John 3:36: Mission Impossible:
The last two months 33 miners have been entombed in the San Jose mine 635 metres (2000 feet) below the desert , in Chile, they have been entombed for two months/69 days , for the first 17 days the miners were believed to be dead, but when reached were extraordinary alive. These miners have been brought back from the dead!
Three shafts ABC were being drilled the estimated time scale was months (Into December) but it was shaft B which reached the miners earlier than expected , just two months, this shaft was a 24 inch wide . A rescue capsule (designed by Chilean navy) goes down a narrow shaft, to bring the men back to the surface, one by one these men have been rescued, through the shaft and in this one capsule called the Fenix .
This is a wonderful story of rescue ( brought up to the surface), reconciliation ( families) & redemption 9 being saved by others) of coming out of darkness deep in the earth to coming up onto the surface and into the light and being rescued , redeemed & reconciled with loved ones. One miner said, “My underground bunker was hell” Also one said “I have been near God, & I have been near the devil, they had a fight and God as won!” Another said, “I’ve been with the devil but I grabbed God’s hand & I knew he would bring me up!”
Friends this incident shines alight on the truth of God’s word for us this week; Jhn 3:36: whoever believes in the Son receives eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains upon Him.
All of humanity, we personally have been or are still entombed with our own depravity, close to death, close to hell close to the devil, some of us may still be, deep underground as it were, in darkness, separated from God, without hope, living a life with God’s abiding wrath still upon us, many of whom are oblivious to the seriousness others beginning to awaken to these spiritual truths. Many of us can testify to the amazing truth of being spiritually rescued.
Good News God has a established a rescue plan a mission which humanly is impossible . He sends His Son Jesus back down into this dark world, (God contracted to a span incomprehensible made man) in order to rescue us to redeem & reconcile us back to God. This way has been made through the cross (The only way – the shaft ) The capsule is Jesus himself, ( the only person who can save – atoning sacrifice). He paid the price for our sins & satisfied God Holy requirements God Justice & Love meet upon the cross.
I want us to briefly look at this text of God’s word here & see what we can see about this mission impossible ; Firstly on our part there are two human responses to the Son.
1. Two human responses to the Sons mission John 3:36
A) Belief in the Son ( Personally trusting ) Those miners were in darkness for two months deep in the bowels of the earth, they couldn’t save themselves, they were all personally trusting in others to rescue them and so when the rescue capsule arrived, this for them was a no brainer, were they too stay below the earth or were they to respond one by one by entering into the capsule? Of course one by one they responded by entering into the capsule lifting them up out of the pit onto the earth’s surface. They all responded positively, they believed that the capsule was able to save them, they trusted that the capsule would take them the 700 metres above the surface.
Friends spiritual application here is that capsule is Jesus and each one of us whether we believe it or not outside of Jesus Christ are in the pit, look what John says we will not see life (now & then), & the wrath of God abides upon us, (now & then),. Jesus is there waiting to save us, he doesn’t condemn us as John says we stand condemned already (3:17-18 Our condition is serious but Jesus has come to rectify it!). Jesus rescues us from this predicament we find ourselves in through his atoning death & resurrection.
The positive human response to Jesus Christ is turn form our sin , through repentance & believing in Jesus Christ ( personally trusting Him) to save us. It more than a mere knowledge of Jesus , after all you can have encoclepedia of knowledge about him but it has no bearing upon your life. You can also have a religious belief in him without actually knowing Him a mere accent . To believe here infers the idea of personally trusting oneself in a person. Whoever believes in His Son.
Faith is knowing, Faith is believing & personally trusting in Christ ( who saves).
Imagine this scenario down that San Pedro mine in Chile (2010) where 33 men were trapped. The rescue capsule arrives 695 metres down the mine and so the miners begin to make their way to the rescue capsule.
# But the one of the men doesn’t know about the capsule, so he doesn’t get in, he doesn’t have the knowledge so he isn’t saved.
