If you had to quantify the “American dream” in a purchase I think that all of us would say that home ownership is what the “American Dream” looks like. We say, “I’d like to buy a house and put down roots.” As much as that phrase describes a physical purchase, there is a certain emotion to it. Having a place to “call your own” brings stability.
If you follow financial reports on yahoo– you’ll likely hear about the plight of the millennial generation. Because of student loans, they can’t afford to buy a home. That has an adverse effect on family creation, emotions, and the economy.
But I don’t think it’s just the millennial generation that feels like they aren’t at home. Christians often feel like that too. God comes to us and says here is the deed to the most beautiful and perfect house.
If you go throughout Bible history you will discover that the Jewish people too felt that homeless empty feeling.
Take you all the way back to the time of Adam and Eve. God literally created a special home just for them. It was a home of perfection where the trees grew big and produced abundant fruit. It was a place where Adam and Eve could sit down on their picnic blanket and not fight but simply be blessed to do the work that God had for them each day.
What happened?. They sinned and God literally barred the door saying you cannot come back in. Fast forward to the time of the Exodus and God’s people still don’t have a home – they are strangers in the land of Egypt. And God promises that he would give them a land flowing with milk and honey. They cross over the Jordan River and God gives them that home. Everything was great – but the Israelites again gave up their home. They worshipped foreign gods and forsook the one who gave them the deed to this beautiful land.
By the time you get to our lesson for today – the Jewish people had been ruled by Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans. They were literally living on borrowed property. And as much as that had to feel terrible for the people of Israel – one thing had to bust them the most. Adam and Eve had the presence of God walking right in the garden. The early Israelites had God dwelling among them in his temple. The early Christians literally had Jesus walking among them. They knew what they had squandered. They knew the home they had forfeited.
So for a group of people that felt homeless – God did this.
Revelation 22 handed them the deed to a future home. I’ll read some of the description for you now – “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
For those people who lost their home by their own fault – God handed the deed to heavenly mansions.
Now I know that here in Caledonia, many of us our blessed to live in some beautiful homes. So maybe this illustration of God giving us a mansion is hard to come across the way it was for early persecuted Christians.
But maybe even though we sit in large houses– maybe those large blessings have at times made us acutely aware of the fact that we have no home.
For some maybe you sit down at the dinner table by yourself wondering where your family – your home – has gone as everybody runs from one outing to the next.
For some maybe you sit in your house and think of the mistakes you made that caused you to lose such beautiful blessings.
For others maybe it’s just the fact that you tire of living in a place with pain and death and loss. You say to yourself I just want to feel at home and I can’t – my children have moved, they don’t talk to me, I’m not where I want to be in life. And then you compound it by the losses you couldn’t control those loved ones who used to sit in your home for thanksgiving and Christmas but now have passed on.
You heard it in the hymn today – I’m but a stranger here earth is a dessert drear danger and sorrow stand round me on every hand. Maybe today even with a beautiful home and everything you need you still on the inside feel pretty homeless and empty.
The deed in Revelation 22 – is your promise too. A deed that is not just signed by a human being but by the God who had the power to grant such a gift. He didn’t have to raise money to buy it. Instead he said I will purchase these mansions for my people by signing the deed in my blood. That’s a deal that can’t be backed out of. That’s a deal that isn’t just a nebulous promise for today. But a promise for eternity. My friends who feel like they have no real home because of stress and loss here – look at the gift. Water of life, crops that never run out. Healing from every affliction. The presence of your loved ones and the light of God for eternity. You may feel like this world, grand rapids, your apartment, or your mansion is lonely and empty but for you there is no more curse. There is only the keys to the eternal city paid for in full.
My friends let me tell you a bit of a story. If you know me you know that I haven’t lived in the same place for very long. After my family literally lost our home I lived in 5 different states. Growing up in Milwaukee – there’s sort of a Wisconsin culture. The food, the people, the church all of it is not easily transportable. So no matter where we moved it just didn’t seem right to unpack. It didn’t seem right to sit down at the dinner table. I think my parents and myself will tell you that here in Caledonia we’ve finally found at least a little bit of home. But as nice as it is here I assure you it’s not because of the location. It’s because we finally unpacked. It’s because we finally said my home is the church – my home is wherever God plants me.
Friends as Christians maybe you need to do a little unpacking too.
Unpack this deed from your Savior today. Stare at what you own in Jesus in these verses.
It’s saints triumphant Sunday today. A day we celebrate the victorious dead in heaven. Maybe today the best way we can celebrate that is by looking at our beautiful future home in Revelation 22 and sing with pride these victorious words – and time’s wild wintry blast soon shall be overpast I shall reach home at last heaven is my home. Let’s look forward to the return of God when Christians finally get to move in. AMEN