While the cosmos is now dying, Christians are called to eagerly anticipate a resurrected planet which will be perfectly sustained by God for our use and our good.
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When Life Is Tough – Part 2
A Biblical Perspective On A Fallen World
Well as a pastor I chew a lot of gum, it comes with the occupation. Mostly Dentyne Ice, you know those little white tablet looking pieces of gum. Well as a middle aged and quickly aging pastor with achy knees and at the behest of many in our congregation, not long ago I began taking those glucosamine tablets. You know those big white horse pills. I don’t know how well they work but you know I went down to Costco got a big gigantic bottle, they sell them in giant bottles and it’s too big to carry around so I poured a bunch of those into a little plastic baggie and threw it in the center console of my truck so when I’m going through Taco Bell at lunch or whatever Del Taco I could pop a few glucosamine tablets so that my joints won’t be quite so achy.
Problem is long time ago for convenience sake I took several of those Dentyne Ice tablets and punched them out of the blister packs and put them in a little baggie which I also threw in the center console of my truck. As a pastor when I’m rolling into the you know I don’t know grave side service and I got to preach at a funeral or I’m heading over to the wherever to do a wedding or I’m pulling into the parking lot of the hospital to go visit you or your sick relative I’ll often just out of habit reach into the center console of my truck and kind of do this it’s good, I got one hand on the wheel and I can just go in there and dig out a couple of what I’m hoping to be are breath freshening tablets that I pop into my mouth and begin chomping down on. Which as you can guess on more than one occasion they’ve been glucosamine tablets. Which aren’t suppose to be chewed, they’re suppose to be swallowed and they don’t freshen your breath they taste absolutely horrible.
Something happens strange, everything kind of slows down when this happens, I’m embarrassed to say how many times it happened, and I put them in there and you start going your jaw, your tongue starts to rebel, your taste buds are sending signals to your brain that say this is not right but your jaw does not respond because your jaw checks in with your brain and it starts checking other things like the tactile feeling in the end of your fingers did it feel like Dentyne Ice, yes, and the peripheral vision checks in, it looked like Dentyne Ice, yes, so it takes about 5 or 6 real good chomps to really recognize that the taste buds win and this is not Dentyne Ice and it needs to be ejected as quickly as possible and you look quickly for the napkin somewhere in your dashboard which is not there so many times the glucosamine tables have ended up here. You got to try it, they taste absolutely horrible.
See because it is very important for you to be careful and discerning that you chew things that are designed to be chewed and you swallow things that are designed to be swallowed. I mean you don’t want to get that mixed up. I mean if you’re not really paying attention as I found recently you will do the wrong thing. The thing you’re suppose to swallow you chew and the thing you’re you know suppose chew you swallow which doesn’t feel good either. And it’s a very important thing and we must pay attention. And it’s not that one is good and one is bad it’s just they need to be used the way they’re intended to be used.
Well our world is a real mixed up messed up place as our MC Escher drawing over my shoulder is trying to depict and all of our art work through out this seven part series. The world is turned upside down but the good news last week is Christ is going to come and He’s going to turn the world right side up. That’s the great central abiding hope of the Christian faith; we’re waiting for that day. That’s what we live for, Maranatha, we want Him to come quickly, you’re kingdom come. But in the mean time you and I are left here in a world that’s kind of turn things upside down and my concern is that Christians a lot like me with those glucosamine tablets we’re not really paying attention to what we’re doing and we start to ingest things the way the world would have us do it. And we don’t stop and consider the instructions that God has given us and unfortunately we follow after the world and we being to adopt its causes and its convictions and its campaigns and we just kind of put a Jesus spin on it. And unfortunately we’ll find much like we eventually find with everything we use wrongly that it’s not going to pay off and we’ll regret it. For some of us when we stand before God at the Bema Seat of Christ and we have to give an account for why we just went with the flow and we didn’t read the book to see what the bible had to say about how we’re suppose to interact or interface with whatever we might be talking about. And what we’re talking about today is found in Romans chapter 8 verses 19 through 22.
Now we set this up last week in verse number 18 and it quickly lead in the context to a focus on the created world. And if you’re thinking about something we have to interface with on a daily bases it’s the created world, it’s the cosmos it’s the planet we live on. And here’s the problem, the world has got a lot to say about how we ought to interface with the world. It’s got a whole philosophy as to how we’re supposed to interface with the planet. It’s got causes and campaigns and convictions about the planet that we live on. And we need to say, now wait a minute, I better take a very careful look at what I’m doing here. And make sure that I use things the way God tells us to use things, I don’t get mixed up and I use discernment because we can’t afford to take our cues from our society. We’ve got to take our cues from God. And nothing could be more urgent I suppose in our day then the prevailing views of the planet that we live on. And God’s got a lot to say about it. So take a look at it beginning in verse number 19 as we get some clarity and some authoritative perspective on the planet that you and I live on and how we should interact with it.
Verse number 19 for the creation waits with eager longing. What’s it eagerly waiting for? It’s longing for the revealing of the Sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility not willingly because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For I know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. Let’s just take those 4 verses here this morning and see if we can’t glean a more biblical perspective as to how we’re supposed to live and interface with a fallen planet.
