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Longing for Home

Mark Finley
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Sin is all around us and it tears us down. We are not left without hope though. Some day soon Jesus will come back and take the righteous all home. To Heaven. There the saved will forever be with God and He will wipe away all their tears. Do you long for a better place? Listen as Pastor Mark Finley shares this new sermon that will encourage your heart and fill you with hope for something better than this world of sorrow and sin.

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Mark Finley

Assistant to President for Evangelism at the General Conference

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  • November 29, 2019
    12:00 PM
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The title my messages longing for home let's pray Father in heaven as we open your book the swarming and share Divine truths from your word speak to our hearts encourage our spirits and they we sense today that in the good times in the bad times when we stand on the mountain peaks and saying and we walk through the valleys when the sun shines or the rainfalls when it's fair weather or stormy weather in our hearts saying that God is good lead us to a deeper trust in you today and give us a longing for eternity in Christ's name amen there is one thing that lifts the human spirit and keeps us going in spite of the challenges that we face it's called Hope you see hope is that intangible quality that looks beyond life's challenges for a better tomorrow hopefully lead sus to live purposeful lives today because we know that a better days coming. Hope intice a pates the best in life even when we're facing the worst in life it looks beyond today to what will be tomorrow you see hopes keep spewing trusting in dissipating aches and expecting that out of today's darkness Tamar's lights going to shine more beautifully the Roman statesman Pliny once said this he said Hope is the pillar that holds up the world he was right you see without hope society is on a collision course to disaster without hope the foundations of our very lives collapse without hope our lives are spent in silent despair now someone defined Christian hope this way they said Christian hope is the expectation fueled by faith that somewhere beyond tomorrow there is a brand new world the Apostle Paul speaks of hope greatly throughout the book of Romans that Corinthians in Titus Paul talks about the blessid hope the 2nd coming of Christ that brings an end to the sickness and suffering and sorrow in our world see hope realizes that this world is not the end that there is something better for us deep within our hearts we know we were created for something better than sickness or suffering or heartache or death see deep within every heart there is this longing for a home this longing for eternity this longing for the better future now this longing for a home is revealed throughout Israel's journey in Babylonian captivity if you look at the longing of Israel when they're in captive to Babylon there is this longing for Jerusalem this longing for home the story of ancient Israel is not merely the story of a the history of a people. In captivity in fact in 1st Corinthians Chapter 10 verse 11 in 12 we're told and I invite you to take your Bibles in turn to 1st Corinthians Chapter 10 and particularly verse 11 so when we study the history of ancient Israel and look at the Babylonian captivity the history of Israel is not merely an ancient history the history of Israel is rather an object lesson for what God's people will go through in the Babylonian captivity of this world just before the coming of Jesus so the lessons of the past cast light on the present lesson these ancient lessons speak to us with meaning and purpose in our lives today 1st Corinthians Chapter 10 verse 11 Can you read the text with me please 1st Corinthians Chapter 10 verse 11 reading either from your bible or if you know of the Bible from the screen now all these things happen to them as examples and they are written for our admonition on whom the ends of the ages of come what's admonition mean what's another word for admonition are learning or instruction so everything that happened to enchant Israel in the Babylonian captivity happened as instruction for you for me let's go back and reconsider this Babylonian captivity and this morning when you look at one Psalm from that captivity in study every verse of that psalm and see its meaning and purpose to our lives today so let's go back and get a little history of the Babylonian captivity and never can answer attack Jerusalem 3 times the 1st time he attacked was in 605 b.c. he brought Daniel in 15000. In other captives back to Babylon 2nd time he attacked was in 597 he returned and attacked again now each attack became more fierce because the Jewish Patriots resisted Nebuchadnezzar is attacks and did not yield to submission had they yielded his attacks would not have been so furious in 586 never can answer attacked again but this time he ravaged Jerusalem he