What is the sign of the true Messiah? Jesus Christ is acknowledged in name, but not everyone believes in the true Messiah of scripture.
We're going to cover a topic today that has great significance in our understanding as members of the Church of God. I'd like you to join me by first of all turning to Matthew 24, the famous Olivet Prophecy. We're going to take a look at something that Jesus said there because the word of God is the foundation of all knowledge. It's what we understand and believe has the answers to the questions of life that all of us need to know and understand regarding what is going on upon this earth. What is God's plan and purpose for humankind?
Well, when Jesus walked this earth He made an interesting analysis of something here that His own disciples asked him. They were quite taken back by His statement. It's found in the famous Olivet Prophecy beginning in Matthew 24. It says,
Matthew 24:1 Matthew 24:1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.
American King James Version×- ... Jesus went out and departed from the temple,... now that was quite a central piece of beauty in those days. It was a gorgeous manifestation of where the religious hub of that community existed; the Temple of God. And Jesus, then coming out of that temple, He's looking around, and He says,
Verse 2 - ..."Do you (not) see all these things?... You see what is happening?" ...verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Now that's quite a statement because it took some thirty years to build the temple from what we basically understand from scripture.
Verse 3 - And as he sat (up)on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things be?"... What things? The things that you just said about the throwing down of the stones of the temple. He says, ..."And what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?"
Now some people take in this particular Olivet Prophecy, and they say basically it was fulfilled in the time of the Roman invasion in 70 A.D. when they desecrated the temple and drove the Jews into Diaspora. But what we have here is something very interesting given by Jesus. He says, "There shall be not one stone upon another." And I don't know if you've checked recently, but did you know some of the stones have not been thrown down yet? It's called the "Wailing Wall." It's an extension that survived the original temple that was thrown down basically by the Roman invasion in 70 A.D. So, this is a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled, or have a final fulfillment, when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies, and all kinds of things are going to begin to happen and it then carries on into the time, it says, "what shall be the sign of your coming, and (of) the end of the age?"
So Jesus is telling us there are some things we need to understand, not only at the time when the temple will be desecrated and thrown down, but also things leading up to His return, and here's the interesting part He begins with.
Verse 4 — And Jesus answered and said unto them, "Take heed"... Now this is something to bevery mindful of, He says "... that no man deceive you." What He is telling us, and what He has told His disciples then; what he has told His disciples down through time. And what He's telling us in these end times is that there will be a wave of deception that we will have to constantly be mindful of exists in the world in which we live. And that things are not always what they seem to be, and He says, especially when it comes to the subject of Himself. He said that there would be,
Verse 5 — (For) many shall come in my name,... and many have come in His name down through time. Many still come in his name even in our day and age today saying, "I am the Christ." Yes, many will affirm that Jesus is the Christ. And many will even go one step further and claim that they are the reincarnation of Christ; and we have some of those individuals running around right now. They claim that they are Jesus Christ, reincarnated, and Jesus goes on to say, "...and shall deceive many."
Now we know that Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×tells us that Satan is the great deceiver; he is the serpent, dragon, that deceives the whole world. Jesus is saying there are many areas of deception, but the one that you want to be very mindful of is when it comes to the subject of Jesus Christ, who is the true Messiah?
Who is the true Messiah? Jesus Christ is acknowledged in name but not everyone believes in the true Messiah of scripture. Now that is very important for us because you and I are called to acknowledge in our life, our devotion to the true Messiah. And that's what I've entitled this message: "Sign of the True Messiah, Sign of the True Messiah," because we're going to look at what is it that Jesus gave us that will define who he is so that we can know that when people talk about Jesus Christ, we're following the right one, and not the wrong one because they're going on.
As Jesus warns, He says, "These individuals who will come on the scene, and especially right toward the end." He says, "Some will say, Christ is here." And others will say, "Christ is there." And Jesus says, "Don't go after them. Don't follow them. Don't listen to that type of thing."
