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The Coronavirus and the Unseen (Glenn Colley)

If you’d like an outline of today’s sermon, open your Bible to 2 Corinthians 4;16. We’re going to go down into chapter five down to about verse 11. President Trump is saying that the Coronavirus is an invisible enemy. Kind of interesting how this thing is gradually evolved over the last several weeks, and I didn’t come to preach about the virus.

Did they, I’m just going to use this to launch the sermon and the passage from the apostle Paul. It’s interesting to think about the fact that the greatest enemy, as it turns out, was what Mr. Trump is talking about. It’s the unknown aspect of the virus. We keep asking the questions, so how many people are there out there who are asymptomatic?

How many people are there who have it and don’t know they have it, and that could be contaminating other people? What’s America going to look like after this thing is all finished and how many will die? And of course, early on and through this thing, what we’ve done is to scramble, trying to find data.

How can we measure this with different countries and what we know from this country and ultimately what we have is a great deal that we just don’t know. It’s unseen. I think the Holy Spirit would look at us and. And smile because we should have known this. I mean, remember what James says in James 4:13 go to now you say today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and we will continue there a year and we will buy and we will sail and we will get gain.

That sounds an awful lot like the American economy. He is good and then he continues. You don’t know what’s on the Morrow. What is your life? And it’s even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away so that we ought to say, and Christians, are we saying it now?

Have we got this figured out so that we ought to say, if the Lord wills, we will do this or that. The irony with which I want to begin this sermon is that in reference to what we’ve been doing the last several weeks with the Coronavirus, it turns out that the unseen, is our greatest enemy, or at least one of our greatest ones, but as Christians, that’s flipped over the unseen is probably our greatest friend, and that’s what Paul has to talk about here in these two chapters.

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I want to go to second Corinthians chapter four for which Paul just read, and then we’re going to go down into chapter five and chapter four. Paul says, now those of us who are preaching the gospel. We, we live with death. It was, it was martyrdom. It was that, that they understood that what they were preaching was controversial and people were against it.

There it will be used for the cross. We’re out there and there was just always every day a good possibility that there were going to be killed for what they were preaching. Hold that he comes down lower in the chapter and he talks about death among all of us from, from just plain mortality, human mortality.

That that this body of ours is, is not meant to last forever. And with that in mind, then he says this, and I’m, I’m in second Corinthians four in verse 16 therefore we do not lose heart. But though our outward man is perishing, our inward man is renewed day by day for our light affliction, which is, but for a moment works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Here it is now, while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seeing the things which you’re seeing are temporal. The things which are not seen are eternal. I know it sounds strange, but our greatest comfort I would say to you is the ability to see or to look at as Paul would say, the unseen, and this is not the only time in scripture when you find it.

Hebrews chapter 11 and verse one faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Or Hebrews 11 verse 27 that Moses by faith, he refused to follow the will of the King and instead he lived his life as seeing him who is invisible. How do you like that? Or first Peter chapter one beginning in verse three and and Peter talks about heaven and.

It’s, it’s incorruptible and devout phage not away. And then he says that, that you and I are living our lives as if we can see Jesus, whom having not seen we love. In whom though now you see him not yet believing so you, you, you, you look at the unseen, yet believing you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. In John chapter 20 you have Thomas coming to Jesus after the crucifixion, after Jesus is raised from the dead, and Thomas is just not sure. He’s just not. He just wants to be more secure in that the fact that this is Jesus and Jesus has been resurrected from the dead, and Jesus gives him this empirical evidence.

He shows him the nail prints in his hands and to put, put your, put your hand in my side here and you can. Thomas immediately my Lord and my God, I know who you are. You you’re it. This is what happened. You, you really are resurrected from the dead. And then Jesus responds this way. Now. Now listen to this because this is you and me.

Jesus said, Thomas, you believe because you see this blesser those who though they do not see. Yeah, I believe. And so Paul says in the bottom of second Corinthians chapter four. Whom having not seen you love. And in whom though now you see him not yet believing. So we were looking, he says, I think unseen.

Now that launches us into chapter five and what I want to do is to show you today five things that we see. If you please, when we look at the Unsane, I’m in second Corinthians, the fifth chapter, and here’s the first one 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.

For in this, we groan earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven. Now if you look at the unseen and the in the context, of course what it is is heaven. When we look to those things that we haven’t seen in the Lord designed it this way for us and the majority of Christians all over the span of time until the trumpet blows, the majority of them are going to be in this category.

