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Promises of Grace: “The Breath of Life: Part II”
Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
Lord Jesus, we come to You today hungering for Your Holy Spirit to fill us with Your power and love, with Your grace and mercy, with Your truth and wisdom. Fill that need today, we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Two kinds of people jokes:
- There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count and those who can’t.
- There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.
- There are 2 kinds of people – Those who finish their sentences. Those wh
And then there’s this C.S. Lewis quote from his all-time favorite short story called The Great Divorce: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
In our short sermon series looking at some of the Bible’s teaching about God’s Promises of Grace; today we continue what we started last Sunday, looking at His promise of loving every human life. But this Part Two sermon will look at God’s Promise of eternal life!
Listen with me to God’s Word from John’s Gospel, and we will hear a few verses supporting what C.S. Lewis just said. Our main reading today comes from that passage I read at almost every funeral and memorial service at which I officiate. This is Jesus’ promise to His followers, from John 14 ….—-
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Jesus said these words on the night before He was arrested and then crucified the next day. Death was just around His corner. Why do we read this at funerals? I think it’s because these words offer hope for our eternity… because we are curious about what’s next… because we have a desire for something beyond what this life offers.
In his all-time classic theological treatise, C.S. Lewis addressed this when he said, “The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in THIS world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for ANOTHER world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”
I love that quote. God gives us the opportunity to fulfill our biggest unreachable dream simply by receiving Jesus as our Lord and our Savior. Lewis also said, “Aim at heaven and you’ll get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all your earthly needs will be taken care of.”
But did you catch the part that relies on us?
In John’s Gospel, chapter 3, we find what is probably the most famous and well known verse of all: “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God does indeed love you! In fact, His love is so thorough that He gives us the right to receive Him … or not! Just a paragraph later John tells us these words:
John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” The Promise of God’s Grace – the Breath of Eternal Life – is awaiting us to receive it – or to reject it.
Two chapters later (the Sermon Notes page says chapter 4, it should say FIVE, Jesus says it as clearly as He could: “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
‘Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.’ ”
This is the whole purpose of the Bible story – that we might know the Father by receiving His Son as Savior and Lord!
In John 11 when Jesus hears that His friend Lazarus had died He met with Lazarus’ sisters. On Thursday I read this story from a translation called Young’s Literal Translation. Listen to this conversation between Jesus and Martha: 21 Martha, therefore, said unto Jesus, `Sir, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died; 22 but even now, I have known that whatever thou mayest ask of God, God will give to thee;’
23 Jesus saith to her, `Thy brother shall rise again.’
24 Martha saith to him, `I have known that he will rise again, in the rising again in the last day;’
25 Jesus said to her, `I am the rising again, and the life; he who is believing in me, even if he may die, shall live; 26 and every one who is living and believing in me shall not die — to the age; 27 believest thou this?’
she saith to him, `Yes, sir, I have believed that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming to the world.’
Jesus says, also, to us: Believest thou this? Do you, also, believe this?
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in THIS world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for ANOTHER world.
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.
Which kind of person are you?
Gracious God, Grace-filled God, Grace-giving God, today we bow before You as the King of all kings, the Creator of the universe, the only One with the authority and the ability to actually conquer sin; and today, we choose to prioritize above all else Your Word and Your will for our lives, we want to experience Your power and love in brand new ways, and so we seek after Your Kingdom purposes and today we start to place our confidence in Your promise of grace. Show us Your love today, and help us to show Your love to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Lewis, C.S.; Mere Christianity; MacMillan; NY, NY; 1952; Pp. 118, 120.
Lewis, C.S.; The Great Divorce; MacMillan; NY, NY; 1946; P. 90.
McLaren, Ross, editor; Advanced Bible Study: Winter 2002-2003; Lifeway Christian Resources; Pp. 74-82.