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Levi Lusko - Welcome Home


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All right. John chapter 14 is where we're going to be. The title of my message is Welcome Home. Two simple words: welcome home. And John 14, we find the fifth I am statement that we're looking at in this series of messages, this collection of talks. And it says this in John 14, starting in verse 1. Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In my father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. 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 to myself that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know and the way you know.

Thomas objected at this point and said to Him, Lord, we have no idea where you're going. And we have no idea how to get there. We don't know the way. How can we know the way? I like his honesty, by the way. Can we just admit that we're grateful He interjected? Because if he hadn't objected and, because you see in this scene, Jesus is talking eloquently about all this stuff. You know exactly where I'm going. You know exactly how I'm going to get there. And you just imagine Peter. You imagine John. You imagine James just all trying to look deep, trying to look smart. They furrowed their brows like, yes, we do know the way. And yes, we do understand how you're going to get there. And Thomas seeing this, raises his hand. We have no idea where you're going, and none of us have any idea how you're going to get there. And Jesus probably looked at the group and was like, is that true? And they're like, yeah, technically true. But we were trying to look smart and sophisticated.

I'm thankful for Thomas. This is one of those Thomas epic days. Come on, we trash Thomas when he fails. Let's celebrate Thomas. Tell you what. If you're new to church, people like to call him "doubting Thomas," right? How would you like it if the biggest mistake you ever made in your entire life became your nickname? I'm thankful that Jesus never once called him "doubting Thomas" and neither does He summarize you by your greatest failure. We have no idea where you're going, verse 5. We have no idea how to get there. Jesus has a helpful answer for him. Verse 6, look at this. Jesus said to him, I am the way. "Ego eimi", I am, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Welcome home. Welcome home. Those two words are simultaneously what we hope you feel here in our church. We hope you feel welcome home. We hope you just feel that you're wanted here, and we're not trying to size you up to figure out what you believe so we can determine whether or not you belong.

Let me just tell you something. This is a place where you can belong before you believe. You can belong without believing. We're glad you're here. This is a place where you are welcome to be here as you explore the Jesus that we believe in, and we are honored by your presence. We hope you sense hospitality. We're not waiting for you to go or hoping you'll fit in so that you can stay. We're glad that you're here so we can tell you about the Jesus who has saved our soul. You're welcome here in this Fresh Life home. But it's also, listen to me, if you do believe in Jesus, if you have given your heart to Him. I was talking to someone this week who said, what do I have to do? They've been coming to our church for a while. They said, what do I have to do to be saved like you're always talking about? I said, you don't have to do anything. It's been done. You just have to believe. The gospel isn't behave and get saved, it's believe and receive salvation through the name of Jesus.

So I took him to Ephesians 2, and I showed him in the Bible. I said, salvation is by grace through faith, not of works, because otherwise, you would boast. And I said, look. If you could earn heaven, if you would do something and earn it, you would brag about it to everybody you meet. But when salvation is something God gives you because of what His son has done, all you want to do is react with worship and praise because of what He did for you in salvation. He said, I'm glad I asked that question. I said, so am I. But let me just say this to you.

The title of this message and what we see here is this the fifth statement of Jesus about who He is that helps us figure out who we are is this. If you do believe in Jesus, and as a result God puts the salvation into your soul that you could never earn, then the moment you die, the moment you leave this world, those will be the first two words you hear a minute after you die as God greets you into paradise by saying to you with a big smile and arm extended, welcome home. That is the promise of the gospel, and it is the living hope of the Christian church. It is that which we get excited about. So here at the beginning of the message, I'm rolling it out for you. That's all we got. That's the big climax of this message. We get heaven. We get home. We die, but we win. Because the worst thing that could ever happen to us actually because of Jesus becomes the best thing as we are ushered into eternity with the smile of our Father and all of eternity to look forward to in a place called Paradise. Come on. Take a second early on in the message and celebrate if you are thankful for the hope of Heaven. And that is what Jesus gives us here: the promise of a welcome home into Paradise when we leave this world.