We introduced this last week we know it’s fallen and as it says there in verse 20 we know that God subjected it to an existence of futility and a bondage to corruption, verse number 21, because of the sin of Adam and Eve. So we’re on a planet for now that we know is waiting for something. And obviously this text the focus is on the anticipation that we should have because the world personified here in this poetic way is waiting for something. And the good news is, it won’t always be in bondage to corruption or subject to futility but it will be freed from all of that until glory of the children of God. So we’re looking for a change. But what you may miss if you read that too quickly is that both the statements in verse 19 and 21 about the world itself, whether it’s the fallen world now or the future liberated world then. It has a Christian perspective that is in stark contrast of the world’s perspective. So let us start there and this won’t tell you much by the title but number 1, let’s put this heading this rubric down on our outline. Let’s write it this way, we need to understand the role of creation.
1. Understand The Role Of Creation
You’ve got to understand that. You may say this passage isn’t about that. No, but it does reveal that and it tells us everything, really, it points our minds back to the foundation of what God says about our relationship to the planet. Take a look at it again, two verses 19 and 21, let’s just tease those two verses out for just a second to see if we can’t learn something about the role of creation. Verse 19 this is the present world it’s subjected to futility it’s in bondage to corruption. Well what is it? It’s waiting in eager longing. For what? For its freedom. Is that what it says? No, it’s waiting and eager long for the revealing of the Sons of God. So the fallen world right now is looking forward to something. What’s it looking forward to? It looking forward to something that happens to us. Drop down to verse number 21. When it is set free from the bondage to corruption and it obtains the freedom, look what it says how it describes that, it’ll obtain the freedom of the glory of itself? No, of God? No, of the glory of the children of God. Did you catch that? That is really important for us to catch because it refers our minds back to the biblical theology of the created world order. And we need to understand that the cosmos and the planet on which we leave is always, in the past, and will always be something that is for the Children of God.
Now that’s not all that big of a deal is it? It’s a huge deal because today we are bombarded from the Discovery Channel to the Disney Channel to you know whatever it is commercial Madison Avenue the journals we read Time Magazine whatever it is we are bombarded with this proposition. That we should we be serving the earth. We call it Mother Earth and not that the earth is designed by God to serve us. That’s big deal. Look again at verse number 21 to obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We are created as people to glorify God. Creation was created to serve in light of the glory of the children of God. It serves us we serve God and that’s a big turnaround. And it’s a problem because if you take God out of the equation if you do not see that we were created for God we live on a planet that was designed to serve us and sustain us, you take God out of the equation and you’re left with the earth and us. You all of a sudden start to see the disparity between something that seems much older and longer and permanent than us. Much bigger much larger much more powerful than us then you start to get everything turned around and you’ll start to think that we are here to serve it. Which is exactly precisely where the world goes in not just in this age but any age when you extract God from the equation.
Let me prove it you go to Romans chapter 1. We’ve been there but let’s take a look at it again. Romans chapter 1 explains how this works. You fail to see God as the priority of all human existence you begin then to see your life simply in context of the planet that we live on. And you are eventually going to get into this place verse 22. Romans chapter 1 verse 22 are you with me on this? Claiming to be wise they became fools and they exchanged the glory of the immortal god for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchange the truth about God for a lie and they, important phrase to underline, worshipped and served the creature or the created thing rather then the creator. Who is blessed forever. If you don’t see God as the reason for human existence and you extract Him from the philosophical equation you’re left with a big and enduring planet or so it seems and some very temporal and small people and you will eventually get to the place of Mother Earth. And as I like to say, it ain’t about Mother Earth, right? There’s no such thing, it’s about Father God. And if we get our perspective with God right and of God right the world gets itself in perspective. If not we flip it upside down and we begin to typify in our culture what probably now is one of the most prominent environmental journals of the day and it is aptly called Earth First.
The Earth First Journal. And I just can’t help but quote for you from the Earth First Journal to show you how it stands in stark contrast to the God first journal, called the Bible. So are you ready for this? I know what you’re going to say some of you are going to attack me this is just inflammatory and it’s all extreme. Listen what’s extreme in the 60s and 70s is now mainstream, you understand that, right? It comes to philosophy about the world on which we live you may say this is way too avant garde. If it’s avant garde, I mean we’re moving in this direction and this is what lots of people read and they ingest. Let’s just start with the urbanization of the planet. Editor of Earth First Journal, David Forman, writes we must return, listen carefully now, we must return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres that presently are settled land. Did you follow that? Orange County we need to bring bulldozers in and raze the place. It’s currently developed. He ain’t talking about building a few national parks. We’re talking about developed land and we need to bring it back to wilderness. I don’t know if Dave Foreman is giving up his housing track yet but I mean the philosophy is that you need to give up yours.
