Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Brutal Love Series Conclusion: Lesson 7
Eternity John 3:16, Psalm 136, Isaiah 49:15-16, 53:5-6
Consider all the history of mankind from the first found name on a cuneiform tablet from 3200 B.C. to the present day. From the earliest civilizations of the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia and the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt to the crazy world where we now live
in the year AD 2017. Consider all of these years, and who knows how many before history was even recorded, and you have not even scratched the beginnings of eternity. There is really no way for our finite minds to grasp what “forever” even means because we have nothing to compare it to; yet, “forever” is what God has promised to those who love Him — this is “Everlasting Life”.
It is clear in scripture that God and His love endures forever. The psalmist proclaims that in Psalm 136. God Himself proclaimed His great love to His people through His prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 49:15-16): In regards to forgetting we who belong to Him He says: “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” That is exactly what Jesus did on the cross when He paid the eternal price for our sin (Isaiah 53:5-6/ 1 Peter 2:23-25).
When God makes the promise of His love to us it is lavish, costly, brutal and eternal…He never betrays His love for us. “His love endures forever” and God also expects that our love for Him will endure forever too.
Heaven is for Eternal Lovers of God Only John 3:16, 1 John 3:1-3
I have heard some people say that Heaven sounds boring. People that say such things will certainly never go there because Heaven is for eternal lovers only. In other words, no one will be spending an eternity with God and His people unless they are eternally in love with Him. One of the most memorized verses of the Bible is John 3:16 and yet so many people misinterpret it. The verse actually both states God’s eternal love for the believer and the believer’s eternal love for God. It also states the duration of that promised love: “eternal life”. The correct interpretation of that passage is found in the original Greek translation of the word “believe” which is the word πιστευων:
pisteuo pist-yoo’-o: to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ) commit (to trust), put in trust with. A form of the word πίστις: pístis, pis’-tis: assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
fi·del·i·ty /fəˈdelədē/noun Faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support. The degree of exactness with which something is copied or reproduced
According to the actual definition of the word used in scripture the verse would be better translated as follows:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever commits themselves to Him, puts their trust in Him and clings to Him in faith with continuing loyalty and seeks to copy Him with exactness shall not perish but have eternal life.
This passage is not a promise for the cognitive thinker:
[Cognitive: of or relating to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes
[volitional: act of committing oneself]
This passage is a promise for one who is truly and eternally in love with God. Only a person who is truly in love would live out the belief above. A true lover is never bored with his love. Heaven is being with the one we love who is God. It is not being with our loved ones who have departed from this earth. Heaven is being with our God! We may have loved ones who have gone to Heaven because of their love for God, but they do not make Heaven so grand. God does! We can be absolutely sure of one thing about Heaven. No one will be there who does not have an eternal love for God. That love does not begin in Heaven. That love begins here on earth and transports us to Heaven by the promise of God to His beloved.
What Kind of Love? 1 John 3:18, 4:10, 19
What is your love like for God? Does everyone know that you’re in love? Do people recognize your continuing loyalty and support of Jesus. Do they see you as one who desires to be like Him? Do they see you holding up all things of life to His word so that you can be exact in your doctrine? Do you cling to Him in faith despite the circumstances of life? Do you spend your time, talents, and money on things that proclaim His kingdom and advance His causes? What kind of love do you have for God? Would it be enough love to keep an earthly relationship? Could it be proved in a court of law?
Love is verb. Love is action according to 1 John 3:18 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Love is a cross or nothing at all. That is to say that love is a sacrifice and Jesus sacrificed His life for our love. What do we sacrifice in thanksgiving? It is no amazing thing that we should love Jesus for what He has done on the cross to secure our salvation. He has demonstrated love to us in every way. Our natural response should be love for Him that is nothing short of brutal! Humble, active, sacrificial, reconciling, vested, supernatural and eternal love lived out with everything we’ve got.
Learning to Love Mark 12:30
Perhaps your love for God is far from eternal. To know God is to love Him, your knowledge begins with His Word. As you come to know Him deeper you will desire Him, yearn for His righteousness, His Word, and His grace. Then naturally worship and praise will come and obedience will follow, because we want to please those we love. Suddenly your keeping His greatest commandment, not out of obligation or religious duty but because you truly love Him…all because He first loved you so brutally well…and so we are eternally His.