Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
2nd Corithians 1:1-7
2 Corinthians 1:1-14
2nd Corinthians 1:15-24
2nd Corinthians 3:1-18
2nd Corinthians 4
2nd Corinthians 5:12-21
2nd Corinthians 6:4-18
2 Corinthians 7:1-16
2 Corinthians 8:16-24
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
2 Corinthians 11:1-33
2 Corinthian 12:1-21
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2nd Corinthians 4:7-18

 

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

 

2nd Corinthians, chapter 4, we have come as far as verse 6 where it says, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, God who said “let there be light” when there was nothing to produce light but his word, no sun, no electric lightbulb, there was nothing, there just was light when he said “let there be light.”  He ‘has caused a light to shine in the darkness of our hearts’ as he brought us to the Truth, that we might see the light of the glory, it says, “of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  You think of God’s creation, all that he’s done, his glory, his power, his Godhead reflected in the Grand Teton mountains, the Swiss Alps, or God’s power and majesty reflected in an electrical storm, or the sea, just his majesty demonstrated in so many places.  His glory, you know, manifest through the fall of man, his sacrificial love made evident through Adam’s sin, and the sin that’s been passed to the race of human beings.  And the glory of God manifested in the face of Jesus Christ, that God was willing to come into the midst of his own creation in the Incarnation, that he was willing to assume responsibility.  He could have gone to plan B, could have just smoked everything and gone to plan B and started over.  And instead he comes into the midst of his own creation.  He subjects himself to sinful man, to his own fallen creation, he allows the brutality that he experienced.  He allows the Roman soldiers to beat his face beyond human recognition.  He allows those who ripped out his beard, he allows the thorns to go through his brow.  Somehow in the middle of all that, holding all of that together, it says it’s through Jesus Christ that the whole universe coheres and consists and holds together, that it’s in Christ, somehow allowing, holding together the metal [atoms and molecules in the] iron nails that went through his wrists and his feet, somehow subjecting himself to his own fallen creation.  And in that, taking responsibility for the whole thing, and in the face of Christ the glory of God being revealed.  Shining in our hearts, the same God.

 

‘We Have This Treasure In Earthen Vessels’---‘the greatest capacity of man is to contain the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Christ’

 