Penny Lincola maybe you’ve heard his name, he’s what, I love this, he’s what they call an ecophilosopher he writes this. And it isn’t just your housing tract they want, ready? Here’s what he says, everything we’ve developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed. They don’t just want your housing tract they want your iPhone now, right? Give it all back. You’re ruining the planet. And it isn’t just things they want to destroy you extrapolate this to the logical extreme if I look at my life in relation to the planet and it is earth first eventually I’ll begin to say you can have my house back you can get my iPhone back what I’m really molesting the planet just by being here. That’s where all this leads. Again Dave Foreman the editor of Earth First Journal he writes the extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but it’s a good thing. You’ve heard it. He goes on, phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental. Okay. John Davies writes in Earth First Journal one of the writers, he says I suspect; now think this through, I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important role in balancing the eco-system. Think back, your kid is sick got small pox, hey we shouldn’t vaccinate that, we should let your kid die because it’ll balance the eco-system. Dave Graber, biologist in the National Park Service writes this, human happiness and human fertility is not as important as a wild and healthy planet. Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. This is their wish. They don’t seem to start with themselves but they want the rest of us apparently to go away. And by the way if you find somebody and you want to raise a family forget all that. Ken Bolding maybe you’ve read some of his stuff, prolific author, Oxford grad, he writes this, the right to have children should be a marketable commodity bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state. Duggards go to jail, that’s what we’re talking about. If you don’t know what that means, that’s probably better for you.
We’re already seeing this implemented in our world. It is the logical extension of this philosophy. If you read anything, some people say aw you’re just cherry picking, I read Al Gore’s book Earth in the Balance before it was ever a big deal. I read it back in the 90s. I read some of these journals, I hear the ploy, you want to talk about Earth First go back to the 1972 ban on DDT on the world. You want to do a little research on the web this week? You want to get a couple books and read about that? If you don’t see that this has been something that’s been going on, it’s accelerating and it’s becoming from the avant guarde environmentalist mainstream thinking today. You need to understand this is where we live and it’s only getting worse, it’s moving in this direction. If you read anything in environmentalism you’ve run into Edward Abby. Ed Abby writes this, he’s dead now but he wrote this, he said when it comes to priority here I’d rather kill a human being than a snake. That’s how he values your life. The snake has got the right of way. And we know the gnat catcher gets the right of way when it comes to housing projects today. We understand the policies of our day but you need to understand where this heads. The snake has the right of way on Mother Earth. No, no, you extract Father God from the equation you’re going to eventually get here.
Ed Abby by the way before he died in 1989 he said this he wrote this before his death he said disregard all state laws concerning my burial. Didn’t want to be embalmed, didn’t want to be in a casket. I want my body to help fertilize the growth of a cactus, a cliff rose or a sage brush. Hey Ed which I’m sure he’s figured out by now your body was not designed by the God of the universe to be fertilizer you understand that. In Genesis chapter 2 very clear man was the pinnacle of God’s creation. Made I granted from the dust of the earth but it was the top of the whole created order. That God might instill in the person, breath in him the breath of life to reflect the personhood of God intellect emotion and will. And then he gives them these words to subdue the earth, to cultivate the earth, to have dominion over everything on the earth. Your body was a sacred container of the image of God, not fertilizer for sage brush.
I’m sorry it’s just not right and here’s the problem that I have the church seems to run head long like an ox lead to the slaughter to follow after this nonsense. All you’ve got to do is look at modern universities that trying to get funding all the time. Our local seminaries and local bible school right here in Southern California, it’s hard to find one, if you track back through their publications for the last 5, 6, 7 years where you won’t find them kissing up to this kind of philosophy with full blown spreads and articles about how evangelicals need to understand their grave sins against the planet. And evangelicals going green it’s absolutely absurd. We’re creating whole new definitions for words like redemption, salvation, sin and transgression. The world council of churches 2005 came out with an open letter about our abuse of the planet that we’re molesting the planet. You need to understand that the earth was not created for us to be subservient to it. God has given us stewardship for the earth to be subservient to us. I don’t exist for the planet. The planet exists for me and I exist for God. If you don’t have that equation in your mind, and I know this is hard and I know I’m pushing a big rock up a hill this morning because Discovery Channel and Animal Planet and all that they get you all week long. I get you for one hour on Sunday. But may God’s truth come somehow through this sermon. If I’m preaching lies good shoot me in the head and get another preacher. But if this is true you need to understand that we’ve got to reverse a lot of this thinking because we can go with the flow like the world said and popping our mouths, start doing things with our thinking causes campaigns and convictions about the world that are antithetical to scripture.
So let’s all pour motor oil down the storm drains. That’s what Pastor Mike’s saying, he wants to burn the forest down and torch your birds. No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is though that I don’t exist for the planet. The planet exists for me. That does not give me license to abuse the planet but the planet is not something I am ever putting my agenda as a human being in subservience to the planet. God has made it for us. The squirrels and the gophers and the gnat catchers according to passages like are more than happy to clear out so you can build a house in Orange County. More than happy. They live for you, you understand that? So that you might live for the glory of God. You are to manipulate, cultivate, utilize, subdue and I understand properly as a steward economize, rationalize, understand how the concept of this works for the next generation. I get all that. But that’s not where the pendulum is in our day. I mean you start talking about the creation is waiting for something to happen for me and the creation is going to have freedom for the glory of me that’s not where the world thinks. But you can either take your cues from them or from the scriptures. And the scriptures are clear. The world creative order both now as a fallen planet and then as a redeemed and liberated planet will be for the glory of the children of God.
