No More Tears: Preparing a Place
John 14:1-7/Various other texts
Good morning. Welcome to Brady Lane Church…
I want to thank Derrick Coleman, one of our musicians in 2nd Worship for setting the message up today with a beautiful rendition of a song by Eric Clapton, titled Tears in Heaven.
Clapton in this song, written about his 4 year old son who died in a tragic accident, poses some questions about heaven…
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?
And one of the closing parts of the song Clapton writes…
Beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure
And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven
Tears in Heaven ended up making it all the way to #1 on the billboard charts and won Grammys for Record of the year, Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Male, and Song of the year in 1993.
Clapton inserted one truth that we do find in scripture…that tears, pain, hurt, anger, malice, rudeness, anxiety, grief – or what some people call politics (joke) – but all joking aside all that stuff will be gone.
In the Old and New Testament we find this promise
I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
While Clapton grasped this biblical truth – just like for many of us -questions remained.
I think Clapton was able to put into song these questions that are probably similar in source to questions that you have asked. What is heaven like? Will there be animals in heaven? Will I have a house or a place to live in heaven? Will I know people and will they know me when I get to heaven? What will we do there? Will I have wings or become an Angel? And the list goes on and on and on.
In this series – No More Tears we will not be focusing on speculation, opinions, my own personal thoughts, ideas or agendas. We are going to spend four weeks looking at what the Bible says about heaven, including words from Jesus himself.
Now obviously we are going to along the way confirm truth and also dispel myths about the afterlife but our clear source for heavenly revelation will come from the pages of God’s Word.
In today’s message, titled, Preparing a Place – we are going to look at one of the moments where Jesus addresses the Heavenly Kingdom of God, and examine it closely for some truth that we need to get a clear grasp of before we go through the next three weeks…
Our text for today is John 14:1-7 and we will have a few other support texts as we work our way through as well.
While you are turning there – this text takes place during Jesus final hours before the trials and crucifixion, to be more precise, Judas has just left the upper room after being identified as the betrayer, the institution of the Lord’s Supper has taken place and Peter has just been chastised and identified as the denier.
Let’s look at the text…Jesus begins this text with a command…
John 14New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
The first thing we get from Jesus in this text is that command…
- Don’t worry about it? (Mat. 6:25-34)
- “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”
Being told not to worry is not a new concept or command. The disciples had heard Jesus teach on worry during His sermon on the mount. We have studied that text here at Brady Lane just this past year. If you remember, Jesus tells us not to worry – in Matthew chapter 6 he talks about not worrying in this life…it finishes in verses 33 and 34…
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
In our study text for today Jesus is adding to that earlier teaching by saying…Don’t worry about the next life either.
How many of you spend time worrying about the next life? …be honest! Or if you don’t worry how many of you at the very least feel a bit anxious about what happens after this? Yeah…I think we all have a little of that in us and if you don’t it’s because you have figured out this first point. DONTWORRY – JESUS has this under control!
I want to get this point across to you more than probably anything else in this series. Jesus is saying here – HEY! Slow your roll! I GOT THIS! DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! It’s going to be great…I’m in charge of preparing your place!
The next idea that comes jumping off the page is that…
- Heaven is spacious but cozy.
- “In my Father’s house are many rooms…”
Now we sing songs about heavenly mansions – and there are stories like – when Tom Brady got to heaven he is given his mansion and he looks around and it is nice…but he notices that there is a much larger more extravagant mansion in the middle of heaven flying a Colts flag…and he stops a passerby to ask why Peyton Manning got a nicer, bigger mansion than his, he thought everyone was to have the equal rewards for the life they lived…but the passer by replied…Oh that’s God’s house…he’s a Colts fan….Tom then asked where Bill Belecheck’s house was…and the passer by dropped his head and said…uhhhh he didn’t make it! THAT’S A JOKE!!!! THAT’S A JOKE!!!! GO FALCONS!
Anyway – This part of the text has intrigued many over the years, as it is left with general Greek words oikia which means home or house in reference to God’s dwelling and monai that can be translated rooms, dwellings, abodes, or even mansions.
A couple of things of note here…Oikia – is the masculine singular form of the word, while monai is the feminine plural form of the word…which makes sense because God is always referred to with a masculine pronoun and His house would be referred to in that way. The interesting thing is the plural form monai communicates that there are many rooms/dwellings…feminine form would connect to us being the bride of Christ. Something to think about…words are interesting!
