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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Eternal Life, Do You Want It?

Charles Stanley - Eternal Life, Do You Want It?

Charles Stanley - Eternal Life, Do You Want It?
TOPICS: Eternal Life

There is an ever-growing and very strong interest these days in longevity, that is the duration of our life. In fact, if you'll think about all the emphasis we hear today on good health. And you look around on the television you see all these ads about things you can do to strengthen your life and maybe lengthen your life. The same thing is true of the radio. Off the presses come book after book after book about health. Magazine articles are filled with ideas about health that can prolong your life, supposedly, or at least make your life a higher quality. And of course, the environmentalists are always telling us things that are dangerous for us. And there probably, in fact, I'm sure there are more people buying nutritional supplements today than ever before in the history of our nation. We have this awesome sense of interest in living long, which is natural, and living well out of a high quality of life.

And so we are more concerned about the quality of our food. We're more concerned about our exercise. We're more concerned, now we've added meditation to it. Well, we could have told them that long time ago. You spend time with the Lord and being quiet with Him. Of course, lot of this meditation today has nothing to do with God but it's meditation. And somewhere along the way someone's come up with the idea that this will help lengthen your life or at least make it a better quality. But one of the things that I've noticed about all of this. All of this emphasis on living, and there's nothing wrong with that, all this emphasis on living is in the here and now. It's all sort of earth-bound. It's how can I live better now? Live longer now, better quality of life now, which is certainly natural and normal. But you know, you don't hear much about what about the next life? Because you see you're going to die. That is absolutely inevitable.

The Bible says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment". But there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of interest in a lot of people's minds about that. Most of their interest and their time and their reading and their studying and their discipline is taken up with the here and now, living good now, living long now, living as best as you can. But you know, when I read the scriptures, the emphasis is certainly on living a godly life now. But there's warning after warning, reminder after reminder, that there's a life beyond this.

There is a life beyond death, and the issue is are we ready for that one? Or do we have any real interest in eternal life? And so I would just simply ask you this question. Are you interested in eternal life? Do you know what it is? Do you know how to possess it? Do you realize that once you have it you can absolutely be sure of it? Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message. Simply this, "Eternal Life: Do You Want It"? And I want you to turn if you will to First John chapter five. John makes it very, very clear as to how you and I can have eternal life. If you'll notice in verse eleven: "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life".

And the first thing I simply want to say is this, that is, eternal life is a gift of God. Eternal life is a gift of God. For example, he says it here and then that passage that all of us know so well in Romans chapter six, twenty-three when he says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord". And it's very clear all through the scriptures that eternal life is a gift of God. It isn't something we work for, something we pay for, something we worship for, it is a gift of God from God. Well, when I think about the fact that it's a gift certainly ought to stir up somebody's interest. This isn't, listen, nowhere in the Bible does it say, "If you work so many years, you will earn the gift of eternal life. If you pay so much, you will be able to purchase eternal life".

Now listen carefully. Not being critical, I'm just saying this is the way it is. There's so much goes, there's so much supposedly truth that goes on out there that has a subtle mixture and here's the mixture. You'll hear the message of saved by grace, not by works. But then, if you keep listening oftentimes, the next thing you hear is the fact, though it's not said but it's implied, but in order to stay saved, here's what you got to do. You must do the following things. You must give so much or you must serve God, you must do all these things. Listen, serving God and giving and praying and worshipping are all part of the Christian life and it's what all of us who are saints, it's what we want to do. We love God, we want to do that. But how does that, listen, how does a person come to eternal life? The Bible says it's a gift.

Now watch this. It cannot be, it cannot be the result of what I did and a gift at the same time. It's either gonna be a gift or it's gonna be wages. That's why the Bible says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life". Listen, nowhere does the Bible say that you get it by works. "Not by works of righteousness which we've done, but according to His mercy, His mercy He saved us, He's forgiven us". And so a person says, "Well, sure, you mean to tell me that as wicked as I've been, that if I ask God that He'll give me the gift of eternal life"?

Well, let me ask you this. What are you gonna do for it? You can't answer that question. How long are you gonna do it? How much could you pay, how much could you serve? I think there are people who get into the ministry because they have such guilt over what has happened in their past life that somehow, they've got to pay God back. My friend, you can't pay God back. Let me tell you how absolute that is. God has made the statement so absolute that You can't pay Him back. That's the reason He sent His only begotten Son who is God in human flesh, walking among men. The only perfect man. He sent Him as a substitute for you and me because you and I absolutely could not pay for our own sin except we die and be eternally separated from God. He said, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die".

