The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Listen Up!

“Most assuredly, I say to you, . . .” – John 5:24a


I have an APP[1] on my IPhone that’s called “The Ultimate Buzzer” APP. On it are a bunch of different buzzer sounds. There are sweet sounds like that of a baby sneezing or a wind chime. There are fun noises like popcorn popping, a cow mooing, burps, and a boing. There are sounds associated with someone making a faux pas’ like the wah-wah and drum roll. Then there’s the whole gamut of alarms like the classic buzzer or old time alarm clock. There’s even a sound like an elk in heat! There are sounds of doom and danger like the air raid siren, European police siren, and the Navy call to general quarters. APP sounds like that are a humorous means to draw attention. If we don’t have that APP we might just say “Hey!” or “Yo! Yo! YO!” Jesus didn’t have an IPhone or a buzzer APP. He simply said “Most assuredly” when He wanted to get people’s attention. It was His way of saying, “Listen up!” And when Jesus says “Listen up!” we would do well to listen.


In John 5:24 Jesus says, ““Most assuredly, . . .” “Most assuredly” is a translation of the Greek word amen written twice. Literally Jesus says, “Amen, amen.” Amen means definitely, surely, so let it be. These words of Jesus announce, “Listen up, what follows is important.” It’s His, “Now here this!” When Jack Bauer of 24 ominously secures eye contact and says something in that low, slow, very serious tone, the one he is speaking to listens; and obeys. When the National Weather Service and its loud beeping alarm announces a tornado warning, we listen; and obey. When the national Emergency Alert System interrupts programming with important information, we listen; and obey. And when Jesus says, “Listen up!” we need to listen; and obey. What Jesus has to say is more important than any trumped up peril, any weather warning or national danger. What Jesus has to say will not only impact our lives now, but for eternity. Listen up! This is serious.


Jesus important words here are, “I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life.” It’s important to hear what Jesus says. The word “hears” (Greek akouo) means to be endowed with the faculty of hearing, to attend to, consider what is or has been said, to understand, perceive the sense of what is said. God has given us by grace the capacity to hear His words. He enables us to hear, perceive and understand enough to come to the point of decision. This is a work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts the sinner of their sin (John 16:8-11). He draws the sinner to a point of decision. If they repent of their sins and seek God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus the Father forgives their sin and the Holy Spirit regenerates them giving them spiritual life. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand and appreciate the things of God (1 Cor. 2:9-14). This is a blessed gift of God’s grace we often take for granted.


Jesus calls His listeners to listen to what He is saying. He spoke in a way that called for His listeners to make a decision. You couldn’t then and can’t now listen to the words of Jesus and be the same as before you heard them. If you hear and reject Jesus word you will become harder in heart and further dulled spiritually. If you listen to what Jesus says and receive His words, He promises you will find everlasting life. You can’t straddle the fence with what Jesus says or with Jesus Himself. Indecision is decision. A person is either for Him or against Him (cf. Mat. 12:30). Have you heard the words of Jesus? Where do you stand with Jesus?


What decision does Jesus call for? The point of decision is the point where we are called to act on the information and revelation God has helped us hear. We must decide whether or not to believe. The word “believes” (Greek pisteuo) means to have faith in, trust in, commit to. To believe is to entrust yourself in a life commitment. Here it means to entrust yourself in a life commitment to the Father and Jesus Who He sent. The idea similar to the life commitment made in a wedding vow. When two people [2]are married they don’t make a partial vow of commitment. They make a total life commitment. For instance a marital vow usually consists of something like the following:


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I, ____________________ take you, _________________, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.  


When two people marry they are making a vow in the sight of God and human witnesses. They  are entering into a covenant for life with each other. They are stating to the one they vow to that they and they only will be their exclusive marital partner for life. This is a powerful vow of commitment. They commit to “have and to hold” exclusively that one person. They are vowing a commitment that is permanent for the rest of their lives “from this day forward.” This vow is made with the understanding that they will be steadfast to uphold it “for better or worse” or in good times and bad. It will be true in good as well as bad economic times. Bad health won’t shake them from their vow to each other. They are committing to love and cherish each other until they die. Those are powerful words of commitment. “This is my solemn vow.” That’s what people say, in public, before witnesses, an official, before God. It’s a shame when people betray those vows or don’t take them seriously enough to faithfully follow through on them.


