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A Theology for Messy Lives - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
June 9, 2024 6:00 am

A Theology for Messy Lives - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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June 9, 2024 6:00 am

Life can be pretty messy sometimes: plans fail, people leave, money diminishes, and taxes rise. There are plenty of reasons to be troubled these days but there are better reasons not to be! Life was about to get real messy for those disciples around that Jerusalem dinner table. At times like that, there are some basic instructions we need to fall back on so our hearts inside us won't be swallowed up by the mess around us.

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When you're in a mess, it's time to be honest and clarify what you believe. Do I really believe this stuff? Do I really believe God is good?

Do I really believe in life after death? All of those questions are forged and clarified in times like this. Theology for messy lives. And you want to be sure to join Pastor Skip in John chapter 14 as we prepare to begin. And while you're loading up today's scriptures, we wanted to let you know about a special resource package we put together for the month of June. How deep is your understanding of the Holy Spirit and the gifts he gives?

Listen as Skip Heitzig unpacks his person and power in this teaching clip. The Holy Spirit is a divine person who helps us. How many of you think you need all the help you can get to live your Christian life?

Yeah, I'm with you. We need help. As you grow in your understanding of the Holy Spirit through our Connect with Skip Heitzig monthly resource, you'll learn how he helps believers, that's you, to walk with Christ.

When it comes to living the Christian life, it's not hard, it's impossible on your own. You need his power to be able to do that. You need his help to be able to do that. And we have his help. For your Connect with Skip Heitzig gift of $50 or more, we'll send you the complete expound Holy Spirit series and Bring the Rain, Skip's book on expositional teaching.

Call 800-922-1888 or give securely online at slash offer. So what's heaven like? And is there really only one way to get there? Let's join Skip Heitzig and John chapter 14 to find out today. Think about your life right now in whatever mess you find yourself in. You too don't have the big picture.

He does, you don't. So your natural instinct would be not to, I say, I know God, I know Christ, he's trustworthy, I know him, it's going to be okay. Our instinct is to be like the guy who was walking near the edge of the Grand Canyon a little too close and he fell off into that huge chasm. His body hit a bush hanging off the side, he grabbed it and he called out, is anybody up there? Is anybody up there? And a voice came out of heaven, this powerful, strong voice. Yes, I'm here. Oh, could you save me?

Yes, I can. Well, Lord, save me. Do you believe, said the voice. Oh, yes, Lord, I believe, I believe. Do you have faith?

Oh, I have great faith, strong faith. And then the voice said, then just let go and it'll be okay. And after one tense moment, the man said, is there anybody else up there? There comes a point in our mess when we have to let go and really believe that Romans 828 thing that says we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are the called according to his purpose. Let go.

Is there anybody else up there? Trust. Trust is what stops tension. Faith is what stops fear. Worship is what abates worry.

So what's the cure? First of all, think about who you know. You believe God? Trust him. Trust Christ.

Second thing, think of where you'll go. Verse 2. In my father's house, interesting that he immediately segues them to thoughts of heaven. 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. Now, the term the father's house, what is Jesus speaking about? Heaven. It's his metaphor for heaven. The Bible speaks about heaven 532 times, but it speaks of it with different names. Heaven, sometimes it's called a country, a heavenly country, Hebrews chapter 12, because of the vastness of it. Sometimes it's referred to as the city, also the book of Hebrews, because of the innumerable amount of people that will be in it. Sometimes it's referred to as a kingdom, because God is the king reigning over all. Sometimes heaven is referred to as paradise, because of the indescribable beauty of it. And sometimes it's called the place of rest, because there we will end all of our toil, all of our tribulation, all of our temptation. But here Jesus calls it my father's house. According to Jesus, heaven is not imaginary, it's real, a real place. It's not a metaphor. Father's house is a metaphor for heaven, but heaven is a real place.

It has locality, it has physicality, it has dimensionality. The Bible speaks of it as such. But let's take verse two, if you don't mind, and let's just probe a little bit deeper into it.

