A Place for You – Part One
“I go to prepare a place for you” John 14:2
Amongst the last words spoken to His disciples, Jesus gave them a promise, that a place was to be prepared for them, and that He would come again to bring them into that place. Let me read to you exactly what our Lord said in John 14 … verses 1-3
“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.”
The Greek word that Jesus uses here for “place” is the word “topos” which not only means an inhabited place, but also means a place or passage in a story! Most of us like to focus on the fact that Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people, and for a prepared future? …. and while this is obviously true, it is not the whole truth? Jesus left us so that he could send us the Holy Spirit, who, long before we would ever get to Heaven, would bring us to a prepared place, a place in God.
My Sermon today entitled
A PLACE FOR YOU
is an attempt to show you the place God has for you in History,
– the place you are meant to occupy in His Story now. Sometimes I like to think about what we will read in the 1000 year reign of Jesus when he returns to put right what Sin has made wrong in this world. Will there be a new “acts of the apostles”? which will include the actions of folk like you and me? I don’t know, but I do know that God has a place for you in the story of the Church, in the love-story of the Bride and the Bridegroom Jesus Christ. So stay with me for today’s message, which is part one of a two part Sermon.
This PLACE to which the Holy Spirit brings every true believer, is among other things, a place of PEACE, a place of PURPOSE, a place of PROVISION, a place of SAFETY and a place of DESTINY.
Consider then in the first place that it is a place of PEACE.
At His birth, Jesus received the title “Prince of Peace” for He alone would bring man back into a “peaceful” relationship with God the Father. The angel chorus sang
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
The peace that the angels were singing about was not a peace between men; they were rejoicing that there would be peace between God and man, or God and mankind.
Through the Old Testament law, God began to release His wrath on man’s sin (Rom. 4:15) It wasn’t the wrath of Satan that Jesus suffered on the cross. He suffered the wrath of His Father. The Father placed His punishment for our sins on Jesus. This ended the war between God and man. This is the peace that the angels were proclaiming.
As a result of men receiving this peace from God there have also been many cases of reconciliation between men, but that is an effect; not the actual peace that was spoken of. These effects are secondary. Today, through Jesus, we now have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). God is not mad at us. He isn’t even upset. We have been accepted through Jesus. Believe the good news that through Jesus, the war between God and us is over. So then Jesus brings PEACE with God, and PEACE with one another –the lesser is included in the greater! In Luke 24: 36 we read;
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
Just as in every sport there are disputes that must be settled by the officials, the peace of God is the umpire that settles all disputes as to what the will of God is for our lives. We must learn to listen to, and heed the peace of God in our hearts.
God’s peace is something that every born-again believer has. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. That peace is always umpiring; we just don’t always pay attention. How many times have you acted contrary to the peace in your heart and afterwards, you’ve experience disaster? You say, “I never did feel good about that.” That was the peace of God umpiring, but we chose to play by
our own rules.
There are some things we can do to facilitate the peace of God umpiring in our hearts. First, consider all the options. Many wrong decisions have been made because not all the options were considered. Don’t let fear rule out God’s possibilities. Next, use your imagination to explore what will happen with each choice. You should be able to discern a greater peace as you consider the option the Lord would have you take.
That is not to say that there will be total peace with any of the choices we make. In your spirit there will be total peace over the right choice, but we aren’t always totally in the Spirit and it is not unusual for some turmoil to exist. Just as an umpire has to make a call, be bold enough to follow the direction that gives you the most peace.
The rudder on a ship can’t go any direction until the ship is moving. The ship doesn’t have to be going full steam ahead for the rudder to work, but it does have to be moving. Likewise, we have to act before the peace of God will give us perfect direction. Even if you make a mistake, you will have made it in faith, trying to follow the peace of God in your heart. The Lord can bless a wrong decision made in faith from a pure heart, more than He can bless indecision! So then Gods place for you, is a peaceful one, a place full of peace!
“With Christ in the vessel, we can smile at the storm”
Then notice that Gods place is a place of PURPOSE.
God has no desire to see us “groping our way in the dark”.
He wants us to know His plans and purposes for our lives. Listen to what John the Baptist said;
“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” John 1:23 John knew who he was and what he was called to do. This was one of the keys of his success. Unlike most of us, John did not have an identity crisis growing up. He knew God’s plan
and purpose in his life from the beginning and he spent his
entire life preparing for it.
