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My Father’s House

by David Johnson

(Transcribed From the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

DavidJohnsonGood morning, listeners. It is good to be together again.

This morning we will look at a lesson entitled, “My Father’s House,” as we begin in a series concerning heaven and the hereafter. Our text for this lesson is found in the gospel of John chapter 14 and the first four verses, the words of Jesus.

“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 there to prepare a placed 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Let’s examine from Scripture, not the opinions of men, regarding heaven. For example, questions like: What happens immediately after one dies? And will believers know each other in heaven? Or can believers in heaven see people on earth? And what does it mean the phrase to die is gain? Can believers go to heaven without dying? What will we do in heaven? What is heaven like? And is it really true that there is only one way to heaven? And more questions as we look at these things more closely.

Scripture has answers or, at least, some insights, hints, glimpses into these and more questions. Usually we hear about heaven at funerals, but why wait till a death occurs? We can know and not only know, but rejoice about heaven now.

A gospel preacher wrote back in 1940 these words, and I quote, “Today the social gospel and lack of preaching regarding heaven has cheated people out of the joyful anticipation of heaven,” end quote. Now that was back in 1940. How much more so is that true today? Someone has written that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal and then permanently. But we can have joy now about heaven and knowing many things about heaven.

In Luke chapter 10 and verse 20 Jesus said, in part, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Names written, that is recorded, literally, regarding the saved. According, for example, to Revelation chapter 21 and verse 27 which says in part: Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” That is, a divine ledger, heaven’s roll call of all of the sons and daughters of God, all of the citizens of God’s kingdom community have been written by almighty God’s all knowing omniscience in a book regarding those that will spend eternity in heaven, in a book first revealed in the very second book of the Bible in Exodus chapter 32 and verse 32. And eventually of all the Old Testament and New Testament saints, of all believers including us who are in Christ Jesus, saved by grace through saving faith, heaven bound.

Now some today teach that heaven is just a state of mind, but this is a miscarriage of a marvelous truth. Heaven is much, much more than just a state of mind. Jesus Christ himself affirms, acknowledges that heaven is a real place with God and with his holy angels and with all the saints. Let’s examine the gospel of John chapter 14 in the first four verses more closely.

Jesus said in verse one, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Here Jesus comforted his disciples in the first century AD as his comforting words are comforting and should be comforting to us today as the 21st century church also. But why was Christ comforting his disciples on this occasion?
You understand that the original text of the Bible, of the Scriptures was not divided into chapters and verses. And here we have an unfortunate break in the flow of the text. The answer as to why Jesus was comforting his disciples on this occasion is found in the gospel of John chapter 13 and verse 33 where Jesus said, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me. And just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now. Where I am going, you cannot come.” Drop down to verse 36. And Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later,” that is later to a place, not just to a mindset or a state of mind, but to a real place.

So what is the antidote, as an application, what is the antidote, the remedy for a troubled heart? Well, Jesus gives us the ultimate antidote, the ultimate cure in John chapter 14 and verse one. “Trust in God. Trust also in me.” That is faith, persevering, overcoming faith. Not just faith at conversion, but a persevering faith. We will have troubles in this life. Trusting in God will help us to cope, to navigate through the storms, the waves, the rocks that God allows into our lives. But our faith needs to be rock solid in the truth of John chapter 16 and verse 22 where Jesus said, “Now is your time of grief,” which is applicable to us, too. “But I,” that is Jesus, “will see you again and you will rejoice and no one will take away your joy.” Joy will be permanent in heaven. Do we truly believe this? We can rejoice now. Heaven is real and it is really our destination and should be our anticipation and motivation now in Christ Jesus.

In John chapter 14 and verse two then Jesus gives us all a glimpse into glory that is to come. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms,” implying that we are going there to stay, permanence. And also many rooms. That is, that we will have plenty of room. And it is the Father’s house. Heaven is a place for family. Heaven is where and is the place not just a state of mind or condition, but a place where Jesus went to after his ascension to heaven and where the bodily Jesus Christ is now.

In Philippians chapter three and verse 20 the apostle Paul wrote: But our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. You understand that we are born American citizens, but that is temporary. But we can be born again supernaturally in Christ Jesus to be citizens of heaven for eternity and we can rejoice now, heaven bound, as long as we remain in Christ Jesus. Heaven is really, literally out of this world.

