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The Supreme Value of Eternal Life

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Title: The Supreme Value of Eternal Life

Application Outline:
Title: The Supreme Value of Eternal Life

Text:

Introduction:

Illustration: Recently, a teenager in New York was mistaken as being part of a gang, and he was attacked in a convenience store...
If we think that we are going to scare this generation out of Hell, we are sadly mistaking. The point of the passage is not this, but this passage should matter greatly to all people in this room.
Why should this topic matter to the listeners?
Sometimes when we are in the thick of the work, we do not rightly evaluate things. It is one thing if you pick up the wrong size of socket to work on your car because you weren’t really paying attention too well, but it is another thing when the decision has more devastating consequences. For example, if you are stopped at an intersection where cross traffic does not stop. A split second, poor decision could lead to you get T-boned. Maybe it was because you had a poor perception or poor visibility.
Such is the case with the topic at hand. As people think about Eternal Life versus Hell, what are some of the thoughts that they have.
For believers:
Some Christians have a perspective of eternal life and Hell that is so immature that they stop other witnesses for Christ who are not in the same camp. The danger here is especially more risky because they are unaware of their own naivety.
(1) It is the ultimate reason why someone should get saved.
(2) It is not thought of much because it is not their destination.
(3) Everyone eventually gets saved and taken to Heaven. Hell is not real.
(4) Some believe in soul sleep and not Hell.
(5) Is not consistent with a "loving God".
(6) Is preeminently a place of physical pain
What we will study this morning should matter to all Christians because the consequences for not understanding could possibly lead people away from Jesus Christ.
At very least, the Christian’s focus should be more fully sharpened on the topic at hand.
For unbelievers:
Then there are those individuals who willfully give no real consideration to eternal life and Hell. They see Hell as inconsistent with a “loving God”, or possibly they believe that Hell does not even exist. Again, the perspective is not clear for this individual.
This should matter to all those who are not truly saved because Christ speaks with such clarity, that you must call Christ a liar in order to deny what He tells you is of supreme worth.
Because it is a big deal if something less valuable stops you from coming to Christ
What do people currently think about this topic?

Proposition: It is imperative that we rightly value the worth of eternal life!

(1) The undervaluation of eternal life by those who are following Jesus Christ. (v. 42)

[Unintended consequences by those who are following Jesus Christ]
(a) The zeal of the disciples (v. 38)
(b) The response of Christ (v. 39 - 41)
Summary:
the Lord is serious about impediments to those who are impeding the progress of other Christians.
the Lord is in more control than we often know or believe
…which
…which shows how little of God’s sovereignty we believe in, and how much in our ability we believe in.
the people who can be impediments are not always those you would think. They can be very selfish, naive, self-centered, position-seeking, spiritually immature people ()
The Lord is amazingly patient with his disciples
We conclude then that eternal life is of such value to Christ, receiving Christ is of such value to Christ, belonging to Jesus Christ is of such value that he gives a clear warning to all those who would impede the progress of other Christians!
Brief Application:
Today this is most notably accomplished by those who belong to Jesus Christ, but they’ve lost the humility of a child with which they came to Christ -
1 Peter 5:5–6 KJV 1900
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
But
Because of this, they have begun to think more of themselves and their group than they should
This has led to speech and contempt towards those who are preaching the gospel, though they don’t run with our group.
Remember the words of the Apostle Paul:
Philippians 1:15–18 KJV 1900
Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
We understand that if we don’t value eternal life of such supreme worth, then we may be part of those who impede other believers who are trying to preach for the deliverance of souls.
Illustration: Recently, I came across some documents of our church. It was a transcript about a controversy before Pastor Green was addressing in a message. I must admit that I was disheartened by how distracted it appeared that this individual was with other church’s and pastors. I was disheartened by how the scriptures were handled. Can we just get back to the centrality of Jesus Christ? Can we just get back to rejoicing when Jesus Christ is preached?