Let's unpack its truths, if you will. Notice, first of all, that heaven will be a place of variety. In my father's house, he says there are many mansions, many mansions. Now, I have to tell you that the translation mansions is an unfortunate translation, because when we hear it in Western ears, and you think of a mansion, you think of like a cattle ranch and an imposing structure on that huge estate, a castle, so to speak, this huge, humongous, square-footage mansion. And songs have been written about mansions in heaven. I say it's an unfortunate translation because the word Greek, mane, means an abiding place, a resting place, a stopping place, an abiding place.

Now, when the Bible was translated from Greek into Latin, the Latin Vulgate, the word in Latin is manciones, manciones. But that means in Latin, not mansion, like we know it, it means a stopping place, a resting place, a room. And a better way to look at it is in my father's house, there are many rooms, there are many abiding places. You go, well, that doesn't help me, I like the whole mansion thing better. Not a flat, not an apartment, I like the mansion. But here's the point Jesus is making.

Put yourself in a Middle Eastern way of thinking. In those days, families would grow by adding rooms to their house. So when a child would get married and have kids, the mom and dad would simply add another room and then another room, and then as the family grew, another room and another room. So the point Jesus is making is there's plenty of room for everybody. There are many rooms.

There are many apartments. Now I'm going to fast forward you for a moment, throw another thought in your mind. We know something that when we die and we go to heaven, eventually we're going to come back to a renewed earth called the Millennial Kingdom for a thousand years. After that, there's going to be a new heaven and a new earth and a capital city called the new what? Jerusalem.

All brand new. And John writes about that in Revelation 21. And he says, as he describes the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, it was in the form of a cube.

Listen to this, this is wild. For its length and its width and its height were 1,400 miles. He looks and sees this huge cube roughly the size of our moon coming out of heaven hovering toward the earth, 2,225,000 square miles, 15,000 times the size of the city of London. A cube, multilevel, multistory, multidimensional. One scientist who's a believer, Henry Morris, guessed 20 billion people could easily inhabit it, many more, of course. But assuming that only 25% of that city would be used for dwelling places for people and the rest for whatever, streets, parks, public buildings, et cetera, he calculates that each person could have a cubicle block with 75 acres on each face to call their own.

I don't have time to delve into it, but it would seem that in your new resurrected body, you will be able to travel not just vertically, not just horizontally, but vertically as well in a multidimensional place and setting. It makes this fun to think about. In my father's house are many rooms, many abiding places, places to hang out. So it's a place of variety. Notice also in verse 2, it's a place that is personalized. I go and prepare a place for you, for you, for you. Jesus was a carpenter while he was on earth.

It seems he's a custom builder now, a place for you. Imagine, with that place, he's been up there preparing it for 2,000 years. What must that place look like by now? It's like one little girl looked up at the stars at night with her daddy and said, Daddy, if heaven looks this good on the wrong side, how does it look on the right side?

A lot better. But let's not necessarily confine it to thinking that God's up in heaven arranging the furniture, depending on your taste, and putting up the pictures you like. Think of it when Jesus said, I'm going to prepare a place for you.

What would he be doing in the next couple days? Dying on a cross. That's how he would be preparing heaven for them. They couldn't get there otherwise. I'm going to go to the cross, and the cross, my sacrifice, is the preparation to get you to heaven.

He could be referring to that. Either way, the point is the same. If Jesus Christ can do what it takes to get you to heaven, don't you think he can help you in the mess now?

That's the greater point. If Jesus can do what it takes to get you to heaven, he can take care of your life in the mess. Think about who you know.

Think about where you'll go. Something else about heaven, also in verse 2, it's a place of relationship. Do you find it interesting that Jesus doesn't call it heaven or paradise here, or the heavenly city, or the heavenly country, or the place of rest, or the kingdom? He calls it my Father's house. In other words, to Jesus, it's not just about location.

