It is a great privilege and pleasure to be with everyone of you this morning. I thank John Nelson and his wife for inviting us to this celebration. He has come a long way. I remember the days when we lived together in Altoona back in 2007. He just arrived from India and was working hard, taking any job that came his way. His hard work paid off and by the grace of God, here he is owning a home. We congratulate him for achieving his dream.
When he asked me to speak this morning, I thought about a few things about the home. We use the words house and home interchangeably. A house is a building in which a person or a family lives. A home can refer either to a building or any location that a person thinks of as the place where he or she lives. You can make anything into a home. A tent can be your home. A boat can be your home. A cave can be your home.
There is an abstract sense to the home. A house is concrete while a home is abstract. A house can be temporary but a home is permanent. The word house carries a materialistic sense but a home carries a deep, emotional content.
We know from Indian movies, lots of movies focus on the drama that happens inside the homes. Lots of tearjerker movies revolve around home relationships. While the house is only a concrete, materialistic construction, the home is an abstract, emotional, relational and spiritual entity.
People love their homes. I have many patients suffering from a variety of diseases. Sometimes I advise them to go to the hospital. Mr. So and so, now you are too sick to stay in your home. You should be admitted to the hospital.’ They look at me and say, ‘No doctor, I don’t want to go to hospital. That very thought terrifies me.’
There are reasons for their fears. A man called up the hospital and said, “Hello, I am calling about the patient in room number 238. His name is Ram Lal. How is he doing?’
The nurse replied, “Ram Lal is doing very well. His blood sugar is under control. His blood pressure is coming down. We are preparing him for discharge in two days’.
The man said, ‘Thank God, that’s wonderful news. Thank you’
The nurse replied, ‘You are welcome. You must be a family member or a close friend’. The man said, ‘No, no. I am Ram Lal myself. No one tells me anything about my condition. Hence I called…”
That is the present situation in the hospitals. You will be taken to a room without windows. Hooked up to lots of machines making beeping sounds. Your family members are not allowed. Your friends are not allowed. No one talks to you and you feel like a robot.
No wonder people do not like going to hospitals.
Home is the most beloved place in our lives. Home and house…together they make two powerful metaphors in human language.
Throughout the Bible, they were used to convey powerful spiritual truths. Jesus Christ our Lord once said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’.
On June 16, 1858 Abraham Lincoln gave a famous titled House Divided. The United States was so polarized around the issue of slavery between the northern states and the southern states. Abraham Lincoln started his speech with the words, ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’. It was a powerful metaphor for a nation on the throes of a civil war.
In the parable of the wise and the foolish builders, Jesus talks about a house built upon the rock and a house built upon the sand. A good house must be built upon a good foundation. A good life must be built upon the teachings of Jesus.
‘My house will be a house of prayer’
‘I shall live in the house of the Lord forever’
Throughout the scriptures, house and home were used to teach us many important spiritual truths. I would like to share with you 7 homes from the Bible.
House of Solomon: A Place of Reliance
First of all, a home should be a place of reliance. We read in Hebrews 3:4, For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
God is the builder of everything. Sadly, many times we try to build things on our own. We say to ourselves, ‘I can build this myself’. ‘I can build this home myself, I don’t need God’. That is a recipe for disaster.
We read in Psalm 127:1, Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
If you build a house without God, all your labor is in vain. Jesus Christ our Lord taught the same truth in his parable of the wise and the foolish builders.
There are two builders. They built two homes. One house is built upon the rock and another on sand.
First, the house built upon the rock
After some time,
The rain came down,
the floods came,
the winds blew and beat on that house and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock.
What happened to the house built upon the sand?
After some time,
The rain came down,
the floods came,
the winds blew and beat on that house and it fell down.
The house built upon the rock and the house built upon the sand. Both were tested.
the rains came down,
the floods came and
and the winds blew on both houses. But only one house stood those trials. The house built upon the rock
The rock is God. The house built upon God stood those trials of time.
A home should be a place of reliance on God, the rock of all ages.
House of Joshua: A Place of Resolution
Next, home is a place of resolution.
In Joshua 24, we see Joshua saying, ‘You must choose who you serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24:15).
The people of Israel settled in Canaan. Joshua was their leader and commander-in-general. He made a resolution to serve the Lord. I and my house, we will serve the Lord. So many homes went away from God because of the worldly temptations. Yet, Joshua and his household remained faithful to the Lord.
Today we have unprecedented attacks on traditional homes. You are constantly tempted to follow worldly ideologies and cultural trends.
What does it mean to be human?
What is gender?
What is marriage?
What is sexuality?
What is family?
There is so much confusion and chaos in our society. There is no confusion if you follow God and His word.
Like Joshua, we should decide to build a home in which God is glorified and Christ is magnified. If you take a long view of life, we get to spend very few years with our children. Our culture and our society get most of their time. Yet, we should not give them away to the secular world. They need a foundation upon the Word of God. Their worldview should be based on the word of God. A house should be a place of resolution where we determine to follow God.
House of Abraham: A Place of Reflection
Next, our home is a place of reflection. We love our homes but they are still imperfect. Jessica was in hospital for her delivery. Sarah was born. Next day, she called me at work. The basement got flooded. Another time, I woke up and went down to find the basement flooded. We were on our phones calling for assistance.
Our imperfect homes remind us that they are not eternal. We look forward to a different home.
St. Paul wrote,
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
Our bodies and our earthly homes are not permanent. We are looking forward to a home built by God.
Abraham looked forward to the city of God. We read in Hebrews chapter 11,
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:9-10
Abraham left everything behind and followed God. He left a stable home in his home country and wandered through a foreign country like a stranger. He lived in tents. That did not dishearten him because he was looking forward to a house, whose architect and builder is God.
