Summary: Shows how we who are called to follow Christ can and should treat this world as temporary. A lot of illustrations in this sermon.
“Looking for a City…” Hebrews 11:8-10
Hebrews 11:8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.
God called Abraham to leave his home, to leave everything he knew, to follow him. And while Jesus may or may not call you to actually physically leave your home, Jesus says,
John 12:26a, “All those who want to be my disciples must come and follow me.”
I. We too are called to follow Christ, and we can learn from Abraham’s journey some truths that will help us along the way as we follow Christ. The first thing that we see of Abraham is that he didn’t know where he was going, but he went by faith. Now, I’m not suggesting that you leave here today and take off for who knows where and wait for God to tell you when you get there. I’m talking instead about the journey of your life. None of us, when we answer the call to follow Christ know where we will end up.
I remember just a few weeks ago, I was in prayer and I was reflecting on a song that I used to sing when I was a kid, “I’ll go where you want me to go dear Lord. O’er mountain or plain or sea. I’ll say what you want me to say dear Lord. I’ll be what you want me to be.” In those moments of my innocent youth, I made a commitment to follow Christ wherever he would lead me. And I was singing that song anew, my eyes were filled with tears, just thinking where Christ has brought me. I used to sing it so innocently, so naively. I had no idea where God would lead.
And even now, I’m still standing at the beginning of my life. I don’t know where God will bring me next. I don’t know what else God has in store for me. Probably in another five or ten years, I’ll look back and be amazed at where I’ve come from. But like Abraham, I must be willing, and like Abraham, you must be willing to follow God wherever it is he leads you. You must commit to follow his plan for you, no matter what.
I read a story about a man who was dying. He asked his Christian doctor to tell him what was waiting for him on the other side. The doctor struggled to think of something. Just then, his dog, which he had locked in the basement, began to scratch at the door. And the doctor told the man; I never let my dog in here. He has never been inside this room. And yet, he is scratching eagerly at the door. Why? Because, he knows that I’m here in this room. And the same is true of heaven. We don’t know exactly what waits for us there. We may have descriptions and ideas, but our minds aren’t even capable of comprehending it. Yet we ought to yearn and desire to go there. Why? Because we know that Christ is there.
This story rings true, not only of our final destination in heaven, but also of every stop along the way. No matter what our course in life, be it storm or calm, peace or trouble, sickness or health, no matter what we go through, we can look forward to tomorrow with joy, because we know that Christ will be there with us. Surely he is the one who said, Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (NKJV)
When you look at the story of Abraham leaving his home in Genesis you’ll notice something. Wherever Abraham goes, God meets with him. And I’m sure that this was a big part of the reason that Abraham was able to venture into the unknown. He wasn’t going alone, but God was going with him. It wasn’t just Abraham who followed God without seeing the fulfillment of the promise. His son Isaac and his grandson Jacob also followed. And when God reiterates the covenant with Jacob that he had made with Abraham, God concludes by saying:
Genesis 28:15, “What’s more, I will be with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. I will someday bring you safely back to this land. I will be with you constantly until I have finished giving you everything I have promised."
Twice to Jacob, God said “I will be with you.” And it’s the presence of God that kept them all waiting for the moment when God’s promises would be fulfilled. They didn’t always know where they were going. They didn’t always know how they would get there. But they knew one thing: wherever it was and however they went, God would be with them. And the same is true of us. No matter what God has for you in your life. No matter what he has for you in your walk, it doesn’t matter that you don’t know where you’ll end up, because you can know who you’ll end up with.