Sunday, September 13, 2015

Heaven Our Heart & Our Home (Part 2)


SERIES: Topical Messages: Heaven

SETTING: North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE: Sunday AM (September 13, 2015)

SUBTITLE: Heaven: Our Heart & Our Home

SCRIPTURE: John 14:1-4

SUBJECT: The Promise of Heaven (Part 2)

SUMMARY: Heaven has been promised to the genuine believer



Our theme is: The Promise of Heaven

Proposition: Heaven has been promised to the genuine believer

Interrogatory Sentence: What does the bible say about the promise of heaven to the believer?

Transitional Sentence: We will see what the bible says about the promise of heaven by looking at:

Heaven: Our Heart & Our Home

The Promise of Heaven
John 14:1-4 * Part 2


Definition of Hope

The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language gives two meanings of the word. First, hope is to “entertain expectation of something desired.” We can call this common or natural hope. Second, hope is “to trust, have confidence.” This meaning, the dictionary states, is obsolete except as a “biblical archaism.” Christians use hope to mean “to trust, have confidence,” as the Bible generally does. We can call this biblical or theological hope.

Today, I want to share with you the wonderful promise of heaven that is the basis for our hope of a future afterlife in the presence of God.
I want to challenge you as genuine believers to meditate often on the precious promise of our hope of heaven and an afterlife with Jesus Christ our Savior.

We began last week this two part message on “The Promise of Heaven.”

[So, let’s a moment and remind ourselves that last week we examined…]

A. The Anticipation of the Afterlife by Culture

Randy Alcorn wrote, “…the idea that we will live forever somewhere has shaped every civilization in human history.

[We listed several examples from various cultures.…]

1. Australian Aborigines
2. Early Finns
3. Mexicans, Peruvians, & Polynesians
4. The American Indians
5. The Gilgamesh
6. The Egyptians
7. The Romans

Don Richardson in his book, Eternity in Their Hearts, wrote: “Anthropological evidence suggests that every culture has a God-given, innate sense of the eternal – that this world is not all there is.”

[Wes looked at…]

B. The Anticipation of the Afterlife by Christianity

1. From the Roman Catacombs
2. From Historians
3. From Scripture
4. From an Early Church Father (Cyprian)

And so we see that death, heaven, and the afterlife was anticipated by both culture and Christians. All cultures have some form of idea about “heaven.” Christians certainly anticipated heaven.

But there is a third and final source that anticipates the afterlife. That is…

C. The Anticipation of the Afterlife by Cessation (Curtains)

Don’t forget, there is one “disease” that every person who has ever been conceived will without fail come down with. That disease is “death.” As human beings we are mortal.

A number of people from writers, to philosophers, to the religious have at one time or another made this point – The death rate is 100%. Apart from the return of Jesus Christ in our life time, we will all die.

*Current statistics show that worldwide:

• 2 people die every second,
• 180 people die every minute
• 6,392.70 people die every hour
• 153,424.70 people die every day
• 4,679,452.00 die every month
• 56 million people die every year.

[OK, let’s turn to the second part of this message and look at our…]


This morning I want us to take a look at a very familiar scripture. Jesus has just had the Passover meal with his disciples (his last meal). He has announced that Judas was going to betray him. He has told Peter that Peter would deny his three times. And then he tells his disciples that he has to go away for a while and they can’t follow him to where he is going.

A lot of things have just happened. The disciples were probably feeling a little down. Their hearts and minds were uncertain about what was going to take place next. As a matter of fact their minds must have been reeling with fear, with doubt, with anxiousness, and with despair.

And Jesus surely must have sensed this. Because Jesus said to them, “Let not your hearts be troubled…” And then he gave them a word of encouragement. He said, “Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. 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, so that where I am, there you may be also…” (John 14: 1-4)

These verses have been shared at funerals over and over again. And rightfully so, because they assure us that death is not the end. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us and he is coming back to take us to be with him.

These verses have also been shared, taught, preached, and used as comfort and encouragement to believers who have been attacked by self-doubt, by satanic assault, and by the pressure of everyday living.

