Summary: American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel that proclaimed You Can’t Go Home Again. But the stories of the human race are nonetheless replete with homecoming stories of people who did go home again, and in many cases, they recognized what home was reall
Opening Statement: American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel that proclaimed You Can’t Go Home Again. But the stories of the human race are nonetheless replete with homecoming stories of people who did go home again, and in many cases, they recognized what home was really about for the very first time.
Quotation: In contrast to Thomas Wolfe’s observation, Rod Serling, the play writer from New York, wrote: “Everybody has to have a hometown…In the strangely brittle, terribly sensitive makeup of a human being, there is a need for a place to hang a hat, or a kind of geographical womb to crawl back into, or maybe just a place that’s where you grew up. When I dig back through my memory cells, I get one particularly distinctive feeling that’s one of warmth, comfort, and well being. For whatever else I may have had, or lost, or will find, I’ve still got a hometown. This nobody’s gonna take away from me.”
Application: Regardless of where we’re from or where our respective hometowns might be located today, we all can relate to the idea of a “geographical womb” to crawl back into from time to time in order to experience the emotions of coming home and being a part of what we know as “Family Reunions,” “High School Class Reunions,” “Get-Together’s,” or simply “Homecoming Day”. Even if Sunman or the surrounding area is not your hometown, and even if your home as a child was less than ideal, or even if your home life today is in shambles, and even if your family is being challenged by what seems to be insurmountable odds, we invite you to “hang your hat” for a little while this morning; to “crawl back into this geographical womb” and be at home among us. We have no hidden agenda today.
Invitation: Today, we have no desire to place additional obligations on your shoulders. We simply extend to you an opportunity to reconnect with God and with His people. Look around you today. Recognize the familiar faces of those who have journeyed alongside you for many years. Remember those experiences and moments in times past that made you smile and smile again. Appreciate the many faces, both new and familiar that are among us today. Make a new friend or renew an old acquaintance. Most important of all, redirect your thoughts toward a God who has been faithful to bring you to another Homecoming season.
So whether you’re coming, or going, or already there, we have this simple message, “Welcome home.” It’s time to celebrate homecoming.
Title: Sojournings and Homecomings
Background: In the New Testament book of Hebrews, it appears that the Hebrew writers’ audience was enduring some kind of persecution and they were considering going back to old Judaism, rather than stay with the Christian faith. They were discouraged. Life had trampled them to the point of rejecting their faith in Christ.
Illustration: We often speak of someone in an athletic contest who gets trampled by his or her opponent. I can remember trying to do track and field in high school. I did the running long jump and ran (allow me to rephrase “walked and crawled”) the 440-yard dash in high school. While I did OK in the running long jump, I got trampled in the 440-yard dash. Do you know what it’s like to be running your very best race and have 4 or 5 guys 20 or 30 yards in front of you at the finish line? Man, it’s discouraging to get trampled. I made all of the other runners feel great. But I left the track feeling horrible.
Application: Have you ever been trampled by life? Have you ever been trampled by a newspaper reporter or your boss? Have you ever been trampled by somebody you thought was your friend? I run into trampled people all of the time, and so did the writer to the Hebrews.
Introduction: To encourage a group of “trampled” Christians, the Hebrews 11 writer presents to us a kind of spiritual homecoming. He gathers together the names of those who have faithfully passed the legacy of faith on to the next generation. He reflects on the lives of these heroes and heroines of the faith. He talked about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel. Time and space restraints did not permit the writer to write about all the different ones who kept faith alive in their generation, even though it meant great personal sacrifice to each one of them.
Key Word: In the middle of this long list of the faithful, there is a momentary pause in the person-by-person account of the faithful in order to tease out certain implications from the lives of these of whom he has mentioned. The writer mentions FIVE RICH SPIRITUAL QUALITIES OR IMPLICATIONS manifested in the lives of these Old Testament personalities. We will be looking at these today.