Good morning everyone. It looks like summer finally arrived in Montreal. Temperatures are in the 30's into next week. Nice to have summer now that vacation is over. Always happens doesn't it? We are moving on to 2 Corinthians 5.
For the last three days we have looked at our purpose, our attitude in that purpose and some of the cost to living that purpose. To know the fact that we are expected to be faithful even if it leads to death could be frightening for people who continue to live according to the flesh, but it should not frighten those of us who understand according to the Spirit. We understand that this place is temporary and our home is elsewhere. So to face death should not be frightening and to face it due to fulfilling our purpose is a great honour. So, accepting this to be true Paul moves on to explain about our new dwelling.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. v. 1
To be honest I do not believe many of us give it much thought unless we are facing death. I think we have become pretty attached to this place and do not have any great desire to leave. It is this attachment that causes us difficulties because as servants of God possessions will come and go; people will come and go; homes will come and g0. Because of the nature of our service nothing of this place is permanent and we should try not to have the mentality of possessing anything. It really is lent to us for a time, or a season. When we start to live in the flesh then we face a lot of heartache as we lose things moving through the seasons. Our longing should never be for this place. Paul describes what our longing should be like:
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. vs. 2-4
Now we love our service and we have a a great desire for the lost, which is the reason we are here. However, there should be an overwhelming desire in us to be with Jesus, to be freed from our limitations and to enter into the eternal. My conviction on this is if we do not have this desire then we are ignorant of the truth or we are lost to the desires of our flesh. It is telling us that our love of other things is greater than our love for Jesus. Why? Because our purpose is to be with him:
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. v. 5
We need to check our attitude. Why is it that believers of the past were able to face death, even torture so bravely? Because they had the same attitude as Paul; they had absolutely nothing to lose:
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. vs. 6-8
Can we honestly say that we see many people serving Jesus fearlessly and boldly? Living by faith and not by sight is the same as saying we live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. This is why we should always work with confidence; we have nothing to lose. Nothing. These facts should change our aim, our goal, and even our purpose for living. We should only have one desire and that is to please Jesus:
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. vs. 9-10
Do we forget that? I hope not. We can't throw off this flesh yet but we can certainly make sure that it must submit to the Spirit. It requires a certain spiritual discipline and a proper vision of this place compared to the place prepared for us.
I think it would be good for each of us to take some time today and take a spiritual inventory of our attitude. You could ask yourself the question, what things in my life do I feel I could not live without? Your quick answer will be "nothing", but I want you to be honest with yourself? Are you prepared to leave it all now, including relationships, to be clothed in the eternal? Unless we are heavenly minded we are no earthly good in our service to our Jesus. We must be willing to lose it all.