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Jack Graham - Homeward Bound

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    Jack Graham - Homeward Bound
TOPICS: Eternity Now, Eternity

Life is a journey that leads home. We do have an eternal destiny. So no day for the Christian is without meaning or purpose. Every day matters! The proverbs say that "the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn which shines brighter and brighter until the full day". Just as you get up in the morning and you see that sun coming up with all of its beauty and glory and everything from the dawn from a gray haze to a beautiful day and the sun shining at full capacity. This is a description of what life should be like as we grow together and go together towards our heavenly home. And this is our opportunity that we would embrace eternity now, that heaven should be the habit of our hearts, that our eyes should be in the sky, in that Christ is coming again and that we ought to live with that intensity and excitement of life every day because life is short.

So turn in your Bibles to John's Gospel, chapter 14, John's Gospel, the fourteenth chapter. Jesus is in the upper room in the final hours of His life on earth and He's talking with His dearest friends. The hour was dark; it was night according to John chapter 13 and verse 30. Not only night physically, but emotionally and spiritually for those men it was a dark hour. Their world was caving in. They were perplexed and disappointed and discouraged. Jesus had announced that He would soon die. Satan was on the prowl and the darkness of that night seemed to be oppressive to these men. One of the men would betray Christ, sell his soul for thirty pieces of silver.

Another, though he denied that he would, would ultimately deny Christ and flee from the premises in order to save his own skin. And all the disciples would ultimately disappear, save one who stood with Him at the cross and that one was John who gives us these final words. The one who laid his head over on the chest of the Lord, whom the Lord loved in a very unique way, and he loved the Lord. And so he heard these words loud and clear in the upper room that evening when Jesus spoke, beginning in verse 1 of John, chapter 14: "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms (or mansions). If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me'".

Powerful words from the upper room in the dark hour of the night. And even though Jesus was facing the cross, and His own Spirit according to John chapter 13 and verse 21 was troubled or agitated, He now comforts His concerned and heartbroken disciples. And the single message of this text, the single and clear word is that God troubles our hearts with God heals and cures our troubled hearts with a simple child-like faith. Jesus said, "Do not let your heart be troubled" which means don't let it be agitated or stressed or fearful. Don't allow your heart to be turbulent or troubled, because the Savior claims that we can know peace and perspective in life because He is coming for us. Jesus said literally stop letting your hearts be troubled. How so?

First, promising us His peace. "Don't let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me". The Bible says, "Mans days are full of trouble as the sparks fly upward". Jesus Himself said, "In this world you will have tribulation," but He added, "but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world". Yes, we live in troubled times and we live often with turbulent hearts. Why? Well, for one, just like the disciples, there is disappointment. The disciples had expected the Messiah to deliver them from the bondage and yoke of Roman, and the oppressive power of the religion of that day. And yet Jesus is now telling them He has died, or that He would die, and now they're "disappointed! Their dreams have been destroyed. Maybe you're" disappointed even in God. God didn't come through the way you expected Him to come through. He didn't answer your prayer the way you expected Him to answer your prayer. He didn't do what you wanted Him to do, and maybe you're disappointed in God.

Maybe you're disappointed in someone in your life, and your heart is broken, and your life is turbulent because of disappointment. Jesus said, "Don't let your heart be disappointed. Don't let it be troubled", maybe because of failure. Peter and these others were recognizing how fearful they had become, how they would fail the Lord! Their faith was weakening! And there were fears regarding the future. Jesus would no longer be with them! The One that they loved more than life itself was going away! They had given up everything to follow Him! They'd walked away from their careers and walked away from their homes to follow Jesus. And now it's all going away. Maybe you're troubled today and brokenhearted in some way.

