What Do I Know?

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10

1…For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
2…We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.
3…For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.
4…While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.
5…God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
6…So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.
7…For we live by believing and not by seeing.
8…Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
9So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please Him.
10…For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

INTRODUCTION

Paul begins by saying, “We know”. The Greek word for ‘know’ is oida and it means; to know, to get knowledge of, understand, perceive. What exactly is it that Paul understands? What are his perspectives? Notice all the words of assurance in the text: “We know” [v.1,6], “Guarantee” [v.5], “Confident” [v.6,8]. The word confident means to be of good courage, bold, very confident.

TRANSITION

So what is it that Paul knows? What is he fully and always confident of?

I. FIRST: HE KNOWS THAT THESE EARTHLY BODIES ARE TEMPORARY

  • Paul using two metaphors in reference to the body, one for the present and one for the future. Presently, we live in a tent. Tents are temporary dwelling places. They are inexpensive and unattractive. They always have the tendency to wear out. The building Paul mentions awaits us: already there, “We have a house.” Prepared by God Himself and eternal in nature.
  • These earthly bodies can be the source of pain and grief. Paul said, “We groan and sigh.” Someone said, “Aging is not for sissies,” and there is some merit to the statement. Growing old brings about loss and loss produces grief. Our human bodies are frail and they will grow feeble in time. We lose our sight, our hearing, our taste, and sometimes our minds. We get to a point where normal activities are stressful. Simple things like getting in and out of the shower.
  • BUT in all honestly, aging has some advantages. As we lose confidence in these earthly bodies, we gain confidence in the LORD. The passage of time had changed Paul’s perspective. When he wrote 1 Corinthians, he was confident that he would be here for the parousia but now and especially in 2 Timothy, he is confident that he will die for Christ sake.
  • For the Great Apostle, in was a win/win. Either way, he would be free of the shackles of this human tabernacle which has more and more problems with the passing of time.
  • Let me say, THE PASSAGE OF TIME is a great teacher. I know things, I understand things that my children don’t understand. Why don’t I enlighten them? You can’t, these things we have to learn by experience and respecting our elders is one of them.

II. SECOND: HE KNOWS THAT ETERNAL BODIES AWAIT US

  • Everyone wants to know, “What kind of bodies will we have?” I am not going to lie, God has created a lot of beautiful female bodies. I am not attracted to men and thankful for it but God has made some beautiful women. So are we going to have male and female bodies. Jesus said, “We will be like angels”and it is my conviction that God is going to replace sex with something much better. This is one of those things that the PASSAGE OF TIME will help.
  • Will we be recognizable? Yes, definitely yes. Peter, James and John recognized Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration.
  • Will you be you? Yes, the real you, your personality will not be destroyed. You and I will relate to Jesus but we will not be clones. Jack will be Jack for eternity but without the sin and all the things that accompany sin.
  • Our heavenly bodies will not be subject to pain, age, or death.
  • We know we are not going to be a disembodied spirit, we will not be naked souls. God has a body waiting for us. The term Paul uses in verse 4…”Rather, we want to put on {ependyomaito, to put on over}  our new bodies.”  F.F. Bruce believes the new bodies will go on like and overcoat, meaning there will not be a time when the soul is naked.

III. THIRD: HE KNOWS THAT GOD IS SERIOUS ABOUT HIS PROMISES

God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee [arrabōn] he has given us his Holy Spirit.

[v.5] Ar-hrab-ohn’; of Hebrew origin; a pledge, i.e. part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest:—earnest. The NLT translates it guarantee. So does the NKJV, ESV and NIV. Holman translates it ‘down payment.‘ NASB renders it ‘pledge’. Some believe the word was used in relation to an engagement ring but I could not find evidence to support this but it is a great illustration of the truth.

When a guy gives a girl a $2,000 ring; he is serious, earnest, means business. Paul point is that the indwelling Holy Spirit is the origin of the sighing, longing for the new body. As F.F. Bruce points out, “The resurrection principle is already at work in us. The indwelling Spirit is the seed of the resurrection. Christ is being formed in us at present. This presence should be very obvious.” Herein lies our assurance that we are children of God and that everything He has promised awaits us. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee, pledge, down payment.

IV. FOURTH: HE KNOWS THAT TO BE ABSENT FROM THE EARTHLY BODY IS TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD

6…So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.
7…For we live by believing and not by seeing.
8…Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.
  • Since God is omnipresent, He is everywhere. Whatever point of departure you choose, He can bid you farewell. When you arrive at your destination, He can welcome you.
  • Paul said to the Philippians…1:22-23…For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. The NASB says “I desire to depart.” The word depart means to loosen like the ropes of a tent, or a ship. It is a kin to the word Paul uses in 2 Timothy 4:6 ‘analysis.’ A word we all recognize. It means to unloosen, dissolve into separate parts [body and soul], to depart. It could refer to ships leaving port, Armies breaking camp or the process of the earthly body separating from the spirit.
  • We know the presence of Christ now in the person of the Holy Spirit but it is not a visible or manifest presence. We will be more greatly comforted by the visible presence of Jesus which Paul was looking forward to and so am I.
  • In the presence of Jehovah
    God Almighty, Prince of Peace
    Trouble vanish, hearts are mended
    In the presence of the King.

    V. FIFTH: HE KNOWS THAT HIS AIM IS TO PLEASE CHRIST WHETHER IN THIS BODY OR THE NEXT

    9…So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please Him.
    10…For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
  • I have altered my life purpose statement slightly. I have decided to use 2 Corinthians 5:9…. Whether in this life or the life to come, my aim and ambition is to please Christ.
  • Paul had learned to simplify life, to narrow your focus, you goals. I have been reading and reviewing material on addiction recovery. There was one thing I figured out before we got started in the process…to recover, you have to narrow your focus to one thing, recovery. Very few people are in recovery by choice: many of them are under court order but the principle is the same…they have no outside responsibilities, everything they do has to do with their recovery.
  • One of the things that made Paul a powerful and dynamic figure in history is his ability to narrow the focus. He didn’t mess with anything that was related to the gospel.
  • I cannot speak for Paul but as for myself, verse 10 was a compelling motivation for years…For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. Folks, I believe in accountability and I have great respect for the JUDGE [Jesus]. I spent last Monday evening in the Court House. I saw two judges and I treated both with much respect. First of all, I needed their help and secondly I respect their power and they do have power. I may have a little influence but I have no power other than what little has been delegated to me. The Judges have real power but nothing in comparison to Jesus.

CONCLUSION

Can you imagine standing before a Judge who can see right through you. He knows every little dirty secret in your life and He even knows every dirty thought you’ve ever processed in your mind. There will be no argument in His presence. You are guilty as charged. We don’t have a leg to stand on. I am afraid that too many people have misunderstood grace, it is not a license to sin. Some would protest… He has no way to judge us since we are under grace…are you sure. What if He does not say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It may not mean hell but I fear it will be a judgment in and of itself. I so want to please Him. To displease HIM will be a harsh judgment for me.

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