The Restoration of Everything (All Things Made New)
Place on the stage grandpa’s book case.
This bookcase is broken. It also has serious water damage. We live in a disposable age.
Few things are made to last. When something breaks it is often cheaper to throw it away and buy a new one. Having moved as often as we have, I lean towards the side of radical purging – if we haven’t used something for some time, my tendency is...
to get rid of it. Joe Rosson, a Tennessee appraiser, who is co-author of "Treasures in Your Attic" and co-host of a television show by the same name, tells this story.
A couple had just finished filling a dumpster with "junk" when Rosson came over to appraise some of their furniture. As it turned out the furniture wasn't worth that much. But noticing the dumpster, Rosson went over and looked into it. He spotted Fiestaware dinnerware worth more than the furniture, a diamond ring his client's mistakenly thought was costume jewelry, valuable baseball cards and an antique doll worth $15,000. http://money.cnn.com/2002/06/03/pf/yourhome/q_appraise/ Rosson’s clients hadn’t realized the value of what they had.
(Come back to the book case)
Some of you might wonder why I’ve kept this bookcase.
It is at least 80 years old.
But that’s not why I’ve kept it.
It’s made out of real wood.
But again, that is not why I’ve kept it. Coffee/question:
What things, to you, are irreplaceable?
Let’s readActs 3:17-26.
We’ve been in this chapter the last two months.
Back some weeks ago, I read what Peter said – and we timed it.
Does anyone remember how long Peter’s talk was?
Two minutes. Some of you may be thinking how has it taken us two months to work our way through what Peter said in two minutes?
It has taken us this long because...there are themes in this chapter that we’ve needed to carefully unpack. Let’s recap from last week.
Peter told his listeners:
-> v.17 - you acted in ignorance, but...
-> v.18 - this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the
prophets – the Christ had to suffer. Peter then urged his listeners:
-> v.19-20 - to change their mind about Jesus and turn to God…
…that their sins may be wiped out
…that times of refreshing may come from the Lord
…that he may send to them the Christ, who has been appointed – even Jesus Peter explained to his listeners what he meant about the sending of Jesus.
But it doesn’t stop there. Here is our big idea: through Jesus, God will restore… everything. There are some observations we need to make / and some questions we need to ask.
Who is the “he” Peter mentions in v.20 – “that he may send the Christ?”
It is God the Father.
Hadn’t the Father already sent Jesus to the earth? Yes.
So why was Peter speaking of the Christ being sent... as if it was... a yet to take place event?
Because...the Scriptures say that the Christ will come to the earth - two times. Jesus himself spoke of this in Matthew 24.
In v.20, what Peter was speaking of, was not the first, but the second coming of Jesus. The first time Jesus came to the earth was to accomplish what needed to be done in order to deal with humanity’s sin and to rescue us from the power of the devil. Regarding humanity’s sin – Jesus came:
1 John 3:16; 2:2 – to lay down his life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of
the whole world.
1 John 1:9 – to forgive and to purify from all sin (not just take guilt away),
those who confess their sin to God.
1 John 5:1 – so that those who believe that he is the Christ, might be
born of God (what is born is a new nature).
1 John 5:13; 4:9 – so that those who believe in the name of the Son of God,
might live through him and know they have eternal life. Regarding the one who has blinded the minds of human beings and taken humanity captive to do his will: Jesus came
1 John 5:18 - to keep his followers safe from the evil one.
1 John 3:8 – to destroy the devil’s work (to break, to sever, to demolish)
Hebrews 2:14 – to destroy (to nullify; to reduce to inactivity) him
who holds the power of death
John 12:31 – to drive out the prince of this world. The night before he died, Jesus told the Father, (John 17:4), he had completed the work he had been given to do.
