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Groaning for Glory - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
January 30, 2021 2:00 am

Groaning for Glory - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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January 30, 2021 2:00 am

What sort of existence and experiences are departed believers enjoying right now? Is the heaven we go to when we die our final destination? Paul described it as "far better" (Phil. 1:23) but it's going to get even much better! Paul lightly touches on what happens when a Christian dies and awaits the resurrection, but it's enough to give us confidence. Let's consider today the "intermediate" or temporary transitional heaven before the resurrection of our bodies.

This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.

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I once went camping for three months. I took a trip around the United States, had a truck and a tent, and I'd set it up every night.

You know, honestly, I had fun. But I'm over it. You know, after a few days, you start longing for things like a shower, walls, a real bed. It's something very temporary. Your body is like a tent.

Your body is temporary. And after a while, the threads start to unravel. After a while, the flaps become more prominent. After a while, the tent starts to leak. It's just the nature of the temporary body. Now, it's interesting how some people want to make their tent live forever or look like it's a brand new model, younger than it really is.

So they'll stretch the flaps and nip and tuck and dye the threads. Oh, there were 140 when they died. Are you kidding? The past few years seem to have been full of natural disasters, haven't they? Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires. And every time we see video of the wreckage of homes and destruction of lives, we're reminded that in one second everything we have could be taken away. And today here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, Skip Heitzig reminds us that even if a natural disaster doesn't rearrange our lives, one day death will.

And that kind of change is one we look forward to. The why on that is coming up next. But first, information about Pastor Skip's latest book offer. Does God exist? And if he does, is it possible to know him? Your answer to those two questions shapes how you see the world.

Skip Heitzig once wrestled with those very questions himself. You know, I've been teaching the Bible for over three decades before I became a Christian, and when I was new to the faith, I studied science and philosophy alongside the Bible. As I studied, I grew confident that God does exist. And yes, we can know him. In Biography of God, the brand new book by Skip Heitzig, you'll learn to remove the limits you may have placed on your idea of who God is. Everything changes when you acknowledge and believe that God is who he says he is. Biography of God is our way to thank you when you give $35 or more today to help expand this Bible teaching outreach to more people.

Request your copy when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Our current Connect with Skip weekend teaching series is From the Edge of Eternity, so let's open our Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter 5 as we join Skip Heitzig for this message. I had a friend who lost his grandmother a few years ago, and we affectionately called her by the name of Grandma Boo. That's what she was known by all of her kids and grandkids and great grandkids as Grandma Boo. She died at 99, almost 100.

We were hoping that she'd make it to 100, but she didn't. She loved life, Grandma Boo did, but she was groaning for glory. And no wonder she lost her daughter. She was there to bury her daughter. She buried her own grandson. Several of her friends died. And so I remember when she said, you know, I think I know more people now in heaven than I do on earth. And I think I'm ready now to leave earth and be in heaven. So as good as this life was, she knew that there was something far better after this life. What a testimony. There was a guy in Michigan who lived over 100 years of age who also had a joy for life.

True story. And he was known in his neighborhood as Uncle Johnson. That's how everybody knew him, Uncle Johnson. He was a happy-go-lucky guy. One day he was outside gardening and a friend walked by and heard him singing praise songs and said, Uncle Johnson, well, you're sure happy today, aren't you? He said, well, you know, I am happy. And here's why.

I've been thinking lately and I've been thinking this. If the crumbs of joy which fall from the master's table in this world are so good, what do you think that great loaf in glory must be like? You know, death is a blessing.

And here's why. The Bible says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. As good as you might look now, and you can get the best suit on and the nicest dress on and look trimmed and proper, anything that decays cannot inhabit or inherit something which is incorruptible, a permanent home. Erwin Lutzer wrote a great book called One Minute After You Die. And in that book he writes, Only on this side of the curtain is death our enemy. Just beyond the curtain, the monster turns out to be our friend. The label death is still on the bottle, but the contents are eternal life. Death is our friend because it reminds us that heaven is near.

How near? As near as a heartbeat, as near as an auto accident, as near as a stray bullet, as near as a plane crash. If our eyes could see the spirit world, we might find that we are already at its gates. But death is not the end of the road. It's the bend in the road. It leads to somewhere. We find that the tomb, the grave, is really the entrance into life.

The only way we know that, the only way we would ever see that is by looking through the lens of scriptures, only by looking through the lens of the Word of God that we understand anything there is about this life, death, the afterlife, heaven, only through that lens. Back in 1999 there was a movie that was out and you probably either saw it or you heard of it called The Matrix. And the whole premise of the movie The Matrix was that this visible world is nothing but a virtual reality computer program. And that everybody's living in this delusion of physicality and we see people and see things and experience things, but really it's just people plugged in to a common source, a common life, a common computer.

