Eternal life is what God has promised us. But do you know what "eternal" life is and what it represents? What did Christ say about this promise, how does His life demonstrate what He said, and how should that affect the way we live today?
[Rick Shabi]: Last week in Orlando, the sermonette man mentioned that it is 87 days, 87 days until Passover. So, I didn’t check the calendar, but I’m going to trust him. And so, I’m going to say today is 80 days, 80 days until Passover, which doesn’t seem that long when you really think about how quickly months, and weeks, and days go by. So, in 80 days, we will be together and we will be observing the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. And as we look toward the Passover, we know that’s a time for those of us who have been baptized to recommit to God.
And as we look forward to that time, I want to talk a little bit today and focus us on our calling. And I often say, when we look at Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, there’s a word in there that God uses over and over again. And I want to start with that word today. So, let’s turn back to Revelation 3, because God uses the word that I’m going to reference here, not Revelation 3, Revelation 2, many times as He reminds Israel, and He reminds us as we go through the ceremonies and the rituals that we go through during that time. But He uses it here in New Testament time as well when He’s talking to the very first Church that Christ writes to of the seven Churches in Revelation. So, in Revelation 2, He writes to the Church at Ephesus. And that Church did things the way that God said, but He did find something with them and He wanted them to, as it says in verse 5, remember something. But let’s pick it up in verse 4.
Revelation 2:4-5 He says, “Nevertheless...” The Church at Ephesus and, of course, these messages to the churches are for all of us, not just the churches that these are written to here and as Christ wrote them, but there are messages for us as well as them. “Nevertheless, I have this against you. You have lost or you have left your first love. Remember,” remember, and that’s the word we’ll talk about for a while. “Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen,” and here’s another one of the R words, repent, “Repent and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from his place unless you repent.”
Well, we all can take the time to remember what our calling is, to remember what God has called us to, to remember the first love that we had when we first knew of the truth and when we came to understand what the truth of the Bible was, what God wanted us to and what promises He has and how different the truth of God is than what we had been taught in prior places. And maybe over the time, because we’ve all lived in pretty good times in the last several years, however long we’ve been in the Church.
Now, Mr. Jeff had mentioned in his sermonette that if you’re untested, if you’re untested, you become weak, right? Or you could be weak. You don’t know how strong your faith is. And in difficult times, it may strengthen your faith. And we’ve all been largely untested. We know that we live in a time where things are being ratcheted up a little bit. The heat is going to be turned up. And as we look at the world around us, we know there is time of testing coming in ways that we haven’t been tested before. So, maybe over the course of our lives and the times that we’ve been in the Church, maybe we’ve not as strong as we were when we were first called. Maybe we’re not as determined, maybe we’re not as careful, and earnest, and diligent with God’s law and God’s way of life that we were when we were first called.
So, Christ says and admonishes the Church at Ephesus and us, “Remember” and, of course, remember the Christ’s first words and three of the gospels that are written, repent, repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. And, of course, repentance is something we did before we were baptized, but it’s something that goes throughout our lives, something that continues, continues throughout our life as God opens our minds to where we fall short and where we have things to overcome.
Well, let’s go back a few books to 1 Peter, 1 Peter 1 and be reminded of the calling of what God has called us to and how He sees us today.
1 Peter 1:3-4 It says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope, a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, for us.”
There’s a lot that Peter says in those verses, what God has called us to hope, life, resurrection, incorruptible, undefiled, doesn’t fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Boy, that’s a mouthful. When you look at the words and tear them apart and think about what God has called us to, there’s a lot there that maybe we need to take some time once in a while to think about what God has called us to and appreciate everything that he has given us because if we don’t think about it, it can fade into everyday life and just be taken for granted, if you will. We won’t turn 2 Peter, but he also tells us and cautions us, “Be sure to make your calling in election sure, be sure to do that.”
Well, let’s go back another couple books, this time to Hebrews 12. Hebrews 12, and we’ll look at verse 18 and then drop down to verse 22. Hebrews 12, again, speaking to us, words written for us in verse 18.
Hebrews 12:18 “You,” that’s you and me, we haven’t come to the mountain like Israel did in that time when they came out of Egypt. “You haven’t come to the mountain that maybe touched and that burned with fire and to blackness and darkness and tempest,” drop down to verse 22.
Hebrews 12:22-24 “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem to an innumerable company of angels to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn,” the Church of the firstborn, the body of the firstfruits, we could say, “who are registered in heaven to God the judge of all to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.”
