All Saints Day
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
November 7, 1999
(In those painful moments of life when we stand at the foot of a grave to commit the body of a loved one to the Lord and his or her body to the ground, thoughts of All Saints Day may not be foremost on our hearts and minds. In those tender times, our sense of loss is overwhelming, uncertainty about the future comes crashing in, and it is simply a struggle to get through the day. Yes, in our heart of hearts we know that Christ has risen from the dead and so too shall our loved one and so too shall we. Yes, we know in our minds and hearts that we have not seen the last of our dearly departed one, but such hope, while comforting, is drowned out by the acute agony of the day. That’s why I am glad that in most years the Church takes time to remember All Saints Day. To think, under less trying circumstances, about those who have gone to be with our heavenly Father before us. It is a time to remember as well that we too shall be in the company of our eternal Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and all those who have persevered in faith before us. As we think about being in heaven, let us remember that while God will call us to Himself, there are some things that heaven doesn’t need:
HEAVEN DOESN’T NEED A TEMPLE. (v. 22)
The purpose of the temple (or any sanctuary) on this earth is to serve as an appointed place of communion with God.
In the Old Testament, the Temple in Jerusalem was divided into areas accessible to the masses, and other areas that were only entered by the High Priest on special occasions.
It was necessary to have a priestly intermediary between man and God in order to have access to the Holy of Holies where a blood sacrifice was made for the sins of the people.
A heavy curtain barred the entrance to the Holy of Holies, the very curtain which was torn from top to bottom at the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, indicating that no there was direct access to God through Christ.
Today, our sanctuaries serve much the same purpose.
Our sanctuary is a place of meeting God through His Word and Sacraments.
Now that Christ is our own High Priest, no further intermediary is required.
He we meet God, receive His gifts of life, forgiveness, and strength, but by specific means: His Word and Sacraments.
In the new heaven and new earth, (which together constitute the heavenly City), such an means of communion with God is no longer required.
God is in direct contact, direct communion with His saints!
He, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the temple for we shall be in the very presence of our Holy and gracious God.
As St. Paul writes…(I Cor. 13:12)
IN HEAVEN THERE WILL BE NO NEED FOR SUN OR MOON. (v. 23)
As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in eternity…God Himself is the light.
In Genesis 1:3 light exists without sun or moon having yet been created.
As it is in heaven, God is the light, and as John writes in his first epistle: (I Jn. 1:5)
Memories of the Transfiguration may come to mind as Peter, James and John are thunderstruck at tiniest glimpse of the Lord’s glory.
Here is the glory of God unfettered by any kind of darkness…Here is the dwelling place of the saints of God forever!
In this world, the darkness is our constant enemy.
So many cannot see or know of the light of God in Christ Jesus. (II Cor. 4:3-4)
Spiritual darkness is impenetrable by the mind of unbelieving humans.
No amount of learning facts about God, or the gaining of scientific knowledge can bring us spiritual enlightenment.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit!
In God’s Word there is both power and light to reform hardened hearts.
At the fount of Holy Baptism, there too the Word and water bring forth change in the impenetrable armor of unbelief.
In the heavenly city, every shade of darkness, doubt, fear and uncertainty will be gone and we shall understand and know God with perfect clarity.
IN HEAVEN THERE WILL BE NO “CLOSED” SIGN AT THE GATES. (v. 25)
The gates of a walled city were constructed to keep the enemy out and to provide protection for those within.
The double and sometimes triple walled fortress of Jerusalem fell under a terrifying two and a half year seige by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadrezzer II in 588 BC, ending in a total destruction of the entire city.
Today to we build walls around us of a different sort:
Walls of pride, walls of self-determined truth, walls of fear with which we do our best to keep God at arm’s length.
Despite His welcome to us to be His people, we sometimes prefer our defenses constructed to permit us to live as we please.
In heaven, God will be our mighty fortress, and there will be no more attacks on our faith.
The gate of the heavenly city is always open, because there is no more adversary!
That ancient, evil one, is consigned to the lake of fire forever and must remain there for eternity.
This is the final result of his rebellion against God and there is no escape for him.
With nothing to fear, the gate is always open and yet God’s people never desire to leave!
IN HEAVEN, THERE WILL BE NO SIN. (v. 27)
Here we are constantly battling sin and its effect on our world.
Every relationship is “filtered” through the contaminating influence of sin.
Divorce, parent/child estrangement, petty politics and personal agendas dominate our lives and poison our joy.
Wars and rumors of wars bring death and misery to millions.
The ravenges of nature gone mad inflict unspeakable misery on nation after nation.
All of this and more is caused by mankind’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden.
It is not a mere story, but the reality of the cause of man’s predicament.
Here is the cancer that swallows us whole and destroys every vestige of joy.
Jesus Christ has come and His victory over sin is ours as well!
Sin stood face-to-face with the living Christ and didn’t stand a chance!
The value of the life of the very Son of God blew sin away with the power of His love.
My friends, there is not a sin you have ever committed that was not blotted out by the precious blood of Jesus the Christ…it has been completely removed from you.
Now, you too may join your loved ones a citizens of the Holy City to savor the eternal sanctuary of God, to walk in His glorious light, and celebrate an eternity without sin!
CONCLUSION: ILLUS: Magdalene Luther was a happy 12 year old girl in 1542….(CPR, vol. 9, Pt. 4, p. 11). It may well be that if weeping were possible in heaven, it would be those who have gone on before weeping for us, not we for them! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright © 2001 CrossTies Counseling
All Rights Reserved