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The Restoration of All Things

https://youtu.be/klCk9kXVhc8



We reside in a world increasingly marked by despair and uncertainty. The evidence of people losing hope is heart-wrenching, with rising suicide rates, particularly among children. Unemployment and overpopulation strain our economy, while the looming threat of climate change adds to the pervasive sense of instability. Amidst this backdrop, two major wars further darken the global horizon, leaving many questioning the notion of a hopeful future.

Recent statistics highlight concerning trends in mental health and suicide rates in South Africa. According to data from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), the country has one of the highest suicide rates in Africa, with 13,774 suicides reported in 2019, translating to a rate of 23.5 per 100,000 people. Notably, men are significantly more affected, with a suicide rate of 37.6 per 100,000 compared to 9.8 per 100,000 for women (Africa Check) (SAFMH).

Additionally, the demand for psychotropic medications for depression, anxiety, and mental trauma has surged, reflecting the increasing prevalence of mental health issues. The South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) underscores the urgent need for enhanced suicide prevention measures and mental health support services, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which has exacerbated feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness (SAFMH).

FOUNDATIONAL HOPE TO ANCHOR THE SOUL

THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS!! 

Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?”  And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.  “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first. (Mat 19:28-30) 

A word study on the word ‘restoration’: 3824. παλιγγενεσία paliggenesía; gen. paliggenesías, fem. noun from pálin (G3825), again, and génesis (G1078), generation, regeneration, restoration, renovation, rebirth. In simple terms: GENESIS AGAIN!” – You can add the keyphrase at the end, for example: “In simple terms: GENESIS AGAIN, pointing to the RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS!

Let us embark on a journey to find THIS AUTHENTIC HOPE the Bible speaks of as beautifully illustrated by John Eldredge in his inspiring work, ‘All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything.'” – You can add the keyphrase after “All Things New,” like this: “‘All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything,’ pointing to the RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis

This other world is none other than the New Heaven and New Earth promised by God, a realm where all things will be restored to their intended perfection.

Isaiah 65:17 – “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

Isaiah 66:22 – “For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain.”

2 Peter 3:13 – “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

Revelation 21:1 – Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.”

Revelation 21:5 – “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.'”

Revelation 22:1-5 – “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 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. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.”

Acts 3:21 (NKJV) – “Whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

Romans 8:19-21 (NKJV) – For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

1. Longing for the Restored Earth

Our deepest longings are not mere fantasies; they are echoes of Eden, whispers of a coming glory. Eldredge suggests that these desires are a glimpse of Heaven itself. Scripture affirms this: 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” 

Eccl.3:11

The very yearning we experience for beauty, justice, and love is Heaven beckoning us, inviting us to the fullness of life that God has prepared. 

People often use the word “heaven” to describe a range of delightful experiences and emotions whilst enjoying a sunset on the beach it feels like “a slice of heaven” or a day at the spa; being pampered and relaxed feels like “pure heaven”. Or, savoring a piece of rich, creamy chocolate cake is absolutely “heavenly”. Listening to your favorite music can “transport you to heaven”. Walking through a blooming garden feels like a heavenly experience. Curling up with a good book on a rainy day is my idea of heaven. A long, peaceful sleep feels like heaven after a busy day. Sharing a heartfelt conversation with a loved one is “truly heavenly”. Experiencing a moment of pure joy and laughter feels like being in heaven. Watching the stars on a clear night can feel like a glimpse of heaven.  

“I’ll let you in on a little secret: your heart is made for the kingdom of God. This might be the most important thing anyone will ever tell you about yourself: your heart only thrives in one habitat, and that safe place is called the kingdom of God.” 

John Eldredge: All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love

The scriptural accounts after Jesus’ resurrection and before His Ascension gives us the clearest proof of what heaven is like.  The story of Jesus meeting with His disciples on the shore of Galilee is one of the most revealing pieces of evidence ever! He did not act like an alien from space! He interacted “normally” like making a fire and inviting His disciples for a scrumptious beach breakfast with His friends! 

Jesus Defied Natural Law Restrictions:

 

    • Jesus moved through walls, instantaneously. (John 20:26

    • Even during Jesus’ ministry and demonstration of the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, we see some glimpses of what Heaven is like: Jesus walked on Water (Matthew 14:29)

Feasting & Big Mealtimes!

In Jesus’ resurrected body, He evidently ate with His disciples. Having food to eat means there is great value in intentionality and togetherness around nourishment: someone will have to produce food, and someone has to prepare it! For people to sit at the table, someone had to craft the table and the chairs! Someone had to build the buildings.  John 21:12Jeremiah 31:13Isaiah 25:6Revelation 19:9 See also Matthew 8:11

Feeling at Home: 

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”   

John 14:1-3

Heaven will feel like home! 

