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December 28, 2020 1:00 am
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The life He offers to those who believe is an eternal one. This Christmas let’s be thankful for the life our Savior promises, a life that transcends our temporary time in this world.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Looking to Jesus Christmas would rather not think about the eternal life. Jesus makes possible for those who believe means that death is not the in one sense it becomes the beginning of the real life we were meant to have church in Chicago this is Dr. Sir teaching helps us make it across the finish line.
When you say Jesus brought us the gift of life.
What do you mean, you know, you're absolutely right.
When we talk about Jesus Christ bringing us life were talking about life were not just talking about physical life which everyone has. But I need to emphasize this is where Christians need to expand their understanding of life, namely, that eternal life begins now. It's not just future. There's a connection with God that gives us life. There's a life that enables us to live life to the fullest. If I might put it that way and Jesus Christ came to bring us that life the gift of life which of course eventually will become eternal life with God were so glad for the many of you who support the ministry of running to win.
I hope that it is often been a blessing to you, but some of you perhaps have never connected with us.
Would you consider a special gift as we near the end of the year in order to do that. Here's what you can do though to offer MCM.com. Let me give that to you again offer MCM.
Of course, MCM stands for Moody church media offer MCM.com. We appreciate so much your prayers, your support because as you frequently hear me say together. We are making a difference. And now let us listen to the message from God's word. Jesus not only light but life and how grateful we are, but how are y'all doing with Christmas. I always remind you every year of the little boy who used to pray, forgive us our Christmases even as we forgive those who Christmas against us. Christmas is a very busy time of year and it's a time also when people begin to think about their health and I think it's true to say that we live in a society that is somewhat obsessed with good health.
There some goodness to that. There may also be some negatives. By the way, I heard of a husband who gave his wife. Membership to a health club Xmas and he promised her that she would lose weight very bad, very bad Christmas present to give your wife a year later she said you promised that I would lose weight and I haven't lost a pound. He said I forgot to tell you the membership itself isn't enough. You actually have to go there once in a while. Yes, people are obsessed with their physical health. But you know in the end we lose that battle like a hand before a cobra of the time is going to come when there is nothing that we can do, no matter how we dance, no matter how we try to talk ourselves out of it. Suddenly there we will be and death will come us now. The Bible teaches that every person who is ever lived upon the planet and who is alive today has eternal existence, eternal existence, conscious, eternal existence, but there's also a category of people who will have eternal existence, but they will have what the Bible calls eternal life, eternal life, and what a difference that is you know CS Lewis said some remarkable things and I'm going to read one of those remarkable things to you. He said every human being is in the process of becoming unknowable, being noble, beyond imagination, or else. Alas, a bio being beyond redemption exhorts us to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else that person might be a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if only in a nightmare. He says there are no ordinary people. It is immortals whom we joke with whom we work with whom we marry whom we snub, and exploit immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
Wow, that's what happens.
One minute after you die and were all going there but eternal life. That's what CS Lewis is referring to regarding those categories. Who if you saw them. Now they would be so tempted for us to worship them because of their beauty. Those kinds of beings they are the ones who had eternal life, and later on in this message.
If you stay with me for the next few moments.
I'm going to explain to you what that eternal life is how you can have it and why it's something that you ought to have.
I want your mouth, so to speak, spiritually speaking to be watering insight.
That's exactly what you what I want is the eternal life of the Bible lays out for us.
That's where we are going well. Our text today is actually in first John first John and if you have your Bibles. You know that first John is near the end of the New Testament you have first John and then you have Jude and then you're at the book of Revelation. First John was written by the same man the same apostle who wrote the gospel of John Matthew Mark Luke John, this is the same John and he wrote three small letters and this is known therefore is first John, then we have second John and third John and that these are his writings and what I'd like us to do is to see if we can the aspects the aspects of eternal life that he lays out here for us, not eternal existence, but eternal life. Let's just open the text of first John chapter 1 and begin reading that which was from the beginning, which we have heard we have to stop what beginning why think it's the same beginning as in John 11 as the letter of John because he says there in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. In what beginning in the beginning for all of eternity.
Because, forgot there was no beginning in the beginning was, no matter whether you take the beginning to be creation or any other point in time. The fact is, God existed before that he existed from all of eternity and it is this word that became flesh is John is going to explain it to us. The first aspect is simply this, that the word is manifested.
That's the translation that we have here it says that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on and touched with our hands concerning the life, the life was made manifest. Now that's an old word is that we don't use that in regular English that we talk about something being made manifest.
