Where is Your Home?by Ed de la Cour on February 24, 2013
Hebrews 11: 8 - 16
"WHERE IS YOUR HOME?"
Every once in a while, God gives me a message I would prefer not bringing because I naturally prefer messages that bring the conviction of the Holy Spirit to your heart and not my own. We all know that we Americans are the wealthiest people in the world. The poorest Americans are better off than even fairly well to do people in many nations. That being said, we not only have a corner on the world’s resources, but we happily acknowledge an unabashed desire to hold onto what we have. I will confess: I love my home and my car, my TV and my computers, my heat in the winter and my air conditioners in the summer. I love the supermarkets and the other stores where I shop. I realize I am blessed to enjoy excellent medical care and I am blessed to have a savings account.
I not only enjoy the material blessings this nation offers, but I also enjoy the freedom to relax in the nearly certain knowledge these possessions, conveniences and luxuries will be here for me tomorrow morning. It feels very good indeed to be an American. Perhaps it feels too good. So God has been asking me recently, where is your home? Where do you belong? Where is your allegiance?
I have been discovering in a fresh way that you and I are tied very closely to this culture. Rather than the other way around, we are possessed by our possessions. We find it almost prohibitively difficult to separate ourselves from them, even if that separation were to mean our salvation. In a big way, we are like Lot’s wife, looking back on Sodom and despairing for what she left behind. Although we profess quite the opposite with our mouths, actually we want less - not more - of our lives to be given over to Jesus. We want less – not more – of our lives to be under His authority. The lordship of Jesus may be sufficient and desirable for saving us from an eternity in hell, but not so much for living daily life under His lordship. The relational intimacy of which He spoke is foreign to us, and it is something we avoid.
Even though the Bible says, “Elijah was a man just like us,” men like Abraham and Elijah were not at all like us. While they were flesh and blood and subject to human failings just like you and me, Abraham and Elijah were strong men of faith. They took risks that might have cost them their fortunes and their lives. Elijah stood his ground in the face of political and religious tyranny and Abraham obediently followed the call of God into unknown territory.
Imagine believing – as Abraham did – God called you to follow Him by faith, and you followed, merely on the promise of future reward. Wait – that is exactly what God has promised us, isn’t it?
God has called us to set aside our own lives in order to follow Him. God has called us to follow Him by faith and not by sight, and the scriptures declare those truths. Why is it we have such difficulty orienting our lives toward the priorities of the Kingdom of God? If God has called us to die to self and live for Him, why are we so tied to our culture? Why are we so tied to our money? Why are we so tied to our way of life? Might it be because we haven’t died to ourselves? Might it be because we are trying to live our lives in our own strength, not at all by faith in Him? Might we be seeking to have a relationship with God on our own terms, and not by depending on His grace alone?
It may be a hard truth to receive, but the fact is we do not really want Jesus as much as we say we do. The truth is, we think Jesus ought to be a tame Savior, who belongs in church. He belongs in those places that are safe for the discussion of spiritual things; places like church and Bible studies where the application is optional and theoretical. When someone tries to apply God’s truth to life, that person is regarded as pushing things too far. When Jesus begins to insinuate Himself into our jobs, into our social lives, into our neighborhoods – that’s when He is getting personal. When someone tells you something is not personal; it’s just business, you know a schizophrenic division has been created between that person and the rest of his life. God never intended for us to have Jesus only in church.
Abraham was one of those people who believed God and who entrusted his life to God. When you read his life story in Genesis, you see he put his life on the line for the sake of that belief. He trusted God for his day-to-day life and also for his future. The writer of Hebrews says people like Abraham believed God and declared: “they were aliens and strangers on earth… looking for a country of their own… longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (11: 13 – 16) Those people – and God is inviting us to become like them – those people who had an Abrahamic faith, placed their trust and hope in God. Their values, what they believed, and how they lived life from day to day were shaped by their beliefs, just as ours lives are shaped by our values and beliefs. An Abrahamic faith response only works when God holds more power over our thinking than our possessions, when God holds more sway and influence over our lives than whatever we think we are building on our own. Today, God is asking, where is your home? Where do you belong?
It is hard to long for, or to desire to be somewhere we’ve never been. It’s as though we are wishing we were in Tahiti. You may have seen pictures of Tahiti in “National Geographic,” but you have no definitive idea what Tahiti is like in reality. The only way to develop a true hunger and desire for the South Sea Islands is to study them intently, learn all about their culture, save your money and travel there one day. A few people decide, no matter what – they are home in the islands of the Pacific, but most people conclude it’s too much trouble and give up because their current reality is stronger than their dream.
