Longing For Heaven
2 Corinthians 5:1-9
5 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. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
Short article from a famous Pastor, evangelist, writer. D.L. Moody.
As he approached the end of his life, Dwight L. Moody viewed Heaven as something to anticipate. Moody wrote: “Someday you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal — a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.” Every Christian that has invested his life in eternity can share that attitude toward Heaven.
In his 1st Epistle, Peter says that those who are saved are “foreigners and exiles” in this world,
1 Peter 2:11
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
And, again…the Apostle Paul reminds us that…
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
This reality causes us to become a bit homesick from time to time. Because when you really think about…although no one has ever seen what heaven looks like, or what it is like. Reading the Scriptures can make one excited to go there. Every born again Christian is “Longing for Heaven”. And why not? Jesus is there! We will be with our Savior forever!
As a Christian we don’t "fit in" in this world, and we shouldn't. Our society is completely out of control. Sin, wickedness, and immorality abounds like never before. The majority calls what's wrong right, and what's right wrong. Our nation has turned away from God, most of our leaders tolerate, legalize and even celebrate immorality. Every time I turn on the news it seems that things are getting worse. The people of God are mocked, ridiculed, oppressed and persecuted.
When you compare where we are to where we are going, it is only natural for us to be homesick for our Heavenly home. Knowing that we have many loved ones waiting for us, it is understandable that we would be homesick for Heaven. Even greater than these truths is the fact that Our Savior is there, seated at the right hand of the Father. Knowing that we will see Him face to face should make us exceedingly homesick.
Most of us would testify that we have a wonderful life here on earth. Because of salvation, we are blessed to live and abundant life in Christ. We also know that the reason we remain here is because the Lord has a work for us to accomplish, and it is important for us to serve fervently and faithfully until the Lord sees fit to take us home.
While there is no shortage of work for us to do down here, I think it is beneficial to look forward to what awaits us on the other side. So for just a little while today I want us to examine what is waiting for us when this life is over, and in doing so I want to preach on the thought Of “Longing for Heaven”.
This passage of scripture reveals several truths that will make any child of God homesick for their Heavenly home. One of the most common reasons we become homesick for Heaven is the difficulties that we face in this life. Let's look to verses 1-4 and consider…Our adversity!
2 Corinthians 5:1-4
5 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.
Here Paul is comparing the temporary to the eternal. He speaks of the fact that in this life we face troubles. In describing this life, Paul uses the words... “groan and burdened”.
He says in v4 “For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened”. To "groan" means to sigh heavily within, and the word "burdened" means to be pressed down under a heavy weight. I'm sure we would all agree that this life is filled with troubles and trials. It has been this way since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Job said…
“Man who is born of woman, Is of few days and full of trouble.”
And even our Lord Jesus had this to say…
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you [a]will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
There are different types of adversity in this life. Let's take a moment and consider, a common adversity. Common adversity speaks of those troubles that everyone experiences. In Matthew 5:45 Jesus said that the Father…
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Consider Calvary for a moment, there were 3 crosses and 3 different people. There was a saint, a sinner and a Savior crucified that day. All three of them suffered and died. None of them were exempt from suffering and death. We have a hard time understanding why bad things happen to "good" people. We may also question why good things happen to evil people. Though we may not understand it, these things are common.
All over the world people are dying from starvation. Droughts leave people thirsty and cause crops to fail. Hurricanes, Tsunamis & earthquakes ravage the land. Many people live in the middle of war zones. Terrorism is on high alert. Millions of people suffer from different diseases. Unemployment, lack of healthcare and rising costs of utilities & food are a problem for many. People face adversity all over the world... no one is exempt.
Not only is there "common adversity", there is also adversity that is specific to Christians. Let's consider, “CHRISTIAN ADVERSITY”.
There are many in this building who can testify that Christians face great adversity. We are not suddenly immune to trouble when we surrender to Christ. In fact, that may be the point in your life when troubles intensify.
There are many examples of Christ followers in the Bible who suffered greatly after their conversion. As you can recall, we went through a list of how the Apostles suffered and died in our Bible study. There was torture, prison, stabbing, beheading, crucifixion and so on…
Right now, all over the world, Christians are being persecuted for their faith. They are being arrested, beaten and killed for their devotion to Jesus Christ. We may not have experienced the physical persecution that some Christian martyrs have faced, but we do know about troubles, trials and tribulations. Many of us have experienced the reality of Christian Suffering. Christian people have to bury their babies.
Christian marriages sometimes fail. Christian husbands have to stand by the beside of their dying wives. Christian wives have to plan the funerals of their husbands. Christians lose their jobs, they have bills that they cannot pay, the repo-man may come and take their car, the bank may foreclose on their house. Christians are diagnosed with terminal diseases. Christians have rebellious children who are involved in sin and living in wickedness. Many of our brethren are hurting, suffering and devastated by the troubles of this life.