“But we have this treasure in earth vessels,” it says in verse 7, “that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  We have this treasure, what is the treasure?  Well it’s in verse 6, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ”, that’s the treasure that we have.  We have it in these “earthen vessels”, pots, cracked pots we talked about last week.  “That the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  Common in that day, if you had something priceless that was in the house, instead of putting it in a safe, or in an obvious place, you took it and put it in a clay pot somewhere, where no one would look for something that was expensive.  Here, the glory is of the treasure, not of the vessel, that’s what he’s saying.  The glory of all of this, the beauty of it, and the excellency of the power, is related to the treasure that’s in the pot, not in the pot itself, not the vessel.  God certainly cares for “the vessel”,  if we’ll care for the treasure he will care for the vessel that he’s placed it in.  He’s asked us to be a vessel of honor.  When Paul was saved on the Road to Damascus, God said to Ananias ‘You go and pray for him, because he’s a chosen vessel, and he will take the glory of the Gospel to kings, and to rulers, to the Gentiles.’  So yes, a vessel, God has seen fit to choose us, and then to store within us “the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”, the Gospel of Christ placed within our lives.  And the glory of it all is in the treasure, not in the vessel.  Remarkable, man’s greatest capacity is that, all the things that we might accomplish, no matter how many PhD’s we might get or how many million dollars we might make, or what kind of foundations or institutions we might begin, no matter how high we go on the ladder, no matter how high we climb---the greatest capacity of man is to contain the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Christ.  The human being that can bring about change in others that is eternal instead of temporary, is the one who understands what God has sown into their hearts.  And when they share it with someone else, it comes out in reality, not just a theory, but the work of God real within them, that’s the greatest capacity of man.  Paul says in verse 8 now,We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” (verses 8-9)  Now he’s relating back to the “excellency of the power is of God, not of us.”  Because we’re troubled on every side, yet not distressed.  Now I would think about these things, because I’d like to be like that too.  When I’m troubled on every side, I’m stressed, I don’t know if I’m distressed, I get stressed.  we are perplexed,” I’m glad to hear that, I spend a good part of my life perplexed, “but not in despair…”  The idea is ‘not without help,’ or ‘not without resource.’  “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…”  And all of this so “the excellency of the power may be of God, not of us.”  “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (verse10)  Now, you know, Paul again through 2nd Corinthians, sharing so much of his own emotions.  We don’t get this in other places.  He’s sharing so much of his own heart in regards to these things, ‘We’re knocked down, we’re distressed, we’re perplexed’  he’s sharing so much of the things that’s going on internally inside of his life as we look at this.  “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (verse 11), in this clay pot, in this vessel Paul’s saying.  “So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” (verse 12)  Paul sees his life as a living sacrifice [cf. Romans 12:1], laid down for God’s people, laid down for the Church.  Paul knowing that if he has his finger on God’s pulse, the greatest issue in the heart of God is to both reach lost people, and then once they’re saved, to conform them into the image of his Son, God’s purpose.  Paul has given himself to that which is the greatest burden in the heart of God.  So he says ‘Yes, death is working in us, but that’s so that life can work in you.’  “We having this same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;” (verse 13)  Now it’s interesting, because David is the one who said that, that’s in the Psalms.  Having the same spirit that was in David, it’s the same spirit that’s in us.  “…according as it is written, and therefore I have spoken”, we should be able to say that, we also believe and therefore speak; knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.” (verse 14)  Now I like that, Paul’s going to move onto the things he knows, though he’s distressed, though he’s worn out, though he’s perplexed.  He talks of all of these things, and yet ‘the excellency of the power is not of us, it’s of God, because we’re just the vessel, and it’s the thing that he’s placed inside of us that’s so important.’  And Paul says now “knowing…”, and I think it’s an important thing to know these days, isn’t it?  I mean, when we see what’s happening in the world, we hear about the threats that are around us.  I mean, it causes us to sit back and say “Well, what do we know?”  I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I need to fall back on what I do know.  What’s going to happen tonight, what’s going to happen tomorrow or Friday?  We don’t know.  [Just last week the Boston Marathon had two bombs set off by a couple Chechen rebel type individuals, brothers.]  What do we know?  We know we’re going to heaven [or into the Kingdom of heaven, which will end up on earth, cf. Revelation 21:1-23].  We know that our inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away.  We know, as Paul says, that by Jesus Christ we shall be presented, I like the fact that Jude includes, ‘he shall present us faultless’, that’s a little more encouraging too, present us faultless before his throne, with exceeding joy.  I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight, tomorrow, but I do know what’s happening ultimately.  And we’ve had to fall back on that, take inventory again, in regards to our children, our lives, our homes, our nation.  What is it that we do know, what are the things that can’t be shaken, no matter what happens around us now?  And Paul certainly pointing us to those things.  “Knowing” he says, and that is rock-bottom, “knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” (verses 15-16)  That’s the way Paul lived.  All of this is going to work out to God’s glory. 

 

How Are We Renewed Day by Day, How Does That Happen?

 

‘The Outward Man Is Perishing, Decaying’

 

