Summary: Sharpen Your Faith-Vision 1) To see better your permanent home 2) To see clearly God’s judgment throne
How is your night vision? If you were to hike on a moonlit night, would you head out without a flashlight? You might be willing to try if you knew the terrain and weren’t going very far – like to the campsite washroom. Even then I doubt you would walk very quickly, as your eyes would strain to pick out feet-tripping rocks and roots. A nighttime hike would be much easier with a flashlight, or better yet, with a pair of night-vision goggles. But I don’t suppose many here own a pair of night-vision goggles. We just don’t have a real need to be able to see that well in the dark. Most of us are sleeping then or are at work in well-lit buildings.
It might not be imperative that you have good night vision but it is crucial for everyone to have good faith-vision. Faith-vision? Isn’t that an oxymoron considering faith is blind? Many people may think that faith is blind but it’s not. In fact, like a pair of night-vision goggles, faith helps us see what our eyes cannot. With the Apostle Paul’s help this morning we’re going to sharpen our faith-vision so that we can see better our permanent home, and see clearly God’s judgment throne. Let’s find out why it’s important for us to see these two things.
The first important truth faith-vision helps us see is that this world is not our home. Paul put it like this: “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. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling… so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:1, 2, 4b). Paul compares the life we have now – our body, our home, our situation in life – to living in a tent. Now I like tent-camping as much as the next outdoor enthusiast, but no matter how great the campsite, no matter how spacious the tent or how comfortable the air mattress, tent-camping can never deliver the restful sleep your own bed does at home. In fact I’d have to say that the best part of camping is coming home!
Isn’t it wonderful to hear Paul tell us then that this life is just temporary and that we have a better home, an eternal home we’re headed to? This heavenly home is so great because it’s built, not with human hands which all too often deliver shoddy workmanship, but by God himself. Now the purpose of this sermon is not to describe the glories of heaven. Paul doesn’t do that in our text. Instead he urges his readers to sharpen their faith-vision so that they don’t forget that this world is not their home. That’s both a warning and an encouragement.
It serves as a warning because when our faith-vision is not sharp, we treat this life as if it’s the only one we’ll have. We become more concerned about building up our bank account than building up our faith in Jesus. We browse dozens of websites to diagnose our latest ailment and to find a cure but don’t show that kind of diligence for the study of God’s Word which will strengthen our souls. We’ll spend an afternoon every week fixing things around the house and caring for the yard but don’t give a passing thought to how well our family’s spiritual life is running. But this life and all its tinselly glitter will be discarded like broken Christmas ornaments. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions here are like a stopover in an unfurnished shack! Sharpen your faith-vision so that Satan doesn’t dupe you into thinking this shack is home sweet home. There is more to come: heaven! But you won’t enjoy it if you put down the treasure of your faith to wallpaper this shack in an attempt to make it your home.
It’s also encouraging to know that this world is like living in a tent. Because it’s only temporary so are all the aches and pains you’ll have to endure. Paul said that we will continue to groan as we endure this life. We groan because our body doesn’t work the way it should. We groan because the person we married turns out to be a sinner and not the Mr. or Ms. Perfect we thought. We groan because our children disappoint us or because our parents seem to care more about their work than they do about us. A Christian may groan but should never despair. Paul said: “…we are always confident... 7 We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:6a, 7). Even while we suffer we have the confidence that this groaning will one day give way to grateful singing when Jesus takes away all that causes hardship. A sharp faith-vision helps us see that and motivates us to persevere.