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1320. The Gift of Eternal Life

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2022 7:00 pm

1320. The Gift of Eternal Life

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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August 19, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Jason Ormiston continues the series entitled “I Believe,” with a message from John 11:25-26.

The post 1320. The Gift of Eternal Life appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today we're continuing a study series based on the creed that students recite each day in chapel services, which is a summary of the doctrines of our Christian faith. Today's sermon will be preached by Jason Ormiston. He'll be teaching us about the gift of eternal life. When we think about eternal life, we think about the fact that it goes on forever and ever, that it is a gift. It's hard for us to put our arms around that concept. Also, we do realize that a lot of people have made a lot of money talking about what heaven is going to be like.

So I want to try to unpack that for you in as realistic of a way as we possibly can. So if we take this phrase, the gift of eternal life, I want you to consider this with me, it is unmerited. We don't do anything to deserve it.

We don't work our way into the right to enter into heaven. We are offered it freely, and it's an amazing gift. I sat next to one of the dads at a basketball game last night, and he is one who used to be a drug dealer, and I've been striking up conversations with him. He's been radically saved back in the 80s, and he turned to me, he said, Jason, does it ever just make you pause to think that we have this wonderful gift of eternal life?

I'm like, you know what, I'm preaching on that tomorrow. Yes, in fact, recently it's been giving me reason for pause. He said, why me? He said, why did I receive it?

And I want to ask you that same question, why you? Have you been a recipient of a gift at any time? What's the best material gift that you've ever received?

Think about that. What's the very best material gift? Something that maybe it's, I don't know, a ring?

Engagement ring? Maybe it's tuition? I have a big white van, a big homeschool van that we drive around. That was given to us. Ten passenger van.

I was teaching an Old Testament messages class a couple years ago. A gentleman who was visiting, who happened to be coming to PBC, Palmetto Baptist Church, came up to me after class, and he asked me, do you want a car? I said, well, I mean, I think my kids need a car. No, no, do you want a car? I said, are you giving it away? He said, yes, but I'm particular to Lexus. I said, oh, me too. He said, let's go to the dealership right after class. And I'm like, what?

Are you kidding me? He said, no, I'm serious. I want to do that for you. And I had to teach the next hour.

I thought of maybe finding a sub, but I wait. I taught, and he took me to the dealership, and he bought me a Lexus. I have been involved in church ministries whenever we get at the very point of having to need a building. You know, buildings cost a lot of money. Family Baptist Church, inner city, North Minneapolis, we needed a building. The price for the building was $900,000.

We had nothing to offer. My dad, pastor there, received a phone call from a former pastor who, through a series of tragic events, received millions of dollars and said, I want to give you a million dollars. I planted another church, and there was another need for a building.

We had a pastor and their congregation say, we'll let you have this building, and as soon as I die, you can have the building. And I'm currently, and we currently, as members of PBC, those of you that are here that attend there, we're looking for God to do something great, and I can tell you He is in the works right now. I do know what it's like to receive unbelievable, unmerited favor, but nothing compares to the gift I received when I was six years of age, and my dad told me about eternal life. And I want to remind you of familiar verses in John 3.16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but should have everlasting life. I want to remind you of Ephesians 2.8 and 9, For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. If you're saved today, it's the greatest gift you could ever receive. It's a gift.

Don't forget that. I also want you to note it's unending. It's eternal. Now if you have your Bible, I hope you do, turn with me over to John chapter 11.

I want you to notice something that I think is a reality for all of us. When we hear this idea of eternal life, we struggle to understand it or to even believe it. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, but before He does that, He has a conversation, and I want you to join me in reading this conversation. John chapter 11, verses 25 and 26, Jesus said to her, being Martha, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

And I love this question. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die, believeth thou this. You hear people like me, we recite the creed all the time, and it says that we have this gift of eternal life, but do you really believe it's going to go on and on and on and on? Paul grasped this concept in 1 Thessalonians 4.14. He referred to those who slept in Jesus. They went to sleep in Jesus as a euphemism, as a picture of death. For you and for me, as we die in Jesus, it's not the end of our existence.

