Summary: The following sermon is going to review Hebrews 11:13-16 to show how important it is for God’s people to allow their future, eternal home to affect their inner faith and desire to become more like Jesus while exiled on this earth!
Longing for Home
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Whether one is taking a picture of the sandstone rock formation in Arizona; visiting one of six sky monasteries in Meteora, Greece; walking on the Great Wall of China, in the icy waters of Glacier National Park, Montana, or on the ocean floor of the Bay of Funday, Canada; exploring the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt or the ancient Incan city Machu Piccu in Peru; admiring the spectacular colors of Reed Flute Caves in China or the beauty of the flowers in the Ashikaga Flower Park in Japan; on a romantic gondola ride in Venice, Italy or feeling the mist from Niagara Falls in Ontario … there is no place like home! You know the place where one feels comfortable enough to be oneself and peaceful because the inhabitants truly love each another! Despite this warmth the eternity God has placed in our hearts can’t help but make us restless and dream for the heavenly city we as Christians are about to inherit! Until that day we are not to live in friendship with the ways of this world but as foreigners and strangers whose light and righteousness is to shine and reflect the glory of God the Father in heaven. The following sermon is going to review Hebrews 11:13-16 to show how important it is for God’s people to allow their future, eternal home to affect their inner faith and desire to become more like Jesus while exiled on this earth!
Faith Without Boundaries (verse 13)
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
Despite the heroes of the faith such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not receiving what God promised them, even in the face of death they still believed they would be fulfilled. Even though the promises to Abraham had been partially fulfilled in the birth of Isaac, in his lifetime he did not see his offspring become as numerous as the “stars in the heavens or the sands on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17) nor did he receive the land of Canaan promised to him (Geneses 12:1). While Isaac once sowed crops and Jacob “built a place for himself” (Genesis 33:17) in the land of Canaan neither one settled down in the land but considered themselves to be “pilgrims rather than residents.” The Patriarchs considered themselves to be foreigners and strangers of the promised land and “lived their lives under the controlling influence” that in the distant future their descendants would settle in the Promised Land. This conviction so strong that even when they took their last breaths, they never questioned the validity of the promises to one day be fulfilled for their descendants!
Even though many of the promises that God gives us will not be fulfilled in our lifetimes we are to be like the Patriarchs and live our lives with faith that what is “unseen” will later be “seen” and fulfilled. Just because a promise does not get fulfilled in one’s lifetime does not mean the promise has been broken. For example, even though we do not know the day or hour (Matthew 24:26) a time is coming when Christ will return to take us to the place that is being prepared for us (John 14:1-4). This will be a glorious day for we will get to see every knee bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). Until that day we are to be like Patriarchs and see ourselves as foreigners, strangers and exiles as we go about our daily lives. We are not love the ways of this world (1 John 2:15) and the “old self” (Ephesians 4:22-24) but are to daily renew our minds by trying to live according to the righteousness (Romans 12:1-2) that we will one day receive in the presence of our Lord in the renewed Garden of Eden.
Foreigners and Strangers (verse 14-15)
14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
While one might think that the Patriarch’s confession that they were “foreigners and strangers” in the land “reflected a nostalgic yearning to return to Mesopotamia,” they had no intention of doing so. Even though Abraham could have returned to his homeland at any time he chose to stay as a wonderer and non-citizen without any rights and even had his wife Sarah and himself buried in the land of Canaan (Genesis 23:19; 25:9–10). Abraham did not allow the servant to take his son Isaac back to Mesopotamia to get his bride and Jacob despite having spent twenty years in his home region heard the voice of God to go back to the land of his fathers (Genesis 31:3). Even though their unsettled existence in Canaan gave them ample opportunity to go back to the home of their birth the Patriarchs refused to be “earthly minded” and return but instead held onto the promise that a better home was being prepared for them in a heavenly city!