That we may believe & live
Automatically Generated Transcript
Good evening and the peace of the Lord be with all of you. I used to preach almost every Sunday. Looking back now, I just wonder how I managed it. The thing is, over the last few days, whenever I look at my notes, I want to make changes to it. So, if you feel that later on you find me appearing to be uncertain or even ill-prepared, you understand. Let's have a quick word of prayer before we begin. Father, thank you for the fact that you speak to us through your written word. As we open up your word again tonight, we pray that you would speak to us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Take away all the things that your servant shouldn't be speaking and also cause him to speak things which he should be speaking, even though they may not be in his notes. So that whatever we say and hear tonight, all glory will go to you. And we invite your Holy Spirit to be with us. That our hearts may be sensitive to your reading and speaking, so that we can take away things that you want us to say tonight and do during the week.
For we ask this for Jesus' sake. Amen. When Angie and I decided to go back to our home group, that is the one in Morocco, they were already into John 4. So I decided to review the earlier chapters before attending our first meeting. And when Jim, Pastor Jim, asked me to speak tonight, I thought I could use some of these notes I've written down. Interestingly, it does tie in with the excellent series that he's doing now, which is the Beatitudes. The title of my sermon is taken from John 20.31, which is the stated purpose of the book. That is, that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. And that by believing, you may have life in his name. Am I echoing? Yeah. Is there something? Can we do better than that? Thank you. Okay. The three key points in this verse. First, John's Gospel is selective and very purposeful. Thank you. It's much better. So first, John's Gospel is selective and purposeful. Secondly, the aim of writing is that the readers, like us, will believe in Jesus. And the third thing is, the end result of the belief is that we will have eternal life in him. Tonight, we are just focusing on the encounter of Nicodemus with Jesus.
It's a very familiar passage, but I'm sure we will have something to take away tonight. Just to help you to follow me better, I have an outline on the screen, which is our second slide. I have only four slides. Our second slide. I'll start with a brief overview of the book. Then we will have a quick look at the passage that we are focusing on. And then we'll jump into those two key questions in our sermon or deliberations tonight. What does belief mean? And what is the meaning of eternal life? And then we will conclude. So we begin with a brief overview of the Gospel. So we begin with a brief overview of the Gospel. Whereas the three Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and John are records of Jesus' life in ministry, the fourth Gospel is actually a reflection of Jesus by the aged apostle Paul, who has followed his master, Jesus, for more than 70 years. John was probably only a teenager when he started to follow Jesus. And history records that he died in his 90s. He was the only, apparently, the only 11 apostles that died at a ripe old age. I believe he wrote this Gospel after, not before, but after he was released from exile in the Isle of Patmos, where he experienced those fantastic visions that we have in the Book of Revelation.
I think most people say it is the other way around. Revelation is last, you know, Revelation is last. John first, but I think it's the other way around. Because unlike the synoptics, which is Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the synoptic Gospels, John is, but like Revelation, the Gospel of John is full of images and symbolism. Like light of the world, the bread of life, streams of living waters, the sheep at the gate, and so forth and so forth. John begins his Gospel with a prologue. To me, it's a beautiful portrait of Christ, the eternal Word of God, who took on human flesh and lived amongst us some 2,000 years ago as Jesus of Galilee. Then in Chapter 2, he actually gave us a neat synopsis of the Gospel. He actually gave us a neat synopsis of the content of the Gospel. Jesus' mission on earth at two levels with two episodes. So the first episode is at the personal level, the episodes of turning water into wine. And that speaks to us of a personal and individual transformation of our life if we believe in Jesus. First episode, personal level, water into wine, the personal transformation that Jesus can cause to do in our life.
And then the second episode, as you will know, the second or the cleansing of the temple, speaks to us at a corporate level, the religion of Israel, therefore our faith as well. The restoration of the religion which is pure and holy that God gave to the early people of God in the Old Testament, which has been corrupted. So Jesus came and cleansed it and restored it and revitalised it. So Chapter 2, those two episodes, it is a very good, neat synopsis of what he came to do at the personal level and then at the corporate or community level. And then the narrative of writing all those things so that we may believe and have eternal life unravels from Chapter 3 onwards. So this is the quick overview of the Gospel of John. Now, thank you, David, for reading the Scripture to us, which is John 3, the encounter of the redeemer of Jesus. I just want to refresh your memory and give us a quick summary of those 16 verses or so. We read of three things about Nicodemus. I think I might just call him Nico. Nicodemus is quite a mouthful.
