Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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ETERNAL LIFE
John 5:24

24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.   (NAS)

Introduction
What time is it? The clock on the back wall indicates it is 10:23 a. m. We know it has not been moved up for daylight savings time so it is 11:24 a. m. here. But in New York it is 12:24 p. m., while in California it is 9:24 a. m. and in Hawaii, it is 6:24 a. m. So what time is it can be controversial. However, there is one time clock exactly the same all over the world. It is eternal time.

Today I want to preach about Eternal Life. I believe we are already involved in Eternity. You either have eternal life or eternal death. It is possible to receive eternal life today. Please follow as I talk about (1) The Promise of Eternal Life, (2) The Possession of Eternal Life and (3) The Privilege of Eternal Life.
 
 

I.    THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE. v. 24b.
"he who hears my words and believes Him who sent me" 


This promise of eternal life is a motivating promise. Noticing it should cause one to want to hear and believe. This word for hearing is the most often used term in the original Greek N.T. for hearing. However, it means more than just registering sound. It means understanding what you hear. In Mark 4:5 the word is translated 'listen' or 'hearken.' The last phrase of Luke 19:48 brings out what is meant by this word as it says "were very attentive to hear Him" or "they were hanging on His words."

Today as I try to explain as simply as I know how, you need to hear intently. The words can mean the difference of life and death. You need to hear and believe.

If you know you heard, believed and have received eternal life, then you are motivated to tell others. You can not refrain from sharing what you know to be true. On one occasion Peter and John were told not to speak in the name of Jesus. They replied, ". . .we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard."(Acts 4:20). Likewise today, this promise of eternal life motivates those who have it to share it.

This is also a definite promise. It is interesting the way Jesus words what a person is to believe. We must hear the words of Jesus but believe on "Him who sent me." Why do we have to believe the Father who sent the Son? Because Jesus is not just a good teacher, prophet, or world leader. He is the Son of God. If you don't believe God sent Jesus for the redemption of mankind, you have not really heard the words of Jesus. He said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." He also said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."

If you hear the words of Jesus and believe, you have eternal life. The promise is definite. Your belief needs to be more than historical fact, it must be experienced. Having made a commitment of your life to Jesus, you experience Him and know He is your Lord and Savior.

Illustration
Recently I heard Billy Graham say, "When I was 16 I hated church. I vowed I would quit when I was old enough." Then a revival crusade swept through his home town, and he was saved. He told his parents the preacher and church had sure changed since the revival crusade. His parents assured him that although the crusade had affected many people, the real difference was that he was hearing and participating as a saved person.

Application

Have you heard the words of Jesus and believed? The promise of Jesus is a definite promise and you should be motivated by it to respond to His Lordship. Notice the next phrase.
 
 

II.    THE POSSESSION OF ETERNAL LIFE. v. 24c.
"has eternal life" 


This phrase of the scripture emphasizes eternal life to be a present possession. The word "has" is present, not future. The promise of eternal life is not something you say, "I hope I've got" or "I hope someday to get it." It is eternal life beginning when you meet the conditions laid down by Jesus.

Some say it is impossible to know. I simply ask, "do you believe in the Bible?" It says in I John 5:13 "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." Romans 8:38-39 tells us "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord." Can we believe the word of Jesus? He said "has eternal life." Notice also in your Bible John 3:16. It is a present possession.

If this possession is not obtained while you're here on this earth, it will not be gained after this life. This world is its only birthplace. All who enjoy it in heaven, began knowing it while on this earth. It begins by hearing and believing.

Eternal life is also a transforming possession. It changes a person's nature. You become one with a spiritual, rather than just a physical nature. It is clear from II Cor. 5:17 ". . .the old things pass away; behold, new things have come." The transformation is caused by hearing and believing. It changes a person's habits. We receive power to get rid of the garbage in our lives. It transforms a person's vision. They get a Christ-centered world view rather than a self-centered world view. One begins to have a desire to please God. You see the world as a place to minister.

Have you ever bumped into a mannequin and apologized? Most of us have. They look life like at a glance. However, on a careful look, they are obviously not real. Dead bodies also can be distinguished from living bodies. So also the transformation that takes place in the receiving of eternal life is noticeable. It does make a change in a person.

Illustration
This gold band I have on my finger is my wedding ring. I chose it and I think it is the best wedding ring I have ever seen. It would be silly for me to say I want a ring like this; I already have one. This watch I have on, I'm very pleased with its performance. You would question my knowledge if I said I hope I get one of these someday. This is a pocket watch that belonged to my grandfather. My aunt had it and decided that since my grandfather was a layman preacher, he would be pleased if I had it. Should I say to my aunt I wished she would give it to me?
 

Application

My point is this! Eternal life is a present possession. If you receive the words of Jesus and believe, you'll have eternal life. Don't hope for it, but receive it. If you have obeyed the teaching of Jesus to hear and believe, then you have eternal life! It is a transforming present possession. Consider the next phrase of scripture as it relates to eternal life.
 
 

III.    THE PRIVILEGE OF ETERNAL LIFE. v. 24d.
". . .and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." 


It is a privilege to enjoy eternal life today. Anyone who hears and believes is free to serve out of love. They know they will not be judged concerning their eternal relationship with the Lord. It is a privilege to have a relationship with the Lord who wants us to know judgment for salvation is a past experience. It is settled for those in Christ. There is no fear of losing this eternal life.

Eternal life is also a privilege tomorrow. We can enjoy the sunlight of eternal life today, but tomorrow we can enjoy what we will evade. We will evade judgment because we have passed out of death into life. Eternal life had a battle with judgment and eternal life won. The score was settled on the cross and all who hear and believe have passed the test in Jesus.

Illustration
Bro. Fred Miller today receives his B. A. degree, it will be a privilege for him to walk across that stage and receive that parchment with the legal signatures, etc. on that piece of paper called a sheepskin. Fred will enjoy today. He will also count it as a privilege in all of the tomorrows that he will not ever again have to complete a course for that degree. Why? Because he passed the course requirements.

Application

In Christ judgment is passed. When you hear and believe, you receive eternal life. Are you one of those people who count it a privilege to know you have eternal life? If you have never acknowledged Jesus as Lord, then today hear and believe.
 
 

CONCLUSION

Eternal life is (1) A promise from Christ. (2) A present possession from Christ (3) A privilege for all who hear and believe.