I've had a couple of people ask me about the Ray Stedman's story from Sunday's sermon so I am posting it on the blog.
Ray Stedman tells a story of a Filipino pastor he met while leading a pastor’s seminar in the Philippines . He doesn’t remember much about what this man preached, but he remembers vividly a story he told. I’ll just read you the story.
He had only one leg, and he hobbled up to the platform and as he began to speak, everyone could see a real sense of the light of the glory of God on his face.
He told about a wealthy American man who had gone abroad and visited all the ancient capitals of Europe and bought all the rich furnishings, tapestries, paintings in the castles and brought them back home. He even bought a whole castle, tore it down and imported it to the States where he erected it stone by stone so he could make it his home. All his wealth, affection and interest he poured into this home, and he loved it.
But the day came when he died, and as he lay dying he said to the doctor, “Don’t let me die. Don’t make me leave my home.”
Then this dear Filipino pastor compared that with the death of a Christian man who didn’t even have a home on earth and lay dying in a little palm-thatched hut. As he lay dying he looked at his family gathered around him and he said, “Thank God, I’m going home!”
That is the difference between the Christ-follower and one without Christian hope. If you say to me to live is anything else than Christ, then you have to leave it all behind when you go.
Here is the simple truth. If you are a Christ-follower, this life – the world with all the war and terrorism, the world with all its poverty and misery, this world with all the disease and sickness – this life is the only hell you will ever experience. But if you do not have Christ, this world is the only heaven you will ever know.