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I’m going to invite you this morning to the book of 2 Corinthians. That’s where we are together, 2 Corinthians, chapter five. And this is a for me when I think about the book of 2 Corinthians, the first chapter that pops in my mind is chapter five. This is this is one of those chapters. It’s good as a believer in Christ to be familiar with. And as you live the Christian life, it’s one of those that as you live on Mission for Jesus, this, this section of the Bible should really turn over and over in your mind.
And what the Lord has called you to this is a a powerful section of Scripture. I don’t want to say the most important section of all of the 2 Corinthians, because it’s it’s just an important book. But for me, if I had to pick favorites, this this might be at the top of the list. But but altogether, the book of 2 Corinthians. It is an incredible book when you think about living Michelin for the Lord. And I’ve told you with this book, some people, when they approach it, they kind of pass over in the New Testament. They pass over this book because this is the most personal letter Paul has written in all of the New Testament. Out of all his letters, this this gets more specific to Paul’s ministry than any other book.
And when people read that, they think, well, I’m not the Apostle Paul, you know, like, I can’t relate to that. But the reality is you’ve been called into ministry. And similar to the way Paul faced challenges in ministry, so do we. We all have concerns in the way that we pursue God in this world. And I think it’s important to see how Paul wrestles with this in his own life and then relate it to our lives as we live in light of the Lord in the world around us. And this chapter is especially important because in this chapter you’re going to see that the Corinthians Church, just as the Apostle Paul, they’re being I don’t want to say force, but let’s just say they’re being bullied into a particular way of living life by the culture around them and even even some people that have become a part of the church in Corinth. And they’re they’re pushing an agenda contrary to what the Lord would desire for them. And the world has this way of working with fear and intimidation to force you to become something that God doesn’t call you to be. And Paul, when he approaches this chapter, he’s recognizing that that the the temptation around you is to force you to conform to a mold contrary to what God desires for you.
And when the world uses fear and intimidation, what we need to rest in is the sovereignty and security of God. That we need a bigger picture of who God is when the world around you feels great and the pressure feels like it’s on you. And seeing the sovereign hand of who got is and then seeing how great God is, finding out where we are in His arms, how secure is our position in light of who got is in fact at the end of chapter four, really? You ever wonder what happens in the heart of a pastor when someone else is preaching? I know that we’re going through the book of 2 Corinthians, and I know I handed the Chapter four to Pastor Wayne and Pastor Lincoln as they preach the last couple of weeks. And and that that was great and being able to have them preach through that. But in my mind, I’m like, no, not chapter four because I love chapter four. And they did a great job. I don’t want to I listen to them while I was going. It was great how they worked through that passage. But I just think in Chapter four, just listen to this verse seven link and share to this last week.
But it says, But we have this treasure in jars of clay, recognizing our lives as jars of clay. I mean, I picture I put that as the title right of this series. I gave him the verse. That’s the title of All Right. But this Jars of Clay is recognizing who we are in this world, like we are fragile human beings. And when the world puts pressure on you with fear and intimidation, especially if you’re not secure in your conviction, you’re kind of swayed to follow after that. But but in recognizing where Jars of Clay says to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us, it’s to say, Look, it doesn’t have to be on your shoulders because there’s something far greater in the sovereignty of God and his, his power and what that represents for you. And then to find your security in light of that and live through that. That way you’re not intimidated by the things of this world, because whatever the world might toss, you find you find your life secure in Christ. And so that’s where he he brings to us in chapter, chapter five, fear of what we can lose can distract us from pursuing what we’re called.
To in Christ. And what we have in Jesus is far more important than to let ourselves get distracted in the the pressure of the world might put on you and the things that you might lose to to the systems of this world in light of what you have in Jesus. And as we find ourselves secure in his sovereignty. It develops within us a particular conviction. That as we step, we can step confidently.
