Faithlife Sermons

Heaven is Better than Eden

The Hope of Heaven  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Intro:

Ask: Who can remember what Daniel taught us about last week? Word that begins with an “I.”
Last week Daniel very helpfully taught us about the inheritance that God is keeping in heaven for those who trust in Jesus that will be revealed when Jesus comes again to put all things right.
Tonight I want to look at what that inheritance will look like when we receive that inheritance in all its fullness.
We have a tendency to look back rather than forward. There really is going to be nothing better than that day when Jesus comes again.

Heaven is Better than Eden

Why talk about heaven in that way? Because I think the Bible does that.
What’s the first book of the Bible? What’s the last book of the Bible?
The first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-2, tell us about creation, and the last two, Revelation 21-22, tell us about the new creation that God brings about through Christ.
In Genesis God created everything out of nothing, including humans, and it was good.
In Revelation God brings about a cosmic new creation out of a broken, cursed, sin-infested world.
So the question is really… why will the new creation be better than the first creation? How is it that heaven can be even better than Eden was?

What was Eden like for Adam and Eve?

Adam and Eve had it good, right?
Adam and Eve had no worries
they had everything they needed and weren’t worried about their safety
they didn’t have to fear any animals eating them (bear spray)
No death, no sin, no sickness
they spent all of their time in God’s beautiful creation
they got to spend quality time with people they love (each other) and BEST OF ALL got to walk with God in the cool of the day
HOW COULD HEAVEN POSSIBLY BE BETTER THAN THAT?

Better Access to God, Better Knowledge of God, Better Blessings

This is a vision that John sees from an angel about the new heavens and the new earth will be like after Jesus comes again to judge the living and the dead.
Revelation 22:1–5 ESV
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Heaven will be better than Eden because there will be Better Blessings

River of life

Symbolic of the Holy Spirit, flowing, as Jesus said, as streams of living water. This water is gushing out, and anyone who drinks of it lives forever!
Did Adam and Eve have that?

Tree of life with healing and eternal provision for all the nations

In the garden of Eden there was one tree of life. Here, John sees either one huge tree that is able to be on both sides of the river, or many of this same type of tree. There is more of this tree than there was in Eden. Why? Because the amount of people from all of the nations that have trusted in Christ will be so numerous that they’ll need to be more fruit to eat!
For all who are there, their needs will be met forever and they will be healed forever.
Can you imagine the multitudes of people who are going to be there that day? Those who were once enemies of God who have been forgiven of their sin, reconciled to God, redeemed and adopted as his children! Imagine a multitude of those who were former-enemies of God, together worshipping him in all his glory.

No longer anything accursed

Well, what was cursed after the fall?
Childbirth (painful)
Marriage (the most intimate human relationship fractured)
Ground (work would now be hard and frustrating)
Worst of all, death.
Now, there was no curse in the garden, so how would heaven, where the curse is removed, be any better than Eden? There is no curse in heaven either, right? So how would it be better?
Not only will the curse be gone (some of which Pastor Vince will talk about next time) but we won’t even have the ability to sin! Can you imagine that? Do you know how amazing that is? How freeing that is? Adam and Eve had the ability to sin in the Garden. We, on the other hand, will be free of the presence of sin forever! You won’t even be tempted to sin. How restful will that be?

Better Light Source

We won’t need electricity or the sun to light our way, to sustain life. The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ will shine brighter than the sun. There will be no darkness. The one who made the sun and all other sources of life himself will be there.

Heaven is better than Eden because we’ll have Better Knowledge of God

Question: If you are a Christian right now, do you know God better than Adam and Eve did in the Garden?
I would say, yes you do! If we read the whole Bible we see that God progressively reveals himself, culminating in what we celebrate at Christmas, that God the Son came and took on flesh to save mankind from their sins and make all things new.
Did Adam and Eve love God? I’m sure they did. But before they fall, they didn’t know God as Savior. How could they? They weren’t in need of one. In the same way that in a good marriage one spouse grows to love their spouse more the more they know them, we will have the ability to love God more because we know him better and will continue to!
Another angle on this is that if someone saved your life, would you appreciate them a lot more than you did if they didn’t?
Well, we’ll appreciate Christ even more than that! He didn’t save our lives as if we were just struggling to stay alive and he throws us a lifesaver to grab onto so we don’t drown. We were dead in our sins, at the bottom of the lake, DEAD, and he gave us eternal life as a free gift by the shedding of his blood!
Even in this passage, we see that John sees God as: “God and the Lamb.” God the Father and God the Son, the Sacrificial Lamb, who loved us and gave himself up for us so that he might bring us to God. God revealed as Son and Savior.
We’ll know God better because he will have revealed himself more fully and we’ll love him more because of that. We won’t be able to help it!
Review: So heaven will be better than Eden because we will have better blessings than Adam and Eve did, we will have better knowledge of God than Adam and Eve did, and most important of all we will have...

Better Access to God Than Adam and Eve Did

God’s throne

In Genesis there was a river that flowed out from Eden coming from a mysterious place. We are not told its starting place. Here, we are told that in heaven there will be a river, the river of the water of life, flowing directly from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In Eden, Adam and Eve don’t seem to have full access to God’s dwelling place.
Adam and Eve got to walk with God in the cool of the day. They had contact and conversation with him, but we know from scripture that they couldn’t have seen his face, and they only had this kind of access to him at a limited time of the day—the cool of the day, however long that was.
Not only will we see that the river of the water of the life flows from the very throne of God and the Lamb itself, but we will get to see his face!
Those who trust in Jesus will see God and the Lamb face-to-face, the greatest blessing of all!
Now, what will that moment be like? That’s hard to imagine isn’t it. It’s not like we can put a face to the name, right? But scripture does tells us what his disposition, his countenance, what his temperament will be toward us. It tells us how he will react in that moment.
(Close you eyes and listen to this, just try to imagine this moment for you, with the multitudes of saints from all nations surrounding you)
Zephaniah 3:14–20 ESV
14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. 18 I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20 At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord.
God and the Lamb will rejoice over us? Exult over us with loud signing?
Can you imagine Jesus, the King of the Universe, with a big smile on his face, singing, “I love you. I died to purchase you. I redeemed you. I saved you. You are mine forever! You will dwell with me forever! There is no more evil! Only joy and rest in my presence! You conquered by my blood and made it to your final destination! I love you.”
And all of this with no threat of us being destroyed by the one who dwells in inapproachable light. In that moment, when we see him face to face, our joy will be complete, forever. MAN, WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE!

Conclusion

So why will heaven be better than Eden? Because the blessings are far better, our knowledge and love of God will be far better therefore our capacity to love him will be more, and best of all we will get to see, face-to-face, the one who took on flesh for us, was obedient for us, suffered for us, died for us, conquered death and satan and was raised to life for us, who pioneered a way to heaven for us, who loved us so that he might bring us to God.
I challenge you to try and find a more happy, joyful moment than that in all eternity.
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