My family and I received the call to the New
Jerusalem and it is just too good for us to turn down. We didn’t want to go
without telling friends and family. We read about it in Revelation 21:10, 11:
“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed
me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious,
even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” If you could only see a picture of
it—the grass is a living green, the flowers, the beauty—it’s all there,
anything that you could ever want, or imagine.
Paul tried to describe it, but look what he
says, “As it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered
into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them.” I
Corinthians 2:9. You can’t imagine it, Paul says; it’s beyond description the
things that God has prepared for us.
Abraham caught a glimpse of this city in his
mind’s eye. “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place
which he should afterward receive for an inheritance, and he went out, not
knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in a land of promise as in a
foreign country.” He never really became a citizen; it was a foreign country to
him. The whole rest of his life he was a foreigner, dwelling in tents with
Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. “For he waited for a
city that has real foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews
Why did Abraham leave his relatives, friends
and the comfortable home where he had lived? When Abraham caught a glimpse of
that city, he said, “Lord, however you lead, wherever you lead, I’m going. I am
following.” And there the Lord led him away from his comfortable surroundings,
his boyhood friends, work acquaintances from his job
and all that he had established there. He led them away and he went out and he
lived in tents. Imagine, for the rest of his life, in tents, moving here and
there, having to pitch a tent every place he stopped. See Genesis 12.
As Abraham was journeying, his cattle began
to increase. His nephew Lot was with him, and his cattle increased. Soon Lot’s
herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen got into arguments because of all the cattle,
and the watering situation. See Genesis 13.
Abraham came to Lot, who was the younger man,
and he said, “Listen, Lot. We’re headed for a city. Let’s not argue or have our
herdsmen argue. You go any place you want; you can stay here, or take anything
you want. I’ll take anything that’s left.” See Genesis 13. Abraham knew that
this wasn’t his home. It did not matter whether he was in the valley or
ravines. Wherever he was, it was only a temporary place for him.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we had that same
attitude in the church, and in church offices, and church duties, and all these
things? This world is as a temporary journeying place with temporary duties
until we get to our heavenly home. Abraham showed an unselfish attitude. I wish
we could all live in tents, maybe not literal tents, but like Abraham lived,
that we would see our houses and our dwelling places as only temporary abodes.
If we could only break away from the hypnotic
trance of this world like Abraham did. If we could just get our eyes beyond
that car or cars or whatever it may be in our driveways or out on the curb that
is holding our affections. Oh, that we could take our affections away from our
wardrobes, our homes or whatever else that may consume our time and our
planning. They are all going to burn together. The Rolls Royce will burn just
as well as the Volkswagen. The Taj Mahal is going to burn right
along with the row houses of Washington, D.C. They are all but temporary
dwellings whether people realize it or not. We do not own anything in this
life; we just lease it. We are temporary sojourners and are just living here
for a little while. I believe with all my heart that it’s not that far away.
We have received two calls. One of them is to
the city of destruction which is an easy call and has a lot of temporary
benefits. Even though it is an easy call, the retirement is lousy. Let me tell
you about that call.
To accept that call, you do not really have
to do anything. You can either sit down and watch television or go out and work
hard earning a living. You can eat and drink and marry and give in marriage
just like they did before the flood, and you’ve got the call. It is all paid
for; the journey is paid for. The devil has your ticket and your name is
written right on it. It is yours; you have got it. You can be basically a good
person, outwardly. You can be a social person or a cultured person; whatever
you want and it is all yours.
The only way you can forfeit that call is to
take the cross of Jesus Christ. Take Him as your Saviour
and as your Lord and your Master and take His cross for your cross. That is the
only way you can forfeit the call. Other than that, it is yours for the taking.
It’s all paid for; the way is free. The Devil has paid the way. It’s an easy
call. There’s only one sad thing about that call. A whole lot of people have
that ticket which is made out for the city of destruction, but think they are
going to the New Jerusalem.
Jesus said, “Not every one
who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does
the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me
in that day, Lord, Lord, look, we have a ticket to heaven; look at all these
things we did. We prophesied in the name of Jesus. In your name, Lord, we cast
out demons. We did many wonders in the name of Jesus, in your name, Jesus. And
then I’ll declare to them, says Jesus, I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21–23).
They thought they had a ticket that was
stamped to the New Jerusalem and it was to the city of destruction. What a
disappointment that is. Jesus says in verses 13 and 14, “Enter by the narrow
gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way.” You see, it is an easy way.