And that’s why the title of today was rather than just say, don’t be bullied but but actually has a missional perspective of of how how to live courageously. There’s a story about the 18th century philosopher David Hume. He was he was walking through the streets of London, and David Hume was opposed to Christianity, but he was walking through the streets of of London. And and as he’s walking, he sees one of his friends in a hurry down the road, and he asks them, Where are you going? He says, I’m going to to listen to George Whitfield. And he looks at his friends like George Whitfield’s a famous Christian speaker. You don’t you don’t believe any of that, do you? He says no, but he says it was such conviction. I just want to go. I just want to go see that. And and so he was he was excited just to be around someone that that walked in life with such certainty and confidence in who he was and light of of who God was, even though he didn’t agree.
For you as a Christian, I think is so important in our lives to as there’s pressure in things around us, who are we in light of that? I just feel like we have to conform because. Someone says so. But where is our security as it’s wrapped up in God’s sovereignty? And this is where he starts.
In in chapter five, verse one, Paul. Paul is going to give us two things he wants us to know. And then from that how we’re to respond. So so Paul knows that the church is being tempted. The church is being pressured. And he just wants to step back from that and say, let’s remind ourselves of these certain truths as it relates to the sovereignty and the security of God, because it’s in that then we respond in light of.
Those thoughts, because this is where we find ourselves. Not in the intimidation of the world, but in light of who God is. These are these are certain things we know.
And I’m going to be honest, as I lift out these these two thoughts from this passage of what we are to know. Paul gives these these broad ideas very specific to the Christian life, but it’s phrased in a in a very broad way. So I gave you my summary. And if you want to write a different summary of that, that’s all right. This is what I’m saying is man’s words. But what’s more important is, is God’s words here. But there’s there’s something he wants us to know in point number one in your blank.
No life in Jesus endures forever. Life in Jesus endures forever. That’s the the pressure of the temptation of the world. This is what we find then in these opening verses, he says, for we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed we have a building from God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
So Paul starts by giving this idea. He’s contrasting the things of this world that we might be afraid of losing versus what we have in Jesus. And he’s saying, look, the things of this world, the best comparison I make, Paul saying is to that of a tent. If you’ve ever been camping in tents, it’s it’s maybe fun for some of you for about no more than a week. Eventually, you start dreaming about your own bed and a shower. And tents are fine for just a minute. But Paul is saying, look, it’s a tent. And no matter how you summarize this, it is it is a tent that’s in comparison to what you have in eternity. This is a tent. But what you have in Jesus it’s a house.
It’s a house. And so you’re see in verse one, if you kind of break it up into two sections here. This thought in the first part of verse one that there is this struggle and this human experience and that that it’s a tent and it’s going to come to an end. Right? I mean, we’re all going to face death. And at death, what are you going to have?
Paul’s really he’s starting to contrast. He’ll build into this as we go further. But this idea of of the greatest enemy we have in life, we need to recognize that whatever you want to hold to in life that ultimately is coming to an end, it’s a tent. And Paul even says at the end of 1 Corinthians 15:44-56, he’s making an argument there at the end of 1 Corinthians that what we have in this life is temporal, it’s passing away. And the greatest enemy that you ultimately face is death.
Paul is going to an extreme in this example and the things that we can battle in this world. And the greatest stakes and the greatest stakes that you have comes down to your life and you’re ultimately in death. That’s the greatest enemy that we face, because through sin comes ultimately death. And in 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 he gets to the end of this. The eventually says, But oh death, where is your sting?
Because in Christ Paul knows that the power of death has been exhausted. Because in Jesus, Jesus brought literally the death of death. And it’s demonstrated through the power of his resurrection, which is what gives us, as people, hope in Christ, because just as he was resurrected from the grave, so we have been promised to be resurrected from the grave with him. And for all of eternity we are secure.There is a home. What is passing away, the temporal, it’s just a tent.
But the second part of verse one. But in God there is a building from him. And Paul says this confidently. We have a building from God. It’s ours to possess in Jesus. And so in that position, in that confidence of his eternity being secure, he goes on in verse two and he says, As for in this tent, we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.
It gives them this place to approach the frustration of life. To be honest about it. If we just look at the world around us, our soul realizes that this is not how things should be. Deep within our being, though, there are things in life that we can delight and deep within our being, we recognize that things are still broken. And he’s saying, so for in this tent and we groan, longing for what we ultimately have in Christ. And this idea of groaning is not this word for just complaining. Grumble, grumble. Bad, bad, bad. Right. That’s not what he’s saying here.