I’ll throw this in; if you haven’t seen it I got to expose you to it. I’m not much for bumper sticker theology, have you caught that lately here? But this is one that got it right and this is powerful and good. Maybe you’ve seen it. Pro-life group let me just show cynically and sarcastically how screwed up and upside down the world is. Got a picture of a pre-born child, have you seen this? Healthy fuzzy skin in-utero the caption reads, it’s pretty popular, it says pretend I’m a tree and save me. Have you seen that? I mean that’s where our world is. I’m not real concerned human life you want to suck babies out of women’s bodies and flush them down the toilet, that’s fine I mean if it’s going to be an inconvenience for you to have another kid in the world. I mean seriously and the arguments are over population. I fly across the country I look out the window there’s plenty of space for people. Duggards can have way more kids and everything will be just fine. Who are the Duggards, you’re saying. Doesn’t matter. Have all the kids you want. Right? Oh but I don’t know. No, it’s there to sustain us, it is there to serve you, the world is there for that. Now be a good steward of the planet, I get all that, but when the world is more interested in saving a tree than an unborn baby we’re living in a messed up world. And that’s where we live right now. You and I need to stand counter-culturally and I don’t care, I’m not kissing up to the culture I don’t care if they like me. They crucified Christ they’d crucify Him again if he were here, they hate your God, I’m not looking to score points with the world, I’m really not. You don’t like me, fine; I don’t understand why you would. But I don’t share your view of the world, I just don’t. We’re not going to bow down to the created thing instead of the creator. Because by the way the planet is a provisional planet and it doesn’t have a lot of time left. I know that’s the whole campaign, save the planet, unfortunately it’s a dying planet and it’s dying because God sentenced it to death. Number 2 on your outline take a look at our passage again and jot this down. We need to cope with a dying planet.
2. Cope With The Dying Planet
Cope with it, live with it, it’s dying. No, let’s fix it. You can’t fix it. Now I’m not advocating pouring oil down the storm drains. I’m not trying to push it down the stairwell just because it’s dying. But it is dying and I know I can’t stop that. Look at the text again, verse number 20, the creation was subjected to futility not willingly but because of, now circle it three letters h-i-m, Him. Put it in the margin if you need an asterisk put it in there now that’s God and write Genesis 3 underneath it. Because of Him, if you need the verse 17, who subjected it but not forever in hope. But God did subject it as a matter of fact it’s called bondage in verse 21, the creation itself will be set free, let’s look at it, from it’s current (present tense) bondage to corruption. The planet is right now is in bondage. And Al Gore is not going to unbind it. It’s not going to happen. It is subjected to futility and it will be that way until God liberates it. As a matter of fact verse 22 and I know this is bad news but here it comes, we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of, now this is Jesus vocabulary now, childbirth. And there’s one thing I know about childbirth, I’ve witnessed it up close 3 times, it only gets worse the longer we go, right? I mean due dates coming and things are uncomfortable and it starts to get painful and then I got a little breathing room, I know you’re worried about my breathing room, she’s got a little breathing room and I do too between the contractions but then it gets worse and then it get worse and then it gets worse and then it gets worse. Jesus said this, there will be famines, there will be earthquakes, pestilence all over the planet and it’ll be like the beginning of birth pangs. What does that mean? It only gets worse. That’s Matthew 24 and by the time we get to the end of Matthew 24 He says the sun won’t pour out its light the moon will be shielded or darkened and the stars will fall from the heavens. That’s the future. The plant is dying. And again if you came to me after service my elderly dad is dying. I’m not going to say go home and push him down the stairwell, finished him off. I’m not saying finish him off. I’m just staying I’m not going to train him for the next Olympics. That’s all I’m saying. Give up on your Olympic hopes for your dad. He’s dying you need to cope with that reality. Now don’t kill him but he is dying and there’s nothing you can ultimately do about the ultimate demise of our planet.
Matter of fact one more passage on this 2 Peter 3. You want to talk about global warming, let me talk to you about global warming. Are you ready? Here’s your global warming verse, oh 2 Peter 3 is going to get real warm. Oh the planet really warm and you’re not going to be able to stop it. As a matter of fact you and I are going to watch it and here’s the weird thing we’re going to be glad that it’s over. And we’re going to say Praise God. As a matter of fact he says, well I don’t want to quote it, let’s just read it together. 2 Peter 3:10, the day of the Lord is going to come like a thief and then the heavens will pass away with a roar and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and not just waiting, hastening the coming of the day of God. That doesn’t mean push the planet down the stairwell but it does mean that I’m doing what it takes to get this thing done. And that is, by the way, a different sermon evangelism we see that again in Acts 3. Because of which the heavens will be, underline it, set on fire. You want to talk about warm there’s the ultimate, that’s hot and dissolved and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn. Did you write global warming in the margin, there’s the ultimate temperature spike but according to His promise we’re going to cry, no, we’re waiting for the new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Don’t worship the planet know that it’s dying, cope with it. Kill it? Didn’t say that, matter of fact just because I know got a lot of you mad right now maybe this will help.
