28th April 2024

Being at Home in Heaven

Passage: Mark 13:32-37, John 14:1-3, 14:6-7, Ephesians 2:19-22
Service Type:

This sermon explores the human feeling of being at home in a new place.  It draws parallels between these experiences and the Christian journey towards finding true rest and belongingness in Christ. Highlighting key Bible passages, the sermon emphasises Jesus’ preparation of resting places in heaven and His personal return to collect His followers. It assures believers that despite earthly disorientation, their ultimate home is with Jesus, who has made all necessary preparations for their eternal comfort and joy.

Automatically Generated Transcript

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The family in which I was raised moved around Australia living in different places and that sorta did something to how I felt. I actually used to feel of myself as like an onion. The reason, like an onion, has nothing to do with bitter or sweet but because you could take a layer of an onion off and you would get another one that seems to be the right one again. In fact, one onion can go through several layers

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and I was like that. Born in Perth, got used to being a West Australian and then my family shifted to Sydney and there was another layer of the onion in Sydney and then a year and a half later we shifted to Adelaide and that was another removal of the Sydney onion. Get used to being a South Australian. There are actually quite different people

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quite different people in South Australia. I went to a school where we had to learn different football styles, instead of rugby in Sydney, which I got used to a little bit, it became Australian Rules in Adelaide and also the school that I went to had an awful big emphasis on cricket so cricket became a big deal. Then later on my family moved up here to Brisbane and I came up as well, and everything was different,

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my goodness, the weather in Queensland. The figures on the TV as to how hot it was in summer here were not too much different from Adelaide. Adelaide used to get 42. But the humidity was so draining of you, it took me a couple of years to feel like I was at home and wasn't exhausted in summertime here in Brisbane. Something else I did notice about my family moving around is... There's a certain amount of awkwardness and feeling not at home when you go somewhere different and you get into trouble.

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The shift from Perth to Sydney, the first day I was in the school this is one of the latest primary school years, I got the cane, and I got the cane for going into the toilet and pulling the chain. But in Perth, that's what you were taught to do. But in Sydney, the boys were all pulling it too often and they had passed the thing that if you pull the chain, you get the cane, and that day I did. Welcome to Sydney school! Getting the cane.

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One thing I did realise, though, that it doesn't take long when you've moved into somewhere new for something to change inside and suddenly you feel at home. It might take 3 months, it might take 6 months, depends on how different is the place you've gone. I can't imagine what it would be like to be someone who's come from an all-together different place. I'm just moving around from different hops in Australia. What about folk who come from overseas and they don't get to speak the language here properly. In fact, some of them think, they still think they can't because of all the idioms. They keep being caught out by not understanding these strange things Australians say,

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but there does come a time when you adjust and you feel you are at home. Do you know there is a verse in the Bible, that uses the idea of being at home? You've probably never noticed, because our translations have a different thing to say. It is a spot where Jesus is talking about heaven and he's talking about the fact that he's going off to heaven before us, and part of why he is going is that he is going to make, and it says, In my father's house are many resting places The old versions used to read

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In my father's house are many mansions and that didn't really fit how a mansion could fit in a house Anyway, but the word resting places is actually a word that has the idea of when you've moved somewhere and you've been there long enough and some adjustment has happened and now you feel you can relax and rest because you are at home.

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That's what the word actually means. Now the spot where that's being said and I am shifting the order of things here a little bit if you follow along, is in John chapter 4. want us to go to, Jesus Christ is talking about the fact that he is going to go to heaven. Now, many of us have got the idea, we carry it around from early days, from how people describe the idea of heaven or hell. It's just a general saying, people hear that you're living in Earth, and Earth is our home,

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but we're going to go to heaven or hell when we die. I don't know about you, but being a person like an onion who's been taken from place to place, I have a certain amount of goodness me, what's it going to be like in heaven? And some of the descriptors of life in heaven can really make you wonder, will I really enjoy sitting around and singing hymns or will I enjoy all the various things described.

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You know something about heaven, the Bible describes in the Book of Revelation that there is not going to be any sea. That's a bit of a pity if you like fishing. And, I used to like going skin diving. Skin diving is when you don't have a scuba tank. You just go down and you have to hold your breath. In fact, I was really good at holding my breath. I won't brag about it now... Oh, I just did. Anyway, but to be know, have no sea...