Three things with our friend Nico. First, he was a Pharisee, which means that he belonged to an elitist religious group in those days, known for their exaggerated interpretations of the law, which is the Jewish religion. First thing, he was a Pharisee. The second thing is that he's a member of the Sanhedrin. That is the Jewish religious council or ruling council, rather. Now, in those days, as I think all of us would know, Israel is under the rule of the Romans. But by and large, the Jews were quite free to do what they want, except for it is a religious group. They were free to do what they want, except for internal security reasons, issues, I guess. So this council called the Sanhedrin looked after all these interests of the Jews. And here, Nicodemus is a member of this ruling council. And the third thing we read about Nicodemus is that he was a teacher. Now, the English translation does not do justice to it. We read this in verse 10 when Jesus said, Aren't you a teacher of Israel, yet you didn't understand what I said to you? It is really saying that Nicodemus was a leading teacher of Israel in those days, a very respected teacher in those days.
Now, the Pharisees have a very bad report in those days. People don't like them very much, very arrogant and so forth. But here we see a man who was very level-headed, very humble. He came and he called Jesus Rabbi. That means he's considering Jesus superior to him, coming from God. And he was prepared to listen or to be taught by Jesus. The second thing that we read from the scriptures is that the kingdom on earth, which the conversation talked about, is the realm where God reigns. And where people, the people of God long to go into, to belong to the kingdom of God. And to see or enter the kingdom of God means simply to be in the presence of God. To be in the presence of God. It is basically a spiritual realm at the moment. Jesus reigns, but it is the spiritual realm. But when he returns, it will be a physical kingdom, a physical realm, when Jesus comes back. And those of us who believe in him will be brought into this kingdom. So this is what the kingdom of God is about. The third thing that we learn from this passage is that Nicodemus' incredible response is quite natural. It's very natural. Born again? How? Jesus' explanation, born of water and spirit, speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual rebirth is like a strong wind. You can feel the wind in its presence, but you do not really know. It's quite mysterious, the workings of the wind. Well, at least in those days. In these days, we have bombs. The Bureau of Meteorology can tell us all about it. But to them, to the ancients, it is quite a mysterious thing. The wind blows when it's real. So you can feel its presence, but you don't really know the mechanism, how it works and so forth. So is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Flabbergasted, Nicodemus asks, how can it be? And then Jesus gave a parallel from the days of Israel's wanderings in the wilderness, which is in Numbers, in the Old Testament, chapter 21. Basically it says, just as healing came to the snake-bitten Israelites who looked at the bronze snake on the pole in those days, so all people today who look at Jesus by faith, crucified on the cross, will also be healed or saved. Finally, in terms of just summarising what's been taught here, it's not in this passage, but we know that Nicodemus actually appeared twice more in the Gospel of John. Once, in 750, that's chapter 7, verse 50, he opposed the Sanhedrin's view about Jesus. He was a member of the Sanhedrin. You find that very often he opposed their views because he was a righteous person.
And the second time he reappeared in the Gospel is to bury Jesus, chapter 19, verse 39, with Joseph of Arimathea. So actually he was converted. We're not told when. Maybe at this encounter with Jesus. If not, then at another date. Now we're going to address those two questions, and I'm going to do so by looking at three words, or three phrases, or three clauses. The first two, sorry, the third slide please. The first two relates to the first question, which is what does it mean to believe? And then the third one, eternal life, obviously it relates to the second question, the meaning of eternal life. We're going to go into some depth. I dare say it's quite heavy going, so I may have to read a word from my notes. Not much, just one page. You're very clever, people are looking very clever, very bright, so I'm sure you can follow me. There was a man, which is chapter 3, verse 1. Now, there was a man named Nicodemus. The word man is actually redundant. It's quite unnecessary. Because all the Pharisees, all the members of the Sanhedrin were masculine. They were men. It was very much a man's world. Even today I think it's still very much a masculine world anyway, just besides the point.
