March is almost over, but the madness concludes this weekend as four teams will play for the national championship. Four completely different teams with completely different path will do its best to make it the Championship game and the Glory of winning a title is within their grasps. Whoever wins will be able to look back regardless of the trials they faced to get to this point with pride and joy. Nobody can take that championship ring and glory away from them because forever they will be National Champions of 2021.
The best part about the final four and the national championship is hearing the players talk about how they dreamed of this moment their entire lives but nothing compares to the actual moment. The dream doesn’t come close to the reality and they get to live the rest of their lives knowing no one can take that away from them. Today as we conclude our discussion about Match Madness, we have talked a lot about the process, first the invitation of accepting Jesus into our lives, but then about the trials and giants we face and how Christ will give us strength to persevere. But what he doesn’t promise is that it is going to be easy and that there won’t be heart ache along the way. There is always going to be obstacles in this process of becoming one with God. However, in the end, as we grow and mature in our walk with God he gives us something to look forward too. He promises us once we reach our destination, once we have run our race that we will be with him.
In Fact John writes a description of Heaven, this place we have to look forward to in Revelation 21:1-4 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Can you Imagine heaven? Can you imagine a place where there is no death, no mourning, but even more Amazing, a place where God will dwell in the place with his people. This is what God promises his people, his followers and what we each have to look forward too. As we close our series March Madness, I really wanted to focus on God’s Glory and what he promises us for eternity instead of focusing on the Madness of this world because in the end the madness of this world is just a speck in the picture as God promises an eternity with him.
So today let us focus on this place that God has promised. We must not become so attached to this earth that we don’t want to go to our ultimate home in heaven. “The Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next”. C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
There are 5 truths we know about our end destination.
First, It is physically awesome in size.
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 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.
Notes from this passage:
* 1500 miles square – It’ll be roughly 1/2 the size of the continental United States.
* A place for special people – God’s own children. Enough room for all of God’s redeemed.
Tony Evans said, “Have a good time at my funeral, I’m not going to be there!”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In 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. 3And 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.
Illustration: A bus driver and a minister were standing in line to get into heaven. The bus driver approached the gate and St. Peter said, “Welcome, I understand you were a bus driver. Since I’m in charge of housing, I believe I have found the perfect place for you. See that mansion over the hilltop? It’s yours. The minister heard all this and began to stand a little taller. He said to himself, “If a bus driver got a place like that, just think what I’ll get.” The minister approached the gate and St. Peter said, “Welcome, I understand you were a minister. See that shack in the valley?”
St. Peter had hardly gotten the words out of his mouth when the irate minister said, “I was a minister, I preached the gospel, I helped teach people about God. Why does that bus driver get a mansion, and I get a shack?” Sadly St. Peter responded, “Well, it seems when you preached, people slept. When the bus driver drove, people prayed.” –James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 146.
Church we don’t have to worry about the place God prepared for us because God is the builder and he has built a wonderful place for each of us in our final destination with him.
For he (Abraham) was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
2 Cor. 5:1
Secondly, we know about our final destination is it is a place of no more.
This is a place where God promises, no more pain, suffering, or heart ache.
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Thirdly, it is a place that is Holy and Pure.
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.
* Do you ever get tired of fighting the world, the flesh, or the Devil?
* Heaven will be Holy and pure, from thoughts to actions – the victory has been won!
* A special place for a special people. No bribes, money scams, corruption of any kind.
* Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life?
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
Thomas Jefferson said, “There is not a Quaker or a Baptist, a Presbyterian or an Episcopalian, a Catholic or a Protestant in heaven; on entering the gate, we leave those badges of schism behind.”
Fourthly, it is a place that beautiful beyond compare.
It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Can you imagine this place, can you imagine the splendor, oh what a wonderful place it will be. .
The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone….”
Rev. 21:18-19 The
The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
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 2down 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.
Fifth and most importantly, it is a place we will dwell with God.
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.
D. L. Moody said, “We talk about heaven being so far away. It is within speaking distance to those who belong there.” We stand in the righteousness of Christ, not our own!
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world….”
Paul tells us,
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joys and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Church, we often get so caught up in the glory and suffering of this world. This is our human nature, however God has promised a place, a destination at the end of our race, to be with him. We have hope, we have something to look forward to as we press on. In March Madness, the teams had a goal and something to look forward to but in the end only one could stand victorious in the NCAA Tournament. Church, our God loved us so much that he sent the only one who can stand victorious to take everyone’s place and those who accepted him he invites to join him in the place he prepared for us. Each of us have the choice of what path we will take, and for those who choose the path that the Lord has prepared for us, we will dwell with him in this glorious place.