Summary: Topical sermon on John 3:16’s "Everlasting Life." Uses various texts to describe 1.)Life Forevermore, 2.)Life Starting Right Now, and 3.)Life More Abundant.
Message developed as part of series inspired by Max Lucado’s book 3:16, Numbers of Hope, study guide materials, and his sermon series by the same title.
Scripture: John 3:16; 36; various texts
Title: We Live
Series: 3:16 (part 5)
YOU GOTTA LIVE TO GO TO HEAVEN
The teacher was testing the children in his Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven. He asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?" "NO!" the children answered. "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, the children answered, "NO!" By now the teacher was starting to smile. "Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my wife, would that get me into Heaven?" Again, they all answered, "NO!" The teacher was just bursting with pride for them.
"Well," he continued, "then how can I get into Heaven?" A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD."
It’s true that death and life go together, especially when we are talking about eternal life. But let me explain to you this morning that to enter heaven, death is not a special thing for one to possess. Every one of us is born into a world of death. It’s not death that gets you into heaven…
Actually it’s just the opposite. For one to enter heaven, he or she must have life…the life that only Christ gives. Our key text for this series says, John 3:16, for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. Everlasting life which comes to all who believe on the one and only son is what gets you to heaven. Otherwise you are defaulted to perish like all unbelievers.
WE ALREADY HAVE DEATH
Let me show you in this same third chapter of John. We see John the Baptist speaking here and he says verse 36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.”
Similarly John wrote in 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”
In John 3:16, it’s important to understand that God is NOT putting two alternatives out there for us to pick one, either life or death. The reality is that we are all perishing if we don’t have life.
Man’s natural state is one of spiritual death. He exists, but he is without "life." [from John Ritchie, “Foundations Truths of the Gospel: Eternal Life, see reference below]
-Eph. 2.1 says we are "Dead in trespasses and sins". Chapter four of the same book calls us "Alienated from the life of God".
-1 Timothy speaks of those whose trust is not on God and whose pleasure is of the world as "Dead even while alive".
-In the words of Jesus, John 6:53: Truly, truly, I say to you , unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
-And 1 John 5:12 puts it this way, “He who as the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
What does all this Scripture mean? It means that if “we believe, we live.” Otherwise we continue to not have life. In fact, we can’t even see life without having it. That is what Jesus was trying to explain to Nicodemus in the background story of John 3:16. Nicodemus said, “We have seen your signs and think you’re from God.” And Jesus replied, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
But surely, you may say…”I have life, everyone living has life.” But what you must understand is that “Life—as used in these Scriptures—is more than mere existence.” What you feel around you, what you sit on, what you wear, what you hold in your hand…all of those exist, but they don’t have life.
[The life that God gave for is not mere existence, it’s so much more. I want to share with you the kind of life God wants you to have in three ways. 1.) Life Forevermore, 2.) Life starting right now, 3.) Life Abundantly. The first is that we…]
1.) LIVE FOREVERMORE
A.) When we think of eternal life, we think of heaven.
John 14:2, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.