Address Six

April 3, 1941

Tonight I want to read with you from three portions of God’s Word. First of all from the Gospel of John, 14:23: “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” Now turn back to the opening verses of our chapter: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Our second portion is found in 2 Peter 1:10, 11: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Poor Peter, he knew how necessary this exhortation was, for he fell asleep when he should have been awake!

Our third portion is well-known. Turn with me to 1 Thess. 4:13-18: “But I would not have ye ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep…”

In John 14 we travel back up that road down which Judas had just passed as he left the presence of Christ. Jesus is alone with His eleven disciples. He knows the heaviness of their hearts, hearts made one through a common grief. With all their faults they loved Him. They were but men after all, and having companied with Him during the past three years it was grievous indeed to face the parting.

They did not understand the meaning of all this, so they plied Him with many questions. The Holy Spirit had not yet been given to lighten the way for them and to make plain God’s plans for them. They had but one thought in their minds, the kingdom. They had quarrelled with one another on the question. And now He tells them He is going away. It is all so confusing. They were travelling one way, and He another. They might have been concerned about Him. He was to be forsaken of God and left alone. Their minds, however, were on other things. What of the kingdom? In the midst of all this bewilderment come His reassuring words, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

“Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” Here, indeed, was a test of their faith. He was about to leave them, but they must believe in an absent Lord. They believed in God. Yet they had never seen Him. “No man hath seen God at any time.” It is impossible for man to see God and live. Now He was leaving them. They would see Him no more. Yet they must believe in Him. Nothing tests us like invisibility. In the wilderness the children of Israel wanted a god they could see, and Aaron made them a golden calf. They must have something tangible to worship, and Aaron yielded to their cry. That is not faith. It requires faith to believe in the unseen. It would require faith to believe in Christ once He had gone. He told them He was going away, but did not say for how long. It might be for a thousand years, fifteen hundred years, two thousand years, or even more. I wonder how strong your faith is, and how strong is mine. Am I as true to Him after seventy years? Am I as bright as the first day I surrendered my heart to Him and the blessed hope of His return dawned on my redeemed soul? Are you? “Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” The longer He stays away the more we are tested. How am I standing up to the test? Have I the same buoyant expectancy as I had when I was first converted?

“In My Father’s house are many mansions.” The disciples had never heard of that before. They had heard of Jehovah’s house in Jerusalem, and had read about Nehemiah, Ezra and Solomon in the Temple, but the Father’s House is a New Testament revelation. “Father” is a great Christian word— “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “In My Father’s house,” not in THE Father’s house. How do you spell it? I spell it L-O-V-E. Nothing but love there! We will be there throughout eternity, the Father and the children. They are inseparable; they are correlative.

A brother in the Old Country being poor of speech asked another to read for him something aloud from God’s Word. The brother began to read John fourteen. When he came to the verse, “I go to prepare a place for you,” he who was imperfect in speech cried out, “It doesn’t say places; it says place.” Unnecessary places are disposed of. It is one place —the gathering centre of the redeemed. There is no distance there, no icy blasts, but only LOVE, reigning supreme. He planned it that way. There are no back or front seats there. It is a family circle—the Father and the children together. Show me the front seat of a circle. You cannot. In the Father’s house every son of God from Adam down will find a place. There in that circle of God’s favor all the redeemed of all ages will sit down together. I am not looking for the kingdom but for “MY Father’s house.” Paul will not have a better place than I there. In the kingdom he will, it is true, but not in the Father’s house. The same thing that took Paul in will take me in—the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” This is the first promise we have of the Father’s house or of the Lord’s coming to take us there. In that blessed sphere of divine relationship there is no breath of sin, only perfection. We all enter on the same ground, the blood of Jesus Christ. May I ask you if you have your ticket purchased? It is a one-way trip. There is no return from there. You will not just squeeze in, but will enter in one magnificent sweep. “I go to prepare a place for you.” How near completion it may be! Are you ready to go?

What are you looking for? Do not look for the revival of the Roman Empire. That will come. Look for Him. He will come first. He will not then return to the Mount of Olives. “This same Jesus will so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven.” When He said, I am leaving you, they were full of sorrow, but when they returned to Jerusalem after witnessing His ascension, they were full of joy. They knew He was coming back again. Does it fill you with joy when you think of His return? Are you looking forward to the Father’s house? You may have a free ticket to mansions in the sky tonight. You may be as sure of glory now as if you were actually in it.

Let us look at our passage in 2 Peter 1:10. Have you made your calling and election sure? It means making sure of yourself. How does God make things sure to me? By His Word. How do I make them sure to myself? By realizing them and enjoying them. Are you doing it? “Make your calling and election sure.” Are you making it sure to yourself? Are you a happy Christian? Are these things bubbling up in your soul? I am not asking you to look in. We must have something more than that. How do I make my election sure to myself? By enjoying it. Do you? I may hold things, but have they a grip on me? You say, “They are in the Word.” That is true, but are they in your soul? If you have them you will never fail.