It's crystal clear. There's nothing foggy and hazy and cloudy about the scripture. It's just crystal clear. "Appointed unto man once to die, after this the judgment. Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Absent from the body, present with the Lord". Crystal clear, very, very clear. It is man who does not want to believe the truth that tries to fog it up and make it foggy and make it hazy. Very clear. Eternal life is a gift. That do, listen, that endless duration of life in the presence of and fellowship with and, and intimacy with almighty God in a place, listen, finally in a place called heaven because eternal life is a gift of God. When do you get it? You get it now. When does it start? It begins right now.

Eternal life isn't something I'm gonna get out yonder after I die, eternal life begins the moment that this experience I'm 'bout to share. The moment this experience takes place, you have it right then and how long does it last? Forever and ever and ever. And listen, no one can tamper with your gift of eternal life. Otherwise, it wouldn't necessarily be eternal. Eternal means it's never ending. Now the big question is, how? How can I possess eternal life? Well, there are two very simple again, two absolutes. The Bible's not hazy about this. Two absolutes. Number one, in order to possess eternal life, I must agree with God about who His Son is. Listen, I must agree with God's witness about who His Son Jesus is.

Now listen to these passages, if you will. Verse ten: "The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; I'm coming back to that now the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son". That is, what did God say about His Son? "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life".

So, what is the testimony? What is the witness of Almighty God about His Son? He says His Son, listen, His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Son of God. Jesus said, "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father. I and the Father are one". Jesus is deity even as God the Father is deity. And so, people who say to you, "Well now wait a minute. You know, I believe in God. You mean to tell me that if I believe in God and I don't believe in Jesus, that I don't have eternal life"? Well, you, listen to what He said. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. That doesn't leave any question. There can be no doubt about that whatsoever. What He's saying here is this. In order for me to have the gift of eternal life, I must agree with God about who He says His Son is. And He says His Son, Jesus Christ is His Son, His eternal Son, the Son of God.

Jesus confessed to being the Son of God. Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God". And all through the gospels He was identified as the Son of God. "If you've seen Me," He says, "you've seen the Father. I and the Father are one". If you've seen Him, you've seen the Father. He and the Father are one. He is deity. And when a person says, "Well now, I do believe in God but I don't believe in Jesus". Then my friend, no matter what else you believe in life, if you do not believe that Jesus Christ is divine, that He is deity. If you do not believe that He is the eternal Son of God, then let me ask you a question. Why did He die? Because if He were just a man, He had to be a sinner.

Now listen to this. You can't have it the way the world wants it. You just can't have it this way. Let me show you why. You can't have it that Jesus was a good man, wonderful man, good teacher, great philosopher, healer, great, a great person in history, but he was not the Son of God and He certainly was not God. Now if you can't have it that way. You say, "Yes, I can". No, you can't because Jesus Christ could not be a good man. He could not be just a philosopher. He couldn't be all of that. If He's not the Son of God, and if He is not God walking in human flesh. If He is not seated at the Father's right hand making intercession for us, then He was a liar, He was an imposter, He was a counterfeit, and He was a fraud.

You can't have a good Jesus unless He's God. The resurrection, listen, the Father's way of putting value and absolute certainty before the whole world. This is not just another religious leader, not just a philosopher, not just a teacher, not just a preacher, not just a theologian. This is the living God coming out, listen, coming out of that tomb because death could not hold God the Son. Validating everything He said and giving you and me the assurance that we need. That when we, when the Bible says, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord". Suppose He was still in the grave. Suppose He was like all other religious leaders. We'd have no assurance whatsoever. We have absolute assurance. Rose from the grave, validated, gave us blessed assurance that He's everything He says He is.

Well first of all, you've got to believe who He is. He's the Son of God, the eternal Son of God who came into the world to die on a cross in order that your sins and mine may be forgiven. But there's a second thing. The second thing is you must be willing to accept Him as your Personal Savior. You must be willing to accept Him as your personal savior. Now, when I think about the whole idea of accepting Him as your personal savior, now what people think about that. Say, "Well, I believe in Jesus". Well, I want you to think about something. Eternal life is irretrievably, irrevocably, immutably linked to the person of Jesus. You can't have one without having the other. Listen to this. "He who has the Son has the life". Not just life but the life, that's eternal life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Now, you say, "Well, here's what I believe". That has nothing to do with it. God says that in order for you to have eternal life you must have the Son. It's not a matter of whether I like it or not or whether I could question all kind of things. He who has the Son has the life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. Period, that's it. The reason I make this emphasis is because people say, "Well now, let me tell you something. I believe in God. I live a good life and I believe that when I die I'm going to heaven because I've lived a good life". Notice what they say. I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe. "If you ask me here's what I'm gonna tell you". Here's what God says.