Existence continues, and that existence is a wonderful existence. If you're wondering if there's this thing called soul sleep, I want to remind you that Jesus Himself said, if you still have your Bible open to John 11, you'll scan your eyes back up to verse 11. There's a statement here, these things said He, and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awake him out of his sleep. Then the disciples said, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking a rest in sleep. This rest of sleep is not that you're laying in the grave waiting to be up with Jesus. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. This is a wonderful experience.

Death has lost its sting, and yet I want you to realize that eternity goes on forever and forever and forever. To try to help illustrate this, I've asked my son to give me a hand. Judah, can you help me out, buddy? This is an illustration that no doubt some of you have seen before, and if you're wondering, like, what's he doing here? Why isn't he in school? Home school, remember? We'll have him.

We'll have him. Thanks, buddy. We'll have him write a report on this one, okay?

And can you loosen the rope on the other side? There's a couple things. Yeah, scoot that over for me. Thank you, buddy. All right.

A couple things to keep in mind. One, it's not my illustration. It's been viewed by over a million people.

Francis Chan, I saw it for the first time when one of my deacons sent it to me. The other thing is you can tell I'm a professor here. I'm on a budget. There's a knot in the rope. It's not supposed to have a knot in the rope.

I went to buy a rope, but it's like 200 bucks to buy the length that I needed. So we'll just go with this. Pretend that the rope goes on forever and ever and wraps around the world.

All right? And it just goes on and on and on. What we do in this piece right here, this yellow piece, this yellow portion, is our lives. It's your life. This is the extent of it. And this is where it keeps going and going and going and going and going. We spend our lives obsessing over how to live this part of our lives so that we can retire and have ease.

And, you know, just relax and do what we can to make ourselves comfortable. And a lot of people do not understand that what you do now impacts all of eternity. What decisions you make now, whether or not you are ready for when the tape stops, when you meet God face to face.

And he says, do you know me? Do you believe in me? It determines whether or not you spend eternity on forever and ever in hell or in heaven. And my desire is that you'd spend eternity in heaven. And the other thing is a lot of times when you make decisions thinking about eternity in mind, you'll make decisions that other people don't understand. You'll give away things and people will say, what is your problem? Don't you realize you're not going to have anything left over? And I'm telling you, I don't get it why people make decisions storing up all sorts of stuff for themselves for later on when they can't even enjoy it, when they can be blessings. I've been so richly blessed by so many things. I love to give things away.

It just gets me excited to give things away. I'm just going to leave that right there. Okay.

I also want you to realize that it's unbelievable. And I use this as a description. If you have thought of heaven and put it in this little box, then I want you to understand that's not what the Bible does. In fact, the Bible speaks of heaven in these terms. In 2 Corinthians 12, 1 through 6, it refers to it as a garden or paradise. In John 14, 1 through 3, it's a mansion or a house.

In Revelation 21, verses 9 through 27, there's this city. And if you think about it in big picture, you're talking about new heavens and a new earth, this beautiful garden. I love to make comparisons between heaven and the Garden of Eden. And coming down out of the heavens will be a massive city that contains a mansion for you and for me.

And it's going to be beyond our wildest imagination. So here's some couple of things that I want to encourage you to consider writing down. First thing, heaven will be more wonderful than words can describe.

I want to encourage you to write this down. Heaven will be more wonderful than words can describe. I'm going to pull up for you this passage in 2 Corinthians. And if you have your Bible, you can turn there as well.

2 Corinthians chapter 12, verses 1 through 6. But as you're turning there, most of us have thought of heaven as a place where we're going to play harps in the clouds. And that's all we're ever going to do. Have you ever thought about that, that way? Some of you do play harp and we appreciate it and I love seeing the harp choir up here, so don't take offense if you are a harp player. I'm not on your case. I'm encouraging that musical notation.

But check this out. Heaven is going to be so much more than us sitting around strumming on stringed instruments. Paul was taken up into heaven and he gives this account in 2 Corinthians 12, 1 through 6.

It's not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above 14 years ago, whether in the body I cannot tell or whether out of the body I cannot tell. God knoweth. Such a one was caught up into the third heaven and I knew such a man whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell.

God knoweth. He repeats himself in talking about am I in the body, am I out of the body, I don't know. It's mysterious, it's revelations, it's these things that he wants the glory in but he's having a hard time explaining it.

