From the Pastor’s Desk (8/5/2015)

Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,

As the days of summer march on, may we be reminded this week of the ordinary means of grace our Lord has given us.  With long days, hot sun, and busy schedules, it is easy to wear out and to wear down.  But our gracious God has given wonderful and ordinary means through which he communicates to us his extraordinary grace.  As August is upon us, may we commit to spending time in the word, to spending time with our Lord in prayer, to gathering with the saints in weekly worship, and to thinking, talking, and praying for one another during the week.  Simple things to do … but through these simple means our great Shepherd sustains and grows his sheep.
Some Announcements:
  • There will be NO BIBLE STUDY TONIGHT.  We will resume next Wednesday at 7:00PM.
  • Men’s breakfast is scheduled for next Saturday, August 15th at 8:30AM.
  • Our church end of summer pool party at the Van Tubergen’s home is scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd.  Time TBA.
  • Ladies’ night of service and fellowship will be Friday night, August 28th.  Invitation forthcoming.
  • SEPTEMBER 13 is the first Sunday in our new location at Birkes Elementary School.  And we will move out of our current location and set up in the new location on Saturday, Sep 12.
  • Our Fall Theology conference with Dr. Carlton Wynne is scheduled for Saturday, Sep 26.  Registration link to be up this week.
  • Attached is a brief testimony from Priscilla Shimeall.  We will periodically include testimonies in an effort to highlight God’s grace and to help us know one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
  • Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from 2 Corinthians on the hope of the resurrection body.
God bless and I look forward to worshiping with the body of believers this Lord’s Day!

From the Pastor’s Desk

Mid-week Devotional

“Our Heavenly Dwelling”

2 Cor 5:1, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Where is your hope?  Where do you look when life becomes unbearable?  Where do you look when death is near?  The Christian looks upward and forward – upward to our exalted and victorious Savior, and forward to our inheritance in the New Heavens and the New Earth.  In 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, the Apostle Paul reflects on the frailty of life and points his readers to their heavenly home – their ultimate hope.  2 Corinthians 4 closes with Paul contrasting the ‘transient’ with the ‘eternal.’  While our ‘outer self’ is wasting away, our ‘inner self’ is being renewed by God’s grace day by day (2 Cor 4:16-18).  Thus in chapter 5 Paul naturally shifts into thinking about the time when the ‘outer self’ will be no more – when we die – when ‘the tent that is our earthly home [a reference to our earthly bodies] is destroyed’ (5:1a).  There are three things to note as Paul reflects on the hope of the believer whose ‘earthly tent’ is (or will soon be) destroyed.  And by the way, that includes every one of us save the Lord return in our lifetime!

First, our hope is a sure hope.  Note how v. 1 begins, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God.”  We know this – this is a certain fact.  In a world filled with uncertainties, the Christian’s future inheritance in his resurrection body is not one of them.  Rather, the believer knows that he has a ‘building from God’ awaiting him in the resurrection.  Our future hope is a sure reality precisely because it does not depend on us, but rather it is the work of our sovereign God.  Unlike those who follow the ways of the world, the Christian has a firm and solid resting place!

Second, our hope is a tangible hope.  In these verses Paul employs an architectural metaphor to drive home his point.  And specifically what is being contrasted is the ‘earthly tent’ or our present bodies and the ‘building from God’ of our future resurrection bodies.  Our earthy bodies are fragile and temporary – they are wasting away.  Our resurrection bodies, however, are eternal in the heavens.  And just as creation groans for its final redemption from sin (Rom 8:22), so also we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.  Paul’s great hope – and our great hope as well – is eternal life in his resurrection body in perfected communion with his Lord.  Believers will not spend eternity in some ethereal, murky, fairly-like existence; rather we will spend eternity in glorified, resurrection bodies in the New Heavens and the New Earth.  In fact, Paul describes the intermediate state [the time between our death and the second coming / final resurrection] as ‘nakedness’ (vv. 3-4).  Of course this time will be wonderful in that we will be with Christ (Luke 23:43).  Indeed it will be ‘far better’ than life in this fallen world (Phil 1:23).  But the great hope set forth by the New Testament is the glorious final state – the resurrection state – the eternal worship service of the New Heavens and the New Earth (Rev 21-22).

Third and last, our hope is a tasted hope.  In v. 5 Paul writes that God has given us the Holy Spirit as a ‘guarantee.’  What does Paul have in mind with such a reference?  Simply this … that the Christian’s possession of the Holy Spirit is a ‘guarantee’ of our future glorified bodies.  The Holy Spirit is the down-payment or deposit of our future and final inheritance.  Although we live as pilgrims in this fallen world – and although we live in temporary and decaying tents – we possess now the treasure of the gospel (2 Cor 4:7).  We taste today the glories of our final salvation.  But oh what glories and joys await us!  Brothers and sisters, today may we rejoice in the present taste we have of our salvation, but also may we look forward with a hopeful longing for the fullness of our salvation.  A fullness that will be ours when we receive our resurrection bodies – bodies no longer subject to the decays of a sin-stained world.  Indeed a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens awaits us!