Our homes might tempt us to settle down for the things of this world. I got a nice job, a nice car, a nice family, and a nice home. I don’t need anything else. I don’t have to worry about God, heaven and the afterlife. I am happy with what I got. That is not the right view of a godly home. Like Abraham, we should look forward to a home whose architect and builder is God himself.
In State College, we have a Russian church. The Russians build their churches with onion domes in golden color. Those onion domes remind them of their ancestors who lived in tents. The dome represents our earthly temporality, while the gold represents heavenly glory.
Our homes should reflect heaven. In heaven, God is glorified, Christ is magnified and praised. In the same way, in our homes, we should glorify God and praise Jesus.
House of Jesus Christ, our Lord: A Place of Relationships
Next, A house should be a place of relationships.
Too often people live in the same house but in different rooms not taking time to interact with others and cultivate fruitful relationships.
Lord Jesus said, In my Father’s house are many mansions (John 14:2). Heaven is my fathers house. Jesus was excited to go to heaven because it is his father’s house. It is defined by a loving relationship with his father.
A good home should have a continuous relationship with others and also with God.
Psalm 23:6, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Psalmist is celebrating his relationship with God. Good relationships will produce unity in a home. Jesus said,
Matthew 12:25, A House divided against itself will not stand.
Good relationships bring unity in a home and produce stable homes.
A husband and his wife were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. At the party, the husband said, ‘God blessed us with 11 children and 22 grandchildren’. Someone asked, ‘You stayed together for 50 years. What is the secret for staying together all that time?’. The wife said, ‘Many years ago we made a promise to each other…the first one to pack up and leave has to take all the kids!’
Imagine taking care of your kids by yourself. That is a good relationship with your spouse.
Prayer is another means to foster good relationships in a home. When we were little. My dad used to quote a saying, ‘Family that prays together stays together’
When I think about our home in India, different memories stream into my heart.
The times I spent with my father and mother, times I spent with my grandfather,
My uncles and aunts,
Cousins, nieces and nephews
Brothers and sisters
Friends and neighbors
Those times now became treasured memories of the past.
House of the Father of Prodigal Son: A Place of Restoration
Next, our home should be a place of restoration. Jesus Christ our Lord told the parable of the lost son. A man had two sons. The younger son demands his portion of his dad’s estate, goes to a distant country and squanders all his wealth on destructive habits. He spends all his money to the point of starvation. To feed himself he takes a lowly job of feeding the pigs. One day, when he was so hungry, he remembered his dad. He says to himself, ‘my father has so many servants. Even the lowliest servant in his house is better off than me. I will go back to my dad and ask him for forgiveness.
He goes back to his dad’s house. His dad sees him from a distance, runs towards him, hugs him and kisses him. They celebrated their reunion.
A home should be a place of restoration and reunion. We often hear the warnings, ‘Don’t you ever show me your face again’, ‘Don’t you ever come back to this house again’. That is not right. Our home should be a place of restoration.
House of Mary: A Place of Rest
Next, a house should be a place of rest. There are two sisters named Mary and Martha. One day, Jesus was traveling through their town. They invited Jesus to their house. So, Jesus spends that day with these two sisters.
Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. She has no worries, no distractions and no anxieties. Her soul is at rest. But Martha could not sit down. She has so many things on her plate. She is distracted and pulled in every direction. When she sees Mary sitting and talking to Jesus, she gets frustrated and irritated. She complains to Jesus, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Lord Jesus looks at her and says,
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke chapter 10:38-42)
Martha was worried and upset about so many things. But Mary left all worries and anxieties to enjoy the presence of Jesus.
Jesus is in their house. Both Mary and Martha have access to his presence. But only Mary decided to go and spend time with Jesus.
Jesus may be in our house. But too often we are like Martha. We are distracted by many things in life. We do not find time to sit at the feet of Jesus, to enjoy his fellowship, to give all our burdens to him and cherish the peace He alone can give to our hearts.
God wants our home to be places of rest. If we learn to sit at the feet of Lord Jesus, we can make our homes places of rest and tranquility.
House of Zacchaeus: A Place of Redemption
When the people of Israel were leaving Egypt, God instituted the festival of Passover to commemorate their liberation from the bondage. They should slaughter an innocent lamb and apply its blood on the doors of every house.
God told them,
(Exodus 12:13) The blood will be your sign on the houses where you live. Whenever I see the blood, I’ll pass over you. No plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
The blood will be a sign on every house. Every house must apply the blood. God wants to redeem every house.
One day Jesus was going through a town called Jericho. A huge crowd was following Jesus. There was a man named Zacchaeus. He was super excited to see Jesus. But the problem was he was a short man. The huge crowd around Jesus made it impossible for him to get a glimpse of Jesus. So, he climbs a fig tree to see Jesus. Then something surprising happens. Jesus walks to the tree, looks at Zacchaeus and says, ‘Zacchaeus, come down, today I would like to stay in your house’.
Zacchaeus joyfully receives Jesus into his home. Jesus says to him, ‘today salvation has come to this house’.
Today salvation has come to this house. Jesus wants to bring salvation to our houses.
St Paul and his friend were in the city of Philippi. They were thrown into prison for preaching the gospel. Then a powerful earthquake shakes up the foundations of the prison. The doors of the prison get thrown away. The prison official thinks all prisoners fled the prison. So, he takes a dagger to stab himself to death. The St.Paul says to him, don’t hurt yourself. We are all here. Trembling before them, the prison official asks them, ‘sir, what must I do to be saved’. St.Paul and his friend Silas reply, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus. Then you will be saved – you and your household.’ Acts 16:31
He is a God who wants to save you every house. So, a house should be a place of redemption.
May God bless your house and its inhabitants.