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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 113 · 2 weeks ago

The Upper Room: A Heavenly Promise

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Upper Room: A Heavenly Promise

John 13:36 - 14:3

Dax Bryant - Preaching

This is the time of our service. After having rehearsed some of the beautiful truths of the Gospel, we come to now hear from God, to seek instruction from God's words. So, as we do that, will you bow your heads with me? Let's pray and ask God to be with us. Loving father, we pray that you would look down from heaven in great mercy and patience up on your whole church and this local church and every member of your church. How do we pray? That you would heal up your church's wounds, that you would tend to your church as your own flock, that you would care for your church as you would care for your own vineyard, that you would love your church as you love your own bride, build your church. We pray God, even in these next few moments, we have together through the preaching of your word, through the work of Your Holy Spirit, and we asked that you would do these things for the sake of the only mediator between man and God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen, I want to start this morning, as we are in John Thirteen and the first part of John Fourteen. I want to start by asking you a question. This week this last week. How much did you think about heaven? Maybe that's maybe that's an unfair question. Monday was Labor Day. It was a short week. Maybe you were catching up the rest of the week, feeling kind of rushed. So let me ask a different question. How much in the last month did you think about heaven? Have you thought about heaven much recently? Can you remember the last time that you intentionally gave your thoughts to heaven? Have you thought about it at all? And of course, when we talk about heaven, we all want to go to heaven. Right, right, right, yeah, but maybe maybe not just yet. We have too many things to see, too many places to go, too many things we want to buy before we go. I wonder, when we are confronted with all of the attractions of this world, does heaven lose some of its allure for us, even as Christians? was was c s Lewis right when he said that prosperity nit a man to this world? He thinks he's making his mark in it, but in reality the world is making its mark in him. But when we read the Bible, when we read the New Testament, of course, we see that Christians are to be consumed with thoughts of heaven. Colossians chapter three, versus one through three, says this. If, then, you have been raised with Christ, if you are a Christian, seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Or, as Paul more simply says in Philippians three, verse twenty, our citizenship is in heaven. Christians are only sojourners and exiles on this earth and its current state. In reality, our our true home is heaven, which means that heavenly things, heavenly purposes, heavenly...

...thoughts, heavenly interests, those things should be our priorities, or at least part of our thinking once in a while. But I think if the rest of you are like me, we don't think much about heaven with with one. There's one glaring exception to that, and that is when, typically, when death crashes the party, all of the attractions of the world are are suddenly exposed as empty and fleeting and meaningless. When you are standing at the side of a hospital bed of somebody who's terminally ill, or standing at the side of a freshly dug grave, because it's in moment like that that we're reminded that our hope must lie somewhere else, because there's no hope, no hope of that kind, here. Well, how is this relevant to what we're looking at in this passage? I think it is this kind of scenario, these sort of circumstances, that of an impending death, that causes Jesus to speak about heaven with his disciples. It's in the upper room here, and the occasion of Jesus's own death is now just hours away, and so, in light of that, we want to look closely this morning at what Jesus has to say about heaven. But before we get there, we have to set the context of his words in place so that we can appreciate the dynamics of what's going on this night in the upper room the namely the swirling emotions of his disciples, emotions that are that are nearly unmanageable as they are hit with one surprise after another. Because let's remind ourselves what's happened so far on this evening in the upper room. Well, first of all, the disciples have been put to shame. After Jesus got up from the middle of the supper and washed their feet, something that they had refused to do. It had never even crossed their mind. Then, a little later, Jesus told him that one of the twelve, one of the closest to him, would betray him. And then, as we saw last Lord's Day, he told them that he is getting ready to leave them and that none of them can come with him. Now you put all that together and this is this is beyond shocking. These men have left everything to follow him and now suddenly he's he's talking about betrayal, he's leaving, they can't go with him. This is not how they expected this night to go, I'm sure. Has It only been just a few days since thousands of pilgrims lined the streets of Jerusalem as he entered into the city and they welcomed him as the Messiah? And then, as as they the men gather on this night, I'm sure it must have been with a sense of anticipation. This is really happening. The people that they're finally getting it, the Kingdom is going to be ushered in. Were part of it. You can you can sense the expectation and they walk into that upper room to celebrate the Passover and they hear all of this. Somebody's going to betray him, he's leaving, they can't come, and so it's it's a caricature of Peter, but it is a caricature for a reason. He's the one who speaks up and he asks the question that that everyone is thinking, and we see it here in Chapter Verse Thirty Six. We're setting the context. MHM, Simon Peters said to him, Lord,...

