having a golden reed comes to measure the city. A reed was about 10 feet in length, so this measuring would have taken some time. We are told that the city is built like a square at the bottom. It is of equal lengths on all sides. We also told that this city measures twelve thousand furlongs on each side and that it is as tall is it is wide and long. Twelve thousand furlongs translates to about 1.400 miles.
This city is astounding in its size! If one edge was placed on the Atlantic Ocean, the opposite edge would sit near Denver, CO. If the north edge of the city sat on the Canadian border, the other edge would sit somewhere around Miami, FL. That is one big town! It is even more amazing to consider that it is also 1,400 miles high!
This city is surrounded by a wall that measures 144 cubits, v. 17. This is 216 feet. This could refer to the height, or it could refer to the thickness of the wall.
Imagine a city where there is room for all; where there are no ghettos; no mean streets; no wrong side of town. Imagine a city of absolute beauty and sinless perfection. If you can imagine that, then you can imagine home!
D. v. 18-21 The City’s Design In these next few verses, John describes the materials used to construct the city. He tells us that the wall is made of a diamond and the city is made of pure, transparent gold, v. 18.
He also tells us that the city rests on a foundation that is loaded with precious gemstones. A brief look at the details of this foundation reveals just how glorious it will be.
· Jasper Clear like a diamond
· Sapphire - Clear Blue
· Chalcedony - Yellowish Green
· Emerald - Deep Green
· Sardonyx - White with layers of red.
· Sardius - Fiery Red
· Chrysolyte - Golden Yellow
· Beryl - Sea Green
· Topaz - Greenish Yellow
· Chrysopasus - Golden Green
· Jacinth - Violet
· Amethyst - Purple
I am certain that these stones speak of God and His character in some fashion. We cannot understand all they represent today, but when we arrive there, we “will know even also as we are known, 1 Cor. 13:12.
Imagine, if you will, a city that gleams with the brilliance of God’s glory. Imagine that pure light as it shines through the diamonds, the gold, and all the multi-colored precious stones of that Heavenly city. It will be a glorious sight to behold!
The gates of that city are made of pearls, v. 21. The pearl, as you know, if formed out of pain. A grain of sand is trapped in an oyster. That sand irritates the oyster and the oyster begins to build up layer upon layer of calcium around that grain of sand. After a long while a pearl is formed.
The pearl is the only gemstone made by a living organism. The pearl is the oyster’s answer to its pain.
Those gates will remind that while salvation and the Heaven it provides are free, neither was cheap! Everything we have was born out of the pain of our Savior on the cross of Calvary. Every time we enter that city we will be reminded of the price He paid to redeem our souls. Heaven is our Lord’s answer to the pain of His cross!
Even the street of Heaven will be glorious to behold. We will walk about on a street that is paved with the purest gold. What a city awaits the redeemed when this life is over.
I. The Gates Of The City
II. The Glories Of The City
III. 21:22-22:5 THE GUARANTEES OF
(Ill. As we move through these remaining verses, even more of the wonders of Heaven are displayed or us to consider. These verses tell us some of the things that will be t here and some of the things that will not be there. Let’s consider the guarantees of the city.)
A. The Guarantee Of New Relationships When we arrive in Heaven, our relationship with God will be forever altered!
1. 21:22 There Will Be A New Interaction Today, we worship the Lord in churches and temples constructed by the hands of men. We are not allowed to approach Him because we are separated from Him by this flesh and by sin. We come before God through the agency of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Mediator between God and man, 1 Tim. 2:5.
In that day, there will be no need for temples and no need for mediators. We will have direct, face to face access with God Himself, Rev. 21:3. What a day that will be!
2. 22:3b-4 There Will Be A New Intimacy We will see His face. His Name will be written in our foreheads. We will serve Him in the perfection of righteousness and holiness. We cannot do that today! Too many things come between us and the Lord. Too many things hinder our service to Him. Too many things destroy our intimacy with Him. None of those things will hinder us in glory! We will enjoy perfect intimacy with our Father, our Savior and with the Holy Spirit.
B. The Guarantee Of New Realities Not only will our relationship with the Lord be changed, so will many of the things we have grown used to in this world.
