Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 30
II CORINTHIANS 4:1-5:9 – PART 2
Now in this lesson we’re going to move into Chapter 5. I would like to make it known that even though our material is copyrighted that’s only to protect us from somebody who would use it for profit. But anytime someone wants to copy our material we give full permission as long as you don’t try to sell them for a profit. I do not believe in making merchandise of this Book (Bible). Now II Corinthians Chapter 5. Paul is still dealing with this whole concept that he thought he was going to die, and lose the rest of his ministry. So all of this is on his mind, but the Holy Spirit is inspiring it. In this chapter I will be able to answer the question, “What Happens When We Die.?” Here it is.
II Corinthians 5:1a
“For we know that if our earthly house…”
Our earthly house is a tent, a temporary dwelling place of our earthly body… a temporary place for the real you and the real me. See the real us, the part that’s going on into eternity, is that invisible – the mind, the will and the emotion, the personality. It is simply dwelling in this old earthly tabernacle. And one of these days this old earthly tabernacle is going to dissolve and go back into the earth from which it came, unless the Rapture of the Church takes place first. And if that happens then this old body will just be changed. This earthly house, this earthly tabernacle is the body of flesh. Now reading on:
II Corinthians 5:1
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, (in other words it goes back into the ground from which it came. However that won’t stop us because we’re eternal. So) we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.”
We should get excited about eternity. Even though Israel is more or less going to enjoy the ramification of the new earth, as God’s earthly people, you and I as members of the Body of Christ are going to be heavenly. And I think that whatever new universe God is going to create, He will create one that will be literally garden plots for believers. I think that we will have responsibilities throughout all of God’s new creation. And we won’t be limited by time and space, but rather we’ll be able to go to the end of the universe and back in a second or two. We are literally going to be ruling with Christ in the heavenlies. My, what a prospect. And not for a thousand years, but for eternity. Now that’s mind boggling. Eternal, forever in the heavens. Now verse 2:
II Corinthians 5:2
“For in this we groan, (we just can’t fully comprehend) earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (or our dwelling place) which is from heaven: In other words the new body. Now again I’ve got to turn to the Book of Philippians because there’s a verse there that answers all the questions, “Well what kind of a body are we going to have when we get to the eternal?”
“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence (from that same heaven that our citizenship is now located) also we look for the Saviour, (not the King. Remember at His Second Coming when we come with Him, He will be coming as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But when He comes for the Rapture or catching away of the Church He’ll be coming as our Saviour.) the Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall change (it will be a metamorphous only on a grander scale than a butterfly. He shall change) our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
I always tell folks to study the 40 days after His resurrection if you want to get a glimpse of your new resurrected body. How did He operate? Well, He looked very normal, He had all the outward appearances of another human being. He walked in step with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and they didn’t see Him as something strange. They invited Him into the house for probably the evening meal then suddenly He’s gone. The Lord didn’t go out the door, He didn’t slip out a window; He was gone, and in a split second He was in the upper room in Jerusalem with the disciples. And again He just suddenly appeared to the disciples. Then we find Him up at Galilee, and He stands there on the seashore and waits for the fellows to come to shore in their little boat. And when they don’t have any fish what does He tell them? “Breakfast is ready.” The Lord had fish frying, and had the bread ready, and the Scripture says He ate with them. Now is that weird or bizarre? No. He had a Human appearing Body, and It could do all the things that the disciples did, but now It was an eternal body, it was the resurrected Body. It was not of flesh and Blood, but rather flesh and bone. And the Spirit is the life-given aspect of that new Body and that’s our prospect. So when this old body dies, and if we are buried and it goes back into corruption then we know without a shadow of doubt that this is going to be resurrected to a new body fashioned like His body. Now returning II Corinthians Chapter 5.
II Corinthians 5:2a
“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring…”
How many Christians today can earnestly say that? Very few I’m afraid, but I hope I’m wrong. But you see for every believer, the minute they wake up in the morning the first thing they should think is `Oh Lord I hope you come today.’ We should be so fed up with this old world. And I love life just as much as anybody. When I drive across those pastures and look at those cattle, I love it, just ask my wife. I think she sometime thinks she’s in second place. So don’t think I don’t enjoy life.
But you know what I love more? The thought that maybe today or tonight I’m going to be suddenly in the realms of glory. What a prospect. And I know that takes a lot of faith. Iris and I were talking about it the other night. It just takes a lot of faith to believe that all of a sudden there’s going to be a sudden disappearance of millions of people. I want you to realize that if you can believe God’s Word it’s going to happen. And I can understand when the scoffers say, “How can you believe such stuff.” Because it does take faith. But for us who believe it is an exciting prospect that maybe before this day is over, maybe before this year is over, or before this century is over it’s going to happen. And I believe we’re getting so close, and it’s going to happen because The Word declares it. Now verse 3:
II Corinthians 5:3-4
“If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4. For we that are in this tabernacle (we’re still here in the flesh) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”
What’s Paul driving at? We are not so much looking forward to losing this old body, and having the soul and spirit separated from it. But the whole prospect is that as soon as this body has quit functioning and is no longer necessary then we have a new one. One that’s far better, one that will never again have an ounce of pain, one that will never again have sickness. Oh what a glorious prospect. But it’s coming and we’re getting so close. I try to tell even young people about how close we are. You can tell those young people the same thing that you can tell the older folks. “Hey listen we’re getting close. One day this body, whether it’s young, old or in-between, is suddenly going to be gone, and we’re going to be clothed with that which is immortal.”