That’s a lot to be called to, registered in heaven, to the Church of the firstborn who God is working with. It is an incredible calling. It is an incredible calling. Well, let’s go forward a few books now, this time to 1 John. In 1 John 2 in verse 24, keeping with the theme of remembering and what we started with and what we knew when we were false first called.
1 John 2:24-25 John says, “Therefore,” John under inspiration of God says, “therefore, let that abide in you, which you heard from the beginning.” Think back to what you heard in the beginning, think back to what you thought in the beginning, think back to how you felt in the beginning. “Let that abide in you, which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, that means dwells in you is part of you and you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” In verse 25, “And this is the promise that He has promised us, eternal life, eternal life.”
Eternal life is quite a concept of the promises that God has given us. We all have that hope, we have that hope through the resurrection of God. But what exactly is eternal life? What does the Bible say about it? In fact, what does just Christ talk about in life as about life in general? We’re going to spend some time in the gospel of John because John, the apostle, spends more time talking about life and eternal life in his epistles in the gospel than in the other parts of the Bible. So, let’s take a few minutes, and we may get a little technical here today, but I hope as we get a little technical in things, it’ll help you appreciate the calling that God has given us. So, let’s go back to the gospel of John and look at a few verses here. Now, we’ll begin in John 1. I wanted to stay in John, but I wanted to carry a couple of things, but let’s begin here in John 1. John 1 in verse 4 talks about the coming of Christ.
John 1:4 It says, “In him was life and the life was the light of men.”
In him was life and the life was the light of men. Let’s go forward to John 3 and I read a very familiar set of verses or at least one of the verses in John 3 are very familiar to everyone. But let’s look at more than John 3:16. Let’s begin with John 3:10, and read all the way up to verse 21 and get the context of what Christ is saying when He talks with Nicodemus. And He talks about this concept of being born again and introduces something to Nicodemus that He just can’t quite understand. In verse 10 of John 3, Christ answers Nicodemus, who is struggling with this concept that Jesus is telling him about being born again, about having a new life, if you will.
John 3:10-13 Christ says, “Are you the teacher of Israel and you don’t know these things. Most assuredly I say to you, we speak what we know and testify what we have seen and you don’t receive our witness.” Well, He’s talking about what He is talking about there and, of course, He’s got the word we there, God, the Father, and him. He says, “If I’ve told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things, how are you going to grasp that? No one,” verse 13, “has ascended to heaven, but He who came down from heaven, that is the Son of Man who is in heaven.”
And I would challenge people that go to another church when they hear that verse to ask their minister, “What does that mean that no one’s gone to heaven?” David isn’t in heaven, talks about that in Acts 2. There’s a truth in the Bible there that much to the world’s Christianity doesn’t understand at all.
John 3:14-21 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” He was talking about the fact that He would be crucified. “He must be lifted up that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God,” verse 16, “so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God didn’t send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but He sent them to the world that He might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he hasn’t believed in the name of the only begotten son of God. And this is the condemnation that light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and doesn’t come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who” and underline it, “he who does the truth comes to the light that his deeds may be clearly seen that they have been done in God.”
Christ didn’t come to condemn the world. He said, “He came to save the world.” He brought the light. Before Him, there wasn’t light. Before Him, there wasn’t life. In Him was life,” it says. That may confuse you but we’ll come back, we’ll come to that in a little bit. But he who does the truth comes to the light. That’s more than just knowing the truth. That’s more than just coming to Sabbath services because it’s the seventh day of the week. He who does the truth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He who does the truth comes to the light. Let’s go on to John 6, verses we always read at the time of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. And Christ talks about life again in there. Notice how many times we’re reading the word life here in these verses.
John 6:39-40 He says, “This is the will of the Father, who sent Me.” So, we see what God’s will is. “This is the will of the Father who sent Me that all He has given Me,” now that would be all who God calls, as it says in verse 44. “All that He has given Me,” Christ says. All those that would be everyone in this room, everyone in listening, everyone listening who God has called to open your mind to his truth, “This is His will, that of all He has given Me, I should lose nothing. What should raise them up or raise it up at the last day?” God wants to give them eternal life. “And this is the will of Him,” verse 40, “who sent Me that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life. And I will raise him up at the last day.”
Drop down to verse 48.
John 6:48 Christ said, “I am, I am the bread of life.”
And if we drop down even more in verse 51.
