Pastor Greg concludes his 4-part Easter-themed series this week called “THE WHOLE STORY.” During this series, he is showing us how one, consistent, story of redemption, starring Jesus at the center of it, is woven throughout the entire Bible from the first verse of Genesis to the very last verse of Revelation. This fourth week picks up where Pastor Greg left off last week and gives us the grand finale. This week is called HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” ~ Acts 1:9-11
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. ~ Revelation 21:1-7
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. ~ Revelation 21:22-27
And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. ~ Matthew 24:30-31
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will 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 imperishable, and we will be changed. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. ~ Revelation 19:7-8
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. ~ Matthew 24:36
Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. ~ Matthew 25:1-13
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. ~ Revelation 22:1-5
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; … If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:42-48
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. ~ 2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9
“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. ~ Romans 10:13-15,17
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. ~ Matthew 24:9-14
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. ~ Matthew 24:14
[Jesus does not wish] for ANY to perish but for ALL to come to repentance. ~ 2 Peter 3:9
As fully devoted followers of Jesus, filled with His Holy Spirit, sharing His mind and His heart, we should just as desperately want every single person on earth to come to a saving relationship with Jesus and be saved. He DIED for them. He’s just asking us to LIVE for them.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:19-20
It is the WHOLE JOB of the WHOLE CHURCH to preach the WHOLE GOSPEL to the WHOLE WORLD! ~ C.H. Spurgeon
GO DEEPER – PERSONAL OR ALOHA GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
READ: Matthew 28:18-20, John 14:13 and Acts 1:9-11
1) How seriously do you take your responsibility to help fulfill the Great Commission? How much time, on average, per week, do you spend making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has taught you? Do you think that is enough? Why don’t you do it more?
2) As you read these words, how does it make you feel about your future? Do you have full assurance that you will spend eternity in the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who follow Him? If you speak with someone else who doesn’t have that assurance what can they do to become sure? How would you advise them? Be specific.
READ: Revelation 21:1-7, Revelation 21:22-27 and Matthew 24:30-31
1) How will life in the new heaven and the new earth be different from this one? Jesus says “He who overcomes will inherit these things.” What does it mean to “overcome?” How can we be sure that we are an “overcomer?” How would you explain this and advise your nonbeliever neighbor to become an overcomer?
2) Pastor Greg linked the verse “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell with them…” directly to a future Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles.) Did his reason for this make sense to you? Could you explain it in your own words to someone else?
READ: 1 Cor. 15:51-52, Revelation 19:7-8, Matthew 24:36, Matthew 25:1-13
1) Pastor Greg explained the wedding imagery of this feast and linked “no one knows the day or the hour” directly to this feast and gave this among his reasons for believing Jesus’ second coming will be at the Last Trump of a future Yom Teruah. Pastor Greg linked the trumpet in this passage directly to the last trumpet blast on a future Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets.) Did his reason for this make sense to you? Could you explain it in your own words to someone else?
READ: Revelation 22:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:42-48
1) Pastor Greg shared that this week’s message, the finale, is “the best part” because it describes “a return to Eden” and is, essentially our “happily ever after” ending. Based on these Scriptures, why do you think Greg says that? Why is it a “return to Eden?” Be specific. What do you think will be true about your “spiritual body?”
READ: 2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9, Romans 10:13-15, 17
1) Aren’t you glad the Lord was patient enough toward you, not returning yet, to make sure you had time to repent and turn to Him? Paul says in Romans we have to call on the name of the Lord to be saved. How would you explain this to a non-believer friend? How would you advise them to properly “call upon the name of the Lord to be saved?” Do you think this passage is telling you to be “a preacher?” Do you think you are among those who are being “sent?” Why or why not?
READ: Matthew 24:9-14
1) Jesus says as we approach the end times, the love of most people who follow Him will grow cold but the one who endures to the end will be saved? What about the one who does not endure to the end, the ones whose love for Jesus grows cold? Will they be saved? If you were being threatened with death if you did not renounce your faith in Jesus, would you stand firm? What does Jesus say has to happen before He returns? How can we help make that happen more quickly? What if we don’t make any effort to bring that about? What happens to our friends, our family – who don’t know Him, who have never heard the Gospel? What is “The Gospel?” Can you explain it briefly in your own words? Why is it important that you know how to do it?