So there's something here that God wants us to definitely understand, and this happens to be one of our core beliefs in the United Church of God. The sign of the true Messiah; we believe in the sign of the true Messiah. What is that? Well, we're going to expound on it a little bit here in the time remaining. It has to do with what is referred to by Jesus, the sign of the prophet, Jonah.
As Jonah was three days and three nights in the heart of the big fish, so Christ, the true Christ, the Messiah that you and I owe our life to, and our future, that great Jesus Christ was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
We're going to look at that, and see more specifically, but one of the most dramatic and encouraging, and absolutely gracious events of all times that ever took place was the revelation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's part of what Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread are all about because the resurrection is embodied within that.
Jesus Christ rose from the dead. If he had not risen from the dead, He would have just died for Himself and none of us would have a Savior. But because He came out of the grave, and now is at the right hand of God, the Father, as your High Priest, my High Priest, as anyone who truly believes in the Messiah, who was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and was resurrected, that is the true Messiah. Now, more and more people are coming to recognize that. They're beginning to notice there's something wrong with this thing from Good Friday to Easter Sunday morning that's a tradition that they realize doesn't hold water. You don't have to be a member of the Church of God to know how to count three days and three nights.
Jesus makes it very clear that He tells us, and gives us the initial element that we must keep in mind concerning the differences of the time factor. John 10, let's go to John 10, and notice what the Son of God said, Himself. John 10:17 John 10:17Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
American King James Version×
John 10:17 John 10:17Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
American King James Version×— "Therefore does My Father love Me,..." (He brings this out) "...because I lay down My life that I may take it again. Now how can He take it again once he's laid down His life as our Savior?
Verse 18 — "No man (one) takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again....Now how does He have power to take it again? The answer, "...This command I have received from My Father." This is the commandment. That God the Father would raise Him up. He was placing all His confidence in His heavenly Father to raise Him from the dead and bring Him back to life immortal.
Jesus then goes on in Chapter 11, because Chapter 10, verse 17 and 18 makes that very clear, that Jesus voluntarily submitted Himself as our Savior, and then it is through the power of the Spirit of God that raised Him up so He was willing to submit Himself knowing that he had the power of the Father in Heaven to raise Him to life. And that's exactly what the Father did. Now in Chapter 11:9, Jesus makes a clarification of something here:
Chapter 11:9 - Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day?..." Well science refers to us and makes it clear that we know that we live on a planet that revolves on a twenty-four hour cycle.Twelve hoursbasically for daylight, and twelve for night, give or take the seasons, and the times, and all that. But it's a twenty-four period of time. He draws the comparison. He says, ..."If anyone walks in the day,... (just like the daylight portion of time) he stumbles not, because he's in the light of the world.
Verse 10 — "But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because there is no (the) light (is not) in him." He doesn't allow us to see clearly when things are darkened. And God pictures mankind's world as a darkened world; a world that does not see and understand about the light.
Jesus came, then, to be the Lamb of God; to take away the sin of the world. And to validate the command of that true Messiah, we are reminded that Jesus Christ died, and He was resurrected again for our benefit. Romans 5:10 Romans 5:10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
American King James Version×— We'll try to move through these scriptures as quickly as we can. We've got several things to cover here.
Romans 5:10 Romans 5:10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
American King James Version×- For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by (through) the death of His Son,... which is pictured in the Passover which we observe, ...much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. It's because he now is alive at the right hand of God, the Father that you and I have a confidence and a hope that the scripture confirms; that there's a Son of God at the right hand of God, the Father who prays for you, and for me, and for anyone else who seeks him. But this again, remember, is in the context of three days and three nights. Why? Because there's so many people today that believe in Jesus Christ, they really do, and they're sincere. But they are sincerely wrong in the sense that they have been deceived into worshipping through the traditions of men rather than the commandments of God.