And the next afternoon, from the cross, just before he bowed his head and gave up his spirit, (John 19:30), Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” What proof do we have that Jesus accomplished the purposes for which he had been sent? His resurrection! 1 Corinthians 15:3-5:
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; he was buried; he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures; and he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve…”
This - the raising of Jesus from the dead - had never happened before; and it hasn’t happened since. But it had been foretold - this is what is meant by the phrase - according to the Scripture. The gospels do tell of three individuals whom Jesus raised from the dead:
* the young son of a widow who lived in Nain – Luke 7:11-17
* the young daughter of Jairus – Luke 8:52-56
* Lazarus – John 11 Jesus brought... life... back into their bodies, after they had died.
But he did not transform their bodies to be different than they had been before they died.
What this meant, is that all three, years later, died again. When the Father raised Jesus from the dead, his body was transformed into an imperishable and immortal body that could never again be touched by death. See 1 Corinthians 15. The resurrection of Jesus was the definitive proof that he was who he said he was, and that he had done what he had been sent to earth to do. So why then, did Jesus, forty days after his resurrection, leave the earth?
Why, after his ascension, did the Father choose, as v.21 says, that Jesus would “remain in heaven;” that there would be a long, deliberate delay between Jesus’ victory over sin, death and the devil, and him “restoring all things,” as promised long ago through God’s holy prophets? We find the answer to this question in Jesus’ teaching.
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” God’s kingdom began small (120), and at first, grew almost imperceptibly (3K then 5K then 10K...), but as the centuries passed, it has spread and worked its way into every nation on the earth.
Psalm 110:2 speaks of a surprising and puzzling reality:
“…you will rule in the midst of your enemies.”
This verse tells us that the resurrected Jesus, from heaven, rules over the earth, and he does so in the midst of his enemies.
It is important to keep this reality before you as we now read another parable given by Jesus. It builds; it adds on to...what Psalm 110 describes.
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time, I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” The scenario described in this story is surprising and puzzling - why would the man in the parable not get rid of the seed his enemy had sown?
Why would he permit the work of his enemy to grow in the midst of his own work?
Jesus later explained the parable to his followers - see Matthew 13:36-43.
The one who sowed the seed... is Jesus.
The field...is the world.
The good seed represents... the people of God’s kingdom.
The weeds... are the people of the evil one. The enemy... is the devil.
The harvest... is the end of the age.
The harvesters... are God’s holy angels.
Jesus did not explain in this parable... why... he permits the work of the enemy to continue in this present time.
But he does clearly assure that when he returns to the earth a second time, at the end of this age, he will “weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.”Matthew 13:41.
From the day Jesus walked out of the tomb, to the start of what the Bible describes as the time of the new heaven and the new earth, in this in-between time, God has chosen to persuade by love – to appeal to fallen humanity to come home to him through faith in Jesus, his Savior.
Jesus “remains in heaven” because God desires to give humanity time.
Time for what?
Peter explained in his second letter, 3:9: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [to come again], as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Why does the Father wait?
Not because he is gathering strength and resources for a final showdown with evil.
He waits because... he is patient.
He doesn’t want anyone to miss out.
His desire is... that everyone come to repentance - that they change their mind about Jesus; that they merge the story of their life into Jesus’ story, and in doing so, be forgiven of their sin; be born of the Spirit; and be given a new identity.
Upon Jesus’ return, all will appear before him.
At his return, the days of opportunity end. See Matthew 25.
Each person’s life will be evaluated as to what they have done, (Revelation 20:12); but not in the sense that the good and the bad that each has done will be placed on some kind of a scale; and if the good outweighs the bad, then one lives with God and if the bad outweighs the good, one lives apart from God.
According to Revelation 20:15, the most important factor on that day of accountability… will be... whether or not, one’s name is recorded in the book of life. This will be of utmost importance.
On this day of accountability, the evil one and all who are with him; the ones who’ve blinded the minds of humanity and taken them captive to do his will, will be sentenced by Jesus for their crimes, and be exiled into a place from which they can no longer wreak havoc and corrupt; a place from which there is no escape.
Exile will also be the destiny of all whose names are not recorded in the book of life; who chose to hate God and who wanted nothing to do with him. Their sentence will grant them their wish.
On that day of accountability, on the day Jesus returns, everything that was broken; stolen; ruined... will be made new.
