Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Tomorrow Sunday April 28th, 2013 at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine: “All Things New” (Revelation 21:1-8)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I’m sure you’ve heard question, “What will heaven be like?” And while there is much we do not know, what we do know is magnificent and comforting to say the very least! I am therefore quite excited about tomorrow’s proclamation based on Revelation chapter 21 on the new heaven and the new earth. The Scriptures reveal some very important insights about our eternal home.
The sermon, however, isn’t all about the future. The Lord says that you are — already — a new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17).
We need to know this, because our sinful nature and the evil one would try convince us that we are anything but new. Instead the sin we commit as well as the sin that is all around us makes us feel used…again, definitely not new! As a result, we are tempted to cower and fear in the face of God’s glorious newness. We are tempted rather to live in unbelief, convinced that what is eternally new could never be for us!
But the Lord says in His Word, “I am making all things new!” (Revelation 21:5). How is it that you will not be counted among the evil cowards? How is it that you will be counted as among the glorious ones who did not succumb to fear, but who conquered?
There is much for us to consider in this important message from Revelation 21. Invite a friend to hear this important sermon.
Also: we are gearing up for not one, but TWO new member Sundays on May 5th and May 12th. Thank you for your patience, but in the final analysis we must offer two back-to-back Sundays which will welcome new members both via transfer and confirmation. At this point we have about 10 new members joining, but there may be more! We’ll see what the Lord decides. In the meantime, please join me in having great joy for how the Lord is blessing Saint Paul’s!
What is most important is the Sunday now before us. Let us gather to receive God’s gifts to us in and through Jesus. We will be forgiven again, we will be recipients of God’s powerful blessings, and we will have opportunity to encourage one another and all the more as the Day draws near!
Here is an excerpt from tomorrow’s sermon:

We have to check the sinful idea that God treats that which is used in the way we often do: He doesn’t throw His creation away as if it were trash. Revelation 21:1-2 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” And then the Lord says as recorded at verse 5: “Behold, I am making all things new.”

One commentator brings out the overall theme of Revelation’s “new”: “The saints of God will bear their new name, Christ’s own name (2:17; 3:12), and sing unendingly their new song (14:3) in a world where God makes all things new (21:5), on a new earth and under a new heaven, in a new holy city, a new Jerusalem. All things are “new,” not merely as more recent in date but as created and designed to supersede and replace the old…new with an astonishing end-of-time newness, unheard-of and wondrous…(Franzmann, The Revelation to John, 137).”

But by definition, this is a newness that does not annihilate the old or first creation. Andrew of Caesarea: “This passage does not speak of the obliteration of creation but of its renewal into something better. For as the apostle says, ‘this creation will be freed from the bondage of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God [Romans 8:21].’…The renewal of that which has grown old does not involve the annihilation of its substance but rather indicates the smoothing out of its agedness and its wrinkles (Weinrich, ed., Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament XII Revelation, 354).”

In other words when Revelation 21:1 says that the first heaven and earth “pass away” or when 2nd Peter 3:10-13 uses the extreme descriptor of what happens to the old as in being dissolved, these are not about elimination, but transformation. Again, God doesn’t throw away His creation and the proof is in the resurrection of our Lord. His body that was buried, that was used to bear the sins of the world, was resurrected. In other words, the heavenly version of “new” amounts to that which is perfectly restored, where life triumphs over death, and where time will no longer have its aging effect on those who were formerly under the curse of sin (Lutheran Study Bible, 2233 and 1197).

So we are in a good position to begin to answer the question, “What will heaven be like?” The Scriptures give the answer of perfect restoration: the creation without sin; a restored creation that never gets marred by the effects of being used, while at the same time fully enjoyed and fully employed (it won’t be static or stuck in a box). You will get to “use it,” but the new creation will never suffer the effects of sin and will never get old. You will use a new creation that will never show signs of having been used.

Again, our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the best view. He was renewed in glory when He rose. The new heaven and new earth will be filled with God’s people with their new bodies, which will be their old used bodies raised, transformed and glorified…real bodies in a real city in a real heaven and earth in the presence of the real Lord.

In Your Service and To Christ’s Glory,
Dr. Espinosa
Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.