Now, to get context, because I think it will become even more powerful when you understand these words in the setting in which they occurred. Jesus is with His disciples. It's Thursday night, the Thursday night before He dies on Good Friday. It's the Thursday night where He'll get arrested in just a little bit. It's the Thursday night where He had just washed His disciples' feet, including Judas, who was welcome with Jesus. And all the way to the very end, Jesus gave him opportunities, opportunities, opportunities. He wasn't waiting to condemn him. He was hoping to forgive him. And so Jesus washed the disciples' feet. He had had that communion meal with them, where He gave bread out and gave juice out and spoke about His death and all of that. And in that supper, He dropped a bombshell on them. And the bombshell wasn't just that He was going to die. He had been talking about that for quite a while. In fact, Matthew 17 tells us very specifically, it's rather 16. From that time, this was earlier on in the story. From that time, Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem. He must suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and raise the third day.

So Jesus did on this night tell them, I'm about to die. But that's not why their hearts were troubled. That's not why they were afraid. That's not why they were stressed out. That had been like a skipping record, the story He had been telling them. And they tried to talk Him out of it. They learned the hard way that is not a good call. Peter was like, no, no, no. We can't have you down on the cross. And Jesus was like, get behind me, Satan. And it's not a great day when God calls you the devil. So they learned that He is not to be talked out of that, but He had been telling them that He was going to rise. So that wasn't the new news. The new news was this. After He died and rose, He was going to leave and go back to Heaven and that His plan was not to stay with them physically, bodily on Earth any more. And that frazzled them. That shocked them to the core, because that was not their life plan. Their life plan was stay as close to Jesus as you can and enjoy everything that comes your way as a result of that. They thought He was going to usher in Heaven on Earth right then, you see?

And so they, who had given up everything to follow Jesus, now all of a sudden everything was thrown into upheaval. Why? Because they didn't have the revelation of the Holy Spirit. They didn't understand how good it was going to be to have the Holy Spirit put into our hearts by the Father. You have to understand. For them, all they could see was walking around with Jesus. And when they had a need, they had Jesus to take care of the need. But they couldn't see past their own personal selfishness to understand that's what it's like for all of us today who have the Holy Spirit with us all the time. Jesus said, it's far better that I go. Because if I go, everybody can have access to God like you have access right now. And listen. According to Jesus, what you and I get to enjoy, is this your daily life with God? What you and I are supposed to be enjoying is the same thing, even He said, a better thing, than the disciples getting to have Jesus. They had answers to every problem. They had comfort for everything that stressed them out. They had hope for every fear. They could, when they got stressed out, look to Jesus. They could freak out, look to Jesus.

That's what you have. Do you see that? That's your life right now. Are you stressed out about something you haven't brought to Him? It's not because you can't. It's simply because you won't. All you have to do is look to Jesus. According to your Savior, you right now have something every bit as powerful and as potent as what the 12 disciples had for 3 and 1/2 years on the earth. Only the Holy Spirit is in you, where Jesus was just with them. Holy Spirit's in us in a unique way and willing to come upon us. And our failure to understand the Holy Spirit will always cause us to be experiencing unnecessary fear. But where we know we have the Holy Spirit, we can tap into that. We can walk in that. The person who says in response to that, that sounds fantastic. Pastor, how? You ask, you receive, and you obey. You ask, you receive, and then you obey. So whatever it is that you need the help for, you ask for the help. You receive it with hands open, hearts open. What does it look like? Well, practically, it's as simple as, God, I need your help today. And I believe that you're giving me power for it. This meeting is hard. Parenting my kids is hard. Being a good employee is hard. God, this is hard. I want to have a tantrum. I want to pout. I want to bite somebody. God, I ask for it, I receive it, and then I go obey. And the blessing is in the going.

You see, the last step's crucial. The blessing's in the going. You go and act. I can't do it, but you step out in faith. The power kicks in. You step out in faith. The power kicks in. The Holy Ghost is like one of those treadmills or ellipticals or exercise bikes where nothing's on the screen until you start moving. You ever get on one? Oh, why isn't it on? I want to pick one of the loops. I want to pick intervals. I want to pick hills. Get moving, and you'll see it spring to life. The Holy Spirit, He's motion activated. So you ask, you receive. You step out in faith. The moment you do, He's going to flood into your life. He's going to give you power. He's going to give you energy. So they were freaking out, because they didn't understand what it was going to be like when Jesus went away to come back.