destroys the city Babylonian troops breach the walls they loot they loot Jerusalem's treasures they score Jerusalem's buildings they slaughter young and old alike many are killed by the sword spear or arrow but young children are taken and their hands are dashed against the rocks and they're totally destroyed Now the reason enemy armies destroyed the children was this for 2 reasons one to prevent these children from growing up so that they would have revenge upon the attacking armies but 2nd to terrorize their families and bring absolute terror on these families when they saw their children's heads smashed against the rocks to bring terror to terrorize them into submission now the Babylonian soldiers shackled many of the teenagers they look for teenagers particularly that they could educate in the ways of Babyland and bring them back in captivity and they look for the intelligentsia they wanted to school the intelligent young Jews so they could be sent back as puppet rulers back to Jerusalem now understanding this background we turn to Psalm 137 that is the basis of our study the small orning the psalmist in one 3rd in someone 37 is in captivity now most of the Psalms are written by David about a 1000 years before. Rights but some of the Psalms are not written by David they are written by other Jews this Psalm was written someplace between 597 b.c. and 570 someplace in that 20 year period it is written by a Jew who has been taken into exile and is there in exile in Babylon with that background we turn to some 12137 the Psalmist remembers the glory of Jerusalem he is in captivity in Babylon he remembers the destruction of the ancient city the particular dominance of the enemy armies he no longer belongs to a nation he no longer has a capital city he no longer has any Center for Jewish life Jerusalem the kingdom is broken up the city's desolated the temple lay in ruins the nation is scattered the people are virtual slaves to their taskmasters we can almost hear the weeping we can almost hear the deep groans in some 137 we can almost hear the heartfelt longing of this Jewish Psalmist for whom we begin some 137 we take this sum in. 3 or 4 verse segments and we look at every section of the sum as we study it's 9 versus Now remember the story of ancient Israel is your story it's my story remember the things that are written to ancient Israel are examples upon whom the ends of the world will come someone $37.00 verse one by the rivers a babbling now you remember Babylon is a lush posh city has 13 temples to the pagan gods the reverse of Babel and worked the Euphrates in the Tigris So here out by himself out by a natural spot out there in nature with the clear crystal rivers flowing by listening to the bird songs he's at a place of meditation there are times in our lives when we go through deep sorrow times in our lives we go through disappointment times in our lives we go through challenges we need to get away from it all out in some nature natural scene to regroup to bring our thoughts back together to have that opportunity to meditate and pray verse one some $137.00 by the rivers of Babylon there we sat down and yea we wept when we remembered Zion we hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it for there are those who carried us away it captive required of us a song those who plundered us required of us mirth saying sing one of the songs of Zion. Now there are key words there that we need to look at and study the 1st key word is Zion in the Old Testament Zion was used to denote Jerusalem it was used to denote God's people Zion was home Zion represented Jewish culture Jewish customs Jewish faith Zion represented family and friends and loved ones Zion represented all the positive memories of their youth but Zion was much more in the Jewish mind Zion was the epi center of Jerusalem Zion was the dwelling place of God Zion was the place of safety Zion was the place of refuge Zion was the place of security into these captive Jews and represented the very presence of God Now in the New Testament Zion is sometimes used to represent the church it sometimes used to represent the heavenly city Hebrew keep keep a marker in some 37137 we're going back to it Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 22 Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 22 in the New Testament we have the description of Zion and notice what it says in Hebrews 12 verse 22 and once again we're looking at that great chapter in Hebrews Chapter 12 that follows Hebrews chapter 11 the story of faith and Hebrews Chapter 12 verse $22.00 it says but you have come to Mount Zion the city of the living God the heavenly Jerusalem too in a numerous company of angels Now notice the parallel a captive Jew is filled with grief and sorrow. He goes out by himself by the rivers in Babylon and he begins to think about Zion it begins to think about o. he knows that Babylon is not his home he knows that that he is of pilgrim a foreigner in another land he sits there by the rivers of Zion of Babylon any weeps for old he weeps for that better day he weaves for that day when captivity