II Corinthians 5:1-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
Assurance of the Resurrection
1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.
7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Wouldn't you love to live forever, with Jesus? We can!
--God's Word teaches there is life, after life!
--"We know when this tent we live in is taken down - or when we die and leave our bodies - we will have won- derful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God Himself, not by human hands" (v 1). Not by man - but by God!
--"We know," Not maybe so or hope so, "we know."
--All who believe in Christ, "forevermore" with Him!
--What a promise. Comfort. Peace. What a Savior!
We don't like to think or talk about it, but we die.
--"It is appointed for men to die once" (Hebrews 9:27).
--It comes, sometimes when least expected.
--It took my dear Mother in an accident.
--Taken other loved ones, and parishioners, bringing a loss and great sorrow. Thank God, now in heaven.
--What a comfort to know Jesus and His life after life.
As we grow older, "The outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day," with the Lord in His Word.
--"How weary we grow of our bodies. That is why we look forward eagerly to the day when we shall have heavenly bodies" (v 2). Bodies that will never grow old!
Don't be misled, that death ends all, and we'll neither live or see our loved ones again, for we will!
--"These earthly bodies. make us groan and sigh, but we wouldn't think of dying and having no bodies at all. This is what God has prepared for us; as a guarantee, He has given us His Holy Spirit" (v 4,5).
From his inspiration and experience Paul adds, "Now we look forward with confidence to our heavenly bodies."
--Why? "Every moment we spend in these earthly bodies is time spent away from our eternal home in heaven, with Jesus" (v 6). Far better than on earth!
--Notice, "We are ,not afraid, but are quite content to die, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
--"So our aim is to please Him always in everything we do .. for we must all stand before Christ to be judged, each to receive whatever he deserves."
I love life as it is, but not to live here forever, in all its struggles, suffering, sin and sorrows.
--What God offers us, in heaven, appeals more to me!
--There is a better life! Better place! With God!
We are all familiar with our earthly bodies.
--What about our heaven bodies? Let's learn a bit.
I. THE BIBLE TEACHES, THEY ARE LIKE THE RISEN JESUS.
--May I say that the only way to beat old age is if Jesus Christ returns, to rapture us without dying.
--We may not like getting old. But let's enjoy it!
--Make the most of whatever age we are.
--No matter how long we live - Genesis 5 tells of many who lived much longer than we, even to 969 - but all of them died. Entered heaven. With new bodies.
People ask me about the state of loved ones in heaven.
--Paul says, "How weary we grow in our present bodies. That is why we look forward eagerly to the day, when we shall have heavenly bodies which we shall put on like new clothes. For we shall not be merely spirits without bodies. We wouldn't think of dying, and having no bodies at all" (II Cor. 5:4).
--Here the Apostle is correcting errors of heresy.
--Allaying our fears and conjectures, with the facts.
We need a heavenly body, to help us identify each one.
--To know one another and to relate. One like Jesus!
For 3 1/2 years our Lord taught how to live here and hereafter, as given us in the four Gospel writers.
--By His own holy life. Virgin birth. Many miracles.
--His matchless teaching. His cross. Resurrection.
--And, His revelation of the kind of body He had after He arose - recognized! Able to do marvelous things!
--Come and go at will. Enter rooms not through doors!
--Be able to ascend. Never grow old. Never die!
It is all part of the Gospel! Nothing else like Jesus.
--"He is alive, forevermore." Believers in Him, also.
--"To abolish death, and bring life and immortality to light, through the Gospel" (II TI(1:10).
--He said, "Because I live, you shall live also."
--And we will have a resurrected body like unto His!
Let's look more closely at Jesus' body after He arose.
--You know, He appeared often, to many, for 40 days after the resurrection, prior to His ascension and was seen by many different people.
--Jesus had a new body. Different. Recognizable.
--Able to speak. Be spoken to. Come and go, at will.
--Enter rooms without use of doors! An amazing body!
--That is the kind of body believers in Him will have!
Those alive at Christ's return will be changed.
--So whether we die or alive, both have the same body.
--The same kind of body that our Lord Jesus has!
I am often asked, What happens when one dies?
--Both saved and unsaved bodies are buried fittingly.
--As we are body, mind, and soul, the soul departs.
--Where does it go? If "born again," to heaven.
--If not, the soul goes to hell, God's Word declares.
--The saved ones to God in glory, with the Lord.
--The unsaved, is with the other unbelievers.
--In both places, we have recognizable, new bodies.
II. EVEN NATURE, AND HUMAN INSTINCTS, ASSURE WE LIVE.
--We have the centuries of Biblical revelation, and the resurrection of Jesus Himself. We have His Word.
--The testimonies of many who saw Him, risen.
--My study of Anthropology reveals an innate desire to live on, for a life after life!
--Even among pagan nations.
--Consider the great pyramids of the Egyptians.
Too, an after life is needed to reward the faithful and to punish the evil. That is only fair.
We see it in nature. The lily bulb looked lifeless.
--But planted in the muddy soil becomes a lovely, fragrant, and inspiring flower.
--Or consider the lowly caterpillar, crawling around - with its many tiny legs - on the ground, or an arm.
--In time, it ends. Spins a coccoon, chrysalis shell.
--Lo and behold, out comes a beautiful butterfly!
--No longer of the earth, but a creature of the skies!
Friend, what is all this telling us about life?
--It is all a picture of God's gift to believers in Him!
We visited several times the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, one of the world's great, for ancient artifacts.
--Were told of grain, grown hundreds of years ago, and found in the pyramids, which was planted.
--That grain, after all these dormant years, was able to bring forth grain again!
--Another positive proof, of life after life!
Like the beans we used to plant and new life sprung up.
--We were amazed to see the outer shell still intact - like the intact body wrappings when Jesus came forth!
--My friend, all this is good news we all can use!
III. CONSIDER THE TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS, MATTHEW 17.
--On the Mount, "Moses and Elijah appeared ... talking with Jesus" (v 3). Peter, James, John saw them.
--Recognized them, though they lived ages long ago.
--Moses and Elijah were not spirits. Had bodies.
--Were aware of what's happening, talked to Jesus of it.
--"Spoke of His decease" (Luke 9:31). Yes, they knew!
--Moses, law-giver; Elijah, prophet; acknowledge Jesus!
If they had such bodies, don't you think we could?
--All saw "Jesus' face shine like the sun .." (v 2).
--Reflecting the "glory of God in the face of Jesus."
IV. NEXT, TURN TO LUKE 16, THE RICH MAN, AND LAZARUS.
--Jesus teaches us much in these two men's life, death.
--Lazarus - beggar and believer - went to heaven. --Where all the redeemed, or "born again," go.
--The rich man, Jesus said, went to "Hades," to hell.
--Listen, he went not because he was rich - no, no.
--But because of his unbelief, while he was alive.
--He didn't believe, like many today, rich or poor.
Both knew where they were. Had memory, and feelings.
--One with the Lord. The other, ".. in torments" (24).
--He said, "I am tormented in this flame." In hell.
--"I have five brothers, send someone lest come (here).
--Let's ask ourselves, Which place do we want to be?
V. FINALLY, STUDY REVELATION .. LIKE CHAPTER 6:10-11.
--"A white robe was given to each of them .."
--Without a new body, we don't need a robe, you see.
--There is life after life. In both heaven and hell.
--Why not choose Jesus now?
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 907