So ultimately, it was their response to his death that was causing them to be so freaked out. And so Jesus in response gave them words of help, and he gave them words of hope: six short verses that we just read that are some of the greatest, most poignant, most profound in all of scripture that He knew they needed on this day of them slipping and being afraid and plunging into despair and into doom. But these verses were not just to help them understand and come to terms with His death. He gave them these words, not just to transform how they thought about His death, but to transform how they thought about their own death. And what we find in them is the proper way to think about our own death, the proper way to look at our own death and make sense of it. And that's what we find. And so I've jotted down just a couple quick takeaway truths that could help you, not just make sense of Jesus' death but make sense of your own as well. Number one is this. Jesus is the answer to the ache within. He's the answer to the ache within.

Now, the truth is, all of us have an ache on the inside. There's something inside of all of us that just feels like our hearts are a puzzle that's missing a piece. How frustrating is it to do a puzzle and then to get to the end and realize, oh, my gosh, we're missing a piece. This is stressful. This is hectic. You almost want to call the manufacturer and be like, no, no. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not on my watch. I miss it. It's got a little bit of a kitten's tail on it. I need it. I need my piece. I need my piece. I'll go make one. You need the satisfaction. Because how many of you know the joy of doing a puzzle is actually all about putting the last piece into place, stepping back, and going, ka-bam! That's what you got to say. How you like me now, right, and to just feel like this is done. Why is it that for all of us, no matter how much we accumulate, however many trips we take and shiny things we can buy, places we can go, and followers we can get, and people we can sleep with, and things we can drink, why is it that we're always feeling like there's one last puzzle piece we haven't found yet? No one gets drunk and the next day goes, yeah, I don't need to get drunk ever again.

I was drunk last night. It was fantastic. Some of us in the early morning hours have felt in our lives like, I never want to get drunk again. But a week later when the next party comes, you don't think, no. I don't need to go party now, because I was drunk six months ago. It was so great I'm going to live on that high forever. No, no. We chase the initial high. We're looking for one more thing, looking for one more thing. What are our hearts in a word? Our hearts are troubled. That's why Jesus spoke immortal words when He told them, let not your hearts be troubled. That's a big word in the Greek. It means being agitated, being churned up. It means being very afraid. One time, Jesus, He was just a sneaky guy. I mean, He was a prankster. The disciples were in the storm that He told them to go into. He's like, go to the other side. You just see Him, I see mischievous Jesus. He said, go to the other side. I'll meet you over there later. And He runs off, and then a storm comes. And they get afraid. Their hearts are troubled.

Now, here's the thing. The answer to their fear is in His instructions originally. He said, I'll see you on the other side. He didn't say, go die in the middle of the lake. But when they got into the storm, they started acting like they were going to die in the middle of the lake. I came to the church and tell somebody, never doubt in the shade what Jesus told you in the sunshine. You just got to hang on to whatever He told you on the shore when you're in the middle of the storm. If He said, go to the other side, He's not going to let you drown in the middle. And I think sometimes we get so freaked out and emotional. And when things are bad, we make permanent decisions because of temporary emotions. We're mad in the moment, so we hit the ejector seat on the relationship. We bounce from the job. What are we doing? We're reacting to the storm instead of remembering the revelation He spoke to us on the shore. Why don't you just keep going?

My wife and I, we encourage each other not to make drastic decisions when we're feeling agitated. If we committed to something with saner emotions, then we just got to walk out of that word and walk out of that through this present difficulty. Just keep going. Just keep marching. Just keep rolling. Eventually, you're going to get to the other side. And you'll think, gosh, did I ever think about jumping out of this boat? So Jesus came to them walking on water. That's the part that's funny to me. You're like, where the part that's mischievous? Well, it's the part where He just... Listen, I don't have time for this, but I have to do it, because it's so good. They're in the middle of the storm. The Bible says, Jesus came to them walking on water but was going to pass them by. Had they not been like, hey, you, He was just going to keep on walking. He's just, hey, just out for a walk, guys. Just out for a walk, right? And He waited to be wanted. He waited for them to invite Him in the boat to actually get into the boat. Right now, Jesus is waiting to be wanted by you. He's ready to come into your life. He's ready to come into your relationship. He's ready to surge into what you're struggling with. But He's waiting to be asked, because He's a gentleman. He's not just going to come take over unless you ask Him to take the wheel. Hey.