It really means revealed what John is saying here is that in Jesus in the word God showed up there. Some of you who would say that you are seeking for God and if you are I'm so glad that you are listening and the fact that you are a seeker is great because that means something good about you and maybe something wonderful is about to happen in the Bible, you really come to the end of your search for God because in Jesus, God is revealed. He is manifest and John wants to talk about Jesus in his post-resurrection appearances, that is, after Jesus was raised from the dead. You'll notice it says that which we have seen that which we have heard. He begins by hearing. He says we actually heard Jesus speak now creation speaks about God, but it doesn't with a great deal of ambiguity in creation, you would never know that God loved the world, given all of the various kinds of natural disasters in the world. It speaks about God speaks about his love and his judgment but you couldn't figure him out. But Jesus actually spoke to us so he says we were alive. We knew him. We heard him, and then it says we have seen him with our eyes and just imagine Jesus making this statement, as he does in John chapter 14 he who has seen me has seen the father. Oh that's so important if you want to see God you read the New Testament you read about Jesus and then he says goes on and he says whom we have touched no why would he say whom we have touched. Why is that important. Well, you know, during these days, there was Platonic philosophy. The days of the da Vinci code and the Gnostic Jesus. Gnosticism was basically an attempt to unify Christianity with Greek philosophy, particularly Plato's philosophy and that's why the Gnostic Gospels, and I have been my possession a Gnostic Bible because I wrote a book about the da Vinci code. When you read it it makes no pretense to be a historical document. It makes no reference to cities, towns, rivers, and so for that is not like the New Testament is the musings of Platonic scholars trying to unify the Bible with Platonism and because Plato says that all matter is evil.
It was thinkable in the minds of people that God could become a man, it would be like saying God is becoming evil and so they believe that when Jesus showed up. He wasn't really a man, and so they tried to take away the humanity of Jesus and say that he was some kind of an appearance. He was some kind of an apparition and that's why in the Gnostic Gospels, they put into the mouth of Jesus.
Anything that they want because he's not a Jesus who died on the cross and was raised so John is saying we actually saw him and we touched him. He was real. The most explosive verse in the Bible is not John 316 oh that's the most known in the most beautiful, most gospel centered, but the one that you shattered the philosophical world of the day is actually John 113 and the Word became flesh, God became man unthinkable to the Greeks, but thankfully known to us as God of very God by life. Soon after we're married. Rebecca worked at Allstate actually is a secretary and she had a boss who once said to her you know if I when I die, I might show up. And God is there. I'm going to ask him what were the well where you been.
Certainly, he should've seen God in creation and that should've created within this man's a desire to seek forgot that's number one. But God will say to him someday. I did show up. I did show up, Jesus came to reveal the father and whoever saw him, saw the father because in Jesus, God showed up. And this man born in the United States of America have no excuse because he could go into a bookstore. You could buy a Bible he could go to churches that preach the gospel.
If you are really seeking God. God was there for the finding buddies that I want to say to God were of you been all tell you where he's been, he's been here on earth he was in Bethlehem and he died on the cross. That's where he's been a member of Phil Donahue. Those talk shows that he used to have one day he said you know if God loved the world why did he send his son to die. Why didn't he do it himself. Fill in Jesus. He did it himself. God was in flesh, reconciling the world unto himself. So John says the life was manifested and then he says thirdly and the third aspect of life was proclaimed. You'll notice he says it is this word uses the word we we've heard we've seen. We handle we've touched him and we now testify and proclaim to you this eternal life. I think it's verse we proclaim it to and why wouldn't you proclaim a message like this and spread abroad now.
The first time this particular message was proclaimed it was by angels on the outskirts of Bethlehem and then later on the shepherds themselves proclaim the good news and then beyond that, even we have about of course the wise men, but they didn't understand everything that John understood because they didn't understand the death and the burial in the resurrection of Jesus with the clarity with which John did because he was there for all of the events and choices. We proclaim this message to you.
First of all by words by words. Because you need to know the gospel, you need to know that Jesus died for sinners and that 10 his death as a substitute for those who believe on him. So, you proclaim it, but you also have a sense of authenticity, you proclaim it with your life.
You know, in chapter 2.
You'll notice at the bottom of the page in my Bible at least you'll notice that John says verse six whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. Why wouldn't a Christian who's come to saving faith in Christ to understands the glories of the gospel. Why wouldn't he share it with his colleagues at work. To me it is thinkable that you would to give them a book to read and Oreo small booklet and say look read this booklet and then we'll talk about it in two weeks. Let's go out for lunch and let's talk about it and and to share the good news member in second Kings chapter 7 Old Testament. There are four leopards and they are dying they are starving and they say were going to go to the camp of the Syrians and if they kill us. That's fine were dying anyway but they might take care of us, and they go into the camp and they discover that there is no Syrian there because what happened is they had had a false report and they all ran and they left all of their food, and all of their belongings and all of their money and so these poor guys are just having unbelievable party you just read about it. I read it this morning. I mean they are hauling off stuff for themselves and then they think you know were not doing this right, we ought to actually tell other people what we found a great idea. How can you know Christ and not proclaim he him. That is to say, share him with your colleagues and those that work course you've been changed. You understand the gospel. You understand the need, you understand the predicament that people are in you know that Jesus is the answer to their predicament and you and I perhaps not sharing with others the good news of the gospel. So first of all, he says some God was revealed. He was manifest a secondly he says that we proclaim the message and we shared it and then 30 says we enjoyed this eternal life we enjoy this eternal life this past week.
