Recently while searching for biblical information on the Internet, I came across pages filled with photographs of strange looking houses. One was no wider than a few feet. Another me looked no larger than a tool shed. One house appeared “normal “except it was built upside down! These were not empty. models. People lived in them! Immediately I saw an opportunity to explore the word “home” from a biblical perspective. I learned that the original biblical words for home, house, and household are oikos and oikia. They appear over two hundred times
in the New Testament. II Corinthian 5:1-9 NCV mentions two of them: ”We know that our body—the tent we live in here on earth—will be destroyed. But when that happens, God will have a house for us. It will not be a house made by human hands; instead, it will be a home in heaven that will last forever. But now we groan in this tent. We want God to give us our heavenly home,” Scripture tells us about four uses of this interesting word.
1. Our Bodily Home. The Bible calls our physical bodies tabernacle, temples, or houses. There is no man-made device that comes anywhere close to the amazing beauty, variety, glory, ingenuity, and complexity of the human body. Although the psalmist declares we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), these bodies of ours are very fragile and are like a tent. Psalm 90:10 gives us a life span of 70 years, and for some of us 80 years, yet years filled with trouble and sorrow. As I write these words, I am 88 years old, my strength has ebbed, and I find myself in a battle with lymphatic cancer. I understand and agree with the apostle Paul’s longing to be free from earthly ties, preferring to be clothed with a heavenly dwelling (II Corinthians 5:4). For a Christian, home speaks of Heaven. Anglican bishop, Jeremy Taylor wrote: “Faith is the Christian’s foundation, hope is his anchor, death is his harbor, Christ is his pilot, and heaven is his country.”
2. Our Earthly Home. I was born and grew up in my grandparent’s home. After college, and marriage, my wife and I lived in a number of homes, typical for anyone who has pastored several churches. I am presently a widower, living alone, only steps away from my youngest daughter. Loving and precious are the memories many of us have of our homes. I can still clearly hear my grandmother playing my piano at home where I studied music for eight years. She played hymns and one song in particular, John Howard Payne’s sentiments: “Mid pleasures
and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”
A home is more than just a building with four walls, rooms, furniture, and utilities. It is where spend much of our time. It is where we raise our families. It is where we eat, sleep, and live our lives. It is a place of happiness, security, and love. The ideal home is where Christ is Head, family values are treasured, parents are the authority, and the children are lovingly brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In this fast-paced world of change, a godly home and family have almost become an endangered species. I trust your home is honoring to Christ and reflects a commitment to spiritual values.
3. Our Church Home. The church is a group of called out people that Jesus promised (Matthew 16:18) and had its birth at Pentecost (Acts 2). For some time, the church building was wherever the group could meet, in the temple, and often in homes. Much later, church structures were erected. The first church in Jerusalem gathered together for prayer, fellowship, praise and worship, teaching, preaching, communion, edification, and evangelism (Acts 2:42-47).
The pandemic had a profound effect on U.S. society, and Americans have been less likely to attend religious services over the past three years. These recent trends have added to the longer-term decline in religious participation that the Gallup poll has documented over the past two decades. But despite these trends, the Word still enjoins us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). We need a place where we can hear God’s Word and grow into full spiritual maturity. It is wonderful to have a church home where we are loved and sadly missed when absent. Some of our finest memories ought to be the time we
spent in God’s House.
4. Our Heavenly Home. A little girl walked to her house through a cemetery every day after school. She loved to feel the breeze in her hair, and to watch the clouds turn into castles and angels and great white stallions. She enjoyed hearing the birds singing. As she skipped around the gravestones, she whistled her favorite tunes and sang songs. At times, she knelt down and read the inscriptions on the gravestones. A friend asked why she walked through the cemetery every day. She replied, “Because it is the way home.”
Someone once said that “home should be the ground floor of heaven. Departure from this life is just going upstairs!” Paul talks about, “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (II Corinthian 5:11). Some people think there is no afterlife, others think of heaven as a state of being, but God calls it a place, and Jesus called it, “My Father’s House (John 14:1-6). Our heavenly home is a mansion compared to our earthly home. No one lives permanently in a tent. Our bodily home is like a flimsy tent compared to our heavenly home that is eternal in the heavens. There we never grow old. There we ‘never suffer or die. Beloved,
Christ the Savior is the only door to our eternal Home! Have you come through that door? Do not delay!