It can encompass all your peculiarities and all of your prejudices. It can
encompass all of your traditions and all of the things you think you should do.
It is a broad way and many there be that go in thereat. But, remember, it is the broad way and leads to
the city of destruction. The way to the New Jerusalem is narrow and the way is
Did Jesus really say it is difficult to get
to heaven? Yes He did. He said it over and over again, but He has given us the
strength, and it is the way that He has paid for. He wants everyone to make it
and promises to be our personal guide, but it is not the easy way. It is the
difficult way that leads to life and there are few who find it.
As I said, this way to the city of
destruction is the easy way. But the retirement is lousy. Let me tell you about
that retirement. The next moment, according to the Bible, after they die, those
on that road wake up a thousand years later, a thousand years too late.
The centuries have passed by as in a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye, because when you are unconscious, totally dead, you
know not the passing of time. The Bible says the dead know not anything. The
Bible says they are asleep. Jesus said they are asleep but to them it is
instantaneous; instantly they are awake. There they are outside of the New
Jerusalem. One moment they are here; maybe in an auto accident, a heart attack,
or something happens, and instantly they are in a new place, outside the New
Jerusalem, in the city of destruction.
In Revelation 20:7, 8, it says, “Now when one
thousand years are expired, Satan will be released from his prison, And he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the
four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather
them to the battle: whose number is as the sand of the seas.”
Here we have the two great cities of earth,
the New Jerusalem and the city of destruction. There was a time when God’s
people lived in tents while those in Sodom, Gomorrah and Babylon built great
and beautiful cities where they made their homes. But now the tables are
reversed. Now it is God’s people who are in the city and it is those who have
followed Satan who are all living in tents out there in tent city, out there in
the city of destruction, in the country of Gog and Magog.
In Revelation 20:12, we find there is going
to be a great white throne set up above the city: “And I saw the dead, both
small and great, standing before God; and books were opened: and another book
was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged according to
their works by the things which were written in those books.”
What a time that is going to be when all the
inhabitants who have ever lived on earth from the beginning to the end are all
going to be at one place at one time—all the good and also the wicked. Some in tent city and some in the New Jerusalem. You will be
there and I will be there; whatever our beliefs, we will all be there. Whatever
our lives are like or whatever our habits are like, or wherever we are planning
on going, we will all be there—every one of us. All of the inhabitants of earth
are to meet at one place at one time. Do you ever wonder what it would be like
to wake up outside the New Jerusalem?
You know it can happen in just a moment of
time. Maybe you are driving down the road and all of a sudden someone swerves
out, coming the opposite way in front of you and you get that panic feeling
that comes up over you. You reach for that brake, your eyes open wide, and
there’s that sound—an instantaneous split second crash sound of crashing metal,
and instantly you wake up. You thought you were in the car. You pinch yourself.
Where am I? And for a moment your thoughts go back to where they were, about
what you were planning to fix for supper that night. Oh, the accident; I never
made it home. My family. Where are they? Oh, no, my
existence is over, and I’m a member of the church. My dear friend,
that will be a heartache that will pierce so deep that there will be no
remedy if you wake up in the wrong place. That will be a heartache that will go
deeper than anything we’ve ever known or experienced before. And there is going
to be no cure, no remedy. I will tell you, friends, that unless we are having a
deeper experience than a lot of us are, that is a nightmare that ought to haunt
us every night and every day because it is going to be a reality; it is going
to happen. Jesus said that the way to destruction, to that city of destruction,
is broad and it is easy, but the way to the city of God, to the New Jerusalem,
is a narrow way. It does not matter what tradition is, what human opinion is, or
what everyone else is doing. No, the only way to get there is God’s way. The
only way is the narrow way.
There are many people who have a lot of false
hopes today. They can sing songs about going to the New Jerusalem and get all
excited about it, be happy and smiling. A lot of people are giving false
assurances today, but there are a lot of people going to be disappointed. A lot
of people who think they are going there, are not.
We have got to become like Jesus to go there,
not only in name, but also in character. I John 3:2, 3 says, “Beloved, now are
we the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be: but
we know this, that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him; for we shall see
Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as
He is pure.” What a high calling. There is only one way to become pure like
Jesus, and that’s by spending time with Him every day.
How do we break the shackles? We all know
that we must spend time with God. Somehow when we sit down, we fall asleep.
It’s just like we are shackled with shackles of iron. How can we ever break
through the shackles and really develop a relationship with Jesus Christ?
