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Tag Archives: eternal life

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 30)

As I think about my unsaved friend Mike, God is reminding me of the many blessings I enjoy — or should enjoy — that he does not yet have. One blessing that occurs to me might sound strange, but I believe is a marker of a serious follower of Jesus. I don’t believe my unsaved friends —

30. THEY DON’T HAVE A PASSION FOR SOULS!

What do we mean by “a passion for souls”? We mean that the follower of Jesus is to be greatly concerned with the spiritual welfare of everyone he or she meets or knows. If the Bible is true that every human being is headed either to hell or to heaven, then the right passion, the crystal clear passion of the Christian, must be the gospel.

I’m certainly not criticizing my lost friends for the passion that they have for their families. I’m grateful when my friend Mike expresses his desire to be a good husband and father. But what ought to be the highest priority in a human being’s life is knowing God and longing for others to know Him.

Jesus says in John 17, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (v. 3). Eternal life is not simply unending existence, but a quality of life in knowing and following the God of the universe.

A passion for souls involves the following elements: (1) A clear recognition that man without Christ is lost (Jn. 8:22-24); (2) A daily discipline of praying for those who are outside of Christ (“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.” I Sam. 12:23); (3) Eyes open to opportunities to share a bit of the gospel on every occasion (“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Tim. 4:2); (4) An awareness of being a stench to some and an aroma to others (“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?” 2 Cor. 2) ; (5) A commitment to doing the homework necessary to answer any questions which are keeping a person from believing the gospel (Acts 17- the Apostle Paul knowing pagan literature so he could speak to the philosophers of his day).

So, how do I pray for my lost friends? I pray for myself that I would not settle for a watered-down, minimal concern for the eternal welfare of others. I want my evangelistic zeal to be white-hot, but wise in its expression. And I pray for my friend that he would see that eternity is a long time to be wrong about Jesus. And that he would trust Him as his savior and get passionate about others’ doing the same. (to be continued)

 

 

 

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Ruminating on ROMANS! (Some Thoughts on Paul’s Great Epistle) #6 The Final Judgment of God (Romans 2:7-11)

Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 2 each day this week. Here is something that I noticed in reading this chapter:

Please notice that the two sets of parentheses are supplied by me. When I work on a passage, I try to see the structure and this paragraph divides nicely into two categories. I’ve also put this in chart form:

This is a fascinating text! If I’m understanding the passage correctly, this is a description of God’s final judgment on all people, Jew and Gentile. And there will be — and are presently — two and only two categories of human beings: (1) those who persist in doing good, and (2) those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil.

What are some observations you would add to this brief look at Romans 2:7-11? Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2020 in Romans 2

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (real life)

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What is REAL LIFE? For anyone who takes the Bible seriously, REAL LIFE certainly includes the types of issues Calvin and Hobbes are discussing: adventure, something that makes your adrenalin pump, enjoying hot cocoa by a warm fire, etc.

But the Bible says REAL LIFE is knowing the Creator, being in a redemptive relationship with Him, not settling for anything less than enjoying one’s place in His family! Jesus put it this way: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). If eternal life is anything, it is REAL LIFE!

Got REAL LIFE?

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in real life

 

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Lack (Part 3)

FirefoxScreenSnapz098We’ve been looking at Mark 10 for several days.  There we read:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
So far we have noticed —

I.  A Young Man’s Urgent Question (v. 17)
Running up to Jesus, falling before Him to ask this question, this man’s sincerity is unquestionable.  He wants, he needs an answer to his question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  We then discussed —

II. Jesus’ Surprising Answer (v. 18)
KeynoteScreenSnapz010Jesus does not answer this man’s question directly, but first challenges his greeting.  To the man’s salutation, “Good teacher,” Jesus responds, ““Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”  We suggested that Jesus is indicating His own deity by this statement.  Let’s now examine —

III.  Jesus’ Shocking Challenge (vv. 19-20)
To this young ruler’s question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, Jesus not only challenges his view of goodness, but He then selectively lists some of the Ten Commandments.  Jesus says, “You know the commandments:  ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

The Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, are first given to Moses in Exodus 20.  There we read:
And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Jesus chooses five of the tenFirefoxScreenSnapz107 commandments for this young man.  He selects commandments #6-9 and then  commandment #5.  These commandments relate to how we treat our fellowman.  Anyone wanting to be “good” had better not murder, commit adultery against, steal from, or give false witness about another human being.  That person wanting to be “good” must honor his father and his mother.

Why did the Lord Jesus choose these commandments?  The first four pertain to one’s relationship to God: 1.  Have no other gods before me.  2.  Don’t make any graven images of Me.   3.  Don’t take My name in vain.  4.  Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.

It appears that Jesus chooses these five commandments because they are readily testable.   What is fascinating is that Jesus does not list the tenth commandment which is “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

This young ruler’s response to Jesus’ selective list of some of the Ten Commandments is:  “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” (verse 20).  If we give this man the benefit of the doubt, we could conclude that no, he had never murdered anyone.  He had never committed adultery with anyone.  He had led an honorable life, not taking what was not his.  He had been honest in his dealings with others, neither giving false witness nor defrauding others.  And he perhaps had an exemplary track record of honoring his parents.

