Have You Received God’s Eternal Love?

HAVE YOU RECEIVED GOD’S ETERNAL LOVE? by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

haveyoureceivedgod'seternalloveIntroduction: This morning is part 2 in our series – BEFORE THE MANGER: HOW CAN A BABY CHANGE MY LIFE? Today’s message is titled – “HAVE YOU RECEIVED GOD’S ETERNAL LOVE?”

Revelation 13   1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name…6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Overall Background: If there’s one book in the Bible that’s the most challenging to understand, it’s the Book of Revelation. There are as many views on this book as there are people reading it! I have studied this book for years and preached on it but I confess that there’s so much I still don’t know. But, in my opinion, the one theme that stands out over everything else in this book is this – “for every truth that God has given to us, Satan has tried to offer a counterfeit, especially when it comes to Jesus Christ.” In verse 8 we just read, people are worshiping the beast/Antichrist instead of the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” My purpose today is not to preach prophecy, maybe another time. My purpose is to tell you that Jesus Christ alone is the true Lamb of God. He is not some afterthought. He is not some last-ditch effort to rescue humanity. He is not some contingency plan drafted at the last minute to help us. Jesus was not brought in at the last moment as the ship was sinking. “Would you please be our lifeboat, our life jacket and save us?” Jesus was the “Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.”

Question: Who is Jesus to you? Is He just one of many ways to God or is He the Lamb of God? Is He just a good thing to have along with many other things or is He your only hope of salvation? Do you understand the eternal love of God for you and me even before time began? Are you saved?

Today we will try to understand the eternal love of God for us in Jesus Christ. First, we will see what a counterfeit looks like and then, we will see the true savior.

I. THE COUNTERFEIT SAVIOR 

Listen again to verse 1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. What exactly is going on here? First, what is this sea? Revelation 17:15 clarifies that “The waters which you saw, . . . are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” The sea is the “sea of humanity.” Out of the millions of faces in the sea of humanity there will rise the beast who will grow in prominence and power. Some think that this beast will be a religious organization. Others think it’ll be a king or a kingdom. Either way, the source of this beast will be this world. By the way, the source of Jesus is not this world. He made this world but He is from above.

Verse 2 “The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” The Dragon of course is Satan who will offer the beast all this. Do you remember the last time Satan offered someone all the kingdoms of the world and authority and glory? It was to Jesus when He was fasting in the wilderness. Jesus refused but the beast will receive it. Verse 3 “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” Do you see what’s happening here? Satan is creating a counterfeit savior! The beast will die and then he or it will be resurrected just like Jesus died on the cross but rose again on the third day. Verse 4 “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” Just as God the Father receives the worship through God the Son, the devil will receive worship through the beast. Then he will blaspheme God and use charming words to draw people away from Christ and even war against God’s people and overcome them.

Verse 7 “And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” Who does that remind you of? Jesus! As He was taken up into heaven He said in Matthew 28 18 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Now Satan is trying to counterfeit the glorified and ascended Christ. Will all this counterfeiting work? Verse 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him.” The world would rather worship the beast, the Antichrist, or the false Christ instead of Jesus Christ. But listen to the words following – “whose names have not been written in the Book of Life.”

Throughout the history of this world, Satan has been trying to counterfeit the true Savior. He tried with Cain by getting him to bring an offering of fruits and vegetables. He tried it with children of Israel by getting them to worship the golden calf. Satan is not interested in take us away from worship. He just wants us to worship some false substitute.

Application: Whom are you worshipping? Is it the counterfeit or is it the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? The counterfeit doesn’t have to be a scary beast or Antichrist. It can be self. It can be religion. It can be a false idea or view of God. If it’s anything or anyone other than Christ, then you are lost?