John, who was with Peter on that day in the temple, years later in a vision was permitted by God to foresee this day of renewal.
He heard the voice of the One seated on the throne, who said, “I am making everything new! Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5. There is a little phrase in v.21 we must take note of:
“...until the time comes...”
What is the significance of this phrase? According to Galatians 4:4, God sent Jesus to the earth, to be born as a baby, “when the time had fully come.”
Acts 3:21 teaches us that it will be the same when the Father, for the second time, sends Jesus to the earth.
It will happen at a precise and a right moment. Let me state again our big idea: Through Jesus, God will restore… everything.
in God’s estimation, you and I… the earth and the heavens... are not disposable. Go back to the bookcase.
As I earlier told you - this bookcase is at least 80 years old; and it’s made out of wood, not mdf.
But that’s not why I’ve kept it.
And in case you’re wondering...it is not worth thousands of dollars. Do you know why I’ve kept it?
Because... it belonged to my grandfather.
It has value to me because of whose it is.
And even though it is ruined, I will restore it, because it belongs to him. In the eyes of God, you are I are not disposable.
We are created in the image of God, as are all human beings.
Our value is not because of what we do or what we own or skills we may possess or power we may have... Our value is because of whose we are.
And though we have been ruined by sin, we are of such value to God that he acted to do everything necessary to rescue and to restore us. I remind you of the goodness of God... evidenced by what he has done since he raised Jesus from the dead.
Look at Acts 3:26. God who sent Jesus to be born as a baby in Bethlehem; and God who will send Jesus to the earth a second time to apply his salvation to every facet of life and to make all things right, in this present time, sends Jesus to search for men and women who are lost. Jesus is the searching Savior.
He comes to us.
He reveals truth to a person’s blinded mind.
He knocks at the door of a person’s life and asks to come in. Why does he do this?
What does v.26 say?
He does this in order to bless.
In what way?
To turn... a person from their wicked ways... towards him. God’s blessing through Jesus is to rescue men and women from sin that ruins. God’s blessing through Jesus is to restore, those who are alienated from him, back into relationship with him. Is that not incredible?
Who does that?
Who makes family of those who are his enemies?
As we enter into a response time - of coming to the table to remember Jesus and to express our gratitude to him - if you’ve heard his knock, I invite you to change your mind and to open the door of your life to him.
There will be people at each side of the room - who are ready to listen; ready to help you. Follower of Jesus, how do we live in light of God’s promise to restore everything? Three things!
* Romans 8:24a - “For in this hope we were saved.” Learn the story of Jesus well, in order that you might live in it.
Bring Jesus’ story to bear on every aspect of your life.
This is how we will learn to live with confidence, rather than fear.
Jesus tells us what is coming.
We know how the story ends.
We know who wins.
* Romans 8:24b-25 - “Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” In God’s good time, he will make everything right; everything new.
So...wait patiently for him.
Choose to place in Jesus’ hands; and then learn to leave in his hands... the things that happen to you.
As you do so, you invite him to turn them into the accomplishing of good.
As Romans 12:19 says, because Jesus will make all things right, you and I are freed from needing to take revenge.
God promises: “It is mine to avenge, I will repay.”
So, wait...patiently... for God to act.
* Romans 8:26-27 - “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
Why was Paul able to say in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength?”
Because the Holy Spirit prayed for him, as he does for all of God’s people.
As you and I wait patiently for God, the Spirit will help us in our weaknesses.
He knows what we need.
He knows what is the will of God for our lives.
On our behalf, he always asks for what we rightly need.
He who has begun a good work in us, will see it through to the finish.
Every step of the way, from now until the day Jesus returns, God will provide what we need.
If there are any matters that you need to release to God; anything that you need to put into his hands; any resolve that needs to be expressed, as we come to the Table, I invite you to respond to Jesus.
And if it would help for someone to pray with you, I invite you to approach those who are on either side of the room.
We only have time to quickly look at one passage – but I encourage you to be attentive as you read the scriptures – to watch for this theme of God restoring everything.
