Keep It Fresh

Keep It Fresh


Revelation 21:2 ESV  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:9-27 ESV  Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  (10)  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,  (11)  having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.  (12)  It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—  (13)  on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.  (14)  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  (15)  And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls.  (16)  The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal.  (17)  He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement.  (18)  The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.  (19)  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,  (20)  the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.  (21)  And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.  (22)  And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  (23)  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  (24)  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,  (25)  and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.  (26)  They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  (27)  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

You know there is a common sentiment amongst Christians that the Bible doesn’t say a lot about heaven.

Sure, it tells us we will go there when we die, and that there is no more pain or sorrow or suffering… but that’s about it…

I have heard this line of thinking from preachers, from evangelists, I have even thought it and probably said it in the past.

But the more I study, the more I realize that there is a LOT of details about our eternal and glorious afterlife in scripture… and not just metaphors and vague prophecies… but CONCREATE DETAILS.

And today we read a lot of CONCREAT details about New Jerusalem, our eternal dwelling place.

Now remember, sometimes we use the word heaven to mean New Jerusalem, we say things like “I will live in heaven with Jesus forever”

But when we do so we are slightly wrong, what we ought to say is “I will live in New Jerusalem with Jesus for ever”.

Because as we read in these scriptures New Jerusalem WAS in heaven, but will descend from heaven and will exist on earth, a newly reformed perfect earth, it will exist there as our dwelling place with God forever.

Now at CLC, y’all already know, we preach through Scripture. And for each passage of scripture I go through I believe that God has an applicable word for each of us in our own daily lives.

In other words, just because we are talking about our future, doesn’t mean there is not application for today.

But before I get into that application, let’s take some time to study and learn exactly what New Jerusalem will be like…

The first thing we need to understand is it’s preparation.

Revelation 21:2 ESV  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

  • “Prepared” that means that this city is designed, it is created, it has intentionality to it. It is not some cosmic bliss, it is not some higher form of evolution… no, it was created and prepared as a place perfect for you and I to exist with our God and our King.
    • A place created as an eternal dwelling place for God and man, where we can live with Christ in eternal glory.
    • Now the next question is: Who prepared this city? Why, Christ prepared it! He told us that He would.

John 14:2 ESV  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

  • So Christ has gone to prepare New Jerusalem for us!
    • Have you ever stayed at a house where the host is just Amazing?
    • When we stay with Pastor Connie and Daniel Ong in Seattle, they are the most amazing hosts.
      • They set up our room gorgeously, they lay out fresh towels, the bed is made up like a hotel room, and they always leave a basket with fruit and candy and drinks and snacks, often time accompanied with a card that greets us.
        • When you walk into a room prepared for you like that it is such a wonderful and refreshing feeling…
        • How wonderful it will be to walk into a home specifically prepared for you!
  • So we know about it’s preparation, let’s talk about it’s walls…

Revelation 21:12 ESV  It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—

Revelation 21:14 ESV  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

  • Now what’s notable about New Jerusalem’s walls and gates is that they are built with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 Disciples (The 12th being Matthias, not Judas Iscarriot).
    • What I find interesting about this, and it is something I talk about a lot, is that we see here represented both the Old and New Testaments.
    • Because Christianity did not start at the birth or death of Jesus, Christianity started with Adam and Eve, and continued through Noah, and through Moses, and Abraham, and Elijah, and Isaiah, and all the prophets of old… it is not a new religion that replaces Judaism, to the contrary Jesus is the KING of the Jews.
    • So of course New Jerusalem is not just a place for modern day Christians, but for all faithful followers of God, even those before Christ, according to Hebrews 11 and many other verses.
    • And how exciting will it be to be able to hang out with Abraham, and King David, and all the saints of old… plus more modern saints, like Wycliff, Luther, Bonhoeffer, and Grahm!
    • The 12 tribes and the 12 apostles… Old and New, all the saints represented in New Jerusalem.
  • Next let’s talk about it’s size…

Revelation 21:16 ESV  The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal.