...where are you going? It's a good question, it's a fair question. Jesus answered him. where I am going, you cannot follow me. Now, now notice here, in typical fashion, Jesus doesn't really answer the question, does he? He doesn't say where he's going. He's mainly just says you can't follow where I'm going. So where is Jesus going? Well, if you remember, John has already made that very clear for us, just in this chapter. In fact. Look, look back up at the beginning of the chapter, Chapter Verse One. John writes. Now, before the Feast of the past over, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world, where to the father and then look down at a couple of verses. At verse three, Jesus knowing that the father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God. Okay, so let's let's tie this together, because from our vantage point we know some things that Peter and the rest of disciples did not know in this moment, namely that when Jesus speaks of going back to God, of returning to the father, that return necessitates the way of the cross, that returned to the father must include his death first on a cross. He will only come back into the glories of Heaven by first sacrificially dying on a wooden steak. Now, right here, Jesus doesn't come out and say that directly, probably given the emotion sational state of his men already at the news. They had heard that this might put them over the edge, and he still has a lot to say to these men before this night is over. And so instead of saying he's going to die on the cross outright, he simply replies to Peter, where I am going, you cannot follow me now. So what does he mean by that? Well, first of all, obviously Peter can't follow Jesus now because it's not time for Peter to die yet. But also, more significantly, this this journey that Jesus is making to the cross as the lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world, this is a work that must be accomplished by Jesus and by him alone. So he says, you cannot follow me now, however, as a result of his work on the cross, into verse thirty six, but you will follow afterward, he says, and it's true, about thirty years later Peter will follow his Lord to glory in a very similar manner. But not now, not yet, because before Peter can die for his savior, the savior must die for Peter. So Jesus says, where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward. Now Peter has no idea about what lies ahead. In fact, it seems like he kind of takes this as sort of a personal insult, kind of a shot at his commitment level, because he says to Jesus, Lord, why can I not follow you now? Do you detect a little tone of impatience there? Why can I not follow you now? Jesus says you'll, you'll follow me afterwards. Why not now. It's it's not only...

...impatient, it's perhaps even a tinge of disrespect. I think happening here sort of like a child who who won't take no for an answer, who keeps asking why not, why not? Why not? To everything you say, Peter doesn't have a clue about what's coming. And unfortunately, when Peter doesn't have a clue, he tends to keep on talking. Why can I not follow you now, he says, and then he says I will lay down my life for you. And when you read this in the other Gospels, I think it's even more clear that he's he's kind of setting himself up against the other disciples, as if to say, Lord, I only I have the resolve to follow you to the end. I will lay down my life for you. It's the complete opposite of what Jesus says just a few chapters ago in John Ten, where he says the Good Shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep. Peter says that, Jesus, I will lay down my life for you, verse Thirty Eight. Jesus answered. Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. He's saying you're willing to die for me. Peter, Really, let me tell you something, before this night is over, you will be so worried about saving your own neck that you will deny having anything to do with me, not once, not twice, but three times. So so let's let's just back up a minute here and I want us to just kind of catalog Peter's overall disposition in this conversation. I think he's impatient. We've seen that. I think he's perhaps even a little disrespectful here we see. Thirdly, he greatly overestimates his own strength and ability. I will lay down my life for you. And we know also from the other gospels that he's he's perhaps unintentionally, unconsciously even, downplaying the forces of evil that are at work in this very moment. especially. We see this in Luke's account of this night. Jesus tells Peter in Luke twenty two Simon, Simon Behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat. Satan has to get permission to attack Peter. But but Peter throws the door wide open to those attacks by resting on his own power, his own commitment, his own ability, and it's easy to look at Peter and see these things. But before we're too hard on poor old Peter, we have to recognize that we're prone to these same kind of colossal mistakes, aren't we? In our dealings with the Lord, in our dealings with other people, were often impatient. We two can be disrespectful. We also very often downplay the reality of our enemy, forgetting that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil. But I think, most tellingly, we are also guilty of overestimating our own abilities. I can I can handle the temptation. I've got boundaries in place. I can. I can date a non Christian. I know where to draw the line. The that new promotion at work, that the long...