But the other thing to note here is the multiple ways you can translate monai – it could mean as something as intimate as a room or something as grand as a mansion. I don’t think the word here that Jesus used is an accident. I don’t think he was trying to confuse us or mess with us…I think he was trying to communicate that this place he is preparing for each person is going to be as intimate as your favorite room and as amazing and extravagant as a mansion.
Many of you may be like me and had to share a room with a brother or sister when you were growing up…and maybe you had the experience before you left home like I did when you got your own room…or maybe that didn’t happen for you until you moved out on your own. But there is something about having a room or a space that is just yours…Jesus is preparing that place for you…and it is going to be more amazing and fantastic than you could ever imagine!
Another idea that we can draw from Jesus words is that we can…
- Trust in the promise.
- “I’m coming back…”
This text mirrors other times that Jesus promises a return, like later on in chapter 14 of John in verse 28 where he says he is coming back or John Chapter 21 where Jesus talks about returning again, after the resurrection. We have to trust in the promise that Jesus is coming back. There are so many that view this as a fairy tale, they mock by saying why has he waited so long if he’s coming back, why hasn’t he come? Many people I believe have wandered away from the faith because they have tired of waiting…in our fast paced society – in our American I want it right now mentality we have so many walking away from the church because it just doesn’t work for them…it doesn’t compute…why would he say he’s coming back and then wait over 2000 years and counting…unfortunately the only one that has the answer to that question doesn’t owe us an answer…and as in all things – GOD’s time is not our time…and HE will send Jesus back in HIS TIME.
The next idea that we can pull from this text is that
- Heaven is an actual place. (Rev. 21 & 22)
- “…that you also may be where I am.”
We often wonder what that place will be like, and we will spend a great deal of time talking about what heaven looks like as we progress through this series but let’s break it down to the simplest of concepts for today…In some places in scripture, heaven is compared to Eden, God’s first place for man that he spent 7 days, using all of His creativity, all of his power, focusing on every minute detail and Eden was a place of perfection, before man’s falling to sin.
Imagine what kind of place is going to be waiting for us, a place that Jesus has been working on for over 2000 years…focusing on details, using all of His creativity and unlimited power to create a place for us to come and be where he is!
Revelation chapters 21 and 22 give us John’s revelation from Christ of what heaven will look like…but keep in mind, it was imagery that was revealed in a vision, and imagery that John communicated with his limited understanding and knowledge of God, even in his apostleship he couldn’t really do it justice compared to it’s reality. It is going to be something that will redefine shock and awe. Again, we will get more into the biblical descriptions of heaven in the weeks to come…
- Our presence in heaven means we are present with Jesus. (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23)
- “…to take you to be with me…”
This is the greatest promise in the text by far…Jesus tells the disciples…and that promise flows through to us…that the place that he has prepared…is WITH HIM.
We get to be in the presence of Jesus Christ…we get to see him face to face…we get to talk to him, ask him questions, hear his voice…look into the eyes of the guy that died for us.
This text not enough to give you that confidence…consider what Paul wrote to the Corinthians and Philippians…
2 Corinthians 5:8
8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Paul got it that while living his life out was necessary to continue to spread the gospel…but his heart, his desire, his mind, his life was set on a one way path to heaven.
I think that is a key idea for us to understand today…our mindset needs to be like Paul’s…our hearts and minds should be focused on prize which is getting to be with Jesus. We shouldn’t cling so tightly to life and fight death tooth and nail. Not that any of us should be heading to Soller Baker to hang out and wait for Jesus to come and get us…but we should not grieve leaving this world and heading to the next…because it will far exceed anything we can even think of or imagine. And we will get to be with Jesus.
Here’s our main point for today…
Main Point: We need not fear or fret, anything that Jesus is preparing for us has to be indescribably amazing compared to this world!
If we truly know Jesus – if he is our lord and savior – if we trust in the truth that he is the son of God who was sent as a sacrifice for the redemption of humanity and redemption of the world…then we have no reason to worry…we have no reason to wonder…we have no reason to doubt that Heaven is going to be everything we know about it from God’s Word – and much, much more.
What God doesn’t want us to do is speculate…guess…make things up…and he especially doesn’t want us to have anxiety or worry about what is to come. HE has promised that it will be a place of peace… a place of tranquility… a place with no more tears…a place – a real physical place – where we will be with Jesus…we will be with God. Not only will be in His Kingdom but there will be a special place created there just for us as well.
With that place assured by our faith in the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus we have nothing to fear…nothing to worry about – IT should free us to rejoice…and desire nothing more…than to live every day we have to prepare for and tell others about the Kingdom of Heaven!