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Made for Heaven

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Introduction

If you were to travel say 30 years ago, things that were made from Japan, Germany, USA, Australia, Italy and many of these western countries, you would believe that you would be getting top quality products. From, electronic products to mechanical and motorised products, you would have had to pay a fair some of money to purchase that item or product.
However, if you were to compare these products with things that are made in India, Vietnam, China or South Korea, you would have taken the position and view that these products would be flimsy and easily breakable. Some might see these products are knock offs or copy cats and cheap imitations.
I remember going to Indonesia, and they were selling these fake Rolex watches in the streets of Jakarta and I know some of us here would have purchased one of these knock offs just for laughs.
I remember having a TMNT Donatello back in 1990, and my parents had brought it from some shop in Cabramatta. Anyway, I was excited with it that I showed it off to my friends it was an incredible time to be a live. But, when I looked at K-mart catalogue I noticed differences between an official TMNT Donatello and my one. I was disappointed because I felt ripped off. Now, I am not saying my parents were cheap or purchased things that were cheap, what would they know about TMNT toys.
Now, the thing is, most of these companies that produce these cheap products are looking for easy money. Unfortunately, what some of these companies don’t realise is that they affect the image of their country, as a result, many people would look to these products from these countries are low quality and cheap knock offs.
Now, fast forward to 2021, and look at the things you have, your car, your phone, these cameras, your clothes. Where are they all made from? Now you can think that products that come from those countries are inferior and cheap. That has all changed because nearly all of the products that you own would have come from these countries and not only that they are top quality. As long as there is a good brand name attached to it.
For example, Hyundai, when they brought their cars into the Australian market from South Korea, it was affordable, however the name wasn’t well known or prestigious when compared to their Japanese counterparts. But now, Hyundai cars are considered to be some of the best cars to match that of their Japanese counterparts.
China is also making a name for itself, what was once European cars have been brought by Chinese motor companies have been making a name for themselves here in Australia. MG and LDV are some of the brands that were once European but now brought out by Chinese companies and produce affordable working class quality vehicles.
For electronics, both South Korea and China are producing some of the best TVs and phones that are on the market. From Samsung, to Xiaomi and etc. It shows that if these companies really put their heart and soul into their products they would do well. Not only that, the reputation of their country and people also increases.
But I am not here to talk about worldly goods, as Jesus said, “…where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal”. (Matthew 6:19)

The history of humanity

I am talking about us.
Humans.
God’s workmanship and masterpiece (Ephesians 2:9).
When He created us, God communed with humanity, both humanity and God were in complete harmony.
Patriarchs and Prophets Chapter 2—The Creation

Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is “the express image” (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.

This was Adam and Eve, our first parents we’re in complete harmony with God until we decided to change management.
What was once a perfect being, straight from the factory has become corrupted and stained. What was once pure and holy has become defiled and defected. Our thinking and ways are no longer fixated towards God’s Righteousness, but upon self and human righteousness.
Yet, God did not leave us here to fend for ourselves, for Jesus Christ was ever with us. You can see from Biblical history the interactions between God and humanity, it’s a never ending pendulum where His people follow and obey Him to rejecting and denying Him. From one generation to the next, humanity continues to move on in time neglecting what has been done in the past.

The destruction of Judah.

No matter, God’s mercy and love towards His people are never ceasing, and He will never abandon us nor neglect us for His presence is always near.
When Israel and Judah fell because of their continued disobedience, God had warned them that if they were to continue in their sinful ways, they would lose their land and be taken away captive for 70 years. In Jeremiah 29, God tells them that even though they would be taken away for 70 years, He will not leave them because He promised them that He will bring them home.
Jeremiah 29:10–14 NLT
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
So, the story goes, Judah and their final king, king Zedekiah did evil in the sight of the Lord for 11 years and rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar.
2 Chronicles 36:15–16 NLT
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. 16 But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.
Judah had fallen so far away from God, God had done everything that He could to sway them back to Him. But, they refused and despised His counsel. What else can the Lord do for a stiff neck people?
So, Babylonians come in and totally destroy Judah annihilating the proud and the blasphemers.
2 Chronicles 36:19–21 NLT
19 Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. 20 The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.