1. 21:22-23; 22:5 The Glory Of The City We have already commented on this thought, but we are reminded that Heaven will be filled with the glory of God Himself. The same God Who stood in absolute darkness and said, Let there be light will fill our home with His brilliance and glory.
2. 21:24-26 The Gates Of The City Those pearly gates will never be closed. The perfected people who live on the earth will come in and out of the New Jerusalem and being with them the bounty produced by the new earth.
(Ill. Apparently, after the earth is replenished and sin is defeated, humans will inhabit the earth and will live as Adam and Eve were intended to live. They will produce children and enjoy life in a perfect world.) It will be an amazing time when men, angels, glorified saints and the Godhead come together in that city.
3. 22:1-5 The Grandeur Of The City These verses give us a glimpse of a few of the sights of that city. These few thoughts here reveal the grandeur of our heavenly home.
a. 22:1 The River A pure, crystal river flows from Gods throne. The throne is a source of life and the river that flows from it is symbolic of the kind of life it delivers. That heavenly city is a place of peace, prosperity and pleasure.
This river is filled with “the water of life. It is symbolic of the unending flow of everlasting life given to all those who have believed in Jesus. There is life flowing from the throne to all who will believe!
b. 22:2 The Tree Of Life In the New Jerusalem man will have access to the Tree of Life. When Adam sinned in Eden, he was removed from that place to prevent him from eating the fruit of the tree of life and thus living forever in his fallen condition, Gen. 3:22-24. In Heaven, access to the tree of life will be restored.
This amazing tree will yield its precious fruit each month of the year. It will bear twelve types of fruit throughout the year. This reminds us that Heaven will be a place of plenty.
Obtaining food has always been one of man’s chief occupations. In Heaven, the tree of life will always bear its fruit.
We are told that the leaves of the tree will be used for the “healing of the nations. This does not mean that people in that day will get sick. As we saw in Rev. 21:4, sickness and disease are all banished from Heaven.
The word translated “healing gives us our word therapeutic. It literally means service rendered to another. In other words, the leaves of the trees will serve to enhance our lives in eternity. They will make life there more pleasant.
c. 22:3 The Curse Removed There will be no more curse. When man sinned, the ground was cursed and man was forced to grow his food by the sweat of his brow. Part of the curse also involved the presence of weeds and thorns that would make mans job harder. The curse brought sickness, violence, chaos and death to the world, Gen. 3-9. In eternity, this curse is lifted. The earth will be restored to the perfect state it was in before sin entered. There will be no weeds, thorns, sickness, violence, war, chaos or death in that world!
d. 22:5 The Night Banished The darkness that haunts this world will be banished over there. There will be no more dark hours when the prince of darkness can do his wicked works. No one will need to light a candle to keep from stumbling. There will be no darkness of any sort in that land. No darkness, either physical or spiritual will be allowed there.
C. 21:27 The Guarantee Of New Righteousness In that perfect world there will be nothing that can defile it will be allowed inside the gates. There will be no sin, no Satan and no sinners. Only those who have been washed in the blood of Jesus and justified by the God of Heaven will be allowed in that city. That truth right there makes Heaven worth going to!
Conc: I wish I could describe that place called Heaven and give it the description it deserves. Sadly, I do not possess the vocabulary, the intelligence or the insight to do that. But, from what I have read about that place, it sounds like the place I want spend eternity.
How about you? You can, if you know Jesus. If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, please come to Him today and be made ready for Heaven. If you do know Him come to Him and thank Him for what you have here and what is waiting for you there. Come to Him today and renew your commitment to live for Him until He comes to take you home.
Some years ago, Squire Parsons wrote a song that goes like this:
Somewhere beyond the grave
there is a land,
Where Jesus went to prepare
by His own hand;
And for the saved by grace
there is a resting place,
And in a few more days
it will be mine.
Someone said you can't go
back home again,
Things will not ever be
as good as they've been;
I've got good news for you,
when Heaven comes into view,
One glimpse and you'll know
the best is yet to come.
Some call it Heaven, I call it Home,
Some call it dreamin',
let me dream on;
Some call it Paradise, somewhere beyond the skies,
Some call it Heaven, I call it Home.
Church, I am looking forward to going home! How about you?