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2 Corinthians 5 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 18, 2024 6:00 am

2 Corinthians 5 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 18, 2024 6:00 am

Pastor Skip begins a message showing you that what God has for you is infinitely better than what the world offers.

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Listen, dear one, the very worst that God has for you is better than the very best the world has for you.

So if this is why I trusted God, okay, that is much better than anything the world would give you apart from God. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip begins a message showing you that what God has for you is infinitely better than what the world offers. But first, here's a resource that will help you understand what God's Word says about the future that's coming. The Book of Acts says we need to understand the days we live in and how we should be spending our time, energy, and finances. The first step is information, and this month to complement Skip's series, The End is Near, we're offering the excellent Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy by Tim LaHaye and Mark Hitchcock. This 450-page hardcover book is a reference guide to what the Bible says about the end times, covering over 150 topics from Armageddon to the wrath of the Lamb. The Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is a comprehensive survey from the world's foremost experts on biblical prophecy. Here is what Tim LaHaye said about the importance of understanding what the Bible says concerning the future. To me, the signs of the times are evident that we're in the last days.

In fact, I call them the last days of the last days. I believe that the people that had a great deal to do with the early church were the expositors of the Scripture but gave Christian evidences. Why do we believe what we believe? And one of the reasons we believe what we believe is because of prophecy. This Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy is our gift to you this month when you encourage the growth of Connect with Skip with a gift of $50 or more. Make your financial vote of support at connectwithskip.com or by calling 1-800-922-1888. With the Harvest Handbook of Bible Prophecy on your desk, you'll find yourself reaching for it frequently as events in these days speed forward. Receive this excellent hardcover book with your gift.

Go to connectwithskip.com or call 1-800-922-1888. Now let's join Skip for today's lesson. We'll be in 2 Corinthians 5. In the third chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul made the great contrast between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was awesome, glorious, attended to miraculously, but the New Covenant even more so.

And if the old one is passing away, how much more awesome is the new one, which is eternal. Then in the next chapter, chapter 4, he, after talking about trials and afflictions that he and others went through, he said in chapter 4, verse 1, therefore, since we have this ministry, the ministry of proponents of this New Covenant, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. We don't give up. We don't lose our confidence. We don't walk around bummed out and downcast. We don't lose heart. He goes on to tell us why in verse 8.

We are hard pressed or pressured on every side, yet not crushed. We are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed. And we told you how Paul lived a life of death threats. His life was on the edge, everywhere he went. He didn't know if he was going to live or die.

He was often in prison, not knowing what the verdict would be. And if you think about it, for Paul the Apostle, the ministry was detrimental to his own health. From the day he received his calling on the Damascus Road, his physical well-being was on the ropes.

It was detrimental to his physical health. So he's in Damascus, death threats. Immediately, they have to let him over the wall in a basket. He goes on a missionary journey. He's out by Lystra, Derby, Iconium. They took Paul and stoned him, thought he was dead.

Of course, he wasn't. He gets back up, keeps going. He gets to Corinth, creates a stir in the city, has to go before the council, goes to Ephesus, a riot breaks out, makes it to Jerusalem after prophets are saying, don't go, don't go, don't go.

There's going to be arrests and beatings and all sorts of things. He's like, ah, who cares? He just presses on, gets to Jerusalem, gets arrested, and 40 men take an oath.

Forty. Forty assassins take an oath that they will not eat nor sleep until they've killed Paul. Well, that was found out.

That didn't happen. He goes to Caesarea, spends two years trial after trial, eventually gets on a ship, goes to Rome, goes to jail, gets let out, gets arrested again. Finally, he is beheaded. gets arrested again.

Finally, he is beheaded. So when Paul talks about his own personal trials, it's not like, man, it's been a hard day for me. Somebody pulled out in front of me on Osuna. Or the Blake's Lauterberger, the meat wasn't done right. What a trial.

Or I'm having a few financial trials. His life was on the line. So for him to say, we don't lose heart, for him to say, we're hard pressed, but we keep going is monumental.

Well, in verse 16 of chapter four, I'm just catching you up to why he begins chapter five, the way he does verse 16 of chapter four. Therefore, here it is again, we do not lose heart, even though our outward man, physical person, is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. Michelangelo not only created beautiful paintings, but many, many sculptures. He was a sculptor who made sculptures, statues.

And he typically worked with a medium of marble. And he said about the statues he made, he said, when the marble wastes away, the statue grows. When the marble wastes away, the statue grows. Have you found out that as your physical body is wasting away, getting older, you're feeling the limitations, the marble is wasting away, the statue grows, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

As the marble wastes away, the statue grows. You become more and more a work of art. So that's the thought of verse 16, though the outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day. Then in chapter four, verse 18, the last verse of that chapter, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are not seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. And last week, we began the study of this chapter answering the question, how do you endure? How do you stay faithful when life is hard, when life is against you, when you face adversity? That was sort of the question that we posed that Paul answers in this chapter.