Returning home

So, 70 years past, and the captive Israelites are are under a new regime and kingdom. Medo-Persia has conquered the Babylonians and king Cyrus; the king of Persia, issues a decree for the Israelites to return home and rebuild.
The Israelites are not free and embark on another exodus out of their captivity in Babylon, as they make their way back to the Promised Land, this time these free Israelites are humbled, acknowledging God through obedience and faith. They return home and begin the process of rebuilding the walls and soon enough the temple.
However, they are met with opposition by a foreign group of people that occupied the land while the Israelites were in captivity.
Nehemiah 4:7–9 NLT
7 But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. 8 They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. 9 But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves.
They taunted and ridiculed the Israelites as they were building the walls.
Nehemiah 4:1–3 NLT
1 Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, 2 saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”
Imagine how you feel like to be mocked by these groups of people, have any of you ever felt what racism is like? Have any of you ever been teased and made fun of because of what you’re doing or what you have accomplished? How many of you have been in their position? How did you pull through? What motivated you to press on?
Looking at the faith and devotion of Nehemiah, he didn’t act rashly when provoked by the enemy, sure what they said hurt but Nehemiah writes:
Nehemiah 4:4–5 NLT
4 Then I prayed, “Hear us, our God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back on their own heads, and may they themselves become captives in a foreign land! 5 Do not ignore their guilt. Do not blot out their sins, for they have provoked you to anger here in front of the builders.”
Nehemiah, prayed to God, he recognised that his enemies aren’t scoffing at them only, but also to God. He stayed the course in rebuilding the nation rather than allow a foreign nation get the better of him. Because, he trusted in God and His promises.
For Sanballat, Tobiah and these other foreigners, they see the Jews as poor and feeble. They look at them and laugh because for them they believe that these meagre peasants have gone crazy thinking that they can defend themselves.
Even though these foreigners mocked and scolded them, the Jewish people had something that far outweighed their ridicule and that was faith in their God. A living and loving God.
God never abandoned them, even though others belittled them, they didn’t realise that God was uplifting them and restoring them. God wanted to re-establish a relationship with them and to prepare them for something glorious and amazing.

What about me?

Now, let’s have a look at us, when I first started this sermon, we looked at products made from countries that have had a bad reputation in making inferior and low quality products. We saw how certain companies helped build the reputation of their countries to be seen as equal with the rest of the world.
But even the best companies doesn’t eliminate the stigmatism that clings to the products that come out of these countries. It’s kind of like “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
For the Israelites, they just came out of captivity, they are a poor nation, they are conquered people, they are seen to be cursed by their own God. They were seen like spoilt kids with a lot of riches to now become like a dog with their tails between their legs. Cast down and down trodden. Can anything good come from an Israelite?

Seventh-day Adventists who?

Christians, particularly Seventh-day Adventist Christians, what is the clinging stigmatism that continue to linger? What is the ridicule and mockery that others, especially Christians say about Seventh-day Adventists?
Are we not facing what the Israelites faced as they were rebuilding their wall? With all the work that Adventists have done in the past through God’s grace, why are we still considered like a cult or aligned with Jehovah’s Witness or Mormons (I mean no disrespect to those that truly love the Lord who attend these churches)?
I am not asking that we as Seventh-day Adventist build a reputation or a name for ourselves, but that this is what it is to come out of Nazareth. When Donald Trump was running for presidency and he was going against a well known Seventh-day Adventist; Dr Ben Carson. What did he say about Adventists?
"I'm Presbyterian, he said. "Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/10/25/donald-trump-no-apology-for-questioning-ben-carsons-seventh-day-adventist-faith/
I am sure for many here, we’ve all had our fair share of people questioning our beliefs and position. Whether you’re Christian or an Adventist Christian, we’ve all had someone question what we believe. We’ve all had someone joke about our beliefs and ridicule our decisions because of our position. We’ve had our fair share.
But, have you stopped building up your wall? Have you stopped building up the temple for God to reside in you?
You see, even though the Israelites faced opposition, they never gave up in building, they never gave up on God and continued their efforts against those who opposed them.