will be over he weeps for that day when persecution will be no more he weeps for that day that the oppressors hand will be over and here in Hebrew Shepherd 12 it says that we too as Christians are pilgrims in a father in a foreign land we have to live in the Babylon of this world we too long for a home and we recognize that this world is not our own back to some 137 the Psalmist groans are the groans of the human heart they are the cries of all humanity they reveal the longing of the human spirit for a home for a better world when calamities strikes unexpectedly we cry out Lord this world is not my home when chronic disease suddenly saps our energies cripples our bodies and reduces us to feebleness we cry out Lord this world is not our home when war famine natural disasters are plastered across our t.v. screens and computer monitors we cry out ward this world is not my home the cry of the psalmist in someone 37 is the cry of the human heart it's the cry of the human spirit it is the cry for a home it's the cry for suffering and sorrow and heartache to be gone forever back to someone $37.00 we look there at verse to some $137.00 we look there adverse to verse one by the rivers of Babel and there we sat down yea we wept. When we remembered Zion we remembered our homeland we hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it for those who carried us away captive noticed the next word required they forced us to seeing those who plundered us required they forced us mirth saying sing us one of the songs of Zion we would not sing we place star harps upon the willows with broken hearts filled with Greek longing for home they could not play the songs of Zion or sing of their rich heritage in the enemy's land you see in some 137 we hear Israel's weeping for their homeland they wept in their captivity in a strange land they wept over the destruction of their beloved city they wept over the death of their loved ones they wept in disbelief Now look we toured an enemy's land sorrow pierces our hearts like a sword a loved one stricken with a dreaded disease with apparently no cure the loss of a job creates final of financial adversity and we never expected unjust criticism separates us from friends relationships or broken a family member dies suddenly now someone 37 provides for us 3 fight eleven's lessons for captives in a foreign land no Here's Lesson number one the Jews did not yield to the pressures of the culture around them they believe despite of the circumstances they would not give up they faced the challenges they did not seeing it. When the Babylonians required them to sing you see their captives wanted to be amused they wanted to make a mockery of these Jewish captives by forcing them to sing the songs of Jerusalem in the shadow of Bel Margaret's temple you see bad a bell Marduk was the was the chief god and so the songs of Zion were songs of triumph the songs of Psion were songs of victory the songs of Zion were songs of the prominence of the Jewish people so you see what the Babylonians are doing there saying in the shadow of Delmarva extempore in the midst of the splendor of this capital city you are our captives but sing the so and sing about the prominence of Israel oh see these Jews would not be squeezed into the culture of Babylon the sorrow and shame of their exile had smitten their hearts too terribly to be stifled with the power of song they didn't conform they were not pressured into singing the songs of Zion for the entertainment of their captives they hung their harps on the willow trees they refused to sing to amuse their captives captors they stood for there are times that God calls us to stand firm in the midst of the world's temptations there are times God calls us to stand firm and refuse the world's alert mince there are times that God calls us to unflinchingly stand for the right in the face of the intense pressure to conform there are times God calls us. To stand strong in the face of obstacles and difficulties and challenges and pressures echoing and react going down the centuries comes the determination of the Jewish captives not to give up when the valley is deep and the night is dark and the mountain is. The some 137 calls us to courage it calls us to long for the homeland this past week I spoke at a Pastors Convention in Chattanooga Tennessee with about 200 pastors and one of the pastors came to me the 1st after my 1st prison Taishan he said Pastor Mark I want to meet with you tomorrow because I have a book that I want to give you and he said it's an amazing book you're going to want to get this book well the next day when we met he explained that he had been a missionary in Pappu in New Guinea and that he had worked far up in the jungles in popular New Guinea and he said one day he got word that 5 hours into the jungle by canoe there was a valid teacher that was teaching the Word of God and he was teaching from a little book and he had taught his entire village from that little book and so this pastor friend said to me he said I was able to get a motorized canoe so it only took me 2 day and I went up through the