What does it mean to have eternal life? When does it start? How do you get it?
How can you know for sure if you have eternal life or not? That's today. Don't miss it. For the last several programs, Chip's been helping us replace our faulty impressions of Jesus with the truth laid out for us in the Gospel of John. So if you've missed any part of this series, catch up through the Chip Ingram app.
It's a great way to listen to Living on the Edge anytime. As we get started, what would you say is the most famous verse in the entire Bible? Well, here's a clue.
Go to John chapter 3, and let's join Chip with his talk, Jesus Explains His Message. Tim Tebow, they're going to win the national championship at Florida. He does something unusual. He paints the black underneath his eyes, and then he puts the numbers three, one, six. Sports commentators, everyone wants to know, what in the world is 316?
Why did he put it under his eyes? A few years later, Tebow makes it for a brief career in the NFL. The number one quarterback gets hurt. The Broncos haven't been in the playoffs in a long time.
He's put into the game, the last few games, and they have a playoff game which no one gives them any hope. He passes for, are you ready, 316 yards. Uses this for an opportunity with the 316, and it becomes the number one Google search in U.S. history. People are going, John 316, what is this all about? For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 316, it is the most quoted Bible verse, the most well-known Bible verse in all of scripture. And it raises, I think, a couple or three very important questions.
Notice it's a promise. First of all, it talks about the kind of God that we serve. God so loved the world, and love always translates into giving, that He gave. What did He give? His one and only Son.
Why? That whosoever, here's the promise, would believe in Him shouldn't perish or be apart from God forever, but have eternal life. You might, in your notes, circle the word believe, because that's pretty important. Whatever this promise is, if you believe, you get it.
If you don't believe, you don't. The other big important word you might circle is the word eternal life. I mean, what exactly is eternal life?
And then I don't know about you, but when I get one sentence out of something, I want to know the context, what came before, what came after, historically what was going on, so we can get not what someone else thinks about this verse, but what it really says. At the very top of your notes, it says we're going to discover, now think of this, this is an outrageous promise, how to obtain eternal life. And let me just preface with, eternal life is not something that happens after you die. We're going to learn what eternal life is. It is not just a quantity of time. We'll learn it is a quality of life. And no amount of being good and no amount of being religious can merit eternal life. Contrary to every religious system on the face of the earth, save the very words and life and death and resurrection of Jesus. The context of this, remember it said, where did this come from?
The context of this goes something like this. It's about AD 85 or 90. There's only one disciple left. All the others have been martyred. John is still alive.
Matthew, Mark, Luke has already been written. Tens of thousands of Christians now are turning the world upside down. They're saving infants on the dump piles. They're living a life that's radical in this multi-God generation world. They live under the cruel, cruel, ruthless life of Rome.
They're giving their lives. Persecution has occurred. And yet, they're following this Jesus and everywhere they go, they keep loving people. And these little Christs, that's what, it was a derogatory term. They called them Christ ones or Christians, an Antioch, because they did weird stuff. They cared for one another. They shared their resources.
People would be evil to them and they would do good back to them. And so this derogatory term emerged. They called them Christians.
But about that time, 50 or 60 years then, some little isms and cults and they were decentralized and getting farther and farther apart. And so John is called by God and the Spirit of God is going to give the Gospel of John to get clear on who Jesus is. How do you have a relationship with God? What's the clarity of the story that will pull all the things together as the last Gospel is written? And so in chapter one, he tells us who Jesus is and where he came from.
In chapter two, he launches a ministry with joy and power and a wedding and with laughter and he came to love people. And at the end of chapter two, we learned that some people believed. But you know, belief is one of those words that you can superficially believe. You can kind of believe intellectually or you can just believe emotionally.
And so the question came up, what does it mean to have genuine faith that gives you a supernatural new life resulting in a relationship with God forever? And chapter three is going to answer that question. Look at the structure.
The structure of chapter three has two major sections. The first section is Nicodemus. We'll find out that he is a Pharisee. He's the teacher of Israel.
I think in your mind now of maybe someone who went to Harvard Divinity School, did graduate work at Stanford, holds a couple PhDs and is the esteemed person on philosophy and religion. That's Nicodemus. And then the second section is John the Baptist. Nicodemus is going to have a private meeting with Jesus. John the Baptist literally is sort of the rock star of his day. He's an Old Testament type prophet. I mean, he wears this big belt. He wears camel's hair. He eats wild locust and honey and he's out in the wilderness in the desert. And people are streaming out of the cities and he says, repent, the kingdom of God is coming. And then he calls people, tells them like it is, calls Herod down. He said, you know what?
