God’s Love Lasts Forever

God’s Love Lasts Forever (Luke 23:43; Rev. 21:1-4)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, May 21, 2023

David Jeremiah shares:

For years I have been collecting the sayings that people put on their tombstones. Here is one that expresses what some people think about heaven:

Here lies a poor woman who always was tired,

For she lived in a place where help wasn’t hired.

Her last words on earth were, “Dear Friends, I am going

Where washing ain’t done, nor sweeping, nor sewing;

And everything there is exact to my wishes,

For where they don’t eat, there’s no washing of dishes.

Don’t weep for me now, don’t weep for me ever;

For I’m going to do nothing forever and ever.”22

It sounds a little more like a nursing home than the biblical conception of heaven. I suppose it’s natural for an overworked person to think of heaven as a place of rest. But it reveals another misconception about heaven. When we enter into heaven, we are not put on some kind of heavenly Social Security list. On the contrary, the Bible says a great deal about service in heaven—our tasks and responsibilities—particularly in Revelation.

As Canadian pastor Bruce Milne tells us, the book of Revelation speaks of heaven as a place where you will find “God’s throne, God’s river, God’s tree, God’s service, God’s face, God’s seal, God’s reign: such are the features of the life of the people of God in the coming Holy City… It is life totally centered on God. That is the deepest and most glorious prospect imaginable, for there is no reality comparable to the triune God, the ever-blessed Father.”13[1]

I preached on heaven in the winter, but I never preached on Rev. 21:1-4 in an expository way. That is what I will do today. I want to show you that God’s love lasts forever.

My theme today is:

God’s love lasts forever.