We’re, we’re not those people who live in the first century. We saw Jesus physically. We haven’t ever seen heaven. So we live by faith, not by sight. And the first thing that you see when you look at the Unsane is this, my physical body is not me. Yeah, I know. That sounds. Strange, but I want you to look at what Paul says here.

Now you have kind of a mixed metaphor in these two verses. Our physical bodies are like a house, the house or the tent in which we live, the tabernacle in which we live attention, not me. It’s just the place where my soul lives. A soul is me. The essence of me is my spirit, my soul. And then he would talk about it as a garment, a coat, that we would wear, that our physical bodies like a code and we’d take it off and that would be death.

But the point is the same. The point is that that you, the essence of you is not your physical body. It’s your soul. If this house, this tent was destroyed or dissolved and what happens? He says, well then we have. We have something in front of us. We have a building made of God, a house not made with ads and it’s eternal in the heavens.

So James chapter two then in verse 26 describes what death is. The body without the spirit is dead. Same thing. It’s that if this cloak that I’m wearing, which is my physical flesh, well, it’s going to be put away and it’ll be destroyed or dissolved. Same thing in Ecclesiastes chapter 12 then shall the dust return to the earth as it was and the spirits shall return unto God who gave it?

You see, not my physical body of what you see right now. You, you perceive that as big me, but that’s not really accurate. You are your soul. That’s you. It’s the eternal part of you. I understand that the physical body is going to be dissolved in the grave and then first Corinthians 15 says. This mortal body is going to be changed in a moment.

And, and I don’t know how all of that is going to be, but you have some description of it there. But what I know is this, this passage we’re studying today describes the fact that there’s two parts of you and the essence of you. The part that thinks the part, that reasons, the part that chooses right from wrong, the part from which you love the almighty God is not your physical body.

It’s your soul. By the way, my physical body is borrowed. First Corinthians six verse 20 glorify God and your body and spirit, which are gods. I use this body, I call it my body, but in essence, it’s really nod and it’s, it was a loner and it served me very well and I’m very thankful for it, but I look at the unseen when I do that, when I look at the Unsane that Paul is describing here, I recognize the fact that this, this is not me.

I am my soul. All right? So the first point is that when you look at the unseen, what you see is that my physical body is not made a, here’s the second one. Back to verse two. For in this, we groan earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven. All right, we’re looking at the Unsane.

We’re looking at heaven and we’re desiring that. Verse three, if indeed having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent, physical body groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed that mortality may be swallowed up of life. Now here’s the second one.

I could see the great solution, the great solution for coping with problems in my life, for which there is no answer. I, I can’t fix everything. How do you deal with that? This is the solution. Looking at the unseen is the solution for those kinds of problems. And what Paul says here is that in this body, this tent, this tabernacle, this clothing for our souls, we groan you.

You have any problems right now that you can’t fix. Many of you who are watching today are. Are answering yes to that. You know what it is to lose a loved one suddenly and you cannot bring them back. Can’t fix it. You, you have family problems, deep struggles in your family, and you’d give anything to be able to resolve it, but you can’t fix it.

Cancer is, is a word that sends fear into the hearts. Of most people in the human race because there are some things that we can do something about and there are some things we cannot do anything about. And, and, and how do we respond by a pandemic? How much are you doing about the pandemic? You’re, you know, you’re taking precautions and we’re all taking precautions.

And this morning we’re doing that and there’s some little things that we can do, but in the grand scheme of things, there’s very little that you could do except you’re a spectator. You were watching it happen. It’s the nature of life here on earth. It’s the nature of the human condition and, and how do we respond to it?

And the fact is that Paul says in this, we grown, we, we grown. And then he asked this, not that, not that we want to be unclothed. Now you remember what clothing is? It’s, it’s this body. And literally what he’s saying here is, is that we want to go to the other side. Now we’re looking and longing for heaven.

That’s what we’re about. But we’re not suicidal. It’s not like that. Not that we’d be, that we would be naked, not that we would be unclothed. I had a friend call me friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and his mother committed suicide. It’s a terrible thing, you know, seven times. You have seven instances in the scriptures where people took their own lives.

Awful thing. Awful thing leaves behind. And you wouldn’t think this may be if you were the one thinking about pondering suicide, but what you leave behind it. Are people who feel guilty, guilty because I should have done more. Maybe if I, if I just realized it might be, if I’d have paid more attention, I could’ve been more encouraging in, my friend talked to him a long time about his mother, and it wasn’t that he was terribly surprised.