treacherous jungle jungles and went up into this little village and he said when this man came to me its name was Mama Apollo and when mama Kampala came to me Pastor he came with this book and his Here ends were trembling as he came with this book. Pastored you recognize this book and I looked at the book studying together Mark Finley a book with hundreds and hundreds of Bible texts and I thought to myself Where did this primitive native waif up in the jungles ever get a copy of this book we don't know but he came with this book his hands were trembling and he said Pastor I've got a copy of this book it is so precious to me with the hundreds of Bible texts that I copied it chapter by chapter. Page by page verse by verse text by text I tacked copied it by hand but I thought if I lose my hand copy I better copy it again and if I lose that one I better copy it again and if I lose that when I better copy it again Pastor I copied this book 4 times 4 times the book is so precious to me that I've never seen anything like it each day I teach my people from this book and although the opposition is fierce I will never give up the truths I've discovered here our missionary said look I'm going to the United States I may meet pastor Finlay I have a brand new copy of that book in my library if I come back in a month or 2 and bring you a brand new copy will you trade me your old copy for that brand new coffee and the Moloch a palace and I will trade you I love a new company so few months later visionary goes back trades out these copies. Mala has been mocked Malva has been ridiculed Moloch has been threatened but he clings to his faith for one reason he's walking for home is longing for home he knows that the jungle life with its sickness and disease and poverty and tribal warfare an indiscriminate killing will not last forever by faith he looks beyond what is to what will be home beckons eternity calls heaven appeals he wouldn't allow the ancestor worship being pig eating evil dominated culture to quench his love for the Word of God or keep him from standing firm for his beliefs he had heard the call of Zion and he could not be moved eternity had beckoned and he could not be swayed New Jerusalem was opened and its gates were open wide and by faith this primitive jungle native saw himself walking through the gates of heaven he had heard the call of Zion and he could not be moved he would not flinch Lesson number one the Israeli captives couldn't be pressured they wouldn't give up their faith and they would healed in spite of obstacles these captives knew that this world was not their home between here and eternity between here any turn it to you and I are going to face obstacles. Between here in eternity you and I are going to face difficulties between here in eternity you and I are going to face challenges but Zion calls Zion calls home calls this world is not our home but there is a 2nd vital lesson in some 137 take your Bible please go back to some 1373 great lessons Lesson number one Israeli captives would not be pressured to yield to the customs of this world because they had seen another world someone 37 verses 4 to 6 someone 37 1st 46 there being pressured by the Babylonians to adapt to to mock their homeland being pressured to sing the songs of Zion not out of worship but out but out to ridicule that Babylon was stronger than Zion verse for someone 37 how shall we seeing the Lord's song in a foreign land if I forget you oh Jerusalem let my right hand forget her skill this is an absolutely critical verse in captivity in bondage they cry out if I forget you oh Jerusalem another words were in bondage were in captivity but keep my mind focused on Jerusalem the very day Welling place of God in all our heartaches and difficulties if I forget you oh Jerusalem let my right hand forget or skill if I do not remember you let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy. Although they were captives in a hostile Kingdom they'd never lost sight of their identity they recognize they were strangers in the land of Babylon and kept Jerusalem on their mind Jerusalem was their chief joy it dominated their thinking it consumed their thoughts it controlled their actions they were strangers in a foreign land they were exiled in Babylon they were captives to a hostile power but their hearts and minds were far away one of the greatest dangers for the 21st century church one of the greatest dangers for a people living on the knife edge of eternity one of the greatest dangers facing Christianity Today in general and Adventists in particular is that the culture squeezes us into its mold that we become a den to find with the culture there our hearts and minds no longer long for eternity that we're no longer shaped by what will be but we're conditioned by what is there in captivity to Babilon their hearts and minds were focused upon heaven they were focused on eternity they sense that they were pilgrims in the foreign land we too are strangers in a foreign land it's easy to be drawn into the culture around us to lose sight of who we are it's easy to lose our focus it's easy to be