  1. God’s love lasts forever.
    1. We have covered many subjects of God’s love. Today, we talk about the eternal, the forever.
    2. Where is history going? That is an important worldview question.
    3. The Bible teaches that history is heading towards a time when God will make things right. We see that in the letter of Revelation.
    4. In the letter of Revelation we see God communicate to the Apostle John the things that are to come. There are differing views of the letter of Revelation so I am not going to get into them today. Regardless of one’s view most would agree that Revelation chapters 21-22 are describing the literal New Heaven and New Earth.
    5. Revelation chapters 1-3 include the introduction, and the letters to the 7 churches.
    6. Revelation chapters 4-22:5 are dealing with things to take place after this. These concern God pouring out His wrath on sin, destroying Babylon, the antichrist, and eventually satan.
    7. Eventually, in Revelation chapter 21:10 satan is thrown into the lake of fire. Then Revelation 22:14 death and hades (the abode of the dead) are thrown into hell as well.
    8. This brings us to Revelation chapter 21. Here we see the New Heaven and the New Earth and that God’s love lasts forever.
  2. The New Jerusalem.
    1. 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.”
    2. Notice what John sees (verses 1-2).
    3. One source 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.[2]
    4. A holy city descending from heaven (verse 2).
    5. The “holy city” is the new Jerusalem.
    6. We will hear more about that in the rest of this chapter.
    7. It seems clear that these verses are summarizing what the rest of the next two chapter will talk about.
    8. This “holy city” is coming “down.”
    9. Literally down? It could be that John is again describing the indescribable.
    10. Notice the modifiers: the city is described as “holy” and that means “set apart” or sanctified. We will see how it is holy later.
    11. This city is coming from God.
    12. It is like it is coming from God’s realm. It is coming out of Heaven.
    13. This city is made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
    14. Later (in verse 9) we will see that she is called the bride.
    15. But this seems to mean that the city is all beautiful like we would expect a bride on her wedding day.
    16. Isa 52:1 calls Jerusalem the “holy” city.
    17. “Revelation as a whole may be characterized as A Tale of Two Cities, with the sub-title, The Harlot and the Bride.”724[3]
    18. Dr. Constable: There have been several explanations of the relationship of the New Jerusalem to the new earth. It may be that John saw as a city what he had formerly seen as a new heaven and earth. In other words, the New Jerusalem and the new heaven and earth may be two different figures for the eternal state. I favor this view. Thus the eternal dwelling place of believers will be a completely new creation by God that John saw in his visions first as a new world and then as a new city.
    19. Alternatively the New Jerusalem could be a satellite rotating around the new earth. Some hold that the New Jerusalem will be a satellite of the present earth during the Millennium, and when God creates the new earth it will descend out of heaven and be on the surface of the new earth.725 Some believe that the New Jerusalem will be within the new earth.726 The text does not say the New Jerusalem will come down to the new earth, only that John saw it coming down out of heaven from God (cf. v. 10).[4]
  3. What John hears (verses 3-8, but we will only focus on verses 3-4).
    1. The words of the angel (21:3–4).
    2. He says God himself will mingle among his people (21:3).
    3. Dr. Constable: Verse 3 describes the benefits of the New Jerusalem positively, and verse 4 does so negatively.[5]
    4. ESV Study Note: 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” ( 7:14), foreshadowed in the OT tabernacle and temple, will be achieved. 
    5. John hears a “loud” voice, again, this is a modifier, and it is coming from the throne.
    6. The people are God’s people and God will be with them.
    7. These Old Testament passages also say that they will be His people: Lev 26:11f; Ezek 37:27
    8. He says God himself will minister to his people (21:4).
    9. God wipes tears away. ESV Study Note: By wiping away every tear and eliminating death, mourning, and pain ( 25:8; 65:19–20), God will reverse the curse that entered the world through human sin.
    10. No more death.
    11. No more mourning.
    12. No more crying.
    13. No more pain.
    14. The first order is over.
  4. Applications and review:
    1. God’s love lasts forever.
    2. We will be in the Holy City.
    3. We will be in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth.
    4. The sea was no more, this may just be symbolic of death and destruction and danger.
    5. We will dwell with God (Rev. 21:3). More importantly, God will dwell with us.
    6. We will have a real, physical relationship with almighty God.
    7. There will be no more sin in the way.
    8. We will be His people and He will be our God.
    9. There will be no more death (Rev. 21:4).
    10. We can rejoice that the pain and suffering of this world will be gone (Rev. 21:4).
    11. No more pain.
    12. No more sickness.
    13. No more Alzheimer’s.
    14. No more cancer.
    15. No more Multiple Sclerosis.
    16. No more disabilities.
    17. No more special needs.
    18. No more car accidents.
    19. No more falling.
    20. No more aging.
    21. No more anxiety.
    22. No more depression.
    23. No more worry: there will be nothing to worry about.
    24. Do we worry about our kids? No more, no need.
    25. Do we worry about our parents? No need.
    26. Do we worry about international relations? No need. Jesus will literally be on the throne.
    27. Do we worry about money? No more, no need.
    28. Do we worry about disasters? No more, no need.
    29. God’s love lasts forever. We will be with Him in a literal way.
    30. No more death, God’s love lasts forever.
    31. No more crying. God will wipe away our tears. Do you remember how nice to be a child and have a mom or dad embrace us and wipe away our tears, or maybe a husband or wife wipe away our tears. How much more powerful that God will wipe away our tears. But then it says, “no more tears, crying, or mourning” (Rev 21:4). Could it be that God will wipe them away and then they will be gone? Could it be that we will understand the sadness of this world? We will have a complete picture of the hardships we have faced.
    32. Part of the difficulties in the world is our picture is not developed. Our picture of suffering needs developed and then reframed. God will do that.
    33. God’s love lasts forever.
    34. We must live for eternity.
    35. Store up treasure in heaven:
    36. Proverbs 19:17 (ESV) 17Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
    37. Invest in the church.
    38. Make sure you are saved (2 Cor. 13:5).
    39. Repent of sin.
    40. Seek the Lord.
    41. Be encouraged: God’s love lasts forever.

C. S. Lewis: “Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.”3



22 Author unknown.

13 Bruce Milne, The Message of Heaven and Hell (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 327.

[1] David Jeremiah, God Loves You: He Always Has–He Always Will (New York City, NY: FaithWords, 2012).

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

724 724. Beasley-Murray, p. 315.

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

725 725. Pentecost, Things to . . ., p. 580.

726 726. McGee, 5:1068–72, believed it will be within the transparent sphere of the new earth rather than on its surface.

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

[5] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Re 21:4.

3 C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: MacMillan, 1962), 147.

2 thoughts on “God’s Love Lasts Forever

  1. This was a great sermon, but it also contains the error you mentioned in church, being chapter 20 instead of chapter 21. Thank you for this email❤️

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