Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Home For the Holidays

By Bill Brandstatter

    Home becomes a magnet for the heart at this time of the year. The holiday season is when  Americans go home. Families separated by miles or years come together. Children who have left home to  pursue dreams and careers come back trying to recapture whatever it was they left to escape! This human  desire for home is a reminder of some great spiritual truths.
 * God Gave Us Earthly Homes To Prepare Us For A Heavenly Home.
    We have an instinctive longing for home. That is due in part to the fact that the home and family are  creations of God given for the good of mankind. (Gen. 2:18-19) God’s intent is for the home to be one of the  sweetest blessings which this world can provide. To that end, God has given us laws to regulate the home so  it can be all He intended it to be. (Ephesians 5:22-23) The Bible tells us that “Those who say such things  declare plainly that they seek a homeland.” (Heb. 11:14 NKJV) Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God has set  eternity in our hearts. In all of us there is an instinctive longing for home. Later, Solomon writes, “For man  goes to his eternal home.” (Eccl. 11:5) That instinct is rooted in heaven. Popular wisdom says, "You can't go  home again"; but God does not place any longing in us which He Himself cannot satisfy! We can't go back,  but we can go forward to our greater home. (John 14:1-3) God gives us “A house not made with  hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Cor. 5:1) 
 **Christ Left Home So We Could Go Home.
    Being separated from those you love, especially at times like the holidays, is painful. Our most tragic, most  serious separation is separation from God. God created us; He loves us; but we become estranged from Him  because of our sin: “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy,  that it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59:1 -2, NKJV) God devised a plan to bring us back home. To accomplish  that plan, when the time was right, He sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law that we  might receive adoption as His children. (Galatians 4:4-5) The Bible says Jesus Christ was “in the form of God”  (Phil. 2:6). He changed form and took the form of a bondservant and came in the likeness of man (Phil.  2:7). Christ gave up His home in glory in order to come to this world on a mission of reclamation! Paul  writes in 2 Corinthians 5:19; “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” In His last years on  earth, Jesus had no home: "...The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head..." (Luke 9:58) During those  years of service and sacrifice and suffering...did He long for the home in which He had grown to manhood?  Did He long for His mother’s cooking? More to the point, did He long for the home he had left in glory? He  could have had it; but Christ deliberately chose to leave home for our sake! "For the Son of Man has come to  seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) Today, God invites you to become a member of His family  and He offers the promise of an eternal home. Home for the Holidays? The real question is, will you be  going home for Eternity? 
***Christ Gives us a Home Better Than Our Earthly Home.
    Christ is making mansions (John 14:1-4). Paul identified the fact that we are not citizens  here. (Phil. 3:20) The Bible often uses the term  “stranger” or “pilgrim” to describe the Christian’s stay  here on earth. (1 Peter 2:11) Sometimes the word  “sojourner” is used. All these describe the individual  who is out of place. A “pilgrim” and “sojourner” gives  the idea of someone just passing through an area on  the way to somewhere else. Notice what Paul says in 2  Cor. 5:1-9: “For we know that if our earthly  house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building  from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in  the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly  desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is  from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we  shall not be found naked. For we who are  in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we  want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that  mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He  who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who  also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So, we  are always confident, knowing that while we are at  home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. For  we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident,  yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body  and to be present. Wherefore also we make it our  aim, whether at home or absent, to be well-pleasing  unto him. (ASV) 
- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/

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