John 6:51-53 He says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Verse 53, “Most assuredly I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”
John 6:58 “This is the bread which came down from heaven, not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
Let’s move to John 8. Here in John 8, we have the occasion of the woman who is caught in adultery. And you remember the story, as the people, her accusers were there and they were ready to stone her and put her to death and condemn her. And then Christ comes and he begins writing something in the sand, and one by one the accusers leave and no one’s left. When we come to verse 12 of the story, and Christ says to her...or verse 11.
John 8:10-11 “And He asks her, ‘Where are the accusers of yours?’” In verse 10, “Hasn’t anyone condemned you? And she said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And He said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
What was He saying? Repent. Repentance is turning to God. And when you repent, you don’t sin anymore. And He was fulfilling what He said there about He didn’t come to condemn the world, He came to save the world. He didn’t condemn her, but He showed her the light, He showed her the way of life and he said, “Don’t do that anymore. Go repent and sin no more.” He came to bring light and life to the world. He could have followed what they said and said, “Yeah, condemn her. She sinned, put her to death.” He didn’t do that. He followed through what He had said that He would do.
John 8:12 Then He says, “I’m the light of the world. He who follows Me, shall not walk in darkness.”
Well, that’s you and me, right? He who follows Me, he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life. The light of life. John 10, John 10, Christ talks about the stranger that comes in, that he is the shepherd. The flock knows his voice. He says that in verse 27 of John 10.
John 10:27 “My sheep, My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me,” He says. “And I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. I give them eternal life, My sheep.”
And if we go back up to verse 10, He says, the thief, he’s speaking of Satan here,
John 10:10 “The thief doesn’t come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”
And we know that’s what Satan does. He goes about as a roaring lion to see if he, whatever he can do, whatever he can use to take us away from the truth of God. That’s what his will is. Destroy them, steal them from God, steal the life that Christ has come to give them away from them. That’s the darkness, that’s the society, that’s the world we live in that doesn’t know God. The thief doesn’t come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. Christ says “I have come that they may have life, that they may have life and they may have it more abundantly.”
You know, I don’t know what it was like to live back in Christ’s time when people spoke the Greek language or read the Greek language. But we know that the Koine Greek was much more exact and detailed than the language that we speak today. And we remember about the four types, the four words for love that are in the Greek, that are all translated into one English word love between philia, and eros, and then agape. They’re all translated into one-word love, and that’s confused what people think Jesus Christ was talking about when He talks about greater agape, does any man have than this to lay down his life for his friends? And if we find that when Christ, every single time we’ve read the word life, so far today, every single time it’s a different Greek word than another life that Jesus Christ is going to talk about in John 10 verse 11.
John 10:11 “‘I am the good shepherd,’ He says. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
Now, we know the Christ gave His life for us. What He said in verse 11 in His, the language written in John is different than the word that He would’ve used in John 10:10. And every other verse we’ve read so far today and much of the other verses that I haven’t read in John in the New Testament. Let me tell you what those words are. Every word that we’ve read before John 10:11 and every word in time, you see the word life in the gospel of John before John 10:11, it’s the Greek word “Zoe,” spelled Z-O-E. It’s number 2222 in the Greek. Now, you know, it might be that the name “Zoe” comes from this Greek word. I don’t know. But let me read to you what “Zoe” from the Greek means. This comes from Strong’s and then I’m going to read Vine’s Commentary on this word 2222 that we’ve been reading so far today. It says, “This is the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God. It’s life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous devoted to God, blessed in the portion, even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by a more perfect body to last forever.”
So, when John was talking or John was writing and Christ was talking, the Greeks might or the people then may not have known exactly what that word meant. It had a meaning that was different than everyday word life, much like they knew the word agape and there was something about agape that they didn’t fully understand, that we understand when we have God’s spirit what exactly agape is. But as they’ve studied the word and how it’s used in there and gone back to the Greek and seen what it was, this is, that’s what it means. But let me read from Vine’s expository dictionary because they give a pretty good definition of that word life. And if you go back and look at that in place that we’ve read it, you’ll see this meaning in it.