Isa 65: 17–1921Mat 19: 28–29Mat 25:31-36Joh 14:1-4

2. The New Heaven and Earth Restored Without Sin

Imagine a world unmarred by sin, where every molecule resonates with the holiness of God.

Revelation gives us this promise: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… 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.” 

Rev. 21:1-4

In this restored creation, the curse of sin will be utterly abolished, and the earth will reflect God’s perfect will.  

Imagine the awe-inspiring beauty of nature, where every person is a “Mr & Mrs Dolittle” harmoniously connecting with all animals, living without degradation, pollution, waste, or rubbish.  

Remember the feeling of recovering from a long, bed-stricken illness?  We all know how to appreciate a limited-addition, old masterpiece vehicle restored to its former glory. Think of that moment when you achieve perfection after countless hours of practice on a musical instrument. Recollect that warm feeling of delight when seeing an old friend again after many years! Think about those moments when your team functioned without jealousy, competition, egotistical distractions, or divisive factions. 

This is the NEW EARTH—no sin. Picture a world where people aren’t weighed down by ego trips and selfishness, endless lusts, jealousy, anger or wrath, unhealthy desires, overindulgence, laziness, or self-absorption. This would enable everyone to thrive in a vibe of cooperation, mindfulness, genuine connections, and purpose-driven action.

3. Restored in Perfect Likeness of Jesus

We shall be transformed into the likeness of our risen Lord. Just as Jesus was resurrected with a glorified body, so too shall we be. Scripture tells us:

“He will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” 

Philippians 3:21


Just a couple of hours after Jesus’ most brutal suffering on a cross, His resurrected body only bore the scars of His crucifixion as a testament to His victory over sin and death. Likewise, our resurrected bodies will be free from all blemishes of sin, a testament to our redemption and new creation in Christ.  

We are most beautiful when we are most like Him

“When He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2

1 John 3:2

Think of your mind functioning optimally, remembering everything, being sober-minded and focused, your body in perfect shape, and your unique talents reaching their full potential.  Sin’s gravity is constantly pulling you down, yet in your innermost being, you know you can do better! Imagine the gravitational pull of sin completely irradicated! Weightlessness! This is what heaven is like! Perfected into the image of Christ! 

4. Reunion with Lost Loved Ones in Perfect Harmony

Imagine the joy of being reunited with loved ones, all relationships restored in perfect harmony.

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 provides this comforting assurance: “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 

In the New Heaven and Earth, every tear of separation will be wiped away, and we will enjoy eternal fellowship without the shadow of sin.

In the Old Testament, when a person died, the biblical writers said he was “gathered to his people” (cf. Gen. 25:835:2949:29Num. 20:24Judg. 2:10). In 2 Samuel 12, when David’s infant child died, David confidently said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (v. 23). David evidently expected to see his child again. 

While sharing the Passover meal with His disciples, Christ said, “Take this [cup] and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17-18). Christ promised that He and His disciples would drink the fruit of the vine together again–in heaven.

This is why Paul writes: “lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” to comfort some of the Thessalonians who evidently thought their dying loved ones would miss the return of Christ. He says in verse 18, “Comfort one another with these words.” The comfort comes from the prospect of a glorious continual reunion.  

5. My Purpose and Work Restored in God’s Likeness

Our work and creativity will find their true purpose in the New Creation. We will fulfill God’s dream for the world, engaging in work that is both meaningful and joyous.

“No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.” 

Rev. 22:3

Our service will be a pure expression of our redeemed nature, reflecting God’s glory in every endeavour.

When God created Adam, He “took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Work was part of the original Eden. It was part of a perfect human life. God Himself is a worker. He didn’t create the world and then retire. Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). Jesus worked physically for the greater part of His life. We will also have work to do, satisfying and enriching work that we can’t wait to get back to, work that’ll never be drudgery. God is the primary Worker, and as His image-bearers, we are made to work. We create, accomplish, set goals and fulfill them—to God’s glory.

Remember the EDEN Story! 

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  

Gen. 1:28

This purpose will be wonderfully fulfilled in and through us! 

6. All Right Deeds Vindicated and Rewarded

Every act of righteousness, often unnoticed in this world, will be openly rewarded in the Kingdom of God. Matthew 25:21 echoes this truth: 

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

Matt. 25:21

The obscurity we endure in our righteous acts will be vindicated as we enter into the joy of our Lord with these rewards:

 

There is nothing more fulfilling than achieving your JUST reward—getting the right recognition from the one who values your work most! 