The word man is quite redundant. So it is there for a reason. It appears in verse 1 for a reason. For a reason. For what reason? It causes us to go back to the last three verses of chapter 2. You know, chapter division, headings, verses and so forth, they are very, very good means to help us to follow scriptures or follow one another. But they are additional to the word of God. Really, this passion of scriptures, this episode of Nicodemus with Jesus should start with chapter 2, verse 23. That is why we read from there and not from chapter 3, verse 1. Right, let me follow my notes closely. Okay, the word man has appeared three times in the small paragraph at the end of chapter 2. The first time, in verse 24, is in its plural form. The second time, in verse 25, in its generic form, meaning mankind or humankind. And then the third time, in verse 25, a singular form, meaning a person, man or woman. So the context of chapter 3 is actually in the last paragraph of chapter 2. And the purpose of the redundant word is to draw a contrast between these people who saw Jesus doing miracles at the Passover, who apparently believed in Jesus, chapter 2, last paragraph, to what Jesus has to say to Nicodemus, who came to Jesus to ask about what does it mean to believe and to eternal life, even though he did not articulate those questions that was in his heart. So there is a contrast between these people.
And we read, I think in one of the last verses of chapter 24, the people who believed were not truly converted because Jesus said, we read, Jesus did not entrust himself to them. Jesus did not entrust himself to them because he knew all men and women. He does not need someone to tell him about what we are like. He knows mankind. He knows all of us. He did not entrust himself to these people who evidently believed, apparently believed in Jesus, but just because of the miracle signs, the miracles don't cause the miracle signs early on. So to believe in Jesus is more than what those crowd did, apparently believing in Jesus. In other words, there are different levels of belief. One is reminded of the parable of the sower and the soils. I think most of us know about it. A sower went to sow his seed. Some seeds fell along the pathway. Some fell on rocks. Some fell among thorns, I think. And then only a few fell on good soil, good ground, and it grew. So these people that we refer to in chapter 2, their belief is transient, momentarily, did not last very long at all. In fact, the word belief in Greek is in the present continuous tense.
That means to believe and to keep on believing. That is the meaning of belief, to keep on believing. But that's not the end of it. We'll go on to the second phrase or the second word in a minute. But I just want to pause here. The first takeaway for tonight. Maybe you won't be hungry by the time you finish some takeaways. Just want to re-emphasize that. To believe means to believe, not just a one-off acceptance, not just a one-off several times, giving accent to Jesus as Lord and Savior, but to listen to Him, to obey Him, to follow Him, the rest of our Christian life. That is to believe. And that is tough. I don't know your journey on earth with Jesus, how life is treating you. I don't know what the world is throwing at you, lots of garbage and rubbish throwing at us all the time. But do not be discouraged. Be encouraged. We'll come back to this point, the second point. But in the meantime, make sure that you keep believing. Make sure that you keep believing. Very quickly, one of the questions I always am asked by people, I was a pastor, Pastor, can we lose our salvation? John, later on, will be very clear on this. But basically, Jesus said, no one, not even Satan, no one, however powerful, dictator, Putin or somebody else, no one can take our faith away. But we can forfeit it. We can lose it because we gave up. So the word here is that hang on, keep going on. Believe and keep believing. That is why the second passage of scripture comes to mind. The first was the sower and the seed. The sower and the seed. The second one is Jesus' farewell discourse. Jesus' farewell discourse in John chapter 14, 15, 16. Jesus said, I'm the vine, my father's the wine dresser, you are the branches. He keeps saying, remain in me, remain in me, abide in me.
The word can be translated remain or abide. It was his farewell discourse. His very last word to his disciples, remain in me. No one can take away our salvation. Be assured of that. Jesus himself said that. Father God said that. But make sure that you don't lose it yourself. So that's the first takeaway. To believe is not just a one-off decision of saying yes to Jesus, but a lifelong commitment to follow him and to trust him. So we go on to the next word or the next phrase, which is born of water and spirit. Nicodemus, as I said earlier, did not ask the question. But Jesus knew what was in his heart and said, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again. This is repeated in verse 7. You must be born again to enter God's kingdom. Nicodemus was obviously flabbergasted. How can people re-enter their mother's womb and be born again? Indeed, what does it mean to be born again or anew? The word can be translated again or anew. Sometimes I prefer anew. I think it's less. So verse 5 gives us the answer. No one can see or enter the kingdom of God being born of water and the spirit. What does that mean? No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the spirit. Water and the spirit. What does that mean? The word spirit is clear. The word spirit is clear.
It refers to the spirit of God or aka also known as the Holy Spirit. But what is the meaning of water in verse 5? The meaning is perplexing. The common interpretation is that it's got to do with a pregnant woman's physiology. I must be honest. I don't find that convincing at all. It's good to be honest when you're dealing with the word of God. I don't think it's a reference to that. I think the phrase born of water and spirit, the phrase is born of water and spirit, not flesh and spirit. So verse 5 is not a contrast between flesh and spirit. That comes in verse 6. But rather the relationship between the two baptisms. The Baptist baptism and Jesus' baptism. I repeat. It's not a contrast between spirit and flesh. That is in verse 6. But rather it is the relationship between the baptism of John the Baptist and Jesus' coming baptism. John said, I baptise with water, but the one after me, namely Jesus, would baptise me with the spirit. John, as we know from the Synoptic, there's the three other Gospels, John was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. The so-called water baptism of John is a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin.