God has a plan for your life just as surely as he did for John the Baptist. To succeed in life, you must find God’s plan for your life and then devote yourself to fulfilling that plan, that purpose.
It is not enough to simply “do your own thing” and then ask God’s blessing upon it. Once you know you are doing God’s will, you never have to ask for God’s blessing? For God’s will
is already blessed.
The Lord created you with a purpose in mind. Your talents and abilities were given you to fulfil His purpose for you. Although you may find limited success using these talents for your own uses, you will never find your true potential until they are directed by, and used for the Lord. The good news is that God wants to reveal His perfect plan for your life to you more than you want to know it. You can rest assured that if you ask for knowledge of His plan for your life, you will receive it (Mt. 7:7). He will show you His good, acceptable and perfect will (Rom. 12:1-2). Know who you are in God, if you do, you will be able to walk down the street with a spring in your step and a song in your heart.
Then, Gods place is also a place of PROVISION.
We are not just heirs, we are joint-heirs with Christ. It would be wonderful to inherit any amount of God’s glory and power. But, the idea that we share equally with the one who has inherited everything God is and has, is beyond comprehension. This is an awesome blessing, but it also places a tremendous responsibility upon us. Jesus said in Matthew 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
God place for us is in HIS Family. We have all the family benefits, everything that the name will cover, we can claim.
In the same way in which a check made out to two people – it cannot be cashed without the endorsement of both parties, so our joint-heir-ship with Jesus cannot be taken advantage of without our cooperation. Unaware of this, many Christians are just trusting that the Lord will produce the benefits of salvation for them. They are acutely aware that they can do nothing without Him, but don’t realize that He will do nothing without us.
The idea that God will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, PERIOD, is not true. He has power, but it is the use of His ability combined with the power that works in us. “No power working in us” means no power of God will come through us. The exceeding greatness of His power that is to us-ward who believe is power that is not external, but it is internal, within the believer. It is working according to the faith that we exercise in the indwelling Saviour. It was this principle that Paul was stating when he declared, “I can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The way we place our endorsement on the check is to believe
what God promised in His Word and act on it as truth. IT IS truth! Jesus has already signed His name to every promise in the Word. We aren’t waiting for Him. He is waiting for us!
Some are fearful and nervous about the days ahead. The failing economies, the doom and gloom on the “banking” front, the uncertainty of investment and deposit monies? Those who have put their trust in “riches” and not in God, have every reason to fear. But not the Child of God. There is NO FEAR HERE.
Look at the story of the feeding of the 5000 (which I recon was more than 10,000 when you add in the woman and children)
In Matthew 14:16, “… Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.”
The disciples here were using natural reasoning and recognized that they didn’t have the ability to minister to the multitude’s need for food. Jesus did have the ability and the willingness to minister to their needs, so the multitude did not need to depart. All of their needs could be met through Jesus.
The same thing is true today. Some disciples today are sending the multitudes to the world to meet their physical needs (finances, health, counselling, etc.) and proclaiming that God only meets spiritual needs. But, “they need not depart.”
The Lord is willing and able to heal our bodies, prosper us financially, or counsel us from His Word in any area of our life where we might have a need.
Before we can be a blessing, we have to be blessed (Gen. 12:2). One of the purposes of God’s prosperity in our lives is so that we can be a blessing to others. The Scriptures instruct us to walk in (God’s) LOVE towards all men, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus told us to love our enemies (Mt. 5:44). In Galatians 6:10, Paul places a priority on helping fellow Christians.
This does not diminish our responsibility to show God’s love
to non-believers. Instead, Paul is simply saying “charity must start at home.” It would be hypocritical to step over hurting brothers and sisters in the Lord to find unbelievers to minister to. God didn’t just give us something that He had; He gave Himself. And what was God’s motive for giving? It wasn’t because of His need, but because of ours! He was motivated out of love for us. John. 3:16. In the same way, we should be encouraged to give unselfishly of ourselves. Pray for Divine appointments, to be used of God to touch someone’s life today.
If God rained “bread from Heaven” manna in the wilderness for 40 years. Gods place of provision is a place of supernatural provision.