Vine says, “This is life in the absolute sense. Life as God has it, that which the father has in Himself and which He gave to the Son to have in Himself and wish the Son manifested in the world, from this life as God has it, man is alienated in consequence of the fall” because of sin is what he’s meaning there. “And of this life, men can become partakers through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who becomes its author to all such as trust in Him, and who is therefore said to be the life of the believer for the life that He gives, He maintains because of His,” that’s our relationship with Christ. And I’ll add because of the Holy Spirit that’s in us, that He doesn’t have written there, “One day, that life will extend its domain to the sphere of the body is assured by the resurrection of Christ. And notice this, this life is not merely a principle of power and mobility, however, for it has moral associations, which are inseparable from it as of holiness and righteousness.” That life has a responsibility to God. That life, when we read it and all the places we’ve read it before John 10:11, has a responsibility to God. That’s the life we’re looking at. And that’s the light and the life that Christ brought to the world. It has a responsibility and a moral responsibility to God, as he says, as of holiness and righteousness.
Contrast that to the other life that we read in John 10:11. It’s Greek Strong’s Greek number 5590. It’s “Psyche,” it’s P-S-Y-C-H-E. Sounds like psyche in the English language, and it’s a very basic life. Here’s what psyche or psyche is defined as, it is the breath of life, the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing. It’s of animals and men that in which there is life. It’s like animals, it’s the nephesh, the mortal body that disappears or dies at the time breath leaves it. That’s the life that Christ was willing to give up, that mortal life, this breathing that you and I do, this physical life that we have now. He came and He was living a physical life in the flesh, but what He was thinking of and what He talked about was the life that He brought to the world, the light that is the life that is Him.
Two different words, He was talking about. One, He was willing to give up. In fact, He would tell us, in first John 3:16, in fact I think it’s over here in John 15, let’s turn over there, John 15 as well, that He tells us, you know, in John 15:13 here.
John 15:13 He says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends.”
Well, he’s talking about the 5590 life. Would you be willing to give up the 5590 life? And for here on out, I’m going to be calling it the 5590 life. That’s life. That’s the breath, that’s the physical life, that’s the, it is appointed to all men once to die life. And the 2222 life, that is the life that Christ brought to earth that made possible for us to have. If we follow Him and if we follow the way of life, that is the life and that is the life of God. So, when he talks about that, He’s talking about I will lay down my 5590 life that you may have 2222 life. And He would tell us and ask us, “If you have the same agape that I have, would you be willing to lay down your 5590 life for your friends, not your 2222 life, but your 5590 life.” Well, let’s look at John 12. Go back to John 12 for a moment because in John 12:25, both these words, life 5590 and 2222 show up in the very same verse. Christ is speaking here.
John 12:25 He says this, “He who loves his 5590 life,” that’s this breath and flesh that we live in now. And when He says loves it, He means, well, I’ll just read it. “He who loves his 5590 life, will lose it.” If that’s what’s most important to you, that you chose and you choose the things of this world, you choose this life. “He who loves his 5590 life, will lose it. And he who hates his 5590 life in this world,” that means he counts it less important. He’s willing to sacrifice, deny himself, as Christ said. These verses I hope are beginning to flow into your mind. He who would deny himself for the 2222 life, because he has a vision of what God is, is working with him there. “He who loves his 5590 life, will lose it. And he who hates his 5590 life in this world, will keep it for eternal 2222 life.”
Now, there’s a responsibility. There’s things that we need to do. There’s these lives that Jesus Christ talks about in two different words. You keep your finger there in John and let’s go to the book of Romans for a moment because as Paul wrote, he understood these lives that you and I live. Romans 8, the Holy Spirit Chapter, we may call that.
Romans 8:6 It says, “For to be carnally,” and that can be fleshly, right? That’s the word fleshly there. This flesh and blood that we are, that Jesus Christ was born as flesh and blood that He was willing to give up that we might have 2222 life. “For to be fleshly minded is death.”
See that, “For to be fleshly minded is death.” If this is what’s most important to us, this life and we clinging to it and clinging to everything, is it not willing to give up it. For to be fleshly minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is 2222 life and peace, to be spiritually minded.
Romans 8:10 “If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin. But the spirit is life 2222 because of righteousness.”
Because of how we’re living, because of that we are keeping the commitment we had be made to God when we were baptized. I will follow you wherever you go, I will adopt your way of life, I will live by every word in the Bible, earnestly, carefully, diligently, I will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I will give up my past life, a way of doing things, the way the world does things and I will follow what you say and live that life. But the spirit is 2222 life because of righteousness. In 1 Corinthians 15, as he writes about the resurrection, he talks about two bodies that we have, the natural body and the spirit body. And we’ll pick it up in verse 44 of verse Corinthians 15. Now, let’s pick it up in verse 42, as I look at this.