Mark 1, 4, for example. And then Jesus' baptism adds another dimension to what John was doing, that of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Lord's baptism does not replace the forerunner's baptism. Jesus himself was baptised by John, even though he was sinless. The forgiveness of sin, the repentance for the forgiveness of sin is still very crucial, very important, essential to believe. And not bypass when the Holy Spirit comes. So to be baptised with water and spirit is that, first of all, we need to receive the forgiveness of sins, because Jesus died on the cross, he's the one that affected that. Then we move on to allowing, cooperating the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. And we know for a fact that even though John hasn't happened yet, at Pentecost, when Jesus has ascended back to heaven, the Holy Spirit was poured out universally to all believers. At that time, we believers, from that time on, we believers have access to the Holy Spirit. So, it is... And also, again, referring back to John 14, 16, the fabled discourse, Jesus himself makes this very clear. It is to your advantage that I go away, said Jesus, for I will then send you another paraclete like me. In effect, another divine helper. So verse 5 is not about A being replaced by B, but rather A plus B. Water here refers to the baptism of John the Baptist, mentioned several times already. John baptised with water. Water refers to the baptism of Jesus. Nowadays, we baptise in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
That incorporates both the Baptist baptism and Jesus baptism, both for the forgiveness of sin and also for the work of the Holy Spirit in the believers' lives. So we don't have to break that anymore. They're together incorporated into this baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But that's the context in John 3. It was before Pentecost in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit is a very big topic. I always say there are two topics that even we evangelical churches do not spend enough time studying and working on it. One is the work of the Holy Spirit, and the other one is the end times. Lots of evangelical churches do not address those two, for good reasons, do not say very much about those two issues or topics. So when we continue to believe in Jesus or abide in Him, we begin to see the work of the Spirit in our lives. And that takes us to verse 6. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear the sound, but you cannot tell where it came from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit, as I said earlier, is like the wind.
The work of the Holy Spirit is mysterious as the wind. And we cannot see the wind, but we can tell when it's here with us. A good illustration which I'd like to share quickly is when I was still in Singapore, my wife and I come from Singapore. We've been here some 40 years now, so we call ourselves Aussie, true Aussie, Paddington Aussie, not so much Singaporeans now. But in those days, we became Christians in Singapore. We have lots of evangelism or evangelistic efforts. And I can still remember a guy who was a gangster. In our young days, there were lots of gangs in Singapore. These days, it's a very safe place to go, to go and enjoy yourself, no problems at all with security. He became a Christian. But you know what? It was so difficult for him to reprise his former life. We were staging an evangelist meeting, and we called upon our brother Hock Kang to act as a gangster in those old days. And then we would, in the drama, show how he was converted to become a Christian. He just couldn't do it. He was so truly converted, he just couldn't do it. So we knew for a fact that he was born again, born of the Spirit. A spiritual rebirth, and not just a physical rebirth. If I have time, and one of the things I really like to do in the home groups is to ask people to experience with the Holy Spirit.
Because if you are truly born again, if you think about it, reflect about it, there will be times, there will be incidents where you experience the Holy Spirit in your life. That is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is with you. We can't tell when it works, how it works and so forth, but it will. At some stage, you will know that, ah, thank you Father, I know that you are with me, the Holy Spirit is with me. So back to that personal journey on earth. Again, I do not know how life is treating you, what the world is showing at you. But the thing is that the Holy Spirit is given to us. Jesus was with his disciples. Sometimes we wish, ah, I wish we were born then, with Jesus in those days. But the thing is that the Holy Spirit, another paraclete, another Christ, another helper by our side, actually lives in us. Don't ask me how, how he lives in us. Because the Spirit, the Spirit lives basically in our heart. And our heart is not the physical heart that pumps the blood around our bodies. It's the true person that we are, the heart. So don't neglect the work of the Spirit of our life. Just a few references before we move on to the third word.
