Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Aspects of Eternal Life. by John.

Aspects of eternal life.
John 17:1-5

1. We Christians use the term “Eternal Life” so much that I doubt we really think about what it is.
2. These first verses tell us most clearly that to know God is to live eternally.
(1) That doesn’t mean that knowing God and eternal life are the same thing. It does mean they are inseparable.
(2) You remember the song from a long time ago, “Love and Marriage?” One line says, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. The point is, you can’t have one without the other.”
(3) The same is absolutely true here. You can’t know God without having eternal life, and if you have eternal life, you know God. Having one requires having the other!
3. So many people, church members included, do not know God.
4. They think they have eternal life because they have spoken the right words, they attend church, and they try to treat people like God wants them to.
5. I’m sure there are many people who are saved and don’t know it. Zechariah 13:6 says, “’What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’” Another translation could be “wounds between your hands.” We believe this to be a prophecy of what will happen when some believers see Christ in heaven. We are sure the next verse is about Jesus. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” (You’ll find that in Mt. 26:31.)
It’s obvious those who ask that question have not connected the crucifixion of Jesus with the Lord they love and worship.
6. There are others, as I said, who think they are saved, and they are not. It’s not words we say, nor is it membership in a church. It’s not keeping the Golden Rule either.
7. Let’s look at what eternal life really is, and in the process, we should be able to determine where we stand with God!

I. Eternal life is a relationship.

1. We’ve already talked about that relationship, but let’s go a little further.
2. I think everyone knows “eternal” means life that has no end.
3. When we use the term “everlasting,” it may mean there was a beginning, but that life will never end in the future.
(1) Our word “eternal” and our word “everlasting” both are used to translate “aionion” in Greek.
(2) Aionion is brought over into English as “Eon,” and that means “vast ages.” But the original goes a step further, The Greek word has the definite idea of endlessness in all directions.
(3) Did you ever look at the sky and try to determine where it starts and where it ends? Did you look North, South, East, West? It’s exactly the same in all directions, and according to both creation scientists and evolutionary scientists, the whole universe is expanding! It’s getting bigger and there is no end in sight!
3. Some theologians think God had a beginning. I disagree with them. The Psalmist said of God: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.” (Psalm 106: 48) He is everlasting!
4. God told Moses to tell the Israelites that His name was Y,H,W,H. Judging from the rest of the Hebrew language, we think it was pronounced “Ya-way” or “Ya-veh.”
(1) We aren’t 100% sure of the pronunciation or the meaning, but we believe God was telling Moses that His Name is “I AM.”
(2) That logically refers to the timeless quality of God, no beginning, no ending, always present! Present at creation, present now, and present when all this is gone. He is still, “I am.”
5. Today when we are accused of a minor crime, we can go to court, or we can pay the fine. Most of us seem to think being saved is like paying for a minor crime. We write a check, put it in an envelope, drop it in the mail box and never even see the judge!
6. But our sins require much more than that. We must put our trust in Jesus. Then we receive the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit Who is called to stand by us when we meet the judge! We have to meet the judge! ill. I remember the story of a man who went before a Christian judge. He was guilty, and he was found guilty. The judge paid the man’s fine, took the man home with him, fed him and gave him a place to sleep. By that act of kindness, he and that man were related for the rest of their lives! We have to have an experience like that! We are sinners, we have nothing to pay for our sins, God satisfied our debt with the life of His Own Son. Jesus gave His life willingly for us, so that we could be forgiven, and we could become friends of God!
7. Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:14). That requires a change on our part, but it is natural for us to change when we become children of God.
8. Eternal life is first and foremost a relationship with God.

II. Eternal life is a free gift in Jesus.

1. Ephesians 2:8,9 says concerning salvation, “...it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.”
2. If God gives it, you can’t buy it, you can’t earn it. It is exactly what God says it is, FREE!
3. So why does God give us eternal life in Jesus?
(1) First of all, He loves us even while we are lost. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world (that’s us) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
(2) Second, God loves His Son, and His only born Son Jesus gave His life up willingly to pay for sins, all of them! Not just those we committed yesterday or last year! All of them! That includes your sins in the future!
(3) Third, God always keeps His promises, and He promises to save us when we place our trust in Jesus.
4. People, it is free! But only when we come into the presence of the Father through His Son Jesus!

III. This life in Jesus is really eternal.

1. Now, it may sound like I’m starting over, but I’m not.
2. I am trying to explain an aspect of life with Jesus that many of us don’t understand.
3. Billy Graham said that being saved means, “I will live as long as God lives.” That’s really a good, simple explanation of what eternal life is.
4. Innate in the word eternal, aionion, is this idea that it extends in all directions.
5. That leads me to say that when you put your trust in Jesus and our heavenly Father gives us eternal life, that He gives us part of His own life.
6. Somehow our relationship as children of God becomes really family. ill. When our grandson Brock was a teenager, his mother and father adopted an older brother and sister. That sister was not born into the family. Their blood types and genes are different, but they are family! They are equal with Brock in every way. In the same way, we are partakers of all the family rights and privileges with Jesus. Romans 8:13-17 says, “...you will live because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
7. It is not logical to believe that God gives us temporary life.
(1) He says it is eternal. That should settle it!
(2) For us to say, “Yes, it is eternal, but when we sin we lose it!” is simply another way to say God gives temporary life!
(3) Do you know anything about electric circuitry? If a light is burning, like these overhead, you know the electricity is flowing through them, right? Now supposed we hooked some more wires into that circuit with another switch on that circuit, and we pushed the “on” button. Would that light now have a double life? Would it be twice as bright? Would it just flash and burn out? Of course not, it would just keep burning like it is. By the same token, it is silly to think that God, having already provided us with a limited life, would send His Son to die of a cross to give us another limited life on top of the one we already have! There’s no value in that!
(4) The life we are talking about today is one that extends with God over all eternity because He wants it that way! He wants His family around Him just like we like to have our family around us!
8. The life He gives is really eternal!

Conclusion:

1. I think this message needs no particular summation that we haven’t already made.
2. What I want you to do is consider your relationship with the Lord. Is it like you might have with a teacher, a doctor, a policeman, or is it like you have with someone you love with all your heart?
3. Let’s bow our heads and think about that. You may want to talk to the Lord about it.
Shall we bow right now?

Period of Silence....

4. I want to invite you to deepen your relationship with the Lord.
(1) You can address Him as your Father. He is!
(2) You can confess your sins to Him. He will forgive you.
(3) If you do not have a relationship with Him, you can determine to open one right now by making Jesus your Lord and Savior. You can do that in prayer, and you may want to share that with all of us who love you.
5. Father, we are your children. We love you. Help us to be constantly aware of the wonderful life you have given to us. Thanks for making our adoption in Jesus permanent, and for making us your children!

Emmanuel Community Church 10/16/2005

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