Pastor's Blog
Thursday, 17 May 2012
Did you file your income taxes on time?  If you didn’t, I hope you were aware of what is called an “automatic extension.”  There is a simple form that you can fill out and file it by the tax deadline, requesting an automatic extension to file your taxes.  It doesn’t give you extra time to pay your taxes, but just to file the form.  They call it an automatic extension because it is automatic.  You will not be turned down.  Everyone is eligible for an automatic extension to file his or her taxes.

But eternal life is not an automatic extension of your physical life. 

One day an expert on Jewish law asked Jesus what is probably the most important question anyone will ever ask or answer: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Since the man who asked the question was a lawyer (or scribe), Jesus put the ball back in his court by asking, "What does the law say?  How do you read it?"

If anyone should have known the answer to such an important theological question, it should have been the Jewish scribe who spent his time copying the Old Testament law, explaining it, and telling people how to obey it. 

The scribe knew the textbook answer and parroted it back: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself."  Jesus told the man he was correct.

According to the scribe, and Jesus affirmed his answer, in order to have eternal life you must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and you must love your neighbor as yourself. 

That’s all you have to do to inherit eternal life. 

And therein lies the problem.  None of us is able to perfectly love God and perfectly love our neighbor.

And that's why we need Jesus.  Where we fall short of God's glory, Jesus was full of God's glory.  Where we miss the mark, Jesus hit the bull's-eye.   Where we fail to love God and people, Jesus died on the cross to show His love for the Father and His love for you.  He perfectly fulfilled the law, God's law.

God wants you to love Him with all your heart and to love people as much as you love yourself.  But while you are struggling with that, why don't you go ahead and trust Jesus to forgive you . . . and give you eternal life? 

If you will place your faith in Jesus, I promise that you will be much more excited about loving God and loving people.  That's what the Gospel does for us.  It motivates us and empowers us to do what we could never do on our own without Jesus.
Posted by: David Williams AT 02:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, 12 May 2012
The debate on the existence of eternal life is nothing new.  Even the Book of Job, thought by many to be the oldest book in the Bible, poses the question:  “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.  He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. . . . If a man dies, will he live again? (Job 14:1-2, 14, NIV)

Like Job, we have all wondered about this question.  From the moment we realize that death is real, that there is an end to this earthly existence, we wonder what happens next. 

Do we simply cease to exist?  Does our life just end, leaving our body to rot in the grave? 

Or does our soul continue to exist and wander body-less throughout the universe?

Or does our soul come back in a reincarnated state as another person . . . or perhaps an animal . . . or a tree . . . or a rock?

If there is indeed life after death, then what is that life like?  Will I be me and will you be you?  Will we all be together in some paradise?  Or will there be different places for different people . . . a good place and a bad place, a heaven and a hell?

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a survey of the U.S. religious landscape a few years ago and they found that most Americans believe in life after death.  About 75 percent of Americans believe in an afterlife, and about that same number believe there is a heaven where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded.  And I suspect that nearly everyone who believes there is a heaven and a hell thinks they will surely be one of those who go to heaven.

What about you?  Do you believe in life after death?  Do you believe in heaven?  Do you believe you will spend eternity in heaven?  Why?  On what do you base that belief?
Posted by: David Williams AT 10:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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