The primary focus of this lectureship has been the Scriptural role of each member of the physical home. But for a few moments we need to focus on our reason for being a godly mother, father, son or daughter. What will motivate us to aspire to the standards God has laid forth for each member of the physical home? The answer is simple. The aspects of our eternal home should motivate us, and inspire us, to be everything in the physical home that God expects us to be for certainly the fulfilment of those roles will aid us in reaching our spiritual home: heaven. Tonight we are going to look at characteristics that make up the perfect home - our heavenly home.
If the attributes of that Heavenly home do not inspire us to reach for greater service to God, to family, and to other men then truly we are of all men the most pitiable. What are those characteristics that make up our perfect Heavenly home? In the first place, it is the home where our Father dwells. In the second place, Heaven is the perfect home because the Lord has prepared it. In the third place, Heaven is the place where our brothers and sisters in Christ will dwell. In the fourth place, Heaven is the complete home because it is a place of comfort, refuge and love. Finally, because we are thrilled by the aforementioned attributes of our heavenly home it should also be the dwelling place of our hearts.
Home is Where Our Father Dwells
The story of Joseph is one of the most touching in the Bible. He was forced to live in a strange land. Although he initially had to suffer as a slave, through God's providence Joseph gained both wealth and power in a foreign country. However, Joseph's position, or material gain, did not distract him from placing his home and his father first in his life. Though Joseph lived and laboured in Egypt his heart was always in Canaan with his father. When Joseph's brothers travelled from Canaan to Egypt and appeared before him the first question Joseph asks of his brothers relates to his father's well being (Genesis. 43:27). Joseph recognized that his true home was where his father dwelt.
As children of God our primary focus should be on the dwelling place of our heavenly Father. Ira Stanphill wrote a popular song that we often sing entitled "Mansions Over the Hilltop'. The third verse of the song reminds us that we are just pilgrims and sojourners on this earth; "Don't think me poor or deserted or lonely, I'm not discouraged, I'm heaven bound; I'm just a pilgrim in search of a city, I want a mansion, a robe and a crown". How true that is! This earth is not the home for the children of God. We merely labour, as did Joseph, in a strange land awaiting the day when we will be united with our heavenly Father.
Our Father is waiting for us to come to Him so he can welcome us into the glorious home He has prepared for us. The scene of that precious moment is beautifully illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal son lived in sin in a strange land (Luke 15:13). He abused his father's kindness and neglected his service. However, without hesitation, his father received into his home his sin laden son when the prodigal repented (Luke 15:18). Our heavenly Father is willing to do the same for us. He wants us to enter the home He has prepared for us if we will return by repenting. That brings us to another aspect of the complete heavenly home. It is a prepared place.
Home is a prepared place
Jesus Christ promised the faithful a prepared home in John 14:1-6. Our heavenly father has prepared room for all who are His children. All the faithful brethren are partakers of the heavenly reward (Hebrews 3:1). None of God's children will be left out of their heavenly home for it is a place where there is room for all. God is not the kind of parent that will shut the door of His home on those who have sacrificed their all in His service. An evil unloving parent gives less than he is able to his children (Matthew 7:9-10). God provides the best for His children (Matthew 7:11). It is ridiculous to think that our heavenly Father will open the gates of His home to only 144,000 of His children. To think that God would provide an inferior home on earth who are not of the privileged number is contrary to His character.
What God has prepared for us is truly glorious. A good parent will provide His children with the best that He can. In Revelation 21:18-21 we are given a glimpse of what our heavenly Father is preparing for us. Of course, Heaven is not literally created from the gems and stones mentioned in this passage. Heaven's beauty cannot fully be comprehended in terms of the physical. God has to use that which we know in order to describe the glories of Heaven. The construction material of Heaven is described as the most precious gems and stones known to man. However, the true beauty of heaven is beyond that which we can imagine.
Home is Where Our Siblings Dwell
Some of the fondest childhood memories are the moments I spent with my sister and brother. Though we occasionally had conflicts, they were contentions that could never sever the bond we shared. I knew I could depend on my brother and sister for protection and encouragement. Certainly a home is truly complete when there exists in it the care and concern of siblings. We often take for granted what our siblings have done for us. Think of the millions of children all over the world who do not know the joy of having parents who care for them, and brothers and sisters that they can depend on for support and encouragement.
