Sojourners Of A Living Hope

NOTE: This is my intro for the sermon I will be preaching this morning at Christ Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN. While it seems that the sermon intro is sad, it leads into the reality that the believer has a living hope in Christ. That hope is a greater reality than the reality we experience on this side of glory.

One of our great desires we all have in our lives is to have a place we call home. We all long for it. We want some place we know. We want a place that is familiar to us. We want to know it is always going to be there. We want to know that it will have some changes to it, but not too much.

We long for the familiarity of the place, but also for the people who inhabit the place, for it is really the people who make the place special. We long to sit with them around the fireplace and talk about life. We long to sit at the dinner table and enjoy our favorite meals. We long to celebrate Thanksgiving in our homes, with those closest to us. We long for Christmas morning and the joys of children. We long to see them grow under us. We long…

We long to just relax and know that we are loved by those there and no matter what trials we may face, we long to know we are loved and that those we love will be with us through those trials. We … long…

This is how God made us. He made us so that we desire fellowship and companionship. In His goodness and by His grace, He gives us glimpses of true fellowship, true companionship, and a true home on this side of glory.

But I must say, these pictures are just glimpses… and no matter how many pictures we take, how many videos we shoot trying to capture those ever so precious moments, trying to capture home, trying to hold on to it, we cannot.

I’ve learned this on several levels in my life. The first lesson I had in this area is that of an actual home. No matter how much I’ve longed to stay in one place, God has never allowed me to do so. Several years ago, I took a history of my life and realized that I have never lived in the same home for more than five years, and that has only happened once. The second longest time spent in the same house was for four years. Every other home that I have lived in, whether it was an apartment or a house, I didn’t stay longer than three years. This may be one of the reasons I hate to move so much.

The other way that I have learned that you cannot hold onto the moments or the feeling of home is that no matter how many pictures you take, you cannot hold on to the people. You cannot hold on to them because, in a sense, just as it is with us, they are passing away. Babies become toddlers, toddlers become little boys, little boys become big boys, who become young men, who finally fly the coop and become their own men and start their own families. Brothers and sisters go in their own directions. You get to see one another from time to time, for the occasional wedding, to the occasional funeral. The favorite aunts and uncles pass away. Then a parent dies, then another. Before long, you find that you are becoming the patriarch/matriarch of the family. Your cousins begin to die, a sibling here, one there… and still, you long for the feelings you had when you were younger, when your family, was still a family. But no matter how much you long, it’s not there… the family is broken… the home is broken… the world is broken… and you realize you are nothing more than a sojourner in this life… and death is our final destination.

This… would be very sad if we didn’t have the following words: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

It is the words of Peter that we find out the purpose for our longing. We are not given theses longings and desires for no reason. God has given them to us so that we do yearn for something better, but the better we actually yearn for comes in glory for those in Christ Jesus. The longing is never to be satisfied on this side of glory. We will have moments of satisfaction, but they are only moments and will pass away.

The future hope we have, as sojourners of the Dispersion is future fellowship, the future home, that will never, never, never, no never pass away…

This is why Peter starts his letter the way he does. He wants to remind us that we are pilgrims, or sojourners who have a future and glorious hope. We are those who are on a journey, called for something greater than this life. But… we… have to get through this life… so he writes the letter… as is usually the case, to remind us of who we are and what we will face…

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