The commandments of God say three days, three nights. And as people are now beginning to discover this, more and more people are beginning to realize this Good Friday, Easter Sunday thing doesn't hold water. And so they're beginning to look and examine the scriptures more. This may be well part of what God is doing to stir the minds and the hearts of people in this end time, in prepping them, and making them realize there is great deception in this world. And if you can be deceived in this area, can you be deceived in other areas?
Notice Jesus said that to His disciples. There are people in church of God groups that think you can't be deceived once you know the truth. Oh? Oh? You can't be deceived? There's a lion out there roaming, seeking, whom he may devour. And when a person is not holding fast to that which they have been given, it is easy for them to be lured back into the world, and we have seen and witnessed many people who have been lured back into the world. We see it in the days where certain individuals were lured back. Demas was lured back into the world. You can be lured back into the world. You can forsake the truth.
You can forsake that crown that God tells you, "Hold fast what you have, that no man take your crown." Could somebody take your crown? Yes, if you let them; if you get sloppy in your Christian calling. This is part of our responsibility as men and women of God.
Jesus offered both the facts and details of His resurrection to a world that He says, "An evil and adulterous generation looks for a sign." He says, "Well, I'll give you a sign. But the only sign I'm gonna give you is the sign of the prophet Jonah; three days and three nights. This is a critical, core of belief in the church of God. Why? - Because to accept anything else other than what Jesus clearly outlines in this matter means you have a wrong Jesus. No matter how sincere you might be, you would be sincerely wrong. Jesus stakes His whole Messiahship on this three days and three nights. That's why it's so critical for us to keep in mind.
The problem with the commonly accepted Good Friday, Easter Sunday resurrection is that it does not allow for the scriptures to fully come to light. I remember years ago I asked a family member, I was studying this myself when I was back in my teenage years when God was first working in my life. I asked him, I said, "Well, you know, how do you get seventy-two hours in from Good Friday to Easter Sunday morning?"
And his answer was, "Friday, Saturday, Sunday."
Now I said, "Come again?"
And he said, "Friday, Saturday, Sunday."
I said, "You mean that's seventy-two hours?"
And he said, "Well, I don't know about seventy-two hours. All I know is that it's three days, three nights; Friday, Saturday, Sunday."
That's as far as his mind got, and it taught me a very important lesson at that juncture. And I was studying these elements of scripture, and I recognized, unless it is given to you to understand you can't understand it. Just like Jesus said, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God." But to them, the average person of the day, it was not given.
Dear brethren, I don't think we recognize something very important about the scripture. God says, "His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways."
What God is saying, and people walk around in this "La La" land; the type thing where, you, know, God is orchestrating every little event in their life. They think God did this, and God did that. God's not that concerned about all that. That's your problem to deal with. Believe it or not, you're a free moral agent. You can do whatever you want to do as a human being. God has allowed mankind to just kind of come and He just kind of lets them go. Remember what happened when He was ruling ancient Israel in Old Testament times? He was the King of Israel. They had the best thing going for them, and they decided, "We don't want this invisible king. We want a king like the nations around us, and they started moaning and groaning. And finally Samuel said, "You gotta stop this, Israel! This isn't right."
And finally they said, "We want a king."
And God said, "What?" He said, "All right, Samuel, they haven't rejected you even though it's breaking your heart to hear all this as my servant, my representative. They rejected me; that I should not rule over them. Alright, they want a king. Let me tell you the kind of king they're gonna get." And then he begins to describe what the scripture clearly records—King Saul, and how he came to power, and what transpired; and what he would require of the people. All that for our learning; upon whom the ends of the age are come.
Right now we have a situation in our beloved United States. People are asking, "What's going on?" There is a God in who rules in heaven above, and we as a nation are no longer looking to providential guidance from above. We're no longer saying, "God, bless America." We have individuals who claim to be ministers, who are getting up and cursing in public the nation that gives them every blessing they have, by the grace of God. That's the kind of world we've descended into.
And God says, "Alright, if this is the kind of person you want in this end time I'm gonna to give you the kind of person you want. And what's he gonna do? He's gonna give you change, all right, and it's going to change your life like you've never seen before. And it's happening for all of us right now. And people are shocked, and they can't figure out what's happening.