It is fascinating that Jesus does not correct him when he says, “All these I have kept since I was a boy.”  Based on Jesus’ expansion of the Law, Jesus could have said to him, “If you have ever hated someone in your heart, you are guilty of murder.  If you have ever lusted after a woman, you are guilty of adultery.  If you have even once taken the credit due to someone else, you have acted as a thief.  And your parents — if we were to interview them — would they say that you have honored them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, since you were a child?  I don’t think so!”

Jesus does not challenge this man’s claim.  But what Jesus does do is amazing, and that we will look at in our next installment.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Ten Commandments

 

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Lack (Part 2)

FirefoxScreenSnapz098I’ve been studying Mark 10 recently which says:
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
There is so much in this passage of Scripture.  We noticed in our first post:

I.  A Young Man’s Urgent Question (v. 17)
We have seen that this young ruler rushes up to Rabbi Jesus, kneeling before Him, to ask one question:  “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  He assumed Jesus knew the answer to his age-old question.  Part of his question was “What good thing can I do to get eternal life?”  The central issue seems to goodness — how much must one have to get eternal life?  How Jesus responds to this question is our next concern.

II.  Jesus’ Surprising Answer
How Jesus responds to compliments is a fascinating study in the gospels.  In John 3, the Pharisee Nicodemus addresses Jesus with the following words, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.  For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” (v. 2).  That was a very nice thing for this religious leader to say to Jesus.  How does He respond?  He says, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (v. 3).

On several occasions Jesus’ opponents addressed Him in glowing terms, and He is not deceived by their flattery.  For example, in Matthew 22 we read, 15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”  To their compliment, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth,” Jesus replies, “knowing their evil intent, [He] said, ‘You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’”

It does not appear that this young ruler in our text is trying to flatter Jesus or deceive Him when he greets Jesus with the words, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  So this is a little bit of a different situation than the religious leaders of Israel trying to trap Him.

So how are we to understand Jesus’ apparent harsh response: 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”?  Perhaps goodness is the issue.  This man wants to do good, he wants to know what good he needs to do, and so he comes to the good teacher for advice.
But what if the answer to this man’s question is, “Nothing!  There is no good that you can do to guarantee that you will inherit or earn or achieve eternal life for yourself.”  And what if Jesus needs to drive that point home in an unmistakable fashion?

We must, however, deal with Jesus’ challenge to this man’s question.  Jesus responds to this man’s salutation (“Good teacher”) with the words, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good — except God alone.”  Is Jesus denying His own goodness here?  No, of course not.  On another occasion He said, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” (Jn. 8:46).  Rather than denying His own goodness, Jesus seems to be saying, “If you call me good, because only God is good, you must call me ‘God’!”

We know from the rest of the Scriptures that Jesus is clearly KeynoteScreenSnapz009the Second Person of the Trinity, God-become-man, to pay our sin-debt on the cross.  So Jesus is not denying His own goodness.  Rather, he seems to be correcting this young ruler’s preoccupation with goodness.

How is goodness to be judged?  We will see in our next post that Jesus does something quire remarkable in helping this man evaluate his own goodness. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2013 in lack

 

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Lack (Part 1)

I’ve been studying Mark 10 recently which says:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up FirefoxScreenSnapz098to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

There is so much in this passage of Scripture.  Let’s notice what happens here.

I.  A Young Man’s Urgent Question (v. 17)

If you had the opportunity to literally and personally ask Jesus a question, what would that question be?  Some might ask Him, “Why am I going through this trial?  Why me?  Why now?”  Others might ask, “How can I achieve maximum happiness in this life right now?”   Others might not ask a question at all, but point an accusing finger at Jesus and declare, “”How can you possibly allow such evil in Your world?”

This young man’s question (we are told that he is a young ruler in the parallel accounts, Mt. 19 and Lk. 18) was urgent!  He “ran up to [Jesus] and fell on his knees before him . . .”  He obviously thought his question extremely important.  He cast aside all customs of dignity for Eastern royalty to ask his question of Jesus.  Eastern rulers did not normally run — for anything.  His falling on his knees indicated respect and honor as he prostrated himself before Rabbi Jesus.

The very way we sometimes word questions says much about our assumptions — and ourselves.  This man’s question was:  “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He obviously thought Jesus could teach him what he needed to know, and that His answer would be good.  His question was about the next life — and how he could prepare himself for it.

But what a great question!  The parallel account in Matthew 19 has him asking, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (v. 16).  This man was really into goodness, wasn’t he?

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There is, of course, a difference between asking how might I inherit eternal life and what good thing must I do to get eternal life.  I believe that there are ultimately no real contradictions between the gospels, so it may be that Mark picks up on the inheriting part of his question while Matthew focuses on the doing part of his query.

Before we read further in our passage, how might you or I respondKeynoteScreenSnapz008 to both parts of that question, if we were Jesus?  To the inheriting part, we might say, “Well, someone has to die for you to inherit anything — and that’s why I came — to die for sinners.”  That answer, of course, would be true, but it isn’t how Jesus responds.  To the doing part of his question, we might say, “There is nothing that you can do to get eternal life!  You can’t earn it.  You can’t buy it!  It is given as a gift!”  And that would be a true, biblical answer as well.

How Jesus really answers this man’s question will be discussed in our next installment.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in saved

 

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The Rich Young Ruler and Life’s Most Important Question!

A sermon I recently preached at our church in Columbia, SC.  Comments welcome!

Luke 18 (The Rich Young Ruler0

 

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