Knowing God Is Eternal Life - John 17:3

An Introduction to the Father

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. – Matthew 11:27 ESV

We who have a relationship with God probably don’t think too often about Jesus’ choice in our salvation process. Jesus did have a choice, and he chose (and chooses) to open a way for us to the Father.

Having a Father in heaving is wonderful amazing blessing for this life and a hope-filled promise for the next life. We have a powerful person (for lack of a better word) on high who is on our side and working for us. He made us (Psalm 139:13), planned our days (Psalm 139:16), he guides our very steps (Isaiah 30:21), and he knows how to give us good things (Matthew 7:11). This is the father we have and can learn to know better and better.

But how do we know him? Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross didn’t just wipe away the sins on our heavenly record. It did do that, but it did so much more. Jesus’ dying on the cross took the separation that was between us and God because of those sins, and he brought us into the presence of the Father.

I imagine a scene where there’s a brightly lit courtroom full of happy people, very much like the ballroom scene in the children’s story, Cinderella. Instead of two people meeting and falling in love, there’s me and Jesus and Jesus has loved me for a long time and is so happy that now we finally get to spend some time together. Not only that, but He wants to introduce me to someone: His Father. No one gets to meet His Father unless He decides to introduce them. I image that we’d walk into the ballroom and every eye is trained on us. A path clears between us and the dais of the king, where the King of Glory sits. I walking up to his throne and, full of the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus, I smile and say, “I’m so glad to meet you. If it’s ok with you, I’d like to spend the rest of my days and all my eternity getting to know you better.” And, because He loves me, He laughs and hugs me.

Ok, so that’s not probably not very realistic, but I love the imagery anyway. And I love the reminder that Jesus is the reason that I can know God and spend every day with Him. Eternal life, here I come!

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. – John 17:3 ESV

New Creation In Christ - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Saved by God’s Reconciliation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 ESV

2 Corinthians offers us a wonderful hope for the future. Not only our future, but the future of the whole world. This passage steps us through the hope of the resurrection of Christ and the responsibility that we have once we’ve accepted Christ’s message.

In Christ

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

If we claim to be a Christian, we are claiming to have an understanding of what His death and resurrection mean. We are saying that we know Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, came to this earth, lived a sin-free life, died on the cross and was raised from the dead, then He ascended off this earth to return to the Father where He waits to return to the earth again and judge us all. We are saying that we understand that we are sin filled creatures that are separated from Christ and this work He did on the cross is our only hope of coming home again. We are saying that we not only believe His words and believe in the knowledge of Him, but we also are saying that we are changed because of Him.

Old to New

“The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Once we have become a part of Christ, we have the hope of being new. 2 Corinthians says that the old has passed away and the new has come. They aren’t living simultaneously and we have to pick and choose between the pieces. The old is gone, completely and for good. The new is here and it is transforming us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is easy to forget this one and start to live in habits and echoes of the dead version of us. However, we aren’t bound to that life any more (Romans 6:6). We can walk away from those choice and those circumstances. We are free in Christ to live in the law of liberty (James 1:25).

God is the Author

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;”

We are so used to taking credit for any good thing that we do, that it’s a good reminder here that God is the one who is planning all this and doing all this. We aren’t saving ourselves and nothing of what we do (our works) can save us. Only the power and grace of God. He’s done this because of who He is and how much He loves us (John 3:16). Pride and arrogance try to step in and say that it’s something we’ve done, but it never is. God, through Christ, is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Open for All

“In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them,”

Salvation is not an elite thing. There isn’t something that has to be done to earn it and there aren’t specially appointed people who will get it. God is offering this to all people the world over. He wants to be able to offer mercy to all His children that they can return home to Him. If any person, no matter their background or their past choices, learns to accept Christ and what He did on the cross, he is welcomed home by a loving and forgiving Father.

The Knowledge We Have

“Entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

The Spirit of God has revealed the truth of Christ to us and that knowledge leaves us with a certain responsibility. This message of reconciliation between a loving Father and His lost children is needing to go out to the whole world. Later in this passage, Apostle Paul says that he and his fellow ministers are “ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us.” We are the mouth piece of God’s goodness. God wants us to show His strength through our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and His uniting love through our relationship with Him (John 17:23).

Gods Steadfast Salvation - Isaiah 51:8

God’s Steadfast Salvation

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. “Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.” – Isaiah 51:6-8 ESV

There are things in our world that feel like they’ve been around “forever”. There are ancient ruins and traditions that go back farther than anyone remembers. None of these things, however, will matter or stay. Even our planet itself will someday wear out (Isaiah 51:6) and all the people will die out as well. Doesn’t sound like a happy thought, does it?

This thought isn’t frightening or scary, however, if you know the One True God. He always has been and always will be; He is the great I Am. He offers us an eternal hope beyond the world that we’re in and beyond the limitations of our existence.

Once we know this, it’s so much easier to understand how we cannot be afraid of those who threaten us. Even if they are threatening to take away our very life, we don’t need to fear. They are just as fallen and mortal as we are. If we are being taken to task because of what we believe, simply smile and say, “Let’s talk about this in the next life.”

We spend so much time trying to be right and trying to defend ourselves and our beliefs. God is so much bigger than any kind of theological correctness. He is good and true and right and we need to experience a relationship with Him first, not just try for churchiness or correctness.

The salvation that God offers through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His One True Son, is eternal. It is lasting and it can be relied on when everything, absolutely everything, in our world can’t be.

Prodigal God, Part 4 – Sermon Notes

[These notes are from a sermon by Connor Jones at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO. Today’s notes are part 4 of series Prodigal God. The whole series including this sermon can be seen on their website. My notes from part 2 are here.]
Today’s lesson:
We’re looking at part of the story where the younger brother is pondering returning home. After his return, we see the father accept him with joy and a party. What does the feast represent?
Think about your fondest memories of childhood and a time that you would like to recreate. This return represents our ultimate return to our relationship with God and being with him.
“Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” Rev 19:19
Everyone is invited back into communion with God. There the longings of our hearts will be quenched. This is the feast to come.
Sometimes the focus can be, “Grab as many lost sons as possible, throw them in the back of the truck and let’s head to God’s house.” That’s great but it’s missing the idea of the celebration that’s waiting for us. God is creating delectable delights for us when we return to him. See John 6:35 and Rev 7:16-17.

We can have a taste of r his feast and communion with him. There are (more than) 4 ways we can experience this in a small way now.

  1. The Bible describes our experience with God using dense filled experiential words. This knowledge we have of God goes beyond just head knowledge. We can fully experience Him.
  2. Our salvation is a material thing. Heaven is going to be a real physical thing. If you haven’t been taking care of the physical problems of others, then you aren’t expressing an understanding of salvation. Miracles aren’t breaking the laws of physics, he is restoring things to their Gid-intended state. When we are serving others, we are expressing that we care.
  3. Salvation will be an individual thing. Just like eating fills us up; we don’t eat for someone else. We each have to partake of salvation on this earth. To forgive, love, give,be faithful, then you must experience those things through Jesus Christ.
  4. Acknowledge that our salvation is communal just like the feast is a group event. Our foretaste of salvation is to be with others. If I’m not walking with you as you walk with Christ, there are aspects of Christ I can’t access.