Something To Look Forward To

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  5 : 1-10
Subject: Bema Seat Judgment; Death; The New Body; Old Age

Some of you have, no doubt, seen the PBS television program entitled This Old House. The program is about home construction contractors who show ways to repair aging homes. That is well and good, but we also know that all of us are living in a house that is aging and it is called the human body. It is a house in which the ‘real you’ abides.

In our text for today we will see that the Bible calls our body, the human body, a house. As we get older, we spend a lot of time trying to fix up this old house. I’m reminded of the preacher who was asked on one occasion if he thought it was appropriate for women to wear makeup. He replied, “A little paint never did hurt an old barn.” I don’t think that preacher was too popular with the ladies. But we do spend serious time and money trying to keep the body in which we live looking and working like it is supposed to. I don’t want to discourage you today, but no matter how hard you work at it, this old house – your body – is wearing out.

Years ago, when Billy Graham did his first Youth For Christ crusade in Los Angeles, California, a popular singer and cowboy named Stuart Hamblen was saved. He wrote a song about leaving his old house, his body, for the new one the Lord was preparing for Him. Here are some of the words to that song:

“Ain't gonna need this house no longer

Ain't gonna need this house no more

Ain't got time to fix the shingles

Ain't got time to fix the floor

Ain't got time to oil the hinges

Nor to mend the window pane

Ain't gonna need this house no longer

I'm getting ready to meet the saints.

This old house is getting shaky

This old house is getting old

This old house lets in the rain and

This old house lets in the cold.

On my knees, I'm getting chilly

But I feel no fear or pain

'Cause I see an angel peeking through

A broken window pane.

Ain't gonna need this house no longer

Ain't gonna need this house no more

Ain't got time to fix the shingles

Ain't got time to fix the floor

Ain't got time to oil the hinges

Nor to mend the window pane

Ain't gonna need this house no longer

I'm getting ready to meet the saints.” (Stuart Hamblen)

Some of us know what Hamblen was talking about when he sang of sagging floors, sticky hinges and broken window panes in the old house called our body! Hamblen wrote this song about getting ready to meet the saints - getting ready for his new body - the one Christ purchased for us at Calvary.

Today I want us to consider something Paul said about the human body and our future outside of it. So, let’s read our scripture found in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.

“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. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 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. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Paul writes specifically to believers in the passage before us, though the words found here can do much good for those who are seeking to know if the Christian life is real and worth living. In chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians, Paul addresses the issue of suffering and hardship in the life of a believer. Paul says in verses 16 and 17 in chapter 4 that “we do not lose heart” in our troubles because they are temporary, but there are things unseen that are eternal. In other words, Paul is telling us to look beyond this mortal life with all its trials and remain focused on that which is eternal. Some of you might suggest that Paul had a “pie in the sky” attitude in these verses, but you are wrong – very wrong. In fact, we will see that what Paul said reflects directly on our lives right here, right now!

The Christian has to consider three things while living in this world. Sure, these three things are not all we concentrate upon, but these are essential to living a happy, fruitful and meaningful Christian life.

So, let’s consider three truths in these verses found in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 today.

I. The Joy to Come

First, Paul speaks in verses 1-5 of the gladness we have even while living in a raggedy old tent called the human body. In fact, Paul makes direct reference to the human body as a tent which is being destroyed day by day. Every one of us in this room who is over forty years of age, and some of you even younger, know what Paul is talking about. The pains begin, the joints creak and crack, the middle spreads and your height shrinks, and worst of all your mind decides to take frequent vacations! I’m talking to somebody who knows what I’m talking about!

It has been the thought among human beings for thousands of years that the body is a burden. Our minds can think of things we can’t do and dream of activities we can never accomplish. In his commentary on Corinthians, William Barclay writes that the Greeks and Romans long ago spoke of the body as a tomb or a corpse in which we are forced to live. One writer said that the mind and spirit is like a slave to the body, and another spoke of the body as a shackle holding him down.

What Paul is doing in the first part of the verses we are considering today is reminding us that we do not live for the body. As Christians we know that we will lay this tent aside one day and move on to the permanent home that Jesus has for us. It is extremely important that we know and recall this truth, otherwise we will get bogged down living for this world.