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (verse 16)  Now I like to hear Paul say that, that he needed daily renewal, because I do.  I need renewal usually by 10am, as the day begins to roll on.  Paul was not, you know, you would think, ‘Hey, my conversion was cool.’  I don’t know about you, I wouldn’t trade my conversion for anybody’s.  Because I’m not really sure of anybody else’s, but I’m sure of mine.  But you would think, when you think of Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus, and the Lord appears and knocks him down, and he hears the voice and sees the light, you would think, ‘Hey, that would keep you going,’ that Paul would be like the energizer bunny after that, he would just keep going and going and going and going.  But Paul says ‘No, I need inward renewal on a daily basis.’  That’s the only way it happens.  Israel in the desert, daily had to go and collect the manna to be sustained.  They couldn’t store it two days, it bred worms.  They had to gather it daily, give us this day our daily bread, the Lord told us to pray.  Paul says we need to be renewed day by day.  Every day I need renewal from the Lord.  He said ‘the outward man is perishing.’  Now, literally that says ‘the outward man is in the process of decaying.’  If you’re a teenager, you’re in denial about that.  You know, some people come to church and say ‘They keep talking about the end of the world and going to heaven, they’re a little sick, you know.  I’m not sure I like it there.’  You just keep breathing, those things will become sweeter to you as time goes on.  They’re sweeter at 50 than they are at 40, and I’m sure they’re sweeter at 60 than they are at 50, and at 70 and 80, ‘Come on, Lord!’  Because ‘the outward man is in the process of decaying.’  Now, I notice that when I get up in the morning.  Everything’s rearranged.  My left eye is down here sometimes, my hair won’t lay down anymore, it’s becoming petrified.  You just have to take awhile with cold water, to push everything back where it belongs, and just you know, it takes awhile, everything kind of creeps for awhile.  And we live in a society that’s in denial.  We have ski machines in our bedroom [laughter].  We have spray-on hair, you know, it looks like somebody with a bald-spot with their head painted black, never looks right.  Juice machines, I got one of those somewhere, in the kitchen, buried away.  In a moment of insanity I bought that, thought I’d like to drink carrots, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  Do that once or twice, you think ‘Naa, lost my mind there for a minute.’  People are getting nipped and tucked.  Some people are so tight, I’m afraid their skins are going to snap!  ‘The outward man, in the process of decay.’  We pray for people that are sick, and the reality is, we know this frame is not permanent, and I’m glad.  It’s temporary, it’s wearing out.  I don’t expect the Lord to keep it like it was when it was 20.  I just want general health, to preach the Gospel.  I want to be mobile enough to get around and do what he’s called me to do, and then drop dead, or get raptured.  You know, I just want to drive it like I do an old car, until it’s, you know, change the oil once in awhile, and keep it running until I trade it in for the new model.  And Paul, he’s the guy whose been stoned, shipwrecked, we’re going to hear of all these things.  He must be a beat-up looking old clay pot by this point in time.  And he says the outward man is perishing, we’re in this process of giving everything for the cause of Christ.  He said, ‘We’re in this process of laying down our lives, every day we’re constantly being persecuted, distressed.’  And he said, ‘we do this knowing the heart of God, knowing that our death means life for you, knowing that the  laying down of our own lives, placing them in the hands of God accomplishes things for the Kingdom of God.’  And in all the while, he says, in the process, ‘we know that the outward man, the physical frame, is in the process of decay, it’s perishing,’ he says.  “yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”  I’m so glad that the Lord does that, aren’t you?  Sometimes I just need that, as David said, “He restoreth my soul.”  And God has been so faithful to do that so many times in my life, when I’m worn out and miserable and acting like I’m like 190, just to give me fresh strength inwardly.  Now this is Paul’s perspective, I haven’t arrived there yet.  “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (verse 17)  You wouldn’t think that it’s on your side sometimes.  Paul says, ‘You know, I place things on God’s scales instead of mine.  And as I place things on the balances and I weigh them out the way God weighs things out, I’ve realized this affliction is not to be compared with those who will be lost, it’s a light affliction, and it’s but for a moment.’  The Bible says that our life is like a dream, it’s like a tale that has been told, that life is like a vapour, it’s like the grass, the wind blows over it and it dries up and it’s gone, and no one remembers the place of it.  Human life is so frail and it goes by so quickly.  And Paul says ‘Yea, we look, we realize our light affliction,’ “which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”  “Exceeding”, the idea is, surpassing everything that we know.  “Eternal weight of glory”, that we’re trading it in for, Paul says. 

 

This is how we’re renewed day by day

 