1 Corinthians 15:42-49 “So, also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption,” that’s the fleshly body. It can corrupt, it dies, it decays. “The body is sown in corruption, but it’s raised in incorruption,” not going to die, not going to decay. “It’s sown in dishonor,” because in this flesh and this life, we sin, we fall short of what God wants us to do. We repent. He doesn’t condemn us. We repent, but we must turn back to him and live the life he gives us to live. “It’s sown and dishonor, it’s raised in glory. It’s sown in weakness, it’s raised in power. It’s sown unnatural body,” the one that you and I have today. It is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. “And so it’s written the, first man, Adam became a living being. The last Adam, that’s Christ, became a life-giving spirit.” That’s where life is in Christ.
“However, the spiritual is not first but the natural, the life that we live now, the spiritual is not first but the natural. And afterward the spiritual, the first man was of the earth made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust,” verse 48, “so, also are those who are made of dust and as the heavenly one. So also are those who are heavenly. And as we have born the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man.”
And that’s what we’ve been called to, isn’t it? To become like Christ. Romans 8:29 says, “To be conformed to His image, to become like Him.” He was the express image, Hebrews tells us of his father in heaven. As we live our lives in cognizance of the life that God has called us to the calling that he has given us, that we need to be growing ever toward that image of Christ, the way we think, the way we act, the way we react, the way we live our lives, the way we come out of the world. Because the darkness of the world no longer appeals to us. It appeals to us less and less, but the light appeals to us more and more as we grow in God’s spirit.
So, when Paul talks about coming out of the world, don’t be conformed to this world. That should shed some light on us. What God has called us to and what our lives today are about and what He wants us to do with them. Let’s go back to John’s epistle here, in 1 John. In light of all that. And if we have that hope and if we have that cognizance of what God has called us to, and if we are looking to that 2222 life and see that Christ brought it to us and that we are registered in heaven, that He sees us as His children today. And that through His Spirit, He has put that life in us, not born yet to be what the return of Jesus Christ. If we come to full spiritual maturity to become like Him, He sees what it is that we are doing and how we’ve lived our lives and how we are completely committed to Him then born into that spirit body, into the 2222 life. But here in first John 3, John will talk about what we do if we understand that and if it is important to us, if we really grasp what it is that God has given us to do.
1 John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God. Therefore, the world doesn’t know us.”
They don’t get it. They don’t understand why we think the way we do. They don’t understand why we’re not buying into all the stuff that the world is throwing at us today. All the different morality, all the different ways of thinking of life, all the garbage that goes on in the world. They don’t know us because they didn’t know Him.
1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God and it hasn’t yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He is revealed, we will be or we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”
If we have that hope in us, if that drives us, if that motivates us, if that’s there as part of our lives and everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself, that means grows closer and closer to the light, less and less like the world, less and less like the same reactions they have, less and less paying attention to what they do. More and more adopting the life of God, more and more realizing we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth the way that we live because they’re not like us. Looking for a homeland where way of life that we live now will be the way of life for everyone that is there, that is the Kingdom of God. When Jesus Christ returns to earth. The life He’s called us to now, the life we need to be living and growing in is the same life that will be lived in the Kingdom of God.
1 John 3:3 “Everyone who has this hope in Him, purifies himself.”
More and more, unlike the world, giving up our own ideas, living by the word of God, understanding the word of God, doing what God said to do. All those things that we’ve heard about, if we want and if we will follow God’s will for us to have the 2222 life. I know we all want it. I know that’s why we’re all here. Not just for eternal life, but because we know the truth of God. And as we’ve lived that life, we see the benefits of it. We have the joy, we have the peace, we have the happiness. As the world falls apart around us, even more and more, as the time goes on, we’ll have peace and settle because we know the truth of God and we have faith in Him, and we know that he’ll see us through anything. But what about eternal life? What is it? If someone asked you to define eternal life, what would you say it is? You would say probably it’s everlasting life. We’ve read that a few times already, that it’s life, endless life.
Let’s go back to John 17 because in Christ’s own words and those words, and there’s many words that he said to His disciples on that Passover evening, most of which they didn’t understand that night, but they did come to understand it in the course of their lives as they grew in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and as the Holy Spirit was in them that led them to truth, led them to understanding. But in John 17, after Christ speaks many, many words to His disciples, which you and I have rehearsed, and there’s still much more in those verses that we have to understand or to focus on so that we can see in our lives. In John 17, Christ looks up to heaven and he prays to God, just like you and I pray to God for things, and God can see what’s in our hearts when we pray.
