Our Eternal Homecoming

1 Thess 4:13-18

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The past week at Pell City Schools was filled with kids decorating floats, decorating hallways, system wide pep rallies, and even early dismissal on Friday for every single student in the school system. What in the world was all the fuss about? Homecoming 2010 is here, and Pell City was determined to take on Clay Chalkville. Homecoming is special for our kids; it is talked about for weeks prior to time, and those who have previously graduated from PCHS made special plans to be at the game on Friday, as a time to “come home” to their alma matter. How incredible.

Our homecoming is also sure, and the destination for each faithful Christian is promised in eternity. Look at three quick points about our homecoming.

God has prepared for us a place.   Some of the final words of Jesus in John fourteen were clear “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1). I can only imagine the beauty of heaven, but I am sure of its glory, a place where we will forever be in the presence of our God. Paul wrote the church at Corinth that we will see the love of God “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12).

We will be reunited with our family and friends who have gone on before us: So many of you have heard me talk about my grandparents, and I miss them so. I have friends who have attended here, and other congregations who were faithful Christians who I also miss. What a great time it will be to be reunited with so many, who I miss so much. Paul said “the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”. The faithful, the examples in our lives of Christian living, will be in heaven for eternity, and we will meet them again.

Our comfort will be In knowing we will be with our God: The alternative is unthinkable to me. To imagine, spending eternity away from the presence of our Lord, the thought is mind boggling because we see so many attributes of our Lord here on earth. Paul said “And thus we shall always be with the Lord”.  I listen so many times at youth events with your children to the incredible singing, I cant imagine what it will be like in heaven. I long for the time when we will always be in the presence of our God. But, Paul says to “take comfort in these words”. Our brothers in and sisters in Thessalonica were grieved that those who had passed away, faithful to God until the end, may not see the heavenly reward. And Paul simply addresses this by saying. There is comfort in knowing we will spend eternity in heaven. 

What do you long for? I have often wondered why we believe those things we get so attached to here will even be worth it in eternity. Our homecoming is sure, we are promised to be gathered in one of two places for all eternity, and each faithful Christian is promised eternity in heaven. We truly serve a God who has promised a reward for us far beyond what we could ever deserve.