But this word for groaning is actually this word for anticipation that things aren’t where they should be. But we’re looking forward to where they’re intended to go. It’s this groaning in our soul for more. And Paul is identifying for our life that we recognize that even when we walk in the tent of what life is, that this is not how things are supposed to be. In fact, some of the greatest naysayers of Christianity, some of the things that have led them to come to Christ is is to recognize the frustration within our soul that that life is intended for something greater.
In fact. C.S. Lewis used to say, if we find ourselves discontent with the way things are in this world, it’s to recognize that we were intended not for this world, but for something more.
C.S. Lewis was opposed to Christianity. He walked as an agnostic or an atheist at certain points of his life. But he came to this place and realizing the own groaning in his soul. He says this. He wrote about it Mere Christianity. He referred to himself as the most reluctant believer in all of England when he put his faith in Christ. But but this as he wrestled with God. He said, My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. Just how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing the universe with when I called it unjust? Thus, in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist. In other words, that the whole of reality was senseless. I found that I was forced to assume that one part of reality, namely my idea of justice, was full of sense. Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should have never found out that it has no meaning.
What does that mean? He’s giving this idea that if we’re just random and we just happen to evolve from stardust, bumping into stardust, and all of a sudden one day, here’s a human being, you just sort of fizz in the direction that you became human life. You should really have no ultimate desire to make life have meaning. You just happen to randomly exist. There’s nothing more valuable than you, than the rock outside. It just happens that the rock outside happened to evolve in a different direction than you did. You just you happen to be equal. You just evolved in a different way.
But C.S. Lewis is saying no. I began to recognize in my life and the depth of my soul, my my heart was to cry out for justice. And when you look at all of humanity, humanity cries out for a universal justice, in a way. We hate it when crimes are committed against us. But when when there’s crimes committed against us, when there’s injustice done against us, where do we get the sense of crying out for justice? Lest there be a divine design that put it within us.
It makes no sense apart from a Creator. Because with a career without a creator, I’m just this. Random, meaningless existence. Yet I demand that my life have meaning.
And if I demand my life have meaning it must be created for that purpose. Looking for that meaning then within a Creator, who would be God. And C.S. Lewis then began his pursuit, which ultimately led him to to Christ. And he’s recognizing this in verse two. There is this groaning within the soul. And it realizes that my life was intended for purpose and meaning.
And where that purpose and meaning is found. That is where my life is to be submitted, because that’s where I find the reason for which I exist. And while the world may try to pressure me in some sort of system, the world didn’t make me. God did. And therefore, in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.
This is why Paul, throughout his epistles, he he continued to write things like in Galatians 2:20, I am crucified in Christ. Nevertheless, it’s not I who live but Christ who lives in me.
Or in Philippians 1:21. He says, for me to live as Christ and to die as gain. He’s saying, Look, if my life is going to be about something in this world and this world is going to be about Jesus, and when I go, it’s to gain all that I have in in Christ or in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, you have been bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. As Paul recognized it and look, I have a body, but my body really doesn’t belong to me. In fact, nothing we have in this world really belongs to you. It was all given to you by your Creator. And we’re accountable to God for all of it, including our physical bodies.
And my life in Jesus has been bought for a purpose. It has been bought with a price. It’s His hife. Therefore, my life will be about living for His glory, His life. Glorify God with our bodies.
And then he goes on and he says. If indeed, by putting it on, we may not be found naked. Paul saying, look, here’s what we all want to know. If we choose to walk this path. Is it going to be okay?
We all go through hardships in life when we face suffering or adversity. At the end of the day, we can we can endure some incredible hardships as human beings, as long as we know there’s hope. Is everything going to be okay? Will it work out? And that was Paul’s argument.
Remember 2 Corinthians 4:8. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not driven to despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken. Struck down, but not destroyed. Verse 16 he goes on and says, So we do not lose heart, though our outer self is wasting away, but our inner self is being renewed day by day.
If indeed, by putting this on, if we walk this way in Jesus, we’re not going to be found naked. Meaning those who who walk without Christ, they’re going to come before God and they’re going to be completely exposed. But if you put on Jesus, you will be secure.
