Summary: A sermon about what it means to be in relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
“Room at the Top”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN eastridgeumc.org
In our Gospel Lesson from John 14 Jesus is speaking to the disciples in the Upper Room.
The end of Jesus’ earthly ministry is approaching, the Cross is looming before Him, Jesus gathered His disciples around Him and to help them understand His life and work, His approaching death, Resurrection and Ascension, He spoke to them these words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.
I am going to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
We live in a day when the competition for the most prestigious and well paying jobs is fierce!
There is less room at the top than there was a decade ago.
So many highly educated and skilled people have to take jobs for which they are overqualified…
…that is, if they can find a job at all!
But Jesus assures us that no matter how tough life becomes, there is always room at the top—the Real Top—in the heavenly dwelling place, for those who love Him.
And what is this heavenly dwelling place?
And how do we get there?
Notice how, in verse 10 Jesus asks, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?”...
…and then, “The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”
So, first of all, it is important that we see that Jesus’ reference to His “Father’s house” should be read in the context of what Jesus says about He and the Father.
The Father’s house is not just a location it is also a relationship!!!
Even though Jesus lived on earth before the Resurrection and Ascension, He was always in relationship—constant unbroken communion with God the Father.
Jesus never gave in to the “ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air.”
Jesus never strayed.
The relationship of God the Father and God the Son is a form of residence that has been stressed from the very beginning of the Gospel of John.
For instance, in John 1:18 we are told: “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”
Jesus and the Father are indeed—One!!!
We are told that Jesus was “with God in the beginning…”
…and “Through him all things were made…”
So, location is a symbol for relationship.
And God’s house is about relationship, not just location!!!
Are we in relationship with God through Jesus Christ?
If so, our lesson from Ephesians informs us that “God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…”
Jesus is in God the Father and God the Father is in Jesus and if we are in Christ—we are there too!!!
We have died to this life, Paul insists, and our “real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Therefore, while we are still on earth, through the Holy Spirit we’re “there” in heaven with Jesus.
Jesus’ prayer, “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am,” is already fulfilled in part this morning!!!
Biblical scholar and evangelist Dennis Kinlaw writes, “Through his grace, God has made it possible for me to live in His presence every moment, so that heaven actually begins for me right now in time and space.”
Just think of it…
…let’s try and wrap our brains around it: even now, while we are here we are also there with God!!!
And what’s more, because Christ is in heaven, He’s also here—at all times and in all places—on earth with us.
Remember when Jesus commissioned His disciples in Matthew 28 He said, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This means we can live every moment of our lives in the presence of God!!!
We don’t have to wonder where Christ is.
We don’t have to beg Jesus to come on the scene!
Jesus is with us even when He seems most absent.
No matter how unholy the situation we may seem to be in, we can be confident that Jesus is with us!
Imagine if we could really grab a hold of this truth and reality!!!