Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 7) Sermon Questions, Audio, and Video

On Sunday, October 2, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church I preached a sermon based on Revelation 22:1-5.  This message was part 7 in the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find audio/video of the sermon to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 22:1-5
  3. What do you tend to think about MOST in your mental “free time”?  How do you think that emphasis of thought impacts your life?
  4. The Bible begins and ends in a Garden, with living water, and a tree of life.  When you add these elements to the “jeweled city” we saw last week in 21:9-27, you get a city that has both opulence AND warmth.  Of all the things we have seen about the eternal city, what stands out to you the most?
  5. How are you “planting your life” beside the living water of God’s Word so that you might grow strong in the faith?  What is your plan to study God’s Word this year?
  6. The best part of eternity is that God is there with us!  Eternal life is defined as a relationship with God (in John 17:3, and the description in Revelation 22:1-5).  How are you prioritizing your relationship with Jesus RIGHT NOW?  Are you communicating with Him?  Serving others and obeying Him?  Gathering together with God’s people?  
  7. Interact with this quote from Jim Hamilton, ““Is this the way that you think about Heaven? If you found out that God and Jesus weren’t going to be in Heaven, but the street would still be gold and the gates pearl and the walls jasper and the water living and the tree’s leaves healing, and all your dearly departed there, but Jesus and the Father would not be there, would you still want to go? If you hesitate at all, please recognize that Heaven without Jesus and the Father would be nothing less than a gold-plated Hell. Jesus and the Father are Heaven. And that is no less true now than it will be then.”
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #7 10.1.22

 

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Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 7) Sermon Preview

I have a couple of friends who purchased homes without first seeing the inside.  One was a home purchase at a foreclosure auction, and the other was a purchase for an out of town move.  Circumstances required they both act “on faith” with their decisions.  While I admire the adventurous nature of these purchases, I cannot personally relate.  I won’t even buy SHOES without trying them on, much less a home!

When we purchased our home, I “stalked” it on the internet for months (no joke).  It was “for sale,” then “not for sale” … so I kept watching zillow each week, waiting for it to return to market.  In that time, I occasionally would relook at the photos of its interior or drive by its exterior.  I even timed the drive from the home to key locations around town.  I spent a fair amount of my “down time” doing this kind of research.

This is what happens often with things that we look forward to or hope for.  How many times did you look at the ultrasound of your firstborn?  How often did you peruse the photos of the child you would soon adopt?  Pretty often, right?  

Looking at these photos accomplished two things … it satisfied a desire for “fellowship” with our future (home, family, or whatever we were looking at), AND it also fueled desire for the day when the house/child/etc. would join your world.

I say this today because Sunday we will once again be looking at our eternal home in the new heaven and earth.  We have been talking about this all fall as we have toured Revelation 19-22.  This Sunday will be part 7 of this series as we look at Revelation 22:1-5.  You may be thinking, “why are we STILL looking at this?”  Well, why do you look at the ultrasound more than 7 times?  Why do you check the internet listing again?  The answer is obvious … because we WANT TO.  It both satisfies our desire (looking for paradise while we live in a broken and breaking world), and fuels more desire (as we see more clearly the home He has prepared for us.)

Make plans to join us this week for part 7 of this series.  Come …. and bring friends to Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship services.

Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 6) Sermon Audio, Video, and Questions

On Sunday, September 25, 2022 at Wildwood Community  Church I preached a sermon based on Revelation 21:9-27.  This message was part 6 of the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio/video of the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 21:9-27
  3. What in YOUR world is breaking and in need of repair?  How do these inconveniences (or worse) point your perspective toward a future day when “all will be made new”?
  4. Throughout today’s passage, you see a picture of the New Jerusalem in the New Heaven and Earth.  What stands out to you most about this city’s physical description?
  5. Our God is a God of beauty!  What evidence have you seen lately of that in creation?  In what ways does this trait of God seem to be evident even more in eternity?
  6. Have you trusted in Christ to cleanse you from your sin?  If so, know that you have this New Jerusalem to look forward to!  If not, what is keeping you from trusting Christ today?
  7. What are some opportunities you have in the month ahead to “bring your glory” into “His glory”?  (i.e. how can you celebrate His greatness through your life today?)  
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #6 9.25.22

 

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Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 6) Sermon Preview

Own a house, and it will own you.

I had always heard that before, but am becoming more and more acutely aware of just what that actually means.  Things in this world are in need of constant care and attention … and often break down, needing repairs.