And the first four and five becomes really that rehashing of that thought again. Just to expound on everything he says is a reminder to us. And in the first three verses what he said for a while, we are still in this tent. We groan again, being burdened. So he starts to explain what this groaning is again. So he says, We’re still in this tent. We groan, being burdened. Not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed so that what is more well, may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing as God, who has given us the Spirit as as a guarantee.
So Paul is saying, look, again, we’re groaning. But it’s not a groaning of complaining. It’s this groaning of anticipation of all that we have to come. It’s our soul longing within us for the greater things that we receive with Jesus when we’re with Him face to face.
And is a promise in all of that. God has given us his spirit as a guarantee. That our lives will not be found naked, but rather clothed beautifully in Him for all of eternity that we will put aside this tent. But the home that we have in Christ is forever. I love this because Paul, he’s recognizing in life there is adversity and there is suffering. There is struggle. Because in this world there is sin.
Sin brings that sort of destruction from the moment that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Through sin became that path in life of the thorn which pricks at us and our soul knows that this is not how things are intended to be. But do you recognize that every belief system in life. Every belief system in life has to deal with adversity and suffering. Even atheists.
We all have to figure out how to approach this. And and Paul’s doing the same for us in this Christian life. That we have got to deal with this. But our position in Jesus gives us the hope to enter into that. But every belief system has to deal with.
I know I’ve often engaged with people that have wrestled with it, and they come to this conclusion, well, if there is a God, as they look at the struggle of life in this world, they say two things. Either either he’s a wimp. Or he’s indifferent, he doesn’t care.
Because if he were all powerful, he would deal with it. And if he was actually good, he would deal with it, right? So their conclusion is if there is a God, then that then he’s either a wimp and he can’t deal with it or he’s indifferent to my suffering or or not good because he hasn’t dealt with it.
But you know what I think of all the responses we could give to the human struggle, realizing this world is a tent that’s passing away. I think the greatest response that can be given is in Christianity. In Christianity, we have a response both experientially and theologically, that I think is beautiful for us as we work through the struggle of this world.
Experientially, I find, apart from walking in biblical truth as human beings, sometimes we can give some some awful answers to people and some of the hardship they endure. If you ever read that I heard last week Lincoln referencing the book of Job, and if you ever read the Book of Job and chapter two, after all the bad things have happened to Job 2:13, it talks about his friends showing up and they see Job and the state that he’s in. And they sit down with him silently and just weep over the brokenness of the moment.
In that time, Job really enjoys being around his friends because all they’re doing is just being present with him. There’s really not a response they can give because the brokenness of that moment. But they want him to know they care. So they’re there with Job all four his friends showing up and just being beside him in that moment.
But then they start to open their mouths. And that’s when they start to say dumb things. And then in chapter six, in the middle of chapter six, that’s where Job says, you know, you were good friends, and then you open your mouth and now you’re awful friends. He compares them to several illustrations of just destructive to his life by the things they’re saying.
But we do that, too, as people. We get uncomfortable in pain. And we start to say dumb things like someone goes through a hard thing and they say saying things like, you know, you’re going through this hard thing because God knew you were strong enough to endure it.
As if God’s like, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve got so many hard things I’ve got to hand out to people in life. Well, you look strong, so I guess you can have some. That’s not how God operates.
Or I’ve heard people say when someone passes away, they’ll say, God needed them so that’s why they took them. Right. If I could just encourage you not to say two things, don’t say those two things.
Like to even suggest that God needed them for something is to suggest God is pathetic. Who is it that God is so needy that he’s like, Oh my gosh, there’s too much to do, right? I’ve got to take some of these people out to help me. That is not helpful. That is not God. To speak on behalf of God that way when it’s not even who God is, is dangerous.
If you’re following a god today that you think needs you in some sort of way, you’re following an inadequate God. And if you have any sort of promises wrapped up in this God who is inadequate, you need to let go of those promises because he will not come through. It’s important to see the sovereignty of who God is. We understand Him in light of what Christianity explains both experientially and theologically, He is an incredible God to help us in the midst of our needs.