There is an old Indian proverb that states, “Life is a bridge, cross over it but build no house on it.” Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)”

Thus, we can say that it is a true joy to know that when this earthly house, our body, is dissolved, we have a house in heaven not made with hands – and that house is eternal. Our soul, the real person we are, lives inside a body of flesh which is referred to as a tent or tabernacle. When we die, the tent is folded up and put away to rot, but the soul goes on living. The Christian must keep his eyes on eternity and not the temporal world and temporal body he and she are in. When we fix our minds steadfastly on this truth, we can be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory even when the aches and pains increase.

Paul does not deny the truth regarding hardships and trials in this life. In verses 2 of our text he speaks bluntly about the fact that in this body we groan; however, he speaks of this groaning as an earnest desire to be clothed with our heavenly body. Here Paul is using yet another example of eternal life. He hints here that our body is like the clothes we wear, clothes that we will wear out one day. The body God has for us in heaven is the robe of righteousness purchased for us by Christ.

Note that Paul states that we “desire” to be clothed with our new body. The word Paul used to speak of “desire” is the same word we might use for lust. Paul is saying that the Christian is to “lust” for the heavenly and beware of lusting for the fulfillment of our earthly boeies. Many Christians have come to ruin through lust for sex, drugs, money and even food. If we keep our “desire” glued on Jesus and our home with Him, we will not fall victim to the lusts of this world.

How do we know that the promise of a heavenly body and home is real? Look at verse 5 in our text. God is the one who has accomplished this for us and He has given us the Holy Spirit to live in us as a down payment, an earnest payment, on the full promise to come. Sometimes, when the Spirit of God is moving in my life, I feel that I could simply step out of my body and go on to the new one in one great leap! Have you ever felt like that? If you are saved, I’m sure you have!

Our new body is going to be like the body Christ had after His resurrection. Philippians 3:20-21 states, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” No wonder we are filled with joy when we fully consider the truths in these verses.

The next time you have a tooth ache, or your knee will not bend or your back will not straighten, just rejoice to know that as a Christian you are going to have a new body one day. Paul clearly wanted his readers to know the joy of this fact!

But, there is more here. Paul pointed out that we have a responsibility in the body we possess.

II. The Job to Do

Look at verse 9 in our text today and note that Paul shared these words, “Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” In other words, Paul was saying that while we are in this body, we have a job to do. Regardless of our hardships, pains or problems, we must complete our work for Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 we read, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Just look at that passage and think of the place or position in which Christ has placed us in this world. We are “ambassadors” for Christ. We are “pleading” with people to be “reconciled to God.”

There are many Christians who fall by the wayside in Christian service because of some problem they encountered in life. I have met some and read about many others who have made this terrible mistake. Perhaps they were hurt by something said about them or done to them in their church or among their Christian friends. They sit on the sidelines and say, “I just can’t be a part of a church any more after what was done to me.” You poor thing! We all feel sorry for you. Well, not really! We look at what Jesus suffered for us and the cross He endured and ask, “Have you suffered in that way?” Did not Jesus tell us to take up our cross and follow Him? We are implored in Hebrews 12:1-3 to lay aside every weight and the sin that easily hampers us and to run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. I am not to look at what other Christians do, or consider how I am treated when I am deciding on my faithfulness to the Lord; I am to look to Jesus, who endured the cross for me and to make my decision based on His love, His grace, and His calling upon my life.

Every believer has a work to do for the Lord. Some may be on nationwide television like Billy Graham was for years, or they may lead great churches or ministries, but the person who is faithful in a small local church is just as important. We are called to different tasks, but each one is critical in God’s work. Think about your body. Which is more important, your big toe or your right eye? You will answer that it is your eye, of course. However, I have stumped my toe in the night and it hurt so bad that I couldn’t see straight out of either eye! Every part and every cell in your body is important. That is how it is in God’s work. We have a job to do – each and every one of us.

In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul addressed this issue clearly. Look at verses 12-18 in that chapter: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

We used to sing these words in churches:

“O land of rest, for thee I sigh!