7. Evil and Wrong Punished and Abolished

Finally, all evil and wrong will be justly punished and eradicated. Scripture assures us of this victory:

“And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” 

Rev. 20:10

The final judgment will ensure that evil is permanently removed, and the new creation will be a place of everlasting peace and righteousness. 

Our moments of joy and pleasure are often short-lived because we know the imminent danger of evil, destruction, bad luck, mishaps, and mistakes lurking around the corner.  

Conclusion 

As we reflect on the vision of the New Heaven and Earth, let us anchor our hope in the promises of God. The deepest desires of our hearts are but shadows of the glorious reality to come, anticipating the RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS. In the words of C.S. Lewis, let us live as “citizens of heaven,” anticipating with joy the restoration of all things through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

https://allthingsnew.com

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Preke

Die HEMEL is ‘n WERKLIKHEID

“Waarom soek julle die Lewende by die dooies? ~ Lukas 24:5 

‘n Nuwe wetenskaplike studie van naby-dood ervarings BEWYS onteenseglik “daar is LEWE na die DOOD.” (Evidence of the Afterlife | Largest NDE study conducted reveals proof of life after death | The science of Near-Death Experiences | Jeffrey Long & Paul Perry). 

As meer mense sou besef dat daar inderdaad LEWE NA DIE DOOD IS, sal ons anders dink en handel in hierdie lewe!  As mense absoluut seker en oortuig was van ‘n lewe na die dood en hoe naby dit is, sou hulle waarskynlik met ‘n groter fokus op geestelike en morele waardes leef, in die wete dat hul dade en keuses ewige gevolge het.

Russel Brand die Engelse komediant en sosiale media beïnvloeder het hom onlangs laat doop, en vertel van die wonderlike transendentale ervaring van vrede en dieper verbintenis met die Here en sy geliefdes.  Die middele wat hy eertyds gebruik het kon wonderlike oomblikke en ervaringe skep, maar daar was altyd ’n groter “disconnect” met almal om hom. Hierdie keer is die vrede blywend, en sluit meer mense om hom in.  

Die skrywer van hierdie studie, ‘n mediese dokter, vertel dat hy eers nie geglo het nie, en die studie bloot onderneem het omdat die veld van naby-dood-ervarings (NDE) vir hom interessant was. Maar die studie het vir hom onteenseglik bewys: Daar is lewe na die dood!

Van die 1300 mense wat aan die studie deelgeneem het is die volgende stories konsekwent waargeneem: 

  1. Buite-liggaamlike ervaring (BLE): Skeiding van bewussyn van die fisiese liggaam. Buite liggaamlike perspektief gewoonlik van die plafon, en kan detail van gebeure beskryf.
  2. Verhoogde Sintuie: Sensoriese persepsies, soos gesig en gehoor, word dikwels gerapporteer om baie meer lewendig en intens te wees as in gewone lewe.
  3. Intense Emosies: Mense ervaar dikwels oorweldigende gevoelens van vreugde, liefde, en vrede tydens hul NDE’s.
  4. Beweeg deur ‘n tonnel
  5. Stralende Lig: Baie beskryf dat hulle ‘n intense, dikwels warm en liefdevolle lig ervaar wat ‘n gevoel van vrede en onvoorwaardelike liefde uitstraal.
  6. Pragtige Landskappe: Beskrywings sluit dikwels landskappe in wat merkwaardig mooi is en vol lewendige kleure, soms soos idilliese tuine, velde, of paradyse.
  7. Ontmoet oorlede familielede of vriende (selfs diegene wat jy nie geweet het al dood is nie) 
  8. Tydloosheid en Ruimtelike Verandering: Mense rapporteer dikwels ‘n gevoel van tydloosheid en ruimtelike veranderinge, waar hulle voel dat hulle van lineêre tyd of ruimtelike beperkings losgemaak is.
  9. Lewensoorsig: Sommige mense rapporteer dat hulle ‘n panoramiese oorsig van hul lewens ervaar, dikwels vanuit ‘n perspektief buite hulself, wat beide positiewe en negatiewe oomblikke reflekteer.
  10. Ontmoetings met Wesens: NDE’s sluit dikwels ontmoetings met ander wesens in, wat engele, geestelike gidse, of oorlede geliefdes kan insluit. Hierdie wesens word dikwels as verwelkomend en vertroostend beskryf.
  11. Onwêreldse Kennis: Individue beskryf soms dat hulle diepgaande insigte of spesiale kennis oor die heelal, die doel van die lewe, of hul eie persoonlike missie ontvang.
  12. Grense of Hindernisse: Baie mense noem dat hulle ‘n grens of limiet teëkom wat hulle voel hulle nie kan oorsteek as hulle na hul aardse lewe wil terugkeer nie.

