A new year brings excitement and anticipation, but it can also cause us to worry or wonder about what the future holds for us. As believers, we can feel anxious about the immediate future, just as unbelievers do. While we can’t predict what lies ahead of us in 2016, we can be sure of who is in control of our future. God is in control, and through His Son, Jesus Christ, death and the sin of this world already stand defeated. It is crucial that we always bear in mind our ultimate destination, as we go through the many joys and trials of life on this earth.
The destination matters to the Christian, because we know that our ultimate destination is heaven. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, called the Christians at Philippi, citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). He wanted these early Christians to realize that they were first and foremost, citizens of an even greater land, a “city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Even though we live in this world, and are fully involved in this world, we are not of this world. Paul reminds us that the destination matters.
Jesus said, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:28, 33). This world will always be unkind to those who follow the way of the cross instead of the way of the world. The believer can trust in the promise that God is in control and we must always live out our life with the ultimate destination in mind.
Jesus speaks again of our ultimate destination in John 14:1-6: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Yes, the destination matters!
The destination always goes by the way of the Cross. God sent His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Our passage from the Gospel of John reminds us today that we can only gain eternal life through faith and a personal relationship with Christ. We are called to “deny ourselves and to take up our cross daily and follow Christ” (Luke 9:23).
Saint Augustine wrote: “We are but travelers on a journey, without as yet a permanent dwelling; we are on our way, but not yet in our native land; we are in a state of longing, but not yet of enjoyment. But let us continue on our way, so that we may ultimately arrive at our destination.” Yes, the destination matters!
The following is a link to my sermon from this past Sunday, “The Destination Matters.”