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (verse 18)  Now, how is it that we’re renewed day by day?  That’s important, isn’t it?  How is it?  How does it happen?  If you look at Paul and say, ‘Well, he’s honest enough to say the outward man is perishing, that he’s renewed inwardly day by day.  How does that take place?’  This is what he tells us here.  “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  While we look, how is this renewing taking place?  How are we keeping in perspective this is a light affliction, but for a moment, not to be compared with a far more exceeding weight of glory?  How does that happen?  Paul says, “while we look”, now there is a play on words here, “while we look not at the things that are seen,” “look” and “seen” are two different words.  “while we look, scopio, means to examine, “while we look, not at the things that are seen,” now that’s blepo, “but at the things that are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; the things that are not seen are eternal.”  “While we look, scopio, it means to examine, to concentrate on.  We get “telescope” from it.  We get microscope from it.  We get the idea of scoping out [i.e. to thoroughly examine].  Paul says it’s ‘while we bring into focus, while we scope out, examine, concentrate, not on the things that are seen, while we look, not at visible things, but at invisible things.’  ‘Because the things that are seen, blepo, which means just to glance at something, are temporal.’  We spend our lives like that, glancing at temporal things, and we glance at them and want them.  That’s how I bought that juicer.  [laughter]  I just glanced at it, came across the screen, and you see some guy who looks like he’s 40, telling you ‘I’m 230 years old, and since I started drinking carrot juice…’  ‘I want some of that carrot juice, give me one of those things.’  You clean that once or twice, and you just say, ‘Oh forget it, I’d rather die.’  “While we look, scopio…”, but what Paul is saying is, ‘I haven’t made the focus of my life on temporary things, I’ve made the focus of my life on eternal things.  I haven’t concentrated my life on temporary things, I have concentrated my life on those things which are eternal.’  And I find that with all of the struggles of life, the difficulties, and all of the weakness I face in myself, in this earthen vessel, this thing that will be discarded, I find that I’m renewed on a daily basis, when I weigh in the balances eternity verses the present.  And I do that, that happens, while we scopio, while we [thoroughly] examine, not the things that are seen, but while we examine the things that are not seen.  Because the things that are seen, glanced at, with the human eye, are temporary.  But the things that are not seen with the human eye, he says, those things are eternal.  Those are the things that he examines, the things that are not seen.  Paul is basically saying, ‘I have spent time, I’ve looked at the prophets, I’ve read what the Scripture says about heaven [and the Kingdom of God], talked to the other apostles.  I’ve examined those things, an inheritance, undefiled, incorruptible, that fadeth not away.’  Paul says, ‘I’ve brought those things into view in my life, and they become the focus of my life, not temporary things.  And in that,’ he says, ‘I find renewal day by day, though the outward man, the temporary man, is in the process of decay, perishing.’   [And how do we do that?  It is through our Bible studies, breaking the Word of God down fine.  This website is an excellent tool for doing that.]

 

2nd Corinthians 5:1-11

 

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened:  not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (for we walk by faith, not by sight:)  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” 

 

Our Bodies Are Temporary, They Wear Out Like An Old Tent---We Await New Bodies, Eternal, Made Without Hands

 

“For we know” here he goes again.  Do we?  Paul does,  “that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,” now our earthly house, he says, is a tent [tabernacle].  Now many of us have not lived in tents, so we may not appreciate it as much [Paul was a tent-maker by trade].  He says ‘We know if our earthly house, this tent were dissolved,’ “we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  Paul says, you know, a tent is temporary, a building is permanent.  Paul’s saying, ‘We know that this earthly house,’ we have this space-suit on.  You look up here [where he’s standing on the stage] this ain’t me.  What you see, you’re blepo-ing me right now, you’re glancing at me.  What you see is the outward appearance.  Hawaiian shirt, jeans…real fashion statement.  It’s this space-suit, that’s all it is.  It’s the earth-suit, the earthen vessel.  That’s not who I am and it’s not what I am.  What I am is what dwells inside.  I have this space-suit on to be here in this environment, and to serve Christ, it’s temporary.  But this space-suit, this tent, is going to be dissolved.  And I have a permanent building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  That’s something else, that’s something better.  And we spend a lot of time in these space-suits, these tents, don’t we.  We sit in church and look at each other’s tents.  ‘Look at that tent, looks good, man that tent’s in shape, that’s a buff tent, there.’  [laughter]  ‘That tent over there needs a shower, that tent needs some help.’  We spend a lot of time blepo-ing don’t we?  You know, what you’re going to do with an old tent?  You put it in a box and bury it or put it in a box and burn it.  It becomes less important.  ‘we know that if this earthly house of this tent is dissolved’ Paul says, and that’s the way he lived, it wasn’t just theory for him.  And again, I’m looking at this thinking ‘Lord, with everything that’s going on right now [9/11 just took place when he was preaching this, now the Marathon bombing just took place last week in Boston, 2013, as I’m transcribing this], I really need to take fresh inventory of these truths in my life.  I need to know Lord if one of my children is taken, smallpox, anthrax, I’m measuring things, if that’s just their tent that will be taken.  And that that true person will be waiting for me, there’s gonna be a reunion, we’re going to stand around your throne hand in hand, and sing your praises forever.  And that far exceeding weight of glory won’t even be comparable, looking back at it.’  Now we look at it in faith from the front side, but looking back it’ll just be a light affliction, which was for a moment.  “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” (verse 2)  We’re groaning.  And I hear people say that, ‘Man, Lord, I can’t wait to get out of here.  Come, Lord Jesus!’  What we really mean, we’re American Christians, what we really mean is, ‘For me, the way I want all this to go is I want to teach Bible studies and sing Praise songs and get raptured.  That’s all, just three lines, that’s all I need, Lord.  But I’m not planning on suffering a whole lot, Lord, I’m going to take all the suffering stuff by correspondence course and everybody whose suffered I’ll read their books, I’ll get all the ideas, I’ll agree with it all.’  But we find ourselves more and more saying, don’t we, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, Lord.”  It’s not that we want to be dead, but we want to put on that eternal building, that eternal state that he’s prepared for us, the house which is from heaven.  [How and when is that done?  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm]