Like if my parent was dying gasping I want to make him comfortable. Make my elderly parent comfortable. Scripture has a lot to say about our dying planet. After he said the thorns are going to grow up in the garden, he does say this to Israel does he not when he gives them the land in Canaan. He says cultivate it for 6 years but then on the 7th year give the land a rest. Is that treating things with respect? Absolutely. Does that mean don’t dare build a house on a place that a squirrel lives because where is he going to live? That’s not the mentality of the bible. But it is you know what you’ve got to think about the future of the land. You’ve got to think about that. My kids were playing in the driveway not long ago playing baseball out there and they spotted a nest in the tree that was right there in the driveway. And they’re marching over to it with their bat; you know you were a 6th grade 7th grader at one time. And what did I do? Yeah, let’s torture some birds! Is that what I said? No, way. I said, no, no, no, you’re not going to molest that nest, don’t touch it. Why? He’s a tree hugger after all. No, I’m thinking scripturally though, right? Does God care about that stuff? Does he care about the birds? Yeah, what does he say? He tells the Israelites don’t molest the nest. Be careful what you do. You’ve got limits on this. So I’m preventing the little potential bird tortures. No don’t, that’s not right, it’s not biblical, it’s not godly, it does not please God. I mean even in the Proverbs he talks about the righteous man is kind to his beast his animals his donkey. Even the gentleness or the kindness of the wicked is cruel. I’m not into abusing animals but I’m also not sharing the PETA philosophy of the planet. I understand the biblical balance and you and I need to understand that or else we’re going to start to just go with the flow. Follow the crowd and when they, don’t get me started on this, because you won’t like this part.
You didn’t like the first part, you won’t like this sidebar. What we have exalted the creatures of the planet to an ungodly and blasphemous place. Do you understand that we have? I’m all for you having a dog. I had a dog you know I’m all into it. Great, have a dog, put a collar on it; put a sweater on him, I don’t care. I don’t care, but they’re not people. Do you understand that? They’re not stinking people they are animals. Their spirit when they die goes back to the earth the bible says. They don’t go to heaven, their spirit doesn’t. I know that’s terrifying for some of you. You want to talk about the meeting of a de-exalted deflated god and the elevation of mankind. I saw an internet video on YouTube this week. That I thought when I saw it, it was an Atheist making it. It was about how God is like our dog. And you know what, they’re just the same. And this little gal sings with her little folk guitar, God is like a dog, and dog is like God and he wags his tail and he forgives and loves me, you spell it backwards and it’s the same oh God is like a dog. I thought it was a joke and there was never a punch line. I didn’t like it to start with I thought it was going to be some Atheist I was going to get mad at. And it was somebody trying to offer a song of worship about isn’t it great god is like your dog. And I thought to myself hey it’s Mother’s day this week. What if I bought my wife a nice card and I say, honey you’re so great you’re like my dog. My wife would slap me for that. Yet, I’m going to take the transcendent immortal immutable glorified God of the universe who created all things who lives in majesty the eyes of the seraphim won’t look on him. And I’m going to say you’re a lot like my dog. So loyal always understand always listen, lick me in the face. You do know why your dog licks you in the face, right? It ain’t because he loves you, look it up. Look it up, you won’t like it. Your dog is an instinctual animal he wants you to regurgitate food. That’s what the pack leader or the mom does so that the dog can eat your barf. You understand that? I’m leaving the country tomorrow so you can e-mail me all you want this week. I guarantee you; we think they’re in love with us. No, they’re glad that you feed them, I get all that but they’re not in love and they’re not trying to kiss you like I love you. I guarantee you if you regurgitated they’d turn right from you right to, that’s what they want. It’s an instinctual animal like I said, have your dogs, take them on walks, get them nice collars and leashes and sweaters, doesn’t matter, great. Just can we not follow the culture in this nonsense? Its nonsense, God is not like your dog. Its blasphemy, that’s blasphemy, how dare anyone and I’m looking at the comments because I’m ready to write a comment. You know on YouTube you can write a comment about the video. Oh, my fingertips are burning and I’m ready to write. And I start reading the comments that are there thinking oh someone has already written one, I’m thinking. And they’re lovely, never thought of it that way, that’s so great, I’m going to embed this on my blog right now. And I’m thinking has the world…I mean Escher’s got it right. And the Christian world is starting to look like this. The world has gone nuts. That was all sidebar, I didn’t want to say all that but the world is dying you just need to understand and cope with that. Push it down, no, abuse it, no. What we need to do and the whole thrust of the passage is, you and I need to look forward to the new earth. If we’re going to personify the planet if it’s longing for stuff and we’re going to talk about it dying let’s personify its liberation. Let’s call it this number 3 we need to look to a resurrected planet.
3. Look To A Resurrected Planet
Just like your body is going to die because it was sentence by God to die your body is also going to be redeemed if you’re a follower of Christ and you will live with a new redeemed body. A resurrected body and here’s the good news you’re going to live on a resurrected planet. And that’s really good. The resurrected planet. Now take a look again at the phrases here in verse 21 that planet will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. It will be free verse 21 from the corruption or bondage rather to corruption and much like verse 22 says as it references child birth the pain of the old world is going to be forgotten because the joy of the new world. This is a good day coming for us. Personifying by the way creation is nothing new for Paul. Although sometimes I’m surprised that Paul did it. It’s all over the Old Testament because Isaiah did it. You remember this passage? This is Isaiah 55:12-13. You remember this from Handel’s Messiah since we quoted that so much last week. Which I’m not quoting Handel’s Messiah, Handel’s Messiah is quoting Isaiah. But he says this, he says you’re going to go out enjoy you’re going to be lead forth in peace and the mountains and the hills shall break forth with singing and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. By the way what are they clapping for? What are they singing about? They’re singing about the revelation, the procession, the revealing of the Sons of God. When we get lead out in joy, when we get led forth in peace, the world is going to sing. Well what does that mean? Here’s what it means, next verse. I’m just quoting this, it is Isaiah 55:13. Instead of thorn bushes will come up a cypress tree. Instead of briers will come up the Myrtle. Then it says the name of the Lord shall be proclaimed in everlasting sign that will not be cut off.