shaped by our culture rather than shaping our culture it's easy to become absorbed with worldly pleasures and consumed with earthly thoughts. It's easy to forget that this world is not her whole I love the world or the words of the songwriter who wrote that wonderful song this world is not my home I'm just passing through my treasures are laid up somewhere what the on the blue the angels beckon the do you hear the call the Angels from heavens open door and I can't feel it Oh this old world what is it could anymore oh lord you know I have no friend like you if Heaven's not my home lord what will I do the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door and I can't feel at home in this world anymore the New Testament is filled with the teaching that you and I are walking through a pilgrim's land and this world is not our home Hebrews the 11th chapter the 13th verse speaking about the word these of things if speaking about those who have been thankful to God in this world those who suffered the sword suffered torture ridicule mockery death those that died without ever seeing the promise of eternity Hebrews 11 verse 13 What keeps you going What fuels your faith what puts a spring in your step would puts a sparkle in your eye what gives you the new joy in the light of the world that we live in Hebrews 11 verse 13. These all died in thing if not having received the promises but having seen them a far off were assured of them these all died in thing with not seeing the promises so the Old Testament worthies the New Testament believe hers did not see the realization of their hope but they were assured of the fulfillment of God's promises they embrace them they confess that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth when sickness of flicks your body when there are financial reverses that are beyond your control when the devil attacks your marriages when the family problems become greater when discouragement sweeps over you like a shadow grasp the reality that you are a pilgrim and you're a stranger grasp the reality that we are walking through this world for a short period of time but eternity beckons a piece no notice what is a pilgrim How do you define a pilgrim I love what 1st Peter says look over here at 1st Peter chapter 2 you and I are pilgrims this world is not our home Babilon was not the whole of those early Jewish captives and what was written to them is written for us as examples in this world of Babilon with sin and we could miss all around us with the Babylonian culture trying to squeeze us into its mold. For we are pilgrims and strangers 1st Peter chapter 2 verse 11 and 12 1st Peter 2 verse 1112 Beloved I beg you Peter is is urging that 1st Peter 211 and 12 Beloved I beg you as Sojourners and pilgrims of strain from fleshly loss which war against the soul have in your conduct honorable among the Gentiles that when they speak again she was evil doers they may buy your good works which they observe Gorf I got in the day a visitation so Peter is saying here. Don't allow the the culture of this world to shape your thinking daily focus your mind on eternity daily focus your mind on the New Jerusalem daily have a vision of the gates of heaven that swing open and Jesus there with arms wide open saying Welcome home my child now notice both Hebrews and Peter use this expression that we're pilgrims foreigners and strangers What's a pilgrim a pilgrim is one who is on a journey of faith believing there's something better on the horizon I think about the pilgrims that left Europe they left the old world that they sailed here to a new world what what reason did they do that you know 120 started out as they started out in those rickety old ships one of the ships was not certainly sea worthy and about 18 of those pilgrims left and went back to Holland where they left from 102 of those pilgrims continued Why did they do that why did they experience starvation in sickness in the 1st year here in America of those 100 pills into pilgrims half of them died have to hide there were 30 women 18 of those women of childbearing age died why is it that these pilgrims who came to America would face privation face starvation face colds suffering why did they do that because they wanted a new home and they wanted a new home they wanted a homeland that was free from oppression a home when that was free from tyranny a homeland that was free from the. Trials that they experienced in Europe they longed for a new homeland where freedom reigned they could worship God in the harmony with their own conscience they longed to be free from the oppresses of the old world they yearn for a homeland whereby they could be a peace like these early Pilgrims and like pilgrims down through the century those pilgrims in the Old Testament like those Babylonian captives like those pilgrims in the New Testament like those early Pilgrims that came to America we walked through a world that's not our home we walked through a land we were foreigners and we sense that we're strangers in this culture but we know there were homeward bound there was a husband and wife living in the