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2 Corinthians 5:1-9



Intro:  The Bible tells us that we who are born again are “pilgrims and strangers” in this world, 1 Pet. 2:11.  When we got saved, we became citizens of a place called Heaven, Phil. 3:20.  Since that is true, there is a pull from another land within the heart of the child of God.  It just seems that we don’t fit in down here like we did before we were saved.  This world just doesn’t feel as comfortable to the child of God has it used to.  There is a desire within those who are saved to leave this world and go to Heaven.  Would you agree with that today?

      This same desire was also within the heart of Paul.  He wrote this in Phil. 1:23, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”  Here, in our text today, Paul seems to be writing from the heart of one who is longing for his heavenly home.  As I read what Paul has written here and what he penned down in other places, he seems to be saying, “I feel like traveling on!”

      There are times when we all feel that way.  There are times when we look at this life with all the burdens and sorrow and we long for our heavenly home.  There are many days when we would all have to confess, if we were honest, that “we feel like traveling on.”  Let’s look into these precious verses today and find some help for our hearts in the journey of life.  I want to preach for a few minutes on the thought: I feel Like Traveling On. Paul shares some special words in these verses that we need to hear today.


  I.                          SOME WORDS ABOUT HARDSHIP

(Ill. Paul pulls no punches when he talks about this life.  He describes the difficulties believers face while living in this foreign, sin-cursed world.)

A.  v. 1  This Life Is A Temporary Time – Paul uses two words to describe the temporary nature of this life.  The word “Tabernacle” refers to “a tent, or a temporary dwelling.”  It is used as a metaphor for these human bodies, which are a temporary home for the soul, which will be taken down at death.  The other word is “dissolved,” this word means “to demolish, to destroy, or to loosen.”  It was used to refer to “travelers reaching the end of their journey and loosening the straps which held the burdens to the back of their animals.”

            In other words, this life is seen as a temporary time.  These mortal bodies will fall away and bonds that keep us attached to this world will fall away and we will leave here.  This brings to mind two thoughts.  One is a blessing and the other is a burden.

      1.  The Blessing – This life and its problems will not last forever!  Life, with all its trials and burdens, will end some day for the child of God.  That is a blessing.  (Ill. My favorite verse in the Bible is the ones where it says, “And it came to pass…”  It didn’t come to stay, but it merely came to pass!)

      2.  The Burden – Because this life is temporary, we are all touched by the icy hand of death.  We watch our loved ones leave this world, and we must prepare to leave it ourselves.  This is one truth that makes this temporary life a difficult time!

B.  v. 2-4  This Life Is A Tragic Time – Look at the words Paul uses to describe this life and its tragedies: “groan”, v. 2; this word means “to sigh heavily within;” “burdened,” v. 4; this word means “to be pressed down on the inside;” “mortality,” v. 4, this words refers to “that which is mortal or liable to death.”

            Paul uses these words to remind us that this life is filled with tragedies, trials and trauma.  Of course, if you have lived here for any length of time, you really don’t need anyone to tell you that!  Still, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that as long as we are in this world we will face trials and troubles, Job 14:1; John 16:33; Eccl. 2:22-23.

            As we deal with matters like disease, infirmity, aging, death and the many tragedies life can bring our way, we are made to understand that this life is a life filled with problems.  Thank God again that this life is temporary!

C.  v. 7  This Life Is A Testing Time – We are told that we are to navigate this world “walking by faith.”  God allows us to pass through all the events of life, all the trails, the tragedies and the traumas to prepare us for glory.  He uses the pressures of this life to remake us into His perfect image, 2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:18.  After all, that is His goal for us, Eph. 4:13-15.


(Ill. One day, a preacher who had lost his family in a tragic fire was walking through town.  His mind was troubled by questions related to faith.  In fact, because of his tragedy, he was seriously thinking about quitting on the Lord.  He wondered how a God, Whom he had thought was so good, could allow something so terrible to happen to him and his family.

