Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – Home is Where the Heart Is
From December 1994 through May 1996, my work demanded that, Monday through Friday, I work out of a satellite office in Little Rock, Arkansas while my family stayed behind in Norman, Oklahoma. Every Sunday afternoon I made my way either to the airport to fly out or, after a while, I began driving the 5 1/2 hours that the trip demanded. I rarely got back to Norman before late Friday night. Most of the time I stayed in hotels but eventually my company rented me an apartment so that I had a place I could call "my own." I moved some of the extra furniture we had into the 540 square foot,1 bedroom place. As much as I tried, I could never make it feel like home. Home is where your heart is and mine was with my wife, my 5 year old daughter and my 18 month old rug rat son whom I barely knew.
Spiritually, as long as a Christian lives in this world, he is “away from home.” Peter, in 1 Peter 2:11, describes us as "sojourners and pilgrims." A sojourner, from the Greek paroikos, denotes one who lives as a foreigner in a strange land while pilgrim (parepidemos) is one who remains in a place but a short while, as a traveler on a journey."Home is where the heart is" and the Christian needs to be careful to keep their heart on heaven, our true home!
Paul, in his second letter to the church at Corinth, states, "For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens. For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord." (2 Cor. 5:1-8).
Jesus, in John 14:1-3, provides the promise and the reality of this home: "Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also."
Christ and Paul both remind us of the dedication of heart we must follow if we are to experience that home we yearn for:
Matt. 6:21 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
Col. 3:1, 2 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
How do we ensure that our heart is focused on the right home?.
1.Understand that the Christian has chosen a higher loyalty than they had before. 1.1.One cannot decide for Christ without deciding against some other things 1.1.1.Matt. 12:30 – He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad 188.8.131.52 John 2:15-17– Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world 1.2.The disciple of Christ is not “of” this world 1.2.1.Matt. 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… 1.2.2.John 17:9-17 – I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine: and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them. And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we [are]. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [one]. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth. 1.3. The scriptures provide us examples of those who's heart yearned for heaven but the power of the world proved too strong an allurement 1.3.1. Rich Young Ruler 184.108.40.206.Luke 18:18-23 1.3.2.Simon 220.127.116.11. Acts 8 1.3.3.Ananias and Sapphira 18.104.22.168.Acts 5
1.4.The Christian still has his duties in this world, but we must remember we have higher obligations that go beyond these earthly loyalties 22.214.171.124 Tim. 5:8 – But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever 1.4.2.Matt. 22:21 – Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. 1.4.3.Acts 5:29 – But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.
2.The Christian is a Citizen in a Higher Kingdom than he was before 2.1.The Christian has had his “citizenship” changed 2.1.1.Eph. 2:18-20 - For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone
2.2.Our "Home” is in heaven 2.2.1.John 14:2 – In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 2.3.Our names are written “in the Book of Life” 2.3.1. Revelation 3:5 - He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
2.4.Our heavenly inheritance is “reserved” for us 126.96.36.199 Pet. 1:3-5 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
2.5.As long as we live in this world, we are to long for the coming of Christ 2.5.1.James 5:8 - Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand 188.8.131.52.The suffering saints are to bear up under all of life's trials and tribulations for those found faithful will be avenged and find comfort in the coming of the Lord
3.For the Duration of his life, the Christian is a Sojourner 3.1.Sojourner = one who resides temporarily at a place. 3.2.The great need is for the Christian to maintain the frame of mind of the sojourner — he must think and act like one who is away from home. 3.2.1.Rev. 2:7 – To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. 3.2.2.Rev 3:5 – He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels 3.2.3.Rev 3:21 – To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne
3.3.The Christian is in trouble if he “settles down” here. 184.108.40.206 Pet. 1:17-19 – And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 220.127.116.11 Pet. 2:11 – Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul
3.4.Paul 18.104.22.168 Tim. 4:6-7 – For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 22.214.171.124.He knew his death was at hand.The harsh treatment he had received led him to the understanding that his blood was to be shed. 126.96.36.199.He was not going to allow Timothy or the other Christians who loved him to become dismayed by his sufferings or tragic death 3.4.2.Phil. 1:21-23 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell.For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 188.8.131.52. To exalt and glorify Christ was Paul's only incentive in life. All he did and said were an outflow of Christ living in him and he knew that the events of his life showed the greatness of Christ. 184.108.40.206. The fruit of the work he was doing for the Lord was in the form of people being saved 220.127.116.11. Paul knew the glory of Heaven, the glory of Home. His desire was to be with Christ. 18.104.22.168. Paul knew that the death of a Christian, instead of being a senseless end to a futile existence, is really the crowning to a life of faith and obedience. Home is where our heart is: Where is your heart? Are you still a sojourner in this world longing for that better home that has been promised to those found faithful to God or have you set up permanent residence in a world that the scriptures state will be "...stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:7)