II. THE TRUE SAVIOR 

Let’s go back to verse 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life.” Meaning: The names of true believers are in the Book of Life. Who does this book belong to? “the Book of Life of the Lamb.” Meaning: The rightful owner of this book is Jesus Christ. Why is He the rightful owner? “the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Because Jesus resolved to give His life for us even before He created this world. Yes – 2000 years ago Jesus died on a hill called Calvary outside a city called Jerusalem. But before there was a hill or a city or this earth or this universe, even before a single atom or molecule was even created, the work of redemption was as good as done. This is why in Ephesians Paul calls the salvation of God His “eternal purpose.” (Ephesians 3:11)

Since the beginning of time the world has been waiting for this Lamb to come. In the Old Testament the big question was “Where is the Lamb?”

  • Remember when Abraham was told in Genesis 22:2 “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” On the way there, Isaac asked his father in verse 7 “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” 9 “…And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.”…13Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The–LORD–Will–Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Jehovah Jireh literally means “Jehovah will see.” This was a foreshadow of the Lamb of God.
  • Remember in the Book of Exodus the Hebrews where in slavery in Egypt. In Exodus 2:24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. He sent Moses to redeem His people. Pharaoh kept hardening his heart and God sent one plague after another. Then came the final plague – death of every male firstborn. God told Moses in Exodus 12 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel… “…every man shall take for himself a lamb…5 Your lamb shall be without blemish…6…Then…kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses…” 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike Just as God had told them, it happened. This was a foreshadow of the Lamb of God. In I Corinthians 5:7 Paul says, “…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” So also Peter in I Peter 1 says 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
  • In Isaiah 53 it says 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,

While the question in the Old Testament was “Where is the Lamb?” the answer in the New Testament was “Behold the Lamb.” John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Again in John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Everywhere Jesus went and everything He did He was allowing the people to examine Him and to see that He was indeed the spotless Lamb of God.

While the question in the Old Testament was “Where is the Lamb?” and the answer in the New Testament was “Behold the Lamb,” the focus in the rest of eternity will be “Worthy is the Lamb!” In the Book of Revelation 29 times Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God.

Revelation 5   11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Will you part of those who praise Him? Do you know the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world? Are you saved

WHOM ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

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WHOM ARE YOU FOLLOWING? by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church

whoareyoufollowing

Introduction: We are at that time in our service when we hear God’s Word so I want to welcome all of you again. I also want to welcome those who are joining us by radio. Thank you for tuning in! We’re in our series on the life of Christ from all four gospels and this morning we are in John 1 for our message titled – “WHOM ARE YOU FOLLOWING?” All of us are following someone in our life – a parent, a friend, a famous personality, and even someone who is dead and gone. The question is not are you following someone. The question is “whom are you following?” If you follow the right person, it’ll be the way of life. If you follow the wrong person, it will be the way of death.

John 1 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” 32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” 35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

Overall Background: The passage we just read took place after the temptation of Jesus. As you know, Jesus was in the wilderness of Judea tempted by the devil himself. After 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus rejected every attempt of the enemy to entice Him in sin. Having triumphed, Jesus returned from the wilderness to begin His ministry but He did so by coming by the place where John was still baptizing people near “Bethabara beyond the Jordan.” (John 1:28) He came by there for a reason. It was to signal to John that the time had come for the show to start. Since the beginning of time this show had been planned and now the day had come for the “Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” to do what He came to do. How did John respond to this? Verse 29 again – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Meaning: So far John was the main event. Everything was about him. People came to him and looked up to him. He could have hung on to his disciples but he didn’t. No arguments, deliberations, or hesitations. In fact, he didn’t even let Jesus say a word but humbly and totally he gave up his ministry and pointed to Jesus. Wow! The Bible records it twice. Listen to verse 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” What was the result? Verse 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Would you have done that? We don’t even like to give up our seat in church!

Application: This morning there are 2 questions: 1. “Are you sending people to Jesus?” “Are you telling your spouse, children, and grandchildren to follow Jesus?” 2. “Are you following Jesus?” “Are you looking to Him in your life?” “Is He your focus?” “Is He your Master?” “Is He calling the shots in your life?”