So listen, listen, listen. The Bible says that when they were afraid at the storm, their hearts were troubled. Same word in the Greek. So now the panic of a storm is what He says, don't let your hearts do, because that's what was happening to them. And I think all of us if we're honest are going to, if we haven't yet, feel those kinds of feelings: fear, dread, agitation. It's how we feel when we read about shootings that have taken place. Another one? Vegas, and Parkland, and Columbine, all these things. They just swirl together into this agitation that we feel. We feel so unsettled. And then we think about our own personal difficulties: people that we love who pass away, and hardships that we face, and difficulties that come our way, dreams that are snatched from our hands viciously and unexpectedly. And what Jesus is saying is, I'm the answer to the ache within. Let not your hearts be troubled. And then He spoke Himself into their lives, because I am was just a couple verses away. Let not your hearts be troubled. I am here for you. You see what I'm saying? Whatever's troubling your heart today, Jesus is the answer for the ache that you're feeling within.

You were made for a place, and you were made for a person. The place is Heaven, the person is Jesus. And until you're headed to Heaven in a relationship with Jesus, you're always going to be scrambling around for one more puzzle piece, one more experience, one more purchase, one more, one more, just one more, and one more. But it's in knowing Jesus. Max Lucado, he said, the greatest calamity is not to feel far from home when you are, but to feel right at home when you're not. We shouldn't feel like everything's right, because we lost Eden. We lost the presence of God face to face. Those things that are in our future, if we're believers, they are what we were made for. So we should struggle and recoil to make sense of death. We were never meant to die. That's why He said, don't eat from this tree. But we fell for the original lie, that richness is possible outside of God if you just take this. And what we found: we found ourself evicted. We found ourselves cast out of the garden. Homelessness was the original penalty for disobedience, and we've been grasping for a home, grasping for a home ever since. And to feel like we're at home when we're not is actually the biggest problem in this life.

We should remember we are headed home, not currently home. But in Jesus, we find that answer to the ache that's within. There's a second thing. Jot this down. This passage tells us death is not the end. It tells us that death is not the end. Jot that down in your notes. It's a different way to think about death. Why? Because you have body, and you also have soul. And we tend to think about our physical body as our true life, as everything that there is. But the proper way to look at it is to remember that you are a soul. You currently have a body. Therefore, death is not the end of the road. It's merely a bend in the road. And that's why it's important once more to look to the words of Jesus. They were freaking out. They were panicking because of their misunderstanding about the actual facts about death. So Jesus spoke to them. Look. In my father's house, there are many mansions: meaning there's more after death. If it were not so, I would have told you. If it were not so, I would have told you. I wouldn't have been telling you all these lies about eternal life if all you got was this life here on Earth.

So what happens when a person dies? Well, their body becomes a lifeless shell. Their body is lifeless, at least for the present time. And we'll talk a little bit more in the coming weeks as we get to number seven about what awaits the body. But presently, the moment someone dies, their soul leaves their body, their soul, which is still them. But out of your body, you're still you just as much as you were inside of your body. And if you don't understand that, it will cause there to be fear. So when you go to a cemetery, there's not a single person to be found except the caretaker and those who are well-wishers and those who are leaving flowers. There's not a person in the cemetery. It's just full of lifeless shells. It's just full of places where people at one point used to live. So the question is not will you live forever, but where will you live forever? Since one minute after you die and 1,000 years after you die, you will still be you just as much as you are currently. You will be ultimately. Jesus put it this way in Hebrews chapter 9 speaking to the author of the book of Hebrews. It is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment.

So there's something after death, you see? There is something after death, and it's a sorting. It's a sifting. It's a judging. It's where is this going to go. When you put away your groceries, you're judging. You take these bags now. You assemble them on the counter. Are they recyclable bags? Well done, Portland. We're glad to have you with us as well. Are they eco-conscious and full of organic, farm raised chickens that you know their name? OK. So anyhow, you're sorting now. Where do I put these groceries? You see, everyone has to choose. You're judging where they go. When we die, there's a judgment. It's a sorting. Where is this going to go? Jesus said there are only two roads: a broad road that leads to destruction that many are on and a narrow road that leads to everlasting life. So it's Hell and it's Heaven. It's life and it's death. But regardless of which of the two waiting for you, death is not going to be the end. There is something more. For the believer, we have this great confidence that comes from knowing that, 2 Corinthians 5:8, absent from the body, present with the Lord.

