The following is a sermon transcription that will hopefully help you to find out this
Promise of Eternal Life for us.
The Promise of Eternal Life
(adapted from a sermon by Pr Chin Aun Quek)
A pastor was praying for his congregation, saying: “Father, we thank you for our health, that we may have the liberty to eat, drink, and be merry.” Amongst his congregation were some had ailments that were not healed even though they prayed to God. When they heard his prayer, they were disappointed and thought, “Why is God so unfair? Why am I not given health?” Because of their disappointment, they stood up and left church.
Unaware of their departure as his eyes were closed in prayer, the pastor continued thus: “Oh Father, we thank you for blessing our family, for a loving spouse and filial children.” Amongst those who remained, there were some who faced marital problems and had unfilial children. They, too, had prayed to God but their problems remained. So they were saddened and thought, “God is truly partial. Why does He continue to allow me to go through these difficulties and troubles?” In disappointment, they stood up and left.
Still unaware, the pastor continued to pray: “Oh Father, I thank you for giving us success in our careers, that we may have nice houses to stay in and nice cars, that we may enjoy all the status and power we have gained.” Amongst those who remained, many have failed in their careers; others were poor and led difficult lives. They too thought that God was biased and did not grant them a smooth-sailing life. They left in disappointment.
The pastor ended his prayer and opened his eyes to an empty church hall; every single member had left. He was alarmed and asked of God, “Have I said anything wrong in my prayer? Wasn’t the prayer of things that everybody loves? God, what happened?” And God replied him, “You spoke of promises I did not make. Because they did not receive these promises, they have left in disappointment.” The pastor then questioned, “But God, aren’t you almighty? Don’t you listen to our prayers?” God replied, “Yes I do. But I never promised them these things. As I have said before and as it is recorded clearly in the bible, I promised all of you eternal life.”
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God is willing to promise eternal life to those who believe in Him
The way of eternal life is the way of God because eternal life belongs to God. But God is willing to promise eternal life to those who believe in Him (1 Jn 2:25). Despite the troubles in this world, Jesus tells us that there is no need to be troubled (Jn 14:1-3). However, in the midst of difficulties, it is difficult to feel untroubled. Perhaps we believe that our troubles will go away if our problem goes away. But haven’t we all had the experience of having another problem spring up when one is settled? After Jesus healed the sicknesses of many, did these people not fall sick again? After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, didn’t he ultimately die? As long as we are in the world, we will have to face with all sorts of problems. That is why Jesus tells us not to be troubled, because He has promised us eternal life. He will bring us back to the heavenly home, where there are no problems, no sin, and no death. It is only when we are eternally with God that we can enjoy true peace and joy. Without eternal life, even if we were to earn and gain the entire world, and be the envy of all, what joy is there when the end of all these comes with death? Only eternal life can truly satisfy one’s soul. More importantly, we will be able to face death and the judgment of God without any fear. Wouldn’t you agree then that eternal life is most precious?
There are some who might ask, “Do you mean that in the future, at resurrection, only the Christians will resurrect? What happens to the rest of us who do not believe in Jesus? Won’t we also resurrect? Your bible clearly states whether the dead or the living, those who believe or not, everyone will resurrect. Since everyone resurrects, doesn’t that mean we will all have eternal life?” Resurrection is true for all, whether you believe in Jesus or not; on that day, everyone will resurrect. But not all will resurrect to eternal life, enter the kingdom of God and abide in God forever. Only those whose sins have been washed away by the Lord Jesus do not have to face judgment, be saved, and enter into eternal life. For those of us who do not believe in Jesus and do not feel the need to have Jesus as our savior, judgment from God awaits.
There are many who misunderstand and ask, “Do you mean to say that God is so barbaric that because if we don’t believe in Jesus, we will be cast into hell? If that is the criteria for judgment, then it is ridiculous. What kind of God says that we can only be alive if we are in Him but will kill us if we are not?” In the bible, it is clear that on the Day of Judgment, God judges everyone based on their deeds, not based on the fact that you do not believe in Jesus. However, there is no way we can redeem our sins unless we see that we are sinners, believe and entrust in Jesus. He has died for our sins and can therefore, forgive us of our sins. This grace is given to all but if we choose not to believe, we will then have to rely on our own actions to be saved. Therefore we must believe in Jesus for He has promised us eternal life.