John 14, 23, anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we, Jesus and the Father, and we will come and make our home with them. Those who believe in Jesus and continue to believe in Jesus will find the Holy Spirit working in their lives, I guarantee that. You believe and you keep on believing, you will know that the Holy Spirit is with you and working in your life. I spoke about this briefly once, I think the last time I spoke in the morning service. One lady came to me and asked, what is the Holy Spirit, what does it do? I struggled to explain to her. At the best of times, after the sermon, I find it very difficult to relate to people, you know, I'm so drained. They ask me very tough questions, but she actually answered her own question. Oh, she said, it is the channel, it is the channel whereby we connect with God and religion. I said, yeah, you got it, I said. Sometimes people answer their questions better than I try to answer them. The Holy Spirit is almost like a, it's a very bad, secular illustration. It's almost like a channel of the TV. You pick the right channel, and that's the channel where you relate to God, you have access to God. Well, you may or may not appreciate that illustration, but there you are.
So we move on, finally, Ephesians 2, 17 to 19, through Christ, we have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit. We have access to the Father through Christ, but by the Holy Spirit. This is how the three in one works, the three gods in one work. Access to the Father through Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross, our sins are forgiven, and then the access actually by, through Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. Go back and read again that scripture, Ephesians 2, 17, 19. Through Christ, we have access to the Father, God, by the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 2, 17 to 19. We come to the third and last word or phrase or clause, eternal life, that appears in John 3, 15 and 16. It's a perplexing and often misunderstood term. My father, who has passed away some 20 years ago now in Singapore, I still can remember once when I went back to Singapore, I tried to speak to him about Christian things. And he said to me in a very nice way, his response, in Cantonese, Don't talk Jesus at my face. Actually, it's a very, almost like a swear word, but he put it very nicely, same words in Cantonese. Don't talk Jesus at my face. In other words, don't splash nonsense at me. Don't splash this nonsense about Jesus at me. Because people struggle to understand what is eternal life. They say, surely people die. Every now and then you see coffins moving around, there's funerals everywhere. What do you mean? People won't die if you believe in Christ. We know Christians die too.
What is this business called eternal life? Don't speak Jesus at my face. Don't splash nonsense over me. I understand that. It's a multi-faceted concept, and I'll just go straight into it briefly. I don't have the time to go into great details. So I've got five things to say concerning eternal life, and then we will conclude tonight. First of all, eternal life is quantitative. Eternal life is quantitative as evidenced by verses such as John 6.40. John 6.40, everyone who looks to the sun and believes in him shall have eternal life. And I will raise him up on the last day. And that is to raise him up to the last day, which is the age which is everlasting, to be with Jesus in the kingdom of God, eternally everlasting. Definitely many, many references, and I just cited one. Eternal life is quantitative in the sense that, yes, we die. Yes, Christians die, but even if we are dead before Christ comes back, we will be raised up. Jesus will come back and call us home, and then we will stay with him, live with him in the kingdom of God, eternally.
So yes, that is true that we will not die. If you don't believe in the resurrection, look at Jesus' own resurrection. That is proof beyond doubt that there is resurrection, because Christ himself rose from the dead. And before that, even if we have a minor kind of a prelude to that, when the guy, Lazarus, was also raised from the dead. So yes, there is eternal life in the sense that we live forever. And even when we die on earth, before Jesus comes back, we still go on because Jesus raised us up. The second point about eternal life is also qualitative. The first point is quantitative, the second is qualitative. When someone said to us, go and have a life, what does it mean? Go and have a life doesn't mean that we are dead, but rather we may be living a very boring or meaningless life, and should therefore take steps to live a more interesting and a more meaningful life. Something like that, but here we talk about not the secular perspective, but the spiritual perspective. That is, John 10.10, for example, Jesus said, I have come that you may have life, and life more abundantly. That's John 10.10. I have come that you may have life, and life more abundantly or more meaningfully, or a life that is both worth living. That is not a reference to life in the next age when Jesus comes back, but life on earth.
We come back to this in my fourth point. The third point is this. It is linked to Jesus, the eternal Lord God. In the prologue in chapter 1 verse 4, in him, that is in Jesus, was life, and that life was the light for the people. Jesus was the light of the world in that sense. He not only teach and taught about life, but he showed it. He showed to us the way we should live as people, as his people on earth, and that is life. That is the qualitative aspect of eternal life. That's the third point. The fourth point is that eternal life is actually both present and future. Present and future. It is now and also is to come. As we've already seen, eternal life is the age to come. We get it in the age to come. However, here and now we can have a taste of it through the Holy Spirit. So we go back to the point about the Holy Spirit. Twice in 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a deposit. And again in Ephesians, he speaks of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance. So the fact that we have the Holy Spirit in our life is a deposit of the life to come that we will have when Jesus returns, but it's also a guarantee that this is true, this will happen, and we will guarantee that we will have this life, the eternal life, the life of God, the life of Jesus in the age to come.