Jesus said, "I promise you peace in the midst of your storm. There's no need to be troubled. I will always be present to give you peace". He said, "You believe God; believe also in Me". And here, of course, Jesus is claiming equality with God. He's saying, "Just as you trust in God, you can trust in Me"! In the darkness we're tempted to doubt. When tough times come we're tempted to even give up our faith! We lose perspective. Maybe you've had the experience of waking up in the night, troubled about something and the clock just keeps ticking and you're watching it every hour at every moment, and the night seems eternalable and doubts and fears and oppression attacks you! But Jesus said, "In the midst of your darkness, in the midst of your most difficult days, believe in Me! Trust in Me!" the simple child-like faith of trusting in God brings us amazing peace!

Jesus said, "Come to Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest". He says in this passage, "Believe in Me, trust in Me, wait on Me! I'm giving you a future that you can't possibly imagine right now! But if you will just trust in Me and wait on Me, you can rest in Me"! Peter, the apostle who heard these words later understood it when he wrote in 1 Peter 1:8: "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy expressible and full of glory"! I've never seen Jesus with my physical eyes! Not yet! I will, and so will you if you're a believer. But I have seen Him with the eyes of faith! I know Him! And I love Him! I don't trust anybody like I trust Jesus! And as much as I love my own loved ones, I don't love anybody like I love Jesus! Jesus is real to me!

His Spirit is alive in me! His power is present, and therefore, His peace is constant in our lives, even in the most turbulent of times. And so we can live every day embracing eternity now, knowing that we have peace in the pathways of life! And who can mind the journey if we know the journey is leading home? Because we are homeward bound. And that's why He adds that "therefore a place is prepared for us". He said, "I go to prepare a place for you". And Jesus began to speak then of the Father's house. There are many descriptions in the Bible of heaven. It's called a garden; it's called a country; it's called a city. But no doubt the most heartwarming for the believer is the idea that heaven is home; that we are on our way home; that this world is not our home; we're just passing through.

We're on a journey, but we're homeward bound. We're on our way to heaven. And you know when you live this way, Jesus said, "I prepare this place for you". Life takes on a new perspective, doesn't it? John would tell us in 1 John 2:15: "Don't love the world, neither the things in the world, for the love of the world is passing away". This world is passing away! "And if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you"! Embrace life! Enjoy life, every minute of it! But don't just live for this life! Don't live for this world and its pleasures because these are all passing away. This is why Jesus said, "Lay up treasures in heaven". Advance your life into heaven before you get there. Live today so that when you get to heaven you will have a great reward and the greatest reward is seeing Jesus and hearing the words, "Welcome home, My child! Well done"!

Have you had the experience of maybe going on the internet and they have all these sites where they will estimate your life expansion or you know, how long you're going to live? I went over there and did one of those things not long ago and it said: You're life expectancy is 21 years. I mean, that gets you thinking! Now I expect to live longer than 21 years if Christ tarries. I really do. But it's important to remember that this life as we know it is extreme brief. It's passing just like that. And therefore, we don't just hang on to here and now, but we hope on into the future that Christ has planned for us. And if your hope is in heaven, then the Scripture says in Romans 8:18 "that the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us"! That's perspective!

So no matter what you're going through in your life right now, this is just a blip on the radar screen of eternity. I know it can be hard; I know there can be tough times; I know that pain is real, but this means that pain has a purpose! That suffering the real now has meaning because we have a perspective that heaven is our home. Jesus said, "You believe in God; believe in Me. I'm preparing a place for you". And while Paul said, "The outward person is perishing everyday", every day, every day, the outward person is perishing, he said, because of heaven, because of the hope that we have in Christ the inner person is being renewed everyday! The inner life is being strengthened by the power of God. So we have a new perspective; we have this peace; we have a purpose. There's optimism and joy in life because our purpose in now living for Him.

Now I know that heaven seems far, far away to most of us today. How far is heaven? Especially if you're younger, heaven is to many people, it's so out there and beyond here and now that it's impossible to even think about, and maybe you think of heaven as, you know, this wistful wispy, ethereal existence. Some people have the idea that going to heaven you know, you check out a robe and a harp and you sit on a cloud and waste eternity away. Well, we're going to be talking about what we're going to be doing in eternity as we go forward. But I assure you that there's going to be plenty to do in eternity and it will be fulfilling and exciting and wonderful. A great and glorious eternal adventure. But so often we can't understand what heaven is really like.