These "burdens" cause us to "groan". But this passage of scripture gives us great hope and encouragement. Paul tells us that the troubles, trials and tribulations of this life are ONLY temporary!
He uses the word "Tent" to describe the temporary nature of this life. He says, "For we that are in this tent do groan" (v4). The idea here is that our human bodies are mere temporary dwelling places for our souls. This “tent)” will be taken down when we leave this walk of life. One day our mortal bodies will fall away… and we will leave this temporary place for our eternal home! This is very encouraging, it means that even though we face adversity, we still possess great hope.
This leads us to another reality that leads us “Longing for Heaven”. We have our assurance!
Many people are living with in a “ I hope so religion”, they hope they are saved, they hope they possess eternal life, they hope that they have a home in Heaven. You don't have to have a
“I hope so religion”, you can have a “I know so salvation”. Paul had great confidence concerning eternity. Notice if you will what he said in v1.
1 Corinthians 5:1 & 5-6
5 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. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.
He declared that when this earthly tent is taken down...That is, when we die and leave this earthly body, we have an eternal body waiting for us in Heaven. We have more than a "tent" waiting for us up there, we have a "house"(building) made by God Himself. A "tent" is a temporary dwelling place, a "house" (building) is a permanent abode.
There are several words that illustrate Paul's confidence concerning eternity. He said, "we know", not "we think", he said "we have", not "we hope", he said "we are always confident", not "we are fairly sure most of the time". Then in v8…he shares one of the greatest guarantees in the Word of God. He says…
1 Corinthians 5:8
8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
This verse gives us assurance concerning our loved ones who died in Christ and have already passed on. And it gives us great assurance that when we draw our last breath we will be immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord. Paul had confidence that when he took his last breath he would immediately go into the presence of the Lord. In these verses Paul is telling us 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.
Paul covered this truth in…
1 Corinthians 15:53-57
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
A change must take place before we can enter our new home. This is a good thing, because it means that we get a new body! I don't know about you, but I am ready for mine!! Time certainly takes its toll on these old bodies. As we grow older, we take more and more medications. We have brittle bones, sore joints, and torn ligaments. We wear glasses, dentures and hearing aids. We have sores, bumps, bulges, sags, and wrinkles galore!
The tabernacles of our flesh are fading and we shall move out of them before long. But we are confident that when that time comes, we will be "clothed upon with our house which is from heaven". Knowing this causes us to be "Longing for Heaven" at times. I don't know about you but there are days when I eagerly anticipate going to my Heavenly home.
Let’s also consider the fact of our anticipation. There is much that we do not know about Heaven, but Jesus revealed a great deal to John in Revelation 21. Listen to what John said in - Revelation 21:10…
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
John says that Heaven is gloriously lit by the glory of God Himself. The city is surrounded by a high wall. There are twelve gates in this wall, each gate attended by an angel. These gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel inscribed on them.
In Revelation 21:18-20 John describes the materials used to construct that city.
18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
If this is what heaven looks like…consider this great promise as well…
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
The things that are not going to be in Heaven are just as exciting as the things that are going to be there. John says that there will be:
1. NO MORE SORROW…
This world is filled with trouble, there are disappointments on every hand, we face circumstances and situations that bring great sorrow into our lives, but in Heaven there will be no more sorrow. –
Jesus also showed John that there would be:
2. NO MORE SUFFERING:
This life is filled with suffering, but in Heaven we will never sit in a hospital room and watch our parents suffer. We will not have to watch people that we love fight for one more breath. Never again will we see our children hurt and struggle. We will not have to stand beside a casket and shed a tear at the loss of a spouse. There will be no more bad news from the doctor, and there will be no more hospitals, nursing homes or funeral homes. In Heaven we will never suffer again!
- Believe it or not it gets even better. We are told that in Heaven, there will be:
3. NO MORE SIN:
Revelation 21:27 (NIV)
27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
It is great to know that sin cannot follow us to that wonderful place. The reason for the problems and sorrow that we face in this life can be traced back to sin. But praise God in Heaven, there will be no more sin!
- Along with this exciting fact is the reality that in Heaven there will be: NO MORE SATAN!!!
When we get to the Promised Land, never again will we have to deal with Satan. We can have confidence in this fact because of what the Bible says in..
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Lastly and most importantly. Our Savior will be there. We are assured that one say we will see our Savior face to face!
1 John 3:2
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
When we die this, old broken-down body, this natural shell will remain here on earth. But our soul will go to be with the Lord. I can't imagine what it will be like to see Jesus face to face. But we must have the assurance that it will happen. One day our faith will become sight! Knowing that He is there makes us anticipate going to that wonderful land.
When we see Him, we will humbly bow before the throne and cry "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who, was and is and is to come! - We will cry "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."
Man…I am ready! I am “Longing for Heaven”. What about you? Are you looking forward to that wonderful place? Do you know for sure that you are going there? If you are not, then let give you another scripture promise…
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
“YOU WILL BE SAVED!!!”
Pastor Richard Santos
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