Life that Lasts Forever
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 28, 2012
*Think about the value of time.
-Someone once wrote:
-To realize the value of one month ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
-To realize the value of one hour, ask the sweethearts who are waiting to meet.
-To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed their plane.
-To realize the value of one second, ask the person who barely avoided the wreck. (1)
*If one second can have that much value, how much must eternal life be worth? -- And God wants to give us the life that lasts forever. Think about God’s gift of eternal life. He talks about “eternal” or “everlasting” life at least 36 times in the New Testament.
*We see eternal life in Scriptures like John 10:27-28, where Jesus said:
27. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
*Another example is 1 John 5:13, where John spoke to Christians and said:
-“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”
*God wants you to have the life that lasts forever, and He wants you to know that you have it. Christians, God wants you to know for sure that you have eternal life. As Charles Ryrie says: “If we could lose eternal life, then it has the wrong name. Eternal life is eternal.” (2)
*God wants you to be sure of your salvation. But do you know that you have eternal life? Let’s look into God’s Word and be sure.
*Here’s what you need to know:
1. First: Eternal life is our most pressing need.
*Getting eternal life is the ultimate priority of life. Life in this world is very short. What good would it do for me to live 100 years, if that’s all there were to it, or if after that, I would spend eternity suffering in hell?
*Please don’t kid yourself with the notion that you will simply fade away into oblivion when you die. There are only 2 possibilities:
-It’s either Heaven or Hell.
-Eternal life or eternal death with eternal suffering, separated from God.
*Eternal life is our most pressing need. That’s why Jesus got right to the point with Nicodemus in vs. 2-3. Nicodemus said,
2. . . “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
*Then in vs. 17&18, Jesus said:
17. . . “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
*Eternal life is everyone’s most urgent need.
*Have you ever been up close when someone was about to drown, -- or thought they were anyway. I have a couple of times. The first time was in Daytona Beach. We lived there for two years when I was a kid, and most of that time we lived a block away from the ocean.
*I was in the 5th grade and my brother Jon was in the 3rd grade. We went by ourselves down to the beach or over to the river all the time. (You have to understand that this was in the early 1960’s, and parents didn’t watch over their children like we do today.
*Today we will barely let our children out of our sight, but back in 1961, it was: -“We’re going to the beach, Mom.” And she would say, “O.K. -- Be back for supper.”
*One day Jon and I went to the beach. He really didn’t know how to swim yet. But we liked to go out as deep as we could without going over our heads. We were up to our chins, when all of a sudden Jon stepped in a hole. It was a big hole where the sand had been washed away, way over his head.
*By the grace of God, I was only about 10 or 15 feet away, and I got over to him as fast as I could. But I can still remember the desperate panic on his face.
*Imagine how he felt. Some of us know, because we have been there. Jon was in real danger and he needed to be saved. But my brother was in much greater danger most of his life. He was in eternal danger until he trusted in Jesus on March 3rd, 2008. That was just 8 months before he died at the age of 55.
*You need to know that eternal life is our most pressing need.
2. You also need to know that it is provided by spiritual rebirth.
*The only way to have eternal life is to be born again. The Lord explained this to Nicodemus in vs. 3-6:
3. Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.''
4. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?''
5. Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
*“You must be born again.” The reason why is because physical birth can only give physical life.
-Horses produce horses.
-Dogs produce dogs.
-Cats produce cats.
-And mortal people produce mortal people. -- “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”
*But “that which is born of the Spirit (i.e. given birth by God’s Spirit) is spirit.” The Holy Spirit produces a new kind of person by a new kind of birth: Spiritual birth that gives us God’s eternal life. When you are born again, you get a brand new nature, a new spiritual heart. You also start to resemble your Heavenly Father and your big brother, Jesus Christ.
*My brother, Bill, is 9 years younger than me. And I remember a call I got from him a few years ago. Bill was in shock after his wife held up a mirror and showed him the back of his head.
*He didn’t know about that bald spot. But as soon as he saw it he painfully cried out, “I look like Rick!”
-Well, not yet, but there is a family resemblance.
-And if you are born again, there will be a family resemblance with God.
*But you must be born again to be part of God’s Family.
-You need to know that eternal life is provided by spiritual rebirth.
3. You also need to know that it is a present from God.
*Eternal life is a gift from God. The Lord explained this truth to Nicodemus in vs. 13-16. There, speaking about Himself, Jesus said:
13. “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15. that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
*God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that He could give us eternal life. Eternal life is a present. The Bible clearly teaches us that eternal life is a gift. You could never earn it. Eternal life must be received as a gift.