 

We Look Forward To Putting On Our Eternal Bodies

 

“If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” (verse 3)  You know, the unbeliever, that’s their destiny.  All of a sudden what happens is, if they slip into eternity without Christ, they’re found naked, and they spend eternity naked, in the sense that all of their sin remains upon them, that would cause them to be filled with shame remains on them forever, and they’re naked before the eyes of God, for eternity.  [Comment: There are differing beliefs about heaven and hell within the greater Body of Christ.  Some don’t agree with that statement.]  You and I, that doesn’t happen.  Because this righteousness that Christ has given to us, the light and glory of God, the face of Christ, the glory of that message is, that when God looks at us, he sees Jesus Christ, he doesn’t see us.  The old man’s passed away, all things have become new, that we have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith, and that that is what will be manifest, when we go through the vail, when we make the  transition, it will be that we will be found having our bodies fashioned like unto his glorious body [cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-56; Revelation 1:13-16], and that we’ll be clothed in fine and white linen, Revelation 19, and that white linen is the righteousness of the saints it says, “not found naked”, like those that are lost.  “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened:  not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” (verse 4)  We don’t want to be spirits without a body, floating around, but “clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”  We want our new bodies, we want to step into heaven [the kingdom of heaven], we want the new model, we want to put away the tent and put on the building, the permanent model.  “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” (verse 5) This is the very purpose of God for our lives, “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God,” that’s exactly what God wants.  God is longing for the day when this earthly human history has come to an end, and all of the redeemed are gathered around his throne.  All of human history to God is about one thing, it’s about gathering a Bride out of human history for his Son, Jesus Christ.  And it says that is the ultimate purpose of God, the day that we stand, pure and white, around his throne, in open fellowship, beholding him with open face, the thing that God longs for, the very thing that we’ve been made for.  Now look, this is real to Paul, and he’s trying to put it into a perspective we’ll understand.  You know, when someone that we love that’s a Christian passes away, Paul says it’s like somebody trading in their tent for a mansion.  If somebody comes to you and says, ‘You know, did you hear what happened to Aunt Sally?’  ‘No, what?’  ‘You know that old tent she was living in?’  ‘Yea, yea, the old tent all right.’  ‘She moved into a mansion.’  ‘Tell me it isn’t so, I can’t face it, tell me it isn’t so, it’s not true.’  Seems crazy, doesn’t it?  Paul says the very purpose of God, what he longs for, is for that day that we put off this “tent” and we step into his presence.  Now look, I don’t have this down. You have to understand, if I had been raptured four or five times, I’d feel much easier about all of this.  I’m doing all of this by faith, just like you.  I haven’t stepped through the vail.  And I don’t think I’m afraid of death, it’s just dying that bothers me.  I just want it to happen fast.  And I prefer a rapture, I mean, to be honest, that’s gotta be the best way.  [Comment:  The pre-tribulation rapture is one of those doctrines which is not believed by all within the Body of Christ.  Some others think it will occur, at the 1st Resurrection to immortality, at the literal blowing of the 7th Trumpet, near the very end of the tribulation.  For more on this, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/mathew/Matthew24-1-31.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm]  Guillotine, that’s probably fast.  I’m just not into a long drawn out affair, you know.  When it’s time to go it’s time to go.  But I’m reading these things, and they’re taking hold of my heart more than they ever have before.  We’re longing for another day.  This is earth, it’s not heaven.  [Comment:  Now these Calvary Chapel folk teach and know that all the saints come back with Jesus Christ and rule with him in the Millennial Kingdom of God over all nations that have survived the tribulation (which is Biblical).  They also know that the New Jerusalem, the future home of all saints, the Bride of Christ, comes to earth at the end of God’s plan for mankind (cf. Revelation 21:1-23).  But they make reference to going to heaven quite regularly, when this “going to heaven” only refers to the period of time from their belief in the pre-trib Rapture to the literal 2nd coming of Christ when he touches down on top of the Mount of Olives, a brief span of time at best, 3.5 years at the very most.  They also believe the “conscious” spirit component of all the saints that die in the faith go to heaven upon death, awaiting their return with Jesus at his 2nd coming, and the receiving of their new bodies in the 1st Resurrection at the blowing of the 7th Trumpet.  That is, in a nutshell, the theology of the Calvary Chapels concerning their ideas of “going to heaven.”  It sounds a little confusing, and convoluted.  For more on this subject, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm]  And what we long for most deeply inside is that day when we put off this tent and we put on the building of God, made without hands, eternal in the heavens.  “Now he that wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” (verse 5)  Here it is again, aribona, the earnest of the Spirit, again in modern Greek it’s “engagement ring.”  He hasn’t put a deposit on us, it doesn’t say that.  God’s not paying us off, he doesn’t have a mortgage on us.  That’s not what this says.  He’s paid the whole price for us.  The deposit is a deposit he’s given us in our hearts, that makes all of these things real, and makes us long for the day that we’re all fulfilled.  We have the foretaste.  “Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” (Romans 8)  But by his Spirit he makes those things real to us.  We already have a foretaste of those things, or we’d be completely insane.  He’s given us the engagement ring, he’s given us the foretaste, he’s given us the earnest.  Not the payment of our sins, that’s all taken care of, not paying us off.  But he’s planted the seed of the reality of it all in us, which is growing. 