This morning, I want us to think about that promise of Jesus and the place that he has gone to prepare for us. I want to encourage us all to hold on to the precious hope that we have of a promise of heaven and to be with the Father and the Son for all of eternity!

[Let’s begin with this – The Promise of Heaven is…]

1A …Exonerated (Vs. 1)

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God; believe also in me.”

[We see at least two (2) things expressed in this first verse.]

[First thing that is expressed is…

1B A Gentle Command

“Let not your heart be troubled…”

Based on the verb, Jesus is actually saying to the disciples, “Let not your hearts be any longer troubled…”

Jesus is not saying to them “Do not begin or start to be troubled.” Jesus actually gives the disciples a command to “Stop” being troubled. They have already been “troubled.”

1C “Troubled”

The word that Jesus used means “to stir up, to be agitated, or to be thrown in to a state of confusion or perplexity.”

Think of a pool of water. Calm or still water is “stirred up” or “agitated” by something or someone outside of itself.

One day to describe it would be to think of your washing machine. Washing machines have an “agitator” to stir up or create movement in the water. Of course this action by the movement of the agitated water is what forces the dirt out of clothing.

Our word for trouble or agitate is used for the “disturbance” of emotions. It is used in the passive voice – which means that it is an outside source that is doing the troubling or agitating.

In this case, the disciples are being troubled or agitated by the information that Jesus has just given them about His betrayal and Peter’s denial.

2C Heart

The heart that Jesus is speaking of is the fulcrum if you would, the thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation, of faith and feeling for these eleven disciples.

The hearts of the disciples were filled with a number of emotions or feelings that have been agitated, troubled or stirred up by Jesus’ words.

• They were extremely sad
• They were even a bit ashamed
• They were certainly perplexed or confused
• They were even wavering in their faith

One of them was going to betray Christ and one was going to deny him.

Jesus knew this, and He lovingly and gently gave them a command, stop allowing these things to agitate or trouble your heart, your emotions and feelings.

[This gentle command leads then to…]

2B A Gentle Conclusion

“…you believe in God, believe also in me.”

This isn’t just some isolated or meaningless phrase.

Both “believes” are imperatives or commands also. Jesus is telling the disciples to continue to trust! Don’t give up trust!

The disciples had faith and Jesus knew they had faith, but He also knows their faith is wavering a bit. They need to be reminded to not give up, don’t loose hope – keep trusting.

Jesus knows that in a few hours He is going to be betrayed, denied, tried, whipped and beaten, and then nailed to a cross to die.

Jesus also knows that the only remedy, the only fix to wavering, faltering, fearful faith is to remained assured or convinced that God is still in control and Jesus is still the Messiah and their Savior.

This is why He commands them to keep trusting God and to keep trusting Jesus.

Listen, we are a very small group. We have learned quite a bit about one another. Not everything, but we all know the struggles, trials, and fears of this group.

Without feeling the need to list them all, don’t forget a few things:

• You have a promise and hope of a renewed life and heaven

• You have the promise of stepping out of this body into the presence of God

o 2 Corinthians 5:1-8

“For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-8, ASV)

• You know that God is still on the throne guiding your life, your times, your family, and all your burdens with divine, sovereign, and perfect care and timing.

And so as hard as it is sometimes to prevent the events and episodes in our lives from agitating our hearts, remember, Jesus would say to you, “Stop (in the name of love), no, no. no, He would say Stop, allowing these things from stirring up our heart. Keep trusting God, keep trust Jesus. Yes?

This is why we can sing with absolute truth and confidence, “When sorrows like sea billows roll, we have a place where we can flee to for safety, and say, it is well with my soul.”

With a gentle command and a gentle conclusion Jesus exonerates the promise of heaven by reminding the disciples that the trials in this world cannot nullify their promise of heaven.

[Secondly, The Promise of Heaven is…]

2A …Established (Vs. 2a)

“In my Father’s house are many dwelling places…”

The proper reading of the Greek word is dwelling place. The Latin Vulgate or the text which the Douay Version which is the Catholic Bible translated the Greek into the Latin as mansions. The KJ’s translators simply translated the Latin word for mansion into the English. They shouldn’t have.

