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Walk By Faith, Not By Sight (2)

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Introduction:
The book of 2 Corinthians, probably more than any other letter, reveals Paul’s heart. He really opens up and pours out his heart to the Corinthians believers (who had many issues). In the context of the passage before us, Paul is in the middle of imploring the Corinthians to have an eternal, or spiritual outlook instead of just looking at the world through physical eyes. In 5:1-10, Paul shows them and us why this is important. The very heart of this passage lies in verse 7.
ESVfor we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
This passage is filled with encouragement, instruction, and warning. We need to heed this passage today. We live in a time where the only visible difference between many professing Christians and unbelievers is the fact that Christians might not be home on Sunday morning. There must be more to it than that. No, this is not one of those “brow beater” sermons. The aim is to get you thinking about the way you live each day. Do you live each day with eternity in view? Do you get so caught up in daily life that you have come to the place where you only see things through physical sight? Do you live and operate by a biblical, Christian worldview or a worldly, naturalistic worldview? These are questions that cannot be answered readily nor easily. As we move through this passage, ask God to open your eyes to receive the spiritual truth from this passage. Ask God to show you where you fail Him by walking by sight, and not by faith.
Getting caught in a whiteout snow storm beside Lake Ontario.
Following those little red lights in front of me was either an act of faith or stupidity (the jury is still out). The fact of the matter is that there are so many time in our lives when the snow storms blind us and we strain with all our might to try to feel our way way along trying to see when we should be following Him by faith. He knows the way.
This passage is filled with encouragement, instruction, and warning. We need to heed this passage today. We live in a time where the only visible difference between many professing Christians and unbelievers is the fact that Christians might not be home on Sunday morning. There must be more to it than that. No, this is not one of those “brow beater” sermons. The aim is to get you thinking about the way you live each day. Do you live each day with eternity in view? Do you get so caught up in daily life that you have come to the place where you only see things through physical sight? Do you live and operate by a biblical, Christian worldview or a worldly, naturalistic worldview? These are questions that cannot be answered readily nor easily. As we move through this passage, ask God to open your eyes to receive the spiritual truth from this passage. Ask God to show you where you fail Him by walking by sight, and not by faith.
Illustration:
Getting caught in a whiteout snow storm beside Lake Ontario.
Proposition: In every aspect of our lives here on this planet, God expects us to walk by faith, and not by sight.
Following those little red lights in front of me was either an act of faith or stupidity (the jury is still out). The fact of the matter is that there are so many time in our lives when the snow storms blind us and we strain with all our might to try to feel our way way along trying to see when we should be following Him by faith. He knows the way.
Proposition: In every aspect of our lives here on this planet, God expects us to walk by faith, and not by sight.
In our passage today, we will see that walking by faith and not by sight means that you have more to look forward to than this physical life, and that your goal is to please Him in this physical life.

