God's End Game - Part 54

Series: God's End Game

March 22, 2020
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

God's End Game - Part 54

I’d like to welcome you to our first ever worship service broadcast via FaceBook and YouTube. If you’re joining us this morning, welcome.

Before I share God’s Word with you, I have to brag on your church staff and leadership. They have really stepped up and helped us make the transition from face-to-face services to online in the span of one week. You guys are heroes. 

The good thing is, when this is all over we’ll keep streaming services. God really does have a way working all things together for good.


As we’ve winded down the God’s End Game series we’ve spent quite a bit of time in the final chapters of Revelation where John saw in visions what our future forever heaven will be like. It’s actually a new heaven and a new earth housing a city called New Jerusalem. The key word being “new.”

Turn to the person sitting on the couch next to you and say, “new!” If you are watching this alone text the last person in your messages the word “new!” And see what happens.

Revelation 21:5 (ESV) — 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

New doesn’t have to mean completely unlike the old. It’s a new heaven and earth, the same as the old yet different. Just like Jesus’ resurrection body was the same as the old yet different.

One time I had a car that was little more than a tiny metal and fiberglass shell wrapped around a motorcycle engine called a Geo Metro. You could almost touch the back windshield sitting in the front seat. The funniest thing you ever saw would have been when our family car was in the shop and we had to pack mommy and daddy and two little girls in that sardine can for a grocery run. Those were the days.

I will never forget, though, when I got to retire that car and get a new one. It was a harvest gold Mercury Sable deluxe model, all electric with leather seats and premium sound system. It even had a key code on the door. I was high in high cotton, ya’ll. For the first few months I washed that beauty every day when I got home. 

In a way, there was no comparison between the old car with its cheap cloth seats, pitiful radio, and windows you had to crank down and the new car with all its glory. But at the same time, it was still a car. The same yet different.

That’s the idea of future forever heaven that’s been lost on the church. Something else that’s probably been missed is how unmistakably connected the last few chapters of Revelation are to the first few of Genesis. How related Eden and New Jerusalem are.

When you make that connection you discover the whole point of God’s End Game, the reason for the redemption story, the underlying, unifying theme of the entire Bible even, and it can be summed up in the statement… 

As it was, so it will be.

Turn to your couch buddy and say that. If alone text that same person, “As it was, so it will be.”

Today I want to show 7 ways as it was, so it will be.

(1). As it was, God created heaven and earth

Genesis 1:1 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 

So it will be, God creates a new heaven and earth 

Revelation 21:1 (ESV) — 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

(2). As it was, God ruled over creation from his garden paradise, Eden

Genesis 2:8–10 (ESV) — 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.

So it will be, God presides over new creation from his holy city, New Jerusalem 

Revelation 22:1–5 (ESV) — 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

The holy city on new earth reminds us of Eden on the old one. In Eden there were two trees: the tree of life which granted its partakers immortality, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was a single rule, a single law in God’s good world: don’t eat from the second tree because doing so would bring sin into existence and with that death and suffering.

You well know Adam and Eve broke that rule and the consequences God warned then about came to be.

The tree of life returns in New Jerusalem, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil doesn’t. Do you know what that means? In our future forever heavenly home there are no rules at all. Do whatever your heart desires, because every desire of your heart will honor and please God. 

(3). As it was, death did not exist

Genesis 1:31 (ESV) — 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Is death good? No. It couldn’t have been a part of God’s world in the beginning. 

So it will be, death exists no more

Revelation 21:4 (ESV) — 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more…

Revelation 20:14 (ESV) — 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

There are a lot of things from the old world we’ll see in the new world, cities, streets, buildings. Since Jesus ate breakfast after the resurrection, I’m guessing there’ll even be restaurants in New Jerusalem. 

But two things you won’t find there are hospitals and funeral homes. 

(4). As it was, the universe knew no sin or evil 

Back to…

Genesis 1:31 (ESV) — 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 

So it will be, all evil banished forever with no chance of returning

Revelation 20:10 (ESV) — 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 21:27 (ESV) — 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Someone might ask if we have free will in heaven and if so isn’t there a chance we could rebel again? That’s a deep theological question I’m not sure anyone can answer fully. But if God gives me free will this life and I choose to surrender that in the next life so I might serve him and worship forever with no chance of rebelling, I’m good.

(5). As it was, God and man enjoyed an unhindered, face-to-face relationship

Genesis 3:8 (ESV) — 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…

You get the sense that’s something God did often, like how my granny and grandaddy Shockley often sat in old metal lawn chairs under a huge shade tree in their back yard. Adam and Eve had unlimited, unhindered real access to and fellowship with God because they and all creation were good.

So it will be, God and his children living together forever face-to-face.

Revelation 21:3 (ESV) — 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

Revelation 22:4 (ESV) — 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

This is the way God has always wanted it to be.

(6). As it was, the world did not know pain and suffering

Back to... 

Genesis 1:31 (ESV) — 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day 

Is pain and suffering good? Of course not. It couldn’t exist in the beginning.

So it will be, pain and suffering will pass away to be no more

Revelation 21:4 (ESV) — 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

When you go back to Genesis and observe the fall of Adam and Eve, you see God pronounce his judgment…

Genesis 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

It dawned on me last night that the a mother’s pain in giving birth and the baby’s trauma in being born point to the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental damage we all experience in this corrupted world. This all encompassing suffering is caused by three things: our fallenness, others’ fallenness, and creation’s fallenness (such as Covid-19).

God never intended for us to know that. In the new heaven and earth he takes care of it for good.

(7). As it was, man had dominion over the earth

Genesis 1:28 (ESV) — 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

So it will be, God’s people rule and reign with Christ 

Revelation 3:21 (ESV) — 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Revelation 22:5 (ESV) — 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

In the beginning all the earth was good, but it wasn’t perfect like Eden, the home of God. Man’s vocation was to make everywhere like Eden as the Lord’s regents, his kingly stewards. But then came the fall and the curse, leaving mankind stripped of his royal status.

But in the new heaven and earth we are reinstated!

(7). As it was, God’s good world hosted a wedding

In the beginning, Adam was alone and that was the only not-good thing in God’s world. So God made a him a helpmate, Eve, and presented her to him as his bride in the first marriage ceremony…

Genesis 2:23–24 (ESV) — 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

So it will be, Jesus and his bride, the church,  joined together 

Revelation 19:7–9 (ESV) — 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

Revelation 21:9–11 (ESV) — 9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

There’s a double meaning here. The city is adorned like a bride for her husband. Who inhabits the city? God’s people. The church. Jesus’ bride.

When the new heaven and earth are created, there’s wedding, this time between Jesus and his church. And what God has joined together in the new heaven and earth, nothing can tear asunder.

There are just seven as-it-was-so-it-will-be’s in God’s End Game plan. There are many more.

Conclusion: Let me close with an observation by Nancy Guthrie…

“We’re not merely looking forward to a restoration of what Eden once was. Instead, we’re looking forward to the consummation of all that Eden was intended to be. Jesus, the true Adam, our glorious Bridegroom, the Seed who crushed the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), will not fail to lead us into all that God is preparing for us — a home even better than Eden.”[1] 

There’s one reason and one reason only there’s a so-it will-be in God’s end game plan, his redemption story: Jesus.

Romans 5:12–21 (The Message) — 12 You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. 13 That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. 14 Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it. 15 Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! 16 There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. 17 If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? 18 Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! 19 One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right. 20 All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. 21 All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.

In the beginning God made all things good. In the end God makes all things new, setting his good world back to rights. As it was, so it will be. Amen.

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