New Heaven and New Earth -- It is all going to be destroyed or burned.

April 17, 2016   II Peter 3:8 – 18   Home is Above  


   Do you like vacations?   Do you like to travel?   I am looking forward to a week in PA at the end of this month.  I am looking forward to reading, resting, and relaxing.  I plan to be refreshed in the Lord.  It is school break and I think Elaine is looking forward to it also.   We were created to have fellowship with Jesus and I plan to spend some time doing what I was created for. 

   I am going to share some quotes from travel agents who talked to people who did not really understand where they were going.  These are rather humorous stories.   One agent said: “I had someone ask for an aisle seat on their airplane so that their hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.”  The wind does not blow too much at 35K feet in an airplane pressurized cabin.   Another said he had a client who called inquiring about a travel package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost information, she asked "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"  That would be quite a train ride.   Still another agent he got a call from a woman who said she wanted to go to Cape Town. He started to talk about the length of the flight to Africa and the passport information when she interrupted saying: "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts."  He explained, "Cape COD is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in South Africa." She hung up. 

   One man called his travel agent, furious about a Florida package they’d done for him. The agent asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. The man responded that he was expecting an ocean-view room.   The agent tried to explain that wasn’t possible - Orlando is in the middle of the state.  The man replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state."    A very nice lady called her agent. She wanted to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am.   The agent tried to tell her that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois but she could not understand the concept of Time zones.  Finally he told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!  I think we all know that what travels quickly is time.  Time seems to fly and before we know it we will be in heaven.   Are we traveling light or loaded with this world? 
    Peter certainly saw the Christian as in transition.  In I Peter he writes once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.   Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.   Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.  In II Peter 3 we also see a transition in this passage.   

   The heavens are going to disappear and the elements are going to burn and the earth is going to be laid bare.  Some Greek manuscripts say the earth is going to burn up.   The ESV translation says the works done on earth will be exposed.  Peter writes in this passage that there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  In Revelation 21:1 John writes then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  Isaiah saw the same thing in the Old Testament.  In chapter 65 we read See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.   The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.    But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.  I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.  There is going to be a new heaven and a new earth.  We are in a transition.  This is not permanent.  This world is not my home I am just a passing through.  

    But we tend to see this as permanent.   We become attached to this life.  We become attached to people and pets.   We get attached to our weekly or monthly check or the check at the end of the job.  We get attached to vehicles and we like our kitchen and dishes put in a certain place or the table set in a certain way.  The toilet paper has to be rolled from the top or from the bottom.  When 2 people get married setting up the new living situation can be a real trial and a real learning curve.  Former family traditions can put stress on a relationship.   We always celebrated birthdays like this or we never celebrated birthdays.  Or there can be a conflict when Christmas is celebrated.  You get the picture. 

    I think Peter is telling us that we need to be aware of where we are going as Christians.  You can’t get from California to Hawaii on a train.  You cannot walk it unless you are a good water walker but that would be quite a walk.   I have been in Hawaii compliments of Uncle Sam.  Where are you going as a Christian and how do you get there?   Are we a pilgrim and a stranger or are we settled in?   I remember reading or hearing about some People who would not finish a corner of the inside of their house.  So instead of nice painted sheet rock they would see the 2 by 4’s or the 2 by 6’s that hold up the wall and the insulation.    It was to remind them of heaven.   It was remind them that they were traveling.   This world is not the end and the Holy Spirit is telling us in this passage do not get too comfortable down here. This world is going to pass.   The Christians real life is in heaven. Paul had the same idea.

    In Colossians 3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.   Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.   When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  The Christian life is not here.  Do not get too attached to this life.  In time it will change.   This world is going to pass and this world is going to be exposed.  Other verses in the bible tell us that everything will be exposed and judged.  Jesus said in Matthew 12 every idle or careless word man speaks will be judged. 

   We tend as people to get comfortable even if it is not the best circumstances.   We like our cell phones, our cars, our home and our food.  Life is good and we like it.  Ben my oldest son is experiencing some difficulty because they are selling the company he works for.   Can we believe that God has a good plan for us?   When the check does not come or our life gets a drastic change can we believe that God will provide?   It is a challenge.  God do you really love me?   God can you get me through this mess?   It would be difficult to lose your job or feel that you could not do it any more for some reason.  It challenges our faith. 

     When the Children of Israel were close to the Promised Land God warned them and Moses warned them before they got there do not forget God.  This land is flowing with milk and honey and it becomes too easy to forget God and just live in it.  Peter warns us do not get too comfortable.  There is going to be a new earth.  The physical stuff that we get attached to is going to pass away.  There will be a new earth.  That is good news.  Jesus asks the question what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul and yet people give their souls to this world. 

    How do you see your life on earth?   Since this is not our real home we can see ourselves as travelers.  We are on vacation.  We are on vacation in paradise.   We are on vacation in God’s beautiful world.  Some of us are saying what.  This is not a vacation.   This is hard work.  What about the passage in Hebrews that talks about God’s rest?  They did not enter into God’s rest.  They did not enter because of unbelief.  The Children of Israel saw the giants and said we cannot beat them.  They did not look to God nor believe God.   God told them you are going into the Promised Land.  He always provides.  They saw God provide for them over and over again but when they saw the giants they doubted.  It is natural to do that but not good.    They were right they could not beat the giants.  But with God the giants were not a problem. 

    Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  When things get too heavy we are probably trying to carry too much.   We do not let Jesus carry his part.  It is me doing it all and that is tiring.  I have lived that before and it is no fun.  That is the tendency of people.  I tend to carry more than I should.  We have time to do everything that God wants us to do.  Being busy is good being busy and stressed is not good.  Are we traveling light or loaded with this world?  In Hebrews 12 we read Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.   For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

    A plane was on its way to London when a blonde woman in economy class got up and moved into an open seat in the first class section. The flight attendant saw her do this, and politely informed her that she had to sit in economy because that's the ticket she paid for.   The blonde replied, "I'm blonde. I'm beautiful. I'm going to London… and I'm staying right here."  After repeated attempts and no success at convincing the woman to move the attendant went into the cockpit and informed the pilot and co-pilot that there was a woman sitting in first class who refused to go back to her proper seat.
The co-pilot went back and explained why she needs to move, but once again the woman replies by saying, "I'm blonde. I'm beautiful. I'm going to London… and I'm staying right here."  The co-pilot returned to the cockpit and suggested that perhaps they should have the arrival gate call the police and have the woman arrested when they land.  The pilot said, "You say she's blonde?  I'll handle this.”  He went back to the woman and whispered quietly in her ear, and she says, "Oh, I'm sorry," then quickly moves back to her seat in economy class.  The flight attendant and co-pilot were amazed and asked him how he’d gotten her to move back to economy without causing any fuss.  "I told her first class wasn't going to London."  

    Are you traveling first class?  What does it mean for you to travel first class?  Can Christians travel first class?   I suppose that depends on how we look at things.   Is laboring, praying, humbling yourself, and serving traveling first class?   Is sacrifice traveling first class?   Did Jesus travel first class?   If traveling first class means you get pampered then perhaps in your mind a Christian cannot travel first class.  There are certainly advantages to being a Christian.  Jesus said that it is more blessed to give then to receive.  There is joy in blessing other people.  There is joy in laying down your life.  There is joy in serving.  There is joy in doing the right thing.  There is peace in walking with God.  Therepeace and blessing in fulfilling what God created you for.  

   Heaven and eternity is before us today and soon we will be there.  We can lay up treasurers in heaven.