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Homecoming

September 3, 2012

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new’.” – Revelations 21:4-5

 

This weekend, we celebrate our Homecoming; an old church tradition that is meant to ‘welcome home’ our members, both old and new. We sing and eat and praise the Lord, generally having a good old time as we worship together in the house of God. Yet, as I think on that event, my mind cannot help but wander to – and then wonder at – an even greater event yet to come: the coming of the Son of God, and the departure of His saints to our true home in Heaven above.

 

I think about the old gospel song, ‘This World Is Not My Home’, and a newer Contemporary Christian song, whose chorus runs like this: ‘I don’t know but I’m not home yet; this is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus; because this is not where I belong.’ When you take a few moments to consider the words to these songs, you realize just how true they are: this world is not our home; and this is not where we belong. After all, why do you think that, no matter how happy or content you may ever be in this life, there is always this sense of incompleteness? Why do you think our hearts yearn for something more…something better? Because we are meant for something better – much, much better.

 

Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions…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 unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” (John 14:2-3). Take a few moments to grasp the enormity of that statement: an eternity with our Lord and Savior in the Kingdom of Heaven! I just can’t begin to imagine what waits for us! A world without pain, fear, sorrow, hatred or want; a world of plenty, of great abundance. A world where we will sing praises forever; our hearts filled for all time with such joy and exultation to make our greatest moment here on earth seem like a bad migraine on a rainy day. And then, just think of the scenery there….

 

“And the building of the wall of it was of pure jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass…” (Rev. 21:18); or, “And he shewed me a pure river of water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb…” (Rev. 22:1). I look on these verses and others like them, wondering in awe at the beauty and majesty that awaits us; I mean, just think: what we read is nowhere near the reality of Heaven’s splendor…because truthfully, I don’t think any words could capture the true glory of that Kingdom. John was surely overwhelmed at the sight, and this meager description was probably just the extent of what human words were able to convey. I don’t think our minds can picture or imagine such divine perfection – yet; though our souls surely yearn for it. But in order to behold that perfection – to one day live it, we must first make our place there secure; we have to make our way there.

 

And how do we get there? Follow the narrow way and keep on going ’til you see the strait gate; you’ll get there quicker if you just follow Christ. He said, “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (John 14:4), because He has made the way clear: He has told us that He is the “way, the truth and the life,” and that, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6) So, we cannot claim ignorance; we cannot say that we did not know, because we are plainly told that to have everlasting life we must repent of our sins and ask Jesus Christ into our hearts.

 

If you are reading this today, ask yourself this question: was your life to end before you draw your next breath, would you find yourself standing at the gates to the Kingdom…or would you be standing at a different set of gates altogether? It’s a question that needs to be asked. Pulling no punches: are you prepared to meet your Maker?

 

If not, or if you are unsure, than today can be your day of salvation, “For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13). You just have to decide what matters more to you: your fleshly desires or your spiritual needs; a world of sin and death, or a Kingdom of righteousness and Life. You have to choose a side, and if you don’t choose wisely…well, you’ll have a long, long time to regret it.

 

Because we all have to accept responsibility; we have to accept that the defining reality – the defining truth – of our existence, is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We have to accept that, without His Blood to cover our sins, we face a very real hell; and it is a hell we need not be condemned to: all we must do is accept Christ as our Savior and place our faith in Him. As the verse at the top says, He shall make all things new: so let Him renew your life today, and be born again in the Grace of our Lord, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” (I John 5:4).

 

So, let us all overcome, as it is promised that, “He who overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.” (Rev. 21:7) Secure your place in the Kingdom, and look forward to the awesome Homecoming that awaits the saints in the world to come. And, for those who really enjoy our dinners here at church, think of what a feast we’ll have in Heaven; you definitely don’t want to miss that.

 

So: “Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2)

 

Be blessed,

Joshua

 

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