Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


The Next Universe
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 21:1-8
The “great white throne” judgment is the final event in the history of this present earth (Rev 20:11-15). Once this judgment concludes, the entire physical universe will be consumed by the “fire” of God’s glory (Rev 20:11; 2Pe 3:7, 10-13). Only spiritual beings and resurrected humans (righteous and unrighteous) will survive. But this is not the end. God intends to replace the old universe with a new one. A second time He’ll create a universe from nothing. He’ll need only to speak a word and it will explode into existence. And somewhere in the vast expanse of new stars and planets and galaxies, there will be a new earth made from new substances that can withstand His undiminished glory (1Co 15:50). It will be a place He’s carefully prepared for us. Like a husband welcoming His bride into a new home, He will fill it with wonderful gifts.

Then in the midst of John’s description of our future home, God speaks directly to us. He encourages us to be “overcomers” so we will live with Him forever, but His words contain more than promises, they also contain a warning. He identifies forces that would seek to drive us away from Christ and encourages us to be diligent to overcome them. Finally, after seeing the new universe that will be created for us, we’ll let the Apostle Peter show us how God wants our glorious future to effect our daily lives.

A. Promises that await us (God’s gifts to us)
• A new creation (v 1): A resurrected universe made of new substances (Rev 21:18, 21, transparent gold) and free from violence and decay (Ro 8:18-25).
• Beauty (v 2): A gift to His bride (v 9) Instead of a garden (Ge 2:8) we will live in a city called “new Jerusalem.” Jesus promised to prepare a place for us (Jn 14:1-3). This is it.
• Intimacy (v 3): Unbroken, loving fellowship. We will be immersed in His presence. We will no longer be separated from Him by sin. His “tabernacle” will be among us (Lev 26:11, 12).
- “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them” (Ex 25:8).
- Around us
- He’s there now, but we can’t always perceive it (Ac 17:28).
• Peace (v 4): No torment from the past. He will heal our memories by pastoring us, not amnesia.
- Like Peter’s walk by the lake (Jn 21:15-17).
- This is a major difference between the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. Without Christ, people live in the torment of the past forever.
• Wholeness (v 6): We were created to contain God, not just dwell in His presence (Ge 3:10, “naked”). Our spirit is designed to be “married” to Him. His absence leaves us “thirsty,” longing to be filled (Jn 4:10-14; 7:37-39).
- Within, not just around.
- Infused, as well as immersed.
• Honor (v 7): In Christ we are adopted as His children. We will be considered as “sons” not slaves because we are all in union with His Son (Gal 3:26-4:7).
- Note: Male and female (Gal 3:28)

B. Temptation that assaults us (those who are persecuted for their faith)
As we’ve seen, God’s words contain great promise, but they also contain warning. It is possible for a believer to not “overcome” and fall prey to the temptations the devil sends. In this case, God is focusing on the temptation to renounce Christ in order to escape persecution because believers in the great tribulation will face such violent assault.

• “He who overcomes” (v 7) (nikon)
- Victor, conqueror
- The one who draws on God’s resources to conquer the devil’s attempts to make us renounce Christ or become lawless
- Two keys to overcoming: Revelation 12:11 (trust the blood, be willing to die)
• In His warning God lists two root causes for failure (v 8):
- Fear for my personal safety
- Doubting God’s promises

Then He lists sins which will result if a person abandons Christ, especially during the great tribulation (final seven years)
- Join in demonic worship
- Join in persecuting believers
- Join in proclaiming doctrines that are lies, thus causing others to stumble

C. The truth that preserves us
God’s warnings in this passage about the new universe are directed to people undergoing violent persecution. His message is simple: it’s better to die for Christ than renounce Him and face an eternity without Him. But not every generation suffers such violent persecution. Some, like ours, face another type of assault and that is the temptation to lawlessness. So to understand how the truth of the new universe applies to us we’ll turn to 2 Peter 3:10-18.

Peter tells us these truths should cause us to be diligent in the following ways:
• “Diligent” (def.): Speedily, zealously, earnestly, enduringly
• Put energy into your effort and do it quickly, and keep doing it
• “Be found in Him”: Seek to please Jesus in these ways:
- Peace: harmonious relationships
- Spotless and blameless: Morally and ethically clean lives
- Patience of our Lord: Not beginning to doubt Jesus is coming back though He’s been gone a long time
- Paul: Don’t distort Paul’s teachings to mean God doesn’t care if you sin. This is lawlessness and will lead to your own destruction (Mt 7:17-23; “depart from Me you who practice lawlessness”)
- Grace is intended to cover you while you diligently pursue holiness, not make you indifferent to sin
- We need to be confident of His grace while we pursue holiness
- “But flee from these things you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (1Ti 6:11)
- Avoid: Temptations to sin, unbelief and distorted grace

Peter’s application: To inherit the pleasures of the next universe we must die to the sinful pleasures of this one (2Pe 2:10, 19-22)

D. Questions
• Look again at the promised blessings listed in section A. Which one of these means the most to you right now?
• In Revelation 12:11 God gives us two keys to overcoming. These are “the blood of the Lamb” and the “word of their testimony.” I believe this means we never stop trusting in His blood to wash away our sins, and we never stop confessing Christ even if it means we have to die for our faith. Are both of these “keys” strongly present in you? Is one stronger than another? What makes us willing to die for Jesus?

 


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