Sermon:  Our Final Destination

Summary:  Scripture describes the final destination of God's people as a state of 
eternal life, work without weariness, having an abundance of what you need, a time of 
safety, and especially a time of face to face fellowship with our Lord.  God has made 
this a possibility through his son, and leaves the decision to us on where our final 
destination will be.

Text:  Various

Scripture Reading:  1 Thess 4:14-17

1.  How many want to go to Heaven?  Why?  Many reasons. . . 
	a.  Don't want to go to Hell
	b.  This world is temporary
		- 2 Pet 3:10 - Earth and everything in it will be burned up
		- Heb 1:10-12 - Everything perish, Lord will roll it up like a mantle
	c.  Heaven is a much better place
2.  But what is Heaven?
	a.  In Greek, "ouranos"=sky/heaven; Hebrew "shamayim"=skies/heavens
	b.  Literally, the word heaven means sky.  Why sky?
		- God is exalted above all else
		- It is the place where God dwells
		- It is not here on this earth, but in another place
		- Refer to it as "the heavens" in the skies, out there
	c.  Sometimes "Heaven" is used to refer to God himself
		- To show reverence, not utter his name directly, used "Heaven"
		- "Kingdom of Heaven" means "Kingdom of God"
		- "I have sinned against Heaven" means sinned against God
	d.  Heaven is where God is, and where we want to go
3.  "Heaven" is not the only word used for our goal and final destination?
	a.  Many words, phrases, and images used for that time and place
	b.  Many of them have a long history and background behind them
	c.  Abraham's Bosom, Paradise, New Heavens and New Earth, New 
	      Jerusalem, The Wedding Feast, My Father's House, Home, Clothing
4.  Scripture talks about our final state in many ways.  What will it be like?
	-  Going to use a words and phrases to show how Bible describes it

I.  Life
	A.  Often speak in terms of eternal life
	B.  In Heaven, death is no longer a reality
		1.  (1 Cor 15:26) - Scripture refers to death as an enemy
			a.  Death is not just a normal part of life
			b.  God is not death, God is life and love
			c.  Death is contrary to the nature of God
			d.  Death is the last enemy to be destroyed
		2.  (1 Cor 15:52) - Says in twinkling of an eye, we will be changed
			a.  The dead will be raised
			b.  We will be imperishable
		3.  Rev 20 - Puts it more graphically
			a.  Rev 20:11 - Final Great White Throne Judgment
			b.  All are judged, those alive, and those who had died
			a.  (Rev 20:14) Death and Hades thrown into the lake of fire
				- Hades can mean grave
				- Hades is a way of talking about the power of death
				- Once death grabs hold, you can't free self
			b. But Jesus destroyed the power of sin and death
		4.  (Rev 21:4) - After the Judgment, see New Jerusalem
			a.  No longer any death, mourning, crying, or pain
			b.  The power of life is stronger than the power of death
			c.  Jesus demonstrated this at the cross
	C.  ILL:  Have you had to bury someone close to you?
		1.  Can be a painful experience that you never get over
		2.  As times goes on, more and more people you love die
		3.  All of us are aging, decaying, wearing out as we sit here
		4.  Some go through "mid-life crisis" when faced with this
			a.  Realize you literally over the hill, or top of it
			b.  More years behind you than ahead of you
			c.  So many things didn't get to do
			d.  Some buy car can't afford, young clothes, even affair
	D.  But God is the God of life
		1.  He grants you life that begins now and continues eternally
		2.  We go to the land where we never grow old
		3.  Bible says he will wipe away all tears
			a.  He will comfort us
			b.  No more parting, no sorrow, no sickness, no dying 
		4.  Will have tree of life

II.  Enjoyable Work
	A.  Okay, this is the one exception, a two-word phrase
	B.  Work?  Most of us think of Heaven as rest, not work
		1.  (Rev 14:13) - Says we will rest from our labors
			a.  We work all of our life
			b.  We get tired, weary, exhausted
			c.  Don't you want to be able to rest?
		2.  (Rev 7:14-15) - Notice what happens to these people after they 
		     die and go on to be with the Lord
			a.  Text says they serve him day and night
			b.  I usually serve during the day, sleep/rest at night
			c.  Here they are now serving day and night
			d.  Where is the rest we are supposed to have????
		3.  Here is the answer - 
			a.  Rev 14:13 - We will rest from our labors
				- Notice it doesn't say, "rest from activity"
				- What is the difference between labor & activity?
				- Labor is hard, back-breaking, exhausting
			b.  Greek bears this out
				- "Labor" in this passage is from Greek kopos
				- Means "labor, toil, trouble, difficulty
					= Doesn't say rest from work, which is ergon
					= Rest is from labor, not work/activity 
				- This began in the garden when Adam sinned
				- Part of the curse, will work by sweat of your brow
			c.  Rev 22:3 - Final picture - No longer any curse, no labors
				- Work will be as God designed, not as sin corrupted it
				- We were created from the beginning for a purpose
					= To have dominion over the earth, rule justly
					= Man rebelled, not fill God's purpose, but own
					= Results have been devastating - Exploitation, 
					   murder, wars, corruption
					=  In eternity, will fulfill our purpose without 
					    effects of sin
				-  (Rev 22:5) - We will reign forever and ever
				- Will fulfill our created purpose without effects of sin
			d.  Serving Him night and day will be a joy, not a burden
	C.  ILL:  Think about the jobs you have had
		1.  Ever had a job where you couldn't wait for the weekend?
			a.  Work just wipes you out, physically and mentally
			b.  If not for rest over the weekend, you would be a mess
		2.  Ever had a job just the opposite?
			a.  You just can't wait to get at it again
			b.  Instead of sapping you, it invigorates you?
		3.  Maybe you not have a job, but can relate to this in school
			a.  I remember teacher reacting to complaining student
				- Student - "This is sooo much work!"
				- Teacher-"School is work, your grade is your pay!"
				- Just can't wait for weekend, for summer vacation
			b.  On other hand, while working, a student came to see me
				- She was sad when summer time came
				-  She couldn't wait to get back into school
				-  It didn't seem like "work" to her
	D.  When we go to be with the Lord, it will be enjoyable work
		1.  We won't sit around on clouds and do nothing
			a.  Rest is not from doing anything
			b.  Our rest is from our "labors"
		2.  Not sure if derive any satisfaction or meaning doing nothing 
		3.  Instead of work sapping strength, will invigorate, never tired