John 17:1-2 It says, “Jesus spoke these words.” He talked about the Holy Spirit, He talked about, you know, in the world you’ll have peace, be of good cheer, I’ve overcome the world. The next verse, “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh.” God’s given authority to Jesus Christ over all flesh. “That He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.”
And that’s 2222 life, eternal life that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. Remember His will was that all that God gives him, that’s you and me, and everyone listening to this, and everyone who is in the Church of God around the world, that God has given to Christ. His will was that to give them eternal life. That’s His will, that would be His gift but we have our part in that as well. And then in verse 3, He defines eternal life and this is eternal life. And He doesn’t say that they may live forever. That’s part of it certainly.
John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”
This is eternal life, that they may know you and that they may know Jesus Christ. Well, that’s an interesting thing. Maybe we haven’t thought of that before. Maybe that surprises you, that Jesus Christ didn’t say eternal life is just endless life, but this is eternal life. Now, remember in the chapters or in the words that He said before His prayer, He said, My joy, well, actually He says it later on in the prayer that My joy may be in them, that their joy may be full, that they may be one as You and I are Father. And He talks about those things, but He says, “This is eternal life that they may know You.”
I want to pause and look at the word eternal for a moment. You have may have noticed, as we read through some of those verses early on, that sometimes it said “eternal life” and sometimes it said “everlasting life”, wherever you saw “eternal” and “everlasting” life in those verses in John that we read, it’s the very same Greek word, but the translators would replace the word “eternal” with “everlasting’. And I think because they thought, well, eternal life is everlasting life, but they knew there was something more about the word that’s translated “eternal” than just everlasting life. Let me read to you from a couple of sources, Greek sources, that talk about this word “eternal”. First one here is from Greek, Zodhiates’ “Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament.” Zodhiates was a Greek scholar, well versed in the language there, did this back in the early 1900s. And he gives a pretty precise or good word of how eternal is used in the Bible, rather than in classical Greek.
He says that eternal life is the life which is God’s, the life of God. And he says, “Eternal life is to be understood as referring, not only to duration but more so to quality, that is it’s not merely life that is eternal in duration. And it is that, it’s not merely that life is eternal in duration, by primarily something different from the natural life of man.” Isn’t that interesting? He didn’t know what it is but he went on to say that eternal life is living the life of God. And that makes sense, doesn’t it?
Here’s what the Daily Bible study commentary written by William Barkley says as he analyzed or researched this word, eternal, which is significant, he says, “There is another important thought in this passage,” referring to John 17:3. “For it contains the great New Testament definition of eternal life. It is eternal life to know God and to know Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Let’s remind ourselves of what eternal means. In Greek, it is “aionis”, A-I-O-N-I-S. This word has to do not so much with duration of life. For the life which went on forever would not necessarily be a boon. Its main meaning is quality of life. There is only one person to whom the “aionis” can properly be applied, and that is God. Eternal life is therefore nothing more than the life of God, which is eternal. To possess it, to enter into it is to experience here and now something of the splendor, and the majesty, and the joy, and the peace, and the holiness, which are characteristic of the life of God.” Isn’t that interesting? Let me read that again. “To possess it, to enter into it is to experience here and now something of the splendor and the majesty, and the joy, and the peace, and the holiness, which are characteristic of the life of God.”
It is, as John said, or as Christ John wrote what Christ said it is to know God. And that word know is an interesting word as well. You know when we are using the English language, well, I know someone, right? Well, “Yes, I might have heard of them. I might have met them somewhere in the distant past. Yes, I know that person.” But there’s other people I really know. And oftentimes when people say, “Do you know so and so?” I’ll say something like, “I know of them. I know who they are, but I don’t know them.” There are people we “know” know, but there are people we just know of. Eternal life is to know God, and that word no comes from the Greek “Ginosko.” It’s number 1097, and it means an intimate knowledge of God, an intimate relationship with God. It’s akin to the word know in the Old Testament when it talks about the intimacy between husband and wife.