# A 2nd man he knows about the rescue capsule & he believes it will save his life, but he so depressed that he chooses not to go into the capsule and so dies entombed in the mine. He knows about the rescue capsule & believes it can save him, but he is so depressed he chooses not to take it. He had the knowledge, & belief in the capsule, but is not saved.
# The other 31 miners down that mine also have the knowledge about the rescue capsule and believe the capsule will save them but what makes the difference is that one by one they personally trust in the capsule to save them, as a result are saved. However it’s not their knowledge or belief that saves them it is the capsule itself . Saving faith has knowledge about Christ, it believes in Christ and personal trusts in Christ, but it is Christ who saves Them .
Have you come to personally trust in Christ, you may have all the knowledge about Him, you may even believe but have you personally come and trusted Christ to save you, from the deep recesses of your own depravity.
This is the greatest, the happiest response any human being can make of calling out upon the Lord Jesus Lord have mercy upon me , save me !”
B) Rejection ( stronger than not trusting its disobedience) of the Son
The negative response of rejection, it a very strong word its more than simply not trusting its the rejection is actually disobedience , this person has chosen to remain in utter defiance in disobedience towards God to remain in condemnation . This is a bad choice, it’s a sad choice. It’s a foolish choice. Consider this we all stood at some point in this condition, some of you might still be there, there is no good guys /bad guys here we were all in the same ball park .
• Read: Eph 2:1 – 3 Speaking to here to a group of people who in the past tense were those who had rejected the Son: they were dead in their trespasses & sins – they we are disobedient - gratifying cravings of our sinful nature- followings its desires and thoughts - by nature they were objects of wrath . By choosing to reject the Son - we are choosing our sinful nature – as a result we remain in utter depravity of nature we remain in darkness – we remain under condemnation - because this is what we choose, this is what we gratifies our desires.
• Humanly speaking it’s like you being down that mine & the capsule coming down for you & yet you refuse to come up, it waits and waits and yet in utter disobedience you remain in the pit because you actually have made your home there, you’ve rejected the rescue capsule, the consequences of that rejection are serious. God’s rescue hasn’t failed, its been a success, you are down their not because God condemns you but because you have chosen to reject the Son . You’ve condemned yourself.
• The good news is we were all the same & God chooses to intervene Eph 2:4 because of his great love for us , God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.
2. Two present day experiences to the Son
a) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. ( realised eschatology)
There is some wonderful experiences in the world to enjoy, the life changing experience of the birth of a child, the exhilaration of driving at speed, the euphoria of a rescue, when all seemed lost, the victory of a win in the height of your sport, the satisfaction of a job well done, the breathtaking view before your eyes, the success of your business, the joy of sex within the context of marriage all these can be present day experiences which bring much pleasure, purpose and peace to our lives. But none can compete with the daily experience of possessing eternal life!
This is the present reality of eternal life (right now) not just some future hope & assurance that when we die we shall receive eternal life , it’s from the moment we are born again.
Of course this is true, that believers upon death will be absent from the body & present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8) as Paul taught and as Jesus said to the dying thief “I tell you the truth, today you shall be with me in paradise.”(Luke 23:43) and his disciple with the comfort he left with them in the upper room (John 14:1-1-4) Do not let your hearts be troubled.. I go to prepare a place for you . That’s why a believers funeral is such a Joyous occasion because that experience of eternal life throughout their lives has been finally realised 7 will be consummated @ the resurrection of their bodies for all eternity.
In the present eternal life, is the experience of peace with God, assurance of all sins forgiven , the abiding presence & power of God the Holy Spirit , the present felt assurance of heaven as a present reality . There is no works to be done, no penance to be served, no prayers to be made, no sacrifice to offer, eternal life has already been given. From the moment faith in Christ is obtained, eternal life is received & experienced. As a result our lives begin to change, our outlook upon life and our circumstances are radically overhauled all because eternal life is our present day experience.
On the other side of the coin
b) Whoever rejects the Son will not see life. ( unknown)
Other people will live out their lives not seeing life, although their living it , not knowing not believing , they will be living a life devoid of God who is the one who gives eternal life, they will be living and walking in the physical in the natural man without a thought for God or even in counterfeit religious life , devoid of the Spirit of God, because it’s a device of the evil one to dupe people.