Van hierdie persone was blind, ek kon tydens die ervaring hulle eie liggame, spesifieke detail en omgewing sien. Mense wat naby-dood-ervarings het, kom van regoor die wêreld, oor die spektrum van Oosterse of Westerse godsdienstige, en ook geen religieuse agtergrond, ryk en arm, geletterde en ongeletterd, en selfs kinders onder 10jr oud!  Almal het baie werklike ervarings van ‘n ANDER wêreld waar tyd nie bestaan nie.  

Die konsensus van hierdie studie is: dat hierdie ervarings nie nagemaak kan word nie, want gewoonlik beleef ‘n NDE ‘n diepgaande, lewensveranderende en drastiese verskuiwing in waardes en oortuigings wat gewoonlik meer geestelik en minder materialisties word.  

Die Bybel: Gesaghebbende Bron oor die Ewigheid

Een van die mees belangrikste temas in die Bybel is die Ewigheid! God is Ewig! 

Abraham het ‘n tamarisk by Berseba geplant en daar die Naam van die Here, die ewige God, aangeroep (Gen 21:33). Elohim Olam – Die Ewige God. 

Vanaf die eerste verhaal van Adam en Eva wat uit die tuin van Eden gedryf word as gevolg van hulle sonde lees ons van die Boom van die Lewe (Gen 3:22), en in die laaste hoofstuk van die Bybel Open 22:2 eindig die Bybel met die Boom van die lewe.  

Die Bybel is dus ‘n handleiding hoe om nie net die ewige lewe te beërwe nie, maar hoe om in hierdie lewe alreeds vanuit ‘n ewigheidsperspektief te leef.  

Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jer 6:16)  

Die boek is inderdaad EWIGHEIDSKENNIS!  

God Die EWIGE 

Die Jode verstaan hierdie gesaghebbende Ewigheid gewigtigheid wat inherent deel is van die wet en voorskrifte (Ps 119:89; 160; Isa 40:8). Dit is hoekom hulle vandag nog noukeurig die wet navolg.

Maar EWIGHEID is ‘n grenslose, deursigtige, alle geheime is ontbloot, interpersoonlike netwerk van heilige mense! Jy kan dus nie van Ewigheid praat en God uitsluit nie. 

Die ewige God is ‘n skuilplek, sy arms is altyd onder jou. (Deut 33:27) 

Een van die mense wat ‘n naby-dood-ervaring gehad het skryf die volgende:

“We live in a “plural unity” or “oneness.” In other words, our reality is “unity in plurality and plurality in unity.” That I was everything and everything was me, without essential differences other than in earthly appearances. That there is no God outside ourselves, but rather, God is in everything and everything is a part of God, as is life itself.”

God word dikwels in hierdie NDE ervarings as die volheid van perfekte LIEFDE beskryf.  

Dr. André Pelser vertel dat na sy byna-dood-ervaring hy ook ‘n belewenis gehad het, waar hy in die allerheiligste in gepluk was in ‘n oomblik, en toe by ‘n heerlike vloeiende straal van lig gekom het. Toe hy in hierdie lig ingestoot word beleef hy ‘n liefde so intens hy kon dit kwalik beskryf.  Sy refleksie oor hierdie ervaring is:

“Ek het besef dat die Here almal regtig liefhet! Selfs my vyande, en al die mense wat ek as te sondig afgeskryf het! Hy het almal baie lief!!” 

Dr André Pelser

Ewige Straf 

En hulle sal weggaan in die ewige straf, maar die regverdiges in die ewige lewe.  ~ Mat 25:46. 

Navorsing oor byna-dood-ervarings (BDE’s) beklemtoon dikwels positiewe ervarings soos die sien van helder lig, gevoelens van vrede, en ontmoetings met geliefdes. Daar is egter ook verslae van ontstellende BDE’s wat visioene van helagtige omgewings of sensasies insluit. Hierdie verslae, hoewel minder algemeen, word in sommige studies aangeteken:

Dr. Maurice Rawlings: In sy boek “To Hell and Back” dokumenteer Dr. Rawlings, ‘n kardioloog, stories van pasiënte wat skrikwekkende BDE’s gerapporteer het. Hy noem dat hierdie verslae dikwels tonele van pyniging en lyding uitbeeld, wat ‘n diepgaande impak gehad het op diegene wat dit ervaar het.

Dr. Raymond Moody: In sy baanbrekende werk “Life After Life” bespreek Dr. Moody gevalle van BDE’s wat negatiewe of ontstellende ervarings behels, hoewel die meerderheid van sy navorsing op positiewe ervarings fokus.