I’m not saying this morning, if you’re going through any adversity in life that I have every specific answer for you to tell you why you’ve gone through what you’ve gone through. The reality is we go through hard things in life and you’re not going to get the answer completely as to why you went through and what you went through until you see God face to face.
But Christianity still delivers hope for us. Let me just give you a few reasons why. One. I may not always understand why things happen, but what we learn in Christianity is that God cares. And the reason we know he cares is because God entered. He entered our suffering. God became personal. He walked life as we walked. And God, in walking life as we walk, he became the servant of servants. And he demonstrated incredible compassion.
There is there is no belief system in the world that communicates a God so personal and compassionate as what you find in Jesus. And that’s what the Gospels say to us, doesn’t it? Every story about Christ he enters into our suffering. He finds us in our brokenness, and he wraps his healing hands around the need and he loves people where they’re at in life.
Even the point, the greatest miracle I think Jesus performs other than his death and resurrection, is he resurrects his own friend Lazarus from the grave. And he tells us in those moments that even in that that moment, Jesus still weeps. He weeps, and it shows his incredible compassion and humanity towards us, which demonstrates a God who cares.
Not only does he care, we see a God who is good. Because while he cares, he also gave his life for you. He gave his life. The Bible says, even while we were enemies of Jesus in Romans 5:8, God demonstrates his love towards you. And while you were an enemy of Christ, he died for. He even hung on the cross. When his own people had turned their backs on him. And his statement from the cross was, Father, forgive them. He washed the feet of Judas. Who was about to betray him at the Last Supper. He cares. And he’s good.
Certainly we may feel distant at times in the struggle of life and wonder, or maybe ask the question if God cares. But in Christianity, while we struggle the story of our faith can’t lead us to the conclusion that we have a God who is not good. Or a God who is indifferent. Or a God who lacks the sovereign authority to do something about it. Because in Jesus, what you find is God who enters our suffering and He conquers sin, Satan and death, which is all of our enemies.
Why did Jesus do that? Not for himself. But for you. His intentions were for you. I remember in the last few years we had a member of our church passing away and they had a particular sickness they were dealing with. But they called me on the phone and and they just said, How can you read some scripture with me? And I said, Sure, what do you want to read? And immediately they knew where their heart wanted to go. John 14. Jesus in the upper room with his disciples. And Jesus knew he was about to give his life on the cross. And it was going to rock the life of the disciples. But he wanted his disciples to be encouraged because Jesus knew the intentions as to why He was doing what He was doing, though they didn’t realize it yet.
And he says this in John 14. But not your heart be troubled. He believed in God. Believe also in me. And my father’s house or many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. But behold, to go to prepare a place for you that where I am there you may be also. Comforting words from a God whose hand is sovereign.
So we think about the suffering of this world and we look at the destruction of sin. And our soul groans within us. Because it’s not contrary to God. God hates it, too. That’s why he came.
He’s not indifferent to that and our soul is not indifferent to him in that struggle. In fact, it’s it’s an alignment with his heart. That’s why he came. And we see God becoming personal. So let me just give you some encouragement as we move further into this passage. Can I just encourage you with a few things? I know sometimes you may feel alone, sometimes you may not feel like God cares, but in those places, it’s important to let the truth of God trump where our feelings are.
In Matthew 28:20 Jesus says to us, I am with you always. And Hebrews 13:5 I Will Never Forsake You. In Philippians 413, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And 2 Corinthians 12 versus nine. His grace is sufficient for me in my weakness. I am made strong in him. In Revelation 21, verse four. He will wipe.
Away every tear from our eye. And there will be no more pain, no more suffering when we see Jesus face to face. So then we could ask the question, well, if God is good and God is, God cares, why? Why does suffering exist? And I’m going to remind you specifically in your life, if you’re facing hardship, like sometimes giving theological answers, just it doesn’t suffice sometimes. Sometimes we need to show up like Jobs, Friends and Joe, chapter two and just be present. And just show our care for someone as we’re going. We’re going through things in life. But also there comes a time and place to understand what God says theologically about those things. Why does suffering exist and why? I can’t answer.