I mean by that he didn’t know she would do it, but he wasn’t so terribly inconsistent with her character. Her personality. But, but person who commit suicide says, look, I got to get out of this life, and that person’s groaning like Paul is talking about here. I’m groaning in this life. I’ve grown in with the things that I cannot change and I want out.

And a person who commit suicide just bails. They get the point, get it. Now, it doesn’t matter where I’m going, it’s just that I got to get out of here anywhere is better than here. And that’s suicide. And that’s what Paulista. He says, he says, he says, w. First three if indeed having been closed, we should not be found naked.

We burden not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed that mortality may be swaddled up of life. I’m not loving you for heaven because, because I just want to bail and get out of this no matter where I’m going. I’m not about just getting away from here. I’m more about where I’m going. I’m going to something and you listen to this.

I’m going to a place that will be swaddled up of life.

You’ve got to wrap your arms around that. I think about revelation 21 four sometimes God’s going to wipe away all tears from our eyes. Most of the descriptions of heaven in the scripture are about things that aren’t going to be there, and perhaps it’s because you’re appealing to a people who are mortals.

In a land where we grow sometimes, oftentimes with problems we cannot fix, we cannot fix them. And so he says, let me tell you how it’s going to be and he’s going to wipe away all tears from our eyes. I don’t know how he’s going to do that. I, I’ve, I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to figure that out and I don’t know, you know, theories, people theorize about it, that perhaps what he will do is to erase from our memories anything that might hurt us.

All of these things that we grown, groaned about in life that he will simply erase. The problem with that is that. And heaven, I’m still going to be me. I’m going to be me, and how much of my memory can you erase and it not be me anymore? And some people say, well, well, perhaps what it is is that that heaven’s going to be so wonderful that we will be completely convinced with the justice of all of it.

Who’s there, who is not there. We will appreciate that. And that will be the way it is. Perhaps so I don’t, I don’t have to answer that. I don’t know how. Who’s going to do it? I just know who he is and I know I’m looking forward to that. He’s going to wipe away all the tears from our eyes and you listen, here it is, and, and mortality is going to be swallowed up of life.

It’s not that you’re going to walk through the pearly Cates and you’re going to stand there and say, well, this is a nice place too. I enjoyed it. I can remember being on ours. We’d take vacation, go to the grand Canyon, and we’d see beautiful day. I remember also the year in Huntsville, Alabama, and we would see the colors of the

It was beautiful there, and you know what? It’s a beautiful place here too. That’s not how it’s going to be. It’s not going to be like that. Romans eight 18 says, I reckon that the struggles of this life are not to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us, and mortality is going to be swamped up of life.

That is to say that. You’re going to be overwhelmed. It’s going to be, I suppose I’ve never, I’ve never gone, but remember what Paul said in second Timothy chapter four just before he died, I fought a good fight. I finished the course. I’ve kept the faith. It’s forth. There’s laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge he’ll give me in that day.

And what’s going to happen is that you’re going to run that race and you’re going to. Live your life in service to the King. You’re going to have some things in your life over which you will grown because there are problems you cannot fix. You cannot fix them. When you get to the end of that race, you cross that line.

You’re going into the arms of Jesus.

He says, or Talenti is going to be swaddled up of life, never to return. Never to come back to the place of groaning, never to come back to the place of mortality, never to come back to the place where there’s disease and growing old and our body’s decaying and being destroyed. No more of that, no more.

What is it that when you can see, when you look to the unseen, what do you say? Answer is I can see great solution. They great solution for coping with life’s hurts that I can’t do anything about. Now verse five. Now he who has prepared us. King James says, has wrought us, you know, like a, like a, a man working metal, maybe working brass, and he would fashion something in a particular artistic shape or a sculpture, something of that sort.

So, so he wrote us, he prepared us for this very thing is God who has given us the spirit as a deposit. Or as an earnest, and you understand earnest money, you buy a house. When you make an agreement with the seller and you, you give him a particular amount of money and then you start the process and eventually you’ll have a closing on that, and the whole amount of the sale price will be given to him.

But for now, here’s a small portion of that, and the earnest money just says, well, I’m earnest about this. Right? It’s a deposit on that. And if I back out, if I default on this, you get to keep this money because that’d be my fault. This is to show you that I’m serious about how did the Holy spirit give us the earnest or the deposit in what sense was that?

Well, you think about the inspiration of the scriptures, miraculous inspiration inspired the writers to write the word of God so that we’ll have our path illuminated for how we live and behave ourselves with the church. It wasn’t just that the church was launched with miraculous gifts or the Holy spirit.

