S-1253 5th SOE/3A 05/22/11, (O) #586 vv. 1-4; (S) #148 v. 1-4, 11: LS. #355; #308; #199; (C) #586 vv. 5-7
Text: Acts 6:1-9; 7:2, 51-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14
Theme: “The Perfect Place” (John 14:1-3)
Question: “Where is your favorite Place?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our 5th Sunday of Easter is from the Gospel lesson: [Jesus said:] “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a PLACE for you? And if I go and prepare a PLACE for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I Am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
In Nomini Iesu,
You, who are the most precious possession in the sight of the Lord, Jesus Christ; before I became a pastor I worked as a professional house-painter! During my professional career I have worked on some very nice and fancy homes. The most expensive place I ever worked on was a $10 million home. It was indeed a beautiful place with golden wallpaper, golden faucets, swimming pool, private massage room and sauna. While traveling around the world, I have been in some very nice palaces—palaces that go back to the 10th century. These palaces take your breath away in how grand and lovely they are. As you visit places such as these you say to yourself. “Wow! What a place!”
However, none of these places that I have worked at or visited compare with the place that the Lord Jesus promised to prepare for us. In our Gospel reading for today, John speaks of Jesus’ final discourse with His disciples in the Upper Room. The Lord Jesus is about to face the gallows of the cross. He knows that the Galilean Fishermen will need to be strengthened for what lies ahead and gives them this promise. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.” Yes, believe in Me, trust Me because I will take care of you. To prove my faithfulness to you, not only will I go to the cross to die for you, but will also go and prepare place for you so that where I Am You, too, might be. And the place that the Lord is speaking about is not our home on earth, not a beautiful palace in Germany or England, no, He is talking about heaven.
These words from John 14 have been spoken many times before and will be spoken again in the future at the celebration of the new life of friends and loved ones. Because these words are golden words, they bring comfort and hope to every believer. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a PLACE for you? And if I go and prepare a PLACE for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I Am you may be also” Now that is a promise I want to hear again and again. That is a promise that promises me and you that every Christian has a room prepared for her or him by Christ in the Father’s glorious house. PAUSE.
But oh, I am troubled my children at what I hear and see in this world that keeps attacking our Christian beliefs and causes our hearts to be troubled. So many Christians have troubled hearts because they don’t know the Scriptures nor its teachings and when something stupid is said by supposed, Pastors, like Harold Camping that the end of the world would take place (yesterday 5/21/11) they become fearful. You will not believe it, but I have actually gotten phone calls if I was concerned about it. No, I wasn’t concerned neither should you! Even if the world did end, what a blessing that is to the believer and not a burden for our hearts; because we will be in the right place with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
What’s more, we have other pastors like Rob Bell’s planting seeds of doubt that hell doesn’t even exist. (see Times Magazine 4/25/2011 What if there’s No Hell”). How sad that the truth of Holy Scripture is twisted and taught improperly. I am reminded of the joke that goes like this: A little girl spoke to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it is a very large mammal, its throat is very small. The little girl said, “But how can that be? Jonah was swallowed by a whale.” Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human. “It is physically impossible!” She said. Undaunted, the little girl said, “Well, when I get to heaven I will ask Jonah.” To this, the teacher said, “What if Jonah went to hell?” The little girl said, “You ask him!” Hell is real. Jesus taught that there is a heaven and there is a hell. And that is enough for us to believe and trust in.
And if that is not enough so many of our people want to be in the perfect place, perfect figure and never grow old. I am troubled by how many of us Christians allow Hollywood to guide us and the world to direct us rather than God’s mighty living Word. A man is not perfect unless he has a 6 pack abs. A woman is not perfect unless she has the right figure—the perfect figure is 36”, 26” and 36”. And when we don’t meet that standard we feel like failures. Add to that the baby boomers don’t want to grow old. Have you noticed lately how many pills are on the market? There is a pill for everything—to restore hair, lose weight, look younger, run faster, sleep easier, wake up quicker and the list goes on and on.
But none of these things get you into the right place. These things give you ulcers, take your money away and cause your heart lots of pain.
To be sure there are certain areas that you don’t want to be at. We don’t want to be in Baton Rouge Louisiana because of the flooding. We don’t want to be in the path of tornadoes or Tsunamis and certainly we don’t want to spend eternity in hell. PAUSE.
This is why the Scriptures from the Gospel lesson for today bring great comfort to our hearts and minds. Jesus knew what His disciples needed. And He knows what we need too. We don’t need to have the perfect house, palace, figure or fortunes. What we need is the cross of Calvary. For this cross is our way to the Father. This cross paves the way for us to be united with Christ in His death and in His resurrection. The cross of Christ opens the gate to paradise. The cross of Jesus leads to eternal life.
When Jesus promised that He would go to prepare a place for us He meant it. That is why He went to the cross. That is why He suffered on the cross. That is why He died on the cross. That is why the cross becomes our highway to heaven.
Do you know where the perfect place is? It is not your home, though it is nice to be home because you feel comfortable and cozy. It is not visiting the castles in Wittenberg or Buckingham Palace, or the Churches in the Holy Land; that is a wonderful experience; but the perfect place is to stand beneath the cross of Christ as His blood washes over us. The perfect place is right at the feet of Jesus hearing Him speaking words of mercy and grace to us sinner. The perfect place is the place that Jesus prepared for us by His pierced hands—a home with Him forever.
Thank God with me dear saints in Christ, because Your Lord and Savior, Jesus has prepared the perfect place for you, and He is coming to take you to be with Him forever. I, pray that day will come soon, to be with Him in the Father’s house forever. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA