Restoration

Restoration: God will restore all things in the future, long for that day.

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, November 7, 2020

Over the past 6 weeks we have talked about having a Biblical worldview. This means we must view the world through a Biblical framework.

Chuck Colson shares the following:

The three worldview categories examined in the earlier sections—creation, fall, and redemption—provide a conceptual structure by which we can identify what is wrong with non-Christian ways of thinking and then formulate a Christian perspective on every subject.

The first task, then, is to be discerning, to examine various worldviews by measuring how well they answer the fundamental questions of life: Creation—Where did we come from, and who are we? Fall—What has gone wrong with the world? Redemption—What can we do to fix it? Trace out the way any worldview answers these three questions, and you will be able to see how nonbiblical ideas fail to fit reality. By contrast, the biblical worldview provides answers that are internally consistent and really work.[1]

Following Jesus and sharing the Gospel transforms cultures:

In A.D. 401 a sixteen-year-old British boy named Patricius was seized by a raiding Irish war party, abducted from his Romanized homeland, and sold to a petty Irish chieftain named Miliucc, who sent the boy out to shepherd his flocks. Patricius spent months alone in the hills, hunger gnawing at his innards and the clammy cold biting into his limbs, until finally he sought help from the only source left: He began to pray.

Before this time, Patricius had not really believed in the God his Christian parents had taught him about, and he thought priests were fools. But he found in God a source of strength that helped him endure six long years of bitter isolation and deprivation. “Tending flocks was my daily work, and I would pray constantly during the daylight hours,” he wrote later. “The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more—and faith grew and the Spirit was roused.”[11]

Then one night, Patricius was awakened by a mysterious voice telling him that he was going home. “Look, your ship is ready,” said the voice. Although uncertain of the direction or distance, Patricius set out for the sea. More than two hundred miles later, he found a ship bound for England.

When he reached his homeland, however, Patricius discovered that he no longer fit in with his people. “Hardened physically and psychologically by unsharable experiences, hopelessly behind his peers in education, he cannot settle down,” writes historian Thomas Cahill.[12] Then one night, the former slave boy heard Christ’s voice again, this time telling him to return to Ireland. He entered theological training and eventually returned as Patrick, missionary to the Irish.

This was no romantic return, set to the tune of Irish ballads. When St. Patrick began his mission, he faced pagan Irish priests (druids) who still practiced ritual human sacrifice to their monstrous Celtic gods (often portrayed eating people). The fierce Irish warriors, believing that the human head was the seat of the soul, hung their enemies’ skulls from their belts as trophies.

Into this bloodthirsty culture St. Patrick brought the Christian message of love and forgiveness and established monasteries throughout the land. The monastic movement in Ireland began to revolutionize the world, replacing the old values of a warrior society with the new values of Christianity. Within St. Patrick’s lifetime, warriors cast aside their swords of battle, intertribal warfare decreased markedly, and the slave trade ended. A culture of battle and brute power was transformed by an ethic that sanctified manual labor, poverty, and service. A culture of illiteracy and ignorance became a culture of learning.[2]

Yes, the Gospel transforms cultures; however, that is not the restoration that we long for. Eventually, God will restore all things.

My theme today: God will restore all things in the future, long for that day.

Let’s read from Revelation 21:1-4 (ESV):

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. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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. 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.”