That's how we think about death. That's what Jesus secured for us: absent from the body, present with the Lord. You don't pass go. You don't collect $200. There's no waiting in purgatory for people who love you to do some nice things, rack up a few more points, and then maybe you can get. No, no. It's immediately to be present with the Lord. It's a helpful way to remember it. Death is then not leaving home, but going home. We think about leaving this world. That's so sad. Gone too soon. No, no. It's not leaving home, it's actually heading home where Jesus says to you, welcome home. Enter into the joy of your Lord. That's death. That's what happens when someone who loves Jesus and believes in Him dies. But it's only possible because of the price that was paid. That's what Jesus said when He said to the disciples, I go to prepare, look at it, prepare. Jot it down. He's preparing a place for them. What does that mean? I've heard so many sermons about Jesus up there in Heaven as a carpenter working to get all the dwelling places done. Not how Jesus builds, FYI. He says, let there be light, and there is. When He needs to speak something, He uses His words.

By the way, you were made in the image of God. And when you speak something, it creates something. It's either life or death, depending on how you talk. How do you talk about your job? How do you talk about your marriage? How do you talk about your church? How do you talk about this sermon? Oh, this one, you could speak life. This is going to be amazing. God's going to speak to me through His work. That's why we encourage talking back throughout the sermon. It's because you're speaking life just as I am. When you say that's good, that's for me. That's fantastic. You're speaking life. What are you doing when you sit there like this? What are you doing? You're not speaking life, you're speaking nothing. See what I'm saying? And that's why we encourage that, using our mouths. Because the Bible says, let the Redeemer, the Lord, say so. If it's true, it's if it's in your heart. Well, no, I have a good heart. No, no. We only judge your heart by what comes out of your mouth. It's important what you post on social media. It's important what you speak. All anyone gets to judge about you is this.

Well, I care about my church. I care about my faith. No, no. We only get what you say. We only get what you put out there. We only get what you tweet. We only get what you text. We only get what you email. You might have a golden heart just like an egg might have a golden heart. But we only get your words to judge you by, so we speak. So Jesus doesn't create with hammer and nails up in Heaven. He's not struggling to get it done like, no, no, don't send me back on the Rapture yet, God. I haven't finished it yet. No. That's not what is meant by I go to prepare a place for you. What He's talking about is this, hanging from the cross. That's how He prepared the means by which we would enter glory. He allowed himself to be nailed to a cross and He hung there as the weight of all of our sins was placed upon Him. And like a lamb led to the slaughter with silence, so He opened not His mouth except to speak golden words that came down from Golgotha: words of forgiveness, words of love, words that fulfilled prophecy, and words that indicated He was done and could leave this world and go home into His Father's hands. He committed his spirit when all had been accomplished. And after He rose from the dead, He then had prepared the way. He was the forerunner. He went behind the veil as the great anchor, and the Holy Spirit change our hearts to Heaven.

And each day as believers, we're being winched in inch by inch by inch. We're getting closer to Heaven. Any other way to think of it will keep you spinning your wheels in unnecessary fear. He prepared the way by dying and rising, and now the way is prepared. The accommodations have been purchased. It's been paid for in advance. Not a cent remains. It's all been taken care of. Everything is ready for you. All that remains is for us to finish the work that He's given us to do, and then we get to enter into the joy of our Lord as well. But take that as a cautionary tale as well, because night is coming when no one can work. Yeah, Heaven's waiting for you, so what are you waiting for? Heaven's waiting for you, so what are we waiting for? Let's go into all the world. Let's preach the gospel to every creature. Let's believe that after the gospel has been proclaimed to the ends of the Earth then the end can come, so let's be after our Father's business. Let's work, and let's testify. Let's shine our lives. Let's live beautiful lives that are winsome, that attract people in. Let's be generous. Let's be sacrificial. Let's live crazy. Let's give our lives to God, only one life. And soon it will be past, and only what's done for Christ will last. All right, so Jesus is the answer for the ache within. Death is not the end.

Third thing: Heaven is an upgrade. Heaven is an upgrade. A question that a lot of us ask is, what is Heaven going to be like? And I think here in this passage, Jesus gives us one of the most helpful descriptions of it possible. Why? Because He used the word "mansions". Does that help anybody else? What is it like? Wayne Manor, anybody? When do you think about a mansion that it's ever a bad thing? It's like, what's Heaven like, God? Mansion. I'm good. I understand. That sounds fantastic, right? Mansion? He didn't say crappy studio apartment. See what I'm saying? He chose the word that he did intentionally to speak of permanence. And obviously, He does want you to conjure up an image of niceness. He would have used a different word if He didn't want to. He doesn't do anything badly. This world, fallen as though it is, is still beautiful, breathtakingly so. You see vistas. You see things. You enjoy His creation. You see what comes back from the images NASA sends back from, follow NASA on Instagram. It's like, well done. I'm always in a worship moment. Good job. And all that's been there for all of human history. It's the first time we've ever seen it. God's been enjoying it forever. He's been enjoying it since He spoke it into existence.