late 19th century that became extremely discouraged the things of this world were strangling them in a divinely in the light and writer in the 19th century wrote a letter to them that you can read that letter today it's found in some books called the testimonies to the church the 9th volume ages 285288 I want to read you the divinely inspired words of encouragement to this couple going through a variety of challenges in their life. She writes. My brother my sister we are homeward bound and you say man where our home would bear out he who followed who loved us so much as to die for us as build us a city the New Jerusalem is our place of rest they'll be no sadness in the City of God No wail of sorrow no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections will ever be heard soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for our wedding garment soon we shall witness the carnation of our king those whose lives have been hidden with Christ those who on earth have fought the good fight have think it will shine forth with the Redeemers Corey in the kingdom of God Look up look up and let your faith continually increase let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the City of God into the great beyond the wide unbounded future of glory it will not be long till we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered what if you are that couple going through discarded you receive this letter you hold it in trembling hands you look at your wife and you say honey look look where homeward bound last sentence and in his presence all the trials in sufferings of this life will be as nothingness whatever trial you're going through today whatever difficulty you're going through today whatever challenge are going through today let your faith grass be Turnitin because in his presence all the trials of this life will appear as what nothingness in the face of the overwhelming challenges of our lives like the years or lights of old we remember Jerusalem we remember our homeland we long for eternity where problems of life will be over we long for the day that we will meet Jesus face to face now here is the 3rd vital lesson in the story. 3rd vital lesson in the story is this they clung to the prophetic word they believed a better day was coming they carefully studied the Old Testament schools it was the prophetic word of the Old Testament that spoke of the destruction of Babylon that spoke that their 70 year captivity would be over they did not see evidence of that but what they had was the Word of God and they Kong to that word in spite of that evidence some 137 verse 7 to 9 No someone 37 verse 7 to 9 has one of the toughest verses in the entire Bible if you don't understand it we're going to take a look at that verse but I need to get to it so someone 37 verse 7 to 9 verse 7 remember a Lord against the sons of Egypt when Babylon attacked Jerusalem the eat a mite's also came in and took advantage of that attack and continued to destroy the city remember award the sons of deed of the day of Jerusalem who said raise it raise it now that's not our a I s e z build it up it is rays are a z. which means destroy it to its foundations in other words a level the city level the city so the Babylonians destroy it and the eat of mites are crying out they're crying out destroy it to its very foundation verse 70 daughter of Babylon who are to be destroyed. When the Psalmist is captive in Babylon and he sees the splendor and glory of Babylon all around him how in the world could he say Jerusalem is in ruins How could he say oh Babilon you're going to be destroyed it was faith not in what he saw but in the prophetic word of God Now the next 2 verses are quite had quite difficult if you don't know the background in these verses one of them are used by atheists to try to disprove God's love but I want to explain it to you we're going to look at the last part of Verse 8 no verse 9 I'll tackle verse 9 and then I will explain the rest of the those 3 verses verse 80 daughter of babbling or to be destroyed happy Shelby who repays you as you have served us happy shall he be who takes in dashes your little ones on the rocks Now that's a tough text for many people happy will be the one who takes your little ones and crushes their head makes them bloody upon the rocks you see 1st thing to notice is this this is not God speaking it's an Israeli Jew who has seen Jerusalem to step a stated in his and the loved ones including little children destroyed so that's number one it's not God speaking Number 2 the books of kings Isaiah and Hosea all speak about the murder of innocent children that was customary in ancient warfare and every single one of them say that it's one of the most cruelest of poor and practices and that God hates it so you know already that this is not something indorsed by God Now secondly what is this passage then talking about. The Psalmist is simply saying this in view of the fact that such horrible murders were conducted by the Babylonians against Israeli children the Psalmist is simply stating a law of life Evi as you have done it shall be done to you