Dr. Bruce Greyson: ‘n Vooraanstaande navorser op die gebied van BDE’s, Dr. Greyson het in sy studies erken dat ‘n minderheid mense skrikwekkende ervarings rapporteer. Hierdie insluit gevoelens van wanhoop of visioene van donker en dreigende landskappe, wat sommige as hel-agtig interpreteer.

Dr. Kenneth Ring: In sy boek “Heading Toward Omega” ondersoek Dr. Ring verskeie tipes BDE’s, insluitend dié wat ontstellend is en soms as helagtig beskou word.

Dr. George Ritchie: In “Return from Tomorrow” vertel Ritchie van sy persoonlike BDE wat ‘n visioen van verlate landskappe en swerwende siele ingesluit het, wat hy as ‘n helagtige ervaring geïnterpreteer het.

Jesus: Nou-Toegang Tot Die EWIGE-NOU. 

En dit is die ewige lewe, dat hulle U ken, die enige waaragtige God, en Jesus Christus wat U gestuur het. ~ Joh 17:3. 

En dit is die getuienis: dat God ons die ewige lewe gegee het, en dié lewe is in sy Seun. Hy wat die Seun het, het die lewe; wie die Seun van God nie het nie, het nie die lewe nie. ~ 1 John 5:11-12.

Voorwaar, voorwaar Ek sê vir julle, as iemand my woord bewaar, sal hy die dood in der ewigheid nie sien nie. ~ Joh 8:51.  

Jesus bied ons ‘n aardse menslike voorbeeld van hoe ons in eenheid en harmonie met die ewige, hemel, en koninkryk van God hier kan leef.  Al sy gelykenisse en preke is instruksies hoe om ons besig te hou met dinge wat ewigheidswaarde het.  

“Moenie vir julle skatte op aarde bymekaarmaak waar mot en roes verniel en waar diewe inbreek en steel nie; maar maak vir julle skatte bymekaar in die hemel waar geen mot of roes verniel en waar diewe nie inbreek en steel nie; want waar jou skat is, daar sal jou hart ook wees.”  ~ Mat 6:19-21.

Fokus op ewige waardes in plaas van materiële rykdom. Belê jou tyd, energie en hulpbronne in aktiwiteite wat geestelike rykdom bou, soos dade van omgee, die deel van kennis en die ondersteuning van liefdadigheidsorganisasies en die kerk.

 “Jesus sê vir hom: As jy volmaak wil wees, gaan verkoop jou goed en gee dit aan die armes, en jy sal ‘n skat in die hemel hê; en kom hier, volg My.” ~ Mat 19:21

Wees vrygewig deur vir diegene in nood te gee. Dit kan insluit om geld, kos, klere of selfs jou tyd aan organisasies wat kwesbare gemeenskappe ondersteun, te skenk.

“Dan sal die Koning vir die wat aan sy regterhand is, sê: Kom, julle geseëndes van my Vader, beërwe die koninkryk wat vir julle berei is van die grondlegging van die wêreld af… Voorwaar, Ek sê vir julle, vir sover julle dit aan een van die geringste van hierdie broers van My gedoen het, het julle dit aan My gedoen.” ~ Mat 25:34-40.

Toon deernis en help dié wat minder bevoorreg is. Werk by skuilings, voorsien maaltye aan haweloses, besoek die siekes of reik uit na iemand wat eensaam of sukkelend is.

“’n Nuwe gebod gee Ek julle, dat julle mekaar moet liefhê; soos Ek julle liefgehad het, moet julle ook mekaar liefhê. Hieraan sal almal weet dat julle my dissipels is, as julle liefde onder mekaar het.” ~ Joh 13:34-35. 

Wees lief vir ander soos Christus liefgehad het. Dit behels om vriendelikheid, vergifnis en begrip te toon aan almal, veral aan dié naaste aan jou soos familie, vriende en bure.

“Moenie werk vir die spys wat vergaan nie, maar vir die spys wat bly tot in die ewige lewe, wat die Seun van die mens julle sal gee, want Hom het God die Vader verseël.”  ~ Joh 6:27.

Gee prioriteit aan geestelike groei bo materiële vooruitgang. Bestudeer die Skrif, bid gereeld, mediteer en neem deel aan aktiwiteite wat jou gees voed.

“Julle het My nie uitgekies nie, maar Ek het julle uitgekies en julle aangestel dat julle moet heengaan en vrugte dra, en julle vrug kan bly; sodat wat julle ook al die Vader in my Naam vra, Hy julle dit kan gee.”  ~ Joh 15:16.

Dra blywende vrugte deur deel te neem aan sinvolle werk wat positiewe en blywende impakte het. Mentor ander, ondersteun gemeenskapsprojekte, of neem deel aan inisiatiewe wat positiewe verandering bevorder.