God says, "You wanted it. You asked for it. Now you've got it." Now we're going to have to endure to the end. We're going to have to go through whatever's coming because people have voted this in. This is what they wanted. Just like ancient Israel wanted a king, God gave them a king. And now we're going to have to witness what's coming. And we hope and pray that it's better than what we think might be coming. But only God, in His final analysis, will have the answers to that equation.
No, what we see right now is a world that is caught up in deception, and Jesus said, "The religious deception is going to really explode toward the end. Now you can turn on television, and you can watch the so-called, various ministries today that masquerade; they all preach "Jesus" but they all give you different varieties of Jesus. There is a loose confederation among them but you will not find them advocating three days and three nights. That's how important this subject is. That's why it's a core belief that we must never lose sight of because you can be led astray by the name Jesus because, "Oh, Jesus, I believe in Jesus." Anybody believe in Jesus? All the hands go up. "I believe in Jesus." Which Jesus? Because there's another Jesus in this world; and that what the Bible clearly shows can be delineated by following the voice and the commands of the true Jesus who said that he would be like Jonah was; three days and three nights in the heart of the great fish.
Now the kingdom of God, and what God is purposing is going to revolutionize this world. It's going to change this world like never before, and here's the thing that I want to emphasize. With God's plan in mind, He's not sitting around worrying about all the little details that we as human beings get involved in as a general rule. Now I'll show you the difference here, and why you need to pay attention to this point.
God deals with people who are part and parcel with His plan. When Abraham came on the scene, God focused in on Abraham. Then comes Isaac. He focused in on Isaac. Then He focused in on Jacob. Then He focused in on Israel.
What about the rest of the nations? Oh, He was aware of them, and they're just coming and going, and doing what they did. As it was in the days of Noah, so they'll be doing the same in the end time. Just like going about their business totally oblivious to what God has in mind. But God, working out His great plan and purpose, works with those elements that affect His plan.
And, dear brethren, we are told as we are part of the Church of God, the body of Jesus Christ; that you and I have been singled out in a very unique way by the hand of God. And if we stay the course we have a great reward that will be given. Not just a gift, remember, eternal life is the gift of God. It's by the grace of God. That's not the reward. The reward is above and beyond what you do in your life in service to God.
The great gift of eternal life, if that's the reward, then you've earned it somehow. You've got a reward. It's a gift, eternal life. The reward is many different things: maybe some, five cities; maybe some, ten cities; maybe some, one city. There's all kinds of rewards that are going to go out to God's people because they're all involved in different aspects of God's plan and purpose for all of us. Now how we're going to all finally fit into that, that's God's doing. But one thing it says in:
Hebrews 11:13 Hebrews 11:13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
American King James Version×— They all died in faith..., and that they, without us, that last generation of people who are part of the Church of God, which means God's eyes are upon His church and that's exactly what Peter said, "Judgment is upon the house of God;" the Church of God. God is filtering the hearts of men and women before His judgment seat. He's sorting it out. He's finding out, "Who's with me? Who really wants to be a part of the kingdom of God? Who wants my righteous rule in their life?" There are people today that don't want the righteous rule of God in their life. The world is filled with those typesS of people.
You and I are pictured in the church, are called out of this world, and we're called to hear the voice of one who is greater than Solomon, the son of God. And to hear His voice, and His voice says, "I'm going to be with you, and then I'm going to be gone for seventy-two hours, but then I'm coming back. And when I come back I will have brought immortality to light. I will show you that all those who accept and follow my lead, as the scripture said, ‘This incorruptible must put on incorruption. This mortal must put on immortality.'" That is through Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ only. It can't come any other way.
It's not how many Sabbath's you've kept; how many holy days you've observed; it's how you submit yourself to Jesus Christ in your personal life, and how you want to be in mind, just like Him; to think like Him; to act like Him. Now that's the battle and the struggle we all have.
