GOD DOES NOT WANT US TO BE HOMELESS

The land is an important part of Israel’s faith. God has promised them that they would not be homeless. God had made a promise to Abraham that he would be a father of a great nation. And every nation needs a land. So The Lord has set aside a piece of property by the Mediterranean Sea for his people to live in.

This piece of property, the Promised Land, is important to the people of Israel. This is where God had taken them after he rescued them from slavery. God fought on behalf of his people to occupy these cities. And afterwards, God was the one who made it possible for them to defend this land from foreign attacks. Kings and kingdoms came and they went away defeated not because Israel was a military powerhouse, but because the Lord of Angel Armies blessed the people of the Promised Land.

But the blessing is not the only reason why the land is important. The land is important because this is where God’s presence resides in this earth. There were probably bigger and more lavished temples in the world. But the only Temple of the Most High God, the dwelling place of God the Creator, the only point in all of creation where heavens meet the earth; there is only one place for this Temple and that is in Jerusalem. It is within the Promised Land.

The land is blessed because God’s presence was there. And where God’s presence is, that is the home of God’s people.

But of course this did not last long. The people rejected their God and his presence left them. Without the Lord’s presence then the temple is just another building and the Promised Land is just a piece of dirt in between earth’s most powerful empires. The foreign armies came and took the people away. And for many years they became homeless.

And even after the people came back from their exile to the land, they were still homeless. Even after they rebuild the Temple, they were still homeless. Because again, without God’s presence, it’s just a big slab of stone on a piece of dirt.

That is why people was excited to see Jesus. The Chosen One is here. And just like David, God’s presence will go with him. And God’s Spirit will return to his Temple, just like it was in Solomon’s time. The people will be home again. They will no longer be homeless. The exile is finally over.

But that’s not what Jesus did. As usual, the people were thinking small while Jesus was thinking global…

JOHN 14.1-3 (NLT)

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

JESUS IS OUR HOME

Jesus said he was going away. The disciples had expected him to stay and rule with God’s presence but Jesus said he was going to go back to the Father to prepare a home. You know why this is a problem? That means this land is not their home! They were still homeless! If Jesus is leaving, if God’s presence is not coming back with him, then this land is not our home.

Jesus is telling the disciples that even though he would soon leave them, this does not mean he will forget them. Jesus is coming back. Jesus went back to the Father so that he can prepare for his return back to earth with his Father. God will move in with us! And when God comes moving in, he will not live in this land like he did before because this land in essence is broken. This land is cursed. No, the Most Holy of Holies is not making a home in this broken land. When God makes the move, it will be in the New Heavens and New Earth. New creation. That is when ‘this land’ will be our home.

Until then, like Peter says, we are citizens of Heaven. This is not our land. This is not our home. The theologically advanced people will say we are God’s people living in exile. Amen. But for our purpose today, let’s just say that we are basically renting here. We live here but this does not belong to us. We will not be here forever. In the end, we will eventually go home.

And where is home? Home is where Jesus is because Jesus is our home. If he’s in heaven, sitting next to the Father, then heaven is our home. When he comes back to reign forevermore in this New Heaven and Earth, then that New Creation will be our home too. Wherever Jesus is, there our home will be. Jesus is our home.

But wait there’s more…

Jesus would not leave us on our own. No. Before we get to go home with him, while we are here living in the exile of this broken world, God’s Spirit is making a home in us. That is why Christians do not build Temples. Because we know that there is no building where God’s presence dwells. Instead, God dwells in us; we are God’s Temples. He is making a home in our hearts. And when we allow him to move into our hearts, he will not only redecorate; he will rebuild our hearts, our minds, and our lives. And just like the land was holy because God’s holy presence was there, when God’s Holy Spirit makes a home in our hearts, we become holy too. Just like the land was blessed and prospered and protected when God’s presence made a home in the Jerusalem Temple, he will bless and protect and make his new homes prosper as well.

INVEST IN YOUR HOME; INVEST IN PEOPLE

So let us always be reminded: we are renting here. This world is not our home. But that does not mean we’re homeless. No. We have a home in Jesus. And if Jesus is our home, if this is not our home, shouldn’t we invest more in our home than in this world?

Look, there is nothing wrong to enjoy our stay here in this world. We are not telling you that this live is not important and you should not invest your resources and your affections for the things God has given you here. In fact, every year we do a sermon, or two, or three, where we remind you that we should be grateful for the things God has given us in this life. Enjoy your life here. In fact, let’s go beyond that: be a blessing in your time of exile here.

But let us never forget that we are renting here. This is not all there is because this is not our home. We will not be here forever no matter how hard we try to make this as long and pleasant of a ride as possible. In the end, Jesus is our home. And just like you do not make the same investment in your rental place as you would invest in your real home, we should always invest more of our time, resources, and affections to our real home.

So how can we do that? How do we invest in a heavenly home that Jesus has prepared for us? We invest in our home by investing in people.

Have you ever noticed that everything we do in this church is about people? Our biggest expense is for renting this facility. Why? So that people can come and worship God together every Sunday. So children and teenagers can have a place to meet and worship with their peers. And also, even though we have not done this one well yet, so that people can bring their friends who are still spiritually homeless.

Our second biggest expense? My salary! So that I can enable the people of the church to do the work of ministry. That is my main job here, not to do ministry, but to help God’s people in this church do the work of ministry that God has set aside for us. My job is to help you be who God wants you to be and to do what God wants you to do. Again, my main job is not about sermons, curriculums, or music; it is about people.

Look at our mission work here. You can see that we are about investing in people who cannot come to our church every Sunday. We go to Sungai Tiram on Saturdays so that there will be young people who can learn English and eventually be Christ’s disciples as well. We go to prisons so that the people there will have hope in Jesus and a chance to be obedient Christ followers once they are released back into the community. And we do not talk about this a lot, but every month we invest money for Sports for Life ministry so that they can teach young people sports and discipleship too.

Everything we do here is about people. So the first thing you can do if you want to invest in your eternal home, is to invest in people through this church. Of course you still have to invest in people in your lives as well. But if you don’t know how to start, start with us. We want to invest in you as well because we know, investing our time and resources in you is investing in our eternal home in Jesus.

And the most beautiful thing is this: the more we invest in people, the more we invest in our eternal home in Jesus, the more he dwells in us. The more we focus on bringing people to Jesus, restoring their relationship and sense of identity, the more the Holy Spirit reigns in us. And when he reigns in us, he makes us more faithful, courageous, forgiving; he makes us more like Jesus. The more we invest in our home in Jesus, the more Jesus makes a home in us. And when God is with us, he will bless us, protects us, and provides for us. And that is the best investment rate you can ever have in this life and beyond.