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HEAVEN – THE NEGATIVE AND THE POSITIVE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, December 10, 2000

 

Before the sermon Mr. Griffith, our deacon, will come to sing for us:

Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing, and Heaven, and Heaven and nature sing.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground,
He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as the curse is found.
          ("Joy to the World" by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land, I am bound for the promised land,
O who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land.
          ("On Jordan’s Stormy Banks" by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795).

When the roll is called up yonder, When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.
          ("When the Roll is Called Up Yonder"
                     by James M. Black, 1856-1938).

Please stand and turn in your Bible to Revelation 22:3,
"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him" (Revelation 22:3).

You may be seated.

About fifty-five years ago, when I was a very little boy, I used to crawl under my grandmother’s house on the southeast corner of Fargo and Apex, in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. I used to walk through a door in the latticework and go way back under her house. There were many interesting things to look at there, but as my eyes became accustomed to the darkness, I always went way back, behind all the interesting things, to a special place. There, in the dirt under the house, way in the back, was an oil painting, laying half up against the wall. Many, many times I can remember sitting there in the dirt, looking through the dim light at that painting. It was a picture of Jesus’ mother, angels all around her, up in the clouds of Heaven.
My uncle, Paul Sharp, had painted it long years before. Then he suddenly left. We never saw him again. They said he joined a monastery and became a cloistered monk.
At the time, I was such a little boy that I didn’t even know there was a difference between a Catholic and a Protestant. All I knew was that his painting filled my heart with wonder and awe. "Is there really a place like that up in the clouds?" I wondered, as I looked at the painting. No one in my family went to any church. When I asked them about the angels in the painting, they couldn’t give me much of an answer.
I would then go out in the back yard and lay on the grass, looking up in the sky at the beautiful white fluffy clouds. I couldn’t see any angels, like the ones in the painting, but I formed a thought all on my own. "There are angels up there, way beyond the clouds," I thought. "We just can’t see them. There is a place called Heaven, and there is a God."
I had no brothers and sisters to play with and, being sickly, I seldom went to school. So, when I was well enough, I would go out in that back yard and play all by myself. It may seem strange to say, but I often played with God. I knew somehow that He was real, and I would go out and hide behind the nasturtium plants, with their beautiful, round, green leaves and delicate orange/yellow flowers. I would hide in those flowers and talk to God, and think about the angels in Heaven I saw in that painting. That was the way I learned to pray – all by myself – with God. The memory of those beautiful sunlit days in the back yard with God brings tears to my eyes as I think of them tonight.
I knew, all by myself, as a five-year-old child, that there was a God in Heaven who hears our prayers.
As I grew older, some people next door to my aunt Myrtle (Dr. and Mrs. McGowan) took me to a Baptist church where I began to learn about the Bible. The pastor was an elderly Englishman named Dr. Walter Arthur Pegg. He preached often about Heaven. It was his favorite subject, I think, because he preached on it so often and with such feeling. It seemed to me, as a thirteen-year-old, that Dr. Pegg knew more about Heaven than anyone in the world. I can still hear his voice in my memory, after nearly fifty years, preaching with fervent tones on the wonders of Heaven – and I wanted to go there and see the angels for myself.
And now, this evening, I want you to think about Heaven! You may be young, or you may be older. You may have been raised in church, or you may have been raised as I was, without being taken to church. You may come from a Christian background or you may have been raised in another religion and, like me as a small boy, you may not know much about the Bible, or church, or Christianity. But I want to tell you tonight a little of what God Himself says about Heaven in the Bible.
And it is important for you to listen – because if there is a Heaven, there is really nothing more important that you could think about or know about. If God is telling us the truth in the Bible – and I believe He is – then you could go to Heaven and be there for millions upon millions of years – with God, with Jesus the Son of God, with Christians of long ago, and with the holy angels. Wouldn’t that be an interesting and delightful place to go? Wouldn’t you love to go there and see it all for yourself some day?
My grandfather, my Dad’s father, was born in England, in a wonderful place they told me was named Alston Moor. My uncles, my Dad’s brothers, talked so much about Alston that I dreamed of going there. My uncle Oscar finally did go and brought back some little photographs of him in that wonderful far away place – in England. He brought back an oil painting of it that he had in his living room for years. When he was dying, he wrote in his will that I should have that oil painting of that lovely place called Alston Moor in England. That painting hangs in my living room tonight.
One day, to my great delight, I was finally able to go there to see that spot in England where my grandfather was born. It was a wonderful, indescribably thrilling thing to go there with my wife and boys, and meet my third cousins, David and Malcolm Hymers who had stayed behind when my great grandfather brought his children to this new world, first to Canada, and then to Los Angeles, in America.
Going back to England was like a foretaste of going to Heaven. We got off the airplane and got in a cab and went right away to downtown London. I jumped out of the taxi and looked for the first time in my life, there in the night, at the ancient buildings of Parliament, at Big Ben, the largest clock in the world, mirrored against the sky. Then I wandered around Westminster Abbey, to the back of that great church. They say the back of it was built over a thousand years ago. I stood and looked at that ancient church with tears streaming down my face. It felt like I had come home. Later, with great joy, I met my English cousins, and two dear people who live in Alston, in Cumberland County. John and Winnie Elliott are their names. They took us into their home and fed us. It felt like I had come home.
Thinking back on that trip to England makes me think of what it will be like to go to Heaven. O, to see those golden streets I have heard about so long! O, to see the angels and the great throne of God! O, to see Jesus, and my mother again! O, to sit down and talk with Peter, and James, and John, and Paul! O, to see George Whitefield, and John Wesley, and my friend, Joyce McGowan! O, to see my dear friend Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. again, and to see Dr. John R. Rice, whom I only met once in this life, but who means so much to me! O, to see Dr. Francis Schaeffer again! I had coffee with him and watched President Reagan being inaugurated in his living room. O, how wonderful to see him again! O, what an unspeakable joy it brings to my heart tonight, just thinking about that trip I will make some day to Heaven! "O, who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land!"
Now, if you want to go with me to Heaven some day, you have to think about it and prepare for it now. If I told you I wanted you to go with me to London and to Alston, in Cumberland County, England, you’d have to prepare, you’d have to get ready to go, wouldn’t you? And so it is with Heaven. You have to think about it, and you have to get ready, if you want to go there.
Our text tells us:
"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him" (Revelation 22:3).