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What is heaven going to be like? I have to admit to you that some of the descriptors of glory, being in heaven, ones that I don't know. I'm getting the anxious feeling. It's another layer of the end and I'll have to get used to. I don't know about you and what you think about eventually getting to go where the next place for you is. Hopefully, it's heaven, but what did Jesus mean when he said,

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I'm going to prepare a resting place for you? He meant, somewhere where you will actually be more at home than you have ever been before. Now, keeping that in mind, my next step in my thinking was, What about Jesus, where does he regard us where he's actually from? Did he come down to earth and when he was on earth he took on a human person, he was the god man. He never stopped being the Son of God,

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but he did start being human. Which is why one of the prophetic verses has God looking down and saying This Day I have forgotten you to Jesus. He became Jesus, that's the name given in his humanity. And you know, how was it like for him to come to Earth? And was that a real difficult onion change? Where is Jesus, or where does he think of as home? Or does he long for the moment of getting back in glory? Or how does he feel, since after all he is now the god-man,

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where's home for him? Have you ever thought these questions? Well we have a verse, we will go now to the first one, I won't bother with John 14 just in the moment, go back to you doing really well, to Mark's Gospel. And in this particular place, it is talking about the fact of Jesus Christ coming back again and the fact of us going to heaven. And it raises some of these questions about whether you'd be at home getting to heaven. But what about Jesus? Where was home for him?

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Now there's a little part of this that I bet you've never noticed before. We will read it through, but concerning the day, and that hour, is the day of his return, to pick us up, the Second Coming. No one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son in heaven. He did know. But when he was on Earth and took on humanity, there was a limitation placed on that knowledge that he would use. And he lived as a human, so he wasn't like someone who was never really properly human because he was too divine. His divinyless, or his divinity, I should say was not something that stopped him from being completely human.

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He really took on humanity the full deal. And ... anyway I do not know. Even the Angels in heaven, nor the Son on earth but only the Father knows the time. be on guard, keep awake, for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man... and here's the bit that really is quite... And many of us don't notice. It is like a man going on a journey when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge and the more Jesus makes this parable you recognize

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that he's talking about himself. And he's going away from earth, from his disciples, from the Christians. It is like a man who has a home down here, a man who is going on a journey and when he leaves home…maps it… when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge each with work, commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake, for you do not know when the master of the house… So this is his home and Jesus is the master of the house. He's talking about down here, that you realize that Jesus coming to Earth, fully adapted,

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meaning he wasn't someone, sort of, Where are my angels? I haven't got them here for a moment He wasn't sort of always wishing he was back in heaven He actually came to Earth and knew he'd arrived He's like a master who has a house and he's got servants and he's going to go for a trip, a journey, he says Verse 34, it's like a man going on a journey. And when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge,

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each with his work commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore, stay awake. You do not know when the master of the house... See, you keep noticing his little points, you know, that he's got a house, that he's got servants, he's the master of the house, and he's coming back. So look at the second coming of Christ, the fact that the first advent was Christmas... baby in the manger, etc. The second advent is when Jesus returns

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but he's not sort of gone back to heaven and coming in such a glorious way as he's coming to something that he doesn't really care much about... Let's get... wrap up this down on earth day and finish up the whole deal. That's not what it is. He's coming back to where this was his house and he was a master of the House. And that's a new thought, that Jesus took on Humanity so that he feels at home here,

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and what's more, he's going to do something up there in order to prepare it for you to feel at home. Now, we'll go to another spot and we will go to John, chapter, I hope this is what I need, Let's read John chapter 19, is it? 18, 19. Now, Jesus is speaking to his disciples. And this is John 14, is it? Yes. I should put these on and then I'll read it right. John 14 verses 1 to 3. Let not your hearts be troubled.

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Don't have any existential disorientation. You are using big words. Don't have any existential disorientation because you can't quite work out whether you're going to be comfortable with Jesus coming back and taking you to heaven. Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. The gospel, at its essence,

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is how God the Father sent the Son to be that which confronts us and asks us to believe in Him. And Jesus saying, if you believe in me, He'll take you to the Father. In my Father's house are many... And this is the word. It means resting places or rooms. In the glorious thing that the Father had made and made for His son as well as us. and he's gone there, Jesus reports that there are many,

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what you would call, little crannies where you can have a place of your own, not just little, but lots of resting places which you can make your own thing. Now, I don't know what you're like when you go traveling. I've been a traveler going to different places for many years, and generally speaking you just do not feel at home, but you do a few little things to make it as much a home in this new location until you get out of there. Some of it has to do with unpacking your bag, or getting it arranged, or making the bed like you like it.