 

We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

 

“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (for we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (verses 6-7)  Now we walk by faith, not by eyesight is the idea.  We walk by faith, faith sees, while we look at those things, not the things that are seen, the things that are not seen.  That’s walking by faith.  [What’s not seen?  Example, the Millennial Kingdom of God, with Jesus and the saints ruling over the whole world.  That’s one thing that is not seen, that we see by faith. (see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm).  Also the coming of the New Jerusalem to earth (read Revelation 21:1-23).  We, if we are believers, believing the Word of God is true, see those things as a reality, even though they haven’t happened yet.  Faith helps us see those things as a coming future reality.  Abraham was looking with this same spiritual eyesight, as expressed in Hebrews 11:9-10, “By faith he [Abraham, verse 8] sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”  Abraham was looking with his spiritual eyesight, scopio, scoping out this New Jerusalem Jesus told the apostle John about in Revelation 21:1-23, this heavenly city (a habitation built for the saints, the Bride of Christ, God the Father and Jesus Christ, which will come to earth at the end of God’s plan of salvation for mankind).  We understand that God the Father and Jesus Christ are real, and that the Bible is his inspired Word, and is the ultimate truth (see:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/ProofOfTheBible-FulfilledProphecy.htm) and that God created the entire universe and all life on earth, past and present (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/dinosaurs/dinosaurs.htm).]  Faith isn’t blind, faith sees, but it doesn’t see what the human eye sees.  We walk by what faith sees, not by sight, not by eyesight.  “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (verse 8)  And there is a play on words here.  He says “to be absent from the body” is to be literally “at home with the Lord.”  And he’s referring back to verse 6, where he says, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:”  But he says “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body,”---where we’re at home now---“and to be present”---“at home”---that’s what that word “present” there, same word, to be at home with the Lord.”  Now take note of that.  To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  There’s no soul-sleep here. People in the Church teach this ridiculous idea of soul-sleep, that when you die, you sleep, until we’re gathered to the Lord.  That doesn’t sound like the blessed hope to me.  Doesn’t sound like anything that Paul would look forward to, to me.  I can’t wait, just laying in the coffin.  I’m claustrophobic anyway.  That would be hell to me, makes me sweat thinking about it.  We see Elijah, it says that he, with the widow of Zeraphath, her son had  died, Elijah took him up to the loft, laid on him, prayed for him three times, and it says then his soul came into him again.  Wasn’t in there sleeping.  It was somewhere else [and according to Ecclesiastes, it was “sleeping, unconscious” somewhere else].  We see it in Revelation chapter 6, the souls of those who were beheaded for their faith in Christ, are in heaven, under the altar, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, before you avenge us?’  Not in the body, in heaven.  And Paul says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, in the twinkling of an eye, in an instant.  When we close our eyes in this world, we open them in the next, we open them in the next.  And I, what a remarkable, remarkable scene that will be, for lots of reasons. [Again, according to Calvary Chapel doctrinal interpretation, but look up the word “sleep” in a Strong’s Concordance, and you will see the idea apparently arose from none other than the apostle Paul (cf. 1st Cor. 11:30; 15:51; 1st Thess. 4:14; 5:6, 10; and from Jesus himself, in John 11:11).  According to Ecclesiastes, the dead know nothing, not even the passage of time.  They don’t even know they’re dead, once they’ve died.  The very next moment of their consciousness, going by what Ecclesiastes says, will be when they’re resurrected in one of the two major resurrections the Bible teaches us about.  When someone dies and closes their eyes in this world, the very next instant they’re aware of, they’ll be opening them in the next world.  Taking in all the Scriptures on both sides of this doctrinal fence leaves room to accept either interpretation, proving this is a very secondary doctrine, not worth arguing over.  We will find out when we die or at Jesus’ return.  For more on the other interpretations of this secondary doctrine, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.  And realize, belief one way or the other does not effect or jeopardize one’s salvation one single bit.  Calvary Chapels are fully within their rights as Christians to believe as they do.]  It says there’s not going to be any sick.  Think of the people in this church that you love that are dealing with cancer, there’s no sickness there.  There’s no pain there.  There’s no groaning there, there’s no sin there, there’s no suffering there, no tears there, no terrorism there, no unrest, no torment, no sadness.  My grandfather’s there, can’t wait to see him.  A lot of good friends from this church are there.  We have a bigger church in heaven than most people have on earth.  We’ve seen so many go on to be with the Lord, so many friends waiting.  To be absent from the body, Paul says, is to be present with the Lord. 