1. Walking by faith, not by sight means that you have more to look forward to than this physical life ()

V. 1 - the “tent that is our earthly home” refers to the physical body. It is called a tent here to indicate that it is temporary. It is distinguished from our eternal building from God. Our eternal, resurrected body is called a building, indicating its permanence. For the believer, the destruction of the physical body means very little because we are only pilgrims and strangers passing through. We have an eternal body in an eternal place waiting for us when this earthly life is over. Here, it is only temporary. There, it is eternal.
V. 2 - Paul goes on to describe our existence on this side of eternity. Here we “groan” in this tent. While here, we all suffer from the effects of sin. This earth is still under the sin curse and we live in it. Our desire is to be free from the effects of sin. As the old saying goes, we are constantly tempted and tried. We suffer sickness, spiritual battles, and testings. Sometimes the weight of the world seems too much. In moments like that we have to remember that what might seem too much for us is never too much for God. We long for freedom through our future resurrection, even though we might not welcome the prospect of dying. As Paul says, we long to “put on our heavenly dwelling.” That is to say, we desire an existence and a real body in a real place all without sin.
VV. 3-4 - What is Paul talking about? We desire to put on our heavenly dwelling (new body in a new place without sin) not that we may be found naked. There are many possible explanations. This is one those passages that no one can say definitively, “This is absolutely what this means.” Let’s look at this phrase in context. Paul is talking about our resurrected bodies compared with our physical bodies. Verse 3 is sandwiched between Paul’s description of our earthly bodies “groaning” under the burden of the effects of sin. The Greeks had no problem with that. To them, the physical existence is evil, but spirit, to them, was good. This is why Gnosticism was such a problem in the early church. It is a syncretism of Greek philosophy with Christianity. It was heresy. Gnosticism was characterized by the thought that since all matter is evil and spirit good, Jesus could not have had a real physical body. If Jesus did not have a real, physical body, He could not have literally died for our sins. 1 John was written to combat this. Read for yourself . It was also characterized by a special inside “spiritual knowledge” that only certain people could have. Thus the name, Gnosticism, which is derived from the Greek word for knowledge. To the Greek, being a disembodied person was much better than having a physical body since all matter is evil. Paul seems to combat this idea by using metaphors for the difference between a disembodied person, and one having a real spiritual body. “Naked” for the person without a body, and “being further clothed” describing the believer in the eternal state. He says we suffer in this life (because of sin) and desire to put it off not that we would be unclothed, but that we might be further clothed. A real existence in a real body in which all that is mortal or sinful will simply disappear, eaten up by life. It is only through Jesus Christ that this life is possible. This is real eternal life, not just some hopeful, disembodied pipe dream.
ESV16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
V. 5 - This hope that we have for eternal life comes only from God. He is the one who accomplished this possibility through Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf. The guarantee for this eternal life is the indwelling Holy Spirit. This word, “guarantee,” is the same word used in:
Ephesians 1:13–14 ESV
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
ESV13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
“Sealed with the Holy Spirit” means the believer is stamped for authentication. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the down payment for our eternal existence in a real place with a real body without sin. We know all of this is true because we walk by faith, and not by sight. Truly, we have more to look forward to than this physical life.
Application:
Everywhere you turn there is destruction, hatred, immorality being passed off as one’s legitimate choice, tolerance of anybody and everything except biblical Christianity. On top of this is all the sickness, pain, financial woes, and a plethora of other personal problems we all face. All of this is more than enough to send anybody tail spinning into depression and despair. With a worldview that is worldly and naturalistic, what’s the point? Everyone tries to come up with a philosophy that tries to sugar coat life to make it more palatable. Some try to fill the despair with possessions, some with careers, some with education, some with drugs and alcohol, and the list can go on and on. The sad thing is that many Christians have adopted a dualistic worldview. When it comes to church or spiritual things, we gladly accept and expound the truth of God’s Word and salvation through Christ. However, when it comes to day to day living, our lives line up more with the world’s philosophies. Another way of saying it like this: On Sundays at church we walk by faith and not by sight. On Monday through Saturday, we walk by sight, and not by faith. If you are a believer, not matter what you do for a living, you should be the most joyful, hopeful people on the planet because this world is just temporary. We have a real and better existence waiting for us. We have more to look forward to than just this physical life. Can it be said of you that your faith in Christ really affects the way you look at this life? Not only does walking by faith, not by sight mean that you have more to look forward to than this physical life, but also...