In other words the planet everything that’s bad out it is going to turn good even the best of the planet. Alright you go to Hawaii you spend time there is great this is as good as it gets. But go there and you’ll see look closely I mean you’ve hit a ball way off the fairway enough times to know in Hawaii it isn’t at all what it looks like on the fairway, right? There’s thorns there’s briers there’s stuff that gets stuck to my socks then I reach in places and I’m afraid because there’s critters out there that might bite you. And there’s stuff that stings you I mean it isn’t perfect. But one day it will be resurrected and all that’s bad will be reversed. Four quick things. Number 1, the new planet won’t die.
A. The new planet will not die
Entropy the whole concept of the burning out of things God will perfectly sustain the new earth. It will be a planet that will have no deterioration no decay no bondage to corruption no futility. It will be a planet that does not die. You want some verses on that, jot these down, 2 Corinthians 5:1, We know we have a tent and this earthly tent which is our home which includes not only our body but our world is destroyed we have a building from God a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens and it’ll come down by the way not just our new bodies be given to us but a city coming down like a bride adorned for her husband. Or how about this one, Hebrews 11:13 through 16 let me just read this one for you, all those died, speaking of the great hall of fame, hall of faith the heroes of faith. All these died without having received the things promised but having seen them and greeting them from afar and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth they speak in this way and they make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. Have they thinking of the land from which they left or had gone out they would have opportunity to return. But as it is they desire a better country and don’t you? Hawaii is great but I’d like it to be a little better than it is a heavenly one. And therefore because we want that, God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them. Flip that over I don’t want to preach on that too long but think about it. If we are not anticipating the new earth if that’s not our real joy and our hope. I mean, you invert that and God is a bit ashamed to be called our God. Because He’s prepared a city for us and we’re hugging on to something that’s going to die. A provisional planet that’s temporal. He’s saying I built something so much better for you one that doesn’t die. It’s perfectly sustained by God. Let’s but it this way letter B the new planet will perfectly sustain us.
B. The new planet will perfectly sustain us.
Let’s go to Revelation 22 for this real quick once you write that down. The new planet will be perfectly sustained by God it will not die. The new planet then will perfectly sustain us. Now we’ve already referenced that in our passage that the creation itself was built for us and the new creation will be liberated into the freedom of the glory of the children of God it will be for us then. It will perfectly sustain us. Here’s something a bit tripy if you’ve never noticed it. Revelation 22:1 last chapter in all the bible here it comes verse 1 and 2. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life. Your new resurrected body is going to drink H2O and you’ll have the perfect H2O you won’t be buying Crystal Geyser at Costco. Bright and crystal though that’s where they got the name I suppose, flowing from the throne of God and from the Lamb through the middle of the street of this city also on either side of the river the, underline it, tree of…now that sounds familiar. Now there were two trees in the center of the Garden of Eden. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil which was a test of obedience and fidelity and the tree of life. And do you remember by the way when the tree was eaten, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and God then cast them out of the garden. God then posted cherubim, a high ranking angel, at the gate of the garden and here’s how the text reads, so that they will not reach out their hand take from the tree of life and live forever. Do you ever ponder that one? There was something about that initial garden and there was something about that future place where that perfect food, now we’re talking literal stuff you could put under a microscope, is going to perfectly sustain our lives, keep reading. There will be, it says there in verse number 2, the tree of life with its 12 kinds of fruit. Now whatever this is, you don’t have to eat the same thing every month. You’ll think it’s fruit thing each month but you aren’t going to want to have some of this. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Whatever God builds on this new planet it will be for the sustenance of us, it will perfectly sustain our resurrected bodies. New planet, perfectly sustained by God, new planet will perfectly sustain us. Now look at verse 3 in Revelation 22. Let me just give you the heading first. The new planet will be at peace.