I can’t imagine how it would have been without this. People believe because they saw the miracles which were done at tongue, who said the prophecies and the things that were able were used in order to communicate. The word of God all launched at the beginning with the miraculous because of the Holy spirit.

The Holy spirit gave us those, and he says here in the first century, he gave us the earnest of the spirit that deposit. Of the spirit and he’s prepared us for this very thing. What’s the very thing? Heaven licence one 13 says that he’s made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

It means he made us fit for heaven. He’s prepared us for this purpose. Now when I ask you a question, does God have a purpose for your life? Here’s number three. You look at the unseen. You, you find the purpose that God has for your life. And you say, well, yeah, I mean, sure, I’m sure he does. If God has purpose for all people, right?

I mean, that we would serve him and that through the blood of Jesus Christ, we would all ultimately go to heaven. Well, that’s true. You know, second Peter three nine he’s not willing that any should perish, but all all would come to repentance. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

But I want to know something else. Is there a sense in which God in particular has a purpose for your life. And sometimes we say this, sometimes you’ll have someone who has a brush with death and and a person will say, Whoa, I sure am glad that you’re all right. God must have some purpose for you. He said, is there a truth to that?

I believe there is. I believe there is genetically. That must be true. You’d go to Psalm 139 and verse five and he talks about, David talks about being in the womb of his mother. And that you wrought me. It’s the same idea as what’s found in here that he wrote us for this purpose. You wrote me, you fashioned me in my mother’s wound.

Does that include the genetic makeup of a person? We all, yeah. Well, when I was in the darkest part of the earth, there’s talking about the womb of his mother and , and here the Lord formed my inward parts. He formed all of may and there’s a uniqueness to each person, and God did that. Does God do that with some purpose in mind?

That’s an interesting thought. I can tell you this. Those whose thoughts, so you, you, you think about, about Esther. Mordecai thought so, didn’t he? Who’s to say what? You came to the kingdom for such a time as this so that God, God formed us with a purpose in mind and that he orchestrates through his Providence ways by which we can serve him right.

Joseph believed it. Joseph said to his brothers when he was at the pinnacle of the power of Egypt, Joseph said to those those brothers who he now finds a GaN you minute or harm, but God meant it for good God. Gone have a specific purpose in mind for Joseph. Did he orchestrate things in such a way for the life of Joseph that he would be able to lead his family out of Egypt and launched this Israelite people in a magnificent way?

Well, who would deny that? Is it true about you? Is it true about me? Does God have a purpose for your life? Yeah. I would suggest to you that one of the things we see when we look at the Unsane. Is God’s purpose for my life. Now, I’m not confused about this point. I understand that, that God forces no one to do, right?

We all must make the choice to do right and we can choose to do wrong. And you can find two men who seem to have very similar blessings from God, very similar. And in their physical makeup, very similar in their intellectual abilities and very similar. And you just go down the line. They seem very similar and one of the, um, will live his life to serve God and the other one will serve the devil.

I can tell you this. Every person who ever lived his or her life away from God committed the crime of misappropriation of resources. Everyone. Because when I live my life away from God, I can assure you this, I am not meeting the purpose that he has for my life. I’m not using whatever he has given me in this world, in this life.

I’m not using it the way that he wanted me to. And this verse says, now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God who also has given us the spirit as a deposit. Now. Number four, I want to drop down to verse six. Therefore, we’re always confident knowing that while we’re at home in the body, we’re absent from the Lord for we walk by faith, not by sight.

We’re confident, I say, and well pleased, rather to be absent from the body and be present with the Lord. You know, it’d be nice to go on. And to be with him. Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to him. When I look at the unseen, the fourth thing I see is courage to cold.

While I’m absent from the Lord, I don’t know if you’ve given this much thought. I mean, because you’ve never known anything other than the way it is right now. That is, I’ve never seen Jesus. I’ve, I’ve never talked with him. I study his word. I study his last will and Testament, and this is how I know him, but I, but I’ve never seen him.

Now bear in mind that second Corinthians was written about 57 58 a D Jesus was crucified and resurrected and ascended back to the father in around 33 a D. It hasn’t. It hasn’t been all that well. There are people, when Paul writes this, lots of people who saw Jesus had talked with Jesus. Paul who wrote this, has talked with Jesus.

