Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 10. The Father Heart of God (Series 1) . The Father Heart of God (Part 6)

. The Father Heart of God (Part 6)

THE FATHER HEART OF GOD (PART 6)

 

Introduction

 

So far in John 3:16 we have looked at the divine gift which is God giving His Son for the sins of the world. We have looked at the divine plan which is a plan to save sinners. We saw the divine choice which tells us who has been invited to salvation and to whom salvation will actually be given. Then in the last sermon we saw the love of God demonstrated in the divine deliverance that is promised for all believers.

 

In this sermon we come to see something else about the love of God. The love of God is seen in the life that we have been given. So we turn today to:

 

5. The divine promise of eternal life.

 

John 3:16 (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Salvation is not just deliverance as we saw in the last sermon. It is not just a deliverance from one kind of life and the results of that life. It is not just a deliverance from one kind of destiny to another destiny. It is the giving of an entirely new kind of life. When the Lord saved us, He didn’t just deliver us, He gave us life AND He gave us eternal life.

 

In this sermon I want us to think about this life we have been given.

 

If you are a believer, you claim to have eternal life. The question is; what is eternal life? There are nine truths about eternal life that I want to share with you. We will do 5 today and the last four next week.

 

5.1 Eternal life is new life.

 

The fact that God gives it says that men do not possess it naturally. We are not born with this thing called eternal life. By nature we are dead in sin as we saw so clearly in Ephesians 2. Outside the redeeming work of Christ you are not sick but dead in your trespasses and sin.  There was nothing that we could do to produce it. God has to give it to us as a gift. Paul tells us this in Romans 6:23 (ESV) 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So it is a free gift.

 

5.2 Eternal life is a work of God

 

Ephesians 2:4-5 (ESV)4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—“ What did God do when He saved you? He made you alive together with His Son.  This was His gift to you, and all of it is His work alone. John 10:10 (ESV) 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

 

5.3 Eternal life is a great change.

 

To say that you have been saved is to say that you have been changed in the most radical way possible. John 5:24 (ESV) 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” A believer has been taken from one realm and moved into another. He was taken from one condition to another. He was dead in His trespasses and sins, belonged to the realm of death but now he has passed from death into a new realm. He has been made alive.

 

Paul’s version of what happens we see in Acts 26:18 (ESV) 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

 

1 John 3:14 (ESV)14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.” Notice that he is not talking here specifically about eternal death and eternal life, but life now and death now. Notice that anyone who does not love remains in death now. According to what we have just read anybody who is alive does not just love God, but he loves the children of God.

 

But all of this, to say that it is a gift, to say that it is God’s work, to say that it is a change, all of this says that men do not possess this life from birth. We don’t have it naturally. We have been born spiritually dead according to the Scriptures. So from the time of our birth to the time of our salvation we have had no experience with this life. Which is why, if you try to talk to a lost man about the life you have in Christ, unless God saves him, unless God opens his eyes and his heart and gives him an understanding you do realise that that lost man has no way to understand what you are talking about? He is dead in his sins and cannot relate at all.

 

That is why it is a tragedy for Christian people to talk to non-Christian people about the Christian life instead of talking about the Saviour. When we talk to lost people as if all they need is to live our lifestyle, we have missed the mark haven’t we? Their need is not to be moralised. Their need is not to be churched. Their need is not to be instructed with anything else but the gospel. Our aim is not to take unbelievers and teach them doctrinal statements. Their need is to be delivered. Their need is to be brought into life. And until they have been brought into life they have no capacity to live the life that you live and they have no understanding of it.

 

This is new life and it is a great change that has taken place.

 

5.4 Eternal life abides within us.

 

When we talk about this new life realise that it is not just a legal position. It is not on paper you belonged to the realm of death and now on paper you belong to the realm of life. No something has happened within you. You are not the man or woman you used to be. God has changed you in your very nature. You have the life of God within you if you are a Christian.

