Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
He Holds Me Forever Resources on sale now.
About this series
He Holds Me Forever
Do you ever wish that you could experience love and relationships at a deeper level? For most of us, giving and receiving love in a healthy, God-honoring, and others-centered way does not come easily or naturally. Theresa Ingram shares her journey through broken relationships and a painful past that drove her to discover the truth about love and relationships, and how that discovery has set her free to love others and herself.More from this series
What we are talking about today is a great big hug that lasts forever. We are going to talk about how God tells us that His love reaches all the way into eternity as He is preparing a special home for us, and that He wants us to be with Him forever. Some of us need to know that we are loved. We need to have someone put their arms around us.
And God wants to put His arms around us. He tells us that He wants to hug us forever. Heaven is a great big hug that lasts forever.
Well, Chip and I look forward to the times that we have all of our kids come home. And one of the most special times is when we are all seated at the table. I love those times when we are at the dinner table and everybody kind of has their spot and I cook a meal that everyone likes. And we begin to really enjoy that relationship and fellowship with one another. And we tell funny stories, we laugh a lot around our table.
And we talk about deep things. We share what God is teaching us in our lives. And I don’t think that there’s any time that makes Chip and I more happy than when we have all of our kids around our table.
And our heavenly Father, right now, is preparing a home for each of us and He is looking forward to the day when He will have all of His kids around His table. And we are going to be with Him.
And so, in John 14:1 through 3, we find that God is preparing a home for us. He is preparing a place for us right now. And it says, and if you have your notes open there, “Don’t be troubled. You trust in God, now trust in Me. There are many rooms in My Father’s home and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you so that you will always be with Me where I am.”
Now, Jesus was talking to His disciples here and it was going to be really soon when He would go to the cross. And He was preparing them for the day that He would be crucified. But they never really understood at that time what was going to happen. And Jesus was telling them, He was preparing them that He wouldn’t be with them in a short time, that He was going to go away.
And He told them that there would be one of them that would betray Him. And then He said to Peter that, “There will be a day when you will deny Me three times.” And so, I’m sure they feel like all Jesus is giving them is bad news. It just sounds like bad news. And life just doesn’t look very good for them right now.
But then Jesus turns the corner and He gives them a peek into the future. And He wants them to see that life in this world may be hard, and there are disappointments. But soon there will come a time when they will rejoice with Him and be with Him forever. And so, He exhorts them and He comforts them and He gives them a promise. And He says, “Don’t be troubled.” He says, “Don’t be cast down.” Don’t be discouraged. Don’t be confused. Don’t be anxious about your life. He said, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about the future. I have a good plan for you. And everything is under control.” How many of us need to hear that?
Don’t be troubled. Everything is under control. And He said, “You trust God, now trust Me.” He says, “Stand firm in your faith. Stand firm in your belief that God will see you through all these difficulties.” He said, “In this world you will have tribulation.” It’s a part of living in this world. But He says, “Be of good cheer. Take heart, because I have overcome the world.” He says, “Trust Me to take care of you.”
And then He goes on to say, “There are many rooms in My Father’s house.” God the Father has a home. He has a distinct dwelling place, a home. Now, we know that God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. But Jesus is also telling us here that God the Father dwells in a real place. And that place is called heaven. And in that place, there are plenty of rooms. There is plenty of space for every child.
And there’s a special place made just for you. He says, “And I’m going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you so that you will always be with Me where I am.”
Now, in the Bible times, families built their houses, their homes, around a courtyard. And it would be like a little community of just one family. And the father, of course, as the head of the family would be the one who would choose the wives for his sons. And so, the father would choose the wife and then the son would go and he had to pay a dowry or he had to pay a price to the bride’s family for her.
And after he would do that, then an engagement period would begin. Well, the bride stayed in her home with her family after that. And she would prepare herself and get everything ready that she needed to for the time that her groom would come and get her.
And then all this time, the groom is back at his father’s house. And do you know what he was doing? He was building his bride a house, in his father’s courtyard. He was building her a home with her in mind, thinking about: what would she like? How could I make this so that it would please her and be beautiful to her?