  • Now a stadion is an ancient measurement, but the general consensus among scholars is that one stadion equals roughly 1/8th of a mile. That means that 12,000 stadia in today’s measurements would be about 1,500 miles.
    • That means New Jerusalem would be about 1,500 miles wide, 1,500 miles long, and 1,500 miles tall.
    • To put that in perspective, that’s roughly the size of India in length, width, and in height.
    • But those numbers are so big it’s hard to imagine, so let me show you what this would look like on earth if it was here right now, these images are from and they do a great job visualizing the massive scale of New Jerusalem… you ready, check this out…
  • has this to say about New Jerusalem’s size: “If you are 1 mile away from the city, you would not see the top, but [you] might [see it’s top] if you are 10 miles away. At 5,000 miles away, it would appear more than 130 times larger than the moon. To appear the size of the moon, you would have to be 160,427 miles away.
    • Now, these pictures show New Jerusalem as a cube, but it could just as easily be a pyramid in shape, we know that it has a square base, and we know it’s height, but we don’t know if it is cube shaped or pyramid shaped.
    • I tend to think pyramid shaped, with the largest building being in the middle and that one building being 1,400 miles high, and the others surrounding it getting shorter and shorter as they approach the outer walls.
    • Something more like this…
  • But either way, whether it is a cube or pyramid in shape, it will be MASSIVE, being able to hold billions upon billions of people.
  • Now, considering it’s size, let’s go back to the verse that says Jesus is preparing a place for you…

John 14:2 ESV  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

  • You know I love the ESV because it is easy to read and has the same structure as the King James Version, but there are times where I think the translators did not do a great job on certain scriptures… this is one of them… specifically when it comes to translating the Greek word μονή (mon-ay’).
    • Here in the ESV the word mon-ay is translated as “rooms” but if you look up the word in Strong’s Concordance you will find that the definition of mon-ay is either mansion or home.
    • You find the same if you look it up in Vines Bible dictionary.
    • Strong’s and Vines are the GO TO resources for looking up Biblical Greek and Hebrew, so I find it odd that the ESV would translate a word so differently than Strong’s or Vine’s…
    • So I looked up the verse in the 57 most popular English translations.
    • About a third of translations use the word “room” here…
    • But two thirds of the translations use the word “mansion”, ”house” or “dwelling place”.
    • It is my theory that the translators were trying to fit the word mon-ay into the context of a single house… “in my Father’s house”.
      • Because mansions in a house doesn’t make sense…
      • Unless of course, that house is actually a massive city that is 1,500 miles wide and long and tall… then it makes sense for there to be billions of mansions…
      • If you think of the Father’s house as New Jerusalem, which we know is our eternal home, THEN the King James version hits it on the head!

John 14:2 KJV  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 maybe it should be translated rooms, I don’t know, I am not a Greek scholar, these guys are incredibly good and anointed at their jobs… but either way I want you to know there is PLENTY of space for you everyone else in New Jerusalem!
    • Yes the Gate is Narrow, but it is perfectly wide enough for everyone who would be born again!
  • Ok, now that we have a basic grasp of the city of New Jerusalem, let’s get into today’s application, and since we spent so much time teaching this morning, I will try to keep these points short…
  • But the Title of todays message is…
  • Keep it Fresh.
    • When you think about New Jerusalem, as you hope in the glorious future of eternity in New Jerusalem… as you ponder and wonder about the beauty, the peace, the joy that we will have in New Jerusalem… I want you to also remember that it’s “Freshness” is a reminder that you need to keep your life fresh.
      • Let me explain…
  • To understand what I mean by the phrase “Keep it fresh” you first need to understand point one…

Point One – The Life of A Christian Parallels New Jerusalem

  • The life of a Christian Parallel’s New Jerusalem…
    • Your life, if you are born again, has MANY similarities to New Jerusalem… there are many parallels…
      • Yes there is still pain, and sorrow, and suffering… but there are many things about the life of the believer that are in parallel with New Jerusalem…
    • And understanding this, I think, will give you a little more hope, a little more, joy, and a little more freedom in life.
      • What I am saying is this: You don’t have to wait until you die to start living a New Jerusalem like life.
      • If you are born again, your life should already start to look like the beautiful city of New Jerusalem.
  • Let me show you how:

Revelation 21:11 ESV  having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

  • “Having the glory of God, It’s radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper…”
  • Do you remember the description of God in Revelation 4:3?