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You have the little spot you have got the best, but when you are only gonna be there for a month or so, you never get to feel at home, but you gotta do the best you can. I've been like that around different countries in the world and also in a lot of time in unit United States and to get to feel at home, especially if you don't like to cooking, but different countries have different things to eat and it's quite something to learn to like

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the type of food they eat and these other places, but you learn to be as best you can at home but resting place is an opportunity for you to make it your home while you're there. And I used to discover, we used to do, Michelle and I, these crusades, it went three or four months, and that was long enough for this phenomenon to happen that I would get used to living there. And I'd suddenly feel that home in that city.

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I like driving all over it, getting to feel I knew the city, as well as the place I was staying. That's the resting place. And in my father's house There are so many opportunities for you to set up where you will be at home. That's what the promise is. If it were not so, I would have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. And the reason why you can know that going to Glory, going to Heaven is something that you are going to feel at home

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is because that's why Jesus went early. He had become quite accustomed to be on earth but he had to return to heaven, not just because a lot of big things were going to happen. His name would be made, the Name of every name etc.ION etc. But also that he was going there to do something, to get it ready for you to come. And he is not going to have you turn up unprepared. He's going to actually prepare the way and prepare the place that will be your place in heaven.

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I go to prepare a place for you and I'll come again and will take you to myself. This is the next part that I really think is fantastic because I have had some idea at the end of the age will happen when he would send out his angels and they come you flying in and grab you and take you off to glory and maybe one's got your and the neck or something and they let you drop into heaven and it's not quite like that. He's coming back again at the end of the time, the Second Coming of Christ, because he's not going to give to any angel to pick you up or me. He's going to come. He so has prepared a place for us that he's coming to collect us personally.

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I understood that a little bit because I spent some time studying overseas and I was sent home by Wheaton College and in that time coming home I ended up doing a crusade at Michel's church, and we met and we got engaged. And then I had to go back overseas, and one of the things I was going to do was to go back and pick her up and take her to where she could stay with me and eventually took her back overseas. Introduce her at the Wheat grad school

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and there were people that I knew that took us out for a meal and did all the things that would make her feel at home. And when there's someone who is special to you, you don't just make the arrangement for them to be picked up, you might do that if you're in a desperate need to do it quickly or something. But generally speaking, I bought a ticket to go home and pick her up from her family's home, to take her and they were putting a squeeze on her not to be a Christian and eventually she had to leave.

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She ring me on the phone and I just told the lecturers and the people where I was studying. I´m sorry I'm away and I'm going back to Australia. I flew as quick as I could to get a flight to go to land in Sydney to arrive at the outside of her house. and to pick her up, I brought her up here to Brisbane where the people who are my friends and my parents and would take her in to be a special child. My dad and mum did that. I was still travelling around other places and they let her stay with them. In the old folk's homes they only had one couch thing,

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they could let down and make a bed. and that was where she came to stay but it was with my parents. They just treated her like she was the Queen. and they looked after her. But that's what Jesus is going to do, So the whole idea of The Second Coming, you've got to understand this, that he's going back there for the purpose of preparing a place for you, if you belonged to Christ, that is. And when he comes back, it is because he's not entrusting that tasks just for the angels, they will be scouting up plenty of people,

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but they are largely the lost ones all gathered in to be judged. But he's coming back to pick us up because this is personal for him. Do you understand that the moment that you came to Christ, this business of you and Jesus was a very personal matter? And he's been in heaven preparing a place for you and he's going to come back and the chief purpose of his coming back is to collect you personally. Because he's prepared a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself. A lot of people have read those words and never really noticed them.

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I will take you to myself. That's why it's coming back to collect you if you belong to him. Why? That where I am, you may be also. And one of the things I discovered travel around everywhere when you come back to home Where there's parents who love you or where there's, you know, someone that's special to you When you get there, what's the quickest thing to make a home is the relationship you have with the one who came to get you Do you understand that? I'm amazed about the second coming of Christ, how much if you read the passages

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clearly and simply, you will see very much a lot of it is the personal deal between Jesus and you. Now let's go to Ephesians 2. Ephesians 2 is another passage and I've just picked three that went from Mark to John and now to Ephesians 2. And the reason why I picked these ones is because it's about Jesus and him getting things for us and the work that he's been doing to make things for us. but this one will take you a bit more surprise as well,

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So Then You're No Longer Strangers and Aliens.' It's talking about the people who've come to Christ when they were not Jews, and therefore they were used to being strangers and aliens to the covenants of God and the people of God, but you're fellow citizens, with the saints and the members of the household of God. And one of the beautiful things, when you have someone who's brought in from outside, is when you help them understand

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that they're not a second class citizen. I have actually travelled once in another country where I was meant to be looked after, but they let me know that they have the family allowed in the center of the very cold place it was. It was in the middle of winter. And the family came together into the one room that had the heater. Michelle and I were told to stay where our room was out in the cold. We were not meant to come in to where they'd all be in the warmth. That wasn't much of a welcome, wasn't much of a hospitality.