C. The new planet will be at peace.
It will be at peace. Maybe rephrase that. It’s going to work right. It will be in harmony, it will be in peace. It’s going to work the way it’s suppose to. Verse 3 no longer will there be any thing accursed but the throne of God and Lamb of God will be in it and his, now here’s a word that might throw you, servants. Oh no, I thought went I get there I get to rest, get a hammock and I don’t know, I don’t want to be a servant. Servants will and your ESV says worship but that’s the word serve, the servants will serve him. Worship is I mean we’ll serve Him and that’s worship that’s not just singing that’s a life of service. And they will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads and night will be no more and they will not need the light of a lamp or of the sun for the Lord himself will be their light and they will, another word to underline, reign, and that’s work if you’re a leader of any kind, forever and ever. Note this now work preceded the fall did it not? Think chronologically work preceded the fall and it was just fine to be a worker was a good thing there was nothing distasteful or lacking pleasure in work. Then came the fall and then He said, “Hey, you’re going to work the field, which is your job, but now you’re going to do it with the sweat of your brow and I’m going to complicate work because the world won’t be at peace.” The world will be at peace again the new resurrected world and work then won’t be a problem. Because you know what I think of Luke 19 when he talks of our faithfulness here and the reward will be well done good and faithful servant take charge of five cities. No Thanks. Can I decline? I mean think about that, if I say today you’re going to be in charge of Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, just use all the Lagunas, and Aliso Viejo. You’re going to be in charge of all those. You know what I’m going to say? No Thanks, forget it. Have you been to a city council meeting? Really, seriously, you want to be in charge of Laguna Woods? I’m not interested in that. The headaches and leading anything on this planet, no thanks, and that’s the reward that I’m really going to get ten cities? I don’t want ten cities, I want a hammock and a place by the lake. I don’t want to work. No, you will want to work, why? Because the planet will be perfectly at peace it will be in harmony it will be right. Work will be a pleasure; it will be a joy because everything in the planet will work as it ought to. Lastly letter D if you will God will perfectly sustain the planet, this planet will perfectly sustain us, the planet will be at peace and the new planet will be perfectly safe.
D. The new planet will be perfectly safe.
And as our last passage I would like you to put your eyeballs on this one once you jot that down, Isaiah 11. I know the Animal Planet or whatever you might be watching unless it’s late night and one of their more rogue program directors puts it on you’re not going to see the world as it really is you’re going to see it all, glossed up. Matter of fact just follow this train of thinking for a second we talk about the humane treatment of animals. Why do we talk that way? Is that not an oxymoron? Why? Because animals don’t treat each other very well, right? I don’t want the animalistic treatment of animals because they eating each other raw. I’ve seen National Geographic as a little kid and it isn’t like Animal Planet now where everything is nice cuddly and cute. They bite each other and they hurt each other and it’s not a safe planet. I mean there’s stuff going on in my body the cellular level is attacking and it’s going on and so it is in the jungle and so it is in the golf ball gets hit way out there in the ravine in Hawaii. You don’t want to mess with it because you’ll get hurt. Things are messed up. You tell the bugs to shue fly don’t bother me they don’t listen to you they keep going and they don’t nothing, grr and I don’t like it they got stingers on them. Isaiah 11 verse 4 there will be no animalistic treatment of anything there will be peace, safety. Speaking of the Messiah now verse number 4 with righteousness He, that is the Messiah, will judge the poor, he’ll decide with equity for the meek of the earth. I’m just giving you context here so you know that it definitely understands that the old earth has got to go away, look at the next phrase. He shall strike the earth with a rod of his mouth. I mean I know this is anachronistic to say but that’s right out of the book of Revelation. Revelation quoted here Christ is going to come back and He’s going to strike the earth it’s called the Tribulation. I mean read Revelation 6 through 19 it’s a bad day for the planet. And with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist. This isn’t some sort of knee jerk reaction some kind of angry person this is justice this is righteousness this is faithfulness is the belt of his loins. Well after all the striking of the present earth what are you going to get? Well you get a new earth. What’s the new earth look like? A perfectly safe place verse 6. I mean if you think of the most brutal kind of killing it’s a wolf and a lamb. But the wolf is going to lay down with the lamb and the leopard is going to lie down with the young goat and they don’t generally get along. Young goat wow, leopard says I want that for lunch. And the calf and the lion and the fatten calf that lion wants the fattened calf. They’re all going to lie down together. And by the way if you’re a mom you got a little kid out there going after him. You’re not going to go, Huh. No, there’s the lion that’s okay Mom I just going to play with the lion for awhile. Oh Okay. Why? Because it’s going to be a safe place to be. The cow and the bear, thinking how is the bear going to get along if he doesn’t eat stuff and eat animals? Well it’s going to graze and the young shall lie down together and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. That’s the good thing about the ox, he doesn’t want to eat me. But the bear does, the lion does but they won’t then they’re going to eat grass. Oh and by the way, take a picture of this, the nursing child is going to play over the hole of the cobra and there isn’t going to be one Orange County Mom freaking out about it. What are you doing? Playing with the cobra. Okay. And the wean child shall put his hand in the adder’s den. Why? Underline this, they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. And if your eschatology includes a Millennial Kingdom I think these are the precise statements of the Millennial Kingdom but even if you don’t include that. It certainly is a picture of how the reality of the eternal kingdom the eternal state certainly will include that if it’s that way in the millennium it’s certainly that way in the eternal state. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Look to the resurrected planet it’s going to be good. God will perfectly sustain it, it will perfectly sustain us, it will be at peace and it will be safe. Perfectly safe.