An older man was talking about heaven and his life and he said, "When I was a little boy I would hear about heaven of angels singing and millions of angels and golden streets and huge columns and massive spires and steeples and thrones and I would hear of that and of all the people who were there; none of whom I knew. A strange and distant place". But then he said, "I had a little brother die and then when I began to think about heaven it was a place of golden streets and massive spires and temples and one little face that I knew". And he said, "As I've lived my life my wife went to heaven, family members and friends are in heaven, I came to know Jesus as my Savior.

And so now as an old man when I think about heaven I never think of golden streets and heavenly steeples and beautiful buildings, but I think of the dear loved ones and friends who are there and my Savior who waits for me and welcomes me there". What makes heaven heaven is Jesus is there. And the old chorus says "Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace". Hebrews puts it this way "Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside ever weight and the sin which so easily trips us up and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us; looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith". He's preparing a place for us! Jesus is doing two things right now for you. One, He's praying for you. "He ever lives to make intersession for His saints".

If you knew that Jesus was right outside that door right there, praying for you, don't you think if you really knew that Jesus was right over there praying for you, couldn't you handle anything you were going through, just knowing that you were on His prayer list? Well, the distance makes no difference, whether it's over there or there in eternity; He is praying for you! He is the High Priest in heaven interceding for us so He's praying for you. And let me tell you the next thing He's doing; He's preparing a place for you in heaven. And He's been working on your place for about two thousand plus years now. Can you imagine how incredible it's going to be? How amazing it will be when we see Christ? And so when your heart is troubled, when you're agitated, when you're upset, when your future is uncertain, a peace is promised. Don't let your heart be troubled. Believe, trust in God. It's a simple child-like faith that endures.

And remember that He is preparing a place for you in heaven. And our hearts should already be there with Him. And one final thing, not only this place prepared and this peace that is promised, but the pathway is provided. Thomas who was forever asking questions, and I'm glad that he did; he had sincere questions. So when Jesus said, "Where I'm going you know, the way you know". Thomas said, "Wait! Lord, we don't know where you're going and how can we know the way"? I'm so glad that he asked that because then the Lord said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; and no man comes to the Father except by Me". That nails it!

Jesus is not a way to heaven, the best way to heaven; He's not someone pointing us to heaven. He said, "I am the way, the truth, the life! And no one comes to the Father or the Father's house apart from Me"! He said, "Don't worry about you're going to get there! I'm coming for you"! Now personally I'm not looking for the undertaker; I'm looking for the Upper Taker! I believe Christ is coming and Christ is coming soon! But if He doesn't come in my lifetime, He's coming for me anyway! And He's coming for every believer! Some of the old Gospel songs used to talk about angel bands coming and carrying us home.

Well, I don't know about angel bands, but I do know that Jesus said, "In that moment when you cross over, when you go home", He said, "I'm going to be there to hold your hand and you're going to follow Me right into glory". "I'm the way, the truth, the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me". That means that that pathway is provided because of what He... the price that He has paid and what He has accomplished for us! Jesus has made the way! And He will take you to heaven. So death is a doorway and Christ is the door! No believer should be afraid of death! Oh, there may be fear of dying. There's a difference, you know. No one wants to suffer. No one wants to hurt. No one wants to experience the terrors of death and death is described as a terror in the Bible.

So there may be concern, but even there God gives us peace, doesn't He? He's promised peace. He's given us grace. But no believer should fear death. Because Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life". He said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he be dead, yet shall he live"! Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life! Follow Me all the way to the Father's house". He promises peace, He prepares a place, He provides the pathway! All glory to the Lamb of God! To our Savior and Redeemer! No wonder we can say I will not be moved! He is my Rock and my Salvation forever and ever.
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