      As he walked, he passed a construction site where a huge cathedral was being built.  As he watched the men work, he noticed one man carving a small triangle out of granite with a chisel and a hammer.  The preacher called out to the stone mason and asked him what he was making.  The workman stopped and pointed to a place near the top of that great cathedral.  He said, “Do you see that tiny, open triangle near the top of the roof?”  The preacher answered, “Yes.”  “Well, said the workman, “I am carving this out down here so that it will fit in up there.”  Then the preacher understood what God was doing.  The Lord was merely carving him out down here so that he would fit in up there.  Friend, our trials were not sent to destroy us, but to shape us for His glory.)


 II.                              SOME WORDS ABOUT HOPE

(Ill. Yes, this life is filled with problems, trials and tragedies, but there is also hope while we travel here.  Paul shows us the downside of life, but he also points out that there is a positive side to this life as well. Notice the hope every child of God has.)

A.  v. 4  We Have A Comforting Hope – Paul has already told us that this life, with all its ups and downs will not last forever.  Now he tells us that we have some things to look forward to in our future.  He tells us that we will be “clothed upon,” and that “mortality will be swallowed up of life.” 

            Paul is telling that when this earthly life draws to a close and we lay down these temporary bodies, we have a new body and a new life awaiting us in Heaven, Rev. 21:4; 1 Cor. 15:49-58!  (Ill. The glories of that new body and that new home.)


      (Ill. These bodies are fading.  We try and do everything we can to remodel them and keep them looking as good as possible, but it is a losing effort.  After all, as Paul says in verse 1, they are “dissolving.”

            Ill. I heard about a little boy that was watching his mother one night put some white goo all over her face just before she would go to bed.  She would let it sit there for a few minutes and then wipe it off.  That little boy watched his mother do that for several nights. Finally his curiosity got the best of him, and as his mother was sitting there about to take the cream off, he said, "Mamma, why do you put that white goo on your face?" "Well," she said, as she began to take the cream off, "to make me beautiful."  He said, "Well it ain't working. is it?"

            Ill. The fact is, these bodies we wear are wearing out, Eccl. 12:3-7! Someone has said that you know you are aging when:

        It takes you longer to rest up than it did to get tired.

        Most of your dreams are re-runs.

        You sit down in a rocking chair and you can't get it started.

        Your mind signs contracts that your body can't keep.

        When you don't care where your wife goes, as long as you don't have to go with her.

        When your knees buckle, but your belt won't.

        When you sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.

        When everything hurts, and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.

            As Solomon said in Eccl. 3:20, “All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust."  Ill. I heard about a little boy that came running downstairs, scared to death.  His mother said, "What's wrong?"  The little boy said, "Mother, didn't the preacher say that the body comes from dust?"  She said, "Yes." He said, "Didn't he also say that one day the body will go back to dust?"  She said, "Yes." He said, "Mamma, you better come upstairs quick and look under my bed, somebody's either goin' or comin'."

      That’s the way life is, somebody’s either comin’ or going’ all the time.  Thank God, there is a comforting hope as we pass through this world.)


B.  v. 1, 6  We Have A Confident Hope – Look at the language Paul uses, “we know,” v. 1; “we have,” v. 1; “we are always confident,” v. 6; “we are confident,” v. 8.  Paul is not talking about a hope is a “maybe so thing,” but he is talking about a hope that is a “know so thing.”

            I am glad tonight that we do not have to worry about whether or not things will work out for us in eternity.  We have God’s Word on the issue.  He cannot tell a lie, Heb. 6:18, so what we read in His Word should comfort our hearts.  Paul tells us in Phil. 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  What the Lord has started, He will complete.  Thank God for the confidence we have in Him!  When we take our saved loved ones to the cemetery, we do not bury them.  They have already gone on to be with the Lord.  When it comes our time to go, we will not die, because we have passed from death unto life.  We merely leave this world and go into the presence of the Lord.  Thank God for that confident hope this evening!