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But when there are family who take you as family, when you come and someone takes you as a special person, that's how you and I are going to be in heaven. we're going to be Jesus, special people that he gave his life for, the one's that he has saved, the one's that he is allowed to become belonging to God, the one's that have come to the Father through coming to him, that connect of Jesus being the connection, the way you can get to the Father is to come to Jesus. Okay, so this is what this passage is talking about.

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but your fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God built on the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets. Here we learn that there is a foundation to the body of Christ. This body of Christ is right down here on Earth and will be what will be taken to heaven in the end. This body on Earth is a church, but it has a foundation. I don't know whether you've walked around the Church and found the foundation yet, have you? It's not our new toilets. What's the foundation of the Church? Is it the foyer?

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Or is it the office where they do the bulletins each week? The Foundation is a person. Because the entity being talked about is not this building The entity being talked about is actually the church, all the people, and the foundation. What they used to build back then is they get a completely orthogonal, that means right angle corner colorism, completely orthogonal cube, big stone cut out very carefully to have exact dimensions. And they put it in the corner,

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we called the cornerstone or the foundation stone. And then they'd have some other stones going that way. and other stones kept going that way, with this corner exact, so the building that came as a result was built perfectly because of the exactness of the cornerstone, the foundation stone. But in the scripture here tells us who is the foundation stone of us, the body of Christ. And it is jesus, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. And so he was so intent on building down here something that had him in the center.

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That when eventually he takes us to heaven, nothing much has changed because he, the one who is the cornerstone down here, is going to be the cornerstone up there. To whom the whole structure being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. And just as there was for the Jews, a temple where the presence of God would be most seen seen, and where people are going to worship, so in fact there won't be a temple needed in heaven. There's Jesus, and it's going to be us who will form the actual what is

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the temple in heaven, and we're going to be a part of it. Not just that we're going to be at home because someone has made a visitors' spot for us, but rather it is that we are going to be a part of that which he has built and got ready, where he's the foundation And then, actually the work of the Apostles and their prophets, they are the New Testament prophets and the Apostles, the scriptures that they wrote, is a part of what makes up that body of Christ down here. And when you get into it here, you are actually getting a foretaste of what it is going to be like up there when he gets you there.

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And so, you are not going to feel un-at-home, because you are going to be amongst the structure that you got used to down here, of Him being in the Body of Christ. Now, I know because we have got still our fleshly problems, meaning we still have sinful things that we do every now and then that we have to repent and say sorry for, and we're not perfect, but our sanctification will make us eventually perfect up there. And down here, the Church doesn't always represent itself as it actually should

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be, or is, because of our imperfections. But nonetheless as the Spirit moves in us, the Church can be such a glorious thing that if you get an experience of being in a church where the Holy Spirit has been moving and surging, you find the fellowship and that is so rich. I saw this in Papua New Guinea. I had a crusade up there. I've been going backward and forwards to youth camps and things, and there was a special group called the Maranatha Singers who have a whole week of singing their songs.

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A pastor, a brilliant man, talked me into turning it into a Crusade and he asked me to come back and preach. But in that Crusade there was a time when God's spirit moved. And I discovered a lot of people who had an experience at that church, it was so glorious, the fellowship. It would not last, they got independence in Papua New Guinea and most of those people

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have to go back to Australia. they discovered that they couldn't find another fellowship that was as good as the one they were used to. For if you get into a church where God's spirit is moving, there is a joy, there is a fellowship, there is the depth of Oneness that is so glorious that if you don't stay in that place, you go looking for another, but it doesn't quite have the Lords working in it enough yet, you realize just what you have back in that other place

