A. Time famine
1. We need to develop an eternal perspective.
2. Give examples from tombstones, obituaries, etc.
B. Time and eternity
1. We are children of time, but we are going to an eternal world.
2. Paul says “I die daily – every day we are closer to our death.
3. Paul says he does not lose heart (2 Cor. 4:1) – the following three contrast are the reason why.
II. Three Contrasts
16 – “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
A. Outer person and inner person (vs. 16)
1. Though outer person is decaying, the inner person is renewed day by day. This is the process of sanctification. The believer has an inner life.
2. The Christian life is to be lived day by day.
3. We are getting older: Youth, Middle Age, You’re Looking Good
4. Seven decades of life: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, wills.
5. As we grow older physically, we should grow stronger spiritually.
17 – “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
B. Present affliction versus the eternal weight of glory (vs. 17)
1. Paul is not minimizing afflictions (beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned).
2. From our perspective these are heavy and grievous, but they are light when laid down next to glory.
3. Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
18 – “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
C. Temporal and eternal (vs. 18)
1. Contrast between the seen and the unseen.
2. Faith is the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11).
3. What is God doing that I cannot see?
4. Jewish Talmud – “Man is born with his hands clenched; he dies with them wide open. Entering life, he desires to grasp everything; leaving the world, all he possessed has slipped away.”
5. 1 John 2:7- “the world is passing away . . . but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”
These three contrasts are Paul’s perspective on life and death, of time and eternity.
III. Six Eternal Perspectives
We do not lose heart because of these six eternal perspectives.
A. Eternal Glory (4:17)
1. Satan holds mankind in bondage to the fear of death (Heb. 2)
2. We know our eternal destination.
1-4 – “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
B. Eternal Body (5:1-4)
1. Paul calls our body an “earthly tent.”
2. We move out of our earthly tent and move into God’s presence, into a heavenly body.
5 – “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
C. Eternal Purpose (5:5)
1. Fading mortality is not without design. We are not just marking time in this life. There is a purpose.
2. Non-believers cram life full of activities because that’s all there is.
6 – “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.”
D. Eternal Fellowship (5:6)
1. Paul can be confident and encouraged.
2. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
3. Philippians 1:21 – to live is Christ, to die is gain.
4. Temporary fellowship with believers, eternal fellowship with Lord.
5. We depart, disengage from the body.
6. The body sleeps, not the person.
7-9 – “We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”
E. Eternal Fulfillment (5:7-9)
1. Paul would prefer to be with the Lord.
2. Paul’s perseverance was to please the Lord.
3. In heaven there is no more guilt, no more anxiety, no more fear.
10 – “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
F. Eternal Reward (5:10)
1. For Paul, heaven is not just a destination. It is a motivation.
2. Judgment seat of Christ
3. Christian funerals don’t focus on earthly achievements.
4. Talking about people already saved – salvation is not good works.
1. Am I balancing time and eternity?
2. Quote from C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
3. How are you spending your time here on earth?
4. “Only one life, twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”