Are you in this category today , you’re not a serial killer, criminal in fact you’re a law a biding citizen, morally upright, but you at this moment in time have rejected Jesus Christ, at this moment in time and in that condition the Bible says you will not see life, the Bible says you are disobedient.
Have you got rose tinted spectacles when it comes to the character of God? That God is so loving & compassionate he will forgive us all in the end, well think again, because this verse buts an end to such an unbalanced thought; Here we see that individuals who reject His Son do not see life ( eternal life) here we see the ‘wrath of God’ a God who is justifiably angry who hates sin, & his righteous anger abides upon sinners, there is a hell. God can be angry and we ought to take note, sinners need to be afraid of Holy righteous God who is justifiable angry with sinners. If we continue in rejection of the Son, we shall not only not see life. In this life but also in the one to come....
ALL IN THE SAME BOAT; I ’m not saying I’m any better than you, no we were are all in the same condition that you find yourself in today, there was a time when I didn’t know life, there was a time when I rejected the Son, there was a time when the wrath of God abided upon me, the only difference is I personally trusted in Christ. I simply came out of condemnation into no condemnation (Jhn 3:17-18). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus ( Rom 8:1).
• IMPERATIVE - GOD DIDN’T SEND HIS SON TO CONDEMN YOU – BUT TO SAVE YOU - WE CONDEMN OURSELVES - AS WE REJECT- WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO BE SAVED- BUT IF WE REJECT HIM ALL OUR DAYS- GOD SIMPLY SERVES NOTICE ON YOUR LIFE CHOICES.
3. Two future events will be encountered firstly the abiding wrath of God or eternal life
But first death will be encountered by all, ( death rate each second) unless the Lord returns ( taken alive) and the reason for death is sin, it’s our wages, it’s what we’ve earnt, for our disobedience. It’s something if we’ve rejected Christ which we are storing up in the present and it will be fully encountered in the future.
Rom 2: 5 -9 Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart , you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgement will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life But for those who are self seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil.
Secondly he tells us here if we persistently reject the truth, the offer of Christ Jesus as our Saviour & Lord, we will not only fail to see life, but God’s wrath remains on him. If throughout our lives we live in a state of unbelief , rejection of the Son we are storing up for ourselves the wrath of God (accumulating) . You will ultimately receive the justifiable fruits of your rejection and will be sentenced to an eternity in hell, where God wrath will be poured out upon you for all eternity. This is what is in store, this is what many individuals in their disobedience choose for themselves they’ve never wanted God in this life , why should they ever want God in the future life, even in this most horrific reality of the sinner sentenced to hell for all eternity out God is glorified , his actions are holy, just and right.
There will be no miscarriages of Justice......
• 15th Nov 2002 Moors murderer Myra Hindley died she served a life sentence from 1966 -2002 she served 36 years in prison and died without release at 60, towards the end of her life there were those who were appealing her sentence, calling for her release as she was a reformed character. All human imprisonments come to end, (life very rarely these days means life) but in Myra’s case life meant life, but even for Myra death severed that sentence, it came to an end.
• But the future event of judgement, of not seeing life, the abiding wrath of God is never ending, it cannot be severed through death, but begin in death and it cannot be appealed, in the life to come and so we must cry out today for salvation, The abiding wrath of God in hell is for all eternity and so I plead with anyone who has yet not trusted in Christ, to turn from your disobedience & believe in the Son & experience eternal life today and encounter the Joys of it in the future.
The 2nd future Event to be encountered is the consummation of eternal life (fulfilled eschatology) Heaven
• Rev: 21:1- 8 Read : The New Jerusalem - the invitation - the warning .
I want to leave with the last words of one of the Chilean miner who was recently rescued he said, “I’ve been with the devil but I grabbed God’s hand & I knew he would bring me up!”
My friends that’s our predicament, we’ve all been with the devil at some point, the only difference is that some of us have grabbed God’s hand through His Son, He will bring You up!