HEAVEN IS MY HOME 2-23-20

Heaven is my Home

February 23, 2020

               February 23rd is known in the Methodist Lectionary as Transfiguration Sunday.  It is the day we contemplate the event recorded in our first Scripture reading (Luke 9:28-36).  Why do you suppose Jesus wanted Peter, James, and John to not only see Moses and Elijah, but to also see himself as something more than just a physical body like themselves?  

          Many people have doubts in regards to an afterlife.  While almost everyone hopes that there is something more than just this life, even if they aren’t sure just what, and hate to think that once we are dead we simply rot and decay in the ground, or perhaps get burned up in the crematory; they are confused by all of the religions in the world, confounded by the agnostics and atheists, and hesitant to put their faith in something they can’t see with their own physical eyes. 

          Jesus understands that.  He took his three closest disciples up on the mountain to witness the fact that Moses and Elijah were still very much alive, and that there is more to us than our physical bodies.  He then later reiterated this fact when he himself rose from the dead. 

          Back in the apostle Paul’s day, there was a religious group called the Sadducees that did not believe in an afterlife.  Paul’s words to them are recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

          However, Christ provided ample proof not only that there is indeed an afterlife, but that he is the one in whom are faith should rest in regards to it.  While there are some who refuse to believe, and even some who call themselves Christians and yet deny the resurrection of Christ, it is only because Satan has blinded them to the truth so he can rob them of the hope that we have in Jesus – the hope of an eternity with Him in the heavenly home he is preparing for us, as you heard in our second Scripture reading (John 14:1-3).

          Yes… home, sweet, home.  Our homes are a special place.  A place in which we invest much time and money to make it somewhere we love to be.  Ed and I recently purchased a house in Pennsylvania that has been a dream of his for many, many years.  He is looking forward to putting up a garage next to it, and I am looking forward into turning it into something that could grace the pages of Victoria magazine.  I have plans to plant a weeping willow tree and rose bushes, decorate Tommy’s room with steam train memorabilia, and paint the deck.  I’m sure all of you also like to plan and work to make where you live a place that you look forward to spending your time.

          So what about our homes in the life to come?  How much time and energy do we spend in making them a place where we look forward to spending far more hours than our homes here?  For there is no comparison between the years we spend on earth, and the eternity we will spend in heaven if we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ.   The apostle John, one of the three who was present at the Transfiguration, later recorded these words when he was on the island of Patmos, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!’”  (Revelation 14:13).   Our good deeds will follow us and they will determine our heavenly rewards.  They will be our investment in our heavenly home.  Like we prepare for retirement here, so we don’t end up living in a shack eating tuna out of a can, we should, as John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, as long as ever you can.”  And as Jesus himself urged us in our third Scripture reading to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21).

          Now I’m not saying that those who have a deathbed conversion are going to end up in rundown shack in heaven, begging for food.  For our Lord did tell the parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20 to illustrate the fact that he will not shortchange those who put their faith in him later in life.  But if you have not put your faith in him as yet, I do not suggest waiting until you are on your deathbed, because you never know how or when you will pass from this life to the next, and you may not have the opportunity to cry out to God at the last minute.  And the longer a person waits, the harder their hearts become, and the more difficult it is for the Holy Spirit to truly penetrate the years of doubt and resistance. 

          Better to have peace in one’s heart now, to be assured of that blessed retirement home in heaven, where there will be no more pain, or sorrow, or death, than to gamble on where you will spend eternity.  So if you have not yet given your heart to our Lord Jesus Christ and asked him to reserve a place in heaven for you, putting your faith in his sacrifice and resurrection, then I urge you to do so today.  And if you have, then I look forward to our fellowship together there, just as I look forward to my home in heaven even more than I do to our home in Pennsylvania.  Amen.

VIDEOS:

"I Can Only Imagine"  (MercyMe)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da4fnYIuV9s

"Home"  (Chris Tomlin)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIb4NC5ikYo