It is everywhere! Look at Romans 8:18-23.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of Godto be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it,in hope21 thatthe creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decayand brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaningas in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.The creation waits…
In eager expectation…
This is not a passive waiting; but a ‘on the edge of your seat’ waiting.
For the children of God to be revealed. Until we are revealed, what has happened to the creation?
The creation has been subjected to frustration…
The creation groans as in the pains of childbirth… Why? Because of the curse spoken by God upon Adam – Genesis 3:17-18:
“Cursed is the ground because of you…”
Did God do this in anger? Look at what the verse says.
He did so “…in hope…”
In hope of what?
Those who follow Jesus, have been given a new identity – we are children of God. But what we will be… is not yet seen. 1 John 3:2 – Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears we shall be like him… God’s great work of rescue has already begun in those who open the door of their life, when Jesus knocks.
But at Jesus’ second coming…which will also be our revealing, the work of salvation begun in us, will be completed – our body, soul and spirit will be made new.
23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,groaninwardly as we wait eagerlyfor our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. When our redemption is complete, when we are freed from the presence of sin within us and our bodies are transformed to be like the glorious body of Jesus, at that very moment, on the day Jesus returns, the creation will also be liberated from its bondage to decay.
The freedom and glory that will be ours… will also be experienced by the creation.
And while it will be different than it is for us, the salvation of Jesus will nonetheless, touch the creation – making all that is broken new.
When God finished creating, Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” The world in which we live is breath-takingly beautiful; the design and complexity of how everything works together is beyond our comprehension.
The sheer abundance of species – be it trees, flowers, animals, birds, fish, fruit, vegetables…is extraordinarily surprising.
But all you and I have known is a creation that is broken.
When Jesus return, it will be restored
The splendor that once was, will again be.
God will restore everything.
Have you ever heard this sentiment voiced – “all roads lead to the top of the mountain?” It’s a nice statement. But is it true?
Let’s start with who’s at the top of the mountain – God.
Is Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, Krishna…simply different names that describe the same person?
How could you figure it out? List all details that describe their character.
When you do so, here’s what you will discover – these different names…. do not describe the same person. People need to repent; to change their minds as to who God is – not someone they’ve made him to be; but who he has revealed himself to be.
If you were to compare what Krishna, Buddah, Allay and Yahweh say as to how life is to be best lived...”the road to take to the top of the mountain”…again you will discover…the writings of these deities do not say the same thing. In fact, they contradict one another. People need to repent; to change their minds as to how life is best lived. Recently, I’ve heard this statement being voiced repeatedly– “my truth.”
Is everybody’s “truth” right? This may be overly simple, but if my truth is that 10x10 = 5000, and your truth is that it = 20,000, are both of us right?
People need to repent; to change their minds as to what truth is. Truth is not subjective. It is objective. How does God shine truth into our hearts?
Through the telling of the good news of Jesus. Romans 1:16-17: For I am not ashamed of the gospel,because it is the power of Godthat brings salvation to everyone who believes:first to the Jew,then to the Gentile.17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” To a person whose mind is blinded, the good news of Jesus, if it doesn’t first offend, will sound ridiculous.
The fact that Peter’s listeners were given opportunity to change their minds…about Jesus, tells us something remarkable about who God is and gives us great hope. What characteristics of God are revealed in the invitation to repent?
We see his justice.
- they were accountable to God and were found guilty
We see his kindness.
– you acted in ignorance
We see his love.
– you can turn to God
We see his mercy.
– when you turn your sins can be wiped out
We see his grace.
– times of refreshing come to the person who repents
We see his compassion.
– God reveals to you the truth regarding Jesus
Ignorance is not a defense.
Peter’s audience had not recognized Jesus for who he truly is.
It is the same today. But our sin is the source of our ignorance.
We are born with this flaw – and we confirm the presence of sin within by the choices we make. But in Jesus we are given the greatest opportunity.
One’s identity can change.
One’s guilt can be removed.
One’s sin can be forgiven.
One’s life can be turned right side up.
Through faith in Jesus one can be given a fresh start.