Freedom for #4 Eternity

 


Freedom for #4 Eternity

 Jesus sets people free.  Setting people free is His continuing mission. Jesus said:

 Luke 4:18-19 (MSG)

God's Spirit is on me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, "This is God's year to act!"

 Jesus sets people free for service, for boldness, for righteousness.  We are going to consider the Jesus sets people free for eternity.

We get so entangled in the now.  The demands, the schedules, the busyness, keep us moving from one event to another activity, to yet another appointment.  We move at an unnatural hectic pace.  We are so wrapped up in the urgent yet unimportant things that we don’t have time to consider eternity.  If in the quiet of the night we stop to consider eternity, our thoughts are too often filled with clouds and harps and angelic choirs.  This teaching is to give you some right ideas about eternity, giving you some truth to contemplate.  The scripture says God has placed eternity in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV) and Jesus sets people free to the blessings of eternal life (John 10:28).

 Eternity means forever and ever.  Jesus sets you free for eternity; you can experience a righteous eternity.  There was a time when I didn’t know God, all I had was a religious experience, God's ideas mediated by man’s rules, regulations, and rituals.  Then I was introduced to the God that draws near.  I heard the gospel.  That Jesus died to set sinners free.  I knew I was messed up, that I was a sinner, estranged from God, a stranger to His ways, unhappy with how my life was going.  I came to believe that Jesus could do for me what I could not. Yeah selfish reason, I know.  This was one of those extremely rare times when selfishness was used for good.  If there is no need, if you don’t see a gain, you pass on committing to be a disciple, you don’t ask God to save you.  Even if it was for selfish desires, I made that commitment, I asked God to save me.  I know God did.  I know because I feel it deep inside, I know because of the incredible changes that have happened and the transformation process that continues, changing me, to boast: making me better.  Acknowledge, Believe, Commit, Ask, and Jesus sets you free.  If you want to be free I’ll travel that spiritual road with you if you want the company.  Let me know.

 Jesus sets you free for eternity.

 1 John 2:24-25 (MSG)

Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life!

 Eternal life, it’s a concept that’s hard to wrap your mind around.  Eternal life refers to both quality and quantity, so there is a here and now aspect and there is a then and later aspect. The here and now aspect is living your life to the full, quality life, life that is worth living, life that is full of love, belonging, joy, inner contentment, meaning, and significance;  a life full of righteous relationships, boldness, and service.  Quality is found in realizing the purposes of Jesus in setting you free.

John 10:10 (MSG)

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

 That “more and better life” is found in following God, setting your heart on bringing the Kingdom, doing what pleases God.  God’s path of love transforms your life into a masterpiece, transforming you so you bear the image of Jesus. That quality of life is yours right now to enjoy, to flourish in, to share with others.  Recall the last teaching on righteousness, you decide how close you get to God, you decide how much better your life is going to get by pursuing God.  Remember developing a quality relationship takes intention, time, and effort.  You decide how close to God you get; you decide how abundant your life will be.

 We know for sure that eternity has something to do with knowing God. Not knowing things about Him, but the knowledge that comes through a quality relationship with Him.

 John 17:3 (MSG)

And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, The one and only true God, And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

 You know all those questions you plan on asking God when you see Him face to face?  You won’t. The more intimate knowledge you gain of God the more all those questions become increasingly unimportant.  (Job 42:4-5)

 We know for sure that eternity has something to do with being with God, having access to God.

 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV)

“…we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

 The “Them” are those whose mortal bodies failed.  Recall Jesus words to Martha:

“The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all” (John 11:25-26 (MSG).  The us are we whose mortal bodies have not failed.  We will all be together.

 We know for sure that eternity will be experienced in a bodily form.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (NIV)

The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

 What exactly this spiritual body will be like the scripture doesn’t reveal.  Most likely it will be similar to the resurrection body of Jesus, recognizable, able to communicate, to interact with the material world, and my favorite, to eat.

 We know for sure that in eternity some of our old enemies will be gone.

 Revelation 20:14 (NIV)

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

 Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

“[God] will wipe every tear from [the faithful’s] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”

 Very grief that scars your soul, every sorrowful burden you shoulder, will fade into memory.  No longer will those old enemies assault your well-being.

 We know for sure that in eternity we will have a place, a home.

 John 14:2-3 (MSG)

There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. [see also Hebrews 11:10 and Revelation 21:10-11]

 Home is where you belong, it feels right.  The familiarity creates a sense of safety and security. In eternity it won’t be a sense of it, it will be the reality of it.  Home.  From the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we know that home will be here on this earth (Revelation 21:3). 

 We know for sure that in eternity healing will continue.

 Revelation 22:2-3 (MSG)

The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. 3 Never again will anything be cursed.

 Eternal life is knowing God, as we grow in our knowledge of God we are healed.  Since God is infinite, no end, knowing Him will be a never-ending joy.  Our healing will be accelerated because what usually temps us here, won’t tempt us there. (Revelation 21:23-27)

 We know for sure in eternity we will experience unity and oneness with one another.

 Matthew 22:30 (MSG)

At the resurrection, we're beyond marriage...

 In God’s design marriage is the most intimate of human relationships.  Marriage is a symbol of the intimacy of oneness.  The bonding of oneness will be the experience we share will all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 We know for sure that eternity will be better than now.

 Philippians 1:22-23 (MSG)

As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better.

 Eternity contains better than you can think, better than you can imagine.  It may be a complete surprise, totally different than all the folk stories about heaven. It will be good, because God is good.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (MSG)

No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—What God has arranged for those who love him.

 We start living in eternity when we put our faith in Jesus and that faith is recognized by the One Jesus called Father. 

 Eternity is more than just ideas to think about, eternity is something you can sense.  I was in Mexico when Mexico seemed much safer then than now. The Mexican beaches can be beautiful, the water can be warm.  I was snorkeling.  Heading out from shore the depth of the water gradually increased. Fish darted, anemones trilling in the currents.  About 100 yards from shore I was swimming in about 15 feet of water, just taking it all in. Then right before me, the bottom dropped away into darkness.  It was like looking over the edge into the Grand Canyon, but this was an endless watery vista that created a sense of awe.  That sense of awe was also accompanied by a sense of caution.  Swim further and you’re in the deep ocean.  Reflecting upon the experience it was a taste of eternity that endless expanse before me. I felt so small before it and still a part of it.  Eternity can become much more than just scripture glimpses and ideas.  Eternity is something you can experience right now. 

 “Time is the fire in which we burn” (Delmore Schwartz). Eternity puts out the fire.  Jesus sets us free to enjoy the blessings of being united in love, forever and ever.  Eternity has a here and now aspect.  It’s tasted, it’s experienced, in living life to the full through righteous relationships.  Eternity has a there and then aspect. It’s tasted, it’s experienced in the slight details in the scripture.  It’s glimpsed, in our awe-inspired moments. “Eternity is made of imperishable good stuff.” (Fred Rogers) Jesus sets you free for both “here and now,” “there and then” to experience the eternity of God.

 John 3:16

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

 The doors to eternity are the second coming of Jesus and physical death.  One I wait for its occurrence, one I’d like to put off for as long as I can.  The key to opening both doors is faith in expressing itself in love.

 Will I see you in eternity?

 


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