Scriptures are given to us for our learning, and they tell us something very important. We're told that there was a time when Jesus was going to be crucified as our Lord and Savior. Now this is something that we're told was understood before the foundation of the Earth, before the world. He was already slated to be the Lamb of God from the foundation, before the Earth was ever created; the universe, as we know it.
Now this is just me thinking out an additional thought to share with you, but I can't help but believe God is never blind-sided. He sees and understands all things because He is God. It's His plan. It's His purpose.
When God created the angelic realm before human beings were ever on the scene, the angelic realm had a wonderful period of time when there was harmony in the universe. Everything was beautiful. No problems. Was God blind-sided by Lucifer and his rebellion? I don't think so. The reason I don't think so is God knew by creating life that what he had done, He'd given him free moral agency, and they would have to make a constant effort to go the way of God. But there was never a contrary form of life, nothing to compare it to. And so, we are told in Ezekiel 28 that at that time iniquity was found in his heart.
Nobody else among the angels could spot it, but God spotted it because He had created Lucifer perfect. When did that show up? When he was taken from the place where his wings covered the mercy seat of God, and the government of God, and he was placed on this Earth. And then we read in Isaiah 14, "I will ascend into the heavens. I will be like the Most High." He began to draw a comparison that was not right.
No longer did he decide to want to serve God. And when that happened, he stepped out of the laws of God, and became the first lawless one. It's interesting that you find this in the Bible because it's there to teach us a very important lesson.
Now God had to know somewhere in the process of time something like that would happen, and when it did He was already prepared for that, and He already had another phase ready to go. And that phase was humanity; something that God had planned even from the foundation of the world; that even when I create these human beings in my image, they will fall prey to sin; and the lesson is to teach us that you cannot win apart from God. You can never make anything happen that is lasting apart from God and from Jesus Christ.
What we see then in that whole account of the angelic upheaval, the things that have happened in the Earth's history, and humankind, we find ourselves now faced with a great dilemma. Mankind doesn't know who he is, what he is, where he's going, and in his desire to worship something he has been in many cases deceived into worshiping false gods. Not the true God, and even when it comes in the name of Jesus Christ, many times it's a misrepresentation of who the true Jesus Christ is.
So where does one go? How does one have that confidence of faith to know where to go to find the real Christ so that you know you're listening to the right source? The answer again from Jesus own lips; "Three days and three nights." That's what He bases His whole Messiahship on. And He says that you'll need to be careful because there'll be many that would come in My name, and this thing of religion will have a form and ceremony but it will deny the power of.
And the power of God was needed to raise Christ from the dead, and bring immortality to light, and that's why we call I Corinthians15 the resurrection chapter. And if Christ be not raised from the dead, then we're all in our sins and we don't have a choice; no future; we're lost. But in Christ Jesus, the Passover, the Lamb of God, we begin to see and understand what God had in mind.
Now the significant account of the historical and scriptural evidence points to the year, as best as we can calculate from using the calendar, the calculated calendar that the Jewish people have in their possession is 31 A.D., there's other months. Some say 30 A.D. but there's time disruptions. 31 A.D. seems to be the most logical, and the one that validates the flow of scripture because we have, and we know that around 4 B.C. Christ was born, by all calculation. Any other difference, they try to come different areas..., but 4 B.C. falls into the framework about the fact that he was about thirty years of age, it says. That puts it around, somewhere around 27 A.D. at the start of his ministry. And then for three and a half years of His earthly ministry puts Him into the spring holy day season in 31 A.D., and he died at thirty three and a half years of age. So we have that as the basic framework.
Now, if you will, turn with me to Matthew 27 — Here it says,
Matthew 27:62 Matthew 27:62Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together to Pilate,
American King James Version×— Now the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came (together) unto Pilate,
Verse 63 - saying, "Sir, we remember,... that He said, ...'After three days I will rise again.'" So, it's talking about, again, the fact that they were going to want the body of Jesus. They were concerned about it; about this statement that He made.