It's about relation or relationship. That's why heaven, in the truest sense of the word, is your home, like your home here on earth. What makes your home your home? It's not what you have there. It's who you have there. It's what makes it home.

It's relationships. And in heaven, there'll be the Father, and there'll be your Savior, and there will be all those who have died before who trusted in Christ. Paul said, Jesus will bring with him all those who sleep in Jesus. What a great reunion.

What a great relationship. Think about who you know. Think about where you'll go. Verse 3 puts our focus on what's ahead when he says, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also. I could preach a whole message just on that verse. This has been the blessed hope of the church ever since Jesus said it. Some people will die. That's how they'll get to heaven.

Other people, the Lord will return before they die at the rapture of the church. So whether it's by the valley of the shadow of death or in a moment in the twinkling of an eye when you're taken up into his presence, you'll get there. Now, let's turn to the last two verses and the final principle as we close.

Here it is. Messy lives can be confused. Just think about the incredible truths that our Lord Jesus has shared with his disciples in that upper room.

Just so sublime, so profound. And he says to them, Where I'm going, you know. And the way, you know.

You know why he said that? Because he told them that he would be returning to his father, that he would be returning to glory. And it made it very plain to them where he was going.

They should have known it. But there's an honest disciple named Thomas. I love this man. I love him because I believe of all of them, he was the most honest.

Maybe ill-timed, but honest. Notice what he says. Thomas said, Lord, we do not know where you're going and how can we know the way?

You've got to love that. And I think Jesus is saying, and the disciples are probably nodding, Where I'm going, you know. And the way, you know. Thomas goes, I don't know.

I don't get it. This whole cryptic talk, I don't get. Where are you going? Now he told them where he was going. How can we know where you're going if we don't know where you're going?

How can we know how to get there? You see, when you're in a mess, you get preoccupied with how you feel about the mess. It's all about your feeling and I don't understand and I'm distracted and it's those distracted thoughts that keep you off track.

He told them plainly where he was going. Thomas still doesn't get it. When you're in a mess, it's time to be honest and clarify what you believe. Do I really believe this stuff? Do I really believe God is good?

Do I really believe in life after death? All of those questions are forged and clarified in times like this. Messy lives can be confused. Now I, for one, am so glad Thomas was in that room and interrupted. Because had he not, we wouldn't have this great answer that Jesus gives in verse six. Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the Father except through me. Bam! How powerful is that?

How potent and unmistakably clear is that? I am the way. I am the truth.

I am the life. I wonder how many people truly believe this. I wonder how many people who claim to follow Christ truly believe this.

This sounds very narrow, very exclusive. Very dogmatic. Notice Jesus doesn't say, I am a way. He doesn't say, I'll show you the way.

He doesn't say, I can teach you the path. He says, I'm it. I am the road, the way. I am the truth.

I am the life. Just so you don't misunderstand, again, the Wiest translation from the Greek into English expanded, puts it this way. I alone, in contradistinction to all others, am the road, and the truth, and the life.

No one, no man, no woman, no child, no sincere person, no religious person, no well-meaning person, no boy, no girl, goes to the Father except through Christ. You go, well, that's your interpretation. I just read that. How else do you read it? And so you won't be misunderstanding it.

Listen to a couple other things, see if it's right or not. Jesus, again, speaking on the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7, enter in by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go in thereby.

But narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few there be who find it. You know who was there listening that day? Peter.

You know who was in the upper room that night listening? Peter. And Peter would be confused. As he saw Jesus die, he denied Jesus, but then Christ would be risen from the dead.

It all would be lined up in his mind, and Peter would say these words a few weeks later, Acts chapter 4. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Add those three verses up alone, there are many more.

Just add those up alone. This pretty much eliminates any other way to heaven, whether it's by works or by ceremony or by religion. Oh, that's so dogmatic. You're right.