Then he makes a statement. How that he was caught up into paradise. This word for paradise is only found in the Greek language, not found in the Hebrew language. But when the Hebrew was translated into Greek, they used the same word to describe the Garden of Eden.

It's this beautiful garden, this wonderful experience. Jesus says to the criminal on the cross, today you will be with me in paradise. He says I was caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words which is not lawful for a man to utter. What an interesting statement that he makes.

It's inexplicable, it's unlawful for me to tell you how wonderful it was. Now why would he say that? Perhaps the reason why he said that is because he's sitting there thinking if I actually let you in on the truth of how great it really is, you would not want to continue being here right now. It's that good. And so Paul later talks about in Philippians 1, he would rather die but he'll stay because that's what God wants.

It's going to be unbelievably amazing. Of such one will I glory, yet of myself I will not glory but in mine infirmities, for though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool, for I will say the truth, but now I forbear lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And right after this on the heels, he receives this thorn in the flesh to keep him grounded. Notice also though, I said to you it's a paradise, it's a garden, it's also a mansion, it's this wonderful house. Consider John 14, and notice the verses here in verses 1-3. But where do you find comfort, right? I don't know if you're going to run to the dining common to find comfort food line.

I was just in Asheville on Monday enjoying the gingerbread houses, and my wife showed me this place that sells potato chips in different flavors, and we had a great time, and we enjoyed every bite. And yet it's not in food that we find comfort, ultimate lasting comfort. In fact if you run to food all the time for comfort, you're going to be sorely mistaken, and you'll end up a glutton, you'll end up struggling, you will not be content. The only place where you're going to find lasting satisfaction is in Jesus Christ. And he encourages us with a bigger picture of heaven.

Now I use the comfort food as a way for you to listen, but I want you to connect this. Just three weeks ago I was at a funeral for a 16 year old boy who died in a single car accident. He was going too fast and ran right into a tree, and he went into eternity.

The funeral, it was at First Baptist, and Taylor's was full of public school students, most of them unbelievers, just in awe of why would God allow something like this to happen. The only comfort we can really find is in this fact in Jesus Christ. Notice what he says in John 14, 1-3. Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. Who owns the mansion, God does, he's the owner, believe him.

And also trust the architect, trust the builder. If it were not so, I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. This is a great source of encouragement as we understand what we have to look forward to. But the last thing I want you to see, I want to ask you to turn in your Bible to Revelation chapter 21. Heaven will be more glorious than you could ever imagine. Turn over there, Revelation 21, I'm going to wrap it up with this. If you start at the beginning of chapter 21, it talks about a new heaven and a new earth, and then a city that comes down. If you jump into verse 9, it says, And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the lamb's wife. So we're looking for the bride of Christ.

So John is looking, okay, I can't wait to see this bride. And then in verse 10 it says, And he carried me in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and he showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. The bride of Christ is the city of God.

And you're like, okay, what does that have to do with anything? As you understand what is said here by John in Revelation 21, it blows you away with great joy and anticipation. I'm just going to provide for you an idea with an outline that you can go back and look at when it comes to Revelation chapter 21. It will radiate God's glory. In verses 9 through 11 it says, The bride is here, the bride is a city. And it talks about the wedding ceremony in verse 10.

And it shows us something about the city. It's going to be like Jasper. It's going to be like a big humongous prism that can reflect and refract light all over the place, floating down from heaven in eternity. It will also illustrate God's sovereignty in verses 12 through 14.

It talks about some things, some combinations. Revelation 1, 12 gates with 12 angels. Very similar to the cherubim that happened to be protecting the garden in Genesis 3.24. 12 gates with 12 names of the 12 tribes of Israel. And then it also has 12 foundation stones with the names of the 12 apostles.

You're saying, why all this description? Because it shows something about God and his sovereignty. He alone is the one that can pull all these groups together to form the people of God. From Israel, from the church, all brought together to worship him.

He bestows favor on whom he wants to in his city. If you compare the 12 tribes, the listing of them, in the book of Revelation, in Revelation 7, 4 through 8, you'll find that one of the tribes is missing. It's the tribe of Dan. But if you go to Ezekiel 48, 31 through 34, the tribe of Dan, pictured as part of the city, is mentioned. Why isn't Dan found in Revelation 7, but it's found in Ezekiel? And is it going to be found in heaven?