Remember, back in Genesis when it says Adam knew Eve and she bore a son, Seth? That’s the most intimate experience and relationship on earth is husband and wife. And that intimate relationship, where you know each other better than anyone else knows you, you know the details of their life, you know how they operate, you know exactly what they do, you know how they are in a situation. And when you’re in a good marriage, it’s a wonderful, joyful experience. That’s the knowing God that Jesus Christ said, “This is the eternal life that they may know you.” Let’s turn back to Jeremiah for a second. Jeremiah 9:23. Jeremiah records the words that God gives him that says “the eternal” verse 23.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Let not the wise glory in his wisdom. Let not the mighty glory in his might nor let the rich glory in his riches, but let him who lorries glory in this that he understands and knows Me.” That’s the same word, knows. That’s in the New Testament, the Greek “Ginosko,” that’s the same word, know, that when it talks about Adam knew his wife and other situations like that. “Let him glory, who glory is glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord exercising, loving, kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Eternal.”
An intimate relationship with God, knowing Him, trusting Him. Ever growing in that relationship with him so that we know and understand Him better, and we can do that. You know, we’re called to live the life of God today. When we were baptized, we weren’t supposed to just do nothing more than keep a Sabbath or keep the Holy Days, and tithe, we were supposed to be... We were committing to God that we would be living a new life. Remember, it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “A new creation,” a new life, the 2222 life that you are living today, the same way of life that will be lived in the Kingdom, that we’ll be teaching and working with people who live into that life. This is the way to live. This is the way to do that. That life is clearly defined in the Bible. What we see in the Bible is the life of God.
He didn’t create some new thing for mankind and say, “Hey, let’s just throw this on mankind and let them run with it.” This, what we read about, the love, the trust, the faith, the joy, the peace, all those things, that is the life of God, the things that you and I can be experiencing today and should be experiencing as we live that life and practice that light and evermore come out of the darkness of this world, not put our stock in that and our reliance and trust in that, but more and more in God and understand the way to all the things that mankind wants. Is this the answer to all the problems in the world are God’s way of life, are God’s way of life? You and I have the opportunity to do that today.
Speaking of this knowing and this intimate relationship with God, and you remember that in Ephesians it talks about how the marriage between a man and woman is akin and reflective of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. In this life, we become one. Christ and the Church should become one. All of us, become one. With each other, become one with God. Let me read you one of the lines, from early on in our... the marriage ceremony that we conduct says, “There can be no greater human joy than to have a happy marriage filled with giving and sharing. There is no deeper relationship among human beings than that achieved by a husband and wife in marriage. There can be no greater human joy than to have a happy marriage.” If you have a happy marriage, you know that. If you have a happy marriage, life goes on so quickly, doesn’t it? We can come to our 25th, 40th, 50th wedding anniversaries and we think life is just so good. It’s just so happy, it’s just so joyful.
I want it to go on forever and it’s painful when one gives up the 5590 life. But we could go on forever in a happy marriage because the time just passes by. That’s how it is. When we have that intimate relationship with God, eternity will be joyous forever. Eternity will be special, it will be, I hate to use the word fun, but it’ll be fun. It’ll be filled with experiences. It will never be dull. It just won’t be something like, “Well, what do we wake up and do today?” There will always be that joy that comes from the relationship with God and each other that we have. That’s why there’s a relationship that married the pride of Christ. There is no greater joy.
You know, when we marry our spouse, we make our home with them, right, and it’s a joyous home, but we make our home with each other and there are some things that get to work out over the first few years maybe or first few weeks, but because we love each other, we grow together and we have a happy home. You know what Jesus Christ says? Remember what he said to John 14:23. “He said, ‘If you live My way of life, if you follow Me, if you keep My commandments, We will make Our home with you.” Do you want God to make His home with you? Do we want to make our home with God to live in harmony, to live in peace, to live in joy, never a dull moment, eternity, not just duration of life, but the quality of life that that Greek word ainos means? It is there, for you and me. It’s there for all of us whose minds God opens and the rest of humanity at the time that God decides to open their minds, but His will is that all will have that opportunity.
You and I have that opportunity today. If we’re living it, as I said earlier, we feel like we’re pilgrims and strangers on the earth. If we’re living it, we’re seeking a homeland, like it says in Hebrews 11, A time when all men will live the same way of life that we do and all will have the peace, a harmony, joy, the abundance of living God’s way of life. That’s what we’re called to, and that’s what we committed to back when we were baptized. As we move toward Passover, well not just Passover, but all of our days of our life, let’s remember, let’s remember the 2222 life that God has given us that we should be living now.