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These small group study notes on the book of 2nd Corinthians contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications. Feel free to print them, copy them, or share them. I only ask that you remember these are are personal study notes and are only meant as a supplement to your own study, not a replacement. May God be glorified! Visit our inductive Bible study main page for more studies on this and other books of the Bible. See the bottom of the page for the rest of the study on 2 Corinthians chapter 5.
2 Corinthians Chapter 5:1-10 Inductive Bible Study - Outline, Key Words, Cross References, and Discussion Questions
A Better Body
In 1513, Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer and the first governor of Puerto Rico, discovered a land of lush landscape and beautiful beaches which he claimed for Spain and named it “Florida” which means “place of flowers". Legend has it he was searching for gold and a mystical fountain that would restore and maintain one’s youth. Upon landing in Florida, he encountered the Timucua Indians, many of whom lived into their seventies, which was decades beyond the life expectancies of Ponce de Leon and his men. He concluded that their longevity was the result of drinking from a spring located in what is present day St. Augustine which became known as the “Fountain of Youth”..
Nearly 500 years later people are still searching for the elusive secret of eternal youth. Billions are spent every year on anti-aging programs, surgeries, cosmetics, medications, etc. We can take vitamins, we can exercise, and we can watch what we eat. Doctors can replace teeth, joints, valves, veins, lenses, hair, and even organs; but ya’ know what? This ol’ body ain’t gonna last! Since the fall, God has intentionally designed our body to wear out. You might say that God was the originator of “planned obsolescence”.
And man’s quest doesn’t even stop at death! Cryonics is man’s latest attempt to turn back the clock and foil God’s plan for aging and death. Cryonics is the freezing of one’s body after death to preserve it for some future time when science will have developed to the point that the corpse (which they refer to as the patient) can be brought back to life (or as they say reanimated) and then restored to good health.
Well, I’ve got good news and bad news on this issue. First, the bad news; man will never win the battle against aging and death. The Bible says that we actually have an appointment with death. Heb 9:27 says that “it is appointed for men to die”. That appointment for each one of us is a certainty. It’s not like an appointment you record on your Blackberry or Palm Pilot and can later reschedule for a more convenient time. It is an appointment scheduled by God. Though we don’t know when it is, its occurrence is a certainty and not subject to change. Mt. 6:27 says that we cannot add even an hour to it.
So that’s the bad news. Man will never win the battle against aging and death, but friends, that is also the good news for us as God’s children! Think about it. Who would really want a “Fountain of Youth” in this world that would imprison us in this body of disease, strife, sin, and trials forever? Paul understood this well when he exclaimed in Rom 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Tonight, we will look at God’s plan as it deals with the issues of the deterioration and ultimate demise of this temporary body of flesh that we call home. Please turn with me over to 2 Cor 5 and we’ll read verses 1-10 to see His solution!
2 Cor 5:1-10
For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and 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 of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
· House/home 6
· Body 3
· Groan 2
stenazo - to sigh with grief, groan, longing for, earnestly desiring what God has awaiting us
· Good 3
· Heaven 2
· Courage 2
· Tent 2
· Building 1
· Dwelling 1
A Better Body
I. Our Abode – In the tent or the building V 1-6 à The Contrast
II. Our Ambition – To be pleasing to Him V 7-9 à The Craving
III. Our Appearance – For compensation V 10 à The Compensation
Cross References, Questions, Observations
1. For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
· For our earthly tent to be torn down refers to the time of our death.
· When God destroys this earthly tent, i.e. He takes our life, He replaces it with a new and improved body.
· House made without hands – denotes a work done exclusively by God which is both resisted and opposed by the natural man. You see this same terminology used in…
o Dan 2:34 "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
o Mark 14:58 "We heard Him say, ' I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.'"
Heb 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; It is spiritual and eternal, not physical and temporary.
1 Peter 2:11
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
34 "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; (i.e. not physical and temporal)
a) What does our earthly tent represent?
b) What does the tearing down of our earthly tent represent?
c) What is the building from God?
d) How is it made without hands? The work is done exclusively by God, even though opposed and resisted by man.
1) A tent is a temporary dwelling. The Patriarchs were all sojourners and lived in tents as did the Israelites before they entered the land to posses it.
2. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,
1 Cor 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable
1 Cor 15:36 That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain , perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. A seed is simple and unimpressive in appearance compared to the flower, tree, or plant that grows from it.39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
3. inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
Luke 24: 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 “ See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet
Phil 3:21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
1 John 3:2a
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him
a) What is this talking about when it says that we will not be found naked?
b) What can we learn from Jesus’ resurrection body?
4. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed .
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
8 He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
1) We groan – second time this word (stenazo) is used. The first time it was a longing for what awaits us. This time it is a sighing and longing to be free from the aches, pains, trials, tribulations, disease, hardships, and disappointments of this life
2) Even though we have been forgiven and have been spared the penalty of our sins, we still groan under and long to be free from the presence of sin
3) We definitely want to be free from this sinful body of flesh, but we don’t want to be without a body at all!
4) Our mortal bodies will be swallowed up by life. Just as the ground swallows up a seed, but then yields a wonderful flower or other plant in its place.
5. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
Rom 8:30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
2 Cor 1:22
22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
a) What is the purpose referring to?
b) How does a pledge work?
c) Why was it necessary for God to give us a pledge?
1) God prepared us for an ultimate purpose. Salvation from sin is not that ultimate purpose for us .The complete picture of God’s plan for us is given succinctly in Rom 8:30.
So, the ultimate conclusion of God’s work in our lives is that He will give us a glorified body to be with Him in heaven and glorify Him forever.
I like the way John MacArthur puts it, “So God's glorious purpose for believers stretches from eternity to eternity. It was planned in eternity past and will be fulfilled in eternity future; time is but a fleeting moment in the middle.”
2) God prepared us for this, but what means did He use for the preparation. The preparation is our lifetime here on earth, that fleeting moment sandwiched in the middle between eternity past and eternity future! This is a very important point. We should view our present life as a training program. Sometimes we might mistakenly think that our life here on earth is the important part and that our time is heaven is more of an afterthought, like the icing on a cake. If we think that, we don’t have it quite right. God designed us for heaven but fashions us during our earthly lifetime to prepare us for what He wants us to be for eternity.
3) God gave us His Spirit to “seal the deal”. He was not required to give us anything since He has given us His promise which is more than sufficient, yet He gives us His Spirit as a further pledge that He will give us a new body for eternity!
6. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord —
Phil 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
a) Why must we be absent from the Lord if we are at home in the body?
1) We cannot be with the Lord as long as we are attached to this body of flesh.
7. for we walk by faith, not by sight —
1 Cor 13:12
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
2 Cor 4:18
18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed?Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.
29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
1 Peter 1:8
8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
a) Why is this difficult for us to do?
b) Why do you think God places such a premium on faith?
1) When someone becomes a Christian, from that moment on God will always be with him, but though He is with us, we are not yet with Him.
2) One day we will see Him and walk by sight, but that is not now the case. Our present walk must be by faith in His promises.
3) Between Verses 6 and 8 and our desire to leave this world and be at home with the Lord is the reality of V 7. The way we can please Him while we remain separated from Him is to live this present life by faith.
4) To walk by faith is one of His highest requirements for us. In Heb 11, His “Hall of Fame” of Faith, God says in verse 6 that it is impossible for us to please Him without faith.
8. we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
2 Peter 1:14-15
14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.
a) What should be our attitude about dying?
b) What does the Bible say about committing suicide?
1) Paul once again states that we are of good courage because of these facts. Yes, we have problems in this life, and lots of them,BUT we have a glorious, secure and eternal future awaiting us with our loving Father in heaven! What in the world is there to be discouraged about?
2) This is the corresponding truth to V 6. Death ushers us into the Lord’s presence
9. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
10 "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"
2 What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
a) What ambitions do people devote their lives to?
b) What higher ambition is there than to please the Lord?
1) To please the Lord with my life is the most fulfilling thing I can do since that is what I was created for.
10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
1 Cor 3:12-15
12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
a) We know from other passages some general qualities that He wants us to have – faithful, obedient, loving and humble, but what specific applications can we make from this passage?
b) What would you change if you knew that tomorrow you would stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
c) What are some examples of the wood, hay, and straw bad works?
9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
God created me to glorify Him both in this life and the next.
Application - Make Your Own!
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