I'm saying it's going to be found in heaven. The reason why Dan wasn't in there in Revelation, when it's talking about the 144,000 witnesses, it's because of the fact that they were the first tribe to fall into idolatry. But in the end, God says, I will bring them back into the fold.

He has that great love and bestows love on whomever he wants to. The 12 apostles, have you ever wondered? I thought there were 13. I thought the apostle Paul and the other 12. Well, maybe Judas is dead, so maybe Paul replaces Judas. No, wait, there's Matthias.

What do we do with that one? Are there 13 or 12? Well, there are 12. And so you have to wrestle through the implications.

Here's the thought for you. Perhaps, and I'm one that believes that the 12 refer to Matthias. It's not that Paul is in there. Paul is an apostle to the Gentiles. So the apostles were those connected to Israel, but God is marvelous in all of this and God displays a message through the city. The city is connected to redemptive history, connected to the Garden of Eden, connected to the selection of Abraham, God's inclusion of the Gentiles.

It is just unbelievable. It also highlights God's majesty. We find this in verses 15 through 17.

The size of the city will be massive. Now, look down at your Bible. Verse 15. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city and the gates thereof and the walls thereof, and the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth, and he measured the city with the reed 12,000 furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height are equal. And he measured the walls thereof 140 and four cubits according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. Now, let me pause, and if you have zoned me out, let me help you zone back in.

This is what we're saying. This city floating down from heaven is going to be like a huge prism, and it's going to be so massive in a cubed shape, its length, width, and height are going to be identical in dimensions, 12,000 furlongs or stadia. It's approximately 1,380 miles. That's about how long it is from here to Fargo, North Dakota. This city is going to be cubed, which is going to represent, I believe, the inner sanctum of the tabernacle. To put it in perspective, we're talking about 1,400 miles cubed equals 2 million square miles.

The width of the wall is 216 feet thick. And I just want to say that because many times when we hear about this city floating down, we think about billions and billions of people that get saved, and all we're going to do is stand side by side and say, holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. You're like, I want to get into that, but I'm struggling a bit. I'm hoping there's a little more to this, and I'm telling you there is. This is just describing the city which is bigger than you could ever imagine. Look up sometime the measurement of the New Jerusalem on YouTube.

Two-minute video. It will blow your mind away. It's all taken from biblical record, and it puts things in perspective like Mount Everest, how small it is a speck on this city, and this is just one city that we're going to come in and out of to go out into the garden to enjoy God.

It's going to be beyond our wildest imaginations, and it's going to be beautiful beyond any imagination. Notice verses 18 through 21. It gives us all these different types of stones, and I won't break all of these down, but I'll tell you that it will remind us of the Noahic covenant or the rainbow, and it's going to be beautiful colors that you can't even begin to imagine how amazing all of these are. These stones are connected to the ones found in the Garden of Eden in Ezekiel 28.

These stones are connected to the ones found in the breastplate of the priest in Exodus 28. So in other words, God has been giving us hints all along that, wait, it's not about the little yellow part. It's about eternity.

It's going to be beyond what you can even begin to imagine, and if you're a believer in Jesus Christ, that's where you're going, and it's going to be great. Notice the last part is what's going to model God's supremacy, and I see this in verses 22. No temple, because God's there. There is total allegiance given. He's supreme over the sun and the moon, verse 23. He's supreme over kings and rulers, verses 24 through 26, and look at verse 27. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abominations or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. So let me call you to some action. I'm going to encourage you to make sure you're in that Lamb's book of life.

Are you in it? Do you know the only way, the same way into the garden, the house, and the city, it's all through Jesus. If you have not received Jesus Christ as your savior, I want to encourage you to embrace him today, and if you have, are you living in light of eternity?

And here's the next one. Praise God for caring enough to craft a special place for you. John 14, one through three, and I want to encourage you also to live in light of eternity. Seek things above Colossians three, one through four. Glorify God on earth.