And then when it was ready, and when the father would say it was time, the son would go and get his bride and take her to her new home. And God calls us His chosen bride. We are His. And He is right now preparing a place for us in His Father’s house. A place just for us, and when God the Father says it’s time then Jesus will come and get us and He will take us to our home and we will always be with Him forever.
And so, God says, “Don’t be troubled. Don’t be troubled about what is happening in your life today.” In our world today, which seems to be in so much turmoil. He says, “Don’t be troubled.” You know, is there anything today, think about, is it troubling you today? Anything? Does life seem really hard, and the future, maybe look uncertain.
Some of you have never had a home. Some of you have never had a place that you could really call your home. And a place where you have a family, where you felt truly loved and wanted, where you felt accepted. And some of you have fears about the future. How are you going to pay your bills? And how will your children turn out when they grow up? Will I stay healthy or will I ever get well, for some of us. And we have questions and we have doubts and fears and trials and sufferings and hardships and all these things are part of living in this world. But God is good.
And I feel maybe a little bit like the disciples felt when Jesus was telling them all this bad news. You know, life doesn’t feel very good right now. And I don’t know what the future holds. But Jesus tells us, “Don’t be troubled.” He says, “Trust in Me. I have got your life in My hands, and I have a good plan for your future. You can count on it. You can count on it.”
You see, there’s more to this world than what you can see right now. And the reality is, this isn’t your home. This isn’t your true home. You’re just here for a short time. And He says: I have a home for you that is so wonderful and it’s beyond anything you could ever have in this world.” A home that is so beautiful, so secure, a home that is so happy. And that the sufferings of this world and what you go through in this life will dim in comparison to what I have stored up for you in the future.
Well, this is a wonderful promise that Jesus gives us. But as I was thinking about this, I thought, It would be nice to know just a little bit what my home looks like. My heavenly home.
And so, I thought I would read this passage and I’m going to read and just hear from God: what does our home look like? That future home that we have to look forward to?
And I think it’s hard for us to get excited about our heavenly home, about our real home when we have no idea what it looks like. We don’t know, What am I going to do there? What will I be like? What will it be like when I’m there?
And it seems so unreal sometimes that I think it’s hard to imagine what would life be like without problems. I don’t know! Will I get bored? Is heaven really singing all day? Playing harps and sitting on clouds? Well, if that is our perception of heaven, no wonder we are not excited about going there.
I’d like to read a little story that I read. I thought was really cute. It’s from a children’s book. It says, “If you were thinking you might get bored or tired after being in heaven for a while, don’t worry, try to imagine something with Me. Imagine you are a little bird who lives in a tiny cage made of rusty metal. And inside your cage, you have a food dish and a little mirror and a tiny perch to swing on. Then one day, some kind person takes your cage to a big, beautiful forest. The forest is splashed with sunlight, proud towering trees cover the hills and valleys as far as you can see. There are gushing waterfalls and bushes drooping with purple berries and fruit trees and carpets of wildflowers and a wide blue sky to fly in. And besides all these things, there are millions of other little birds hopping from one green limb to another and eating their fill and raising their little families and singing their hearts out all through the day. Now, little bird, can you imagine wanting to stay in your cage? Can you imagine saying, ‘Oh please don’t let me go. I will miss my cage! I will miss my little food dish with the seeds in it. I will miss my plastic mirror and my tiny little perch. And I might get bored in that big forest.’ That would be silly, wouldn’t it? And it’s just as silly to think we might run out of things to do in heaven.”
Well, in Revelation 21 and 22, we get a picture of what it looks like. And not completely. But enough for us to know somewhat what heaven is like and give us a hope and know that we will have a home where we will be cared for and loved and complete in every way. A home that we can be excited about going to.
The apostle John was taken into heaven and given a vision of what heaven looked like and I guess it would kind of be like him having a video camera and taking a picture for us and trying to describe to us just a little bit of what our home looks like. Now, not completely. But just a picture and he tries to describe it in the best way that he can. He tries to describe actually an indescribable place. But we get an idea of what it looks like to be in heaven.