...hours that it's going to require, that that's not going to affect my spiritual life, for my involvement with the church. I know how to say no. I think we fool ourselves into really believing those things when we say them. But, my brothers and sisters, you and I are far weaker than we think we are. We need to be very careful about just like Peter overestimating our own power and ability and strength and commitment level. That that's Peter's problem here. In his pride, he thinks he knows himself and what he can do better than Jesus knows him and what he can do. But but you have to understand following Christ requires far more than you gritting it out, your determination, your willpower. Following Christ we requires Christ in you. But when your confidence is in yourself, the result is always the same, a loud thud as you fall on your face again. So that's the context. Now we can start the sermon. Ready. The next three verses here, these first three verses of Chapter Fourteen, they are some of the most precious words in scripture. Many Christians have hidden these words in their hearts, but most of the time these these words that appear in these three verses are are separated from their context, and so I wanted you to see that context first, because I think it helps us understand this better. All of that swirling emotion and doubt that's happening sets the stage for what Jesus says next in chapter fourteen. Verse One. Let not your hearts be troubled and and the sense here is especially what we've just seen that in that little back and forth with Peter, is that their hearts are already troubled. Why? Why would their hearts be troubled? Well, we've talked about it. Right, Jesus, you're saying that that Judas, the most trustworthy one of us, is going to betray you, and you're saying that that Peter, the most zealous one of us, is going to deny you. What does that say about the rest of us? Then and now, on top of everything, you're leaving us. I think it's not an understatement to imagine that that these men are on the brink of an emotional collapse. And so it is with that context in mind that Jesus now speaks words of comfort into the midst of the trauma that they're undergoing. Let not your hearts be troubled, he says. It's a single command that he breaks down more specifically to to help them, to provide them with an antidote for their troubled hearts. He says, first of all, this is how they can let their hearts not be troubled. First of all, believe in God, believe also in me. Now, if there's ever a statement that puts Jesus on equal footing with God, the father. I mean there it is right there. Believe in God, believe also in me. That is this, that is Jesus's prescription for all of the anxiety and stress and emotional turmoil that they're that they're going through. It's simply this. Believe in God, believe also in me. What does that look...

...like? How do how does that help? Believe in God, believe also in Jesus. How does that help you in the midst of your your stress and anxiety and emotions? Well, I think it helps simply by reminding yourself of the reality of the situation from a perspective that is different than your own experience. Right. What do we know about the Living God? Many things that he's shown us in his word. He reigns from his throne. He's sovereignly and providentially ordains all things, controlling every moment of every day. He is a god of infinite goodness and love and grace and, more to the point of if God is for US believers, who can be against us? If you're anxious or afraid or stressed, if your heart is troubled, this is where you start. Believe in God believe in Jesus. Fill your minds, remind yourself of the truths about the living God who made you, who loves you, who has called you his own, who knows your every need and who alone can meet your every need. You need to fill your minds and hearts with these truths. Now, in this case, Jesus is addressing a specific need that his men have, all of this anxiety that is resulting from the fact of everything they've learned so far this night, including that he's leaving them. And so he knows his man, he knows what they're feeling. He can he can sympathize with their grief and confusion, just as if he was experience in it himself. And he also knows that in the hour of his deepest need, which is coming soon, they will all desert him. Yet he comforts them here. Jesus is the one whom they should be comforting if they knew what was about to happen. Instead, he turns to them and he comforts them. So here we are, Jesus's leaving. The disciples are distraught, they can't go with him, and so he comforts their troubled hearts by reminding them to believe in God, to believe in Him. And also now, by showing them the purpose of his leaving, he gives them a little bit of insight here in verse two. In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you? And here's the purpose word. The word signifies purpose. Here's why he's leaving, that for this reason that I go to prepare a place for you. What we have here is a heavenly promise. Jesus is saying you're you're grieving because I'm departing. I understand that. But but let me give you something to hold onto. Take Comfort in the purpose of my leaving, because the reason that I'm leaving is that I'm going to prepare a place for you. What does that mean? Jesus is preparing a place for believers. Well, if, if you imagine Jesus is sort of a general contractor Busily Building Custom Mansions for each one of us, then I'm sorry to disappoint you. That's not what this says. So how does Jesus prepare a place for the...