You say, "Is that just your interpretation"? Well, you're welcome to read it. Here's what it says. "He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have life". Period. It's not what I said, it's what God said. So what does it, what are we talking about when we talk about this whole idea of believing? He says, "To as many as believed in Him, to them gave He the right, the authority, the power to become the sons of God". As many as believed in Him, receive Him, as many as received Him by faith.

Now what does it mean to receive Jesus? It means, watch this carefully. It means that I accept the testimony of God the Father, God the Son. I accept the testimony of scripture about who He is. That He is man's only hope that He's man's savior. That's the way forgiveness comes. If I receive Jesus Christ as my personal savior, that means I accept personally that who He is Christ's Son, God the Father, Jesus, He's the Father's Son, Jesus Christ. I accept who He is. I accept what He did in my behalf, that He died for my sins. I accept that and apply that to my own life by faith. I accept who He is and I accept what He did and I accept the fact that God said if I do so, if I believe Him, I will be saved.

So let me define what believe means. To believe in Jesus means that I have a confident conviction. It means that I have a confident conviction that Jesus is who He says He is. Listen, I have a confident conviction that Jesus is who He says He is. And upon placing my trust in Him, as my savior, I enter into a personal and eternal relationship with Him. It is a confident conviction that Jesus is who He says He is, and upon placing my trust in Him, I believe You're who You say You are. Placing my trust in Him, which would include that I believe what He did at Calvary on my behalf. I enter into by faith, I enter into a personal, eternal relationship with Him. Therefore, when a person says, "Well, I believe about Jesus".

That's not believing in Jesus. One of these days you're gonna come to the end of life. What you've believed all these years isn't going to make any difference whatsoever if you have rejected Jesus all these years. You see, I understand this may be a little difficult for you because of maybe somewhere you've come from in life or whatever your religion may be. I have nothing personal in mind. I'm interested in one thing, that you simply know the truth. That when it comes a time when you close your eyes on this life and you open them on the next one, I just want you to be sure that it will not be a fearful time, a tragic time, a tormenting moment, a moment when you become hysterically uncontrollable because you know when you take your last breath you're going into an endless, uncertain, unknown eternity that you know nothing about.

There's only one way to avoid that and this is the way it is: To accept what God the Father said about His Son. There's only one Jesus. He's God the Father's only begotten Son who came into this world in His sinless perfection for the purpose of dying for your sins. So that the moment you ask Him to forgive you of your sin, on the basis of who He is, the great forgiver. The basis of what He did, He paid your sin-debt in full. Placing your trust in Him you become a child of God. Your eternal future is secure forever. He comes to live on the inside of you to enable you to live a very godly life. That's what this is all about. The gift of eternal life is yours for the asking and yours for the believing.

Do you want it? If you're wise, you'll take it. I'm simply gonna pray a short prayer, but it'll be sufficient. If you're willing to pray this prayer and mean it with all of your heart, no matter who you are, mean it with all of your heart. If you're uncertain, you can make certain just like that. If you know in your heart you've never received the gift of eternal life, you can have it in these next few moments if you will accept the fact, the truth, that God's Son is who we've said He is. He is indeed the Son of God, Jesus the Christ. If you're willing to believe the testimony of scripture about Him in these next few moments, listen, your whole future destiny can be changed the moment you say, "Yes! I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died on the cross for my sin, and I accept Him as my personal savior". Let's pray:

Father, I pray the Holy Spirit has penetrated every single heart that has heard this message. For those who are full of doubts, full of doubts, we want to ask You to settle those doubts right now. For those who know in their heart there's never been a time when they made this momentous decision that affects their whole destiny. Grant them the courage and the simple faith to pray this prayer to You, believing with all their heart, because there's no reason to doubt it, that You've heard and that You've answered even while they're praying.

If you will pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father, I know I've sinned against You. I'm asking You to forgive me of my sin. I do believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that when He went to the cross at Calvary, He paid my sin-debt in full. By faith I receive Jesus as my personal savior. Here and now, I accept Your forgiveness and the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, the Lord, and now my Lord. In His name I pray, amen. If you've prayed that prayer, you can't ever be the same. And my friend, you don't have to worry about death because when it hits you, things are gonna get better instantly because you have the gift of eternal life.

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