It is a question of the kingdom here, and so it speaks of an abundant entrance. Everyone has an abundant entrance into the Father’s house but not into the Kingdom. We will not all have the same place in the Kingdom. Some just get in. Every believer will be there because he is born again. “Except a man be born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” However there are front and back seats there. Our place in the Kingdom is determined by our life and conversation down here. If you are a worldly Christian you will have a back seat. Abraham got right in, but Lot just got in, no abundant entrance, but a tight squeeze. If you are a member of the Starvation Army you will not have an abundant entrance. This is a serious matter. “If ye do these things.” Consider then whether you are making your calling and election sure, and whether yours will be an abundant entrance or not. If you are a worldly Christian you will have a back seat in the Kingdom. You will not have an abundant entry. This is a matter worthy of serious consideration.

The beloved Paul in his second letter to Timothy warns of the coming apostasy in the last chapter of the epistle. In this final message we see Paul and Luke travelling along together. Luke had a broad vision. Where Matthew spoke of them coming from the east and the west to sit down in the Kingdom, Luke said, “They shall come from the east, and from the west and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.” Paul had lost Demas who loved the world more than God. “Only Luke is with me,” he wrote. He was faithful to the end. You know, brethren, God can do without us. But my, what He can do with us! How diligent, then, we ought to be when we consider the goal set before us!—an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom! It is everlasting because it cannot be broken up. Babylon fell, and Rome fell, but this kingdom shall never perish. After holding sway over this perfect kingdom for a thousand years the Lord hands it back to the Father. Will your entrance into it be an abundant one?

May I give you an illustration to show you the difference between the Father’s house and the kingdom. A certain man has two sons, both of whom work with him in his business which he holds in partnership with another. The one boy says to himself, “This is my father’s business, and I am not going to worry myself about it.” He comes late to work and he leaves early. The other boy says to himself, “This is my father’s business, and I will put my best into it.” He comes early and he works late. The partner who has an eye for business notices this, and approaching the father he suggests that the boy who is giving his best to the work be taken into partnership with them. He also suggests that the other boy be asked to look for another job. When the first boy is told to look for another job he protests, saying, “Surely, father, you are not going to put me out. Shall I not sit at the same table with you and eat the same food?” The father replies, “Yes; you will remain in the same house and enjoy all the privileges of the family; but I make a distinction between business and the home, and you must seek a new job.”

All Christians will be in the Father’s house. We will share the same love and have the same Father. In the kingdom, however, there will be differences, differences that last for a thousand years. Your position in the kingdom depends upon your spiritual size. You carry that into eternity. What is my spiritual size? That I cannot tell, except that it will grow as the Holy Spirit takes possession of me. Our spiritual make-up begins with the new birth. My divine stature begins at that moment. The normal thing to do is grow. How do I grow? “For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” There is spiritual growth and development in the measure that Christ becomes more and more to me as times passes on. Will its measure be a cup? Yes; but probably a very small cup. But whether it be small or big it will be full. Now we come to our last scripture: 1 Thess. 4:13-18. It answers the question, How are we going to get into the kingdom? “I would not have you to be ignorant brethren.” He is about to clear up a difficulty that was in their minds. Some of their brethren had already passed off this scene. What about them? “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” The dead will have first place. We who are alive and remain shall pause for a moment standing upon this earth. Then we shall be caught up together with them. Don’t you love that word, “together”? You have it again in the tenth verse of the next chapter. “Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live TOGETHER with Him.” We stand together for a moment together on the earth, we are caught up together, and we live together after we are caught up. Sin shall not enter there. You may not have been to many open-air meetings, but that is one you will attend if you are His. Will you be there, dear hearer? Can you say with Miss Burlingham:

“I am waiting for Thee, Lord,
Thy beauty to see, Lord.
I am waiting for Thee,
For Thy coming again.”

We are judicially waiting, but are we waiting in moral expectancy?

May each moment we live down here be filled with Christ, to live for Him, to live like Him, to live in constant waiting and watching for His promised return. Let us distinguish between the Father’s house and the kingdom. The Father’s house is our eternal abode; while our place in the kingdom is determined by our life and testimony on earth. May our works stand the test of fire! There is the good man with works who is both saved and rewarded, there is the good man with no works who is saved but not rewarded, and there is the unsaved man who had no reward and is eternally lost. Abraham belonged to the first class, Lot to the second, and his works were burned, and Lot’s wife belonged to the third class, and she was lost. God grant that we shall be found faithfully serving Him down here, and with eyes upturned live with this prayer on our lips, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”