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August 14, 2020 2:00 am
Life on earth is temporary; life in heaven is forever. And for many of us, we can't wait for eternity. In the message "Groaning for Glory," Skip shares some of the joys you'll experience in eternity with your Lord and Savior.
This teaching is from the series From the Edge of Eternity.Links:
This week's DevoMail: https://connnectwithskip.com/devomail
Erwin Lietzau wrote a great book called One Minute After You Die, and in that book, he writes, Only on this side of the curtain is death. Our enemy just beyond the curtain. The monster turns out to be our friend.
The label death is still on the bottle, but the contents are eternal life. Death is our friend because it reminds us that heaven is near. How near as near is a heartbeat as near as an auto accident, as near as a stray bullet. As near as a plane crash. If our eyes could see the spirit world, we might find that we are already at its gates.
Have you ever wanted something so much it hurt? That's how some people feel about heaven because they anticipate going home to be with the Lord.
Today on Connect with Skip, high tech Skip shares what it is about the afterlife that causes such eager anticipation, helping you discover the joys of eternity with Christ. But before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that tells a compelling story and explores affairs in the Middle East.
Here is Skip with Joel Rosenberg to talk about this month's offer. Joel's book, The Jerusalem Assassin. When Joel Rosenberg releases a new book, I can't wait to read it. He never disappoints. Recently, I was able to talk with Joel about this book from his home in Jerusalem. It's about an American president who's about to roll out his Middle East peace plan.
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A Saudi Israeli peace plan. That would be huge. That would be historic. Let's do it. Let's do a summit in Jerusalem. That's the setup of the Jerusalem assassin. What's amazing about that is this is a plausible scenario.
The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel Rosenberg is our special offer this month. Your hard cover copy of The Jerusalem Assassin is our thank you gift. When you get thirty five dollars or more today to help expand this vital teaching outreach with Skip hindsight. So call now to get your copy. Eight hundred nine two two eighty eight or give online securely connect with Skip dot com slash offer.
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Now we're in Second Corinthians, Chapter five. Skip Heitziged gets in to today's message.
I had a friend who lost his grandmother a few years ago and we affectionately called her by the name of Grandma Boo.
That's what she was known by all of her kids and grandkids and great grandkids as Graham a boo. She died at ninety nine. Almost 100. We were hoping that she'd make it to 100, but she did. She loved life. Graham Abbu did.
But she was groaning for glory. And no wonder she lost her daughter. She was there to bury her daughter. She buried her own grandson.
Several of her friends died. And so I remember when she said, you know, I think I know more people now in heaven than I do on earth. And I think I'm ready now to leave earth and be in heaven. So as good as this life was, she knew that there was something far better after this life.
What a testimonial.
There was a guy in Michigan who lived over 100 years of age who also had a joy for life. True story. And he was known in his neighborhood as Uncle Johnson. That's how everybody knew him, Uncle Johnson. He was a happy go lucky guy. One day he was outside gardening and a friend walked by and heard him singing praise songs and said, Uncle Johnson, well, you're sure happy today, aren't you? He said, Well, you know, I am happy. And here's why I've been thinking lately and I've been thinking this. If the crumbs of joy which fall from the master's table in this world are so good, what do you think that great loaf in glory must be like?
You know, death is a blessing.
And here's why the Bible says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, as good as you might look now. And you can get the best suit on and the nicest dress on and look trimmed and proper. Anything that decays cannot inhabit or inherit something which is incorruptible. A permanent home. Erwin Lietzau wrote a great book called One Minute After You Die. And in that book, he writes, Only on this side of the curtain is death. Our enemy just beyond the curtain. The monster turns out to be our friend. The labeled death is still on the bottle, but the contents are eternal life. Death is our friend because it reminds us that heaven is near. How near as near is a heartbeat as near as an auto accident, as near as a stray bullet. As near as a plane crash. If our eyes could see the spirit world, we might find that we are already at its gates.