2. Walking by faith, not by sight means that your goal is to please Him in this physical life ()

V 6. - Because we know what the ultimate reality is, we always ought to be of “good courage.” This is actually one word in the original, and it means “confident.” We have strong confidence, not in own thoughts about things, nor in our abilities, but in God’s promise of eternal life. We live in such a way that views life from both the physical and spiritual perspectives. This is truly the starting point for living according to a biblical, Christian worldview. There is no distinction between the spiritual and the secular. We live out our lives in the real physical world as real spiritual beings who have been made alive in Christ. This is how we live knowing that we are at home in the body, but away from the Lord
VV. 7-8 - This is the heart of the passage. We walk by faith, not by sight. This is the heart of the Christian worldview. This is in its most condensed form how the Christian lives in this world. We walk by faith, not by sight. This gives us hope and confidence in the Lord. However, walking by faith and not by sight is not unidirectional. Meaning, we do not walk by faith and not by sight strictly looking toward the heavens.
V. 9 - Walking by faith and not by sight is multidirectional. It encompasses both our physical and spiritual lives. This means we have one existence - physical and spiritual.
Illustration:
Illustration:
Suppose you are watching a basketball game. It’s not just any game. It’s a game in which your favourite team is playing against their bitter rivals. It’s a Duke/UNC or Kentucky/Louisville type of rivalry. As you are cheering for your team you notice that the best player on your team never runs to the opposite end of the floor when the other team gets the ball. He just stays by his own basket and only plays offence. You would probably be yelling at him to start playing defence. You would be yelling at the coach to call a timeout or do something. After the game in an interview, the player states, “I realized that defence was really hurting my offensive game. So I decided to concentrate on my offence.”
As ridiculous as that sounds, Christians have been doing something similar for centuries.
We unnecessarily place our physical and spiritual lives into two different categories in our western culture. Yes, we have hope and confidence in our eternal destination in the sweet by and by. Yet, we still live here in the nasty now and now. Whether we are here or with Him, we walk by faith, not by sight. The reason we walk by faith and not by sight is to please Him. To please Him is to live in a way that is acceptable to Jesus.
V. 10 - Paul could have left it at that and it would have been sufficient. However, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he provides a motivating factor for living a life pleasing to Him as we walk by faith and not by sight. The judgment seat of Christ. The phrase here is “bema seat.” The bema seat was a raised seat on a platform where the highest ruling authority in a given city or territory would sit and make legal decisions. It would be equivalent to a judge’s bench in a trial. This was something very Roman. In order to make sure Roman laws were kept by peoples they conquered, and in order to preserve the pax romana (Roman peace), they appointed governors to make sure Roman interests (and Roman law) were kept. Paul likened this judgment seat to Christ holding every believer accountable for his or her actions while on this side of eternity. This is not a judgment for sin. That was already taken care of on our behalf on the cross. This is a time for rewards given for those things done for His glory and honour, and a lack of rewards for things not done for His glory and honour. Paul is like a coach giving a motivational challenge to the team before a big game. What a motivation for living a life that pleases Him!
Application:
It has been said of some Christians that they are either too heavenly minded to do any good here on earth, or they are too earthly minded to do any spiritual good here on earth. This must never be the case. Walking by faith, not by sight is not natural. It is supernatural or spiritual. Our physical and spiritual lives must be lived as one. Realizing that you will have to give an account of your life to Christ should be sobering. Francis Schaeffer, my favourite author, wrote in his book True Spirituality that living the life of faith for the Christian means living as though you have already died, gone to heaven, and came back. We must live in such a way that our thoughts are brought into captivity to Jesus, our actions point to Jesus, and our words exalt Jesus. Can it be said of you that your aim is to please Him? Walking by faith, not by sight means you must seek to please Him in this physical life.
Conclusion:
I know it is difficult to live any other way except by what we physically see. When you realize that we have a real existence in a real place with a real body without any of the effects of sin, it should encourage you. When you understand that you will be held accountable for your actions as a believer, it should make you want to live to please Him.
Illustration:
A television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers' word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe. This is a perfect picture of what is means for the Christian to walk by faith and not by sight. We choose to follow God’s directions given in His Word by faith, and choose to not be swayed by what we physically see.
Living by faith and not by sight means that you live everyday according to a biblical, Christian worldview. It means that your physical and spiritual life are lived as one, and are not separate. It means that you live in obedience to God’s Word despite what the prevailing culture and your personal circumstances tell you. It means that you will be involved in heavy spiritual warfare. It is quite a challenge. Are you ready to accept it? If you are a believer, you really don’t have much of a choice about it. This is what you supposed to do.
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