All of these things provoke us to ask this question, do I really care? When I'm saying this creed, am I reminded of these truths? Let me close with this thought for you. Brad Zuckel, the writer of a blog called Zuckel University, he's a Bible teacher at Grace Christian Academy in Knoxville, wrote an account of a pastor who went home to be with the Lord, Tom Craig, pastor of Oak Ridge Baptist Church. He said this, I had a conversation with Kim Craig, Tom's wife, about the last days of our dear pastor's life.

She had mentioned that he saw wonderful things, and I received her permission to write about it and share it with you. It was the last week of Tom's life. He would be gone by Wednesday evening, the hospital room was quiet, Tom alone with his wife Kim lay quietly gazing at the ceiling, fighting the pain and weakness brought on by the crush of pancreatic cancer. He was tired, his energy was gone, he was alert, and Kim noticed that his eyes were fixed on a scene.

Tom stared at the ceiling, looking intently at something. Kim seated on the bed beside him, stroked his hair, what is it Tom, what do you see? His voice was weak, but audible, angels. Kim leaned closer, her heart skipped a beat, angels? He nodded his head, yes, how many are there?

Tom moved his lips quietly as he lifted his two hands, counting his fingers softly, he turned and gave a definitive answer, 12. Kim leaned in closer, what do they look like? Do they look like female angels? Tom, unable to talk freely, shook his head, no.

Are they male angels? He clearly nodded his head, yes. Then lay back exhausted, but enthusiastic. Kim realized his fatigue, but was struck by his determination in what he was witnessing, no doubt about it, Tom knew he was seeing angels. He lay quiet for a time, perking up upon greeting numerous friends and family as they stopped by occasionally, attempting to converse, but growing frustrated that he did not have the energy to utter more than a few words, however he didn't give up, three words he was able to communicate, I love you. Later on, Kim and daughter Ali told me, he grew excited and animated, when they leaned into here, he exclaimed that he saw something new, something almost indescribable, he saw colors, new colors, incredible hues and shades, colors not realized on this earth, possibly the colors of heaven?

Tom was adamant that they were unseen by him, Kim and the family pondered this. He spent his last days with the family around him quietly adding a word here and there as he was able, but then he stopped and looked at the ceiling, his eyes were open, gazing above the group, it was a different kind of look as if, well, as if he were listening for something. It became apparent that he was indeed hearing something and he let them know that he was gesturing with something different, do you hear music?

Kim asked, drawing near, he nodded yes. What kind of music, Tom? Beautiful, he whispered, are you familiar with it? Do you recognize the song? Kim asked quietly, no, he replied, you've never heard it before, it's a new song?

Yes, replied, he replied firmly. And then another visit by the angels, Tom saw the angels as family members stood about him, how many do you see, Tom? He was weaker but he was determined to let them know, once again he counted them with his fingers, one, two, three, five, he told them. This got all of us considering what was occurring to Tom, aligning this with biblical account of heavenly messenger when Jesus related the story of Lazarus, he made mention that when he saw the beggar die, he was carried into glory with angels, think of it, stop and ponder this truth. It was Tom's time to have his load carried from him. Pastor Tom had indeed been carrying a lot of burdens in his ministry, numerous responsibilities that would test the strength of any pastor, his compassion loaded him with responsibility of seeing folks who were in physical need, his desire to show Jesus charged him with preparing messages saturated with biblical truth, his oversight of the church weighed on him with financial responsibility of the assembly, his outreach vision added the burden of making sure missionaries were being supplied with their necessities, visiting, counseling, leading, speaking, praying, exhorting, being available 24 hours a day. Tom carried a load, but now it was time for the angels to carry him to the father.

It was so precious, said Kim, the way he described it, well, I wanted to go myself. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. He used to get puzzled about the psalm, I mean, death is precious, yes, it's one of those things that we long for, it's heading into heavenly reception, the portals of real life, the grand celebration of the author of life, the family told me that one of the last words they heard him say from his lips was, wow, I get the feeling that's what we'll all be saying as the angels come down to escort us to the heavenly realm, wow. The gift of eternal life, do you have it? You can receive it, and if you do have it, live in light of it. God, I pray that you bless us as we apply this truth in Jesus' name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Jason Ormiston, join us again next week as we continue this series summarizing the doctrines of our Christian faith here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-06 03:32:42 / 2023-03-06 03:45:00 / 12

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