Are you building?

How many of us are continuing to build your wall and temple? Well Pr Fabian, what do you mean? What are you talking about by building up our wall and temple?
What is the purpose of walls? Defense! But defense against what?
1 Peter 3:13–17 NLT
13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
The wall is to protect you from their accusations and folly, but it is also to protect you from yourself. Many of us a prone to jumping ahead of ourselves and without a barrier to stop us, we become a laughing stock to the world. Build up those walls my brothers and sisters, build them up with the character of Christ. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
James 1:26 NLT
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
Build up those walls my friends, protect yourself from the evil one, especially the one that is inside you.
But even though you’re building up that wall, the most important part that you need to build within yourself is the temple.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 NLT
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
In the old days, towns and villages would either have the church in the centre of town or the church would be the tallest building in the town or village. It was visible from a distance if you were to view the town or village from afar off. This would indicate that the town was religious and peaceful if Christ was the centre of their village or town.
Is Christ the centre of your life? In all that you do and say, is Christ the centre? When you think, where is Christ? Is He in every decision you make? How is the Holy Spirit helping you? How is the Holy Spirit dwelling in you? Is there a place for the Holy Spirit to dwell in you? Where is your temple in you? Where is the wall to protect the temple in you?
Do you understand where I am getting at? Do you see what I am saying? If we do not build these in our lives, then we are open for the evil one to invade and destroy our faith.

Great Controversy

We are the battle field my friends, our lives are the field where the great controversy is being played out, and who is winning? Where are your walls? Where is the temple? Are they built yet? Are they being maintained?
Let tell you what happens when we don’t build those walls, or when we don’t maintain it.
It is like a person, when they’ve become a Christian after overcoming their addiction to alcohol, would later go out with their friends to a restaurant. There, his friends order alcoholic drinks and they taunt and make fun of this person because of his new religious belief. They pressure the person to drink alcohol causing this person to drink and back slide. Later, this person makes a commitment, but people ridicule him because of the choice he made. It’s now harder for this individual to overcome his temptations after they fell and continuing on with their habit because why not.
Don’t let sin get the better of you, build those walls, make Christ the centre of your life, maintain your relationship with Him through prayer and the study of the Bible.

We are made for Heaven

The purpose for these spiritual walls and temple is for God dwell among us, He wants to rule in our lives because He wants to prepare us for Eternity, God is preparing our characters for heaven.
Like the exiles returning to the Promised Land, God had to shape the Israelites for 70 years to prepare them after they were a rebellious nation. God had humble them and refine them. So, think in yourself, who is the God in your temple?
God had to prepare these people for what they are to experience and expect. The Israelites could have given up and done their own thing, but they all worked together in building the wall in the face of opposition. God prepared them for that, their faithfulness and God’s faithfulness allowed them to complete what was necessary. Have you been faithful in God? How will your wall stand against opposition?
God is preparing us for things to come, for events that would affect our faith. Will you be able to prepare yourself for that?
Malachi 3:3–4 NLT
3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. 4 Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.

Conclusion

Brothers and sisters, the Bible and Jesus tells us that satan is the ruler of this world (for the meantime), he is mustering up everything he can to deter you and many like you away from this idea that you’re made for heaven. That you are made for fellowship with Jesus.
I already shared to you that humanity and God once had a perfect and holy harmony at the time of creation, until we decided to break that and follow satan. Jesus then decides to come to humanity at the right time to show to us a way out of this corruption and wickedness.
But, satan and his agents are out and about, ridiculing us and mocking us like those foreigners mocking the Israelites.
They tell us that we humans are losers and inferior, that we are low class, and fakes, that we’re animals and the offspring of them, deceiving the world that we are the descendants of apes and chimpanzees, rather than being told that we’re a child of God.
My friends, we are Made for Heaven, we are above that, Jesus Christ died to reveal that to you all! We are special and so loved by a Loving and Living God. Why not spend your time in building up those walls and building a temple for Him to reside in you.
Will you make your home in Jesus? Will you be made for heaven?
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