The woman that you have is your brother's wife. It's wrong. Roman soldiers are coming out who would be abusing people. Prostitutes are coming out. Tax collectors are coming out. People are coming out and they're being baptized with water to say, my way of life is wrong.
I know it's wrong and I want to turn around. And John will say, my job is just to prepare the way. I baptize with water, but God is going to send his son who will baptize with the Spirit, meaning real life, not just turning from your sin, but forgiveness and brand new life. You got it?
Got the context? Let's walk through together just the first section then and let's follow along and let's just read this interview because Nicodemus is going to learn, although he's moral, squeaky clean, he fasts as a good Pharisee on Tuesday and Friday. He gives a tenth of everything that he has, I mean down to herbs, spices, everything.
He's as squeaky clean as you can be. He has nearly, if not all the Old Testament memorized. He leads in worship.
He is the epitome of religion and he's sincere. Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council, and he came to Jesus at night. He said, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform the miraculous signs that you were doing if God were not with him. In reply, Jesus replied rather abruptly, I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Question, how can a man be born when he is old? Nicodemus asked, surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born. Repetition, Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to the Spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, you must be born again.
Explanation, illustration, he should get. The wind blows wherever it pleases, you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it's going, so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. How can this be, Nicodemus asked? You are Israel's teacher, Jesus said, and you do not understand these things.
I tell you the truth. We speak of what we know, speaking of him and the disciples, and we testify to you what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I've spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe.
How will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? Now Jesus reveals his identity. It's a bit veiled, but the Son of Man was always Messiah. No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man. Second illustration that Nicodemus would go, oh, okay. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Summary explanation. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever would believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes is not condemned. Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Perspective, judgment, evaluation. This is the verdict. Light has come into the world, but men love darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be plainly seen what he has done has been done through God.
You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We'll return you to Chip's message in just a minute. But first, let me tell you, God is doing incredible work through this ministry all around the world. And if you'd like to join us, consider partnering with us during our year-end match. Every gift we receive until midnight on December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar. Join us today by going to livingonthedge.org or by calling 888-333-6003. We appreciate your generosity.
Well, with that, here again is Chip. As you're there, what I can tell you is that in that paragraph, if you understood what Nicodemus understood, if you had all the Old Testament memorized, and you knew Judaism forward and backward, what he sang is going to make a lot of sense, but it was going to shake your world upside down. Now, as you lean back, this is going to be very important. John's ministry continues to grow as Jesus' ministry is starting. So he said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. So Jesus, the crowds are beginning to follow him, but John is still baptizing. And so now the author wants to make it very clear there's a big shift that occurs, and there's no competition between Jesus and John, and now John, like a candidate who's been sort of running in a primary, and then it gets to the big day, he says, No, no, no, no, no.
I'm not the candidate. I throw all my support. If you believe in me, if you've trusted me, all my support goes to this person, Jesus. So just follow along and picture in your mind what's occurring as I read this second half. After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside where he spent some time with them, and he baptized. Now, John was also baptizing at Aeon near Silene because there was plenty of water, and the people were constantly coming to be baptized.
This was before John was put in prison. An argument then developed between one of John's disciples and a certain Jew about the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John, speaking of John the Baptist, and said to him, Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, the one that you testified about, well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him. So you've been a follower of John the Baptist. You're preparing the way, and these multitudes, literally thousands and thousands of people, and then he says something about Jesus. Now, Jesus is baptizing over there, and your big crowds are getting small, and his small crowds are getting big.
And if you're a good follower, you're going kind of like, hey, boss, what's with this? Notice John's response. A man can only receive what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said I am not the Christ or the Messiah, but I'm the one sent ahead of him. And then he gives this illustration.
It's beautiful. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bride waits and listens for him and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater.
I must become less. The one who comes from above is above all, and the one who's from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all, speaking of Jesus. He testifies of what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God to him God gives the spirit without measure, without limit.
And then notice his observation. Whoever believes in the Son, speaking of Jesus, has eternal life. Circle the word has. It's present tense. It's not someday.
It's not some way. It's not after you die. John the Baptist, his testimony, his endorsement. The one who believes, whatever that means, has present tense eternal life.
But whoever rejects the Son will not see life for God's wrath remains upon him. If you're new with this, I'm going to slow down for just a minute, because you're thinking, man, this guy talks really fast. There's times I talk so fast, I can't even digest what I'm saying. What we've been doing is we want to not only go through what God's word says, but we want to learn how to study it for ourselves. Real convictions in your life don't come because you agree with what someone else says. Convictions come when you dig in on your own and God speaks to you by his spirit through his word and it's like, oh, I got it.