Revelation 4:3 ESV  And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald?

  • God too radiates with glory with an appearance like JASPER!
    • This means the city, New Jerusalem, RESEMBLES the God who made it.
  • You know who else resembles the God who made them? We do!

Genesis 1:26-27 ESV  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  (27)  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

  • Similar new Jerusalem, we are created in the image of God…
    • “What does that have to do with anything pastor?”
      • Well I am setting you up for point two so just hold on…
    • “But new Jerusalem shines with the Glory of God, are you saying man is glorious?!”
      • I am saying man was orriginaly created glorious, but we mucked up our image when we sinned. Because God never sins, when we sin we stop looking like God.
      • BUT PRAISE THE LORD, He made a way for us to be born again! So we could once again be image bearers of God!
      • And if you are born again then YES I believe your life should be glorious!

2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

  • Your life should be GLORIOUS as New Jerusalem is GLORIOUS, as God is GLORIOUS… because you are the image bearer of God, you should look like Him! And that includes Glory. And it is not us who brings the Glory, But the Lord who transforms us from Glory to Glory.
  • Moving on, let’s talk about New Jerusalem’s temple for a minute:

Revelation 21:22 ESV  And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

  • New Jerusalem doesn’t have a temple? Why? Because God doesn’t dwell inside a room, inside a building, behind a curtain in New Jerusalem, Jesus instead walks with and talks with the people of the city, He is out and about, God fills the city with His presence… so there is no need for a dedicated building or room.
  • You know where else there is not a physical temple? EARTH! RIGHT NOW! NO TEMPLE!
    • Why? Because you and I are the temple. God doesn’t dwell in a single room behind a vail on earth anymore, because now He dwells in you and me!

2 Corinthians 6:16 ESV  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

  • Ok, so that’s the temple… Now think about God’s light in New Jerusalem…

Revelation 21:23-24 ESV  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  (24)  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,

  • So the picture here is that God, who dwells inside New Jerusalem, is so glorious and bright that He lights up the city and His light goes out from the city shining His glory to all the earth…
    • Now who, tell me, did Jesus say was the light of the world?

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  (15)  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  (16)  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

  • We are the light of the world… it is not our light, it is the light of God through us, that shines before men… that shines before others… just like New Jerusalem is not the light, but the God who Dwells in her shines before nations and kings.
  • Do you see the many parallels between our lives as Christians and New Jerusalem? I could go on for many sermons about these parallels… but if you go the point then point two will make sense to you.

Point Two – Keep your Life Fresh

Revelation 21:2 ESV  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

  • The key to today’s message, the part that is going to tie this all together, is the name of the City… NEW Jerusalem.
    • NEW Jerusalem…
    • What’s new about it? It has been prepared or at least in the process of being prepared for at least 1,988 years now… that doesn’t sound new…
  • Well we need to understand that the word NEW does not always mean young.
    • Now in some instances NEW always means young, for example, a donunt.
    • You can call a week old donut “new” all you want, but that thing is going to be stale and gross…
    • On the other hand, on ebay, you can buy a NEW iPhone 2g, that’s the original iphone, new in box… for the low low price of 25,000 dollars.
      • Now how can it be new? It came out in 2007, that’s 15 years ago!
      • But still it is NEW! Why? Because even though it was created a long time ago, even though it was produced, it was made, it was packaged, a long time ago…
      • It has never left it’s box.
      • It has never been stained, or marred, or scratched.
      • It has never been dropped, it has never been jostled, it has never been hurt, or broken, or cracked.
        • Some of y’all know I am not talking about an IPHONE this morning!
  • New Jerusalem will always be NEW! It will always be pristine, and fresh, and clean.
    • It will never be marred, or stained, or scratched.
    • There will be no pain, or tears, or sorrow.
    • There will be no wars or rumors of wars.
    • The buildings will not deteriorate and wrote.
    • The occupants will not grow old and die
      • Everything about New Jerusalem will be New and Stay New… it will stay FRESH!
  • So in this sense, the word NEW in NEW Jerusalem means FRESH.
  • Therefore, church! Here is the application, you have been waiting for it… THEREFORE CHURCH… If your life parallels New Jerusalem, THEN YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR LIFE FRESH!