Is there really such a thing as eternal life?
There is a saying that goes: “After you have become a rich man, you want to be an official. After you become an important official, you want to be the emperor. And after you become the emperor, what you seek after is eternal life.” The emperors of old seek after eternal life because they wish to be able to enjoy their luxurious life forever. Don’t we in this present day live better than any of those emperors? Doesn’t it mean that we should seek and thirst after eternal life all the more? Yes, in fact today, people thirst much more for eternal life. You can see science and technology pursuing immortality, companies that name themselves ‘Eternity’, preserving corpses in hope that one day, with the advancement of medicine, these people may be revived. Ancient Egypt also preserved bodies, but in the hope that one day these people may receive eternal life.
It is clear that immortality is something people pursue. If eternal life did not exist, why would people pursue it? Exactly how do we receive eternal life? Since God has promised us eternal life, what should we do to obtain it?
Jesus tells us that to receive eternal life, we must believe in His word (Jn 5:24). He has the power to make this claim because He is God who came into the world in the form of man. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” (Jn 8:56-59)
The phrase ‘I AM’ is what God uses to call Himself. In Exodus 3:14, God told Moses to say to the people of Israel that ‘I AM’ sent him. The Chinese Bible translates this to mean ‘self-existing’. To self-exist means that by His accord, God has always existed and will exist forever. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the unchanging ‘I AM’, the true God who transcends time. It is because He is the self-existing, eternal God that He has the authority to grant eternal life. So to receive eternal life, we must believe in the ‘I AM’, Jesus. He emphasizes in John 6:47-50 that He is the bread of life. This life is not a physical one; it refers to eternal life. “This is the bread which comes down from heaven that one may eat of it and not die.”
Jesus demonstrated His powers in the many miracles and signs He performed. He healed the sick, cast out demons, caused those who were born lame to walk, resurrected Lazarus who had been dead for four days, and calmed the waves and winds. This is why John concludes, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (Jn 20:30-31)
How should we believe?
John 3:5 (New King James Version)
Jesus tells us, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
To be born of water is to receive baptism. In baptism, our sins are washed away so that we can face God without fear and are able to enter eternal life, to enter the kingdom of God.
To be born of the spirit means to be baptised with the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit? Jesus explained it in Acts 1:4-5. He told His disciples to wait and pray for the promised Holy Spirit; they shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 records how the disciples received the Holy Spirit. While praying, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them and they were moved to speak in an unknown tongue. There were some who thought that the disciples were drunk but Peter said, “and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33)
If you want to receive eternal life to enter the kingdom of God, you must receive water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is very important because this is when our sins are washed away. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is very important because it is evidence of our inheritance of heaven. So the Holy Spirit which we receive is also known as the Spirit of adoption; the Holy Spirit is evidence that we are the children of God who can receive His inheritance and enter His Kingdom.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (New King James Version)
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Some of you may think that you have already experienced the spirit of God because you have been healed before and you have been moved by the Holy Spirit. So it is evident that you have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You might also think that you have the abidance of the Holy Spirit, which is why you repented and now believe in Jesus, the reason why you can perform miracles. However, if that were the case, why did Jesus tell Peter and the disciples to pray for the Holy Spirit? They had repented and believed in Jesus. They were also able to cast out demons and heal the sick. But still Jesus said to them, “You have to pray to the Holy Spirit of promise. You have to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit” They obeyed Jesus and prayed for the promised Holy Spirit. When they have received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues, a language that we could not understand. This Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance.
God has promised us eternal life. God has also promised us the evidence that there is redemption of our lives. Have you receive this guarantee of our eternal life? Are you willing to continue to study how to receive the eternal life which God has promised us?