Laat julle lig so skyn voor die mense, dat hulle julle goeie werke kan sien en julle Vader wat in die hemele is, verheerlik.”  ~ Mat 5:16.

Laat jou lig skyn deur te lewe as ‘n voorbeeld van goedheid en integriteit. Deel jou talente en vaardighede met ander, wees vrygewig in jou verhoudings, en streef daarna om ‘n positiewe verskil te maak in die lewens van diegene rondom jou.

Categories
Sermons

We are all searching for Eternity.  

We are all searching for eternity, for the good life, fine dining, financial success, prominence, significance, for a better life, immortality. 

Gerhard was an exceptional and experienced explorer, an adventurer searching for truth.  

At the time of his regeneration process from drugs, he told me. One can achieve a 10 times higher rush of euphoria and pleasure, focus, memory and super-man feelings while being high on drugs than any other natural means. Drug addicts believe they are free, and society is in prison, bound by their responsibilities, marriage life and routine obligations.

Gerhard’s search for truth miserably failed, being in his thirties having nothing to his name, only broken relationships.  

Finding Eternity in Jesus

Eventually, Gerhard made the divine connection; he found the pearl of great price, the secret hidden treasure of life – Jesus Christ!  

He discovered that all that he was searching for was locked up in the person of Jesus Christ. So, over a period of time, through consistent truth, obedience and humility, he stepped back into his family’s and friend’s hearts.  

He found a beautiful wive in Amelia, who shared a deep love for Jesus, and they travelled, served and lead people into the presence of the Eternal. 

Gerhard’s eye for the finer things in life and capturing moments of eternal bliss became his trademark.  

He learned that eternity is not somewhere far away in the future; Jesus is the Great Eternal Now!! In Christ, thankfulness, peace and joy became Gerhard’s foundation, rock, and solid ground.  From this foundation, he worked himself up from being a film crew-hand to a manager, professional videographer and director of some of the most amazing shots and glimpses of eternity now.  

Gerhard’s death is untimely, abrupt, unexpected, and it feels wrong!  But again, Gerhard’s life is a sermon, a type of roadmap, a roadsign pointer that this life and all its fine things are temporary!! Word of warning: “Do not put your trust in these earthly glimpses of eternity.” 

These eternal now moments are only pointers, short reels, a documentary of what is truly REAL, namely – JESUS.  He died and rose again to reconnect us to that eternal reality.  

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corn4:16-18) 

We are all going to die!! 

We are really all going to die, some sooner than others! 

The only way to escape death is to know and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and receive His resurrection life force in your soul!  

It is His resurrection power that is working in us who believe right now, giving us the supernatural means to cope with our loss! By His grace and resurrection power, Gerhard won his battle over drug addiction!  It is the power of Christ within that helps us to remain calm, peaceful, and thankful under pressure.  

All cultures have their own idea and theory about life after death. Egyptians dedicated pyramids to their dead. Chinese built huge tombs for their emperors with ceramic armies to “protect” them in the afterlife. Vikings dressed fallen warriors and released them to the wind in burning ships. Crusaders in the Middle Ages believed they gained a more favourable afterlife if they died in battle, as did the Japanese kamikaze pilots in the 2nd World War. American Indians buried weapons and tools with their dead for use in the Happy Hunting Ground.  

Heaven is real because Heaven is here in Christ

For Christians and believers, heaven is not an afterlife fantasy or imagination, for we are already experiencing moments of Heaven here and now in Christ!

In Christ, we have received real weapons and real protection against sin and evil!! We cannot take any of this worlds riches, axes and guns with us!! 

Wealth, prominence, guns and swords cannot protect you in the afterlife. If you do not know and have Jesus, you are lost!  

The Good News Gospel is exactly this! Jesus declared in His first sermon: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and then started to heal people, set them free from demonic oppression, raised the dead, fed the thousands, cleansed the lepers, and demonstrated HEAVEN here and now!! He teaches us to pray “Let your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:10). He then later sent His disciples to demonstrate heaven too in doing the same miracles He did. (Luk 10:9).  

Jesus is the LIFE, the TRUTH and the WAY! 

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting?

O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:50-58) 

“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” II Corinthians‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭NKJ

Godly people dies : (Rest in peace eternally) 😇👑

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.” (‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭57:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

“Meanwhile, right-living people die and no one gives them a thought. God-fearing people are carted off and no one even notices. The right-living people are out of their misery, they’re finally at rest. They lived well and with dignity and now they’re finally at peace.” (Isaiah‬ ‭57:1-2‬ ‭MSG)

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Sermons

What Happens When Christians Die?