This verse tells us two simple things about Heaven:

         

      1. First, negatively, there will be no curse in Heaven.
      2. Second, positively – God and Christ will be in Heaven,
        and His servants will serve Him.

I. Negatively – there will be no curse in Heaven.

"And there shall be no more curse" (Revelation 22:3).
A great curse came on the world when Adam sinned. God said:
"Because thou hast hearkened (i.e. listened) unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:17-19).
The earth itself came under a curse because of our first parent’s sin:
"For the creature (i.e. creation) was made subject to vanity…For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:20, 22).

Pain and suffering came upon all animal and plant life. The whole earth, and everything in it, was put under a curse. We now live in a cursed world.

Mankind also came under a curse because of this sin:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men…" (Romans 5:12).
"Through the offence of one many be dead" (Romans 5:15).
"By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners" (Romans 5:19).

Death came to mankind because of Adam’s sin. Every death is proof of this. We are a cursed race. The human race lives under the curse of God.

Not only are we cursed with death, but our very nature was cursed:
"By one man’s disobedience, (the) many were made sinners" (Romans 5:19).

Every human being is born a sinner by nature because of this curse. The Bible says that we are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1),

"Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Ephesians 4:18).
This is true of every person unless he is converted. Even a converted person does not see God as clearly as he should.
"For now we see through a glass, darkly" (I Corinthians 13:12).

We are truly a cursed people, living in a cursed world, because of sin against God.