II Corinthians 3:18 says, “We all with
unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being
transformed into the same image from glory into glory, just as by the Spirit of
Are you being transformed into the image of
Jesus Christ? There is no transformation without beholding, and we become what
we behold. “By beholding, we become changed,” Wesley said.
If we are spending more time beholding
television, the newspaper, the magazines of this world, and listening to rock
radio, rock music and all these things of the world, than we are with God and
His word, I can assure you we are not being transformed into Jesus’ image. We
are being transformed by what we are beholding, by what we are seeing. There is
no way we are going to the city of the New Jerusalem if we are spending more
time with the things, the entertainments, and the attractions of this world
than we are with our Lord Jesus Christ, because where the heart is, there is
where we are going to spend time.
Are we being transformed into the image of
Jesus Christ? That is the question. Are you less easily offended today than you
were a year ago? Are you conquering those thoughts in your mind, those thoughts
of pride and of self-emulation? That is a serious question because God reads
the thoughts, and He reads the heart. Is your love all wrapped up in fashion and
sports, and the things of this world, or is your love changing so that those
things are losing their glitter? Where are your affections or your
conversation? Do you love to talk about Jesus, or is your conversation all
about this world?
We all have a call, and there is a position
that God has waiting for us. It is an administrative position with great
responsibility, if we will accept the call. Look at Revelation 3:21: “To him
who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me in My
throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with My Father on His throne.” In
Revelation 20:4, “I saw thrones and they sat on them, and judgment was
committed to them. And I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the
witness of Jesus Christ and the word of God who had not worshipped the beast or
his image and had not received his mark on his forehead or his hands and they
lived and they reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
The Bible reveals that those who are saved
are going to judge. Paul says we are even going to judge angels, the fallen
angels, of course. Now, Jesus, of course, and the angels, the Bible reveals,
are judging. God goes through and judges enough to know who is righteous and
who is lost. The judgment of the lost, other than the fact that they are lost,
is given into the hands of the saints. The Bible reveals that there are
different punishments for different people.
The Devil has always accused Jesus of being a
tyrant, intolerable, and being unjust. No one is going to be able to tell God
He is unjust, tyrannical, or any of these other things, because He is not doing
the judging. He is giving it into the hands of human beings who will judge
their own parents, their own children, their own relatives, their own kinsmen,
their own neighbors. The saved will be doing the judging and you know they are
going to be fair.
Just imagine being able to see yourself in
your living room and there see your son and your daughter and can see their
thoughts. You see the angels struggling for their souls and there is the great
controversy going on. You see the convictions of their lives and then to your
horror you see yourself sitting there watching television while the great
controversy is going on for your children, while they are under conviction.
There you are earning money, hurrying to get ready for the Sabbath, hurrying to
get ready for church, hurrying for everything, and they are not there. You
think, Oh, if I could live my life over again, but you
can’t. Later you were converted, but it was too late.
You look out your windows and you see your
neighbors. You go outside the door and you can see their thoughts, wondering
about your religion, what made you tick. There you see the angels in a great
controversy for their souls and you are unconcerned. Then a thought flashes
into your mind that you are going to meet them again; you are going to have to
look into their eyes at the end of the millennium. You are all going to be
there together. There your children are going to look up into your eyes. There
you are in the city, and there they are in the city of destruction. Oh, if you
had only helped them. There are your neighbors saying, If
you had only told me; why didn’t you tell me?
There’s going to be anger and resentment
outside the city. There are going to be tears for lost opportunities, tears for
loved ones, tears for family.
Today is the day to make sure of our calling.
Today is the day to do our witnessing. Today is the day to talk with our sons
and our daughters and our next door neighbors. Tomorrow it may be too late.
Today is the day to give money for the spread of the gospel. Today is the day
to make an appointment to meet together on that other shore. Look at Revelation
22:14. It says, “Blessed are those who do His commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter through the
gates into the city.” Verse 17 says, “And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come.”
Here is the call, friends, He’s calling today. He says, “Come. Come. And let
him who hears say, Come. And let him who is thirsty and whosoever desires, let
him take of the water of life freely.”
You need to make an appointment to meet
around that great white throne by the river of life that flows from that
crystal white throne. Today is the day to accept that call. We have all
received the call. Today is our day of probation. Today is the day that God has
given us life to make our calling and election sure. We are but sojourners in
this earth. Let him who accepts the call, give the call.
Grosboll, with his wife Lillian, founded Steps to Life. In July 1991, Pastor
Marshall and his family met with tragedy as they were returning home from a
camp meeting in Washington State, when the airplane he was piloting went down,
killing all on board.