And it's just a computer program. And so toward the beginning of the film, Morpheus says to Neo, who's sort of the main actor of the film, he says, I have two pills in my hand. Take the blue pill, wake up in your own bed, believe whatever you want. Take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland. Now just a few people in that film saw beyond the curtain into the really real world.

And I've discovered that there's a whole world filled with people who have taken the blue pill. They wake up every morning, they believe whatever they want about life, death, and the afterlife, and only a few people have peered beyond this to the really real world. I hear people say, well, I don't buy into the supernatural.

I live in the real world. Paul the Apostle would say, okay, this is the real world, but there's a really real world, even more real and much more permanent than this one. Well, last week we were in 1 Thessalonians 4, last week and the week before. We discovered some things about death in that message. We discovered that when we die, our relationship with Christ is actually deepened. We discovered that after death, there's a great reunion. If you're a believer in Christ, you will reunite with moms and dads and children and brothers and sisters and friends who are also believers. It will be a great reunion in heaven. And also, we touched on the idea of the future resurrection.

But here's the question today. After we die, until the resurrection, what will life be like? What will we look like?

What will our form be like? What is the experience now at the point of Christian departure, death, until the resurrected body? Let's look at 2 Corinthians 5, the first eight verses, and let's just skim them first. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven. If indeed having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Paul brings up three important truths. First is our destination, second is our frustration, and the third is our affirmation. He tells us what we know, he tells us why we groan, and he tells us when we're confident, which is always. Let's just look more carefully at verse one at our destination. Now this is what we know, for we know that if our earthly house, this tent is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Do you notice how frequently Paul uses such terminology as we know, like he says here?

You never read Paul saying, got my fingers crossed and I guess, I hope, boy wouldn't it be great if? But he uses this unambiguous, definite language we know, even back in 1 Thessalonians. He says, we don't want you to be ignorant brethren, as if to say, let me dispel any ignorance that there may be.

I want you to know. Now what is it we know? We know, according to verse one, that when we leave earth as a Christian, we go to heaven. We know that when we move from this tent, this physical body, we go to a permanent temple, a house.

Now the analogy was simple, and everybody understood it in the first century. Because there were still people back then who lived in tents, they were nomadic dwellers, and there still are some today in the Middle East, Bedouins. They'll pitch their tent, their animals will feed and graze until there's no more food, then they'll move on and pitch their tent somewhere else. Paul himself, this was his profession, he was a tent maker.

So the analogy is clear. One is temporary, that's the tent, one is permanent, that's the house, the building. One is flimsy, that's the tent, one is sturdy, that's the building. One is weak, that's the tent, one is strong, that's the building. Also, any Jewish person reading this would maybe think back immediately to the tabernacle in the wilderness, where God was once worshiped in a tent until they moved to a permanent location called the temple, known in Judaism as the house.

That's what they called it, the house. So here's the principle in verse one. The principle is this, the way we look when we die isn't the way we're going to look forever.

Can I get a hallelujah out of that one? The way we look when we die isn't the way we're going to look forever. The real me is spirit. This is only a tent you're looking at.

But the real me is able to convey and communicate who I am via this medium called the human body. But it's temporary. And if you've ever camped, you love to go out in a tent, it's a lot of fun, but not for very long. I once went camping for three months. I took a trip around the United States, had a truck and a tent, and I'd set it up every night.

You know, honestly, I had fun. But I'm over it. You know, after a few days, you start longing for things like a shower, walls, a real bed. It's something very temporary. Your body is like a tent.

Your body is temporary. And after a while, the threads start to unravel. After a while, the flaps become more prominent. After a while, the tent starts to leak. It's just the nature of the temporary body. Now, it's interesting how some people want to make their tent live forever or look like it's a brand new model, younger than it really is.

So they'll stretch the flaps and nip and tuck and dye the threads. And somebody will go, wow, they died. They were so young.

There were 140 when they died. Are you kidding? Now, Paul calls our body a tent. James goes a step further and says, not only is it that temporary, it's even less temporary. He says, what is your life?

It is a vapor that appears for a time and then vanishes away. So James says, here's your body. Here's your life. That's it. And then another comes.

That's the next generation. And then another and then another and then another. We are temporary.

Our bodies are meant to not last. We take down the tent. In fact, did you know the last letter Paul ever wrote was 2 Timothy? And in chapter 4, toward the very end of the end of his life, he says to young Timothy, for I know that the time of my departure is at hand. That little phrase, that little verse, the time of my departure, the word is anelusis. It means it's time to take down the tent and move on.