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15)

Death is the one thing we are most certain of, yet we are most ill-prepared for. Is there an afterlife? How does one prepare for it? How is one certain of resurrection? Particularly we as believers ask the question: What happens to Christians when they die?

All cultures have shown interest in life after death. Egyptians dedicated pyramids to their dead. Chinese built huge tombs for their emperors with ceramic armies to “protect” them in the afterlife. Vikings dressed fallen warriors and released them to the wind in burning ships. Crusaders in the Middle Ages believed they gained a more favorable afterlife if they died in battle, as did the Japanese kamikaze pilots in the 2nd World War. American Indians buried weapons and tools with their dead for use in the Happy Hunting Ground.  Hence the question: What happens to Christians when they die?

Currently, 60-million people die every year, and 140-million new babies are born. As mysterious as is the origin of new life, so mysterious is our end.  Scientists cannot create new life nor give us immortality. Some people have babies without any complications; others are unable to have children. Some people want to die yet they remain alive and others who want to live unexpectedly die.  

Life is Fleeting, Therefore Hold on Loosely. 

The paradox of life is our vulnerability to death, yet we desperately fight to preserve and extend it.  We all know that all of this life’s material things are temporary, yet we spend most of our time acquiring assets, belongings and goods.  

“Our days on earth are as a shadow” (1 Chron 29:15; Job 14:2; Ps. 90:9)

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. (Ps 103:15-16)

Death is CERTAIN.

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). 

The Bible Describes the Death of Christians in Many Different Ways

The Psalmist wrote that when people die, they “return to the dust” (Psalm 104:29).

The KJV calls death “giving up the ghost” (Genesis 25:8; 35:29; Lamentations 1:19; Acts 5:10).

The Bible says that when Abraham died, he was “gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8). In other words, he joined his deceased relatives in death.

The Bible often describes the death of God’s people as “sleep” (Deuteronomy 31:16; John 11:11; 1 Corinthians 15:6, 18, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15). 

The apostle Paul called death a “departure” (2 Timothy 4:6). It’s like going on a trip…from this world to another.

The apostle Peter said that death is like “taking down a tent” (1 Peter 1:13-14). Our bodies are temporary dwelling places.  

Job described death as “the king of terrors” (Job 14:14). Death is many people’s greatest fear. 

There is Nothing Evil, Sinister or Wicked About The Death of a Christian

Death is as natural as the birth of a newborn baby. It is part of the cycle of life. You will also not find any rubbish dumps in Nature. There is no waste, death has a purpose. Death often provides for life! It is a gift. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:24-25)

One will always find sufficient grace in the death of a believer. As a local pastor, I must still find the story where God did not work everything for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:29): testimonies of provision, reconciliation, repentance and return to the Lord; of God’s love and presence in the midst of the Valley of Death. (Ps 23)

The tragedy of death is dying without being reconciled with God! Oh, the great horror! To see someone struggling to die without finding peace! Death is a sobering reality and grief is a lonely path that all must take to discover what life is really about. When losing a loved one, the speeding, sometimes out-of-control-bus of life calls to an abrupt halt. One becomes aware of eternity, the soul searches for meaning, purpose, understanding. The best poems, songs and books were written during a grieving process.

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mat 5:4 Is. 61:2, 3; Luke 6:21; [John 16:20]; Acts 16:34; [2 Cor. 1:7]; Rev. 21:4)

When a Noble, Righteous Christian Dies, We Feel Something is Wrong.

When someone noble, and righteous is taken, we feel this is unfair. Something is wrong. We somehow feel that bad and sinful people deserve death! 

Stephen was one of seven men chosen to help administer food distribution to needy Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-6). He was one of the first appointed Deacons of the Early Church’s Jesus movement. He was the most prominent of the seven and is singled out as a man “full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). Manifesting the grace and power of God in an unusual measure, he did miraculous (Acts 6:8) and proved to be a bold and effective evangelist and defender of the faith (Acts 6:9-10). His witness was so powerful; he was soon arrested by the authorities and brought before the high council for interrogation (6:9-12).  After a lengthy interrogation, they brutally stoned him to death (Acts 7:54-60). As he died, Stephen prayed that his murderers might be forgiven (Acts 7:60). 

We are not told of his family, whether he had a wife or children. He must have had a mother and father and siblings.  How did they feel that God took their son after doing so much good? One can only imagine. 

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”  (Acts 7:55-56)

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59-60)

In this story of horrible brutality, the glory of heaven shines more brightly! While Stephen was being stoned, he was filled with Holy Spirit, Saw Jesus and the Father… and fell asleep!! What vindication, victory and supernatural strength!  