*In John 6:27 Jesus said: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will GIVE you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
*In Rom 6:23 Paul said: “The wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
*And in 1 John 5:11 John said this to Christians: “This is the testimony: that God has GIVEN us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
*Eternal life is a free gift for all who will receive it. But it came at the highest possible price! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
*And in 1 Peter 1:18-19, the Apostle says Christians are:
18. knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold. . .
19. but with the precious blood of Christ. . .
*Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross: He gave His life.
-He paid the greatest price so that we could receive His eternal life as a gift.
*As Isaiah said: (53:5-6)
5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
*Stop and think about what Jesus really did for us on the cross.
*I have the privilege of counseling couples before they get married. And I remember sitting in my office with an older couple. We were just talking about some odds and ends, when out of the blue I asked him, “Do you love her?”
*Without missing a beat he answered, “I love her so much I would take a bullet for her.” And I know that’s an unusual way to put it. I mean, you’ll never see that on a Valentine’s Day Card. But what a great expression of love!
*If someone were shooting at you and I jumped in the way and took the bullet for you, that would be a wonderful thing.
-But Jesus Christ did so much more!
-He didn’t just take our physical death.
-We faced everlasting torment and destruction in Hell!
*It was coming straight for us and there was nothing we could do to get out of the way. But Jesus stepped in front. He took all of the suffering that belonged to us, so that we wouldn’t have to. Jesus Christ took our death, so that we could have His eternal life, by placing our trust in Him.
*That’s why Paul says these wonderful words to believers in Romans 5:6-9.
6. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
*That’s the price Jesus paid so that we could have God’s gift of eternal life.
-You need to know that eternal life is a present from God.
4. And you need to know that eternal life is possessed by faith in Jesus Christ.
*The gift of eternal life must be received by faith. The Lord made this clear in vs. 16-18, where He said:
16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18. He who BELIEVES in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
*The gift of eternal life must be received by faith, by believing in Jesus Christ.
*Other Scriptures drive this point home, like John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
-In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
-And in John 6:47 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
*But what does it mean to believe? What does it mean to have saving faith? Jerry Falwell really helped us understand saving faith, when he said: “It is like taking a drink of water.”
-In John 4:14 Jesus said, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
*“And saving faith is like sitting down to an expensive feast.”
-In Luke 14:16-17 Jesus said:
16. . . “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many,
17. and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’”
*“Saving faith is also like accepting an invitation.”
-In Matt 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
*“And saving faith is like walking through a door.”
-In John 10:9 Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
*“Saving faith is also like receiving a gift,” because Rom 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
*Saving faith is like taking a drink of water.
-Like sitting down to an expensive feast.
-Like accepting an invitation.
-Like walking through a door.
-And like receiving a gift. (3)
*Just imagine that it’s your birthday, and I stop by for a visit. I love you very much, and I also happen to be very rich.
*In my hand is a little wrapped-up box, and in the box is a key.
-Maybe it’s a key to a $50,000 NITRO Z-9 Bass Boat.
-Or a Ford F350 Super Duty Super Cab.
-Or an $80,000 BMW.
-Or a million dollar home.
*I tell you how much I love you. I tell you about the gift, and I leave the box on the table for you. The key is in the box. And it’s yours for the taking.
*But you never take the wrapping paper off.
-You never open the box.
-You never do what you are supposed to do with the gift.
*I really gave it to you. But did you really receive it? -- No.
*God’s gift of eternal life is something like that. Jesus Christ paid the highest price for your gift when He died on the cross for you. And now the Risen Savior freely offers the gift to you. But you have to receive it.
*In order to receive God’s gift of eternal life, you don’t open a box. You open your heart. And you don’t take something out. You let someone in.
-By faith, you let Jesus Christ into your heart.
-By faith, you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
*He wants to come in. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus said: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
*And speaking about Jesus, John 1:12 says: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
*Have you believed in Jesus? -- Have you trusted in the Lord to give you His eternal life?
-You can surely trust Jesus Christ to give you His abundant, eternal life.
*And this life is a reality that becomes ours the moment we trust in Jesus Christ.
-Eternal life doesn’t start when you die. -- It starts when you believe.
*Listen again to John 3:36. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
*Eternal life doesn’t start when you die.
-It starts when you believe.
-And it lasts forever.
*So trust in the Lord and receive His gift of eternal life.
-You can do that right now, as we go to God in prayer.
1. Adapted from: Story as told by Mark L. Feldman and Michael F. Spratt in “Five Frogs on a Log” - New York: Harper Business, 1999 - Source: Sermons.com sermon “The Defining Moment” - Luke 2:22-40 - 2003 - Preaching for Advent and Christmas - Vol. 4)
2. Source: “Is Following Christ a Condition of Eternal Life?” by Bob Wilkin - John 10:27-30
3. Jerry Falwell - “The Most Important Question Ever Asked” - www.trbc.org/sermons/20010902.html