And so, let’s start here with Revelation 21. “Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared, and the sea was also gone. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.”
Now, we know that the earth that we live on today is decaying. It’s broken, it’s the natural beauty that God created when He created the world, has been polluted by the sinfulness of man and the presence of evil. And what God made to be so beautiful and good, Satan and sinful man is destroying. But God says He is going to make a new heaven and a new earth.
And there’s going to be a new city, the new Jerusalem. It’s the capital city. And it’s where God’s throne will be. And he says it’s a most beautiful city and it’s carefully adorned, and it’s prepared by God, like a bride preparing for her husband.
Now, being a pastor’s wife, over the years, I have gotten to see the behind-the-scenes of many, many weddings. And I have watched so many brides get ready for their grooms. And I want you to know that I have never seen an ugly bride. I have just never seen one. And they go to such great lengths to adorn themselves from head to toe because they want to please their new husband and they are so excited.
And God says that He is not sparing any expense in this new city, because He wants it to be so beautiful for you, His bride, to come and be there and live with Him. A place that will be so pleasing to us. And this is a holy city, it’s a place where God will dwell among His people.
And it says also here that the sea is gone. We live on the coast and it’s hard to imagine that there would be no sea, that there would not be an ocean. And I’m not sure that that’s exactly what this means. There’s water there, I know that. But it says there will be no sea and it’s hard for us to imagine not having that because we enjoy it so much.
But as you think about the way this earth is made, and two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered with water. And do you know what that water does? It divides people. It divides nations and people from each other. And in heaven, there’s not going to be any separation. There won’t be separations between nations and people. There will be no language barrier, there will be no cultural barrier, there will be no disagreements. There’s no misunderstandings. There’s nothing to cause a separation between God’s people.
Going on here it says, “And I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, ‘Look! The home of God is now among His people. He will live with them, and they will be His people; God Himself will be with them.’” There will be no separation between us and God, because He will be dwelling with us in this place.
He will make His home with us. We don’t have to pray anymore to a Father who is unseen, because we will be in His presence. We will see Him face-to-face. God will, again, walk among His children as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But we will be in this new paradise that He is making, and we will have intimate fellowship with Him.
It says, “He will remove all their sorrows. And there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain, for the old world and its evils are gone forever.” He will wipe away every tear. There will be no more sadness. No more sadness. I have experienced a lot of sadness lately and one of the things that I am truly looking forward to in heaven is that we will never have to say goodbye again. Never again to those people who we know will be with us there – those who know the Lord.
So, think about, what is it that makes you sad? There are a lot of things that make us sad, But there will be no sickness there. There’s no cancer. There are no heart attacks. There is no MS. There is no Parkinson’s disease. There are no car accidents. There are no wheelchairs. There are no hospitals, because they are not needed.
And there is no pain caused by difficult relationships. There are no broken hearts. And there is no loneliness. There is no abuse. There are no addictions to overcome. And all the tragic things that we experience in this life will be gone. It says, “For the old world and its evils will be gone forever.”
It goes on to say, “And the One sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making all things new!’ And then He said to me, ‘Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.’ And He said: ‘It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God and they will be My children. But cowards who turn away from Me, and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshippers, and all liars – their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.’”
And what he’s saying here is, this is truth. I’m giving you the facts that all those who come to me for this living water will have life. It says, “I am the source of life.” And we have that life by placing our trust in Christ as our Savior.
And then He says, “I’ll give them all the blessings of heaven and I will dwell with them forever and have an intimate relationship with them.” But He says, “Those who practice a lifestyle of the unbelieving world, those who practice that kind of lifestyle, those who don’t believe, those who turn away from Me, who don’t trust in Me as their Savior,” He said, “I will not allow entrance into My new city, but they will be cast into the burning lake.”
And so, that’s a good reminder for us, because we have this love inside of us. We have so much to share, that we need to be letting that ooze out all over the place, because we don’t want anyone not to be there with us.