And so they did a command; they sealed it up, and later on Sunday the resurrected Jesus was walking on the road to Emmaus. And while He was walking on the road to Emmaus He was talking to His disciples, and He's referencing the fact that on Sunday was the third day since all these things happened. What he's talking about there is the fact that from the time that they came and they asked for the body of Jesus to be sealed with that seal that that was a period of time in looking back would be three days. And that was the time that they were concerned, that they said, "Haven't you been here? Don't you know what's been happening here in Jerusalem?
And He says, "In three days all these things would be happening?" And then suddenly they disappear. What we have here in Luke 24:13-14 Luke 24:13-14  And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs.
 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
American King James Version×.
Luke 24:13 Luke 24:13And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about three score furlongs.
American King James Version×— And behold, two of them went on the way (were traveling that same day) to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.
Verse 14 - And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
Verse 15 — And it came to pass... that Jesus Himself drew near and went unto (with) them.
Verse 16 — And (But) their eyes were holden, that they did not know Him. Notice again, eyes can be held shut. Eyes can be open to understanding.
Verse 17 —And He said unto them, what manner of communications are these that you have with one another,... and why are you so sad? And then they said, "Well, you're here in Jerusalem. Are you a stranger? Haven't you known what's been happening?"
"Well, what things?" And then he goes on and explains. And finally He opens their eyes in verse 25 — He says,
Verse 25 - "O fools (foolish ones), and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Verse 26 — "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and entered into His glory?"
Verse 27 - And beginning at Moses and through all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. And then it goes on to say how that He disappeared, right out of their midst. And they knew it. Something awesome had transpired. They knew, and they had that burning sensation that He was different. It was the Messiah that they were talking to, Jesus the Christ.
This is mentioned to help us understand that Christ, the Lamb of God died for our sins on the Passover. He was entombed three days and three nights as the scripture clearly shows, seventy-two hours. He was resurrected. We know that in the book of John something happened during that time, because when the ladies came to the tomb early that Sunday, first day of the week, the angel said He was already gone.
Now, what had happened? In John 19:31 John 19:31The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) sought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
American King James Version×, after Jesus died on the cross, and said in verse 30, "It is finished;" He gave up his spirit, the ghost.
Verse 31 - The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies... (because the 14th is Passover, but it is a preparation day to the Sabbath, or the high Sabbath of the Days of Unleavened Bread) and here we see that the bodies ...should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath day, and then in parentheses we're reminded for (that Sabbath was a high day). It wasn't a weekly Sabbath.
So what we have as a validation, and this is the strength of the core belief, we have the Passover, which was on a Tuesday night starting the evening portion. That's when Jesus had the Passover on that early nighttime with a meal with His disciples and the New Testament symbols given.
On the daylight portion He dies, as the Passover Lamb. He is put into the grave just before sunset on that Wednesday, the period of time which we would call the 14th of 31 A.D. Then, just as the sun is going down, He's already entombed, and so you've got that evening now starting the 15th; Wednesday night, Thursday day, one day; Thursday night, Friday day, two. Friday night followed by the daylight portion of Saturday, and just before the sun goes down on Saturday, the Lord of the Sabbath rises forth as it was prophesied of Him; three days and three nights. That's why He's the Lord of the Sabbath. It's the only true sign that He is the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind.
You see, the problem today is: Most people take things and say, "Well, that's the Messiah of the Jews." No, not according to scripture, the scripture tells us that there's much more here than most people comprehend.
Now lets go to the most famous scripture that most people will recognize in terms of the Evangelical, Christian movement, John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×. Please remember, this is not a Protestant scripture, this is God's scripture. He had it first. Others may quote it because it is the word of God, and we should never fear the Word of God. But it goes on to say,
John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×— The famous scripture we know by heart as children growing up, "For God so loved the world,"... meaning those He has created in His image,male and female.Not talking about the corrupt systems of men and the correlation that has been down through time. He's talking about human beings who are sinful, and their behavior. "And He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him..." believe not only in the true Christ, who died for three days and three nights in the heart of the earth and was resurrected.... "But whosoever believes on Him should not perish,"...
