“FROM A COFFIN TO AN EXODUS”
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appearwhat we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." I John 3:1-3.
WHAT IS YOUR DESTINY?
Genesis, the first book of the Bible, chapter one, verse one, tells us, "In the beginning God...", and continues throughout the chapter describing the account of His creation and its beauty; but when we come to the conclusion of Genesis, we find it ending with Joseph in a coffin in Egypt. How can it be?
After we are born, and begin to mature, we have such hopes, dreams, aspirations, and goals; and even with all the trials and testings thrown our way, we find that life is still worth living. The beauty God has placed on this earth causes us to want to be on a continual journey to search it out. Our families and friends, along with the wonderful people we meet along the way, give meaning and inspiration to life; and the goals we achieve bring fulfillment and satisfaction, but at the end of it all, "Is a coffin all there is?"
Everything would seem so hopeless, except for the fact that, just as the book of Genesis, called the Book of Beginnings, ends with a coffin in Egypt, the next book of the Bible tells us there is an Exodus out of Egypt. Thank God, our life does not end in a coffin in this world. This life on earth is only the Genesis of our history. We have an Exodus coming; and for those who have made Jesus Christ Savior and Lord of their lives, it is more glorious that we could ever imagine. It is the subject of our Exodus from this earth that I want to address in this teaching.
THERE IS A REAL HEAVEN!
When Jesus Christ came to earth the first time, one of the last things He told His disciples was that He was returning to Heaven to prepare a place for them:
"1. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:1-3. Emphasis mine.
There are three words in the above Scriptures that I want to define (Father's house, mansions, and place) to give us a better understanding of what our Lord Jesus was really saying.
1. Father's house: the Greek word is oikia, and according to Vines Expository Dictionary,"It is figuratively used as the Kingdom of God, and also
as the heavenly abode of God, and the eternal dwelling place of followers of Jesus Christ." In other words, it is all of God's dominion.
2. Mansions: the Greek word is mone, an abode (as an English manor, manse, mansion), and is related to monos, which means single, alone. Vines
Expository Dictionary says, "There is nothing in the word to indicate separate compartments in Heaven; neither does it suggest temporary resting
places on the road." Our Lord Jesus is speaking of actual mansions in Heaven for His followers.
3. Place: the Greek word is topos, which means a spot, home, or tract. By putting this together, we see that Jesus Christ has gone to Heaven, to build for us
who love and obey Him, a mansion, on a certain spot, or tract of ground He has chosen for us that will fulfill our greatest desires.
A VISIT TO HEAVEN
Rebecca Springer, in her book Within Heaven's Gates relates her experience when she first arrived in her visit to Heaven:
"Everywhere I looked, I saw, half hidden by the trees, elegant and beautiful houses of strangely attractive architecture...I caught glimpses of sparkling fountains in many directions, and close to me a placid River flowed with water clear as crystal. The walks that ran in many directions through the grounds appeared to be made of pearl, spotless and pure, bordered on either side by narrow streams of clear water, running over stones of gold.
The houses...seemed wondrously beautiful to me. They were built of the finest marbles and were encircled by broad verandas. The roofs or domes were supported by either massive or delicate columns...The style of the architecture was unlike anything I had ever seen. The flowers and vines that luxuriously grew everywhere surpassed in beauty even those of my brightest dreams. Happy faces looked out from these columned walls, and happy voices rang through the clear air from many a celestial home."
Scientist, Harry Rimmer
Regarding Heaven, the noted scientist and Bible scholar, Harry Rimmer, said: "I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for more than 55 years. I did not buy it. It was given to me without money...But the donor purchased it for me at a tremendous sacrifice. I am not holding it for speculation, since the title is not transferable. It is not a vacant lot.
For more than half a century I have been sending materials (his commitment, service, and giving) out of which the "Great Architect" and "Builder of the Universe" has been building a home for me, a home which will never be remodeled nor repaired because it will suite me perfectly, individually, and will never grow old. Termites can never undermine its foundations, for they rest upon the Rock of Ages. Fire cannot destroy it. Floods cannot wash it away. No locks nor bolts will ever be placed on its doors, for no vicious person can ever enter that land where my dwelling stands..." Emphasis mine.
Do we want to go to Heaven for the right reasons? Our Lord Jesus tells us if we love Him, we will keep His commandments, then we can be assured of an Exodus from this world into Heaven itself, never to die again and be put in a coffin. What commandments did Jesus tell us to keep?
"37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment. 39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Have you contemplated your life lately? Looking back, regardless of your age, have you treated others the way you would want to be treated? Has your life been a reflection of our Lord Jesus Christ, or has it been all about you? Do you have the mindset that you will live a long time, so no need to rush to a decision to serve Jesus Christ; there will be time for that later. Oh! By the way. He is your Creator, and you have no idea of the timetable He has for your life on this earth. Whether you are a church-goer or not, you have an eternal destiny once you die. Yes! Even before they put you in a coffin, your destiny is set. Your family and friends can give you the greatest funeral possible, speak accolades over you, and weep many tears, but that will not change your eternal destiny once you are dead. It will either be this marvelous place called Heaven, or an eternal burning hell, with no escape. Which will it be? Today it is your choice, and today is all we are promised.
A PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you have never been saved, but you want to make Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord, then pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I come to you, knowing I am a sinner, asking you to forgive me of my sins and save me. You tell us in John 14:6 that you are the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes unto the Father but by You. You also say in Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mount the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
If you have been saved in the past, but are not living for our Lord Jesus Christ, you need to ask forgiveness and begin to serve Him with all of your heart.
T. De Witt Talmage, a minister of the gospel wrote:
In our last dreadful war the Federals and the Confederates were encamped on the opposite sides of the Rappahannock, and one morning the brass band of the Northern troops played the National Air, and all the Northern troops cheered and cheered. Then, on the opposite side of the Rappahannock, the brass band of the Confederates played "My Maryland" and "Dixie," and then all the Southern troops cheered and cheered. But after a while one of the bands struck up "Home, Sweet Home," and the band on the opposite side of the river took up the strain, and when the tune was done the Confederates and the Federals all together united, as the tears rolled down their cheeks, in on great "Huzza! Huzza!" Well, my friends, heaven comes very near today. It is only a stream that divides us--the narrow stream of death; and the voices there and the voices here seem to commingle, and we join trumpets and hosannas and hallelujahs, and the chorus of the united song of earth and heaven is, "Home, Sweet Home." The Father's House."
My prayer is that each of you who read this will share it with others. We are truly living in the last of the last days before our precious Lord Jesus Christ returns, therefore we must do all we can to reach out to others with God's love and compassion, and His message of salvation. May this year of 2017 be very special to each of you, and may our Father God's richest blessings be yours.
NEW GATE MINISTRIES UPDATE
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In Christ Jesus, John 14:6
Dr. W. L. "Sonny" Payne
New Gate Ministries
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