Many people have realized in order for us to know God, in order for us to have a desire to be with Him, we will listen intently to His Word to us. It means listening every day. We would allow that Word of God to dwell deeply in our hearts and we’d allow the life of Jesus, the presence of Jesus, to transform our own lives. His life in us would change the way we think and the way we make decisions. We would embrace the process of allowing Jesus to live His life through us and we’d enjoy the presence of Jesus. We will wait patiently until His invitation finally arrives for us to come home to Him.
Where is your home? The quaint sign in the gift shop says, “Home is where the heart is.” Where is your heart at home? Most of us would confess our hearts are right here, not with Jesus, but here with our possessions.
Please open your Bibles to Philippians 3: 18, and we will read through verse 21. < v. >
I always thought the enemies of the cross Paul mentions were some wicked and pagan people who angrily opposed the Good News of Jesus, but I was wrong. These enemies of the cross were church people who thought they were Christians. They thought they were followers of Jesus, but their hearts weren’t in it. Their home, their affections, where their hearts were, what they took pride in, was their stuff. Their home was their appetites and their possessions. As opposed to others, these people were so worldly minded they were unfit for the Kingdom of God. Their “citizenship,” as Paul would say, was here, in this world. Their allegiance was toward everything that was important to them. They belonged to, and were owned by, their stuff. The warning is that people who are focused this way have a destiny of destruction. Their god is their appetite. Their appetite was not just for sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but for the money and for the security this world offers. This world is their home.
Where is home for you? If your hope is focused here, this is your home and this is your god. Your citizenship is not in heaven, but it is fixed in a place that is passing away, rotting away, and dying.
The declaration in verse 20 is that our citizenship, that in which we hope, is not focused in cars and possessions, but it is in heaven. At first, it may seem you are supposed to become so heavenly-minded you will be no earthly good. Far from it, for you are of no use to this world if this world is the focus of your life. If all you see are the pretty girls, the fast cars, the beautiful real estate, or the investments, you can never focus on what God is doing.
Our citizenship is in heaven. Our real home is with Jesus. The church in America today has forgotten we do not belong here. We are caught up in politics and concerned with investments. We have forgotten we are pilgrims in this land. When the church is concerned only for money, we empty the cross of its power. Remember, it was Peter in Acts 3: 6, who said to the crippled beggar, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Our power is not in the boardrooms of our churches, but in the cross of the One who emptied Himself for us. Our power is not in the music we sing, but in the Savior to whom we sing. Our power is not in our church programs, but in simple and loving acts of kindness done by people who are sold-out to Jesus Christ. Peter had no money to invest in that broken cripple. All he had was the power of Jesus, the One who was crucified and raised in power from the grave.
Our hope is not here. This is not our home. Our future is not here. Our future is in Jesus. The passport we carry is the blood of Jesus, crucified for us. The cross of Jesus must mean something. It is not just a religious symbol made of gold to be hung around your neck. The death Jesus suffered on that cross is our death to the things of this world. God forbid that we would ever be known for abandoning the cross of Christ for the sake of this life and its comforts.
When people who follow Jesus give up their comfort for the sake of the least of the broken people of this world, those who are surrendering their lives to Jesus are living in heaven, living in the presence of Jesus, even though their mailing address may still be on this earth.
Where is your home today? If your home is with Jesus, then you are steadily disengaging yourself from the ties that bind you here. If Paul’s affections had been tied to his tent making, or to his religious pedigree, he could never have given up his life and traveled the Roman Empire sharing Jesus with the thousands his life touched. If you are tied to your television, you will not be able to give it up in order to show the love of Jesus to the folks we are trying to love.
Have you been crucified with Jesus Christ? The answer to that question will tell you where your home is today. Paul said, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Does Jesus live in you? That’s the question, really, that is before us today. Does Jesus live in you? If your citizenship is in heaven, Jesus not only lives in you, but He is your King, and your full allegiance belongs to Him.
Paul goes on to say in Philippians 3, not only is our citizenship in heaven, but “we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” How eagerly are you waiting for Jesus? Years ago, I found this sentence bothered me no end, because I was not eagerly awaiting Jesus. I was hoping Jesus would never come back – too much fun was in danger of being missed. My “bucket list” was too far from done. My heart was tied to this world. My affections were grounded here. My home was here. Jesus was an unwelcome interruption. What have I learned as I have grown? I learned if my home were here, my heart would always desire, long for, and hold precious only what this world offers me.
I have also learned if my hope is in Jesus, if He is my all-in-all, if He is sufficient for me, it means my home is in Him. My Home is heaven. The cry of my heart is the same heart cry believers have prayed for thousands of years. That prayer is the prayer that closes the Bible in Revelation 22: 20: “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” I can pray in agreement with the Word of God today because my Home address has changed. My citizenship is in Heaven. My heart belongs to Jesus.
Your Kingdom, Jesus, is not only my home; Your Kingdom is my goal and my fervent hope. Where is your home?
Edmund C. de la Cour, Jr.