Every particular thing you go through in life. One day. One day, God will. But in the meantime, let me remind us what God does with it. What? I think God redeems it immediately. And one of the ways God can redeem it immediately is if we’re being honest with where we are in Jesus. A lot of times the only reason we really trust in God is because we came to a difficult place.
When life is all luxury, luxurious and full of roses and comfort. Like we tend to, like, put God on the shelf. And then when things get hard, we’re like, Oh yeah, I should probably talk to God, right? Like, Oh yeah, there’s a God out there and I want to get close to him for 5 seconds till things get better and then we’ll just leave again. That tends to be, but it’s in that brokenness that our heart starts to think there has to be in that groaning.
More to life than this.
And so I’m 51, verse 17 reminds us that God instantly can redeem the struggle of life by using it to draw us to Him. And in some 51 verse 17, it says A broken and contrite heart. He will not despise. Not only that, in James chapter two or James chapter one, verse 2 to 4, James reminds us that in the adversity, it also gives us a place to realize how deep our faith may go in the Lord. It says, Consider all joy, my brothers, when you endure various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance or 2 Corinthians chapter, one verse, starting a verse 2 to 6, he tells us that God comforts us in our struggle, that we may turn and be able to comfort others in their struggles to. That is, we find God to.
Be faithful in the adversity that we we face.
We can turn and encourage others in that same adversity or in Hebrews chapter 12 that says, Let us run this race of endurance before us, having been surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. And what is saying there is those those witnesses are not witnesses of us, but rather they’re witnesses to us. They have shown how their their life was faithful in Jesus. And throughout the centuries, their faithfulness speaks to us that as they walk securely in Christ and they found their lives faithful to the end, that you can live your life the same way and your life can be demonstrated like that. That is as you continue to be faithful in Jesus throughout this world, that you can then turn as your life becomes a demonstration to other believers that follow after you that God was always faithful to you.
And God therefore, can be faithful to them. And then in Romans 828, all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. And it’s with this reminder, yes, God realizes he realizes we go through hardship. And it reminds us of Romans eight that no suffering we ever go through will be wasted. None of it. God can turn it all for good. How does he do that? The reminder for us as people is just to look to the cross. The cross becomes that symbol. That reminds us that the darkest day in all of history has now become the symbol of hope for God’s people. If God could take the despised cross of the first century. And turn it into the emblem that God’s people would use to celebrate the hope that we have in Jesus. God can do mighty things in your life to. And if he can turn that day in history into the day of celebration for his people. He can take the struggle of your life and work it together for good, for all of eternity. Nothing you endure as God’s people will ever, ever be wasted. Point number two, I should move on. I’ll do these last two points very quickly. No. No. We can live with courage because our future hope is secure. We can live with courage.
Because our future hope is secure. And it’s important to remain focused on that future. Know some of us may ask the question is as God walks with me through the battle. It’s hard. It’s hard because I want God to resolve it immediately. And I know God’s heart. God’s heart is to want to resolve. The struggle and the brokenness of sin in this world that is God’s heart to. Right. And we can ask the question, then why doesn’t he do it? Why doesn’t he do that? And I think second, Peter three nine gives us the answer. I want to read further in this passage in a second. Peter three nine says this God is long suffering towards us, not willing any should perish, but all come to repentance. And so here’s the reality. If God were to come and judge all things broken, everything sinful and destructive. God were also with that judge humanity. And the truthful truth is we’re all sinners. We’re all sinners. And what Peter sang in the second Peter three nine is that God is long suffering, not one willing any perish all come to repentance. He’s saying God is holding back that judgment, though God’s desire is to judge sin and the destruction it brings. God is holding back that judgment to give us opportunity to turn to Him. Which is why.
We, as God’s people now living. In this world, need. To remain fixed on what we ultimately have in Jesus, because we realize we’re walking in a world that’s broken. But the hope that we have to deliver in Christ is so important because it leads us shed the tent of the things of this world to ultimately rest in the confidence of what we have in Jesus. Because it is ours and it is a house and it will endure. And so therefore, knowing that that’s true, we can live with courage because our future is secure. And so he says this in verse six, right? So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. We would rather be in that place with Jesus. But God’s got a mission that He’s called us to in the brokenness of this world, just as he walked in this world with compassion towards the brokenness of things. But knowing that what we have in Christ is not passing away like the things of this world, what it does for us as people is it gives us a place to rest into sovereignty and his security. So that whatever intimidation the world might throw at you.
