JULY 8: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
By Kevin Ivy
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Tullahoma
Focal Passage: Revelation 21:1-8
We have answered several questions over the past several weeks. Why are we here? Why are we in this mess? Why can’t we fix it? Why did Jesus come? What should we do now? Today, we will answer another question: What happens next?
We were created originally, in God’s image, to glorify Him. Unfortunately, Adam fell into sin and passed onto us a sin nature which causes us to sin and fall short of the glory of God. We are incapable of ever fully paying our sin debt. The good news is that Jesus came to this earth to atone for our sin and make us right with God so that we can now live our lives for Him in unity with other believers, looking forward to one day fully experiencing who God created us to be. We will learn this week from our text that we, who are in Christ, will live in God’s presence one day. We will live in a perfect place with Christ because of Christ alone.
We will live in God’s presence (Rev. 21:1-3). John saw a new heaven and a new earth in his vision. This new heaven and earth will be more like the original, good creation of Genesis 1 and 2 than the current creation that is a result of Genesis 3. He saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. As amazing as this scene must have been, it pales in comparison to the declaration that accompanies it. John heard God declare that He will dwell among them. We will live in God’s presence. We shall be His people, and God Himself will be among us. Words cannot express the wonders of this truth that we will live in God’s presence forever!
We will not only live in God’s presence, but we will live in a perfect place (Rev. 21:4-5). This is a place where all of our tears will be wiped away. This is a place where death will no longer exist. There will be no more mourning, crying, or pain. This is a perfect place where the former things, those things that resulted from Genesis 3, will be replaced by this God who has promised to make all things new. We will live in a perfect place. This is a faithful and true promise from God. We can take it to the bank (v. 5b)!
We will live in God’s presence in a perfect place, but only because of Jesus Christ (vv. 6-8). The one who overcomes is the one who will inherit this new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem. The one who overcomes is the one who will receive water from the spring of life, without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, God will be his God, and he will be known as God’s son. In contrast to the unrighteous, the overcomer will live in God’s presence in this perfect place. This eternity is based on our relationship with Christ. Do you know Him? If not, I want to encourage you today to turn away from your sin. Turn from your own self righteousness and turn to God through Christ alone. Throw yourself upon the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. Look to His finished work upon the cross. Cry out to Him in repentance and faith until you have assurance that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, and then let us look forward to what is next together: eternal life with Christ in glory!