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Summary: Heaven, salvation, eternal life, spirituality

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DO WE GO TO HEAVEN IMMEDIATELY

2 Cor. 5: 1-10 (p 818) January 22, 2012

INTRODUCTION:

Back in the 90’s…the 1990’s not the 1890’s I spent a lot of time on a place called the Appalachian Trail…It’s a 2300 mile trail through some of the most wooded, hilly, and mountainous places in our country…I’ve done about 250 miles out of the 2300…It starts in Georgia and ends in Main…specifically on Mt. Katahdin the last 12 miles are a mountain climb.

I spent 10 days in 1997 doing the last hundred miles in Maine ending with a 12 mile mountain climb up Katahdin…we backpacked the entire time…we made due with whatever we had, we cooked on a little stove, ate MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and slept in tents…Little tents because every bit of weight you saved was something you didn’t have to carry in your pack…and the difference between 45 pounds and 50 pounds at the end of the day is huge.

I loved those 10 days…I enjoyed the 100 mile wilderness…I saw a moose in the wild…but it was difficult living in a tent…a very small tent…the bugs were bad…it rained hard in Maine…It got cold at night…and one night the wind put my tent in a tree before I could take it down good…it smelled pretty interesting on day 10 also.

When I got back to my house in Lawrenceburg….the one with indoor plumbing, a king sized bed, a wonderful shower and a pantry full of food I knew…I wasn’t designed to live in a tent…

Listen to the Apostle Paul - 2 Cor 5: 1-10 (p 818)

The Apostle Paul compares our lives here on earth to the 10 days I spent living in a tent in Maine.

His entire point is that we as Christian’s are on a journey…we’re trying to get to the Mountain top…we’re trying to get home…

It’s essential every one of us realize.

I RIGHT NOW WE’RE CAMPING OUT IN A TENT

This is true whether we’re Christians or not…this is true regardless of our eternal destination…

Both the child of God and those who have never been born again live in the same earthly body…And regardless of how many trips we make to the gym or the plastic surgeon…it gets old, it wears out..

Paul uses such temporary terms to describe them. There’s no doubt how feeble they are…Jars of clay, Tents, perishable, mortar.

Even if your Raquel Welch who looks amazing at 70, or Jack LaLanne who is his 80’s could do 100 sit ups, or Gary Player who takes such good care of his body he could outwork someone half his age…you will not live forever…100 is pushing it.

[I had a birthday dinner with a wonderful woman named Ada Corn in Lawrenceburg to celebrate her 100th birthday. They had it catered by Morrison’s cafĂ© a full spread, but Ada didn’t eat anything from the buffet….she had 8 bowls of soft serve ice cream and one of her daughters…(she was 80) told her that wasn’t good for her…and I laughed and said, “come on, what’s it gonna do? Shorten her life?]

Paul talks about our earthly tent being destroyed. He says that at times it feels like we are naked in the cold…and as long as we are camping out in this earthly tent here on earth…we groan and are burdened.

These temporary housings are susceptible to sickness, disease, pain, accidents, and even death… Like you…I’ve had my share of groaning.

[I remember being on the floor with a ruptured disc in my lower back…the spasms wracked my body and took by breath away…I could not sit, walk, or even move…the only thing I could do was groan…longing for relief…hoping the pain would subside…]

Some of you have experienced even worse…cancer, multiple sclerosis. Cystic fibrosis, Cerebral Palsy…horrible heart issues…things that remind you daily of how fragile and temporary this body is…constant reminders that make you groan to be clothed with your heavenly dwelling…dreaming of the day “what is mortal will be swallowed up by life”.

Some of our difficulties will be short lived, some will last the entire journey…I cannot answer the question about why… only God can answer that question…and some will reject God because of this question… The only answer I can give is one I’ve come to understand scripturally and very personally.

“God doesn’t want me to make this world my home and Satan does!” As you remember when Paul got to glimpse “paradise” he was caught up into the 3rd heaven…he didn’t know if it was a physical or spiritual event, but it didn’t matter…he heard and saw “paradise” It motivated him to long for heaven.

But he writes, to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, these was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me.” 2 Cor. 12: 8 says, 3 times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away but he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made prefect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

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