  1. Let’s talk about restoration
    • We see from the Bible, from the passage I read, that God will restore all things.
    • The Biblical worldview teaches that we are redeemed, but we are still in a fallen world. Therefore, we are waiting on a day when God will restore all things. We need restoration.
    • It seems that there are thoughts that God is restoring creation now through the church and I know that God is transforming society, but we still long for the new creation. I believe the restoration we are awaiting is not going to happen until after the tribulation period and the millennial reign.
    • We see that in the passage I already read.
    • We also see this in Isaiah 65 and a few other places in the Bible.
    • In Isaiah 65 we see the millennial reign as well as the future heaven talked about together. It is as if the prophet Isaiah blurs the two together.  
    • One writes the following: Is the new heaven and earth that John saw the same new heaven and earth that Isaiah predicted (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; cf. Ps. 102:25–26; Isa. 51:6)? We would normally assume that the entities are the same since the terms that describe them are almost identical. However the descriptions of these places vary. Isaiah wrote that people will die in the new earth (Isa. 65:17–20), but John said there will be no more death there (Rev. 21:4). Isaiah predicted that the moon will shine in the new heavens (Isa. 66:22–23), but John implied that there will be no moon there (Rev. 21:23). Apparently Isaiah spoke of both the Millennium and the eternal state generally as new heavens and a new earth (Isa. 65:17–66:24), which is accurate since even in the Millennium the world will experience renovation. John, in the progress of revelation, distinguished these two aspects of the eschaton and applied the name “new heaven and earth” only to the eternal state, which is appropriate since God will eventually destroy the present world and create a new world (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10). Isaiah’s view of the future was more general while John’s was more specific.720[3]
    • It is interesting that Revelation chapters 20-22 are the latter bookend of Genesis 1 and 2. The ESV Study Bible shares the following:
    • The “bookends” concept of biblical theology illustrates that in the third-to-last chapter of the Bible (Revelation 20) God removes his enemies—Satan, death, and evil—that entered the story line in the third chapter of the Bible (Genesis 3), thus completing the story of redemption. The last two chapters (Revelation 21–22) don’t simply restore the first two chapters (Genesis 1–2); they go beyond them to a world that is fully ordered and holy, in which God is fully present with his people, completing the story of creation. (Chapter divisions in the Bible are, of course, human contributions, not divinely inspired.)[4]
    • As we look at the passage from Revelation 21 the Moody Bible Commentary shares: This section provides information not revealed in the other visions of heaven. The eternal state is pictured as a physical place. It includes land, buildings, trees, and water. Believers will interact with one another and engage in meaningful service for God. This corrects some long-held misconceptions. Heaven is not a place of passive rest, or endless, blissful contemplation of God.[5]
    • Let’s talk about these first four verses for a few minutes:
    • John sees that “all things” are to be made new in Rev. 21:5. “All Things New” the destruction of the last enemy, death, and the last judgment will finally lead to the renewal of the entire created order, heaven and earth, to be the perfect home in which the Lamb will live forever with his bride, the people whom he has redeemed out of all the nations through his atoning death.[6] Further: The removal of the first heaven and earth eliminates the fatal infection of evil in the cosmic order and gives way to God’s creation of a new cosmic order where sin and suffering and death are forever banished. The old order was in “bondage to decay” (Rom. 8:21) and “groaning … in pains of childbirth until now” (Rom. 8:22), awaiting the day when “the heavens … will be dissolved” and “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell” will be established to forever replace the old (2 Pet. 3:12–13)[7]
    • John sees a holy city descending from heaven (verse 2).
    • the “holy city” is the new Jerusalem.
    • We will hear more about that in the rest of this chapter.
    • It seems clear that these verses are summarizing what the rest of the next two chapter will talk about.
    • Notice the modifiers: the city is described as “holy” and that means “set apart” or “sanctified.” We will see how it is holy later on.
    • This city is coming from God.
    • It is like it is coming from God’s realm. It is coming out of Heaven.
    • This city is made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
    • Later (in verse 9) we will see that she is called the bride.
    • This seems to mean that the city is all beautiful like we would expect a bride on the wedding day.
    • In Isa 52:1 we see Jerusalem called the “holy” city.
    • One writes: “Revelation as a whole may be characterized as A Tale of Two Cities, with the sub-title, The Harlot and the Bride.”724[8]
    • Now, we read what John hears (verses 3-8)
    • He says God himself will mingle among his people (21:3).
      • He will dwell with them. The greatest blessing of heaven will be unhindered fellowship with God himself. The goal of God’s covenant, “God with us” foreshadowed in the OT tabernacle and temple, will be achieved. his people
      • The people are God’s people and God will be with them.
      • These Old Testament passages also say that they will be His people: Lev 26:11f; Ezek 37:27.
      • He says God himself will minister to his people (21:4).
      • God will reverse the curse that entered the world through human sin.
      • No more death.
      • No more mourning.
      • No more crying.
      • No more pain.
  2. The first order is over:
    • No more cancer,
    • No more Multiple sclerosis,
    • No more Alzheimer’s,
    • No more dementia,
    • No more autism,
      1. Let me add:
      1. If you have a special needs child, they will be perfected in the restoration. You will even be able to communicate with them as normal.
    • No more Down’s syndrome,
    • No more ALS,
    • No more viruses,
    • No more infections,
    • No more COVID-19,
    • No more war,
    • No more violence,
    • No more sudden infant death syndrome,
    • No more miscarriages. If you lost a baby in the womb you will be reunited in heaven and they will be restored.
    • If you lost a child to death you will be reunited in Heaven and they will be restored.
    • No more disability,
    • No more paralysis,
    • No more depression,
    • No more mental illness,
    • No more addiction,
    • No more abortion,
    • No more financial stress,
    • No more grief,
    • No more lies,
    • No more unfaithfulness,
    • No more adultery,
    • No more absent parents,
    • No more divorce,
    • No more anger,
    • No more rape,
    • No more hatred,
    • No more jealousy,
    • No more laziness,
    • No more ____________ you fill in the blank.
    • No more pain,
    • No more suffering.
    • This is the ultimate restoration of all things.
    • The earth will be the way it should be. No more disasters that take life.
    • If you read through chapters 21-22 we see great detail about the new heavens and the new earth. God will restore all things.

