Last Sunday in the church year

Jesus spoke frequently to His disciples about the end of all things. Yet His words were comforting, and spoke more of a new beginning than of the end of all things. To those who believed in Him Jesus says,  “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Jesus then says to the those who rejected Him, “Depart from Me, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”

God never intended for Hell to be occupied by people. Hell was for the Devil and his evil demons. God intended for people to live in eternal fellowship with Him and the Father. No one has ever been predestined to hell. All people are a part of God’s creation, created to live in everlasting fellowship with Him. Those who find themselves in Hell will be there by their own choosing – they have rejected the love and fellowship God offered them through His Son Jesus. They turned their backs on God, and they had no use all that Jesus did for them through His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection victory. 

For the most part. Christians believe that their faith is all about escaping hell and living forever with God in heaven. But that is not what the Scriptures teach about life everlasting, not is it what we confess in our doctrines and creeds. When we confess our faith, we voice confidence in “the life of the world to come.” 

The mission of Jesus Christ was and continues to be bringing people into God’s eternal Kingdom. And although we turned away from God in the Garden of Eden and fell headlong into sin, God the Father stayed faithful to us, refusing to allow His original plan and design for creation to be lost. Out of His love for us, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to make atonement for our sins and restore our fractured relationship with God. Jesus came to invite us to return to fellowship with God.

You have been baptized into Christ, into His death and glorious resurrection. In Christ, there is a whole new creation waiting to be revealed. In that new creation, we will live, resurrected body and soul together once again. The difference will be the absolute absence of sin, death, and evil. Everything in God’s new creation will be filled with life, joy, goodness, patience, self-control, love for God, and love for others. God will permit no sin or evil to exist there. All who live there will be washed in the blood of Christ, perfect and Holy in the sight of God. Heaven is not our ultimate destination – it is merely a temporary state where believers await the fulfillment of all things the “Great Day of the Lord.” In the mean time we look forward to, and long for God’s Heaven.

Our Savior Jesus Christ is the God and Lord of all nations, peoples, and things. God the Father chose Jesus to rule and reign over all. Jesus is responsible for bringing God’s plans for the new creation to perfect fulfillment. To accomplish that He came into our midst to bring us God’s forgiveness, salvation, and everlasting life. We turned our backs to God, so Jesus brought God back to us. Though He is now ascended back to His throne in heaven, He continues to speak to us and lead us through His Word. He loves and cares for all who believe in Him, just as a shepherd loves and cares for His sheep. Jesus has not left us on our own, but continues to be with us and care for us each and every day. Jesus has faithfully accomplished all that God asked Him to do so that you could, once again, be included in His eternal Kingdom.

In His ministry, Jesus revealed a people, “blessed by My Father.”  Those are people made righteous by God Himself, yet remain here among the sin, death, and evil of this world. They are among those suffering their way through this world. Yet as God watches, He sees them loving and caring for others with the gifts God has given them. Those acts of mercy will be brought to light on the “Great Day of the Lord.” Even more amazing, Jesus will reveal how you helped those who were hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and imprisoned. Only then will you know the true nature of the kindness you shared in your life. God will also reveal that in your ministry and care for others, it was the work of Jesus Himself that you did with your own 2 hands and your kind & gentle words.

As you walk out that door and back to your life, do so with a deeper understanding of eternity. Look forward to God’s new Creation, a new world that will be yours to enjoy forever. Assured of your presence there and the joy and blessings that will be yours to enjoy forever, begin thanking God now; thank God for the blessings you enjoy now, and thank God for His blessings that will be yours to enjoy forever! Amen.