You can be courageous. Because you know that whatever they want to throw. It’s not going to last anyway. Whatever someone wants to hold over your head and whatever pressure they want.
To put on your life. It’s not going to endure. And so we live we live courageously. He says it right at the end of verse six. We know we know that while we are at home in the body, we’re away from the word. For we walk by faith, not by sight. The temptation of the things that can physically be put before us in this world. We don’t have to give a second thought to because of what we ultimately have by faith, securely in Jesus. Guys, it’s important for us. That reminder of ourselves, of our faith, because it provides for us a perspective in light of the things in this world. So many.
People in life like to react to the drama. That’s right in front of them all the time. Right. Wait for the next fuse to to light in front of you. And all of a sudden we’ve got to get dramatic about it. It’s like, do you know what the news operates on in our world? Fear. Because you know what drives you? Not you. You’re good. But the rest of the world. Fear and intimidation. You better conform or it’s all going to fall apart. Right? This is who you have to be like. I think one of the best things God’s people can do is just.
Turn off the television. Stop watching the news. It’s garbage.
It’s just driving you with fear rather than faith. What God wants us to be focused on is not the drama, the immediate like I have this have this friend that comes to me quite often. He’s saying he talks about hypersonic missiles. Do you know Russia has hypersonic missiles and all the doomsday? He likes to bring up the book of Revelation. It’s over, man. Let’s build a bunker. And I say to him, every time I grab him, I look him in the face. I’m like, Look, I don’t care if everyone in life is a Christian. I don’t care if no one in life is a Christian. Tomorrow when I wake up, you know what I’m going to do.
I’m going to live for Jesus. And do you know why? I don’t want to live for the drama. I don’t care. I know who I am in Christ. And I just want to live the place. For me to live as Christ de Deus Galatians 2:24 I’m crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, it’s not I who live but but Christ who lives in me. My body has been bought with a price. Therefore I will glorify God.
1 Corinthians 6:20. We can live with courage because our future is secure. So here’s the result, then here’s the result. Verse nine And if if this is where we.
Let our mind go, our faith live, where we step in light of that, he says this. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our.
Aim to please him. That’s that’s the answer, the response and that we give to what we should know. We make it our aim to please him. This is what we live our lives.
A life in light of that. And he says.
Why we make it our aim to please him. Here’s why. If you think of all the people you’ve got to answer to, it’s not the world, but rather verse ten, for we must all appear before the.
Judgement seat of Christ so that each one may receive what is due for what He has done in the body, whether good or evil. We’re going to all meet God face to face one day. And as we said previously, we don’t want to be unclothed, naked, but we want to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ by embracing Jesus. And walking in him.
When you study this, this passage of scripture, he’s saying to us, look, I know we can read this. And we we read the word judgment and we have this visceral reaction to it.
Judge right, when we’ll start quoting things that we think are in the Bible, thou art, thou shall not judge. And I want you to know that’s stupid, all right? Like you should judge. Now, I want to be careful in how I say that. Because. Because when we talk in terms of judgment, we need to be careful in what kind.
Of judgment we’re discussing here. Judging another human being as if we’re devaluing them. That’s sinful. That’s wrong. Every human being is made in the image of God and is worthy of dignity.
And respect because they are image bearers of God. So we’re not.
Judging people in order to devalue them. But God certainly wants you to judge in the sense that you need to discern what’s wise and what’s not. And sometimes we read the word judgment. We look at this, we’re like, God, you know, Thou shall not judge. You should not judge us, but but I want you to know judgment is so important. Judgment is so important. And especially for for your future. And when you think about judgment, the reason we we sort of step back from there really sobers us up a little bit. We need to recognize that we will have a judgment before God. But the reason we step back from that is it’s it’s powerful and it can it can dominate over you. And we may not like that. Right. We don’t know anybody to have that sort of authority over us. So we’re just like, I don’t judge. Right.