...leavers? How does Jesus Prepare Heaven for his people? Here's how. First of all, it includes by returning to his father through the means of his death on the cross so that he can be at his father's side in order to continually intercede for his people before God as their one and only mediator. We'll come back to that. But have you ever heard people say something like man, heaven, it's gonna be amazing there, because, I mean, Jesus has already been working to prepare it for like two thousand years already. Right, that's that's an I mean, I get what what they're somebody's trying to say when they say that it's a nice thought, but it's it's not like Jesus is pulling out his Hanky to wipe his brow and Oh man, I just need another thought and years and I can finish up this building project and then I can go back and get everyone once construction is done. I mean, it's silly, but this is how a lot of people think about it. We forget that all of creation came into being at at his spoken word. He doesn't need extra time to to finish the job. Right. That's not what this is about. So how is Jesus Preparing Heaven for you? Well, there's a dress code for heaven. Did you know that if you are to ever enter into heaven, there's a dress code. You must be clothed in righteousness, not your own righteousness right. That's like filthy rags, Isaiah tells us. You need a righteousness that comes from outside of you, that you can put on to where. And that happens the moment you believe, the moment you trust in Jesus Christ as savior, you are clothed in his righteousness. That is that that work of justification, of being made right in God's sight, and that was finished at the cross. But then what happened? Jesus rose from the dead, he ascended into heaven, he took his place at the right hand of the father. And now what is he doing? He is interceding on your behalf. Believer, even right now, at this very moment, he is interceding for you. This is how Jesus is preparing a place for you. He's interceding for you. Even as I speak. He he is, through his ongoing work as your great high priest, busy not polishing furniture in your heavenly mansion, but busy pleading for you day and night before the throne of God. And this is the point. It is the mediating work of Jesus Christ, that the cures your place in heaven. But to the point here and John, that mediating work that secures your place in heaven doesn't happen without the cross. The Cross comes first, and that's why we come back to the cross over and over and over again. Now I want us to also notice a few things that these verses reveal about heaven. So first of all, I want us to see that heaven is the divine dwelling place of the father. It is the divine dwelling place of the father. Now, scripture refers to heaven in a lot of different ways. Sometimes heaven is referred to as a city, a country,...

...a kingdom, a paradise, but I think this description here that Jesus uses, this may be the most sweetest and intimate description of all. He simply calls it my father's house. Now we understand that God is omnipresent. Right, God is everywhere all the time, but that's not the same thing as saying that the the sense of his immediate presence, is the same everywhere. From our perspective, right in the Old Testament, God was still omnipresent, he was still present everywhere but he was present in a in a very unique immediate sense, in the holy of holies, in the Tabernacle, and later in the temple. Same thing in the New Testament. God is still omnipresent, present everywhere, but according to First Corinthians three, it's the gathering of the Church that is now equated to the Temple of God, and so God is present with believers when we gather in a unique way, in a more immediate way. All of which is to say, in ways that I think we can't even comprehend, God is present in an immediate way in this place that Jesus calls my father's house. He's referring to heaven. It is the divine dwelling place of the father. So that's the first thing we learned about heaven here. Second we also learned that that heaven is large enough for all believers to be there. In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you many rooms. The King James says in my father's House are many mansions. Now, at the time that language, that word mansion just meant a dwelling place. The Greek word actually just means room, but but somehow that that word mansion has crept into our modern popular understanding of the word, and so now we have all these crazy ideas about a ten thousand Square Foot Beach House with an infinity pool and a custom outdoor kitchen, as if suddenly, in heaven, all of our coveting and and lusting and greed and materialism will become legitimate. Right. People sometimes even talk this way about eating in heaven. Right, I can't wait to get to heaven. I can eat whatever I want, I won't get fat, as if, as if gluttony is finally okay heaven. Right, that's that's not what's happening here. The emphasis is not on the extravagance of your own personal estate. The emphasis is that in the father's house there will be plenty of room for all his children. That's what heaven is. It is the father's house here, with plenty of room for everyone who belongs to him. And what secures your place there is the mediating work of Jesus Christ on your behalf. Sorry, get that away from my face a bit now. If if Jesus stopped talking right here, we'd be left with something like this. I'm going away, but don't worry, I have to leave so that I can go and prepare a place for you in my father's house, where there will be plenty of room for all of you, and that by itself is already pretty good. It's wonderful. But if that's all we had, we might be left scratching our heads and thinking, okay, well, how do we get there, though? You're going away to prepare this place. Do we just kind of figure out our own way to to come meet you there, or are you going to sit and like an angel to get there,...

