The Prepared Place

September 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Do You Know the Way?, John | 15 Comments
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At the end of John Chapter 13 three very disturbing things have happened. One, Jesus told His Disciples that one of them would betray Him. Two, He told them that He would be leaving them to go to a place where they could not go. Three, He said that even Peter would deny Him.

This was upsetting, to say the least, and it was the backdrop against which He told them what we see in Chapter 14:

Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:1-3

Jesus let them know that He knew their hearts were troubled, but He gave them the assurance that He gives all throughout the Book of John. “If you believe in God (and I know you do), then it is safe to believe in Me, too, for I and the Father are one: I am God.”

Then He told them something about Heaven: Heaven is a real place. We know this is true because Jesus spoke of it as a real place. It is not a state of mind. It is not the accomplishment of inner peace. It is not a psychological bromide for those who can’t face the reality of death or the loss of their loved ones. It is “the Father’s house,” meaning it is the eternal home of Jesus, and it is Jesus – not streets of gold or the absence of pain and sickness or the reunion of loved ones or even mansions of glory – Who is its main attraction. That’s right, Heaven’s main attraction will be Jesus. If you do not love Jesus, you would not love Heaven.

Jesus spoke solemnly and reassuringly (“if it were not so, I would have told you”) when He told the Disciples that He was going there to prepare a place, and that they would eventually – not immediately – be brought there by Him (“I will come again to receive You unto Myself”) – to be with Him (“that where I am there you may be also”).

The word translated “mansions” has more of a connotation of permanence than opulence. It is from the Greek word mone: an abode, a permanent dwelling place, not a temporary stopover. Again, Heaven is the place where true Christians will be with Jesus, not a place where “lesser” saints will envy “great” saints who have better “stuff” than us. In other words, there will be no “exclusive” communities in Heaven. However, because it is a place that Jesus is “preparing” (and has been for over 2000 years), it will surely be far more magnificent than what we can imagine. The God Who spoke the unfathomable universe into existence in six short days has been preparing our eternal home for 2000 years! I don’t know if you’re ready “to go,” but surely we are all excited about seeing it

This was Jesus’s first assurance to soothe the troubled hearts of His Disciples. We don’t know everything (or even very much) about Heaven, but we do know “the Way.” Jesus Christ is the only Way to Heaven.

Next time, we will see that the way to the prepared place is the particular path.

Nominative Repetition: Warning and Comfort

April 8, 2011 at 9:07 am | Posted in Genesis | 5 Comments
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In Genesis 45 Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. This is sort of the climax of the story of Joseph.

In Chapter 46 Jacob moves his family to Egypt, but first he built an altar and worshiped.

And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.

Genesis 46:1

This was very wise. It is always wise for us to seek counsel from the Lord before we make any move, and especially before we relocate our family.

Jacob was concerned about going to Egypt, and understandably so: He was aware of the trouble that Abraham had experienced there.

And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.

Genesis 46:2

When the Lord says someone’s name twice, it is as if the first time is to get their attention, and the second time is to give assurance or comfort.

Genesis 22:11: “Abraham, Abraham” (when Abraham was just about to slay Isaac)

I Samuel 3:10: “Samuel, Samuel” (when the Lord spoke to Samuel as he served Eli)

Luke 10:41: “Martha, Martha” (when Jesus wanted to contrast Martha and Mary)

Acts 9:4: “Saul, Saul” (at the time of the Apostle Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus)

Why did God want Jacob and his family in Egypt?

And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:

Genesis 46:3

Even though going down to Egypt is sometimes a picture in the Bible of “going down” spiritually, God wanted to use Egypt as the place where He would fashion a people for Himself – not for themselves.

And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.

Genesis 46:28

The “land of Goshen” (which is sort of an exclamation where I’m from) was very fertile – good for herdsmen. Judah led the way, continuing to establish his leadership role in the family – and foreshadowing the fact that the tribe of Judah would be the “royal tribe.”

Lord, I confess that I am not depending on anything other than the shed blood, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of Christ Jesus for my righteousness. Lord God, when you look at the account sheet of my life, none of my works are going to pay the price for even my slightest sin. You’re going to look on the righteousness side of the account sheet and see nothing but the blood of Jesus. This I confess in His holy Name. Amen.

Big Words of the Christian Life: Adoption (Part 1)

January 29, 2010 at 10:48 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 19 Comments
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Adoption, in the common every-day sense of the legal adoption of a child, involves three entities: a parent, a child, and a family. So does Biblical Adoption. However, the Biblical doctrine of Adoption demolishes some of our false applications of earthly practices to Heavenly realities.

Supposedly, when George Whitefield, who held different views about God’s sovereignty in relation to man’s will from John Wesley, was asked if he expected to see Mr. Wesley in Heaven one day, Mr. Whitefiold replied, “No.” The questioner was somewhat taken aback, until Mr. Whitefield elaborated further: “I don’t expect to see him in Heaven because he will be so near the throne of God, and I will be way in the back.” This was undoubtedly a tongue-in-cheek remark, and an example of Mr. Whitefield’s good-natured self-deprecatory humor, but the fact remains: Many people do believe that, in Heaven, there may be people standing closer to the throne of God than others. This type of theory seems to fit in with the idea of rewards given to believers at the Bema seat of Christ, but, in one sense, it is a very worldly concept.

It is true that some believers are more mature than other believers (Hebrews 5:12-14). However, no believers have greater family rights than other believers. All believers have an “adult” standing in the family of God. That is the meaning of Biblical adoption: It is the act of God by which He grants believers an adult standing in His family. We get into God’s family by “birth” (regeneration, the second birth). But we are given our standing (not our righteousness) by God through His act of adopting us. In other words, regeneration is how you get into God’s family. Justification is God’s declaration that you are right before Him in Jesus Christ. Adoption is how you experience your status as God’s child.

Your experience includes privileges and responsibilities. You are treated as an adult child, and God expects you to act like an adult child. The term “child” can refer to age or to relationship. Therefore, there are “adult children” (which sounds like an oxymoron, but is not in this case).

Adoption, like justification, happens instantaneously. I want to use an acrostic to help study some key blessings under the doctrine of Biblical adoption. With each of these blessings we receive both a privilege and a responsibility.

A.ssurance
D.
O.
P.
T.
S.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:16

Immediately upon being saved, through the act of adoption, we have knowledge of our own standing.

Privilege: Adults, unlike babies, know and understand who their parents are. They understand what it means to be in a family.

Responsibility: To learn more and more about God.

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.
P.
T.
S.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 8:14

Babies cannot “follow” because they cannot walk. They have to be “carried.” Adults can walk. They can follow willingly. When my children were just learning to walk they would pull themselves to their feet and hold onto the edge of a piece of furniture. The reason they would let go of the furniture and take a few staggering, tentative steps to their dad was not because they wanted the independence of being able to move around freely on their own. The reason that they did it was because they wanted their father more than they wanted the security of the piece of furniture they were using to hold themselves up.

Privilege: We are able to walk in obedience.

Lost people cannot do this.

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:2

Responsibility: Being given the freedom to follow willingly, we must not walk after the flesh.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:4

Next time, we will fill in some more of the acrostic:

A.ssurance
D.irection
O.
P.
T.
S.


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