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all the people from the Barroco Baptist church, they used to so love that place that when they had to leave, they kept meeting with each other every year for a special camp just to remember what it was like. And somehow try and hope to keep and recover or still have that depth of fellowship. It's a glorious thing to be in the body of Christ. And when you experience that on Earth, you're going to understand a little bit of what it's going to be like in heaven, There won't be any onion to shed from being on earth

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to get used to whatever the onion might be in Heaven. It is going to be that which we've gotten used to here. There is going to be a part of rewards that we get up there. There is going to be something that we get practice at now. I don't know whether you've ever taken the exercise of looking back across your time as a Christian and where you had real deep fellowship. If you get me talking on this I will probably tell you all my old stories again but just to say that the Beach Missions are one of them

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and I hear some of our young people go away to the week that teenagers all come down the Gold Coast and they go witnessing and some of them not always but some of them have had similar experiences where there's been such a fellowship and I found the same that we've been involved in ... where people come together and set a meetings And when it finishes, I am so sad it's finished,

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I wish it went on forever, but thank the Lord. That sense of fellowship, it comes about because your right in the center of what Jesus is doing, because he is the foundation stone and you've gotten into something where it's built on Jesus. Not only is he the foundation stone, but he's the one in charge of the building, the rest of it, and that's what he will do in our church if we let him have an open hand to do what he wants to do.

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He'll make our church and the fellowship of it something that you'll brag about for the rest of your life. I know, as I've got lots of little bragging points that happen because God's Spirit was on the move somewhere. What a joy. And you know, the fantastic thing is that sometimes you meet Christian workers and they think Oh boy, that was difficult, I was a pastor and I didn't like it I'm glad we're retired. I need a few of them. You're not gonna get me to retire anytime soon!

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Because I love being in the middle where Jesus is the one who's the cornerstone and where Jesus is the one who's the builder and where he has an activity of gradually working his agenda to make things and just to be within the whole business of being in his church is such a joy. I really don't understand those pastors who are happy to retire and go away and do their hobby or whatever it is Nothing wrong with hobbies It's just that how come they haven't found the joy of being with a cornerstone's poem

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Oh, I don't know how to put this into words but there is a great joy of being where God wants you to be and knowing that he's working in it and even though you'll have the problems and the ups and downs, the fact that he is the one that's making the structure is such a wonderful thing. And that's what this passage is talking about. And it says that we will be in heaven just like the temple of the Lord. In him, you also are being built together

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into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit, the Spirit is doing it. Are you aware of God building you up in a temple which is the Church? Not the building, but the Church, where you're a part of some big thing that Jesus is doing. Isn't that fantastic? To be able to look back and say, Look what the Lord did. I was lent a book to read about a Methodist missionary who went to India. People are all amazed at him, because his first trip to India he had a nervous breakdown

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because, somehow, it is difficult to do. They send him back before he was better, but he came across a Scriptural principle in Romans 12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice. And he did. He just handed it all over. And from that moment on he went on for 40, 50 years and always felt at home, everywhere. He set up all these little meetings across India and he reported that he was just relaxed

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and he was someone that had no, the old back recomb of having had a nervous breakdown, was replaced by a sense of just being in the presence of the Lord and having enthusiasm which never was waning. And when he reported that he just always felt things were going well with him other leaders said, that's unusual. They were used to missionaries having nervous breakdowns and they weren't used to problems happening and there being struggles, all those things do occur. but this fellow's testimony was

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that when he gave it all to Christ he let the Lord take over he just had satisfaction for decade after decade Now God wants you to get used to being at home in the church here, because one day he's going to take you to be at home in heaven built on the same formula that makes down here like that He is having Christ as the foundation stone and Christ as the Builder, and that's what this passage Ephesians 2 19-22 is a wonderful passage

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about us growing into a part of the temple in the Lord. And there's a great joy in it. I've finished, let me pray. Heavenly Father I thank you for the fact of Jesus coming down, taking on board the difficulties of being down here, to talk about a change of place, and how that wouldn't have been easy for him in many respects. Because of what he's done and the mission he's achieved and accomplished and how he's been able to make the church on the cornerstone of himself and he's the one that's building it up and what he wants to do with all these people

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sitting listening to me is to make them a part of this temple he is building, which will eventually... he's going to take it all back to heaven and in that perfect scenario we're going to be at home. Thank you for the resting places. You've been getting Jesus in heaven prepared for us. And thank you when you come again, you're not just going to come and send an angel out to give us a whistle, and scurry back there to heaven, but you're going to come to collect us to your Self. You're going to take us to yourself. Thank you for these assurances in your own name we pray. Amen.

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