This morning we will address 3 questions about following Jesus:

 I. HAVE YOU SEEN JESUS?

29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him…”

Background: John “saw” Jesus. This sight of Jesus was more than just the physical sight. The Holy Spirit had opened John’s spiritual eyes to really see Jesus! When did this happen? John tells us in verse 32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him. You can be in church all your life and never know Him. ‘but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit had opened John’s spiritual eyes.

Have you seen Jesus? I am not talking about your physical eyesight – not just the rays of light entering through the cornea, bending through the pupil, reflecting on the retina, and being transformed into electrical impulses that are send through the optic nerve to the brain. The Holy Spirit has to reveal Him to you.

Someone might say, “I wish I could see Him physically.” Did you know that spiritual eyesight is more blessed than the physical eyesight? After Jesus rose from the grave, he revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene and several of His disciples who were hiding. John 20:19 “…Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” Later in verse 24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later Jesus showed up in that room again and in verse 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Do you remember what Jesus said? Verse 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Application: Have you seen Jesus? Has the Holy Spirit opened your spiritual eyes to see Jesus?

II. DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT VIEW OF JESUS?

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Background: John could have said many things about Jesus. He could have talked Him being the King of Kings or the Creator of the World or the Prince of Peace. Instead, he repeats the same epithet twice. See again in verse 36 ‘And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”’ Several important points need to be made here:

  • Jesus is the LAMB – Here Lamb does not imply gentleness or willingness or humility or silence. It implies “purity.” Just like on the night of the Passover in Exodus 12 1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying…3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: “On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household…5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. John, the writer of the gospel, repeatedly tries to emphasize this idea throughout his gospel and even into his letters. Listen to 1 John 3 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure…5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

Even Peter emphasizes the purity of Jesus in 1 Peter 1 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

Lamb implies the purity of Jesus.

  • Jesus is THE Lamb of GOD – Here “THE” (the definite article) emphasizes the fact that there is no one else like Him. He is not one of many. He is the only one. What else? He is the Lamb “OF GOD.” Meaning: He is God’s chosen one. He is God’s offering. Just like on Mount Moriah where Abraham took his son Isaac to sacrifice him. When Isaac asked him in Genesis 22 7 “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” Then in verse 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The–LORD–Will–Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” At this very place the templewas built. Nicole and I stood near the Temple Mount.
    Western Wall and the Temple Mount

    Western Wall and the Temple Mount (All images © 2015 Abidan and Nicole Shah)

    It was amazing to imagine how through the centuries the Jewish people brought their lambs to the temple to be sacrificed. Now, God was bringing His Lamb to the altar to be sacrificed.

  • Jesus is the Lamb of God WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD – Jesus was not just the sacrifice for the Jewish people. He is for all people. He is the only answer for the sin of every human being. Even more – he takes it away from us and not just for those who lives in the first century but every century until the end of time. He will keep taking it away.

For e.g. This has been many years ago when I was a little discouraged about the church. One day the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart – “Preach Jesus and see what will happen.” John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

III. WHAT IS YOUR DECISION?

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

Background: “Behold” – The Greek word is ide meaning “look” or “there it is.” John had to point Him out. I am always amused by the Medieval and Renaissance painters who paint Jesus and make Him look so attractive and easily recognizable. If that’s not enough, they always depict Him with a halo (dinner plate) around his head. Nothing could be further from the truth. He was very ordinary in His appearance. In fact, Isaiah 53:2 says, “…He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

When you point people to Jesus, don’t expect them to see Him immediately. Sometimes, it takes time. Sometimes, it takes more than one attempt. Sometimes, it takes pleading. But once they truly see Him, they’ll never turn away.

37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

A few verses down in verse 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah”…42 And he brought him to Jesus. Later in verse 43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me”…45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

If you’ve seen Him, you have a decision to make. Are you going to follow Him?

If you have seen Him, are you showing Him to others?

Do you know what the motto is of our church? MAKING CHRIST VISIBLE.

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