It is truly a glorious act for one to adopt a child. To provide an otherwise unfortunate, parentless, homeless child a caring and loving family is one of the greatest gifts one can give to another. God has provided for us such a gift (Galatians 4:5). Although there is only one begotten of the Father which is Jesus Christ (John 3:16). God has invited us to join His spiritual family, and enjoy the blessings of the glorious home He has prepared (Hebrews 3:1). Not only is it a joy and an honour to be called a child of God, but it is also a privilege to have brothers and sisters in Christ who are also concerned about our well being.
The blessings of the care and concern of our spiritual siblings is one part of our spiritual family that we may enjoy here on earth. We need to learn to depend upon our brothers and sisters in Christ to assist us in reaching eternal home. The inspired apostle Paul wrote that Christian brethren are to "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). If you are not a Christian then you are really missing out on the love and support of those who share that special bond of brotherhood in Christ. For those of you who are children of God you can appreciate the joy we share in the knowledge that the glories of our heavenly home will be enjoyed with people who have helped us to get there?
Home is a Place of Comfort, Refuge and Love
I recall as a child how thankful I was to come home from school every day to be greeted by a mother who loved me dearly. If I had a bad day at school or if I hurt myself while playing I knew that as soon as I reached my home everything would be alright. My mother would wipe away my tears and heal my wounds. My home was a place of refuge and love. Certainly a home is not complete without giving one a sense of contentment and comfort.
Our Heavenly home is such a place. Regardless of the pain and suffering we may have had to endure in this life when God welcomes his children into their new home He "will wipe away every tear from their eyes..." (Revelation 21:4). John also reveals that in that heavenly home "there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away". When the faithful shall finally reach their eternal abode they will be overwhelmed by a sense of eternal euphoria that permeates from a place of pure, undisturbed peace (II Thessalonians 1:7).
Home is Where the Heart Is
In 1979 my family returned to the United States from Tasmania for a two month fund raising trip. At one small country congregation we visited an elderly lady who gave my brother, my sister and I a little spending money. In fact, she gave each one of us twenty dollars. From a ten year old child's perspective possession of that much money made one filthy rich. With our new found fortune in hand my siblings and I were feeling very generous. We decided to share our wealth with our mother and father. We determined that the best way to express our generosity would be to buy our parents a small gift at the local department store. After much searching and arguing we all agreed to contribute toward the purchase of a small plaque upon which was written "home is where the heart is".
To this day that small plaque still hangs in my parent's home. It is a wonderful reminder of a very important spiritual principle. It provokes us to ask ourselves that all-important question; "Where is my heart?" The answer to that question will reveal to us the location of our true home. If one is driven by an overwhelming urge to pursue material possessions, and satisfy the flesh, then one's heart is in the world. Therefore one's home is the world. Those who give their heart to the things of the world will not be able to claim heaven as his home (Revelation 21:8). Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21;
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.
If one sets aside worldly pleasures with a greater goal in mind that extends beyond this life then his heart and home are very likely in heaven (Revelation 21:7).
Hebrews chapter eleven is often called the hall of fame of faith. In this chapter the righteous deeds are listed of some of God's greatest servants. The reason these men accomplished wonderful things in the service of God is because they were properly motivated. They were driven by something more than earthly wealth and fame. They are given a place of honour in Hebrews chapter eleven because looked beyond the physical. They looked forward to an eternal spiritual home with God.
In Hebrews 11:7 is written that Noah "being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." In verses twenty-four through twenty-six it is written of Moses "...when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward." Finally, in verses eight through ten the inspired author reflects upon what motivated Abraham to greater heights in God's service: "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go our to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." What motivated and inspired these great men of God? The glories of their spiritual reward.
How do we become joint heirs with Noah, Moses and Abraham of the eternal home that God has prepared? We are told by the inspired Hebrew writer in chapter eleven and verse six; "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." The same thing that motivated Abraham to faithfulness in 2000 BC should be the same thing that inspires us in AD 2000 - the hope of a place in God's heavenly home.
However, if you are not a child of God there will be no rest for you when the Lord returns to claim His own (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). Nevertheless, it is not God's desire that anyone perish (II Peter 3:9). He is pleading with you to accept His offer of adoption (Matthew 11:28-30; Revelation 22:17).