It's both a deposit and a guarantee, and that is the Holy Spirit, the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The fifth thing about, we can say more, just finish with five. The fifth thing is that the eternal life, through John at least, in John's gospel, is a synonym for the kingdom of God. A synonym for the kingdom of God. John does use the term kingdom of God in his earlier chapters, but as the gospel proceeds, he gradually uses and uses more the term eternal life. Not so much kingdom of God, but rather eternal life. You know, it's all about salvation. Whether it's eternal life, or kingdom of God, or saved, or salvation, they're all the same thing, but different aspects of the same thing. The best teaching, the best illustration is in scriptures, the story of the rich young ruler. We won't go into it, I think most of us know the story. It appears in all three synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Actually, Mark said he was a rich person, and Matthew said he was a leader of the Sanhedrin, and I think he was young, and Luke added that he was a leader of the Sanhedrin.
Talking about the story of the rich young ruler, just to try to remember roughly what the story is all about, this guy, the rich young ruler, came to Jesus one day and asked, Master, what must we do to inherit eternal life? I think it was. And then Jesus spoke about it, and said you must give away your wealth to the poor, and so forth. And the man went away unhappy, because he was a very rich man. And then Jesus spoke to his disciples and said, how hard it is, how difficult it is for a rich people to enter into the kingdom of God. And his disciples responded by saying, who then can be saved? So eternal life, obtain eternal life, enter the kingdom of God, be saved. We're talking about basically the same thing, but from different angles, from different perspectives. So we must conclude, I'll just explain a little bit more about this tension between here and now, here and yet to come. This tension stems from the two events of Jesus, the two comings of Christ. It is often said that in his first advent, Jesus came to save. And then in his second advent, which is called the parousia, he's come to judge. Now that is true, but not all of it.
First time he come, first advent to save, second time to judge, true to some extent. Read Hebrews chapter 9, verse 28. Hebrews 9, 28, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many. And he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Didn't say anything about judgement in the Hebrew reference, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Yes, he will come to judge, no quarrel about that, but he will also come to bring salvation to all of us, who are believers, who are still waiting for him. He will come back to rescue us. One final thing, when he first came, when first advent, I mean, he came to save, doesn't mean that, ah, he was... Never mind about this, I think we take another five minutes to go through this. We go on to the conclusion, thank you, we go on to the conclusion. Conclusion, salvation is a process. May be surprise to you, but that's true, that's a fact.
Salvation is a process. We have been saved, that is by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, removing the sins, our sins. Then we are being saved, and that refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, so-called sanctification in theology. And then we will be saved, as we read in Hebrews, when Jesus comes back for us. Salvation is a process, we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. The Christian life now, the life we live now, is only a foretaste of eternal life to come. But the beautiful thing is this, that we are already the children of God, born of the Spirit. We are already children of God, born of the Spirit. Therefore, keep believing, keep hanging in there, until Jesus comes back. Just two references as we finish, John 1, 12. To all who receive Him, those who believe Him, He gives the right to become the children of God.
Children born of the Spirit. Children born of the Spirit. 1 John 3, 1. 1 John 3, 1. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God. And that's who we are, brothers and sisters. Amazing, amazing thing. No religion in the world talks about being children of God. God's children, but we are the adopted children of God. His children, through Christ, by the Spirit of God. We are now the children of God, not when Jesus comes back. And that is the good news, don't you think so? We are now the children of God. So do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Whatever life holds for you, whatever things that you worry about, don't worry too much about it. Because we are the children of God. And God is our Abba, Father, through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Let's pray.
Thank you, Father, for your great love for us. We can't for a moment understand the depth, or fathom the depth of it all. But thank you, thank you very much. You love us so dearly that your Son died for us. And then you gave us your Spirit who lives in us. I pray that each and every one of us tonight will always remember that we have the Holy Spirit. We can face life, whatever circumstances that are around us. And so also this Holy Spirit is a guarantee, is a deposit of the life to come, when we will be with Jesus forever. And also the fact that the Holy Spirit is in us means that we are your children. You love us, you care for us. No one, nothing, will take away this love from you. God bless you. Just help us to continue to believe in you, to believe in you, until you return. And call us to yourself. We thank you, Father, in Jesus' name. Amen.