Christianity 101 - John 3:16
5/14/2012 1:04:25 PM -
The article below is a summary of the teaching from http://www.awmi.net/tv/2000/week48b
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" ... this is probably the most popular least understood memory verse in the Bible ... let me give you a clue ... it doesn't mean that Jesus died so you would get to go to Heaven and live forever with God. Oh and it also doesn't mean that He died so that your sins would be forgiven ... nor does it mean that He died so that you would get to avoid Hell ...
All of those things are true but that isn't the punch line Jesus gave us. The verse says should not perish BUT have eternal life. So clearly the punch line is in the BUT ... BUT what? BUT have eternal life. Having your sins forgiven and avoiding hell really amount to not perishing. If that was all there was to it then there wouldn't be a need for the 'BUT have eternal life'. Basically all your sins would be forgiven, your body would die and you wouldn't go to Hell. It is important to make this distinction because Christians today have made Christ's death about forgiveness of sins ... but that wasn't the punchline.
It is like you are headed south and need to head north. First you have to stop, reverse then rev your engine in the direction of north. What we have done to the Gospel is to just give people the stop!
So at this point I think you can agree with me that eternal life is the point of Jesus coming to die on earth. The question we should answer is ... what is eternal life? Well, let us hear Jesus own words on the matter:
John 17: 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
You see what I was saying? Eternal life is not going to Heaven ... it is knowing God and Jesus Christ! This knowledge is referring to the intimate knowledge Adam had with God before sin separated them. This knowledge is what sets you free. It is what makes Christianity sweet and fun. You basically become best friends with an almighty God who can hold all the ocean waters in His palm! He speaks to you, you speak to Him, you laugh together, joke together, love each other more than anything in the world ... basically your every moment is filled with God and you don't get tired of it but you just enjoy more and more and more of this living water ... just like you keep drinking and enjoying water for as long as you live.
The Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall everything be established so lets see another example of this explanation of eternal life from John.
1 John: 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ
You see, again the emphasis is not on forgiveness of sins, or hell, or heaven ... but knowing God and Jesus intimately.
I'm going to digress a bit but there is a book called "Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back" :
I said, 'Colton, do you know why Jesus died on the cross?' He nodded, surprising me a bit. 'Okay, why?' 'Well. Jesus told me he died on the cross so we could go see his Dad.'
Jesus also said that 'no one comes to the Father but through me'. If you can believe the above account it means that the Gospel really is about getting to enter into God and Jesus's presence and fellowship with them. If you tell someone that it is about heaven and hell or forgiveness of sins ... or if you thought that then you are missing the whole point!
So the question then now that you know all this is ... are you enjoying this intimacy? What are you waiting for?!! Jesus already purchased it for you!