So instead of singing, “I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop” you really should be singing, “I’ve got a large and beautiful room inside my Father’s House.

The idea is the Father House is one house with many, many, almost infinitely many rooms inside of it.

Why would Jesus mention this at all and especially at this time?

Remember in our text and context, Jesus is comforting the confused, frightened, and wavering disciples. They were afraid of this “coming separation” from Jesus.

Spend almost every hour with someone for little over three (3) years and the idea of separation can be somewhat frightening and disconcerting.

So Jesus tells them three things:

• Jesus reassures the disciples that He is just going to His Father’s house.

• I have told you the truth about this and have not misled you

• I am going to go so that I can prepare a place for you also

The OT says very little about heaven. The terms “Paradise” and “Abraham’s Bosom” gives a smidgen of insight, but the disciples would have had very little knowledge about a future dwelling place.

And so Jesus is establishing as a fact that they can have confidence in that this is not a permanent separation. It is only temporary. Jesus is going to a familiar place, His Father’s house, and Jesus establishes the fact that while they are temporarily separated, He will be busy preparing a place for them to remain with both His Father and with Him.

So why does he tell them, “…there are many dwelling places?” He wants them to know that there is plenty of room for them all. No man left behind. No disciple will be left out.

Also, without the death and the resurrection of Jesus there would have been no room or place for them in the Father’s house.

Heaven, the Father’s house is established as being a big, roomy, and accommodating place. In heaven there are entire “dwelling-places.” There are “homes” “abodes” “apartments.”

In the Father’s house are large, roomy, spacious, beautiful apartment type buildings with room for all genuine believers. Inside of one house there are enough apartments or dwelling facilities to house every genuine believer for all of eternity.

• Death can terrify even the most devout believer
• Pain and suffering can cause many believers to trip and to fall
• Loss of job, home, car, appliances, children, and finances can try us severely

Wouldn’t you like to ask the disciples, “Why is your heart agitated?” This life, this earth, this place where you temporary live is not your final home. We need to ask ourselves this at times don’t we? Jesus has gone ahead of us to the Father’s House to prepare dwelling- places for us.

When you finally die or when the Lord returns you will step into that uniquely and divinely prepared room, prepared just for you.

And so, Jesus established the truth that the disciples and you and I can have absolute rock-solid confidence in. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a room for us.

[Now, we move to The Promise of Heaven is…]

3A …Explained (VSS. 2c-3)

Jesus continues to comfort the disciples and at this point He gives them an explanation about what He is going to do during this separation and what this activity means to them.

[So, first let’s look at the first part of Jesus’ explanation, and that is…]

1B The Plan

“I go to prepare a place for you.

First of all, you need to understand that Jesus is not saying He has to get back to the Father’s House and in the next three (3) days make billions and billions of apartments or rooms.

Second, the statement “going to my Father’s House presupposes that these places already exist.

So, what is he saying?

The going itself is the preparation. What? The death and resurrection is the preparation for the disciples that Jesus is talking about. That is the preparation that is necessary.

Jesus doesn’t have to go back and obtain permits, and hire a contractor and build these rooms, and then furnish them, and then clean them up and make them ready for us to move in.

Jesus needed to be lifted up on the cross. He needed to experience and receive the full force and fury of God’s wrath. He had to become sin for us. His Father had to impute your sin to Jesus, bruise Him, and kill Him. Jesus needed to raise from the dead with power proving for all times that He was in fact the Son of God.

Why did He need to say this? Well, it leads Him to…

2B The Purpose

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself…”

If Jesus goes to all the trouble, the pain, the suffering and the sorrow that is involved in preparing the way for the disciples to go to the Father’s House and inhabit one of the apartment/rooms, then it is inconceivable that He would not return for them n order to take them there.

3B The Pledge

“…that where I am, there you may be also.”

“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess 4L15-18, ASV)

Well, Jesus has given the promise of heaven to quiet the troubled, agitated hearts of these disciples. He has explained His plan, his purpose, and his pledge.

