Summary: Heaven is the believers home described by Jesus in ways that focus on our relationship to Him which will begin now and continue for eternity.
“Let not your heart be troubled!” Disciples were worried – Jesus has just announced his betrayer. And a little later he tells Peter he would betray him three times. Jesus was to be arrested. They were not going to see Jesus for awhile. Things seemed out of control. Certain disaster was ahead. Everything was going wrong! So what did Jesus do? He talked about home.
Pastor Don Piper tells the testimony of his horrible accident – his car was in a head-on collision with a semi and he was instantly killed. He found himself immediately in heavenly glory surrounded by all his friends and family who had in some way or other walked with him in his Christian life. It was a wonderful reunion as everyone was transformed into such beauty and filled with such joy. He was just about to enter the pearly gates of heaven to the praise of Jesus when he was transported back to his body through the prayers of a brother pastor. Piper says that his heavenly experience was more real than any experience he had on earth.
Do you look forward to that day? Is heaven YOUR hope? Is it your HOME? In our text today Jesus tells us about this place called heaven which is not some philosophy or experience or vision. It is a real place! What kind of place is heaven?
1. Heaven is a place to live. (verse 2a)
“In my Father’s house are many rooms.” It’s a place to live which will be our home. The book of Hebrews tells us of Abraham who looked ahead to heaven: “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents … for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (11:9-10) Abraham lived in a tent and in a foreign land with full peace because his eyes were on his real home in heaven.
Every year the Israelites celebrated the feast of tabernacles which was a time when they remember when they were wandering in the wilderness. They lived temporarily in tents for 40 years and God provided for them all that time. During the feast of tabernacles every Israelite family built a temporary shelter of sticks and leaves outside and on the rooftops and there they lived and ate and slept for a whole week. It reminded them that this earth is not their home. God is preparing a place in heaven! What a great hope we have!
Whenever we have earthly trials, worries or troubles, we need to remember that this isn’t home. If you like your home, realize that it’s just a “hotel” – a rest stop along the way. What’s 80, 90 years in the face of eternity?
2. It’s a place Jesus has prepared for us. (2b)
“for I go to prepare a place for you”
I recall preparing our first apartment in Cesky Tesin before we were married. It was a lot of work – stripping old wallpaper, painting, cleaning, installing lamps, furniture. Everything had to be ready before our wedding so that we could move into our new home.
Some of you remember all the preparation that went into building this sanctuary. I’ve seen the pictures and the hard work and labor of love that went into it. You can see the joy on the faces as the work progressed and it must have been a wonderful day when that first worship service took place.
Our future “wedding” home has been prepared. After Jesus spoke these words he made all the preparations himself for every one of you here. What are those preparations? He died on the cross, he rose from the dead, he ascended into heaven, and he sits on the right hand of God. He made the way for us to his home through his own flesh and blood. No greater sacrifice!
And yet we get so caught up in these earthly homes and places. We saw Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills. So much time and energy has gone into them. But when the Lord returns, and the earthquakes and fires come, it will all be destroyed.
Don’t set your heart on anything on earth when your permanent home is with the Lord. Sooner or later, even with all the best preservatives, they will be destroyed. Nothing will last.
This home is PERMANENT, unshakeable, glorious, neverending! No it’s not a literal house made with hands. Actually we don’t know what exactly our future home will look like but we know it’s going to be glorious! Set your heart on that home.
3. It’s a place of continued RELATIONSHIP with Jesus (verse 3a)
He told his followers that they will live in HIS home. It’s not like you’ll have your home and I’ll have mine and God will be far away on the throne. All of heaven is the home of God. That means intimacy and relationship. You can’t live in someone’s home without intimacy. We sure learned that this last week as we hosted a family of five.