In the past month, my 50 year old house has experienced a rotting deck, a roof leak, an “invasion” of army worms, a broken toilet, a broken tub spout, and a partridge in a pear tree!  That’s just the past month!  In the two years we have lived in this home, we have also seen HVAC systems struggle, a hot water tank that leaked, a fence that was destroyed, and some minor electrical work that needed to be addressed.  And as I sit here today, there are more items that could be addressed!

Own a house, and it will own you.

Thinking about this makes me long for a day when “all things will be made new” — a time when a permanent upgrade will be made to this physical world so that it will never need to be repaired or replaced!  If you are like me … that sounds pretty nice!

This is exactly the world of the new heaven and earth described in Revelation 21-22.

This new world is even more than just “not needing repair” nice.  It is something else.  How nice?

  • “Solid gold streets” nice.  Some today might have jewelry that is “golden,” but a city so rich it has streets of SOLID GOLD?  That is next level.
  • “Foundation Stones for the city made of precious jewels” nice.  Today people put a single diamond on a wedding band … the city in the new heaven and earth will have foundations poured not with concrete and rebar, but with sapphires and jasper.
  • “Door frames made of hollowed out giant pearls” nice.  Who sees a pearl the size of a two story house and says – “let’s hollow that out and make it a doorway!”  God does … that’s who!

But even those features are not the defining characteristic of this new heaven and earth.  Just wait until you see how it is “lit”!  

So, for those of us living in a fixer-upper world … don’t call Chip and Joanna.  Come to Wildwood on Sunday as we look at Revelation 21:9-27 and see what God (in His grace) is preparing for us to move into one day … AND, even more importantly, who will we be moving in there with.

See you Sunday in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service at Wildwood for part 6 of our “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  We will celebrate the Lord’s supper together as we look forward to our promised future in Christ.  Join us this weekend … and bring friends!

Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 5) Sermon Questions, Audio, and Video

On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 21:1-8.  This message was part 5 of the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 21:1-8
  3. In what ways do you see yourselves and others minimize God’s grace in salvation?
  4. After this life is over, there is a new heaven and new earth, and we are given a new body.  This shows God’s commitment to material things!  Things in this life are corrupted by sin and will degrade over time, but after this age is done, God will recreate a new world in which we will live.  How does this concept of a new heaven and earth compare to the “eternity” you have always imagined?
  5. The New Heaven and Earth will have both a city and God … who dwells with His people there!  This is a reminder that the WHO of eternity is more important than the WHAT or WHERE.  How does knowing that you will be with the other saints in the presence of God on a new earth encourage you as you think about the culmination of all things?
  6. The one who is a believer in Jesus Christ inherits all things (21:7).  How does this perspective help you deal with the loss and uncertainty of life today?
  7. This life carries with it suffering and sorrow … but it is only temporary!  What is a sorrow or pain or loss that you have experienced or are experiencing that seems like it will go forever?  Remember the pain of today will vanish like dew in the morning!  
  8. The only pain that will be celebrated for all time is the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  Take a moment and thank Him for His indescribable gift!
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #5 9.18.22

 

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The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 5) Sermon Preview

God’s grace.  It’s amazing, isn’t it?  And yet we often do things that reduce its grandeur.

One way we do reduce God’s grace is by thinking MORE OF OURSELVES than we should.  In other words, if we have an attitude that thinks God SHOULD grant us entry into heaven, then we are over-estimating our personal righteousness and underselling the height of God’s holy standard.  If we earn it, it is not given.

Another way we minimize God’s grace, however, is when we UNDERESTIMATE THE GREATNESS OF HIS BLESSING.  If we fail to remember just how much God is giving us in Christ Jesus, we can lose sight of the extravagance of His grace.  

In order to help us understand this principle, let’s imagine you getting a new job.  You work 8 hours at this job doing the work of middle-management.  What would you estimate your wage to be?  For simplicity in the math, let’s say that a middle manager makes $25 per hour.  Therefore, you might assume that your 8 hours of work would yield $200 in pay.  Not bad.  But let’s say that when it came time for payday, you were paid $200 Billion!  Even if you had worked HARD for those 8 hours, that wage would be considered a true gift from your employer!

Now, let’s run this grid through the circuit of God’s gracious blessing to believers.  In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says, “For by GRACE you have been saved through faith.  And it is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  It is by God’s grace and not our works that we have been saved from the fires of hell.  Running this through the grid of our “new job” analogy, this is saying that the wage that we gain in our salvation comes after we have worked ZERO hours.  We get paid without working!  This concept answers the first way we minimize God’s grace.  In His grace God gives us all things … SO THAT none of us might boast.  We should not overestimate our personal godliness in any way.

