Summary: Christ has gone before us to prepare an abiding place for us in heaven. He has made the arrangements for us. The apostle John writes that all these truths have been written in Scripture so that: Quote "You may know that you have eternal life".
After having served for decades in Africa, ... a missionary couple, ... Mr. & Mrs. Henry Morrison, were returning to New York ... to retire.
After years of service ... they had no pension ... and their health was failing.
They were worried and discouraged.
They happened to be on the same ship as Theodore Roosevelt, ... who was returning from one of his African hunting expeditions.
No one paid any attention to the missionary couple.
They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President ... and his entourage.
During the voyage, ... the missionary said to his wife, ... "Something is wrong.
We have given our lives in service to God in Africa for all these years ... and no one cares a thing about us.
Here this man comes back from a hunting trip ... and everybody makes much over him, ...but nobody gives two hoots ... about us."
When the ship docked in New York, ... a band was waiting to greet the President.
The mayor ... and other dignitaries were there.
The papers were full of news ... concerning the President's arrival. (Pause)
Yet, No one was there for the missionary couple.
They slipped off the ship ... and found a cheap flat on the East side.
That night the man said to his wife, "I can't take this, ... God is not treating us fairly."
His wife replied, ... "Why don't you go into the other room ... and tell that to the Lord?
He did just that ... and returned a some time later ... but his face was different.
His wife asked him what happened.
"The Lord settled it with me," he said.
"I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, ...when not one person ... met us at the dock.
And when I finished complaining, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said
"You're not Home Yet."
O' Beloved ... This earth is not our home.
Our fleeting years on this planet ... This island in the Universe ... are but a minuscule portion of our journey.
There is another realm of life beyond this sphere.
It is a place ... where we will know life ... in all its richness; ... in all its fullness.
As believers, ... as followers of the Christ ... we are just pilgrims ... journeying to our heavenly home.
The Scriptures, therefore, refer to us on this Earth As ... Strangers ... Ambassadors ... Pilgrims!
Writing to the Church in Philippi, ... Paul said, "Our citizenship is in Heaven" (Philippians 3:20)
Now ... Philippi was a Roman Colony.
And in these Colonies ... the citizens were predominately soldiers who had served time ... in the service of the Empire ... and were rewarded with full citizenship.
The great characteristics of these colonies was that, ... wherever you went in the empire, ... there remained fragments ... of the great capital of Rome.
Roman dress was worn; ... Roman justice was administered; ... Roman magistrates governed; ... and Roman morals were observed.
In a political sense, ... the Philippians knew what it was to be citizens of a far-off city ... a place where most of them had ... never even been.
On an immeasurably higher plane, ... believers belong to a ... "Heavenly City". (Pause)
Through the use of this analogy, ... Paul was saying to the believers:
Just as the Roman colonists never forget that they belong to Rome, ... you must never forget ... that you are citizens of heaven.
Therefore ... your conduct ... must match your citizenship.'" (Pause)
Just before His impending death, ... Jesus spoke to His disciples ... about this place ... called heaven.
He left them with these reassuring words: BIBLE "Do not let your hearts be troubled. 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 I go and prepare a place for you..., so that where I am, there you may be also." END (John 14:1-3)
When Jesus shared that there was a dwelling place being prepared for us, ... "in my Father's house," ... well ... it changed forever the whole character ... of the abode ... of the dead.
No longer was death to be viewed as an eerie journey to an unknown ... and frightening destination.
For the first-time ... people were able to see death ... as a going home.