The homecoming message was brought by former Pastor Chris Jackson.
I Peter 1: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
By way of introduction I’m glad serving the Lord is a lively hope. Jesus raised people from the dead, but they died again. Jesus died, but he is alive. We live with a lively hope knowing our names are written in the Lambs Book of Life. Our inheritance is reserved in heaven. Paul said he was called up to the third heaven. We have the atmosphere directly above us. Next we have the area where the stars are. Then we come to the third heaven. This is where God abides. This is where our ride is taking us.
I have five points about the ride that is coming.
(1) I’ve got a ride coming because I’m a stranger. Look back at verse 1. It was written to the strangers. What kind of stranger am I? This place is not my home. I, like Abraham, am looking for a city whose builder and maker is God. My shoes aren’t tied to this world. We ought to be a stranger here. There are some things I am strange about. (a) I’m strange about salvation. There is still only one way to heaven. In John 14:6 Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. There are not many avenues to heaven. All will go through the blood of Jesus Christ. (b) I’m strange in my separation. I still believe holiness is needed. Society has changed a lot, but the gospel has not changed. God doesn’t change. (c) I’m strange in my scripture. I’m sticking with the King James Version (KJV). Many versions leave things out or alter them. Mary was not a lady or a young woman. She was a virgin. If the KJV was good enough for the old timers, it’s good enough for me.
(2) I’ve got a ride because I’m a sheep. I once was lost but now I’m found. We didn’t find Jesus. He’s never been lost. He found us. The shepherd is the one who goes looking for the sheep. (a) John 8:32 says the truth shall make you free. I’m a free sheep—free from the oppression and cares of this world. I have a reservation in heaven. A homecoming waits on the other side. (b) I’m a fed sheep, nurtured on the Word of God. A sheep won’t eat just anything. A goat will. There are lots of goats going around trying to fill us. Get in the Word and be filled the right way. (c) I’m a following sheep. Have you ever wondered why God compared us to sheep? The dumbest animal is a sheep. He’ll go first this way and then that. That’s what we do. I am a free sheep who should follow Jesus Christ and the Word. In the Middle East, shepherds get in front of their sheep, not behind them as we do here. They can bed down together with sheep from other shepherds. In the morning the shepherds stand up and give their call. The sheep in each flock follow their shepherd’s voice to the pasture. Jesus said my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
(3) I have a ride coming because of suffering with Christ. It’s not a hardship for us to serve God. Go to the cross and see the suffering. You and I would have been there if not for Jesus. I’m not talking about suffering because we can’t get along with others but because we follow Jesus.
(4) I have a ride coming because I’m an ambassador. In the recent past the US has called some of its ambassadors home. They could not get from where they were to home without a ride. There was a man named Paul who lived near Raleigh. He didn’t have a license or own a car. He walked to church meetings to attend them. There was a meeting about 150 miles away and he felt the Lord tell him to start walking. He was along Interstate 40 and a preacher and his son saw him and picked him up. He had a ride to the meeting. Several hundred people attended the meeting. The preacher who gave him a ride there was not going back the same way. He asked the congregation if anyone could give Paul a ride. Out of that entire crowd one man raised his hand. That was all right. All Paul needed was one ride and he was glad for it. That’s all we need—one ride and we have it.
(5) I have a ride come because I’m saved. If you’re not saved, you can have a ride. (a) In Second Kings we see the story of Elijah and Elisha. Elijah was going to be taken away. Elisha asked for a double portion of what Elijah had and was told that if he saw him taken away it would be his. The day came. A whirlwind took Elijah away. In his lifetime Elisha performed twice as many miracles as Elijah did. You and I are going to leave one day, and it will be because we’re saved. (b) Genesis Chapter 5 gives us genealogies. In speaking of Enoch it says he walked with God and was not because God took him. He walked with God and fellowshipped with him daily. One day God simply took him on a ride. (c) First Thessalonians 4:13-20 give us these verses.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Revelation 4:1 says after this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither.
One day there will be a jubilee. One day there will be a homecoming like we’ve never known. One day we’ll be part of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. How do we get there? It goes back to verse 4 in First Peter 1. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. We have a ride!