And now we continue that thought. And we discover by looking at these verses, and especially that last verse, verse 18, that endurance is something that comes when you are able to see beyond your present experience, beyond your present affliction. When you know it's there, you see that, but then you raise your eyes above the horizon of the pain and the suffering and what seems hard and harsh and even meaningless.

And you look at something beyond that that is eternal. That is the secret in enduring. It hurts now. It's not always going to hurt. It's difficult now.

It's going to get better. Eternally, in the eternal realm, do you think Paul, the apostle, right now regrets any of the suffering he went through on earth? Do you think Paul, the apostle, right now in heaven, says, Man, I just wish I'd had a cushier life and not gone out and been so radical for Jesus everywhere I went, having to open my mouth and get in trouble. Do you think he regrets that? Not at all.

Not at all. And Paul lived that way. It wasn't that that's his present experience in heaven.

While he was on earth, he endured by looking beyond the horizon. In Hebrews 11, it describes the people of faith. You know that chapter, the hall of fame of faith. And when it gets to Moses, it says something interesting, that Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater treasures than the riches of Egypt, for he looked to the reward.

He looked to the reward. And it says he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Moses had the ability to look beyond Pharaoh, beyond the affliction that he was experiencing in Egypt, and he endured as seeing God who is invisible.

That's the same thought here. Endurance is the ability to see beyond. If you think about it, for Paul, or in this case for Moses that I just quoted in Hebrews 11, Moses gave up everything and got nothing from a worldly perspective. He gave up everything. He was probably next in line to be Pharaoh, since that Pharaoh had no sons, but only had daughters, and the daughter had an adopted son named Moses. Moses could easily have been next in line to be the ruler of Egypt. Even if he wasn't, he had all the wealth, all the strength, all the wealth, all the status. But he said, that's rubbish, because I'm looking beyond. So from a worldly perspective, he was giving up everything for nothing, but from a spiritual perspective, he wasn't losing much. That's how he saw it. He saw him, he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

He saw him, he endured as seeing him who is invisible. You've heard me say this, but I want you to plant this in your heart if you're going through difficulties right now, and you're thinking, man, I trusted the Lord, and yet here I am. I prayed, and I trusted, and I waited on God, and this is what I got. Listen, dear one, the very worst that God has for you is better than the very best the world has for you. So if this is all I trusted God, okay, that is much better than anything the world would give you apart from God, because you can have the whole—what is the profit if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul? So all that the world would give you apart from God, you're still apart from God. But with him, the very worst he allows you to go through or doles out is much better than the very best the world has, and you'll only get that if, like Paul and like Moses, you can endure as seeing him who is invisible, if you look to the reward. So with that in mind, he continues, and he gets very personal now.

Chapter 5, verse 1, 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. Paul is looking to the future here, and Paul says about the future, we know, not we hope, not we think, not we're crossing our fingers and you never know, but we know. There's certainty in those words.

We know. Most everyone that I've met wants to know the future. We're going to be starting a series this weekend about the future. But I have noticed through the years how—or I should put it this way—to what lengths a person will go to to know the future. They'll go to a medium, have a seance, get their palms read, read their horoscope, hang on every word.

They want to know the future. When I was unsaved in high school and a friend introduced me to a lot of bad things, one of the things he introduced me to was spirit writing. He said, you know, if you open yourself up to the spirit world and you ask them to take control, they will actually tell you your future. So I said, I'm in.

Sign me up. And I remember one night asking the spirits to take control of my body, and they did. And my arm started moving apart from my volition and started moving in different directions as a paper was on the back of my guitar. And eventually it slowed down and it started writing sentences out, telling me that I had lived several past lives and even named the occupations and positions I held in previous life expressions. So I walked away from that, believing in reincarnation, that I was simply a reincarnated soul in a different body than I had previously. And the spirit told me that I was not going to make it back from where I was. I happened to have this experience down in Mexico in Mazatlan, and we were taking the train back.

This is my high school Spanish class, just to show you how early it was and how weird I got at such a young age. My weirdness went way, way, way back. And so I was afraid to take that train back to the United States because I now knew the future, I thought, that I was going to die because the spirit told me you're going to die.

It just created morbid fear. So in looking to the future, Paul says, there's certain things we know about the future. We know that if our earthly house, this tent, okay, stop there. Paul is speaking about your body, and it's interesting that he describes the physical body as a tent. Now, when you think of a tent, you think of something temporary, you think of something flimsy, and you think of something usually not attractive. I know REI is some really cool looking tents, but if you're living in it for several years, it doesn't look very cool.