III.  Plentiful
	A.  No famines, no depression, recession, nobody poor or starving
	B.  The Bible expresses this sentiment in several ways
		1.  (Jn 14:1-3) - In my Father's house are many dwelling places
			a.  There is enough room for everyone
			b.  No one is going to go without
		2.  (Rev 21:9-16) - New Jerusalem is 1,000 mile cube
			a.  Truly there are plenty of dwelling places there
			b.  Text literally says 12,000 stadia in measurements
				- 1,000 is symbolic of total completeness
				- 12 is symbolic of God's people
			c.   ALL of God's people will be there
				- v.12 - Names of 12 tribes on the gates
				- v.14 - Twelve foundation stone 12 apostles
				- Shows that all God's people will be there
				- Also shows God's plan from beginning leads to this
					= When God created Israel as light to nations
					= When Jesus established his church
					= All of that to build the new Jerusalem
			d.  There is plenty of room for everyone - God built it
		3.  Rev 21:18-21 - Everything made with precious metals and 
		      jewels in abundance
		4.  Get the idea that there is no poverty there
	C.  ILL:  Have had some difficult economic times
		1.  But I have heard stories from people on mission trips
		2.  Tell stories of people living in houses of cardboard
		3.  A nice house made of corrugated metal or fiberglass
		4.  Heaven is no shantytown
	D.  In the end, there is plenty for all of God's people

IV.  Safe
	A.  Do you always feel safe in this world?
	B.  ILL:  We don't live in a safe world do we?
		1.  Alarm systems on many houses and cars, locks on doors
		2.  Policeman stationed at the High School
		3.  Security guards at shopping centers
		4.  Some carry mace, pepper spray, and with a license, a firearm
	C.  We not live in safe world, but world to come will be completely safe
		1.  Final state of the church - New Jerusalem, depicts safety
		2.  (Rev 21:17) - Walls will be 72 yards / 216 feet thick
		3.  (Rev 21:22-24) - God not distant presence, his light everywhere
		4.  (Rev 21:25-26)
			a.  Gates will never be closed
				- Why close city gates at night?  Keep bad stuff out
				- Like saying you don't have to lock doors at night
			b.  Then it says it will never be night there
				- Nighttime, in the dark is where crimes happen
				- No darkness there
			c. (v.27) - Nothing wicked or evil will be there at all 
	D.  The final picture we have of the final state of God's people - Safe

V.  Face to Face
	A.  Why do I want to go to Heaven?  That is where God is
		1.  Whether call it Heaven, New Jerusalem, Clothing, Abraham's 
		     Bosom, Paradise, I want to be where God is
		2.  If essense of Hell is to be away from God's presence, then the 
		     essence of Heaven is to be fully in his presence
	B.  You see, being in his presence now is not like it will be then
		1.  Rev 4:6 - Everyone is worshipping God around a crystal sea
			a.  Sea is often an image for evil and chaos
			b.  Here it is calm, clear as crystal, God has subdued it
			c.  But still stands between worshippers and God
			d.  Jesus defeated power of sin, but sin is still present
		2.  (Rev 21:1-2) - In the final picture, the sea is gone
		3.  (Rev 22:3-5) - Now that the sea is gone, look what happens
			a.  Curse is gone - Curse was due to sin in the garden
			b.  Will see his face for the first time!!
				- In the past, no one could look on the face of God
				- God said, "no one see my face and live" Ex 33:20
			c.  But with sin and death finally dealt with, serve face to face
			d.  Total restoration of fellowship with God
				- v.2 - Tree of life is back
				- v.5 - Shall reign for ever and ever, have dominion as 
				   God instructed in Gen. 1
	C.  ILL:  Our fellowship with God is kind of a cell phone relationship
		1.  He texted us through his word and instructs us
		2.  He gave us the Spirit as a guarantee/deposit 1 Cor 1:22 
		3.  Remainder of deposit is to come, will be in his presence fully
		4.  Will meet him face to face
	D.  I want to go there, not just because I don't want to go to Hell
		1.  God is there, and that is where I want to be
		2.  Don't you want to be where God is?

1.  God has made it available to you (inv)
2.  If you have obeyed Gospel, remember you are a people of anticipation
	a.  Communion, we proclaim the Lord's death "until he comes"
	b.  We serve in anticipation of Christ's return
3.  (2 Pet 3:9-13) - We are looking for a New Heaven and a New Earth where righteousness dwells
	a.  The first Heaven and First Earth will pass away
	b.  By God's power and grace, a new age will dawn
	c.  Our perishable bodies will be replaced by imperishable, 1 Cor 15:33
4.  Don't know when he will come, be ready today