...or maybe give us many different ways to come to you? Jesus is not going to leave such a precious and significant work too. He's not going to delegate that out to anyone else. Verse Three. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself. Now we can try to put this together to kind of formulate our big idea this morning. As we've seen, it is the mediating work of Jesus Christ that secures your place in heaven, and also now it is the mediating work of Jesus Christ that guarantees his return to take you there, he says. And if I go, and that includes everything, that this going means right, dying in your place on the cross, rising from dead, uh, right, being raised to ascend to the father, interceding as your high priest. That that's all wrapped up in his going. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself. So here's a third thing that we learned about heaven. Not only is it the divine dwelling place of the father, not only can it easily accommodate all believers, but also heaven will only be fully experienced when Jesus returns for all of his people. Heaven will only be fully experienced when Jesus returns to gather all of his people. Do you do you understand this? Right? What happens to a believer when he or she dies today? Well, there, their body is left behind on earth, but their soul goes to be in the immediate presence of the Lord. Right, and that's that's a wonderful and happy thing. But that, even that is still not the fullness of the blessing of eternal life and salvation. Just like your faith on this earth and in this life, it involves other people. In the same way. Your eternal life, your eternal salvation is also a community experience. One day, Paul tells us in First Thessalonians four, the Lord himself will descend from Heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, with the sound of the trumpet, and the Dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left listen, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. So we, all of the people of God, will always be with the Lord. It's not just you and Jesus. Only then will the glory of Heaven be fully realized when Jesus Christ returns to gather all of his people. And make no mistake, he is returning. It was a literal going, it is a literal preparing and it will be a literal return, of course. We see this in acts chapter one. Right after Jesus ascends to heaven, two angels ask the disciples, men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven. In the same way did he go spiritually? Oh, he went bodily,...

...physically and so we have the promise of his return in the same manner. Now to our point this morning. Let me ask you again. Do you long for that return? Is the return of Jesus and the hope of Heaven One of the passions of your heart? Have you thought about it recently? Have you thought about how thinking about heaven might affect you here and now? Turn with me for a moment here to the book of Jude. Okay, flip towards the back of your Bible. If you get to the revelation, you've gone just a little too far. Go back one page. Jude, right there before the revelation, this very short letter, very short letter jude. That includes a warning about following away from the faith. And I want you to see as I read here, I'm gonna read versus twenty and twenty one, and as I do, I want you to pay attention and see if you can uh, put a finger on all of the commands in these two verses. Be careful, this is a trick question. Versus one. Identify the commands as we go. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in the your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to eternal life. Now, did you? Did you hear all the commands there? Interestingly, in the midst of all those raises, in those two verses, there's only one verbal command and it's hidden there in the very middle. The command here, the lone command, is keep yourselves in the love of God. All of those other surrounding phrases are there to tell you how to carry out that command, to keep yourselves in the love of God. Now, now, stick with me here. So the command is keep yourself in the love of God. Keep yourself in a place where you can experience God's love. How do you do that? Let's look at these phrases that are around this. First of all, by building yourself up in the most holy faith, Jude says. Well, what does that mean? Well, I think it's things like immersing yourself in the scriptures, becoming part of the Christian immunity community, becoming equipped in the faith, being disciples. Build yourself up. Second by praying constantly in the Holy Spirit, and that's pretty self explanatory right in reliance on the spirit of God, be in constant communication with God. This is how you keep yourself in the love of God. But, but, thirdly, how do we fulfill this command? How do we keep ourselves in the love of God? How do you keep yourself in a place where you can experience God's love? Jude says, finally, there by waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to eternal life. Friends, that's a reference to the second coming. That's a reference to the return of Jesus. Part of keeping yourself in the love of God now is expectantly anticipating the return of Jesus Christ in the future. Are you tracking with me here? In other words, unless you are living for and longing for the return of Jesus Christ, you will not experience the fullness of God's love for you here and now. That's amazing to me, that that we...