 

John says in 1 John 3:15 (ESV) 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Besides the fact that this talks about eternal life in us, does this not say something about making relationships right within the body of Christ? Think of the ramifications here. If someone claims he is a Christian but hates his brother and there is no motivation within him to make it right, what does the Bible say of such a person? The Bible says that he does not have eternal life within him. Saved people love their brothers and sisters warts and all. You are driven from the heart to love your brother and to make things right.

 

That is why Paul can say in 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 (ESV)14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, (these words indicate change don’t they?) therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. (As an unsaved person you do not understand Christ. Your view of Him is worldly) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

So eternal life is within us, but there is something else:

 

5.5 Eternal life is fellowship with God.

 

What is the essence of new life? What is central in it? What does it consist of? It consists of fellowship with God. There is only one clear definition of the ‘new life’ in the Word of God and you know it. In John 17:1-3 (ESV) we see the prayer of Jesus where He says:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

 

What is eternal life? It is to know God and it is to know God’s Son. This is what is so frightening with many a person who claims to be a Christian. If you were to ask them what it means to have eternal life they think of it simply a “get out of hell free”, card and go directly to heaven. Or if you ask them how they know that they are going to be in heaven one day they would say; ‘because I asked Jesus into my heart’. They focus on a prayer, some decision that they made, some baptism, some confirmation, some isle that they walked, some card that they filled out. So for them that’s how they know that they have eternal life and eternal life for them is simply going to heaven.

Do we understand that eternal life is not just going to heaven? Eternal life is not just a length of life, but it is a quality of life, it is a new life which you receive the moment you are joined to the Son of God and the essence of it is that you know God. You have a love for God in your soul and you know of God’s love for you. You know of God’s love for you in Christ and you love God in Christ and now you love your brothers and sisters in the Lord in that realm. It is a realm of fellowship with God and fellowship with the Son. Is this not what John says in 1 John 1:3 (ESV) 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” This is what it means to have eternal life. It means you have fellowship with the Lord. You love Him.

 

John 14:21 (ESV) 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

 

If you love the Son of God you are loved by the Father, and the Son of God manifests Himself to you. That means that there is a real relationship with Him, and He makes Himself known to you through the Word of God and the abiding presence by the Spirit of God, and you are aware of Him and His truth in all the realms of your life.  It is a relationship that is eternal life, a real relationship with God.

Is this not the story of Adam? God creates Adam from the dust of the earth, breathes life into his nostrils and now Adam is aware of God, aware of himself, aware of creation, aware of his purpose and he is aware of God’s gifts to him, like when God brings the woman to him. He is aware of all these things and then he sins.  And just as God promised, the moment he sinned, he died. He did not die physically but he died spiritually.

 

And what do you notice? Now that man has fallen. What changes occur? Well, he is aware of God, but he hides himself. He is aware of himself but now he is aware of guilt and shame. He is aware of creation, but he has misused creation. He has partaken of what was forbidden by God, and if God leaves him in the garden he will partake in creation in the way he should not again and God has to drive him out. Man no longer glorifies God and misses his purpose. When God saves someone, the life that He gives to them restores them, (which is why it is called reconciliation), to a right fellowship with God.

 

Now that we have been saved, there is a right awareness of God and so we worship Him. There is a right awareness of ourselves, sinners saved by grace. And there is a right awareness of creation as we take care of it. There is a right awareness of our purpose on this earth, we are made to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. There is a right awareness of His word and we obey it. Our perspective has been made right again as men. We have been reconciled to the Lord, and that right awareness is given immediately and yet we know it is given progressively and one day it is going to be given perfectly.

 

This is eternal life. It is not just new life. At the centre of this new life is fellowship with God. Our whole thinking has been changed. Our whole orientation has been changed. God is at the centre.

 

Next week we will look at the last 4 and draw some implications. After that we will spend a glorious time together in discovering the Father heart of God in the story which you know as the prodigal son.

 

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: 19 October 2014