2 Corinthians 5

 

 

We are taking a tour through the New Testament in chronological order. Today we are studying the fifth book, 2 Corinthians. This is Pauls fourth letter that he wrote, the first two was to the Christians in Thessalonica and this the second one (really the third one) to the Christians in Corinth. We date 1 Corinthians in 57 AD and 2 Corinthians in 58 AD. Paul wrote not just to Corinth but to the province of Achaia, Corinth was the capital.

 

The Greek city of Corinth had suffered defeat at the hands of the expanding Roman Republic in 146 BC, Corinths citizens were sold into slavery and shiploads of treasures were sent to Rome. Corinth laid desolate for 100 years until in 46 BC, Julius Caesar rebuilt the city.

 

On the Acrocorinth, a hill that rose 1,700 feet above the city, was the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility. The worship of Aphrodite dominated much of the social and religious life of the city, and whose worship popularized immorality among both citizens and travelers. Many other Greek gods were worshipped as well. Corinth was a wicked city filled with idolatry.

 

Corinth was a city of wealth and prosperity in 58 AD. The families who had come a generation or two previously had worked hard. They had carved out successful lives by their own sweat and ingenuity. Like American immigrants, they were proud of their accomplishments, which they demonstrated in their proliferation of self-commending inscriptions around the city. But like the grandchildren of immigrants today, the Corinthians of Pauls day were noted for their superficial materialism and moral perversity. Such traits are epitomized by the fact that before the century was over, Corinth would become the first Greek city in the Roman Empire to hold bloodthirsty gladiatorial shows.

 

Satan tempts all generations in the same way and we as humans always seem to buy his lies. Learn from others, learn from the past. When you have too much time on your hands you will find a way to sin. Stay busy stay busy doing the Lords work.

 

Corinth also hosted athletic games, the Isthmian Games, like the Olympiads in Athens. Corinths games were held both the year before and the year after the Olympic Games. The victor’s crown at the Isthmian Games was made of celery.

 

There were no permanent accommodations at the site, the people stayed in tents in the surrounding fields. Fixing and selling tents would have given Paul and his partners, Aquila and Priscilla, ample employment as well as opportunities to share the gospel with those attending the Games (Acts 18:3).

 

Thus, using the imagery of tents was a perfect illustration for Paul to use.

 

2 Corinthians 5:1 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, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For 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. 5 Now 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.

 

We know what it is like to live in a tent, at least for a week. Who was glad to get home from a week at Hillsboro? Tents leak, it is cold and damp a pop-up is just a little better a hard shell is better but it is not like home. When we got home Friday we had indoor plumbing and a warm shower that would turn on and stay on and a kitchen with a refrigerator (well some people had a full-size fridge camping).

The majority of people would not want to live in a tent their whole life especially if they knew there was a better place to live.

There is a better place to live now we live in earthly tents that will be destroyed but we have an eternal house in Heaven built by God waiting for us.

Have you ever said I wish we lived in a bigger house? Who would like to move into a better house of course you would have servants.

A better house is waiting for you if you are in Christ. Remember how Jesus comforted His disciples?

 

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

 

We dont have to be troubled in this life; rest in Jesus, it is going to get so much better. Jesus is preparing us a place in Heaven. Heaven is home not this earth, not this tent we are living in right now.

We too often get comfortable in this world and want to make it permeant instead of knowing that this life is temporary and looking for our eternal home. We need directions home but first we have to know we are not home yet.

 

Philippians 3:19 Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

 

We want a new body because this body has aches and pains. We groan and desire something better. We groaned to get home on Friday we couldnt wait, except the unpacking part and catching up on everything that had been neglected. But when we get to heaven we wont have to unpack and there is nothing to catch up on, just enjoying the presence of Jesus.

 

Until we get home there is groaning.

 

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For 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.

 

We long to be clothed How many of you love to shop? Do you have a favorite brand of clothes? Clothes that fit, that make you feel good about yourself. Some clothes make you feel frumpy other clothes gives you a little bounce in your step.

Some people wear clothes and they are still found naked, at least inappropriately dressed. I am not sure how it came up at camp but we discussed having yoga pants Sunday. That is what happens when you are up late around a campfire.

 

Verse 2 here gives a different understanding of being clothed with our heavenly body than what we have normally understood.

We cant wait to get to Heaven and receive our new glorified body; skinny and athletic or whatever you think is the perfect body type that changes from culture to culture and generation to generation.

 

The Greek word here is only used in verse 2 and 4 and one other time in the New Testament John 21:7.

 

John 21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

 

Being clothed with an outer garment or being overclothed, our current body covered with a cloak. It gives us a different image of what being changed means.

Maybe we should get this earthly tent in shape for when our glorified body will cover it, we want our earthly body wrapped in glory.

 

1 Corinthians 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

 

Understanding this what the Christians in Corinth understood.

2 Corinthians 5:2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For 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.

 

We are changed and clothed; death, mortality is swallowed up, covered with life, eternal life.

 

We will have a glorified body like Jesus but what does that look like? Was Jesus in His glorified body after the resurrection? If so we get a glimpse. His body could pass through locked doors, eat food, and still have the signs of His crucifixion.

 

John 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

 

No matter what our glorified body will be like we want a glorified body; we want to be home with the Lord. That is why we were created to be with God.

 

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now 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.

 

The Holy Spirit is our deposit, He is our guarantee that we will have a home in Heaven with Jesus for all eternity. We have all paid some sort of deposit a deposit is a promise we will make the full payment and take full possession of the item.

 

We receive the Holy Spirit when we are immersed into Christ.

 

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

After Paul had prayed and fasted for three days (Acts 9:9) Ananias came to him and said.

Acts 9:17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,

 

The touch restored his sight and in baptism he received God the Holy Spirit. So when you surrendered your life to Christ believed that Jesus died for you, repented of your sins and were immersed into Christ you like Paul received the deposit of the Holy Spirit guaranteeing your home in Heaven.

 

2 Corinthians 5:5 Now 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. 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

 

Because we have the Holy Spirit we are confident. Confident that when we pass from this life we will be at home with the Lord. Since we are confident of our home we make it our goal to please God.

 

Is your goal to please God in this life?

When you were dating your spouse, you did everything you could to please them. You were trying to win them, impress them. What happened after you got married? You decided you wanted to please yourself instead of pleasing your spouse. You got selfish.

I think that happens when we become a Christian. We know we are a sinner and need Jesus and we love Him and dedicate our life to Him. We promise to live for Him and please Him. Then we live life and start to get selfish, we quit taking up our cross every day.

Its not that big of deal to ________? And then it begins we try to please self instead of God.

 

2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

 

Let Christs love compel you to live for Him. Do you understand how much He loves you? No, just like a child doesnt know how much you as a parent loves them. We only get a glimpse of Gods love for us when we have kids or grandkids.

 

When we see Gods love through the cross Jesus died on let that compel us to live for Him to make it our goal to please Him in all we do and say. Then we will get home to the Lord.