We're like, wow, look at that! He's like, yeah, I have that over my fireplace, a picture of that. I'm glad you guys finally got around to seeing it. And what have we not discovered? And what's awaiting for us there in fullness of life where there's not any more anything being tarnished by sin. I like to think about Heaven as the grape, and this Earth is the raisin. The raisin is still sweet, but so much has been sucked out of it. What is it going to be like once again for our bodies and our lives in this world to be re-energized with the glory of God that will cover the world like the water currently covers our planet, when God's glory is thick everywhere and we can breathe it in? We won't just be able to look at beautiful things. We'll be almost able to enter into the beauty in a way that we want to now. It's almost like today when we see creation that's stunning, you're a little bit sad at times. Because you know as beautiful as it is, you have to walk away. You know as beautiful as it is, the picture isn't going to capture it. You know as beautiful as it is, you want to almost soar. You almost want to jump off that cliff. There's almost like something in you that feels bittersweet when you see something really beautiful, and that's you longing for things to be full, in a sense.

CS Lewis talks about in that day, we won't just be able to see the beauty. We'll be able to almost absorb the beauty. And there will be a fullness to it that will cause the trees in the forest to clap their hands. If trees are going to clap their hands in Heaven, what will you be able to do? You think about it. It's overwhelming to think about. And by the way, all of this that we're talking about is the cure for a broken marriage. When your wholeness is in Jesus, and you know you're headed to Heaven, and you know there's going to be an ache here on this Earth until you're back where you should be, then you don't look to your spouse to fix what you have inside of you missing. And instead, you both look at each other and you go, we both know we're broke. And we both know we're lost. We both know Jesus is what satisfies us. But ultimately, we're both still empty in a certain way, because we're still out of Eden. And so you look to each other, and you both can just grow, not expecting each other to fulfill that, but to look forward to your homeland when that ultimately is fulfilled.

You see what I'm saying? So you could get married again. You could divorce and get married again. You could do it 19 times, but they're not going to have what you need either, and nothing on this Earth will. You know Jesus. You know you're headed to Heaven. And so now you just do life together, and serve together, and forgiveness with a mind towards heaven. So Heaven, what is it? It's an upgrade. The two words that help me the most, and there's nothing I wish I knew more than, what is actual the day to day details of Heaven like? Because I have a child there. And when I travel, I like to know what my kids are doing. If I am preaching somewhere, leading somewhere, doing something, I like to just know. Are they at ballet now? Good. Do you need to do something? No, I just want to know. I just what to think about it. I like to picture them doing ballet. I want to FaceTime. I just want to know what's now. Where are they now? Did they get ice cream? Are they finished with school yet? Are they just sitting around doing nothing but laughing at Tabasco and watching Lennox play and drool? I just like to know what they're doing. And with the child in Heaven, I think often, what's happening now? What are they doing in Heaven at this moment? What's Lenya experiencing here? And so what helps me is just remembering far better.

Paul got to go to Heaven one time. Paul got to go to Heaven one time. Humble brag. Biggest humble brag in the Bible. He says, I know somebody. I'm not going to mention any names, it was me, and they got to go to Heaven one time. And what they saw, listen. He said this. It's far better, far better. And so think about that. Heaven is an upgrade. So all of our fears about death, all of our fears as Christians about dying, they're unfounded. They're unnecessary. I saw a guy one time struggle against a flight attendant changing his seat. My daughter and I got separated. We were supposed to sit next to each other in this plane, but there's a man sitting in my daughter's seat. And he was adamant that he sit there. I said, my daughter, can you move somewhere? No, it's my seat. They both had been assigned the same seat. The flight attendant, can you please? No, no. This is my seat. So finally, she said, sir, I'm going to move you. And he goes, listen, this is my seat. It's on the ticket. This is where I'm going to stay. She goes, but your seat's in first class. The one I'm going to give you is in first class. Oh, well, yeah, yeah. Please take it, grabs his stuff.

