Eternal Life in ChristBro. David Chancellor
4/13/2003 11:00 AM
The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Jesus had fed the 5000. After this the disciples had crossed sea. Jesus had gone to them on the water in the storm. When the people figured out that the disciples had gone and that Jesus was gone, they went hunting for him. They were seeking him, but not because he was a miracle worker. They were seeking him because they wanted him to feed them.
Why are we seeking God? What are we pursuing him for? People often follow God for all the wrong reasons. Jesus wanted these to see something beyond this world. God was being revealed in the miracles, but these weren't seeking Jesus because he was God. They were seeking him so that their current desires could be gratified.
Labor after that which feeds the spiritual side of the being. Everyone that labors after everlasting life has thoughts about heaven. Some people's concept of heaven is that it will allow them to enjoy what their religion won't allow them to enjoy now. What most are looking for is the indulging of the senses.
Heaven is everlasting life. The interest of the Christian is the opportunity to be always with Jesus and God. Golden streets are nothing to be compared with the presence of God. God has deeper things to offer us than only what which appeals to our desires.
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude describes a people who were not really following after Christ. These were murmuring and complaining. How do we react when we go through difficult times? We can go through times that are hard without murmuring and complaining.
"...and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." This is the state of most of religion. This is not the religion of Christ. Christ didn't play politics with the scribes and Pharisees to get their approval. He stood for what was right, and stayed with God. The Christian needs to stay with Christ.
Our pursuit is not a "good time". Our pursuit is after God. We don't want to be those who follow after desires. We don't want to be following after just what "feels good." Seek after what God wants. Build yourself up in God.
"...But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Eternal life is to know Jesus. A reconstituted earth wouldn't be heaven without God. The focus is not the benefits for this natural life, but the focus is God and his will and his way.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
This grace of God teaches us to leave off some things down here. The concept of the gospel is not to have a bad life here and enjoy what we didn't have here, in heaven. Our focus is on God and Jesus. God, that is too holy to look on wickedness here, surely won't have it there. We live soberly, righteously and godly here in preparation for living there. The one still desiring evil things needs deliverance. The one following Christ wants more of God's presence. There's a limit to what this earthly body can take, so God will give us a spiritual body that can enjoy all the presence of God. The real joy of heaven is the presence of God.
There should be an admiration and awe of God that surpasses everything else. Most of Christ's miracles were for the benefit of humanity. They were given to help us to have a genuine worship of God. They help to give us an awe of him who is above all others.
When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
This is Stephen. Stephen's picture and the supposed martyrs of our day are different. Stephen wasn't looking at sensual pleasures, but he saw Jesus and God reaching out to him. His cry was "I see God!" He was looking forward to being with God. This is different than holding out for natural desires. Stephen was suffering humiliation and being deprived of life, but he was looking forward to seeing God. There are times of difficulty and great suffering for mankind, but we don't seek heaven as a relief from the difficulties and sufferings (although it will be that). The real joy of heaven is that we get to be with God. The glory of heaven is the one that is there. The wonder of heaven is to be able to enjoy the beauty of his presence forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul is describing what we have to look forward to. We are looking forward to meeting God and always being in his presence. Heaven is more than we can comprehend or take in, in this body. But, we can look forward to being in his presence, without fear of separation. When you get to heaven, NOTHING will come between you and God. You can pursue the things of this world, or you can seek after God. Realize that he has something to offer us. The power of God can work in us here and now so that we can live soberly, righteously, and godly. But, we also have a hope of being able to live forever with God. Seek after God, the one who works the miracles, not after the things he does. God is a help to us right here. Too often men look at what they can get. Turn your eyes on God and the one whose presence we can enjoy throughout eternity. Won't it be wonderful to be with him forever?