 

‘We Endeavor To Be Well-Pleasing To the Lord’

 

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” (verse 9)  Now, let’s make this plain.  Paul says, ‘Wherefore we labour,’ it’s ‘We endeavor,’  Paul says ‘the endeavor of his life is that whether present or absent, we may be accepted as well pleasing.’  He’s not saying ‘By works I’m saved, and I’m straining and struggling and hoping that my good works will get me to heaven.’  That’s not what this verse says.  What it says is, ‘Wherefore, because we know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,’ he says, ‘we’re spending our lives, we need daily renewal, we know that this treasure is in earthen vessels, and right now the way we live,’ Paul says, ‘is we live aware of the fact that this is temporary, that the eternal is still ahead of us.  We are willing to lay down our lives for the cause of Christ.’  And he says, ‘So wherefore we endeavor, whether we are absent from the Lord and here on earth, or present, that we might be well-pleasing to him.’  And any child whose grown up loving their parent, you know, there is that thing where you want to be well-pleasing.  How much more when we know what our Father in heaven has given his own Son to make us his own, you know, living to know the Lord is blessed, to bless him, that we might be well-pleasing.  Knowing that when we serve him, knowing that when we worship him, knowing that when we give of our lives, that we can actually bless him.  Paul says ‘So we endeavor, whether we’re present, whether we’re absent., that we may be well-pleasing to him.’ 

 

Appearing Before The Judgment Seat of Christ---What Does That Mean For Us?

 

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”  (verses 10-11)  Paul says this, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body…”  It doesn’t sound like he’s talking about a crowd.  That’s why it’s important when he comes down and says ‘that every one’ it’s literally, the ideas is, ‘it’s each of us.’  When we stand before Christ it will be individually.  We’re not going to be there, when we come to his judgment seat, in a big crowd hoping we can hide behind everybody else, saying, ‘Hope he don’t see me here, because he’s gonna say ‘Hey, when I said whomsoever will may come, I didn’t think you’d take me up on it.’  We must all stand, as individuals, before the judgment seat of Christ, the Bemitos.  In Revelation 20 we have the Great White Throne, that is a throne of damnation, a throne of judgment.  [Comment:  There are various interpretations about what the Great White Throne represents within the greater Body of Christ, and that is one of them.  To see some of the other interpretations, see: http://www.u;nityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.]  You will not appear there, that’s the 2nd resurrection.  We’re part of the first resurrection.  The Bemitos is the throne of reward, it is the throne of reckoning.  In ancient Greece it was a throne where the Olympic athletes would go and stand before the judges to receive their reward for the race they ran, it was a wreath, or whatever their reward was for competing.  We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  It is a serious place, it’s not something to be taken lightly.  But we’re not standing there to be judged, because Jesus was judged in our place on the cross 2,000 years ago, and took all the wrath of the Father, so that we might freely receive the Father’s love and forgiveness.  He’s going to go on in another chapter and say ‘He who knew no sin became sin, that you and I might be the very righteousness of God.’  We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  Paul says we endeavor then, that whether we’re absent from the Lord, absent from the body or present before the Lord, that we might be well-pleasing to him, because we’re all going to stand before his judgment seat.  And we want to be well-pleasing, because when we get there we'll receive the rewards for the things that were done in the body.  That’s not eternal life, eternal life is never a reward, it’s a free gift.  But Paul says the day of reckoning will come in the sense that we’ll receive rewards for our ministries and the way we served and what we gave of ourselves for the cause of Christ.  And we want to be well-pleasing to him when that happens.  And he said we’ll all stand there, in his presence, ‘to receive of the things done in this body, this clay pot, this temporary, this tabernacle, this tent, according to that he hath done, whether it’s good or whether it’s bad.’ [This directly cross-references to 1st Corinthians 3:11-15, which states,  “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest:  for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:  but he himself shall be saved; yet as by fire.”  This describes the Bemis seat, the Judgment seat of Christ.]

