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Friday, February 26, 2016
"This World Is Not My Home"
Message Summary: "And I can't feel at home in this world anymore". Now for us anyway, that's not as true as it should be. Sometimes we work way too hard trying to feel at home in this world! Perhaps in honesty we should sing, "And I shouldn't feel at home in this world anymore."
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"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11).
I periodically mention my spiritually-themed necktie collection. I have over 20 neckties with either a Scripture verse or a thought-provoking spiritual message.
Last Sunday I wore a tie that had this simple message on it, "This World Is Not My Home". As is often the case someone will look more closely to see what it says and this last Lord's Day it was Eva who, along with her husband Jim, are older members of our congregation. Prior to their retirement Jim served as a pastor in several churches.
When Eva read the words on my tie she began quoting the chorus of an old-time gospel song:
This world is not my home I'm just a-passin' through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
How many of you remember singing this song? We haven't heard it sung in church in quite a while but enjoyed perusing the YouTube collection to find several suitable video versions to share today. It's certainly not considered a contemporary song although it has been written in the last 5% of church history. (That is, sometime early in the last century) We again make the point that "contemporary" is relative!
Although "This World Is Not My Home" is not a specific Scripture text the concept is quite Scriptural.
Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount that His followers were not to "lay up for themselves treasures on earth…but lay up for themselves treasures in heaven…" (Matthew 6:19-20). Warren Wiersbe offers some wise words on these verses: "We can become shackled by the material things of life, but we ought to be liberated and controlled by the Spirit of God. If the heart loves material things, and puts earthly gain above heavenly investments, then the result can only be a tragic loss. The treasures of earth may be used for God. But if we gather material things for ourselves, we will lose them; and we will lose our hearts with them. Instead of spiritual enrichment, we will experience impoverishment."
Jesus, in His high priestly prayer just prior to His sacrificial death, said to His Father concerning His disciples, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). It's heartening to note that He specifically proclaimed that this prayer was not just for His original disciples but for all who would follow Him, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone (original disciples), but for those also who believe in Me through their word" (which would include those of us who believe in 2016). See John 17:20. "The world" in this sense refers to this fallen age of human rebellion. As followers of Christ we are to exchange rebellion for obedience.
Finally today let us consider these words from the Apostle Peter. "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11). Aliens and strangers describe the mindset and reality of a Christian believer, also seen in the line of the song that states, "I'm just a-passin' through". We should live with an outlook of where our primary citizenship lies.
The last line in the chorus above states, "And I can't feel at home in this world anymore". Now for us anyway, that's not as true as it should be. Sometimes we work way too hard trying to feel at home in this world! Perhaps in honesty we should sing, "And I shouldn't feel at home in this world anymore."
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the longer we live the more we realize that treasures we store up here on earth grow old, get broken, need fixed, turn rusty and are often lost along the way. But when we gather treasures of the heart such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and many other such fruit, they are treasures that are most useful in our spiritual treasure chest here on earth. And their virtuous character transfers with us to the other side. Help us not to seek after treasures that expire but rather treasures that have lasting eternal value, for where our treasure is there our heart is also. We want to keep our focus upward so that our heart's longings are there as well. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"This World Is Not My Home" Video Charity Youth Bible School
"This World Is Not My Home" Video The Statler Brothers
"This World Is Not My Home" Video Homecoming Singers
"Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah" Video Indelible Grace
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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