...are called to think of Heaven, to expect Jesus's return, in order for us to experience God's love fully in this life. What will heaven be like? Paul Quotes Isaiah in First Corinthians too. He says no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. Friends, we can't even imagine what it might be like. But even so, we can say this. The experience of Heaven will only be fully realized after Jesus returns to gather all of his people. Do you long for that return? Do you long for that day? Because if you do, the Bible says that certain things will begin to happen to you. First John Three says that if you hope for Christ's return, you will begin to deal more radically with sin in your life. First Corinthians fifteen says that if you long for Christ's return, it will motivate you two more faithfully serve in the body of Christ. But even greater than all of that, what what should quicken your pulse to long for the return of Jesus? Christ, above everything else, has to do with what he says at the end of verse three John Fourteen. Verse Three, I will come again and will take you to myself. That where I am. You maybe also, and we can. We can try to define heaven however we want, but maybe the best definition is heaven is simply being where Jesus is, being at his side, hearing his voice, seeing his face, walking with him, talking with him, experiencing the full sense of his love for you, and what guarantees and secures all of that is his work as your mediator right now, that he died in your place and that he lives to intercede for you. That is what brings you to heaven. That is how he is preparing that place for you. That is his heavenly promise that he makes here, and it is a glorious hope that Jesus gives to his disciples and to their troubled hearts. But as wonderful as this promise is, and it is wonderful, you have to notice this, there are certain parameters that are given. Look at the text again. John Fourteen, verse two. In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so what I have told you that I go to prepare a place for who? Not Everyone, not Judas he's been dismissed from the room already. This promise is much narrower than that. For you, Jesus says Verse Three. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and we'll take you to myself. That where I am you maybe also. In other words, and we cannot miss this, heaven is a place only for the people who belong to Jesus. How do you get there? It is the mediating work...

...of Jesus Christ that's the cures your place in heaven, and it is the mediating work of Jesus Christ that guarantees his return to take you there. Maybe another question that we ought to think about is we know Jesus is preparing a place. How can you know if he's preparing that place for you? And I think to get an assurance of that you need to first ask yourself yet another question. Have you asked him to prepare you for that place? has his spirit come into your life and made you a new creation, giving you a new heart with new desires? Do you now seek to try to put your sin to death with his help? Are you becoming increasingly dis satisfied with this world and what it offers and instead you find yourself longing more and more for Jesus and his return? If you can answer yes to all of that, if that is the passion of your heart, then you can be assured that Jesus has heavenly promised that he makes to his disciples here belongs to you just as much. But if heaven has no hold on your heart, if the thought of being together with Jesus for eternity does nothing within you except cause you to yawn. If you never think about heaven, if you're more than content with your life here on your own, then you have reason to doubt that that place is for you or that you have a place there. And if heaven is not your place, don't blame Jesus. That responsibility is your own. But but even now, in His mercy, Jesus Calls You to repent of your sin, to believe in God and believe in him, to place your trust in him so that you can be with him and the rest of his people in that place forever. Do you long for heaven? If you do, Jesus says to you, and we'll see this when we pick up this again, Jesus says I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. Friends made the hope of heaven and the longing for the return of Jesus Christ fill your hearts and prepare you to be with him forever. Let's pray, oh Lord, hasten the day that you would return. But until then, God redirect our thoughts, our hearts are priorities, away from the things of this earth and towards the things of the new heavens and the new earth. Lord, not that we separate and isolate from the world or from the culture at large, but rather than in the midst of prioritizing you above everything that will affect the way we live here now, as ambassadors for your kingdom, which has already been inaugurated and will be consummated at the return of Christ. And Lord,...

...we pray that when you return, you would find US faithful servants, not on our own strength, not on our own power, not by our own commitment or effort or work, but based upon the completed, finished, perfect work of our savior, Jesus, in whom we rest. Lord, imprint these things on our hearts so that they would transform us by the actions of our mouths and hands and feet. We pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.

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