Finally, we will take a look at the Promise of Heaven…

4A …Expanded (Vs. 4)

“And where I go you know and the way you know.”

Jesus is telling his troubled, agitated disciples two things in this verse. Even though it is clear and the disciples should have known what Jesus was saying to them they did not know nor understand.

Thomas’s question in verse five (5) confirms they did not understand what Jesus was saying, “Lord, we do not know where you are going and how can we know the way?” That discussion is for another day – but not today.

Jesus said two things to His disciples. The first is…

1B The Statement

“And where I go you know…”

The disciples had already come to the awareness and believed that Jesus had come from the Father

The disciples had already come to the awareness and believed that Jesus had come from the Father to do the Father’s complete will

The disciples should have known that if Jesus went anywhere it should have been back to His Father.

[And then look at what He tells them:]

2B The Support

“…and the way you know.”

How long had they been with Jesus? They knew that the only way to the Father was through Jesus. Yes their knowledge prior to the death and resurrection was limited, yes prior to the coming of the HS their understanding was also limited. They knew Jesus was from the Father and that He was leading them to the Father.

Well, we are to be encouraged, enthused, and emboldened by the fact that we are the recipients of The Promise to Heaven. The Promise of Heaven has been exonerated, established, explained, and expanded.

[What do you say we wrap this up?]


Let me conclude with this true story.

Revelation 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Is your name written in the book of life?

Ruthanna Metzgar, a professional singer, tells a story that illustrates the importance of having our names written in the book of life. Several years ago, she was asked to sing at the wedding of a very wealthy man. According to the invitation, the reception would be held on the top two floors of Seattle’s Columbia Tower, the Northwest’s tallest skyscraper. She and her husband, Roy, were excited about attending.

At the reception, waiters in tuxedos offered luscious hors d’oevres and fancy foods. The bride and groom approached a beautiful glass and brass staircase that led to the top floor. Someone ceremoniously cut a satin ribbon draped across the bottom of the stairs. They announced the wedding feast was about to begin. Bride and groom ascended the stairs, followed by their guests.
At the top of the stairs, a maitre d’ with a bound book greeted the guests outside the doors. “May I have your name please?”

“I am Ruthanna Metzgar and this is my husband, Roy.”

He searched the M’s. “I’m not finding it, would you spell it please?”

Ruthanna spelled her name slowly. After searching the book, the maitre d’ looked up and said, I’m sorry, but your name isn’t here.”

“There must be some mistake,” Ruthanna replied. “I am the singer. I sang for this wedding ceremony.”

The gentleman answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. Without your name in the book you cannot attend the banquet.”

He motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator, please.”

The Metzgars followed the waiter past the beautifully decorated tables laden with shrimp, whole smoked salmon and magnificent carved ice sculptures. Adjacent to the banquet area, an orchestra was prepared to perform, the musicians all dressed in dazzling white tuxedos. The waiter led Ruthanna and Roy to the service elevator, ushered them in, and pushed G for the parking garage.
After locating their car and driving several miles in silence, Roy reached over and put his hand on Ruthanna’s arm. “Sweetheart, what happened?”

:”When the invitation arrived, I was busy,” Ruthanna replied. “I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely, I could go the reception without returning the RSVP.”

Ruthanna started to cry. – not only because she had missed the most lavish banquet she’d ever been invited to, but also because she happened to get a small taste of what it will be like someday for people as they stand before Christ and find their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
If you can see the shore, you can make it!

Think about Florence’s words, “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” For us, the shore is Jesus and the promise of being with him forever in heaven.

This life is full of fog, it is full of cold weather, and it is certainly full of exhausting tasks. But, if you have a glimpse of heaven, if you can see the shore, you can make it. So over the next several weeks we are going to take a look at the shore.

All men have a sense of eternality within them.

Today I wanted to prove to you that all men have a sense that there is something, some type of after-life beyond death.

1 comment:

nashvillecats2 said...

PHEW! Took ages to read but Gregg it was well worth it.
Most inspirational and a real joy to read.