another words babbling you were happy when you came into Jerusalem and destroyed our children but what you have to recognize is in the prophetic word the enemies of righteousness the enemies are going to come and they are going to destroy your city as well and you are going to experience exactly what we experienced so what he is not saying that he is happy he is not saying that God is happy he is saying that the enemy will be happy when Babel and will be destroyed because of the fact that they are happy because that's the annihilation of their enemy so this is not God speaking this is not the sum is speaking this is the Psalmist recognizing that whatever we sow we shall reap that violence begets violence kindness begets kindness now the main point is this the killing of children in the ancient world represented the entire complete destruction of the nation and the Psalmist is saying Babylon you were happy when you destroyed Israel but your nation will be entirely destroyed now let's though go to the main spiritual point of some 137 What is the main spiritual point the main spiritual point is found in verse 80 daughter of Babylon who are to be destroyed again I raise the question there was no visible evidence of Babylon's destruction. Surrounded by Babylon splendor encircled by Babel and smite military might the Psalmist by faith believes the prophecies of God's word and he says oh Babylon you'd be destroyed why does it because when the Jews were in Babylonian captivity Jeremiah wrote them a letter and the son missed wrote read the letter that Jeremiah wrote he had no evidence of Deliverance except the letter and I want to read you would you like to read the letter that Jeremiah wrote would you like to read that letter that Jeremiah wrote here it is it's in the Bible we're going to go back to this letter I This Bible is an amazing book this Bible is an amazing book we can read a letter written by Jeremiah thousands of years ago to captives in Babylon that gave them courage Jeremiah the 29th chapter Jeremiah the 29th chapter we're going to look their 1st one into this is the letter. It's written about $595.00 b.c. the same time that this son is written so the the Psalmist reads the letter from Jeremiah in boys up in spirits it encourages us hope we're not going to be in Babylon zillion for half or we're not going to be in captivity forever we're not going be in bondage forever sometimes you've got to look beyond what you're I see sometimes you've got to look beyond what's around you sometimes and before the coming of Jesus every single one of us will have to cling by faith to the prophetic word and deny our senses deny what we see deny what we experience but we will cling by Faith here's Jeremiah's letter that the Psalmist writes Jeremiah $29.00 now these are the words of the letter they are the words of what everybody the letter who'd be righted to the prophet sent from Jerusalem so where was Jeremiah in Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive to the priests the prophets and all the people who never can answer and carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babel So Jeremiah 29 is the letter that was written to the captives in Babylon from the prophet Jeremiah he wrote it to the elders who read it to the people now what is the heart of that letter verse 10 and 11 you can read the whole letter the softer noon for Sabbath afternoon reading it's an amazing letter but here's the heart of it verses $10.11 for those says the Lord after 70 years are completed at Babylon I mean if I'm reading that as a Jewish captive What do I think I think I'm mediately this captivity is not going to be forever that this captivity will we're going to go back to our home away we can go in year after year decade after decade but home is on its way the prophet said so. To pilgrims walking through this world we still read the prophetic word we still believe that home is on its way for thus says the Lord after 70 years are completed at Babylon I will visit you and perform my good word to you and cause you to return to this place verse 11 God speaks to the captives in Babylon and God says to the captives in Babylon for I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord when you are going through difficulty when you're going through bondage it's not going to last forever homeland is beckoning Jerusalem is calling I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and give you a hope I am a Jew supposedly there by the rivers of Babylon and I look at the splendor Bellmawr Duke's Temple and there while I am there I really I take the letter of Jeremiah on that old scroll I begin reading it in my hand and as I read it I know the thoughts that I think toward you thoughts of good and not of evil to give you a future that's what God says to you this morning captives in a foreign land pilgrims on a journey to eternity and God says I know the thoughts that I think toward you thoughts of good not evil the prophetic word Boid their spirits the prophetic word fueled their hopes the prophetic word encourage there are it's the prophetic warn assured them of