I mean, you think about acts chapter nine or the road to Damascus. Who aren’t thou Lord? And Jesus, whom you persecute, hard for you to kick against the . And Paul had a conversation there. You go to acts chapter 18 and Paul is afraid and Jesus in a vision says to him, don’t you be afraid? You go ahead and preach.

Paul knew what it was to actually talk to him. I haven’t done that. we’re, we’re in a period of time and again, it’s going to be. True about most of the Christians in the great span of time that will be Christianity until the trumpet blows. Most of us will not actually get to talk with him this way. And, and so Paul is addressing that.

Now again, we’re at a time when, when, if you hadn’t seen him, many of these Christians, not all, but, but surely many of them would have some communication with people who did know Jesus, who had been with him, who had talked with him. What would you give to talk to somebody who had talked to Jesus? What would you give?

What would you give to be able to like Mary and Martha and Lazarus, to be able to sit down with Jesus at the separate table and have a, what would you, what would you give to be able to sit down in the living room across from Jesus? Just the two of you face each other in a couple of chairs and just talk to him and.

What was his, what do you suppose his voice would sound like? The intonation of his words. What would you ask him? You just faulted his feet. You would, you would wheat with, with the, just the pleasure of the moment, just being, this is my Lord. Be with my Lord. Let me tell you something. One day you’re going to do that.

You will don’t give up. Stay faithful. Be faithful to the Lord. Be faithful to his church no matter what. Because one day you will see him first John chapter three and verse two here’s what it says. Now we are the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him or we shall see him as he is.

Scripture here says, we’re absent from the Lord. Right now. We walk by faith and not by sight, but I’m going to tell you something. When you look at the unseen. You look at at Christ through the scripture, through the word, and we’re able to cope with life and the issues of life, though we cannot see him and talk to him physically.

Now here’s the fifth one. Here’s the last one. I want you to drop down with me to diverse 10 for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one of us may receive the things done in his body according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord.

We persuade men, but we are well known to God and I also trust are well known in your conscience is now this is, this is the interesting because what we’ve talked about up to this point about what we see when we look at the unseen has been very encouraging. It’s very encouraging. It’s what I want to hear builds me up spiritually.

Then you get to this point, he talks about the terror of the Lord. I think that’s fascinating. I vow that Joel, Joel Olsteen today, wherever he’s preaching that probably too big a word. Wherever he’s talking today, I doubt that he’s going to make any reference to the terror of the Lord, but the apostle Paul did here.

Why is that? It’s kind of a footnote to this discussion to say, now, listen, you better take this seriously. Take all of this very seriously. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Now I want you to understand that that picture is that at the judgment day, it’s going to be very, very crowded.

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, but then it’s also going to be very personal because you’ll be alone there. Every man may receive the things done in his body according to that he has done, whether it be good or evil. It is true that I cannot physically talk to Jesus today. Oh, what we would give to be able to do that, but does not mean that he does not see me.

That does not mean that he’s not aware of all that goes on in my life. You read the first three chapters of the book of revelation and you have the seven churches of Asia. Everyone shares this similarity. I know that works. No, your works. Well, that’s because he was. Paying attention to them. He knew Matthew 25 and 31 when the son of man comes in his glory and all the Holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd divides a sheep from the goats.

What’s this about? Why? Why is this here is to say, you really need to take this seriously. I brought, I brought this lesson today from second Corinthians. Because because right now I think that there’s a real temptation for us to get so wrapped up in this virus business, and it’s something where the unseen is perhaps the greatest enemy of all.

We’ll take a deep breath of the scriptures today and, and think with me about the fact that if you are in Christ, if you are walking according to his teaching and walking in the light, walking after the spirit. That the unseen is not your innovate. It’s your best. Fred, we live our lives. You say why? It just seems impossible.

How can you talk about seeing things that are in his house that even possibly small? Of course, it’s possible. Of course, you think a blind man can see. Don’t say no. Of course he can. You. You say why? Well, he does. He’s didn’t have vision. We have vision around it, but he doesn’t have, well you wait until one night comes and, and a storm is up and a breaker switch is thrown in that house.

All the power goes out. You’re going to follow him cause he can, he’s on his home turf now. He knows where that chair is. He knows where the table is. He knows where the coffee maker is and he’s perfectly able to make a cup of coffee and to sit down in the chair and have a conversation. Just like anytime w it’s because.

Because he can see what is unseen. Christians have an ability that other people don’t have you. You love the Lord Jesus Christ. You serve him and you get into his word and I can tell you, you’re going to be able to see the unseen. God bless you and thank you for being part of this worship today.

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