The sermon for December 16th 2018 is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon, which is based on John 3:16-22, I talk about “Give More.”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
Jesus is before Pilate on trial for His life.
Pilate summons Jesus and says, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replies asking, “Is this your own idea?”
Pilate then asks, “What is it that you have done?” Jesus answers that His kingdom is not of this world, it is from another place.
Jesus goes on to say that He is in fact a king who has come into the world to testify to truth. Pilate cynically asks, “What is truth?”
Jesus’ kingdom, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, is not of this world. All human kingdoms, no matter how benevolent, carry the taint of sin. Every king who was ever born was a sinner and therefore not perfect.
The values of Jesus’ kingdom are different to the values of human kingdoms.
The kingdom of Jesus does not expand by violent invasion. Rather it is like salt or yeast which seems to be insignificant but actually transforms what it is mixed with.
The kingdom advances by the salvation of individuals. Hearts and minds are changed from the kingdom of this world to allegiance to the king of heaven.
Unlike Islam, which advances by conquest and domination, the kingdom of Jesus advances quietly and by freedom.
As Jesus says, if His kingdom were of this world, His servants would physically fight for Him. This has been tried in the past with disastrous results.
God’s kingdom is the kingdom of agape, sacrificial love. That is our weapon.
Lord Jesus, you laid down your life for me. Help me to lay down my life for the sake of you and your kingdom. Help me to give myself away in loving my neighbours for your sake. Amen.
“Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.”
Jesus is the living bread from heaven and He gives eternal life to all who eat of Him. To have eternal life, we must eat His flesh and drink His blood.
Anyone who eats His flesh and drinks His blood remains in Christ and Christ remains in them.
The language in this passage can be hard for us to decode because it is so foreign to us.
Jesus is saying that He is the bread from heaven which gives eternal life. This is a reference to the manna which came to the children of Israel in the wilderness and fed them for forty years.
This manna was a shadow of the real thing- Jesus who gives us eternal life.
Jesus says we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to receive eternal life.
One application of this is that we must enter into an intimate relationship with Him so that we remain or abide in Him and He abides or remains in us.
This is a process of discipleship that leads to our lives being totally identified with the life of Christ. We must live in daily prayer, that is open sharing with Him with no hiding or pretending. We must meditate on the Word so that the Scriptures change us. Our focus must become God’s will not our own will.
Bread and wine also remind us of Holy Communion. We need to live in a worshipping community of faith. The sacrament is a physical sign of our desire to experience Christ more closely. As a body we can encourage and exhort each other to be more faithful in our walk together.
Lord Jesus, you are the true bread of heaven. Teach me how to feast on you and to let your life fill me in every way. Amen.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me has eternal life.”
People start to grumble because Jesus said that He is the Bread of Heaven. They know His father and mother. How could He have come from heaven?
Jesus responds by saying that nobody can come to the Him unless the Father draws them. Anyone who believes has eternal life. He is the Bread of Heaven, just like the manna their ancestors ate in the desert.
Salvation is a person, not a religion. If we really want to be sure of eternal life, we must attach ourselves to Jesus and follow His way.
There is nothing that we can do to make us right with God. If I decide to live a perfect life from today, that is only what God expects of me, and it does nothing to pay for my previous sins.
Good deeds and religious virtues can never make us right with God. Only Jesus can do that.
Anyone who believes (a better translation would be “trusts”) in Jesus has eternal life.
Jesus has paid the price for my sin. All I have to do is trust in Him.
Many years ago, there was a man in my town who lived on the streets with his dog. Each week he would go to the bank and withdraw $20 for his drink and some food for his dog. He was actually quite a wealthy man and could afford to live in any house and eat the best food. He chose to be homeless.
God has given His promise to every person in the world, the promise of eternal life. Those who refuse to receive the promise make the choice for hell.
The choice is clear. Trust in Jesus for eternal life. Trust anything else for eternal torment.
Thank you Jesus for opening the doors to heaven for me. I receive your promise of salvation and I choose to follow you. Amen.