When will the moment come

When I shall lay my armor by

And dwell in peace at home?

“To Jesus Christ I fled for rest;

He bade me cease to roam,

And lean for comfort on His breast

Till He conduct me home.

“I sought at once my Savior’s side;

No more my steps shall roam.

With Him I’ll brave death’s chilling tide

And reach my heav’nly home.

“We’ll work till Jesus comes,

We’ll work till Jesus comes,

We’ll work till Jesus comes,

And we’ll be gathered home.” (Elizabeth K.Mills)

Someone has said that there are three kinds of workers when a piano must be moved.

i. One gets behind the piano and pushes with all his might.

ii. One gets in front and guides the piano.

iii. One picks up the piano stool and does nothing more.

In every Christian ministry you will find those kinds of workers. God grant us those who will get their shoulders into the work and push. In this body, God has given us a work to do and we must be faithful till we fold up this earthly tent.

Are you doing the work God has called you to do? Have you allowed some insult or problem to hinder your work for the Master? Set it all aside and be faithful, for our bodies are wearing and we have but one life to give for the Savior who gave His all for us.

But, let’s note one more thing in our text today that ought to concern every believer…

III. The Judgment to Face

In verse 10 of our text, we discover a final truth, and a most crucial one indeed. There is coming a day, when we leave this body, that we will appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

Look at Revelation 22:12 and the words of our Lord listed there: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” There is coming a day when the Christian will be judged. No, we will not face a judgment in regard to our salvation, for once we are saved we are secure in Christ. Our judgment will involve a testing of our works done in this body – this old house – in which we live and breathe. We read in Romans 14:10, “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” There it is again – the judgment seat of Christ, also known as the Beam Seat Judgment.

You see, once we are saved we begin a life of service to our King, our Lord, Jesus Christ. We can’t lose the salvation He purchased for us, but we can come to the Bema Judgment ashamed of the life we have lived as Christians. There is the story of Christian man who was dying, and he was very restless. One man sitting by his bedside said, “Dear brother, you are saved. You don’t need to be afraid to die.” The dying man replied, “I am not afraid to die, but when I think of how good the Lord has been to me I am a bit ashamed to die.”

We read in Revelation about the saints casting crowns at the feet of the Lord. Just where did the believers get those crowns? It is believed that the crowns were given at the Bema Seat to those who were faithful to the Lord in this life. One day, in heaven, we will have a chance to give something back to our Lord to honor Him. What a shame it will be to go empty handed on that day. What a humiliation to have no crown to cast before Him in tribute to His glorious redemption and grace.

Note the words found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

One day our Lord is coming for His saints, and it is believed by many that at that time the judgment of Christians will take place. Rewards will be given for faithful service to the King of Kings.

We read in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15:

“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Christ is going to “test” the works we did for Him from the time of our salvation till our death. If our works were for the right motive, and done faithfully, we will receive a reward. If, however, our work were cheap and shoddy, no reward will be given.

We are going to move out of this body one day, but how we live till Jesus calls for us to come home is important. Note in our text, the words found in 2 Corinthians 5:10, that we shall appear before Jesus! When I read these words, I pray, “O Lord, help me serve you honorably and forgive me where I have failed.” I don’t want to be ashamed before the Savior when my time is this body has ended!


Have you won any awards? Most of us have. I have been awarded some honors in my life and most of them were something to be framed and placed upon a wall, or involved a trophy to be placed on a shelf. I used to have all those out in my office. Some were for academics, some for service to some Christian organization or church I serve, and some for running a race and finishing in the top three positions. But, sometime ago I decided to put all those up. They rest now in the back of my office closet gathering dust. I came to the conclusion that they really don’t matter much. All that will really matter when this life is over is the question concerning what I did for Jesus!

I’m so glad I have a new body waiting on me. This old one is giving me a hard time lately. Have trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior? You can – you can do so today.

What about those of us who have turned to Jesus, been forgiven and have eternal life – would you be ashamed to face Jesus, if He called you home today?

Let every person who needs the Savior, come to Him now. And, let every believer who desires to better please the Lord, renew your relationship with Him now! As we sing, you come to Christ!