C.  v. 9  We Have A Cleansing Hope – Paul tells us that the hope we have within us causes us to live right and to work actively for the glory of God.  Those who know Him want to please Him!  Whether we are here or there, there is a desire to be found pleasing in His sight.  If you really believe He is coming for you one day, either by death or by the rapture, you will have want to live a life pleasing unto the Lord, Ill. 1 John 3:3.


III.                              SOME WORDS ABOUT HOME

(Ill. Paul has something to say about the home to which we are headed.  Thank God, there is a place called prepared to receive us when this earthly life is over.)

A.  v. 1  Our Home Is A Perfect Place – Paul tells us that our home on high is a “building of God.”  This tells us something of the nature of that place.  If the Lord makes it, then it stands to reason that it is perfect.  After all, God makes no junk.  This world is tainted and stained by sin, Rom. 8:22.  But, none of the things that defile this world can enter that fair land, Rev. 21:27; 21:8.

            Heaven is a place where the trials, burdens, sins and faults of this world cannot enter.  There will be no death, no tears, no burdens, no trials, no devil, no evil, no sadness, no sorrow, no grief, nothing to defile, discourage or defeat will ever darken that glorious land.  It will be a place of perfect rest, peace, glory, existence and joy.  It is a perfect place, being prepared for a redeemed people, John 14:1-3.  I’m glad I’m going!

B.  v. 1  Our Home Is A Permanent Place – This earthly life is temporary and fleeting, Job 7:6; Psa. 103:15-16; James 4:14.  But, the place we are headed is permanent!  Paul says it is “eternal in the heavens.” It will not fade; it will not pass away and it will never be destroyed, 1 Pet. 1:3-5.  While eternity rolls forward, the glory of Heaven will never fade away and the residents of Heaven will endure in that glorious city forever.

C.  v. 8  Our Home Is A Precious Place – We are told that when we leave these bodies, we go immediately into the presence of the Lord.  As soon as death causes this clay tabernacle to fold up and fall away, the redeemed soul finds itself in the presence of the One Who died to save that soul.  That truth alone makes Heaven worth everything.

            We can speak of golden streets, jasper walls, angelic hosts, pearl gates and foundations of precious stones; but the presence of Jesus Christ is what will make Heaven Heavenly!  It will be Him and His glory that will light that city, Rev. 21:23.  It was he that died on the cross the make it possible and His people will see Him in that city on high.  They will forever dwell in His presence, 1 Thes. 4:17 and they will see the face of the One Who died to deliver them from their sins and from their sentence of death, Rev. 5:6; Rev. 22:4.


Conc:  Years ago, men used to sail around the Mediterranean and within the Mediterranean, that great sea.  It is called the Mediterranean because the word literally means "the middle of the earth."  Well every now and then they would go to the Straits of Gibraltar, and they would venture out a little way into that open sea, and then they would come back into the Straits of Gibraltar and back into the Mediterranean.

      That great Rock of Gibraltar, rising up there out of the sea, had some caves, and these mariners would go up into these caves and rest and stay for awhile.  They chiseled on the rocks of Gibraltar these words in Latin:  "Ne plus ultra” which means "there is nothing beyond."  As far as they knew, that was the stepping off place that was the end of the world.  As far as they knew, their world ended with the Rock of Gibraltar. 

      Then one day a man by the name of Christopher Columbus set sail.  Columbus sailed west, came to a brand new world, discovered the Americas, came back and told people what he had seen.

      Well some mariners went back up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar and they chiseled off the "Ne" and simply left the words "plus ultra."  The inscription which before had read, “no more beyond," now simply said, "more beyond.")

      I want to tell you, for everyone who has received the Lord Jesus, when you come to the end of the journey, there is more beyond, more than you could ever dream, more than you could ever imagine.  "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

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