Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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PENTECOST 4 – June 17, 2018 – 2 Cor. 5:1-10 “GOD’S KINGDOM COMES”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Epistle Lesson just read, from 2 Cor. 5.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • All three of our texts speak of God’s Kingdom, and how it is God Who does the “building” and “maintaining.” Both the Old Testament lesson and Jesus’ parable use horticultural illustrations.
  • In our text, the apostle speaks about our life in this world, here and now, and also our transition – through death – to our eternal life with God in heaven. We need to know these things about our existence – so that we may live boldly, confidently, and successfully in this life!  Paul speaks of this as being “always of good courage.” 
  • He speaks of our life in this world, and our life in the world to come, in terms of structures. We have a tent, a physical body in this life.  But if we die, and this “earthly home is destroyed,” we still have an abode, “a building from God, a house which is eternal in the heavens.”
  • All of this is about the coming, the growth, and the culmination of God’s Kingdom – a large and lofty growth of God’s people – in this world and the next!
  • Since we would all like to see “GOD’S KINGDOM COME,” and we pray for this each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, and since we often assume that we are principally responsible for the growth of the Kingdom of God, it is important for us to first understand that:

 

I.  It Is God Who Builds And Grows His Kingdom

 

OT Lesson:  “I will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out.  I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I Myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain . . . that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar.”

 

A.  In This Process God Makes The High To Be Low And The Low To Be Lofty

 

OT Lesson:  “All the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish.” 

 

B.  He Does This Work Of Growing And Building His Kingdom So That All May Know That He Is The Lord

 

OT Lesson:  “I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.”

 

Statement:  What seems to make sense to us – self-determination, the accomplishments of mankind, doing our part and fair share – are all destroyed as faulty delusions by these texts of Holy Scripture.  It is God Who builds, God Who sows the seed of His Word of love, the Gospel of Jesus, and Who causes the growth.  This He has done with each of us who believe in Jesus, we who are “plantings” of the Lord!  And we are part of the largest of the “garden plants” – the Kingdom of God.  All of this is by the grace of God, and the doing of God – Who has enabled us to know and believe the salvation He has provided for us.

 

Application:  In that it is God Who has planted us in His kingdom, God Who causes us to grow in faith and trust in Him, we should understand our dependence upon Him, and upon His Word.  Likewise, if we wish to remain of “good courage” and in the process of moving toward our “heavenly building from God,” then we should eagerly spend as much time with the Lord as we possibly can – knowing that all good and all blessings come from Him!  And it is pure joy to understand that:

 

II.  God’s Kingdom Has Also Come To Us, To We Who Believe In Jesus Our Savior

A.  If Our Body, The Tent Which Is Our Earthly Dwelling, Perishes, We Still Have God’s House, Even When We Die

 

Text:  “We know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.  . . .  In this tent we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life!  He Who has prepared us for this very thing is God, Who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee!”  

 

So Even In This Life, With Its Burdens, We Are Of Good Courage, Knowing That To Live Here And Now Is Good, And To Die Is Better

 

Text:  “So we are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

 

C.  Knowing These Things, The Good That Is To Come To Us, We Make It Our Aim To Do Good Things, To Please God With Our Lives Here And Now

 

Text:  “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

 

Statement:  God’s Kingdom has come to us, even now.  We are privileged to live in it even with the temporal and mortal body God has given us.  And in this body, in this earthly life, we have opportunity to please God.  We do so principally by continuing in repentance – confessing our sins daily, as we did a few moments ago, and rejoicing in God’s absolution, His forgiveness and cleansing away of our sin.  Then also, living in His love, we also are moved to love Him by loving one another just as He has loved us.  This is exercising forgiveness, and forbearance to others, first and foremost, and then also rendering every service of love, kindness, and goodness to others! 

 

Application:  We do so not to gain the Kingdom of God, but because God has already granted it to us.  We do so because this is our life, our future, especially once this “earthly tent” has been destroyed.  By God’s grace, we have been granted “a building from God, eternal in the heavens.”  This is our destiny.  Yes, here and now we live in God’s Kingdom “by faith, and not by sight.”  But His Word, His promises, the assurances of His love for us, enable us to “be of good courage!”  And in this courage, even though we would prefer to be “at home with the Lord” in heaven, we rejoice to make it our aim to please Him in all things.

 

Conclusion:  The church, our life of faith, can be looked at in different ways, from different perspectives.  But here we see from God’s Word that He is “growing His church, His kingdom,” of which we are a part by faith in Jesus. 

 

Our time in this world, and our future life with God in heaven, can also be looked at in different ways.  But in our text, we see the nature and blessings of our life “in this tent, our earthly home,” and also the superlative blessings of the “building from God, eternal in the heavens.”

 

So we are granted good courage in this life, and a grand and noble purpose – to please Him.  And in this way, His kingdom also grows within us and through us!  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.