Sermons

Summary: Paul was not putting his body down by calling it a tent. He was just emphasizing that by comparison his earthy body was no big deal in light of the body God had made for him in heaven.

Carl Sagen is one of the leading minds in our world in the realm of

astronomy. He has played a major role in the space expeditions to the planets.

He is responsible for a record which was on board the Voyager's one and two.

It is now wondering between the stars, and it will tell any aliens who intercept

the space craft about earth. I was impressed in reading his book Broca's Brain

to find him in a very subtle way giving thanks to God for the kind of universe

He has given us. He writes, "For myself, I like a universe that includes much

that is unknown, and at the same time much that is knowable. A universe in

which everything is known would be static and dull--a universe that is

unknowable is no fit place for a thinking being. The ideal universe for us is

very much like the universe we inhabit. And I would guess that this is not

really much of a coincidence."

He is saying, God gives us plenty, but keeps plenty hidden also, so we have

the joy of endless discovery. This is true also for the unseen realm called the

intermediate state. What happens to us between the death of our body and the

resurrection of our body? This period is called the intermediate state. God has

revealed some fascinating facts about it, but has also concealed so much that it

is a mystery that makes men curious, and sends them searching the Bible for

every hint that opens up some light on the subject.

Here in II Cor. 5 Paul tells us some very interesting things about the

intermediate state. It seems strange that Paul wrote more about heaven to the

earthy and sensual materialists of Corinth than to anyone else. Paul knew that

the only way to get people to overcome their earthiness was to get them to set

their affections on things above. Heavenly minded people do more to change

the earth for the better than those who affections are only earth centered.

John Wesley proved this in eighteenth century England. You think we live

in a decaying society now, but the books and plays of that day were so immoral,

and language so foul, they would be considered offensive even in our day of

declining morality. Prostitution was sky high, and the way they had of

disposing of the fruit of their sin was even worse than the abortion scandal of

our time. They just gave birth to their babies and then let them die. 74.5% of

the babies in 18th century England died before the age of five. The rich

brought their way out of every sin and crime, and the poor were hung at a rate

of 10 to 15 a day for 160 different offenses. The church did nothing for it too

was corrupt.

Then came Wesley, a man with heaven on his mind. He preached it and

taught it, and people began to change their ways. Justice and morality were

restored. Babies started to live again, and the death rate fell from 74.5 to

31.8%. People's health began to improve, more flowers were planted, and the

whole earthly scene was changed, because people were challenged to become

heavenly minded. The prayer, Thy will be done as it is in heaven, can only be

answered when people know more about heaven. It is not possible to be so

heavenly minded you are no earthly good, for if you really are heavenly minded

you will do earth a lot of good.

It is important that we know all we can about heaven, for it becomes a key

factor in what we do on earth. This was certainly the case with Paul. Note,

first of all--

I. PAUL'S ASSURANCE.

Paul begins this chapter, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is

destroyed, we have a building from God, and eternal house in heaven, not built

by human hands." Paul was fully assured that the death of his body was a loss

of a tent and a gain of a building. It is not much of a threat to tell the

homeless, I will destroy your tent, if by so doing you made them eligible to live

in a mansion. No wonder Paul was not afraid to die, for he said it was far

better to die and be with the Lord. Paul knew he had a better body awaiting

him.

This body of time is but our temporary dwelling, and Paul calls it a tent. It

is as if this life was but a nomad journey, but our body, after we die, is a

permanent residence, where we settle down for good. Paul was a great pioneer.

He lived in tents often as he traveled the world, but no man wants to do this

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