Are We There Yet? Backseat Conversations on the Way to Heaven
Are We There Yet?
Backseat Conversations on the Way to Heaven!
† IHS †
May the grace and peace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ be what sustains you on this journey, until we are before His throne.
Are We There Yet?
If you have ever been on a long journey with children, you will have heard words like this before, perhaps multiple times on one journey.
“Are we there yet?”
You might here the question every 5 or 10 minutes at some point in the journey. The person beside you might even utter those words a time or two.
That is the nature of a long journey, and we are on one.
For the one knowing the way, there is no question about how long the journey is. There signs are there, the progress is known. There is no panic, no question, there is jus the journey. He knows the road, the signs, and the distance…
Even though the questions are asked, over and over. Even those who ask the question from the back seat aren’t sure, He is.
In our journey on the way to heaven, there are a number of reasons we would ask the question. It might be because the journey is rough, because of the health issues we have, because of the struggles in life, because of anxieties over ebola, or taxes or just life in general.
In our gospel reading this morning, we heard the answer to whether we are there yet…
Whose picture and inscription is visible upon you?
Is it the image of an idol, or is it the image of God?
Can you say with Paul the apostle, “Imitate Me as I Imitate Christ?”
Do You Bear The Image of God?
Consider this, when you look in the mirror, do you see the image of God?
Do you find yourself doing things you would be sure Christ would do, the things that bring glory to God the Father?
Or do you continue to find yourself doing the things you know you shouldn’t be doing?
Do you find yourself looking at your day, regretting the times you acted sinfully, that you weren’t loving the people God has brought into your life? Do you trust in Him? Does it show in your life as clearly as the image of Caesar on a denarius, as clearly as Lincoln on a penny, or George Washington of a quarter?
Do people looking at you recognize God’s image?
How would your life look, if you did bear a resemblance to Jesus?
Or does the idea that you should be able to say to those on the journey to heaven, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” cause a moment of anxiety?
If Jesus asked those around you, “Whose image do you see imprinted on Albert/Tom/Chuck/Bob?” what would they say? Would they identify us with Jesus?
Would you be afraid to ask?
That is why the Pharisees were so amazed, this trap they hoped to catch Jesus in, required them to evaluate themselves.
But what about us, are we there yet?
Have we grown in our trust of God enough, that He is visible in our actions, in our words, in our thoughts? Or does something else rule over us? Do we love all people the way Jesus does, or do we hold back, because of resentment or fear?
Paul and the image of God
If we are going to evaluate our own lives by whether people see Christ, we need to remember the sermon in this series where Paul handed over the trash, all of the reasons that he used to think he could claim being righteous.
He once though he could justify himself by his family connections, or by how long he went to synagogue. He thought because he knew the Old Testament so thoroughly, and he followed God’s law as closely as anyone could.
Yet when he evaluated himself compared to Jesus, he saw all of those reasons he used to think himself good and righteous, as what was holding him back. They were trash.
In fact, in his letter to the church in Rome, he wrote,
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:18-20 (NLT)
As he evaluated himself, to see how close he was to being there, honestly, he couldn’t say he was.
He had to confess that he had no right to claiming he was close to his goal, the calling we have in Christ Jesus.
If looking in a mirror, you cannot see Jesus, it isn’t the end of the world. Because it isn’t the end of the journey.
It is why I announced to you this morning, that all of the trash in your life, God has removed, He’s forgiven.
As Paul says, for those in Christ, there is no condemnation,
This isn’t a justification for not acting like Christ, Paul said we shouldn’t sin all the more so that God would get more praise.
Rather, we should strive to follow God, and honestly repent when we fail.
So how do we know we are getting closer!
So, are you getting there? Are you bearing the image of God more today than yesterday? How can you tell? How about the people around you? Are they?
How can we encourage each other to live in ways that others see us, and know we are the Lord’s?
It all starts with trusting God, just like children trust their parents to get them where they are supposed to go! That when God promises this work is being done it is, and we simply rely on Him to give us the will and desire to do as He does. We trust and depend on Him, accepting the way He would have us go, the rules by which we live.
We spend more time with Him, just as kids would in the car with who is driving them!
That is the point, knowing Who we travel with, spending the time with God, listening and talking to Him. That results in the image of God becoming clearer and clear in our lives. It isn’t what we do that makes us faithful, it is found in knowing Him, and understanding what He will be faithful to do in us.
He forms us, He teaches us, Knowing He is taking us there, He is, as Hebrews says, the author and the one who perfects our faith. Who brings us home…. And until then, keeps us in the faith!