Summary: 3 of 3 messages on the mission and vision of Meridian Christian Church. This message is based on the idea of being in community in the present and for eternity.
8/19/07 Home - Our Goal
Christians live a life of anticipation.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I love this description of the church!
We look toward the day of our passing from this world to the next with hope because of the promise of our Lord Jesus. He said that he was leaving us for a time to prepare a place for us. A place filled with many mansions. Revelation describes this place as a city with streets of translucent gold and shimmering pearl gates. The place Jesus has gone to prepare for us is going to someday be our home. Someday... but what about today?
Today we have a temporary home. Just as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years with the tabernacle we wander in the desert of a dead and dying world but our tabernacle is not made of animal skins and fabric. Our tabernacle is made of people. Our home today is the church. Now don’t write it off as insignificant and unimportant. While our lord is building the temple city of the New Jerusalem in the heavenly places for us we have the wonderful, magnificent, church of Jesus.
Paul speaks of this in Hebrews 10:19-25. Listen to his teaching...
Home - a place of unconditional love
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Do you remember the movie called Raiders of the Lost Ark? Remember the part when they Nazi leaders opened up the Ark of the Covenant of God? Do you remember how the spirits rushed about the landscape and then - this is really creepy - their faces began to melt?
The High Priestly garments had a fringe of bells on the ephod that they wore into the Holy of Holies. The other attending priests would tie a rope onto his leg before he entered into this room on the one day a year he was permitted to enter. That was so if he happened to die in there - like if he touched something he shouldn’t or if he had a heart attack or if lightening came down and fried him like a marshmallow in a boy scout’s campfire - then they could drag him out of there.
Honestly, how much confidence would you have walking into such a place? Would you wonder if you were worthy to be in such a place? I would! Clearly this would be more than a little bit scary.
We don’t have to be afraid of God! Why? Because he is more than our God - He is our father! He loves you so much that he sent his one and only son to take your place on a sinners cross - and it doesn’t matter how unworthy you are.
Story: At a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity.
Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God took human form in Jesus. But someone quickly said, "Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form."
Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.
Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, arm full of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, "what’s all this rumpus about?"
Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, "We’re debating what’s unique about Christianity."
"Oh, that’s easy," answered Lewis. "It’s grace"
The room fell silent.
Lewis continued that Christianity uniquely claims God’s love comes free of charge, no strings attached. No other religion makes that claim.
After a moment someone commented that Lewis had a point, Buddhists, for example, follow an eight-fold path to enlightenment. It’s not a free ride.