Summary: An Eternal DWELLING Awaits Us in Heaven.
The Groaning Tent
1. There is a lot in life for which we should be thankful. Thankfulness is a habit.
2. One minister had developed this habit well and took seriously the call to be thankful. People noticed that, no matter what happened, he was thankful.
3. One day a snow storm had dumped much snow on top of what had been icy pavement. The minister slipped and fell several times on his way from his car to the church building. The deacons could only shovel a narrow path, and the snow kept coming. People wondered what he would say.
4. He opened in prayer: “Lord, thank you that not every day is like this one!”
[adapted from Sermon Central]
5. Job was amazing; after he lost his family and wealth, he stated, “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
6. The truth is simple: this life has its good points, but often it is not so great. Even then we have something amazing to thank God for, eternal life. “Thank you, Lord, that eternity will not be like my short stay of this sinful earth.”
Main Idea: An Eternal DWELLING Awaits Us in Heaven (1)
I. Being Trapped in MORTAL Bodies Makes Us Groan (2-4a)
A. Life sometimes resembles Egyptian slavery: we groan
1. Exodus 6:5, “Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.”
2. Do you see how realistic a picture the Bible paints? Eras of life can be characterized by groaning – whether our burden be physical, spiritual, or emotional.
B. Our bodies are like the tents the children of Israel dwelt in for forty years
1. Paul, a tentmaker
2. Forty years in the wilderness in tents
3. Even the Tabernacle was a tent, not a permanent structure
Deuteronomy 1:33, [God] “…who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go…”
C. We are looking for a heavenly dwelling, a permanent resurrection body (like the Temple)
1. The Bible paints an imagery of us being pilgrims, nomads, strangers…
2. We want to set down our roots permanently… but this world keeps changing
3. We want security rather than a run of security marred by trauma and unexpected
4. When I visit the doctor: 2 professions are a result of the curse
D. Our presence in heaven apart from our bodies is being temporarily “naked”
II. The Holy Spirit is God’s GUARANTEE of Our Immortality (4b-5)
A. We wait not only for heaven, but for our resurrection bodies
B. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee, just as the Red Sea wind was for Israel
Exodus 15:10, “You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.”
C. Our mortality will be “drunk down” by immortality
• Like the Egyptian soldiers in the Red Sea
Illustration: Ordered books, received 3 volumes….bankrupt…lost my money; God cannot and will not declare bankruptcy…he will come through…
D. Is the Holy Spirit real in your life?
III. We Would Rather Be BODILESS in Heaven Awaiting Our New Bodies (6-8)
A. No soul sleep, but immediate presence (absent/at home)
• Thief on the cross “Today”
• Souls around the altar in Revelation 6
• Certain cults teach “soul sleep”
B. Walking by faith means walking in light of what we know will be
C. Our preference: to be with the Lord
When John Owen, the great Puritan, lay on his deathbed his secretary wrote (in his name) to a friend, "I am still in the land of the living." "Stop," said Owen. "Change that and say, 'I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living.'" [sermon central]
Jake was sharing with me something James McDonald shared: God doesn’t tell us too much about heaven; if he did, none of us would look both ways when we crossed the street!
IV. What We Do in Our Bodies MATTERS (9-10)
A. Our continuity of purpose: to please God
B. Everything will be evaluated (Ecclesiastes 12:14)
C. We will appear before God’s platform, the “place”
Exodus 15:16-18, “Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O LORD, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O LORD, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. The LORD will reign forever and ever."