Saturday, January 16, 2010

Eternal Life in the Son (Jn. 3:31-36)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 10 January 2010 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

John 3:31-36

The last part of chapter 3 of John tells us that the words from heaven are different from the words from the earth. The words Jesus spoke to Nicodemus are not what a religious leader wants to hear. But Nicodemus was humble to learn from Jesus. Surely he would have left in shame but Jesus would not speak things that are pleasing to human ears.

“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God givves the Spirit without limit.” (Jn. 3:31,34) This is a unique passage in the Bible. We see a lot of precious gems. He is above all things. He came from above. He see things in eternity and bear witness in the temporal world. This is the highest status and surpasses all manner of description. But suddenly the passage said people would not accept His testimony (Jn. 3:32). Is the problem with Him or His listeners? The passsage tells us how ignorant, arrogant and self-centered we are as sinners. We often respond wrongly to God’s revelation.

Just because we do not accept His testimony does not mean that His testimony is not the truth. His existence is independent of whether you believe Him or not. Whether you accept or reject Him does not affect His testimony. When we do not know Him, that is our own problem. When we know Him, it comes about because of His power to change us. We are changeable, how can we change the Unchangeable One? Only the Unchangeable has the power to change us. Atheists never recognise themselves as finite in the process of change. They never understand God as the Eternal One above all.

The man who accepted His testimony certify that God is truth (Jn. 3:33). This tells us that when Christians believe they are certified with the testimony of God. This is valuable. All other values come from people who do not have the foundation of value in the first place. They think that just because they assume things have value they will automatically have value. They think that just because they believe God did not exist, God would automatically not exist. But in the end they will find that all they hang on to is emptiness.

Those who receive the testimony of Jesus also receives the enlightenment of the Spirit, the affirmation of God, the illumination of the truth. It is sad indeed when a person rejects the testimony of God. They assume their own existence is real and God’s existence is not real. But this is not true. The last part of passage (Jn. 3:35-36) tells us that those who reject Him do not have the Son and the Father. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life for God’s wrath remains on him.

We should think in such a way that as sinners, we are already destined for hell, therefore we need to believe in Jesus so that we can be saved. It is not the other way round that we are threatened to hell because we do not believe. This is likened to the situation where we are sick and we need medicine to be healed. It is not that we are forced to take the medicine of we will be threatened with death. Similarly, the gospel does not threaten us with death. We are perishing because of our sin. The wages of sin is death. And the gospel offers us the way of salvation. It is not so much about giving you a freedom of choice or a threat but just displaying the fact and giving you the solution.

Because of God’s compassion, He sent His Son to die for our sin. He intervened in history, demonstrated His supernatural grace in natural world, and this not a neutral choice for your wrong response will determine your eternal destiny.

The most frightening thing is not to be unaware of how frightening you are. The most dangerous situation is living in danger and not being aware of that. Those who live under God’s grace know that they live under grace. But the self-righteous living under the wrath of God are not aware of it until the terror of the great Judgement comes. Only when the Holy Spirit revives one’s fallen conscience could a sinner repent and turn to God. It is not so much his freedom of choice.

The masterkey is in one Person, the Son of God. He is the key to eternity. When you reject His witness and redemptive power, you are walking towards death. When you accept His witness, His truth and His salvation, you will move from living under the wrath of God to living under the grace of God.

Do we think it does not matter if we are not awakened year after year? We are numb and miscalculate the tolerance of God. Sometimes we think our achievements are our own. And because God is patient and we often consider His tolerance something to be taken advantage of so we do all kinds of evil things. But in fact we can only say that we are not able to take the judgement of God and God is gracious to give us time to repent. Only in this way could our lives be lifted up to greater honor. We are simply saving up the wrath of God if we continue to make light of His tolerance. Who can stand before Him when He judges some day?

The most important human response is that towards Christ. God sent Him from heaven and give Him the Spirit without limit. If we believe in Him we have eternal life, else God’s wrath remains on us. When we understand the qualitative and quantitative difference between what is of heaven and of the earth, we will find the masterkey for chapter 4. Christ is the masterkey. Because we do not understand the value of Jesus Christ, we crucified Him. Yet through this God accomplished His salvation.


At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the resources =)
May God bless the faithful work.. and hope it can bless many people out there. It would be great if this blog is multiplied, perhaps maintaining the content but having another blog in wordpress with similar contents, just to reach more people. Nah, just a thought. =p Hope that you back up the contents too if one day blogspot went down..

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Mejlina Tjoa said...

Hi there, you are welcome and thx for dropping by. =) Just trying to keep up while I still can, and I leave further cyber outreach to be done by the readers themselves. On back-up I am sure many readers also have copied and pasted to make their own back-up. Pretty easy in this electronic age.

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot!


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