And I wonder if that's going to be some of us when we get to Heaven. We've been afraid our whole lives. I don't want to die. This is terrible. Death is awful. And then it's like, but this is first class. It's an upgrade. Heaven is an upgrade. It's a beautiful place. It's filled with glory and grace. We're going to see our Savior's face, because Heaven is a wonderful place. I want to go there. I want to see my daughter's face. I want to be reunited with creation in perfection. No more sickness. No more disease. No more anxiety. No more sinful nature. No more bitterness. No more anger. No more dying. These things will be swallowed up. This life's a tent, Heaven is the home. And here's something good about Heaven. Jot this down. There's room for everyone. There's room for everyone, like every one of you and everyone you know. There's room in Heaven for everyone, both from a space perspective and from the desire of God. You're like, I'm going to need to see that in the text. He didn't just say there are mansions. Look what He said. He actually said, there are many mansions. Or as the New Living translates it, there's enough room for everyone. There's plenty of room, more than enough room in my Father's home.

So just know this about God. However you feel about Jesus and whatever bad experience you've had with Christianity, just know this. God loves you, has a plan for your life. And that plan for your life includes Heaven. He wants, when you die, to go to His Father's house, for you to be shown around by the angels, and to enjoy protection, enjoy that life. That's God's plan for you. God's been portrayed as this angry God, this vengeful God, this God who just can't wait for you to get out of line so He can throw a lightning bolt at you. And nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture actually tells us point blank. Look what God says about the death of the wicked. He says in Ezekiel, I have no pleasure in the death of sinful people, no pleasure in the death of the wicked. I don't get any joy out of that, like, yay! No. In fact, He says, I wish that the wicked would turn from his way and live. So turn. Look. He just starts screaming, turn from your ways. Turn from the way you're going.

If today you're not believing in Christ, and you're headed the wrong way, what is God saying to you? He's saying, turn around. It's as though you saw someone driving on a road at 90 miles an hour and you knew the bridge was out. You would be saying to them, no! Turn from your wicked ways and repent. God loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you to demonstrate his love. God demonstrated His love in this that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. And it was necessary, because not only is there room for everyone in Heaven, but everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. You and me and everyone we'll ever meet: all of us have sinned. And it's not good people that go to Heaven. Listen to me. It's forgiven people. And that's why Jesus Christ died on the cross, so you could be forgiven. Christ has already paid the bill. All that's necessary is for you to receive the price that was paid into your life so that it can be applied to your bill and so everything can be sorted out.

My dad stayed with me in a hotel room a while back, and he wanted to just hang out with us. So I said, I'll call for a rollaway bed. And I called the front desk, and they said, it's going to be $50 for rollaway bed. And I thought that was interesting to have a crappy twin bed on wheels for the night. But my dad said, look, I'll pay for it. So he's like, I'll go down to the front desk and pay for that extra $50 so it's not on your bill. And so he did that, and then he got home and called me. He said, did you know that hotel where I stayed in that rollaway bed? He said they applied $1,000 bill to my credit card. They charged me $1,000. I only tried to pay $50. He's like, they charged me $1000! So what did he do? He called them up. And what did they do? They reversed the charges, and they applied that credit. But if he hadn't have called, they wouldn't have applied the credit. I'm telling you, if you don't call out to God in faith, He can't apply the credit of Jesus' righteousness that was shed at the cross for you. God wants to apply that to your account, but you must call out to him.

Isaiah the prophet said, look unto Him, and you will be saved. Everybody all the way to the ends of the Earth can be forgiven if you would look to Jesus. There's no one so good that they don't need to be forgiven, but there's no one so bad that they can't be forgiven. If you would just trust Jesus, He would save you. There's room for everyone. There's one last thing. You need to not miss this. There are many ways to miss Heaven. That's what this passage tells us. There are many ways, endlessly possible variations of ways, to miss Heaven, but there is only one way to go there. According to Jesus, He put it this way. Let's read it again. This is the "I am" statement we've come to consider. I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life. No one, He says, come on, everyone. Say "no one". No one. No one comes to the Father except through me. Heaven is closed off to no one, but it is accessed only through the name of one. His name is Jesus, and he is God's open sesame to everlasting life and abundance. There's one way that gets to the Father.