Christians Do Not DIE!

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”  (Matthew 10:28) 

READ the WHOLE Chapter – 1 Corinthians 15! 

Why Death is BETTER for Christians.

It is our REWARD, our finishing line! 

Is it not strange how, when we are facing hardship, we all long for heaven? In contrast, when losing a loved one, we hold on to their life.  We hold on to our loved ones for what they did for us, how well they loved us, the good they did… not realising that for believers, DEATH is BETTER! 

For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. (Phil 1:23) 

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country (Heb 11:16) 

Why are you grieving? The question feels strange, insensitive. Why? You very well know why. But this question had the same tone the angels used when the disciples came to the grave of Jesus on Easter morning: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24: 5). Jesus continues to say that the person you mourn is not dead; you know that. So now, let us talk about your loss. He begins to help us differentiate between grief and devastation, between “good-bye for now” and what felt like an utter loss.  ((Footnote All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love. John Eldredge)) 

What Exactly Happens When We Die?

A New Heaven and a New Earth 

Imagine this wonderful creation, nature, sunsets, geography, diversity, splendour without sin, rebellion, jealousy, envy, selfish ambition, anger, entitlement!  

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Rev 21:1Isa 65:1766:222Pet 3:13)

Incorruptibleness 

Do you not get tired of cleaning, repairing, restoring the downhill decay of this world?  “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)” 

Oneness with GOD 

that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” (Ephesians 1:10) 

Finally Complete Like Him

when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) 

Defying the Natural Law Restrictions 

Jesus moved through walls, instantaneously. (John 20:26)
the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away (Acts 8:39; 1 Kin. 18:12; 2 Kin. 2:16; Ezek. 3:12, 14; 2 Cor. 12:2) 
Jesus walked on Water (Matthew 14:29) 

Feasting & Big mealtimes! 
John 21:12; Jeremiah 31:13; Isaiah 25:6; Revelation 19:9 See also Matthew 8:11
Having food to eat, means someone will have to produce food, and someone has to prepare it! 

We receive Heavenly Rewards/Crowns 
  • Crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8)
  • Incorruptible crown (1 Cor 9:25)
  • Crown of life (James 1:12)
  • An Crown of glory (1 Pet 5:2 – 4)
  • Crown of rejoicing (1 Th 2:19) 
We Will Reign With Him 

If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. (2 Tim 2:12) 

Gen 1:28; Mt 19:28; 25:34; 1Co 6:3; 2Ti 2:12; Heb 12:28; Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:6

Reunited with Our Righteous Family and Loved-ones. 

In the Old Testament, when a person died, the biblical writers said he was “gathered to his people” (cf. Gen. 25:8; 35:29; 49:29; Num. 20:24; Judg. 2:10). In 2 Samuel 12, when David’s infant child died, David confidently said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (v. 23). David evidently expected to see his child again. 

While sharing the Passover meal with His disciples, Christ said, “Take this [cup] and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17-18). Christ was promising that He and His disciples would drink the fruit of the vine together again–in heaven.

This is why Paul writes: “lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” to comfort some of the Thessalonians who evidently thought their dying loved ones would miss the return of Christ. He says in verse 18, “Comfort one another with these words.”The comfort comes from the prospect of reunion.  

We Will Work

When God created Adam, he “took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Work was part of the original Eden. It was part of a perfect human life. God Himself is a worker. He didn’t create the world and then retire. Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). Jesus worked physically for the greater part of His life. We’ll also have work to do, satisfying and enriching work that we can’t wait to get back to, work that’ll never be drudgery. God is the primary worker, and as His image-bearers, we’re made to work. We create, accomplish, set goals and fulfill them—to God’s glory.

We Will be Finally HOME 

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) 

Isa 65: 17–19, 21; Mat 19: 28–29; Mat 25:31-36; Joh 14:1-4

Heaven is Not an Afterlife Fantasy, for we are Already Experiencing Moments of Heaven. 

The Good News Gospel is exactly this! Jesus declared in His first sermon: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and then started to heal people, set them free from demonic oppression, raised the dead, fed the thousands, cleansed the lepers, and demonstrated HEAVEN here and now!! He teaches us to pray “Let your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:10). He then later sent His disciples to demonstrate heaven too (Luk 10:9).  


For more reading content on this theme: https://hrco.co.za/sermons/kyk-met-nuwe-oe-na-die-hemel-3/

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Do not WASTE your LIFE any longer and become eternally prepared for LIFE after DEATH!

For more reading:

[1] Desire: The journey we must take to find the Life that God offers. John Eldredge

[2] All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love. John Eldredge 

[3]  Driven by Eternity: Make Your Life Count Today and Forever. John Bevere