But what does the Scripture say about the lavish nature of our salvation?  Well … for that, you need to come this Sunday to Wildwood as we will be talking about the riches of eternity for those who are in Christ.  We will be doing so in part 5 of our “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series as we look at Revelation 21:1-8.  These verses describe the $200 Billion (metaphorically speaking) payday that awaits God’s children!  In fact, the riches these verses describe outkick the coverage of any dollar amount imaginable … the spiritual and physical blessings of eternal life in Christ are just that rich.  

Make plans to be with us this Sunday at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 as we explore eternity together.  See you Sunday … and bring friends!

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 4) Sermon Questions, Audio, and Video

On September 11, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 20:11-15.  This message was part 4 in the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find audio and video from the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 20:11-15.
  3. What are some of the strategies you see people employ to distract from the weighty implications of Hell?
  4. Based on our study of Revelation 20:11-15 this morning, how would you answer the questions:  who is the Judge of judgment day?  Who is judged on judgment day?  On what are they judged on judgment day?  How do we survive on judgment day?  What is the sentence handed down on judgment day?
  5. Have you placed your personal faith in Jesus Christ as your rescuer from sin and judgment?  If not, why not?  If so, when?
  6. When was the last time you expressed sincere thanks to God for what He has done for you in Christ?
  7. How does remembering Hell motivate you to share the Gospel with unsaved people around you?  Who might God be moving you to share the Gospel with today?
  8. When it comes to Hell and judgment, are your emotions moved by the impact this will have on billions of people?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these question in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #6 9.11.22

 

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The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 4) Sermon Preview

Hell.  Now there is a place we don’t really want to talk about.  The concept of a location designed for everlasting torment is unsettling to us … and for good reason!  So, people have tried to assuage their minds concerning Hell in a variety of ways:

  • Some make Hell a punchline in a joke.  In this approach, Hell becomes a cartoonish location that looks like a bonfire-lit cave at Silver Dollar City, managed by a down-on-his-luck demon with a potbelly and a pitchfork.  If we can laugh at the idea, the emotional release might distract us long enough to avoid any deep reflection on the significance of the place.
  • Others make Hell temporary.  This version of Hell is a spiritual “timeout corner” where people can sit and think about what they should have done differently, before they ultimately return to life.  If we think Hell is an overnight lodging, not a permanent abode, that helps us feel better.
  • Still others dismiss Hell altogether, thinking it just a device religious leaders made up to keep people in line.  If Hell is not real, then talk of Hell has no more real world significance than Aesop’s Fables … just a fantasy location around which we learn a moral lesson.
  • Finally, others take Hell and make it the location for whoever they think is THE WORST.  If Hell is the place for Satan, the anti-Christ, and Hitler … then it is mostly avoidable for anyone we know and love … and that is easier to swallow.

In general, I think people (even Christian people) minimize Hell in their own minds.  We turn it into enough of an abstraction so we can sleep at night and avoid some of the implications that might ensue if we understood what Hell truly is.

Now, an argument can be made that as Christians we should not focus much on Hell.  Why scare anyone with a discussion of it?  Why not think about  only what is “noble, and right, and good?” 

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in Part 4 of our “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series, we will be talking about Hell.  Hell as a real place of eternal torment that the Bible (and Jesus specifically) talks about … plus we will talk about the population of Hell.  Why are we going to do this?

Because God wants us to know about it.

That is why God put info about Hell into the Bible, and Revelation 20:11-15 is a central passage.  This Sunday we will explore the passage together.  As we do so, I want to prepare our hearts …

When we understand what the Bible says about Hell, it should MOVE US:  

  • It should MOVE US TO FAITH … trusting Christ as our rescuer from sin and judgment.  
  • It should MOVE US TO THANKFULNESS … appreciating anew what Jesus has saved us from. 
  • It should MOVE US TO TEARS … as we reflect on the eternal judgment to fall upon the lost.  
  • It should MOVE US TO ACTION … mobilized to share our faith with a dying world while they have time to repent.

Get ready to be moved by God’s Word this week.

  Prayerfully approach this passage before worship on Sunday as we see the Great White Throne Judgment of God in Revelation 20:11-15.