It's a word he used. He was vacating the tent. Now, look back at verse 1 and notice that we trade in the tent for a building. If our earthly house, this tent is destroyed, we have a building from God. Now, what is he referring to when he says the building? Some people believe it's heaven itself. Others say, well, it's more specifically a mansion in heaven, as Jesus promised in John 14, verse 2. In my Father's house, there are many mansions. The building then is the heavenly mansion. It seems, however, in reading the text that Paul is speaking about something more close than that, something we wear, something we're clothed with. It makes more sense as I read this in context that the building from God must be a reference to our glorified resurrected body.

Okay. There is a different view. There's a third view. And I just touched on it last week. I want to elaborate a little bit this week. Some people believe that the building from God that Paul is referring to is a temporary intermediate body that we receive upon death as we wait for our bodies, then buried in the ground, to be resurrected. Now, we can't be dogmatic on this.

This is only a possibility. And by the way, it's a view I do not lean to, but I just want to cover it today. Some people think this way. Just as there's an intermediate heaven that won't last forever because God will make a new heaven and a new earth, and that's our ultimate destination, then there must be an intermediate body to enjoy that intermediate heaven until we get to the new heaven and the new earth.

And so they'll cite examples. For example, Moses, who died but was at the transfiguration with Moses and Jesus or Elijah and Jesus, and the disciples saw him. Moses was dead, but he had some physical form so he could talk and they knew it was Moses. Or this view will say, look at Paul the Apostle who said, I was caught up into the third heaven, 2 Corinthians 12. And he says, whether I was in the body or out of the body, I don't know, only God knows.

And so this view will say, because of his uncertainty whether he was in or out of the body, it must mean that he had some different form, different than his earthly body. Well, the disagreement comes in verse 1 as to what period of time he was referring to. Was he referring to immediately after death or was he referring to eventually after death? Notice in verse 1, Paul tells us what happens if, not when, for we know that if our earthly house, this tent is destroyed. Now here's Paul waiting for Jesus to come back, hoping he'll come back in his lifetime. But if that doesn't happen, if I die in the meantime, then he tells the rest of the story. So simply this verse is giving you and I a way to contrast something temporary with somewhere permanent. He's basically saying, yeah, we live in the real world, but there's a really real world that's much better and more permanent.

Like the little girl, I love the story. She was walking with grandpa one evening and she looked up and she saw the stars starting to sparkle and come out. And she said, Grandpa, if heaven looks this good on the wrong side, Grandpa, can't you imagine how good it must look when we're on the right side? So Paul says, here we are in this temporary body.

On the other side, it looks much better. So that's our destination. That's what we know.

And that's in general terms. Now he expresses the frustration. This is why we groan.

Notice that's what he says. For in this, verse 2, we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven. If indeed having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. Let me first tell you what Paul is not saying. Paul is not expressing the pagan Greek view, the view of Plato, the Platonic view that says the body is a prison, we're trapped, and death is good because it frees us to be who we're meant to be. This was not Paul the apostle expressing some morbid desire for death. This isn't a Herman Munster theology, some ghoulish, weird, I really just want to die.

No, quite the opposite. What he is hoping for is for the Lord Jesus Christ to return so that there has to be nothing in between him and that experience of the full presence of God in the resurrected body. He's groaning for glory. He's eager for Jesus to return so that he can experience his glorified body. He uses the word groan. It means to sigh with longing.

How descriptive. Here's Paul going groaning, sighing with longing. Groaning, longing for heaven.

That's everyone who is a follower of Jesus. And we'll hear more of this message, Groaning for Glory, coming up next time here in Connect with Skip weekend edition as we continue the series From the Edge of Eternity. This series provides answers to deep questions about life after death that we all have. So why not share it with a friend? You can order the entire series on 17 audio CDs for only $39 plus shipping. Find out more at connectwithskip.com or when you call us at 1-800-922-1888.

And be sure you ask about our current January resource offer. Here's more on that. The best biographies make you feel like you personally intimately know the person you've read about. From Mozart to Mother Teresa, Sojourner Truth to Steve Jobs. It's exciting to learn the details of influential people. But one biography stands out above the rest, the biography of God.

Here's the author, Skip Heitzig. There's nothing more elevating to mankind than the study of God himself. Discover the omnipotence, paradoxes, and mystery central to God's being. And remove the limits you may have placed on who God is. I've noticed that almost every problem that a person has in their life stems from an inadequate view of God. Skip's new book is Our Thanks when you give $35 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air.

Call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. So are you longing for heaven? Join in next time for the conclusion of the teaching, Groaning for Glory, here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-30 00:50:41 / 2023-12-30 00:59:29 / 9

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