Then Being in Christ, our place in God, is also
a place of SAFETY
The world likes to exaggerate (literally lie) and present the worst-case scenarios because bad news sells. I can’t do much about the world, but I would like to use my influence to affect believers. Remember that NOTHING, nothing can separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are not to let our hearts be troubled: I began today by reading from John 14.1 “Let not your heart be troubled:
ye believe in God, believe also in me” … so don’t fear.
In the book of Genesis we read that Abraham’s son Isaac went through hard times. There was a famine in the land.
Gen. 26:1. Isaac was a stranger in that land. He didn’t own any property. But the Philistines around him panicked. They didn’t work their fields. What was the use? But Isaac saw it
as an opportunity and took advantage of their idle fields.
Genesis 26:12 says,
“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year
an hundredfold: – and the LORD blessed him.”
This happened during a drought! What was he doing sowing seed when there was a drought? – He was believing God! That’s what we should do. And since there was a drought, others hadn’t planted, and therefore food was in short supply. Isaac got premium prices for his crops. The next few verses go on to tell how Isaac became so prosperous that Abimelech, the king at Gerar, came to him and asked him to leave because he was more prosperous than the whole nation.
This is the news believers should be listening to. We have promises from the Lord that He will provide our needs according to His riches IN GLORY by Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19.
We aren’t limited by this world’s economy! Let those who only trust in money panic. In God we trust Ps. 91:2
We should be rejoicing. The floods in Noah’s day that destroyed the ungodly and greedy, these waters were the very means of lifting up, the child of God!
Finally, Gods place for us is a place of DESTINY.
In First Kings 17 we have the story of Elijah the Prophet.
we read: “And the word of the LORD came unto Elijah,
saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide
thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded
the ravens to feed thee there.”
One of the great lessons we can learn here is that God doesn’t reveal His complete plan immediately. He reveals His will to us one step at a time. After we obey the first step, He shows us then the next. Why should the Lord show us step two or ten if we haven’t yet obeyed step one?
That would just make us more accountable. So, don’t try to figure out the next step until you have acted on what you know to do now. That’s an important truth.
The Lord told Elijah to go to the Brook Cherith. He had already commanded the ravens to bring Elijah bread and meat “THERE” every morning and evening. This was miraculous! What a supernatural provision during a terrible time!
But notice this: The Lord didn’t send Elijah’s provision to where he was. A player doesn’t throw the football to where the runner is, but where the runner is going.
Elijah’s miracle wasn’t where he was. but where the Lord was sending him. That’s awesome!
Each of us has a place called “THERE,” where the blessing of the Lord is waiting. The Lord never fails to provide, but people often fail to receive because they are not “THERE.” If Elijah had not gone to his place called “THERE,” his disobedience would not have stopped God’s faithfulness; however, he would not have received the provision; it was over “THERE,” by the Brook Cherith.
That’s exactly what is happening to many of us. The Lord has placed something on our hearts to say or do. But, if we haven’t obeyed, we aren’t in our place of “THERE.” Maybe, we aren’t seeing God’s provision, or Gods Blessing, because we aren’t in that place of obedience.
This doesn’t mean the Lord is punishing you. If Elijah hadn’t gone “THERE,” he would have lost his provision but would not have lost fellowship with God. The Lord has provision for you too, but it’s “THERE.”
This place called “THERE” changes. God changed the place and method of Elijah’s provision:
“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there:
behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” 1 Kin. 17:8-9.
You can’t just seek the Lord once, hear His voice, step out in faith, and then stop listening. The Lord brings us into His perfect will – step by step! Elijah moved when the Lord told
him to move. This was Gods Place for Him in History.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
Did you know that
Elijah failed in two-thirds of the things the Lord told him to do. That’s amazing.
You might think this meant Elijah was washed up and was never used of God again. But that’s not the case. Elijah went on to prophesy (1 Kin. 21:17-24), and he called the fire of God down two more times (2 Kin. 1:9). And most impressive of all, Elijah never died; he was caught up into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kin. 2:11).This man, who failed miserably, still walked so closely with
God that he never died. This speaks volumes to us.
The Lord has never had anyone working for Him yet who was qualified.
He uses us in spite of what we do, and not because of what we do. If we will hold on to our faith, we can still experience wonderful things from the Lord even after failing; because in
His love and mercy, He has prepared a place for us…
a place in History and a place in Heaven.
What powerful truth.