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New Heaven and New Earth
Isaiah 65:17–25 (NIV)
17 “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. 24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.
1. God is creating a new heaven and a new earth.
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.”
2. All my work can have value and dignity in God’s Kingdom.
They will not labor in vain.
- My workplace
- My church
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. 2 Thessalonians 3:11–13 (NIV)
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
3. All my work contributes to the flourishing of my life, my community, my world.
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV)
4. God’s new heaven and new earth means peace where there were divisions.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
“When Jesus looks at the San Diego-Tijuana area, I believe He sees a region, not two sides of an impenetrable border.” Pastor Juan-Daniel Espitia
After the service, find someone to share in conversation about the following questions:
- What are you holding in your hand?
- How will you use what you are holding in your hand?
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (Select the practice below or select a practice from a previous week)
Listening to God (10-15 minutes)
Alone: In a posture of stillness and openness, come to God with the intention to listen. Cultivate a posture of unhurried stillness as you prepare your body, mind, and spirit to be attentive to God’s voice. Consider praying: “Lord, I am here. Quiet the noises and voices around me. Teach me to listen for You.”
Journal or with a partner: While you pray: listen and wait. Then, if it makes sense for you, jot down any themes of images that come to your mind. Listening well also means listening with others and so you are encouraged to find a partner to share your experience.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
- Together: Read Isaiah 65:17-25 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
- After you read, reflect individually on the passage, considering the prompts and questions below. Spend 5 minutes journaling your reflections.
- What connection points do you see between Isaiah 65:17-25 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13?
- What new things are you expecting from God?
- Discuss together as a whole group or in pairs.
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- How does the Isaiah passage connect with the gospel message of Jesus?
- Reflect together on Isaiah 65:21-23. What is the significance of the verse “they will not labor in vain?”
- What does it mean for the “wolf and the lamb” to feed together (v. 25)?
- How has the scripture and message challenged you in your thinking about work?
- What does God’s new heaven and new earth look like?
- What did you learn about God through these passages and the message?
- What new perspective has taken shape as you reflect on the scripture, the message, and your time in small group this week?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one prompt/question for discussion)
- How am I contributing to the new reality (new heaven and new earth) in the places where I am—my work, my family, my community, my friendships?
- In what ways does Isaiah 65 directly address injustice and division in our world and what is God’s response? (Hint: you may want to read all of Isaiah 65 for context)
Take time as a group to pray for our church during this stewardship season. Ask God to continue a work of discernment in our life as a church and for our hearts to overflow with thanks and gratitude for what God has done and will do.