But if you’re on the good side of judgment. It’s so important. Because this is what can make you confident in the sovereignty and security that you have in God. Someone is judging and it’s judgment against you. That’s bad. But if someone is judging. In order for your well being. That’s good. So I gave you an illustration like this. And when you think about electricity, you may walk up to some sort of unit that’s got high voltage and see a sign like this. You touch, you die. That’s the point I want you to know.
Dangerous, right? That sort of judgment coming upon me. It’s dangerous. When you think about God’s judgment. It’s certainly saying this passage, there is danger to it.
But power is when we think about judgment being powerful, that power doesn’t always have to be bad. It’s just a matter of how it’s used. I tell my kids regularly. My boys guys. God made you strong. And if you use that strength, selfishly, it will destroy the world. But if you use that strength selflessly, it will bless the world. And when you think of God’s power, yes, it’s sobering. And yes, it’s dangerous. But that danger, that power. It is intended to be for you, not against you. That’s why in this passage, when he talks about the judgment of Christ, the word there is actually the beam of seed of Christ. And the beam of Christ was used as a picture during the Olympic Games. They would run.
In Corinth or the Corinthian Games, and when someone would run a race if they.
Were victorious, they would hand out from the beam of rewards.
And that’s the kind of the picture it paints for us as believers in Jesus, as we live in faith in Him. God’s danger for us doesn’t become this place to run and cower from and be afraid of. But to see it as a conduit of protection for God’s people, because while electricity may be dangerous, if you run up and touch it, if it’s channeled the right way, it also breathes life and light.
And I think same thing is true with with God’s power. That for you and Jesus, it becomes the source of life and light as you rest in Him. That power is for you. It’s what protects you. It’s why all things work together for good. Unless I just want to point this out to you. As we close here, but and I hope you saw this as Paul went through this passage, guys, is we think how we live in light of the pressure of this world not to be bullied, but to live courageously. That Paul reminded us over and over that we’re to do this as a community together. God did not create us to live as islands to ourselves. But understand, as we battle in this world, that we need one another. To support each other. To remind ourselves of the truths that Paul shares here. The mental health. Mental health is an important part of your life. And as it says in this passage, that within all of us we have this sort of groaning and the tension of the world that we walk in. And investing in community in order to encourage one another so important. And Paul perpetuated this thought over and over that we not live as an island to ourselves.
But we see the importance of gathering together like this and taking time to invest in one another and talk to each other and encourage each other because there is a struggle in the world around us and we need reminded. Satan loves nothing more to get us on an island ourselves and.
Pick us off. But we need each other to be faithful. Faithful to the. So let me close with this last illustration. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the the story of Atlas, but Atlas did some bad things and made God Zeus mad. God.
Just mad, said your punishment, Atlas. Is you’re going to have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders for the rest of your existence. Which is bad, I think, because Atlas is immortal, which means forever.
And so while he carries the weight of the world, he was also holding up as as Greek mythology, says the heavens within. So every time you see the statues of Atlas everywhere but the pressure of the.
World is on him. As reality is for us. Sometimes we live life like this, too. And this is this is one way to live life. Everything that the world is and all.
That it says, it just wants you to bear that you become everything that people want you to be and you try to please all people. And the way to the world is on your shoulders. It’s interesting, this this picture on the the the left. I think it’s your left. The other picture on on the left, this picture of Atlas is right outside the General Electric building in New York City on Fifth Avenue. And just across that street is St Patrick’s Cathedral. And in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, there is this the statue of Jesus, about seven, eight years old. And in Jesus’s hands. There is the world. And he’s holding it like it’s nothing. Let’s say all that to say, you know, we have a choice. We can carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Or we can recognize that that’s not what God created us for. He made us for so much more. And it’s not about our sovereign hands baring it. But it’s about us and trusting to him our world. And saying, God, whatever it is you desire, I’m yours. I have no idea if they put a statue of little baby Jesus across the street intentionally. But I think it’s such a beautiful contrasting picture between two different worldviews. Take all the pressures that the world wants me to be and try to walk in their convictions. Or let it all go for Jesus. And stepped securely, confidently in him. Because I know we know what the right choice is. But my prayer for us this morning is that we’ll walk out faithfully continuing to turn it over and what he desires for us.