Someone said to me, and I do not remember who, whether it was a staff member or someone else. They said something like this. I'm surprised at the number of people at Moody church, to whom I talk, who do not understand the gospel and who probably therefore are not saved. Wow, I thought to myself that's disappointing because I thought I preach the gospel almost every Sunday virtually every Sunday if you're listening for it. I think you know that it's here.
So what I'm going to do is to take just a moment so that you better understand eternal life, and then the purpose of eternal life, and I want you to leave here absolutely excited about eternal life and to let you know what Christmas is all about what this eternal life begins by being born again six times in this little letter of three or four chapters, John mentions the phrase born again, he says if a person is born again he was born of God does not do this. He that is born of God lives this way. Who in the world is this person who is born of God. Many years ago Rebecca and I were in Germany and we rented a car and we drove to having hooked now that's where the Moravians lived and I wanted to go to the cemetery there. They lived there in the 1700s and the reason choir listen carefully what I wanted to go to the cemetery is because the Moravians were so into music. Sometimes they sang music up to six hours at a time and they were buried in accordance with the choirs. For example, you belong to that choir. This is your plot to be buried. Could you imagine the cemetery here in Chicago. This is the Moody church choir from the year 1970s to 1990, and then you have the other folks buried over here because I suppose in the day of resurrection. They just all get up and be ready to sing and everybody beyond tune in, they be ready to go Tim, you've got a job to do, get them ready, not just for tonight's concert but a little bit beyond. So anyway were looking for the cemetery and through a stroke of Providence that I will not take time to tell you about it was just of God. We met a man who was on his way to the cemetery and who had a key to take us into a tower in the cemetery that he spoke only German side no alternative but to try my German on him and as were walking along, I knew that I had the sky only for five or 10 minutes so obviously I wanted to share the gospel with them so I began asking him and German. Whether or not he was feed that are good for you to hear that whether or not he was born again and he said to me, born again is that I was born. Once why would I want to be born twice. I just smiled. That's exactly what Nicodemus said to Jesus. Jesus said you must be born again, he says, well, can I enter into my mother's womb and be born a second time is not so I had to explain to him he had to be born of the Holy Spirit through personal faith in Christ and I said to him in broken German that it doesn't happen through baptism. It doesn't happen through confirmation. It doesn't happen to you by going to church and other used to be an evangelist by the name of Billy Sunday maybe have not heard of him that in the 1920s great evangelist. He was actually buried here and when I came to Moody church. A woman wrote me a letter who remembered Billy Sunday. I suppose by now she is in heaven, but she said he used 1/2 from this platform that I'm standing on to the lower one without using the stairs and and vice versa because he was into baseball and he'd say you hit a homerun for Jesus slide into home late.
It must've been a very interesting guy to listen to, but I remember a quote from Billy Sunday because he was right on when he said this going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than driving a wheelbarrow into a garage and it becoming a car Billy Sunday was right.
You're not born again by going to church though to go to churches good by listening to sermons by admiring Jesus your born again by faith. When you recognize that you need a Savior and you transfer all of your trust what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. Now and when that happened, something else happens.
It is not just that God creates within us a new nature so that we begin loving God, etc., though. All that happens and we become partakers of the divine nature and God gives us brand-new clubs and we begin to love Jesus and we begin to love God all that happened but something else happens. This is why it's so critical for you to listen to this message and that is that the whole sin issue between us and God is actually resolved and taken out of the way and that of course is only something that Jesus can do because because, listen to me carefully for us to meet God. We have to meet him on his terms not ours will my friend, this is Pastor Luther, you know, when we talk about Jesus Christ being the life.
Isn't it wonderful that he actually enables us to live through the difficulties of this world as well as taking us to himself in the world to come. I'm holding in my hand a letter that we received from someone who has tried to commit suicide because of depression and he goes on to say, I have prayed for a long time for God to restore me and you folks have become an instrument of the holy God in that process.
That's why running to win exists, would you consider helping us as we come to the end of the year, making a very special gift to the ministry of running to win like to remind people that this ministry goes to 20 different countries. Thousands upon thousands of people but it's dependent on people just like you.
Here's what you can do go to offer MCM.com will get that to you again. But here's also a phone number 1-888-218-9337 offer MCM MCM of course stands for Moody church media offer MCM.com or 888-218-9337 you can write to is running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, Hanoi 60614 Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life.
For those who believe that life is an eternal one.
Next time, being thankful for that new life. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Blitzer this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church