But death is not the end of the road. It's the bend in the road. It leads to some where we find that the tomb, the grave is really the entrance into life. The only way we know that, the only way we would ever see that is by looking through the lens of scriptures, only by looking through the lens of the word of God that we understand anything there is about this life, death, the afterlife, heaven only through that lands. Back in nineteen ninety nine there was a movie that was out and you probably either saw it or you heard of it called The Matrix. And the whole premise of the movie The Matrix was that this visible world is nothing but a virtual reality computer program and that everybody's living in this delusion of physicality and we see people and see things and experience things. But really, it's just people plugged in to a common source, a common life, a common computer. And it's just a computer program. And so toward the beginning of the film, Morpheus says to Neo, who's sort of the main actor, the film says, I have two pills in my hand.
Take the blue pill, wake up in your own bed, believe whatever you want. Take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland.
Now, just a few people on that film saw beyond the curtain into the really real world, and I've discovered that there is a whole world filled with people who have taken the blue pill. They wake up every morning. They believe whatever they want about life, death in the afterlife. And only a few people have peered beyond this to the really real world. I hear people say, well, I don't buy into the supernatural. I live in the real world. Paul the apostle would say, okay, this is the real world, but there's a really real world, even more real and much more permanent than this one. Well, last week we were in First Thessalonians four last week and the week before we discovered some things about death. In that message, we discovered that when we die, our relationship with Christ is actually deepened. We discovered that after death there's a great reunion. If you're a believer in Christ, you will reunite with moms and dads and children and brothers and sisters and friends who are also believers would be a great reunion in heaven. And also, we touched on the idea of the future resurrection. But here's the question today. After we die until the resurrection.
What will life be like? What will we look like? What will our form be like? What is the experience now? At the point of Christian departure. Death until the resurrected body. Let's look at Second Corinthians, chapter five. The first eight versus. Let's just skim them first.
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. Four In this we groan earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven. If indeed having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
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. Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased, rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Paul brings up three important truths. First is our destination. Second is our frustration. And the third is our affirmation. He tells us what we know. He tells us why we groan. And he tells us when we are confident, which is always. Let's just look more carefully adverse one at our destination.
Now, this is what we know for. We know that if our earthly house. This tent is destroyed, we have a building from God to house, not made with hands eternal in the heavens. Do you notice how frequently Paul uses such terminology as we know, like he says here? You never read Paul saying, got my fingers crossed. I guess. I hope. Boy, wouldn't it be great if he uses this unambiguous, definite language. We know even back in First Thessalonians, he says, we don't want you to be ignorant brethren, as if to say, let me dispel any ignorance that there may be. I want you to know. Now, what is it we know? We know according diverse one, that when we leave Earth as a Christian, we go to heaven. We know that when we move from this tent, this physical body, we go to a permanent temple, a house. Now, the analogy was simple and everybody understood it in the first century because there were still people back then who lived in tents. They were nomadic dwellers. And there still are some today in the Middle East, Bedouins. They'll pitch their tent. Their animals will feed and graze until there's no more food. Then they'll move on and pitch their tents. Somebody somewhere else. Paul himself. This was his profession. He was a tent maker.
So the analogy is clear. One is temporary. That's the tent. One is permanent. That's the house. The building. One is flimsy. That's the tent. One is sturdy. That's the building. One is weak. That's the tent. One is strong. That's the building.