That’s the kind of life commitment we make to Jesus when we receive Him as Savior. We commit to holding onto Jesus and having Him hold us. We commit to spend the rest of our earthly lives on into eternity with Him. We make that faith commitment even though we know there may be better or worse times, wealth or times of want, health or times of illness. Through whatever life throws at us and the Lord chooses to allow into our lives, we are committed to love and cherish our Lord Jesus and be loved and cherished by Him. But here’s where our covenant relationship with Jesus is far superior to any earthly marital covenant. With Jesus we never have to say, “until death do us part.” Our saving relationship with Jesus is an eternal one. Praise the Lord nothing can separate us from His love! (Romans 8:37-39).


The Bible uses the marriage relationship to illustrate the relationship of Jesus to the people of His church (Eph. 5:21-33). When we believe in Jesus unto salvation we make a life commitment to Him. We give our heart, our life to Him. It’s all or nothing. It’s not an option to give Jesus only part of you anymore than it would be for people being wed to make only a partial commitment to be married to one another.


Think about it. Would you marry someone who told you, “I’ll marry you, but I still want to be free to explore relationships with other people”? The world has “open” marriage ideas that warp and destroy any real definition of faithfulness. The world wants commitments with no commitment. Separate bank accounts. Sexual but separate lives; friends with benefits. They want marriage on their terms. Some require a pre-nuptial agreement document to guard against possible (eventual) monetary loss and damage incurred from a possible estranged spouse. It betrays a fear or expectation that their vows are transient and temporary. People enter into their life commitment with no life commitment! The world makes divorce easy. Legal firms post billboards on the road that say, “Divorce - $300 / It’s easy.” God never intended divorce to be “easy.” He intended marriage to last a lifetime. And He intends our relationship with Him to last forever.  


The gift of God to those who believe in Him and  Jesus Whom He sent is “everlasting life.” “Everlasting” (Greek aionios) means, perpetual, eternal, forever, everlasting. “Life” (Greek zoa) means a state of vitality or animation, full life. This is the abundant life Jesus shows us in the gospels (e.g. John 10:10). Everlasting life is full, rich, blessed, never ending LIFE in its most favorable and wonderful way.  


But there’s more we need to “Listen up!” too. Jesus goes on to state, “and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” The Bible says that everyone will appear before God for judgment. Christians will stand before the “judgment seat of Christ” where they will be judged. They won’t be judged regarding everlasting life. (That is settled when a person repents of their sin and receives forgiveness for their sins through faith in Christ – John 3; Romans 6:23; 8:1ff.; 2 Cor. 5:21). The Christian will face a judgment concerning how they spent their life in Christ. If they spent their life for eternal things they will be rewarded. If they spent their life for temporal earthly things they will receive little to no reward but they themselves will be saved (cf. 1 Cor. 3:12-15).


The phrase “has passed” (Greek metabebeken) means to go across, or pass over. In Luke 16 Jesus speaks of a rich man and poor man named Lazarus. In life the rich man had everything and Lazarus had nothing. But in death the rich man was in a place of torment. The poor Lazarus was not rich in the comforting arms of Abraham. The two were separated by an impassable chasm. Jesus is the only way for anyone to secure passage over that chasm. To pass across that chasm of destiny one has to in this life trust in Jesus as Savior. Belief in Jesus now puts a person in righteous standing with God. Believe in Jesus now and when you die you will pass over the abode of the tormented unrighteous and into the presence of the Lord.


Everyone is judged initially at the point of death (Heb. 9:27). The saved go straight into the presence of the Lord at death (2 Cor. 5:8). The unsaved, those who have not been born again through faith in Jesus Christ, are judged unworthy of heaven and go directly to a place of torment (Luke 16:19-31). They will remain there until their final sentencing before God at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). It will be at this point that the sentence of eternal damnation in the lake of fire will be carried out by the Lord against all the unrighteous: Satan and his demons, Antichrist, the false prophet (Rev. 13), and all those who did not accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. This is serious business. Make sure you listen up to these words.


Can you see why Jesus said, “Listen up!” There’s a decision to be made. Your decision will result in eternal life or eternal condemnation (John 5:29). We will all go on to an eternal existence. Where will you spend yours? Listen up! Decide. Give your life to Jesus. Decide.


[1] To those unfamiliar with technology “APP” refers Application, a software program that provides certain capabilities for your electronic device.
[2] One biological male and one biological female – sad we have to make such clarification nowadays.

No comments:

Post a Comment