James 1:27 ESV  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

  • Keep yourself UNSTAINED from the world.
    • *Come out from pulpit* Have any of you experienced the horror, the absolute dreed, of owning and then WEARING a new pair of white tennis shoes?
      • I love WHITE shoes… but man… the first time you wear them out is a stressful experience…
      • You make sure you are stepping high, not dragging your feet *Show exaggerated example*
      • You make sure to not walk on grass, or through mud.
      • When you get into the car you take big steps to not tough the side of the vehicle…
      • Because nothing looks better than a new FRESH pair of white shoes.
    • I have seen literal fist fights break out because someone stepped on someone else’s brand new white shoes.
  • And some Christians care more about keeping their shoes unstained than their lives unstained.
  • We are lamps unto this world, but what good is a lamp if it is covered in filth and mud?
    • The light cant get out if the lamp is encased with crud.
    • And that crud, yall, is our sin… not other people’s sin, they can’t touch the light of God, but we willingly do it to ourselves.
  • We are supposed to be the glory of God, radiant like Jasper, being transformed from Glory to Glory.
    • But what good is that when we are covered in filth?!
  • Jesus, who was perfect, was called unstained by sin… shouldn’t we strive to be like Him?

Hebrews 7:26 ESV  For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

  • So if we are to be unstained, but we know that we, unlike Christ, that we do indeed sin… what are we to do.
    • Well the good news is, if your sneakers get mud on them, you can clean them…
    • And though sneakers may never be the same as when they are new, we can do one better, because we serve a God who makes all things new!

Revelation 21:5a ESV  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

  • Look as Christians, we sin, it happens. We shouldn’t. It’s evil. We need to knock that nonsense off…
    • But we do sin… so when we sin, we need to wash ourselves in the blood of Christ afresh… I am not saying be saved again, I am saying GET FRESH again.

1 John 1:7-9 ESV  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  (8)  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  (9)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • And when the Bible reveals sin to you, or your preacher reveals sin to you, or your brother in Christ lovingly shows you your sin… what should you do?
    • Repent, stop doing it, and ask the Lord to cleanse you and make you fresh once again.

James 1:23-25 ESV  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  (24)  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  (25)  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

  • Look, if you are on a date… and you eat some chocolate cake… and you go to the bathroom and clean up an notice there is a big smudge of chocolate on your forehead that somehow got there from the cake… what are you going to do?
    • Are you going to look at that chocolate and go “Meh” and walk out of the bathroom… because if you do your date is going to think you have poo on your face…
    • OR?! I don’t know… this is crazy… OR WOULD YOU WASH IT OFF YOUR FACE?!
  • I love James 1:23-25 because it says what we say all the time “OPEN YOUR BIBLE, READ IT, AND DO WHAT IT SAYS”!
    • And if it says you are doing something wrong… FIX IT.
  • And when you are made fresh, KEEP IT FRESH.
    • Go out and live a FRESH life for Christ… shining in the glory of His brilliance and in the brilliance of His glory.
    • Be fresh, be crispy, be clean, let your life shine before men… Let them see HEAVEN in you… let them see New Jerusalem in you, that they would desire it and come to know Christ as Lord!


  • But to be fresh, you first have to be made new… and that is what the Gospel is all about.
  • Gospel Call


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