Also, any Jewish person reading this would maybe think back immediately to the tabernacle in the wilderness where God was once worshiped in a tent until they moved to a permanent location called the temple, known in Judaism as the House. That's what they called it, the house. So here's the principle in verse one. The principle is this the way we look when we die isn't the way we're going to look forever. Can I get a hallelujah out of that one the way we look when we die? Isn't the way we're going to look forever? The real me is spirit. This is only a tent. You're looking at. But the real me is able to convey and communicate who I am via this medium called the human body. But it's temporary. And if you've ever camped, you love to go out in a tent. It's a lot of fun, but not for very long. I once went camping for three months. I took a trip around the United States, had a truck and a tent, and I set it up every night. You know, honestly, I had fun, but I'm over it. And after a few days, you start longing for things like a shower, walls, a real bed. It's something very temporary. Your body is like a tent. Your body is temporary. And after a while, the threads start to unravel. After a while, the flaps become more prominent. After a while, the tent starts to leak. It's just the nature of the temporary body. Now, it's interesting how some people want to make their tent live forever or look like it's a brand new model younger than it really is. So they'll stretch the flaps and nip and tuck and dye the threads. And somebody go by, they die. They were so young. There were hundred and forty when they died. Are you kidding? Now Paul calls our body attent. James goes a step further and says, not only is it that temporary, it's even less temporary. He says, What is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a time and then vanishes away. So James says, here's your body. Here's your life.
And then another comes, that's the next generation. And then another. And then another. And then another. We are temporary. Our bodies are meant to not last. We take down the tent. In fact, as you know, the last letter Paul ever wrote was second Timothy. And in Chapter four, toward the very end of the end of his life, he says to young Timothy four, I know that the time of my departure is at hand member that little phrase that a little verse, the time of my departure. The word is on elucidates. It means it's time to take down the tent and move on. So where you used he was vacating the tent. Now look back at verse one and notice that we trade in the tent for a building if our earthly house. This tent is destroyed. We have a building from God. Now, what is he referring to when he says the building? Some people believe it's heaven itself. Others say, well, it's more specifically a mansion in heaven, as Jesus promised. And John, 14, verse two in my father's house. There are many mansions. The building, then, is the heavenly mansion. It seems, however, in reading the text that Paul is speaking about something more close than that, something we wear, something we're clothed with. It makes more sense, as I read this in context, that the building from God must be a reference to our glorified resurrected body.
OK. There is a different view. There's a third view.
And I just I just touched on it last week. I wanna elaborate a little bit this week. Some people believe that the building from God that Paul is referring to is a temporary intermediate body that we receive upon death as we wait for our bodies then buried in the ground to be resurrected. And we can't can't be dogmatic on this. This is only a possibility. And by the way, it's a view I do not lean to, but I just want to cover it today. Some people think this way, just as there's an intermediate heaven. That won't last forever, because God will make a new heaven and a new earth. And that's our ultimate destination. Then there must be an intermediate body to enjoy that intermediate heaven until we get to the new heaven and the new earth. And so they'll cite examples. For example, Moses, who died but was at the Transfiguration with Moses and Jesus or Elijah and Jesus. And the disciples saw him when Moses was dead. But he had some physical form so he could talk and they knew it was Moses. Or this view will say, look at Paul the apostle who said I was caught up into the third heaven, second Corinthians twelve. And he says, whether I was in the body or out of the body, I don't know. Only God knows. And so this view will say, because of his uncertainty, whether he was in or out of the body, it must mean that he had some different form, different than his earthly body. Well, the disagreement comes in verse one as to what period of time he was referring to. Was he referring to immediately after death or was he referring to eventually after death? Notice in verse one, Paul tells us what happens if not win, for we know that if our earthly house. This tent is destroyed. Now, here's Paul waiting for Jesus to come back, hoping he'll come back in his lifetime. But if that doesn't happen, if I die in the meantime.
And then he tells the rest of the story. So simply this verse is giving you and I a way to contrast something temporary with somewhere permanent. He's basically saying, yeah, we live in the real world. But there's a really real world that's much better and more permanent. Like the little girl, I love the story, she was walking with grandpa one evening and she looked up and she saw the stars starting to sparkle and come out and she said, Grandpa. If heaven looks this good on the wrong side, Grandpa, can't you imagine how good it must look when we're on the right side?
