No Bloopers Here
Eternal Life, Hope, Jesus
At one time of another all of us have said some things we wish we could take back. We see in television ads all the things various politicians have said that makes them look bad. I’m sure even the President would have answered the MTV drug question differently if he had it to do over again.
In fact, there are entire TV shows devoted to the foolish and silly things people say. They call these compilations, “bloopers”.
There is a genre of bloopers that come from church bulletins. Here are a few of them:
- Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community
- The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church
- The Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
- Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7:00 to 8:30. Please use the back door.
- The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment
- Christmas in October! Santa and Elvis will be here
- The Sermon this morning GOSSIP . . . THE SPEAKING OF EVIL Closing Song: I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY
- The Sermon this morning: CONTEMPORARY ISSUES #3…EUTHANASIA…The closing song: TAKE MY LIFE
In this week’s text some would be tempted to conclude that Jesus made a blooper. But these words Jesus spoke were not slips of the tongue, poor word choices, or mistakes. He knew exactly what He was saying and what he was saying is the foundation on which our faith stands or falls.
He Claimed to be Without Sin (v.46)
What a bold claim this was. Who of us would dare to invite others to point out our sins. We wouldn’t do it because there would be too many willing “helpers”. Jesus can make this invitation because He was without sin.
There are a couple of factors that make this claim very important. First, it is important because no one produces any wrongdoing. No one. The best they can do is insult Him. They don’t have any sin to accuse Him of so they call Him a Samaritan and claim He is demon-possessed (v. 48). When your foes begins to insult you rather than address the issue, you have won the debate.
Second, this is an important claim because we need someone sinless to be our Savior. No one of us could die to pay for the others sin. Why? Because we have our own huge debt to deal with. We need someone without sin to take our debt upon Himself. That someone is Jesus.
He Claims to be The Way to Eternal Life
In verse 51 Jesus says, “if a man keeps my word, he will never see death.” Jesus claims that someone who becomes His follower will never die. Now the Jewish leaders choose to ridicule rather than ask for an explanation. If they had asked Jesus to explain they would have seen that Jesus was not saying we would never die physically . . . we all do that. He was talking about eternal death – separation from God. Jesus says those who keep His word will never experience what the Bible calls “the second death”.
In John 14:6 Jesus goes even further. He is not just A WAY to eternal life . . . He is THE way to eternal life. Later Jesus claims to be the only way to Heaven.
The implications of this statement are enormous. First, it means “being saved” involves more than mental assent to a list to truths. It means following, keeping, believing enough to take action. (See last week’s sermon).
Second, it means there is a real heaven and hell.
Third, in Deuteronomy 30:19 Moses tells the children of Israel that he has “set before them heaven and hell”. Jesus has told us the truth, now it is up to us to respond to that truth. We must respond.
Jesus Claims to be the Focus of Old Testament Hopes
In verse 56 we read “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the though of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” Jesus tells his listeners that Abraham looked forward to His coming. When God promised Abraham that through “his seed” all the nations of the earth would be blessed, he was talking about Jesus.
When Moses talked about a prophet that was to come, he was pointing to Jesus. When God told Adam that the seed of the woman would have his heel bruised but this seed would crush Satan’s head (Gen. 3:15), He was talking about Jesus. When Isaiah talked about the suffering servant, when Daniel spoke of “one like a Son of Man”, when Solomon spoke of the “rose of Sharon”…. they were all pointing to Jesus.
When God set apart the Day of Atonement it was to be a picture that pointed to Christ. When God established the Passover it was meant to point to God’s activity on our behalf through Christ.
The men and women of the Old Testament were saved the same way we are today. They believed in the one God would send. They trusted God’s promise.
Jesus Claimed to be God
The final claim is the boldest of all . . . Jesus claims to be God in human form! He said to the people, “Before Abraham was, I am”. This is not poor grammar . . . Jesus knew exactly what He was saying.
Jesus claims to be eternal. He says He existed before Abraham was ever born.
Jesus applies the name of God to Himself. In Exodus 3:14 Moses asks God for His name. God answers, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
Now it is easy to think that Jesus did not mean to imply that He was God. However, I point out two things. First, the Jews understood Jesus to be making this claim. They picked up rocks to stone Him for making such an assertion. Second, Jesus made no effort to correct the people’s impression. In fact, Jesus never stopped people from worshiping Him. He accepted their worship gratefully.
- We must make a decision. As C.S. Lewis so aptly stated it, Jesus was either a Liar, a Lunatic or the Lord. There are no other options. He is not a “great teacher” if He is lying here. He is not a “great man” if He was deliberately leading His followers astray. If He is lying we should have nothing more to do with Him. If He is telling the truth we should worship Him.
- We must be careful to treat our Lord with the reverence and honor He deserves. He is God and we should not treat Him lightly. Be gone with the idea that Jesus is our “pal” . . . He is our God.
- We must realize what we owe Him. He deserves more than half-hearted service from His people. We must realize that getting excited about sports and not Him is an insult. Pursuing profit but not eternity is worse than spiting in his face. We are called to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
We all make mistakes in our speech. When we do, the best thing we can do is laugh about it. But make no mistake, Jesus knew exactly what He was saying. He was calling us to a decision. And I do likewise. Today I set before life and death, heaven and hell. What do you choose? Will you bow before the Master or will you treat His claims as those of a crazy man? Make the choice carefully . . . there is much at stake.