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TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 5:1-10
He was a brave man and he loved Jesus. And it did not matter to him who was around, no one would intimidate Him, because he just had to talk about Jesus. And as he was talking about Jesus this day it was not a very receptive audience, that was listening. He had been seized by the teachers of the law who did not like what he was saying and had dragged him before the Sanhedrin.
As the Sanhedrin listened to Stephen as they heard Him call them stiff necked people with uncircumcised hearts, as he accused them of murdering the Messiah, they became furious and they gnashed their teeth at him. They covered their ears and screamed at the top of their voices at Stephen. Then they all rushed at him, grabbing a hold of him and dragging him out of the city to stone Him.
Just moments before the crushing stones would take his life, Stephen looked up into the heavens and he saw the clouds roll away and Stephen saw Jesus standing by the throne of God. And while they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "LORD JESUS, Receive MY SPIRIT" then he fell on his knees and cried out, "LORD DO NOT HOLD THIS AGAINST THEM."
Stephen stared death right in the face and he saw victory, Stephen faced death with confidence and without fear. How could he be so confident, when he knew his life was about to end?
There are many in the world today who not only do not face death with confidence, but who are terribly afraid of death. They either ignore thinking about death or they make fun of death. They do anything they can to keep the thought of death at a safe distance, because they find itís reality to be so crippling. The Hebrew writer in 2:14, refers to them as "those who all there lives are held in slavery by the fear of death."
Yes many fear death, maybe even some here today? But there are still some, who like Stephen stare death in the face and see it as sweet victory -- For THEM ALL FEAR IS GONE AS THEY FACE DEATH WITH CONFIDENCE!!
During the last year Iíve had the privilege of witnessing such confidence in the face of death first hand... I saw Judy, Walter Speedy and Ray Good stare death right in the face. These three like Shadrac, Meshack and Abendgo faced the fiery furnace. They knew God had the power to deliver them -
If we are in Christ, we too can face death with the confidence of a Stephen or a Ronnie Dukes, because we too realize that death our enemy, is an enemy that Paul says in I Corinthians 15:26 will be destroyed. An enemy that will be defeated when we die.
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 Paul gives us 4 principles that TELL how we can face death with confidence. We too can stare at the bony fingers of death without fear and with confidence:
[II CORINTHIANS 5:1-10]
I. WE CAN FACE DEATH WITH CONFIDENCE WHEN WE REALIZE THAT WE ARE LIVING IN A TENT
2 times in these verses Paul refers to our body/physical earthly life as "living in a tent." Now Paul knew a lot about tents -- he was a tent maker and he was trying to teach us something about OUR physical life when he compares it to a tent....
There are 2 qualities about tents that I want to apply to our lives. And both of these qualities underscore the fact why living in a tent is only meant to be temporary. After Hurricane Andrew many were forced to live in a tent when
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