Summary: PENTECOST 4(B) - June 16, 2002 - We live by faith not by sight: groaning for what is yet to come but confident of what we already have.
WE LIVE BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT
June 16, 2002
1Now 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. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found na-ked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
If you have a chance to look at the bulletin, we see we live by faith and not by sight. We will concentrate on this today. Again, it might seem strange that we would say such a thing; since we are so used to looking at things that have value to us, things of this world. Yet, our world does this very same thing, doesn’t it? Some scientists spend their entire life looking into outer space for things that are unseen just believing and knowing that something is there. Once in a great, great while they might find that something which they are looking for by faith. Other scientists also spend a lifetime looking at the intricacies of inner space, looking for the smallest divisions of creation. They divide everything into molecules and atoms, and now they have gone even into particles smaller than that--things called quarks!
They keep looking, knowing there is something there even though they cannot see it. Thankfully, for you and I as believers we live by faith, not by sight, looking ahead knowing that there is something there for each one of us. In the first letter of John, towards the end of the Bi-ble, we are told: "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (JOHN 3:2). This is talking about the return of Jesus and talking about the fact that we are His children. That fits in with our theme and our parts today:
WE LIVE BY FAITH NOT BY SIGHT. We are
I. Groaning for what is yet to come; but as we are groaning for what is yet to come, we are also II. Confident in what we already have.
I. Groaning for what is yet to come
Now the Apostle Paul was facing, not a dilemma, but was trying to explain the dilemma for the believers here. The fact is that they were people who lived on earth and put their confi-dence in the things that they could see and feel and touch. Yet, it would all come to an end. These believers had become quite comfortable with the things that they could see and feel and touch. But Paul says, "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."
He talks about that time when they would face death, when that earthly tent which refers to the body, does not last forever. When that is destroyed, there is yet an eternal house waiting for each one of them. He wants them to remember and look forward to that. No different than you and I, these believers during the time of the Apostle Paul, were being blessed with bless-ings beyond all comparison. Sometimes they forgot to look at what was ahead. They became comfortable in the things as they were. Paul says we look ahead, and we are anxious and ex-cited about the future. He says, "Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked." He realized that they had plenty of clothing and food to eat and a good house to live in. Yet, there is that eternal glory, that eternal house that was still ahead. For Paul as he lived in this tent, in this body which was only temporary, he was groaning for what was ahead. He was looking forward to the time when he would see the Lord face to face.