Now Jesus said in another place, He said on several occasions: "Except you repent, you will all likewise perish."
So repentance, the goodness of God leads us to repentance and brings us to the true Messiah, who gave His life, that if we believe in Him,..."we should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Now look how wonderful the blessing of physical life is, brethren. Look how sad we are when someone dies, like Natasha Richardson here recently. When she went out there to do her skiing, did she have any idea such a thing would happen? And look how the family now is devastated. When one loses a loved one it impacts on many. They say for every one who becomes deceased twenty-five people are immediately affected. Now taking that into consideration, how do you think God feels when He sees sons and daughters-to-be, made in His image doing what they're doing to one another in this world, let alone accidents like the one that happened to Natasha.
Life is precious, and eternal life is even more. And this is why God has given us a wonderful promise. He does not want to see us perish. He does not want us to die in our sins. He talks about Israel: "Oh Israel, why will you die, Oh Israel? Why do you keep persisting going that way?"
No, what He shows us here is, if we believe as the scripture outlines, the purpose is that we not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent His Son. Not sent His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved, might be saved. How important is it to be saved? Very important! It's so important that the Son of God was called into a very special relationship to give His life for all mankind.
You and I are the first fruits in that calling. Mankind will later come to see that great Christ, and he that believes on Him is not condemned, but he that believes not is condemned already. How very, very precious is the knowledge of God's truth, and as Passover approaches, brethren, I think we need to recognize something that God has given us as it says in I Peter 1:3 in the Authorized Version. It tells us that we have a lively hope. The Revised Standard Version says we have a living hope.
Our hope is alive because Jesus Christ is alive at the right hand of God, the Father. That's our joy as Passover comes and as we go, we're not going through the motions of Passover and Unleavened Bread just because you know somehow that of and by itself is going to do something for us. It's what God does in and through us through the power of His spirit as He reminds us of what price had to be paid by the son of God to get rid of our sins; and then not only that, to make eternal life available to us if we stay the course, if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
He is not just the King of the Jews, which He is, but He's the King of all Israel, and all the nations of Israel as they are recognized in the word of God. But even more, He is the God of all mankind. The son of God died for everyone, a ransom for many. His very shed blood, as we talk about it at Passover time, is given as a ransom for many.
Dear brethren, we have the priceless opportunity that God has given to us at this Passover time. There's something that we all see like David, even though we cry out to God for forgiveness. At Passover time we all recognize something; our sins are ever before our face. We know what we have done. Nothing can erase those sins from our mind. We know they're there. It is our faith and confidence in the promise that God says through the blood of Jesus Christ. You may see them. You may have lived them. You may have to have the consequences of them, but it is My grace and forgiveness of your sins that blots them out from east to west, and I don't see them anymore in your life. And there is the joy of God's great salvation for all of us.
David had to live with his consequences. He wasn't perfect in what he did but he was a man after God's heart. He sought God in repentance but his sins were ever before his eyes. You and I have to struggle with this very thing because Satan wants us to reach back and grab the baggage of our old sins, and because they're ever before our eyes and we know what we've done, it's easy to fall into that trap if you don't focus on Jesus Christ and the promise that God has given us through Him.
So, through that wonderful understanding, you and I are told, if you have examined yourself, if you see where you have fallen short, and you believe in the sacrifice of Christ, and you know that that is the Christ who gave His life, and was for three days and three nights he was in the heart of the earth like Jonah was in the fish, and came forth and brought immortality to life, then you and I are told with that understanding, go forth, live life, in the confidence of Jesus Christ living in you with the power of God's spirit. And when that time of great revelation comes, when the son of God returns to this Earth, you and I will have the privilege to join ranks with the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. May God grant that all of us are there when that day becomes reality.