(2) The undervaluation of eternal life by those who are not believers in Jesus Christ. (v. 43 - 48)

[Unimaginable comparisons for those who are not believers in Jesus Christ]
Note some important points of the context:
- Jesus is to be received
- John calls Jesus “Master”
- “because ye belong to Christ
What does it mean to enter into life? What does it mean to enter into the Kingdom of God? What does it mean to receive Jesus Christ? What does it mean to belong to Christ? It means that Christ becomes the ultimate One in your life, thus ANYTHING THAT WOULD KEEP YOU from a decision to yield yourself to Him is sin. Hence, it requires that you see, believe, and admit your utter sinfulness
(a) cutting off the mastery of what you do (v. 43 - 44)
(b) cutting off the mastery of where you go (v. 45 - 46)
(c) cutting off the mastery of what you see (v. 47 - 48)
Three Marks
A. W. Tozer says that people who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks:
1. They are facing only one direction.
2. They can never turn back.
3. They no longer have plans of their own.
Holy Sweat, Tim Hansel, 1987, Word Books Publisher, p. 187
Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.
Summary:
Are We Ready For Heaven?
In 1991 a Gallup poll showed that 78 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. I wonder why these people would want to go to heaven.
In an article title, “Are We Ready for Heaven?” Maurice R. Irwin points out that only 34 percent of the American people who call themselves Christians attend church at least once a week. He says, “We sing, ‘When all my labors and trials are o’er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.’
However, unless our attitudes toward the Lord and our appreciation of Him change greatly, heaven may be more of a shock than a glory.”
Our Daily Bread, July 31, 1992
Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.
ILLUSTRATION:
If he [man] chooses to relate rightly with God, then he becomes a child of God, and God is able to give Himself to man with all the joys of a happy life on earth and the blessedness of eternity in heaven.
When a free human being uses his freedom to reject the truth of God, and to refuse to relate rightly with him, then there is no alternative except to allow him to do so. In making this choice, man becomes responsible for the results of separation from God.
He lives his life in this world without God, and when he dies, God will not pick him up against his will and drag him into a place so drastically different from the kind of person he has chosen to become.…
My personal belief is that if an unregenerated human should should be taken into heaven when he dies, it would be worse for him than hell would be. - Illustration Book
We thus understand that entering eternal life and being delivered from eternal Hell is not the same as “easy believism”. Easy believism would have you think that all you have to do is pray a little prayer without relinquishing your life to Jesus Christ.
Here we see that eternal life is of supreme worth, and it is worth giving up everything for. Consider the rich young ruler:
Matthew 19:16–22 KJV 1900
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
What does it mean to enter into life? What does it mean to enter into the Kingdom of God? What does it mean to receive Jesus Christ? What does it mean to belong to Christ? It means that Christ becomes the ultimate One in your life, thus ANYTHING THAT WOULD KEEP YOU from a decision to yield yourself to Him is sin. Hence, it requires that you see, believe, and admit your utter sinfulness; see, believe, admit that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the only way to have your sin paid for.....
Are We Ready For Heaven?
In 1991 a Gallup poll showed that 78 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. I wonder why these people would want to go to heaven.
In an article title, “Are We Ready for Heaven?” Maurice R. Irwin points out that only 34 percent of the American people who call themselves Christians attend church at least once a week. He says, “We sing, ‘When all my labors and trials are o’er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.’
However, unless our attitudes toward the Lord and our appreciation of Him change greatly, heaven may be more of a shock than a glory.”
Our Daily Bread, July 31, 1992
Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.

(3) The ultimate valuation of eternal life by Jesus Christ

How valuable is eternal life to Jesus Christ?
THIS PASSAGE: As he says in this passage, it is worth living temporally disabled for the sake of having.
What else shall we say of the one who did not merely lose an arm, a foot, or an eye…Christ willingly laid down his human body so that eternal life would be available to mankind.

Conclusion:

This leaves us with some very important questions:
(1) Can you think of anything that is worth rejecting eternal life?
(2) Can you think of anything that is worth an eternity in Hell?

Peter T. Forsythe was right when he said, “The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master.”

(3) Christian, some have laid aside your initial humility, is that you? You spend your time criticizing and impeding those who are trying to serve. Will you note the patience of the Lord in his admonishment to you and repent of this sin?
William Carey
William Carey is considered the father of modern missions. The man who spent his early years as a cobbler became one of the greatest linguists the church has ever known. It’s reported that Carey translated parts of the Bible into as many as 24 Indian languages. When he first went to India, some regarded him with dislike and contempt. At a dinner party a distinguished guest, hoping to humiliate Carey, said in a loud voice, “I suppose, Mr. Carey, you once worked as a shoemaker.” Carey responded humbly, “No, your lordship, not as a shoemaker, only a cobbler.” Carey didn’t claim to make shoes, only to mend them.
Today in the Word, September 21, 1995, p. 28.
Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.
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