And so we said there's three things that we need to do in order to really study God's word on our own. And this is for everyone. This is for people. I mean, I know a lot of you are a lot smarter than some of the rest of us, and you have high IQs, and there's some of us that have medium IQs, and some have low IQs. The common people heard Jesus gladly. He spoke profoundly but simply. And contrary to the world, God is not all that impressed with whatever IQ people have because he actually gave it to you for a specific purpose.
And some of the most loving people who make the biggest difference has nothing to do with their IQ. And so he wanted us to study the Bible in a simple way. What does it say? Observation. What does it mean? Interpretation. Then the important part, what does it mean to me?
Application. When you do those three things, you can learn exactly what God said in his word regardless of your background. And so the first thing we want to do, you'll notice at the top of your notes, what does John chapter 3 say? Just what does it say? These are just observations. And as I read them real quickly, just ask yourself, does it really say that or not?
This isn't what Chip thinks, it's just we read it. Doesn't it in fact say, Nicodemus, he's an elite member of the Jewish rulership. He comes by night. He recognized that Jesus was sent by God from the miracles. He's confronted with the need for a second birth, whatever that means.
He doesn't understand how it's possible. Kingdom entrance, your eternal life, requires a physical and a spiritual birth. Jesus is surprised that this teacher of Israel doesn't understand it. Jesus reveals his origin that he's from heaven. He's the son of God, his teaching.
He predicts his death. He says the son of man's going to be lifted up just like that serpent. And we'll learn that this phrase being lifted up is the same word used currently in the day for crucifixion. And John will use the exact same phrase to talk of Jesus being lifted up on the cross. He promises eternal life, Jesus, to whoever believes. And he came not to be down on people and condemn, but the whole purpose of Jesus is to rescue people.
And then finally that he reveals that some people will literally, no matter how kind or how loving, will refuse to believe. The observations with regard to John the Baptist are pretty simple too. We find that John and Jesus are both baptizing in the countryside. John's disciples are concerned, but John rejoices. John clarifies his role. He's to make the way of Jesus. And then he affirms Jesus' identity, that he came from heaven. John affirms that Jesus is God and the son of God. And then he says whoever believes on him has eternal life, present tense, and whoever chooses woefully to reject him has the wrath of God upon him. Now, is that fair? Just, I mean, what it says? Okay, I mean, there's nothing like fancy.
I didn't go to any books. I just read it. Every one of us can do that. The next question then is what does it mean? And the key to asking what it means is asking basic questions of things that you'd say, well, until I can answer some of these questions, I don't know what it really means.
And here's the deal. I'm gonna first and foremost note, imagine Mary Box, AD 85 or 90, John is speaking by the spirit of God. I'm a first century Christian. What did it mean to them? Historically, culturally, what did it mean to them?
It's truth. What does it mean to me as a single person, a married person, a parent? What does it mean to me with the pressures I have in my life? God wants to speak to ordinary people like us as vividly and clearly as he did then. And so some of the questions, there's probably more, but some of the questions that I ask were things like, well, why did Nicodemus want to talk to Jesus?
Why did he come by night? I mean, what's it mean to be born again? And why did Jesus kind of lead with this sort of abrupt, you need to be born again to this very smart, intellectual, interested, highly esteemed religious leader? Why was Jesus surprised that he didn't get it?
I mean, if he's so intelligent, how could he not get it? What this Old Testament illustration about the snake and the bronze, what's that all about? I mean, did anybody hear when I was reading that immediately you thought to yourself, oh yeah, that Old Testament story and he put this bronze snake on a pole and he held it up and now it all makes sense? Anybody? I mean, I remember reading this going, what's this about? And so we'll have to do a little research. But I will tell you this, Nicodemus went, got it.
Ooh, why? Because he had that whole first five books of the Old Testament memorized since he was probably 12 or 13 years old. He'd been studying them for the next decade or two or more. This is a guy in midlife or beyond who is esteemed, who's intelligent.
And Jesus taught him in a way that he could understand. And then, you know, just how do you receive this eternal life? I mean, what does it really mean? And why wouldn't anybody, if this is true, why would anybody refuse it? Those are just valid questions. Let's answer them. Okay, let's, what does this mean? To them, then what's it mean to us?
First reason, so Nicodemus. He respects Jesus, he calls him rabbi. That means I respect that you're actually a teacher even though you didn't go to our university.