We’re going to fly over there tomorrow to Athens and well I was told yesterday that we’re going to stay in six hotels. Six hotels? Yes, because we’re following you know the footsteps of Paul so we’re on the move. This is like the Amazing Race for Christians. We’re just packing up and we’re moving on. Another plane, another train, another ferry another boat and we’re off and we’re going. Now when you stay in six hotels in two weeks you don’t ever really get too settled in any one place. I mean you’re not even unpacking your suitcase. You’re just zipping it open and throwing it open and working out of that. And we’re all a bunch of snooty Orange County people traveling over there so it isn’t just me it’s you too you would go in there like I do and the group that’s going with us, you’re going to look at the room and it’s not going to be quite what you want, right? Never is I don’t know how they exist in such small places over there, but those rooms are going to be not quite right. And you’re going to look at something I wouldn’t do that I don’t know why they put that there. Why is the bathroom so close to the bed? You’re going to go this is not how I’d have it. But I guarantee you because you’re just moving through you’re not going to do much about it. Maybe if you’re really weird like me you might move some furniture around, I can’t help that. Ahh, let’s move that over here can we scoot the bed that way. I just do that. Do you do that? Some of you do that, you’re weird. But I’m not going to paint the place, right? I’m not going to paint it. Now we move into a house and it’s amazing my wife and I we looked at houses we bought a house you know a few years back I mean that’s the first thing, got to paint that, got to paint that, got paint that. We travel and sometimes especially in Europe and back there in Turkey you go whoa that isn’t the color this hotel room should be but you’re never going to go well I’m just going to run down to the little hardware and get some paint we’re going to start painting before we go to dinner. No, because we’re just passing through. So I know, if you’re just passing through you’re going to trash the place, Mike. No, I’m not going to do that either. Why? I’m a good Christian guy, you know. I know that there are people checking in after I check out and I’m not going to trash the place. I’m not going to take my pocket knife out and carve my initials in the little you know whatever that coffee table in front of the little love seat. I’m not going to do that. Why? It’s not cool because the next guy is going to use it he does want my initials there staring at him. But I’m sure putting my feet up on it when I sit down in that little love seat. I mean I do that at home not when my wife is watching but I do it when I travel. Why? Because this is just a hotel coffee table, no big deal. You know that’s what it is. You catching the analogy here? It’s kind of like that thing they give you when you check into the hospital when you’re a patient. They give you, what do they call it? A gown, is that what they call it? Kind of I guess, right? A gown. They say put this on. It’s like you put this on. But they say put this on and you put it on. It’s terrible, it’s embarrassing. And sometimes you think about it like where, who wore this last? I mean it’s kind of a weird thing, it’s terrible. But I tell you what you don’t start trying to redesign it you don’t get an iron out, you don’t iron it. Am I right? You don’t say, can I get a different color? No, blue is all we have. Okay. So I know what you do, you tear it up when you’re done, right? No, don’t trash it, I know someone else is going to have to wear it when I’m gone so I try to be careful, I don’t want to bleed all over it if I can avoid it. But if I do, oh well, hope they wash it. Are you getting what I’m saying here? I just want the pendulum to swing back from the extreme views of our culture. I’m not out there trying to pour oil down the drains, right? But I do want us to recognize we’re just passing through. This is not our permanent home. It ain’t going to last much longer and it’s dying. And it’s going to get really warm and God’s going to plan that and one day it’ll all burn up. So use it, manage it, care for it but don’t go overboard. You need to understand the balance in all this. It is here for you to use. You’re going to put your feet up on the coffee table, fine. I know a lot of people don’t like this sermon but it’s the best thing for you because you know what I find in the modern secular even in the Christian environmental movement? Everyone is freaking out. Can you stop freaking out? Oh, the sun is going to go out we’re going to freeze. Stop, Chill Out. We don’t live in fear; we are not to be afraid. I mean Jesus said stuff like this don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself. You never see that on the Christian environmentalist posters. Today’s got enough trouble of its own. I know the trouble you should be concerned with, lost people. I mean really, sharing the gospel with people who are going to hell. That’s what really matters. I wish we would expend as much energy and effort on sharing the gospel with people then we do with some of these modern evangelical green movements. So let’s find some balance in this crazy mixed up world. It’s a fallen planet but the good news is He’s going to give us a resurrected one to live on one day and it’ll be really good. Let’s pray.
God, I know this is hard and I know there is as I said a very challenging and disproportional amount of time trying to preach the truth of biblical world view on a fallen planet in an hour is hardly fair when the world has indoctrinated us with its thinking. Exalt animals to the place of godhood and we treat the planet like it’s a person and it’s our mother and we feel bad about harnessing it’s resources for our good or our pleasure or our convenience and yet that’s exactly why you created it. Not so that we could abuse it but so that we can use it because it is there for us we are not here for it. So help us to have the right perspective knowing that even in the liberated new resurrected planet it will be there for us. It’s trees will clap for us the mountains will sing for the liberation and the revealing of the sons of God and it will perfectly sustain us. So God, we look forward to that we thank you that all of that really is a gift of your grace for us that we might bring glory and give honor to you. We thank you God for the opportunity we have to serve you and we know that in the scriptures both in Acts chapter 3 and 2 Peter chapter 3 we’re called to hasten the day of the Lord to speed on the times of refreshing and time of restoration and that only comes through preaching the gospel by talking to our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, our family members about repenting of sins and putting trust in Christ. So I pray that we would do that as we look to a new home, a new earth where righteousness dwells, look forward to that day. So God help us to find some balance in the perspective that we should have about a fallen planet in Jesus name. Amen.