Summary: The Christians real home
Theme: Our eternal home
Text: Psalm 39:4-9, 12; Rev. 21:1-4
Everyone who is born into this world will also have to leave it and for most people their deepest instincts and convictions tell them there is something beyond the grave. Creation teaches us that our instincts point to reality. The carrier pigeon when transported from its home has an instinct within it that guides it back no matter the time or the distance involved. And man is worth much more than a bird. Creation also teaches that life can pass through different forms and that life may even come out of death. The common butterfly lives the first part of its existence as a crawling caterpillar. After fulfilling its course, the caterpillar curls up and seemingly dies and lies in a death like state for many days. Then out of that body a beautiful butterfly comes to life. No longer forced to crawl on the ground, it spreads its wings and flies upwards. Men and women also spend a short time on earth and then have to move on. For each one of us there comes a moment when time ceases, a moment when we leave the realm of time and enter another realm, the realm of eternity.
Since God is eternal, His dwelling place is also eternal. God Himself describes His own eternal nature and realm as “Being the One who inhabits eternity”. Eternity is an aspect of God’s own nature, the realm in which God has His being. Many people are confused by the word "eternity". They commonly tend to think of eternity as being merely an immensely long period of time, beyond the power of the human mind to conceive. Eternity, however, is not merely the endless extension of time. Eternity differs in its nature from time. It is an altogether different realm, a different mode of being. Eternity is God’s own nature and mode of being, the uncreated realm in which He exists. God out of eternity, by the act of Creation, brought into being the present world and with it the order of time, past, present and future. By another divine act, God one day will bring this present world to an end, and with it time as we now know it, will again cease to be. As individuals we cannot wait for the end of this present world order. A moment lies ahead for each one of us when time shall be no more, a moment when each one of us shall come to the end of time’s course and step out from time into eternity. That moment has come for our beloved one who has stepped out of time and into eternity.
Death is our universal fate because of our descent from Adam, but death is not the end - a resurrection follows. Death is the vehicle that takes us home. We should always remember that here on earth we are pilgrims on our way home. Unfortunately many of us call the wrong place home and live our lives as if everything ends here. This place with so many troubles, pain, anguish and hurt cannot be home. The story is told of a missionary who returned to America after spending forty years in China. When the boat docked in New York harbour there was a large crowd waiting to meet their friends and relatives. By the time the old missionary got off the boat the crowd had gone and there was no one to meet him. Tears came to his eyes and he asked the Lord why no one had come to welcome him home. Suddenly, as if in a trance, he found himself lifted up to heavens gates and heard an announcement that he would be returning in a short time. And as he looked he saw Chinese begin to gather at the gate from the north, south, east and west to welcome him; a crowd far greater than the one that had gathered at the harbour. A smile spread across the old missionary’s face when he realized he was not home yet. He had been calling the wrong place home. Have you been calling the wrong place home? We need to be sure we are on our way to heaven. None of us are going to heaven because we have been good and have lived charitable lives. We are going to heaven because Christ died on that cross for us – because He paid the penalty for our sin. For each of us a time is coming when we will step from time and into eternity. But is it eternity with the Lord? We can only be sure when Jesus Christ is our Saviour.
Our departed loved one has gone home to be with the Lord. She has gone to a place where God will wipe away every tear from her eyes. She has gone to a place where there is no more death, pain, sorrow or crying. She has gone to a place where she can enjoy true fulfilment and eternal joy in God’s presence. We here should rejoice that she is in the presence of God. We should rejoice that she now has the opportunity to know God perfectly, to behold the glory of His presence and to thank Him for saving her and bringing her safely home. This is something we should all remember as we look to the days ahead. The grief we feel and all the emotions that go with that grief should draw us closer to Christ. He is concerned about those who are His during this life and in death. He knows about every breath we take, every pain we endure, and every groan we utter. And in death He gives His beloved sleep. We cannot do without sleep and every living thing must have some time for sleep. Sleep during life brings rest and gives new strength for the new day. But after waking we still have the same problems and worries and aches and pains that we had before going to bed. This sleep can never compare with the sleep God gives to His beloved at death. When we go to sleep in Jesus we wake up in heaven where everything is perfect. This sleep belongs to all those who have received Jesus Christ. It is so easy to receive Christ that millions stumble over its sheer simplicity. When we step over from time into eternity will it be to an eternal future with the Lord? We need to be sure because it is not possible to come back to live in time again. We need to make the right choice now by coming to Jesus Christ who has prepared the way for us. He is the only way to the Father in Heaven.