“What is eternal life? (1)”
John 3:16-36

Why do you want to go to heaven?
Do you want to go to heaven because you don’t want to go to hell?
Do you want to go to heaven because you are tired of life on earth?

Jesus is your eternal life now.
36. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Eternal life is a life without condemnation.

16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

John 3:16 may well be the most quoted verse or familiar verse by many people in America. “For God SO loved the world” does not mean what many adolescents mean when they say to one another I love you SO much – a sentiment that has no basis in reality except your own feelings. We call this infatuation – an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something. It’s abstract. It has no reason other than self-justification. It ignores consequences. 

Your sense of entitlement shows your need for greatness and glory. Where do you find yours?
Whenever you feel the sting of condemnation, pain of failure, sadness of being alone, and the madness of insignificance, you are not finding your Christ in Jesus. You want eternal life now. 
The more you cherish your life, the more you feel your life perish.

For God SO loved the world – “So” means “in this way” referring to what Jesus unpacked to Nicodemus patiently and clearly in the first 15 verses.  
The way God loved the world is the patient endurance of rebellion: a slap in his face, a spit in his beauty, a graffiti on his masterpiece.
The way God loved the world is the painstaking work of restoring his fallen creatures and broken world.

From Adam and Eve who wanted to be like God in the garden of Eden, the Israelites complaining to God in the wilderness, the Israelites wanting to be like other nations and having kings, to the Israelites in exile as if they have been buried in Babylon or under the oppressive power of the world – a heap of dead bones – a picture the prophet Ezekiel saw.

Numbers 21 shows the Israelites complaining “there is no food and water, and we hate this worthless food.”  Jesus is lifted up like the serpent in the wilderness to give life – through his death and resurrection and ascension.
In Christ, there is no condemnation. God does not condemn, but people feel condemned already because they do not obey God. 

Eternal life is a life of doing what is true.

20. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 
21. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

What is true – “Aletheia” means real, genuine, true, consistent, what you see is what you get.

Are you being true to yourself as a human being? In your calling? In your roles? In your relationships? In your responsibilities?
Would you like to live your eternal life now?

Walt Disney once said, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”
In Hebrews 3, the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.

Community Group Questions

  1. Why do you want to go to heaven?

  2. Where does your sense of condemnation come from?

  3. What does doing what is true for you look like?