 

“Knowing Therefore The Terror Of The Lord, We Persuade Unsaved Men”

 

“Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (verse 11)  Let me read it this way.  ‘Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade unsaved men.  For we are made manifest to God.’  Paul says, “knowing therefore the terror of the Lord.”  We’re going to stand before the Bemitos and be well-pleasing, and receive rewards.  And yes, he tells us in 1st Corinthians, some of our works, some of the things we’ve done are going to be burnt up, as wood, hay and stubble, the things that we did wrong, the things that we did that were bad, were not consistent with Christ, with his Spirit, with his Word.  Those things will be purged and burnt out of our lives forever, not us, those things.  But the things we did with the right motivation, the things that we did that were right when we served Christ, Paul said, those things will endure the fire, like gold and silver and precious stone (cf. 1st Corinthians 3:11-15), will be our rewards forever.  And knowing that, he says, knowing that, we persuade men, knowing the terror of the Lord.  It is a fearful things to fall into the hands of the Living God.  What will it be like?  If you and I who are saved, washed in the blood of the Lamb, who have received the righteousness of Christ, if you and I will stand before the Bemitos, if we will stand before Christ and give an account, as blood-washed, blood-bought, as his children, the way any child gives account to their parent, if you and I will do that, then Paul says, knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade unsaved men.  You and I, he says, are already made manifest before him.  But the unsaved world, what will they face?  Paul says, he goes back through the whole thing, ‘It’s temporary, it’s temporary…and I haven’t concentrated my life, I haven’t focused my life on that which is temporary.’  So many of us do.  He said ‘the focus of my life is that which is eternal, and we know that this physical frame, this tent, this pot that this treasure is in, if it’s dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’  And he says ‘We groan for that.’  That’s something that’s going on inside of us.  You know, you hear Christians say “I need to read more, I need to pray more.”  You ever hear Christians say that?  “I need to read more.”  You’ve said that.  Don’t look at me with that blank stare.  “I need to read more [of the Bible], I need to pray more.”  You know what?  I’ve been walking with the Lord almost 30 years, and I read more now and pray more now than I ever have.  You know how I feel?  I feel like I need to read more and pray more.  Because what that is really saying is, ‘Lord, I want to be home.’  You see, when I’m reading and I’m praying is when I feel his presence, I feel close, when I find his pleasure, his fellowship.  What we’re really saying in all of that is we’re groaning, we’re longing to be clothed with that eternal state he’s prepared for us to be in his presence.  And Paul says we know that.  To be absent from the body, Paul says, is to be present with the Lord.  So he says, ‘Today, I’m endeavoring, that whatever state I’m found in, that I might be well-pleasing to him.’  Because we all know that we’re going to stand before the throne of rewards before Christ, we’re going to receive according to our labour, yea, the things that were wrong, but the things that were right.  And he said, ‘Knowing that, that every man will give an account, and knowing the terror of the Lord, the righteousness of God, the purity of God, the holiness of God, we persuade men.’  That’s our life’s work, persuading men [and women too], because it says we are already made manifest before God, he knows everything about us, if we’re in Christ.  And Paul says ‘we trust that we are also manifest to you’, speaking to the Corinthians, ‘that you also know our life’s story.’  [transcript of a connective expository sermon going through 2nd Corinthians 4:7-18 and 2nd Corinthians 5:1-11, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]        

 

 

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When and how is our “eternal house,” body put on?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm  

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