Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Long Story Short
Week 6: Goodness Restored
- Say the series verse from memory– John 1:45: “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’”
- This sermon series is helping us summarize the overall story of the whole Bible in 6 themes. Genesis 1-2 = Creation // Genesis 3-11 = Fall // Genesis 12 – Malachi = Israel // Matthew 1 – Acts 1= Jesus // Acts 2 – 3 John = Church // Revelation = New Creation
- The sixth theme in the redemptive story of God of is New Creation: how God will restore and make all things new. What are some things that you would like to see God restore or make new in your life or in our world?
- John has an apocalyptic vision about the future in Revelation 21:1-7: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. // I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. // And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. // He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death // or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ // He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ // He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. // Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.’”
- What questions or comments come to mind as you read these verses? How do these promises make you feel?
- Knowing the end of a story can bring comfort, but it can also help us to better understand and respond in the middle of the story. In previous weeks of “Long Story Short,” we’ve talked about how we are living in the middle of God’s unfolding, redemptive drama. As the Church, what is our role in this redemptive drama?
- Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has also set eternity in human heart….” What do you think Solomon meant by that?
- God brings restoration in three primary areas: restoration of a place (earth), a people, and His presence.
- Restoration of Place – Various cultures have different views on what heaven is like. Joel Stein, a Los Angeles Times columnist, said, “Heaven is totally overrated. It seems boring. Clouds, listening to people play the harp. It should be somewhere you can’t wait to go, like a luxury hotel. Maybe blue skies and soft music were enough to keep people in line in the 17th century, but Heaven has to step it up a bit. They’re basically getting by because they only have to be better than Hell.” How would you respond to this statement?
- What are some of the ways the cultural and biblical understanding of heaven differ from one another?
- N.T. Wright said that the point of Christianity isn’t to go to heaven when you die. It’s to be part of bringing God’s kingdom to earth. What did he mean by that?
- Pastor Dale said that we often put a period where God puts a comma. What do you think he meant by this?
- Restoration of People – What are some ways humans will be restored in heaven?
- Restoration of Presence – God will again be fully present with his people. Considering the fact that God is the source of all goodness – of beauty, of light, of love, of life, of community, of joy – what will that be like to be in God’s full presence?
- Revelation 21:8 – “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” // It’s popular in our culture to believe that everyone goes to heaven. But that’s not the case. God lets people have what they want – either an eternity with his full presence (heaven) or an eternity completely cut off from his presence (hell). Considering all of the things listed about God in question 14, talk about what hell might be like?
- Given the importance of this decision, what are some ways that we can help others make a good choice?
- Fresh Start begins this week! Join us for this 8-week summer study, where you can have a conversation about faith and meet some new people. East campus -– Wednesday at 6:30 PM (English and Spanish) or West campus – Thursday at 7 PM. Invite a friend!