You're right. And I notice that Jesus makes no apology for its dogmatism, nor will I. Something about the truth. Have you noticed the truth by its very nature is dogmatic? I had a math teacher who was so dogmatic when I was a kid. She'd always insist that two plus two always had to be four, always.

Why couldn't it be five and a half every now and then? Well, if you want to get an F on the test, it could be. But she was so narrow-minded about the truth of math. I've also noticed my bank is dogmatic about such matters.

The mortgage company is very dogmatic about such matters. Truth is truth. Heaven is a real place. Heaven is a loving place. Heaven is a relational place. But heaven is an exclusive place.

Do you know the one who prepared it for his own? If you know him, if you know him, and you know where you're going, then that helps you manage life in the mess. If you don't know him, if you refuse to know him, then I can only say it's going to get a lot messier for you. Well, we have the opportunity to step out of the mess and into the loving arms of our Savior today. And if you've never taken that step of relationship with Jesus and would like to, why not do that now?

If you'd like to pray with someone, you can call us at 1-800-922-1888. Today's message was part two of a theology for messy lives, and it's part of our current series, Believe 879. Right now, let's go in studio for a thought or two from Skip and Lenya. Skip, today you concluded your teaching, and you mentioned something that's kind of radical, but not. I mean, it's a bottom-line Christian tenant, but we live in such a secular humanism world now.

Pluralistic society. Yes, and all paths lead to God. You know, as long as you're spiritual anymore, it seems okay. And the comment is, you said heaven is exclusive. Boy, and people bristle at that. Boy, they do. What would you say to someone who is perhaps still struggling?

Like, right now, they're not very happy. So we said heaven is exclusive. Well, it's based on what Jesus Himself claimed. He said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. One translation actually says, to break it apart linguistically, I, in contradistinction to anything or anyone else, am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me. Jesus Himself drew that line. He's the one that is exclusive.

And we have to look at it maybe from the other side of the coin. You know, people go, well, He made it so hard to get to heaven. No, He didn't. He did all the heavy lifting. He's the one that paid the price.

He's the one that took the punishment. He allows now anyone in hearing this message to place their faith in Him and be guaranteed heaven. That's a pretty wide open door. So that's why Jesus told His disciples, go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. And He made that the commission, because He knew it was exclusive. So, you know, I don't want to sound demeaning, but, you know, God made those rules. And if you can create your own universe, then you get to make your own rules.

I was thinking the same thing. If He's the Creator and He made it, then, you know, He gets to speak of it. But it's that beautiful John 3.16. You know, God so loved the world that whosoever believed in Him would not perish. And that's such a wide open word, whosoever.

So it sounds exclusive, but it's not. He's saying whosoever, and He's the one that died and rose from the dead. The gate is narrow, but the embrace of God is huge. It's wide.

That's what we have to look at. He so loved the world. I picture God wrapping those arms around this big world, saying, I love you so much that I'm going to make it a way for you to be with me forever. Look at it from the love of God's perspective, not just the narrow gate perspective. And from the love of God, maybe we could just say to the audience, we pray that you would be the whosoever that enters into the kingdom of heaven. And if you don't know the Lord, you can do that right now. You can turn to Him, driving a car, listening in a hospital, or alone by yourself somewhere. You can just say, Lord, I know I'm a sinner.

Forgive me. I entrust my life to you. I turn from my sin.

I trust in what Jesus did for me. And if you say that in sincerity and you contact a Christian, tell them that you've done that or heard that you've done that. Or write to this program. Email us.

We'd love to get resources into your hands. Heaven's just a prayer away. Well, thanks for that, guys.

We do hope you've made that decision for Christ. You can call us at 1-800-922-1888. If you'd like a copy of today's message, you can find it at Or you can call us and order one at 1-800-922-1888.

Each copy is just $4 plus shipping. We'll continue through our series Believe 879 with more from the Gospel of John next time. So I hope you can join us right here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the cross.

Cast your burdens on His Word. Make a connection. Connection. Connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-09 04:08:06 / 2024-06-09 04:17:28 / 9

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