So it's something that is meant to be enjoyed on a temporary basis. Paul is likening the physical body to a tent, a flimsy, temporary structure. And it makes sense. Paul was a tent maker. He made these dwellings out of cloth and out of animal hides. Skeinapia is the word that the Greek uses for tent maker. That's what Paul's occupation was. So it would just be natural as he's making these tents to think, boy, this is so much like our body.

So he says, we know, this is something we know about the future. If our earthly house, this tent, that is our physical body, is destroyed, we have a building, something more permanent and long-lasting, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Any of you like camping? Okay, ever stay in tents when you camp? Raise your hand.

Okay, hands down. How many of you have stayed in a tent for a week straight? Raise your hand. Have stayed in a tent for a week straight? Raise your hand. Okay, hands down. How many of you stayed in a tent a month straight?

Okay, fewer hands. How many of you stayed in a tent for over years, every night? Wow.

Okay, so you win the award. I once traveled around the United States with my step truck and a tent and a buddy. We had all our supplies and we lived in tents for three months. It was fun. I gotta tell you, after even like a few days, I missed things. Like, showers was a big one. I really missed that.

And everybody who came in contact with me missed my showers as well. And you realize it is only something good that is temporary. But notice what he says. We know that if this earthly house, this tent is destroyed. The word destroyed means taken down.

Think of a guy camping, folding up the tent. It's done. In the last letter that Paul wrote, 2 Timothy chapter 4, he said, I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have finished the course. I have fought the fight, the good fight. And he said, now there's laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, our righteous judge, will give me in that day, not only me, but all those who love his appearing. But he said, the time of my departure is at hand. And the word he used there, like similar to here, means to take down a tent and move on.

Take down a tent and move on. So he is describing death, physical death. That is why at a funeral, I never say a person died. I say the person moved. The tent has been taken down and he has moved on.

It's really inaccurate to say he died. Yes, from a physical standpoint, we understand that. But as a believer, he's taken the tent down and he has moved on taken the tent down and he has moved on into something eternal and something more permanent. 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.

The word groan means sigh with longing. Ever listened to yourself when you get up in the morning? If you're not that self-aware, start listening. And you'll notice something with each passing year. You'll notice the groaning.

Oh man, and my wife will say, well, you know, I'll make these noises and she'll go, is everything okay? Just life, you know? But it's more than that.

It's more than aches and pains and limitations and muscle sores and spasms and lumbar fusions and all that. It's a sigh with a longing, a longing for something permanent, a longing for glory. And so we get up in the morning, we groan a little bit. We look in the mirror, we groan a little bit more. It's okay to groan, it's scriptural.

In this we groan, claim that promise. Earnestly desiring to be clothed, this is the reason we do it, with our habitation, which is from heaven. Now, don't think that Paul had a death wish. He was not expressing some platonic philosophy of the body is horrible and I seek to be free from it. And some Christians get into almost a morbid description of life and death and I just want to die and get out of here.

I don't. I know what awaits me and that's great and I feel that more and more, but honestly, I want to do as much for the Lord as possible before I leave this body. I want to seize every opportunity. I want to take as many people with me to heaven as I possibly can and until that happens, I don't want to go anywhere. That's why Paul said, for me to live is Christ.

To die is gain. I'm in a straight between two. I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better, but to remain here is more needful for you. So he said, I don't really know which is best for which I want more.

I know which is better to be with the Lord, but I also want to be used. So Paul, when he says this, is not expressing a death wish. He is simply noticing his own physical limitations. And so he says, we groan.

We want to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven. Now think about Paul's experience. Toward the end of this book, chapter 12, Paul will say something that, well, he's the only one that I've ever met who could really say what he said. He said, I know a man in Christ 14 years ago, whether in the body or out of the body, I don't really know, but he was caught up into the third heaven and he saw and heard things that are inexpressible. Beyond words, I can't even describe what it was like. And then he said, of such a one I will boast.

In other words, I'm talking in the third person about this person, but I'm really the guy who experienced it. That's Skip Heitig with a message from his series Expound, 2 Corinthians. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. God works powerfully through the generous support of friends like you, changing lives all around the world for eternity. And with your gift today, you'll help expand the ministry of Connect with Skip Heitig to broadcast into more major U.S. cities and connect more people to the life-changing message of Christ. To give today, go to connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888.

Again, that's 800-922-1888. Thank you. Be sure to tune in tomorrow to hear a message from Skip about the peace the Spirit gives a believer.

That's the idea of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee. So just remember, when your Christian life is at its best and you've ever had those moments of peace and joy and purpose, you ain't seen nothing yet. That's just the preview. That's just the trailer.

The real movie's coming up. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection. Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-18 05:04:50 / 2024-04-18 05:13:41 / 9

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