a better future the prophetic word was the guarantee that one day their suffering would be over. Just as the prophetic words spoke to those Israel lights of Babylon so God speaks to us in the prophetic word God speaks to us in the prophetic word he speaks to us that one day the longing of our hearts for eternity will be realized one day they'll be a land without sickness suffering heartache or death he speaks to us in the prophetic word take your Bibles please and turn to Revelation chapter 21 beyond what our eyes see beyond what our ears hear we are and what our hearts even experience a time when the sword pierce us our hearts we read the prophetic word and just like those Jewish captives the prophetic word gives us hope the prophetic word gives us courage the prophetic word boys up our spirit John says look with me John says vision with me John says see with me now I saw Revelation 211 to 4 now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the 1st heaven in the 1st earth had passed away there was no more sea then I John saw the holy city New Jerusalem the ancient Jewish captives in Babylon were looking to Old Jerusalem they wanted to see that city rebuilt but we are looking for a new city a New Jerusalem John saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down as a bride out of heaven from God prepared surprise to do it for her husband I heard a loud voice from heaven Behold the tabernacle of God is with men he showed well with them they shall be as people God himself shall be with them and be their God and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes there shall be no more death nor sorrow nor crying they'll be no more pain for the former things are passed away echoing in Riyadh going down the centuries there is a message of hope that speaks to this generation this world is not your home never become in thrall with its fleeting pleasures we are pilgrims and we're strangers here there is a better land come. Saying hallelujah the duelling of our hearts for something better is the god in planted desire for eternity nurture that desire seed that desire fanned the flames of that desire and by faith cling to the divine reality a better world is coming and Jesus Christ soon will return we are pilgrims we're strangers he was only 27 years old and died of tuberculosis is dreams were crushed when James was in his teens his dad wanted him to be a printer so we were in the printing profession did so well at it that he then tried his hand at sales never could really figure out what he wanted but when he was in his mid twenties and fairly successful in business James felt the call to going to ministry that call is a deep convicting call that does not shake you felt that cold winter ministry left the printing business could no longer go back to printing secular employment could no longer go back to his merchants way of life and selling there was a deeper call a larger call 25 years old went back to the seminary studied theology had his 1st pastorate when he was 27 years old his pastorate lasted 6 months because he got to Berkeley losses and when he had tuberculosis he sensed that the end was near. He wrote the song that's in our hymnals him Number 445 and I want to read the verses of that song with you Joe would you have me him please I just want to read the verses for 45 this song was written by a young man in his late twenty's who knew that is a life was soon to be over a young man who had been called to ministry verse one I am but a stranger here now imagine he's lying on his bed coughing his fever is high his strength is ebbing away his life is almost gone I'm but a stranger here Heaven is my home Earth is a deserter or Heaven is my home danger and sorrow stand round me on every hand Heaven is my father's land Heaven is my home what through the tempest rages Heaven is my home short 28 years old short is my pilgrimage Heaven is my home time's cold in wintry blast soon will be over past I shall reach whole Middle East Heaven is my home there at my savior side Heaven is my own eyes shall be glorified Heaven is my home they'll be the good in the Blessed are those I have loved most and best there too I shall rest Heaven is my home whatever you are going through this morning whatever temptations you face this week however your friends as a young person try to are you in the temptations of this world however sickness grips your body. However your body shakes with fever or is seized by pay however the sort of sorrow pierces your heart however financial reverses cause you to be poverty stricken however critical tongues wagging and destroy your reputation however we're e you feel let your heart rejoice because Heaven is our home and May the joy of heaven and the glory of heaven fill your heart but a new spring in your step and a smile on your face sparkle in your eyes as you would die. Strangers. This media was brought to you by audio for years a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about how do you know if you would like to listen to your sermon leave to visit w w w. Or.

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