It's back.

Greetings! With summer fading and our students back in school, we resume our Tuesday Talks—I hope you are as expectant as I am for good things! The girls and I read 1st John with each other last night, and as they read aloud, I noticed a reoccurring phrase… ETERNAL LIFE. When I awoke this morning, I felt an urge to read John’s letter again with a purposeful desire to note the frequency of John’s usage of “eternal life”. I counted six times—this is not to include the numerous occurrences of the word “life”. In five brief chapters the apostle uses the word “life” and the phrase “eternal life” multiple times. Why? I believe we possess the tendency to think of the ancients as less complex humans. When we read about their lives—especially in the Scripture—we forget that they longed for things, cared deeply for their children, wrestled with similar fears, and struggled with the same insecurities as we do now. It is remarkably easy for us to read the New Testament and forget that in order to follow Jesus the apostles quit their jobs, embraced poverty, and spent considerable hours away from their wives and families. We fail to account that Paul gave up a prestigious government position and all future advancement to become a missionary to the Gentiles. We fail to notice that Peter and Paul spent the last night of their lives in prison knowing they would be executed the next day. We struggle to consider that John was exiled and isolated to a prison colony until his death. I wonder what went through their minds as they counted the cost of all they abandoned in order to follow Jesus? I think John’s writings reveal to us that his focus was not upon what he had lost; rather, it was upon what he would gain—eternal life. The hope of an everlasting and unfading life moved Paul, Peter, and John to passionately serve Christ at the cost of all this world had to offer. Paul said he counted all things as rubbish in order to gain Christ (Phil. 3:8). Peter saw himself as a stranger and alien in this life (1st Peter 2:11). John understood the promise of God to be eternal life with Jesus (1st John 2:25). These men lived for something greater than this life. By necessity, this means they understood that there were good things in this life; however, these good things failed in comparison to the great promise of eternal life in the presence of the Lord. I believe it is more than reasonable, in fact… necessary, to understand that the Biblical characters longed for their families, desired success, experienced anxiety in the stresses of life, and desired a future. However, I believe it to be a reasonable deduction that they learned to submit these hopes and fears to the great promises and word of God; that is, they placed their faith in God and His eternal care of their souls. Our present situation should prompt us to do the same. Our economy is weakening, our government is at war with themselves, our health is at stake, and our churches are failing—isn’t it time that we press into the promise of life with Christ instead of hoping that things get better here? This world in its present form is passing away (1st John 2:17), let us live for an eternal kingdom and an unfading life (1st Peter 1:4). I hope this encourages you to seek the Lord and enjoy His presence today. In Christ, Pastor Darin