Home Safe!

Around 1:30 pm yesterday the world learned that the Rev. Jerry Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, had died. In later reports, comments on Falwell’s political activism, his work in founding a mega-church and a Christian university, as well as replays of a couple of his more outrageous comments summed up his life. ABC News unkindly noted that Falwell had become a ‘self-parody,’ in other words, a joke. Through the years, his political pronouncements and his fundamentalism have elicited more than a few uncharitable responses from me, but giving credit where credit is due; I recognize that the Church lost a leader yesterday, a man who influenced millions, in 50 years of Christian ministry, to consider the claims of Jesus Christ. Jerry Falwell is now home safe, beyond the reach of critics, secured from the temptations of fame, power, wealth, and other worldly lures.

He met that inevitable appointment with his Lord yesterday and gave an accounting before the Judge whose evaluation matters most. There were just two issues addressed as Jerry Falwell stepped through that door that separates time and Eternity.
First, what did you do with the grace of Jesus Christ?
Second, were you faithful in the use of the opportunities that were provided to you?
As much as being the founder of Liberty University might matter here on earth, in Heaven it’s just a footnote. Though many are impressed by Falwell’s work in building a church that gathers thousands of worshippers each Sunday, in Heaven such works will be evaluated in the light of faithfulness. Even more than results, Christ desires faithfulness and diligence of His servants. What Jesus asked Jerry Falwell is what He will ask you and me: “Did you use the gifts and opportunities you were given in a way that was faithful and that honored of Me?”

Consider this passage – “Whatever we build on that foundation will be tested by fire on the day of judgment. Then everyone will find out if we have used gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw. We will be rewarded if our building is left standing. But if it is destroyed by the fire, we will lose everything. Yet we ourselves will be saved, like someone escaping from flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15, CEV) Heaven will reveal some amazing surprises! Some who seemed giants here on earth will have little of lasting value in Heaven, while others who were invisible here will wear crowns of glory there. Only God truly knows the motives that fuel our daily work. What is done for Christ will endure His fiery gaze. What is done for Self and applause of men will burn away.

Live ready, dear Believer. None of us knows the hour of our appointment with Lord. You or I could be called home today. Is that thought grim or glorious to you? Our mortality need not be a source of fear for us. Our Heavenly reservation is secured by the blood of Christ Jesus. If we have received His grace, trusting in the Cross, ‘though we die, yet shall we live!’ I do not fear death for that reason. I am not excited about the process of dying, to be sure. “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12, NKJV) For that reason, I know that I will be welcomed into Heaven, home safe, on that Day. What I am responsible to do is to make the most of every opportunity to do the work of Christ Jesus. It should be our goal to complete the work assigned to us by the Spirit, to keep our accounts paid up, no debts – except the those of love – outstanding.

“It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-58, The Message)

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace,
In the mansions bright and blessed,
He’ll prepare for us a place.

Onward to the prize before us,
Soon His beauty we’ll behold,
Soon the pearly gates will open,
We will tread the streets of gold.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be,
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory.

– public domain

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