The same preacher wrote back in 1940, and I quote. “I remember many times in my youth Christians singing with tears streaming down their faces, tears of joy, rejoicing about heaven. It was very real to them. They sang about Jordan’s stormy banks and cast their wishful eye to Canaan’s fair and happy land. And in the sweet by and by and when we all get to heaven. They sang these often and with such anticipation because it was so real to them,” end of quote.

It doesn’t seem that we today have the same realization, the same fascination or the same anticipation about heaven today. Today usually there is more of an emphasis only on the here and now and clinging to this life and to this body and the health and wealth issues in this life. The social gospel that wants to make heaven here on earth a man made Utopia. And sometimes we are robbed of a real concept of paradise to come, a real sense and experience of rejoicing now even if it is yet future. It is for us personally. And it is real.

Jesus confirmed this in John chapter 14 and verse two when he revealed, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” In context, the first century Jews, you understand, believed in a real heaven of bliss after death for the believer. And, therefore, Christ affirmed. If you had been wrong in this as a real heaven, as a real place, I would have corrected you. But they were not wrong. And he did not have to correct them, because there is a real heaven beyond the skies that we can see.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 12 the apostle Paul wrote of a man, probably himself, according to verse two, 2 Corinthians 12, that was caught up to the third heaven. You see, the first heaven is what you and I see with our eyes. The second heaven is what we can see with a powerful telescope, the place where astronauts go. The third heaven, however, is the throne room of God and paradise. In fact, it reveals to us in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 and verse four that he was caught up to paradise. And the last part of John chapter 14 and verse two says, “I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

Now this sounds kind of puzzling to me. In what sense is or has Jesus prepared a place for you and for us? Hasn’t heaven always existed? Does heaven need to be enhanced? Now remember Christ here was speaking to his disciples before the cross.

H. A. Ironside, a Bible scholar, sheds some light on this and I quote. “Before he, that is Jesus, returned to the Father’s house, the sin question had never been settled. The Savior’s blood had not yet been sprinkled on the mercy seat that is, on the cross of Calvary. Believers, saints, under the old covenant went to paradise on credit. They did not have the same blessed access to the immediate presence of God that saints have now. So now after the cross a place is prepared for the holiest or in the holiest for all his own and the spirits of justified men of the past have been perfected,” end quote.
Jesus has prepared a place of the sanctified in his blood, by his work on the cross and his being raised from the dead. In John chapter 14 and verse 30 Jesus said, “I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am.” Christ promises believers regarding his personal, physical return here in the air to catch up his own to be with him forevermore.
We cling to these bodies, these bodies that we have now that are breaking down, that are corruptible, that are mortal, that are perishable. But Paul wrote in the Philippian letter, chapter one and verse 21: To die is gain. Why is that? The answer is in Philippians chapter one and verse 23. Paul wrote, in part: I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better by far. Plus, regarding our bodies in Philippians and the third chapter and the 21st verse it says in part: To transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. So when Christ comes in the air for his Church, we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and we will have glorious bodies to be like his glorious body.

What happens the instant we believers genuinely die physically according to 2 Corinthians chapter five and verse eight it says: To be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord. That is our spirits within us go immediately home. This is not our home. It is to be with the Lord. And it is not going to be some sort of soul sleep, but involves a conscious presence and fellowship with the Lord.

Do we have a heavenly homesickness, a strong yearning to be with our Lord? In the gospel of John chapter 14 and verse four Jesus said, “You know the way to the place where I am going.” Jesus did not simply teach the way or point the way. Jesus is the way. To get to that place you need the person Jesus Christ.

In John chapter 14 and verse six Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And so, likewise, no one goes to the Father’s house, heaven, except through Jesus and remaining in Jesus, exclusively, only in Jesus Christ through saving faith. Most say that few deserve to go to hell. And that is actually backwards. According to the Bible nobody deserves to go to heaven except in Christ Jesus.
So this morning, listener, and for those that we can share the gospel to: Are you in Christ? Are your neighbors, your friends in Christ? We need to share the gospel with others. It is never too late as we are still alive and accountable before God. We are never too evil. As long as we are alive, accountable before God, understanding that we need a Savior and that we are sinners we can never out sin the blood of Jesus Christ. Receive Christ by obedient faith today. And be heaven bound and have that joy now.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33