We have seen lives full of vigor and vitality, suddenly gone in a split second. That also happens on our highways everyday, and we never know who’s going to be next. But all of a sudden this body that is prone to die is never going to die, only change, and that’s the hope of the believer. Now verse 5:
II Corinthians 5:5
“Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, (it all began with God and it will all end with Him.) who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” Now why did the Holy Spirit inspire the apostle Paul to talk about something like a down payment? Because a down payment is something that is only a holding pattern until something later consummates. Let’s go to Ephesians Chapter 1 for the answer.
“In whom (speaking of Christ) ye also trusted, (placed your faith) after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: (as you find in I Corinthians 15:1-4. How that Christ died for you, was buried, and rose again) in whom also after that ye believed, (in your heart) ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest (the down payment. I thought our salvation was complete. Yes and No. That’s a terrible answer isn’t it? Spiritually of the soul and spirit – Yes it’s complete. We are redeemed, we are justified, we’re sanctified, we’re in the Body of Christ. But there’s one part of the great plan of redemption that is only partial and here it is. At our salvation the Holy Spirit comes in as God’s earnest or down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
Now what’s the purchased possession if it’s not the soul and spirit. Well there’s that third part of us that has to be ready for eternity, and what is it? The body. Several years ago I had a pastor claim from our pulpit that, “God’s not concerned about the physical body, but rather all He’s concerned about is your soul.’ Oh No? We are a three-part person. We are body, soul, and spirit! Before we go to the Book of Romans let’s look at that in the Book of I Thessalonians Chapter 5.
I Thessalonians 5:23
“And the very God of peace sanctify (set you apart) you wholly; (completely) and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body (all three parts) be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The spirit, soul, and body is preserved for all eternity. We’re talking about eternal things. So we’re not going to be a viable entity in eternity until we get the body. The soul and spirit when it is totally redeemed, has experienced absolute salvation, so what is waiting to be consummated? The body. Now let’s go to Romans Chapter 8. In this chapter we find such a thrilling concept of that. In our next lesson we’re going to get into detail about what happens to the believer the very moment that we die. The moment the medical authorities say, “Well, he or she is gone.” Where are they? Well, they’re in the presence of The Lord immediately. But for now read verses 22 and 23:
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together (that’s the whole creation) until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Sprit, (believers) even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
See how beautiful that all fits? So even though the moment we’re saved, the soul and spirit are totally redeemed, it’s saved, it’s made ready for eternity. But what about this old body? Oh it’s not ready yet. But God has put His down payment on it by virtue of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Remember that’s His brand on us, and that tells us regardless of whether we go through the valley of the shadow of death and we’re put out in the cemetery or whatever, we know one thing for sure, one day we’re going to have a new body, and it’s going to be reunited with the soul, and the spirit so that we’re a complete entity for the eternal. Now back to II Corinthians Chapter 5:
II Corinthians 5:6
“Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, (while we’re alive here on the earth) we are absent (bodily) from the Lord:” We can’t be in both places at once. Now we know that spiritually in the realm of the invisible, yes we are already citizens of heaven. The Book of Colossians makes that so plain.
“Who (God) hath (already) delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” So we’re already citizens of that kingdom, but for now the soul and spirit are The Lord’s. The Holy Spirit is indwelling us to be that comforter. But the old body is still prone to death and sickness, and failure.
II Corinthians 5:7
“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” How do we know all of this? Faith! And faith is taking God at His Word. If the Word declares it then we believe it and God reckons it for righteousness especially for salvation. Now in verse 8 Paul repeats.
II Corinthians 5:8
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
I hope you haven’t lost what we’ve been talking about, what the apostle has just recently gone through. There he was lying on a sick bed in Philippi having barely escaped with his life I suppose out of Ephesus. He was under constant attack from all of his adversaries within the Church as well as without, and death then almost becomes, I think, a welcome escape. But on the other hand Paul realizes that there is unfinished business to be done. There are still people to be reached with the Gospel as only he could do it. Now verse 9:
II Corinthians 5:9a
“Wherefore we labour,…”
Paul’s life is not his own. He had long pitched that. You remember he said in the Book of Philippians that he counted everything in his past, which was no doubt rather lucrative in the area of Judaism, and probably had a rather expensive lifestyle. I think he had a family, he probably had a beautiful home in Jerusalem, and he called it all but dung. And it was all for the sake of the Gospel.
II Corinthians 5:9
“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”
Now that’s not for salvation, but rather for rewards. A lot of people don’t like to look at it in that light, but that’s the whole idea of salvation in the first place. God leaves us here to further the work of the Gospel. And as we do it in whatever capacity that God gives us, it’s to be for His glory to further the work of the Gospel. Because you never know. You may just drop a word someplace, you may just have a short conversation with someone that will all of a sudden make them start thinking. And they’re going to start considering some of the claims of God on their life.
Oh I hear it almost every day of just one little comment someone may make. And it just blows people’s minds. There was a guy that called from the audience, and he said, “I just love to go in and bounce some of these things off people, and they look at me quizzically, and all I say is, `Well think about it.'” One of these people happened to be a pastor, and the next day was at his door, and the pastor said, “I never thought of these things before but now you’ve got me searching the Scriptures.” Well you can do that also. My, you come across someone and all you have to say is, “Have you ever thought about it? Have you ever considered it? Well think about it because eternity is long, eternity is forever.” We can do this while we are yet in the body.