God wants all to be saved.

How Far Will God Go?

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27

How far will God go to reach those whom he has called? Consider the case of Kumiko, a young Japanese woman. Her husband was transferred to a small Wisconsin town to work in management. Kumiko looked forward to the move to America because she had read once that Christians were not afraid to die. She did not know any Christians but vowed that she would ask why this was so if she ever had the chance. She was terrified of dying and wanted an answer.

Kumiko did not realize how interested God was in answering her question. Shortly after she and her husband settled in, a missionary couple from Japan retired and moved to the same little Wisconsin town. Upon learning that there were six Japanese families living in the area, the missionaries decided to start an outreach ministry at the local church.

On the first Sunday morning of the ministry, the missionary asked the class a question that stunned Kumiko. “Many of us live with fear. Are any of you afraid?” There was a nervous silence. After a moment the missionary turned to Kumiko, unaware of her need. “How about you, Kumiko? What are you afraid of?”

Kumiko gave her life to Jesus two months later. Her husband soon followed. Together they named their new child Grace, after the church where God had gone to such great lengths to answer her questions about fear and death.

How far will God go to accomplish his purpose with you today? He brought a young Japanese wife and a retired missionary more than ten thousand miles so a seeking heart might find him. And he’ll go farther, even to the depths of your discouragement or despair, to find you. He’ll go farther than you can imagine, because he is closer to you than you will ever know.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998

Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

Prayer


[1] Colson, Charles. How Now Shall We Live? (pp. 294-295). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

[2] Colson, Charles. How Now Shall We Live? (pp. 300-301). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

720 720. Similarly the Old Testament prophets spoke of Messiah’s coming but did not distinguish the first coming from the second coming. Later revelation clarified that there would be two comings. This is in harmony with how God has revealed many things in His Word: first generally, then more specifically (e.g., the biblical covenant promises).

[3] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Re 21:1.

[4] ESV Study Bible

[5] The Moody Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 83407-83409). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[6] https://www.esv.org/Revelation+21/

[7] ESV Study Bible

724 724. Beasley-Murray, p. 315.

[8] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Re 21:2.

[9] ESV Study Note:

2 thoughts on “Restoration

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