You didn't come through the system. And he comes at night, why? Because Jesus is a revolutionary.
He's turning over tables, he's being criticized. Multitudes are following him, he's healing people. 5,000 people over here are getting fed on a few loaves and the rumors about the woman's little boy or little girl and this one was raised from the dead. I mean, things are exploding and it's threatening the religious establishment.
And so a lot of the religious leaders are now thinking, we gotta kill this guy, we gotta take him out. But Nicodemus has an honest heart and he does the math and goes, you know something? I'm not sure much about where this guy's coming from but no one could do the miracles he does.
I'm gonna lower my pride, put my education over here and I'm gonna go privately because I don't wanna gain a lot of attention. I wanna find out what it's all about and so he meets him at night. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and you've been listening to part one of Chip's Message, Jesus Explains His Message, which is from the first volume of our Jesus Unfiltered series titled Believe. Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about.
To believe in something is to fully accept it as true or reliable. Through this 10-part study in the Gospel of John, Chip will unpack what it means to believe in Jesus, learn how Christ's life, ministry, and message prove he is our Savior and King, whom we can completely trust. For more details about this or any other volumes in our Jesus Unfiltered series, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, before we go on, Chip's here in studio with a quick word he'd like to share.
Thanks so much, Dave. I don't know if you know it, but a recent Barna study found that there's a growing, increasing number of pastors that are struggling with burnout and discouragement and literally depression. The study found that the immense stress of the job, loneliness, political and cultural tension, and the strain on the family were the top issues that are causing a significant number of pastors not just to be discouraged but to lead the ministry. Pastors and church leaders, they need your help. They need community.
They need someone that listens to them and cares for them and understands their world. This year alone, we've come alongside over 160,000 pastors here in America and around the world with a teaching called The Art of Survival. We gave it to them in 27 different languages, wherever they were, and it's a teaching that pulls them together and helps them survive and then thrive in the midst of heartache and pain and difficulty and rejection. And we've heard one thing as we've gathered them together, Now I'm not going to quit the ministry. These pastors need our help, and I'm asking you, did you help us bring encouragement and theological training to church leaders? We want to do it, but we can't do it alone.
And right now, every dollar you give will be doubled dollar for dollar until December 31. And I hope you can grasp that healthy pastors make vibrant churches. Unhealthy, discouraged pastors produce anemic sheep.
Our leaders are pastors. They desperately need your help. Will you join with us financially this month and make a difference in a pastor's life?
Thanks so much. Well, if you believe God is calling you to encourage and support pastors with us, now's a great time to become a financial partner because from now until December 31, every gift we receive is being matched dollar for dollar. So to be part of our year-end match, call us at 888-333-6003 or go to LivingOnTheEdge.org.
That's LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003. App listeners, tap Donate, and thanks in advance for giving whatever God leads you to give. Well, Chip, let's get to your application we've promised. As we close today's program, I hope you remember that Jesus came to reveal the Father, that he wanted to talk to Nicodemus, that he saw through his moralism and his religiosity, and he came at night because he was afraid, but he came. And he had an honest question, and he really wanted to know, and Jesus spoke very directly to him.
And so I'm going to encourage you, I don't know where you're at on the journey of reading the Bible or whether you've bought into the lie that ordinary people really can't understand the Bible, but can I encourage you? Read through the Gospel of John with us, and as you listen to these messages, whether you download them or download the notes, there's some tools that will help you, but God wants to speak to you. When you have a decision, when you have a problem, just tell him, I'm really struggling with this, and then read through the passage slowly, and then say, Lord, would you speak to me?
And be quiet. You'll learn to listen to his voice, and some verses will begin to, you know, I don't know how to say this, will begin to kind of pop out. They'll begin to speak to you, and you'll little by little understand, oh, that's how the Holy Spirit works. He actually wants to speak to me from his word. God loves you. He wants to communicate to you and with you, and he wants you to come and ask him questions and share your struggles.
He wants to meet you, so why don't you meet with him? Great challenge, Chip. Thanks. Well, if you want to go back and listen to any part of this series or get your hands on the message notes Chip mentioned, go to the Chip Ingram app. It's an easy way to get plugged in with our resources or share them with others. We long to see every Christian living like a Christian, and the tools available through the Chip Ingram app can help. Check it out today. Well, be sure to join us next time as Chip continues his series, Jesus Unfiltered, Volume 1, Believe. Until then, I'm Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. 🎵
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-06 07:00:25 / 2023-12-06 07:12:03 / 12