So says here we are in this temporary body, on the other side, it looks much better. So that's our destination. That's what we know. And that's in general terms. Now he expresses the frustration. This is why we've grown. Notice that's what he says for in this first two, we grown earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven. If indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked, for we who are in this tent grown, being burdened not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now, he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the spirit as a guarantee. Let me first tell you what Paul is not saying. Paul is not expressing the pagan Greek view, the view of Plato, the platonic view that says the body is a prison, we're trapped. And death is good because it frees us to be who we're meant to be. This was not Paul the Apostle expressing some morbid desire for death. This isn't a Herman Munster theology. Some ghoulish, weird. I really just want to die. No, quite the opposite. What he is hoping for is for the Lord Jesus Christ to return so that there has to be nothing in between him and that experience of the full presence of God in the resurrected body. He's groaning for glory. He's eager for Jesus to return so that he can experience his glorified body. He uses the word groan.
It means to sigh with longing. How descriptive. Here's Paul going.
Groaning, sighing with longing. Have you listened to yourself lately when you get up in the morning? You ought to do that fact. I dare you to tape records yourself when you get up in the morning. I bet you sound like that. I bet when you've been lying in a position for a long time, whether taking a nap or going to sleep. You get up in the morning. You get up. You probably step. And now I notice personally that that groaning becomes more prominent. As the years go on, I discover my body is limited and I groan and it's OK to groan.
It's scriptural to groan late in his life.
Somebody once asked John Quincy Adams how he was doing. He was elderly at the time. And here's his answer. John Quincy Adams as well, sir. Very well. The house in which he has been living is feeble. The shingles are coming off the roof. The foundation is a bit shaky. And he has received word from its maker that he must vacate soon. But Mr. Adams is fine, sir. Just fine. That's our sixth president of the United States. Groaning for glory. Knowing that he will vacate the temporary body. Now back to this controversy of what will look like the moment we die. People often ask me that. I think the best answer is simply to say when they say how well we look, we die. I'd like to say better, much better. But that usually doesn't suffice or satisfy. Here's how that argument of controversy is framed. Here's Paul saying, look, one thing I don't want to be as disembodied or his words naked in verse three. And so it must mean that if if that's such a dread that God's going to give me a house, a temporary form as soon as I die. So here's the presumption. The presumption is that I'll be given a body in place of the body that's being buried on the earth in the ground. It's an intermediate body. It's a temporary body until our physical bodies buried can be resurrected. That's the thought. That's the idea. I just mentioned. I don't lean to that.
There is a science of interpreting the Bible. I don't if you know this or not, but there's a there's a solidified science with rules on how to interpret scripture. It's called hermeneutics. You want to impress your friends, say, let's talk about hermeneutics. But it's just means how to interpret the Bible. There's there's five basic rules. Rule number one, you always interpret a text in the light of its context. You don't take a verse out of context. Number two, you always interpret a text in light of the words that are used. Number three, you always interpret a text in light of the grammar, how the words are related to each other.
Number four, you always interpret attacks in the light of the background that you find the truth in. Number five, and here's this one. You always interpret any text of scripture in the light of the unity of scripture that Skip Heitzigs with the message from his series From the Edge of Eternity.
Now here's Skip to share how you can help keep this broadcast going strong, connecting more people like you to God's truth.
The Bible tells us that God has put eternity in your heart. That is a longing that points you back to him.
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Before we close, we invite you to check out the Connect with Skip Mobile app. You'll have access to a treasure trove of Skip's messages right at your fingertips. Find more information at Connect with Skip dot com slash app. And just a reminder, you can watch connect with Skip Hightech on the Hillsong channel on Saturdays at four p.m. Mountain. Check your local listings. Be sure to tune in again next week as Skip Hightech explains why you have a good reason to run. For all that's waiting for you in heaven. You don't want to miss the. Connect with Skip Heitziged is a presentation of connection communications connecting you two guards and ever changing truth in ever changing times.