But, thank God, the curse will be removed in Heaven! Our text tells us, "And there shall be no more curse!" (Revelation 22:3). Thank God – the curse will be removed in Heaven! Mr. Griffith sang these words a few minutes ago:

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground,
He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as the curse is found.
     ("Joy to the World" by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie.

No chilling winds; nor pois’nous breath, Can reach that healthful shore,
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death, Are felt and feared no more.
I am bound for the promised land, I am bound for the promised land
;
O who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land.
     ("On Jordan’s Stormy Banks" by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795).

When the roll is called up yonder, When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.
     ("When the Roll is Called Up Yonder"
                        by James M. Black, 1856-1938).

That brings us to the second point.

 

II. Positively – God and Christ will be in Heaven, and His servants will serve Him.


Our text says:
"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him" (Revelation 22:3).
The Throne of God will be in Heaven. The Throne of Christ, at the right hand of God’s throne, will be there also. I do not think we will see God. The Bible says,
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son…he hath declared him" (John 1:18).

In the Old Testament, when men saw God, it was the preincarnate Christ. "No man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18), not even Adam before he sinned, according to this verse. It was always the preincarnate Logos, the preincarnate Christ, that they saw. I do not think we will actually see God in Heaven. We are told that many colors come from God’s throne (Revelation 4:3). But we are not told that we see God, Himself.

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,                       
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,                      
All praise we would render; O help us to see                     
‘Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee!                      
               ("Immortal, Invisible" by Walter Chalmers Smith, 1824-1908).

I know that we will see God’s throne. Our text tells us so. We will see the rainbow colors: jasper, clear as crystal; sardius, blood red; and emerald, green. All will shine out like a rainbow from the Throne of God (Revelation 4:3).

We will see the Throne of Jesus, on the right side of God’s Throne:
"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him" (Revelation 22:3).

John the Baptist called Jesus, "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). And in the Book of Revelation, Jesus is called, "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Jesus was crucified according to God’s plan in eternity past, before the creation of the world. All the lambs slain on altars in the Old Testament were just dim pictures, types, of what Jesus would do, in the eternal plan of God, when He died on the Cross to pay for our sins.

You see, someone had to pay for your sin. Either you can pay for your sins in Hell, or you can trust in Jesus, and He will pay for your sins. He is God’s Lamb, sacrificed in your place, to pay for your sins, if you will trust Him. How wonderful that in Heaven we will see the Throne of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus! And we will see Jesus, Himself, in Heaven:
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne…a Lamb…" (Revelation 5:6).

We will see Jesus, the Lamb of God, just as John saw Him, recorded in Revelation 5:6.

"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him" (Revelation 22:3).

People ask, "What will we do in Heaven?" There is your answer: "And his servants shall serve him." We will serve the Lord Jesus Christ throughout all eternity. What splendor! What joy! What a future! What a hope!

My friend, will you put your trust in Jesus? Will you be cleansed from your sins by His Blood so you can go to be with God in Heaven when you die?
On that happy, golden shore, Where the faithful part no more,
When the storms of life are o’er, Meet me there;
Where the night dissolves away Into pure and perfect day,
I am going home to stay, Meet me there.                      
Meet me there, Meet me there,                      
Where the tree of life is blooming, Meet me there;             
When the storms of life are o’er, On the happy, golden shore,
Where the faithful part no more, Meet me there.
          ("Meet Me There" by H. E. Blair, 1913).

 

Scripture Read Before Sermon: Revelation 21:27-22:5.

Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Joy to the World"/
                                                            "On Jordan’s Stormy Banks"/
                                                                        "When the Roll is Called up Yonder"

 

                          You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
                                at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

THE OUTLINE OF

HEAVEN – THE NEGATIVE AND THE POSITIVE


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of
God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants
shall serve him" (Revelation 22:3).

         

      1. Negatively – there will be no curse in Heaven,
        Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:20,22; Romans 5:12,15,19;
        Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 4:18; I Corinthians 13:12.
      2. Positively – God and Christ will be in Heaven, and His
        servants will serve Him, John 1:18; Revelation 4:3;
        John 1:29; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 5:6.