John Phillips and his commentary on the Gospel of John put it this way. In that magnificent statement, Jesus answered the three greatest questions of the human heart. What is the way? What is the truth? What is the meaning of life? Is there anything people puzzle over more that that? Is there anything people go to college or travel the world or get high to try and figure out, what is the truth? What is life? What is life? What is life? That's a question asked on social media. The answer is Jesus. Life has a name. Truth has a name. The way has a name. And I'm told that in the Greek, the way that these are spoken build on each other. They build on each other. It's not like, I'm the way, comma, the truth, comma, the life, as though they were three separate categories of things. No, no. He's actually saying, I am the way. It builds on it, because I am the truth. Why? It builds on it, because I am the life. He's able to be the way that you can get to Heaven.

Do you know the way: the way to San Francisco? Do you know the way: the way to Albuquerque? Do you know the way: the way to Starbucks? Here's what He's saying. You want to get to Heaven? I'm the way. I'm the directions. You don't need to look to a map. You to look to the Messiah. I can get you there. Why? Because I am the truth. I am God's truth. I am God's word spoken. And why can you do that? Because I am life. To know Jesus is to know life. Therefore, listen to me, 1 John 5:12, if you have the Son, you have life. If you don't have the Son, you don't have life. So my question to you as we close is this. Do you have the Son, or do you not? And you're saying, what do you mean? Do I go to church? Here I am. Is that good? No, it's good. That's not what I'm asking. I'm asking, do you have the Son? You're saying, do I know some verses? And I'm not asking about verses. Verses are good. Verses can tell you about Jesus, but do you have the Son?

You're saying, do I do good deeds? No, I'm not asking if you've done good deeds. I'm asking, do you have the Son? Do you or don't you? Do you have life? Because if you don't have the Son, you don't have life. But what's for sure is this. If you were to believe on Jesus today, you could have the life. Because who the Son sets free shall be free indeed, and Jesus is the way. And He's the truth, and He's the life. And no, no one can get to the Father except through Him. But listen, if you go through Him, you can get to the Father. Don't bury the lead. Don't bury the lead. A lot of people get lost in this statement, because they start arguing about why there's only one way to the Father. That's pretty intolerant. That's pretty arrogant. Not if it's true. Not if it's true. It's only intolerant and arrogant if it's not true, if we're making up a religion, and we make one up that just excludes all sorts of different people and belief systems. Yeah, that's so screwed up. But if it's true, then it's loving and kind to tell people the truth about it.

Let me mix it up a little bit. If you're drowning in the ocean and a Coast Guard helicopter comes for you and a rescue swimmer dives down to get you, pulls you to a rubber raft or pulls you to a cage attached to a rope and you begin to get winched up, are you going to argue with him about why there weren't many helicopters sent, why there aren't many divers sent? Oh, Christians are so arrogant. They think there's only one way to God. Let's not bury the lead. There's a way to God. It's not like there was a line of people lining up to die for you and rise from the dead to save you. There is one way to the Father, because only one came down from the Father, only one who was willing to go to the cross and die for your sins. Only one rose from the dead. Only one sent his fear into the world. Only one, even now, will forgive you and save you. No matter where you've been or what you've done, you're not messed up enough that God can't save you. But you're not so good you don't need Him to save you. And if you believe in Christ, the one name that can save is able to save you in this very moment.

So my question for you is this: sitting there in Jackson or watching Salt Lake City, Church Online in front of your computer or on your phone, would you like to give your life to Jesus Christ? Would you like to accept Him as your Savior? Would you like to put your faith in Him as your Lord so that the grace of God can be poured into your life, grace that you don't deserve, so that you'll not only have the hope of Heaven to look forward to but the plan of God to walk out while you're still on this earth? Would you bow your heads with me and pray? All of us pray. God, we're thankful for those in Montana. We're thankful for those in Portland. We're thankful for every part of our church and Church Online and on TV as well or even right now, sensing you knocking on the door of their heart, ready to give their lives to you, be forgiven, be headed to Heaven.

And while we're praying with heads bowed, eyes closed but hearts open, if you would like to trust Jesus as your Savior, I'm going to pray a prayer. And I'm going to ask you to pray it out loud after me. I'm going to ask the church family to pray with us to show that we're all in this together. Say this.Say, Dear God. Dear God. I know that I'm a sinner. I can't fix myself. But I believe you can. Because Jesus died for me. And rose from the dead. Please come into my heart. And make me new. I give my life to you.
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