First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Sunday ~ June 28, 2020)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
This morning we come to our final lesson in our study of the Apostles’ Creed. For the past two millennia, this Creed, this ancient confession and expression of Christian belief, has served as an instrument for instructing Christians in the basics of Biblical faith. Today we will be looking at the final statement the Creed makes, “I believe in the life everlasting.”
Today’s affirmation is very comforting because when we say, “I believe in the life everlasting,” we proclaim our belief in life after death – in an eternity that exists outside of our world and our time. It’s so comforting to know that when our journey here on earth comes to an end, it continues in heaven; when this chapter is over, another beautiful chapter that has no end begins.
Life Everlasting in the Teaching of Jesus
Life everlasting, Zōēn Aiōnion (in Greek ζωὴν αἰώνιον), was an integral part of the teaching of Jesus Christ. In John 10:10, Jesus summarizes and captures the heart of His mission when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus invited His audience to choose life over death when He said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Addressing the Samaritan woman, whose life was so far from eternal life, Jesus said in John 4:14, “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Life everlasting was an integral part of the teaching of Jesus because, my friends, it will be miserable to miss it. Jesus never watered down the truth that at the end of our journey here on earth, humans will have one of two final destinations: heaven or hell; the resurrection of life or the resurrection of condemnation as Jesus said in John 5:28-29.
The topic of life everlasting is a very broad one and it is very hard to cover it in one sermon, so for the sake of our time, I want to narrow it down to three questions: What, When, and How. What is life eternal? When does it begin? And, how do we receive it?
First: What is Life Eternal?
Many people wonder what heaven will be like. Will the streets be paved with gold? Will there be mountains and streams? Will there be beaches and waterfalls? Will there be trees and animals?
We have to know that heaven is beyond our comprehension. Our minds cannot comprehend the reality of life eternal, because it is beyond our experience and beyond our capacity to understand. All we really know is that it will be a glorious life!
The one most important thing I want us to know today is when the Bible speaks about eternal life, its emphases neither the place nor the quality of life in heaven. Yes, heaven is a real place, but it is not the place that really matters.
Yes, in heaven we will experience life in its fulness because everything will be just perfect and complete. Our joy will be complete. Our peace will be complete. Our existence will be complete. Our faith will be complete. Our love will be complete. God’s presence will be complete. Our fellowship with the Lord and with each other will be complete. We will have an intimate relationship with God. We will no longer have times when God seems far away. We will lack nothing. Our loved ones will be there, along with many others whom we will love and enjoy just as much!
It’s true, as John says in Revelation chapter 21, that there will be no more sickness, suffering, or death. No more pain, no more getting old and frail, no losing our memory and abilities. But there is something even greater about life everlasting. It’s the fact that we will be living in the presence of the Most High. Revelation 21:3 says, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”
Second: When Does Life Eternal Begin?
We look at the wholeness of everlasting life and we wonder, can we begin to taste some of it now? According to John 5: 24, life eternal is simply knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In John 5:24, Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me HAS ETERNAL LIFE and will not be judged, but HAS CROSSED OVER from death to life.”
Everlasting life begins the moment we welcome Jesus into our lives, surrender our lives to Him, and it reaches its completion when we fully dwell in God’s presence. From that moment on, we will live a life with eternity in mind.
Needless to say, if eternal life begins for us today, it will definitely bring changes to our lives. Basically, the life of Jesus will take over, changing how we think, feel, and act. We won’t have to do that entirely on our own; the Spirit of Jesus will transform us, as we turn our life over to Jesus.
Third: How Do We Receive Eternal Life?
Eternal life is a gift. Romans 6:23 reminds us that “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is a gift available immediately to all who surrender their lives to Christ – it is a gift that is available to all, no matter how many laps we may be down, no matter of our past failures; it’s a gift that immediately puts us across the finish line. “Whoever has the Son,” John 5:12 says “has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Friends, as we wrap up this series of messages on the Apostles’ Creed, I want to invite you to examine your heart. Do you know without a doubt that you are going to heaven? Do you know without a doubt that you have personally asked Jesus to forgive your sins and to come into your life as Lord and Savior? If not, then I want you to get that assurance before you leave today. In 1873, Fanny Crosby wrote these great words:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Friends, may this be your song today and every day until we see Jesus face to face. Yes, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but there is a way out through the redemption of Christ. “I believe in the life everlasting.” Amen.
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