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 3) Bonus Thought

How do you know if someone can be trusted? Well, typically you would look at that person’s character and track record. If they are a person of high character (someone who consistently demonstrates noble behavior) and if they are a person who has regularly done what they have promised they will do … you trust them! If they are a person of low character (inconsistent in demonstrating noble behavior) and if they are a person who regularly does NOT do what they promise … you don’t trust them! Or, at least these two extremes create a “sliding scale of trust” inspiring you to lean into them more or discouraging you so that you count on them less.
I once heard Dave Ramsey’s daughter Rachel describe her growing up years. Her parents used a rope metaphor with each of their kids. As they aged and demonstrated good decision making they were “given more rope” (or freedom) from their parents. If they made bad decisions, their parents would give them less slack (less freedom). Rachel shared that when her older sister graduated from high school, the Ramseys presented her sister with a beautiful braided rope and told her that she now was being commissioned to go and make her own decisions, having demonstrated exemplary character over time.
Given this illustration, let me ask you … how much do you trust God? Are you leaning into Him or pulling away? Have you given Him your rope, or are you reeling it back in?
How you answer that question may have a lot to do with how well you know who God is. The character of God is absolutely impeccable … not just consistently good, but ALWAYS GOOD. And the track record of God is also exemplary. This is why God has shared with us so much divinely inspired history in the Old Testament … in part to allow us to see His faithfulness in the lives of His people so that we might trust Him more and more.
Having said this, some of you may want to raise a question. Was God TRULY faithful to Israel? God promised to save them spiritually and physically. He promised to give them forgiveness and a new heart AND protected borders and a globally influential Kingdom. Yet, today the nation of Israel has largely rejected Jesus as their Messiah and lives under the constant threat of military action. While the nation is significant and has a compelling story, the world does not come to Israel for their understanding of right and wrong (as Isaiah 2 and 11 indicate). So is God really faithful? Can He really be trusted?
Well, the New Testament really helps to fill in the gaps for us on these questions. Romans 9-11 is basically an apologetic on the faithfulness of God regarding the spiritual salvation of Israel. After arguing in Romans 1-8 that “nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” the Apostle Paul turns his attention to answering the question – “but what about Israel? Didn’t God separate from them? And if He did, might He separate from us?” The argument of Romans 9-11 tells us that God has always had a remnant inside Israel that was being saved, and in the end a generation of Israelites on the earth when Jesus comes back will embrace Him as Savior. He has not abandoned them! This same sentiment is also behind the large conversion of Jews forecast for the last days in Revelation 7.
So God will be proved faithful to His spiritual promises to Israel. But what about the physical promises? What about the expanded borders, world-wide influence, and restored physical land of Israel? What about the borders that extend up into Syria (as seen in Ezekiel 48), or the river of fresh water that will flow out of the Temple Mount area and east toward the Dead Sea making those salty waters fresh (Ezekiel 47)? What about military conquest ceasing and peace on the earth (Isaiah 2)? What about the Messianic Leader of Israel reigning over the entire world from Jerusalem (Isaiah 11)? Were those just empty promises from God to help an exiled Israel sleep better at night?
What the book of Revelation presented to us in Revelation 20:1-10 (which we looked at last Sunday at Wildwood) was a picture of all those promises coming true inside a 1,000 year Kingdom where Jesus reigns on earth at the time of His return. He will reestablish the tribes of Israel in their allotted lands and will give them provision and honor and blessing on the earth for 1,000 years. As members of the Church, we will be on earth to see this, and will be reigning with Christ (most likely) in other parts of the world under the leadership of Jesus, but the land of Israel will be finally and fully established JUST AS GOD PROMISED HIS PEOPLE.
And why does this matter? So that we would know that He is worthy to be trusted. Impeccable character. Flawless track record. So … give Him your rope. Trust Him with your life – both spiritual and physical. He is good for it.

The Lord of New Heaven and Earth (part 3) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 20:1-10.  This message was part 3 of the “Lord of New Heaven and Earth” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find sermon audio and video to listen to/watch, download or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 20:1-10.
  3. When you think about heaven/eternity … what do you envision?  What do you think we will be doing for all time after our lives on earth are finished?
  4. After Jesus returns to the earth, He establishes a Kingdom for 1,000 years.  What does this reveal to you about Jesus Christ (His character and what is important to Him)?
  5. When Jesus establishes His earthly Kingdom, He will reign WITH us (resurrected versions of us)!  When you think of eternity, have you ever contemplated that we will be returning to this earth for an extended period, reigning with Jesus?  What questions do you have about this coming era?
  6. Jesus shares this revelation with us (I believe) to inspire us to keep trusting Him now – knowing that it is absolutely worth it.  Are you trusting Jesus with your life today?
  7. What are some things in this world that argue that “darkness is winning”?  How does remembering Jesus’ ultimate victory encourage you today?  What evidence is there that you are trusting Jesus with your life today?
  8. In the Kingdom, even with the world’s system judged, with Christ reigning on earth, and with Satan bound, people living on earth in that era will still sin.  What does this tell you about (at least one) of the origins of sin?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

The Lord of New Heaven & Earth #3 9.4.22

 

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