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We had some guests for our study this evening, so was spent the early part of the study reviewing what we had studied for the previous 4 weeks.  This study is a little longer than the others in the "Perishing" series.

Perishing 5

God’s desire is that all of us might repent, and live in obedience, that we will have life for the coming age.  [2 Peter 3:9]  Not willing that any should perish.  The promise is singular.  What is that promise?  It has reference to 1 John 2:25, which says, “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal age-lasting life.”  It’s talking about life in the coming age.

[John 3; mark your place here]  Last week, we looked at several passages in this chapter, and in [John 3:3].  This is a reference to a person who is born from above; he has believed unto salvation; he has the privilege of seeing the Kingdom.  But, to enter into the things pertaining to the Kingdom, we look at [John 3:5; out of water and spirit].  Some mss have the “Kingdom of the Heavens”, not the “Kingdom of God”.  But, it’s a reference to ruling and reigning. 

[1 Peter]  There is one translator in the old translations who uses this word in John 3:5, the same as [1 Peter 1:3].  What he says is that in John 3:5, to be born out of water and spirit is to be born again.  It’s another beginning.  When you think of a birth, it’s the beginning of the life of a child, even though he has been in the womb.  When he’s born, it’s a new beginning.

When you think about 1 Peter 1:3, God the Father has begotten us again or begotten us anew.  Here in 1 Peter 1:3, the implication is clear:  He begot us the first time; where?  From above.  Then, he begets us again unto a living hope.  That hope has to do with ruling and reigning.  Those who have ears to hear and eyes to see are the ones who respond to that message.  This is the pearl of great price.  This is the glorious truth that pertains to his Kingdom.

So, here in John 3.5, we see a new beginning for believers.  The first beginning is in verse [John 3:3].  [Romans 6:4]  In other words, in John 3:5, which we looked at last time, we noticed that water and spirit are both literal; baptism is necessary for ruling and reigning.  If “water” is literal, then “spirit” must also be literal.  If you’re going to spiritualize the water, then you must spiritualize the word “spirit”, which is just plain silly; it’s an error in exegesis or critical interpretation of the Scriptures.

But, here in Romans 6, we find what we see in John 3:5.  Being dead in Christ, buried in baptism, we are raised again in newness of life; a new life.  It’s a new way of living.

[Colossians 3]  John 12:24-26, which says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”.  [Colossians 3:1-5a; earth – put yourself to death; dying to one’s self]  What it’s saying in Colossians 3 and John 12, is there must be a dying to self.  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.  This word “mortify” literally means, “to put to death”.  This is a way to look at baptism.  Baptism is symbolic of death to self, and you are raised to newness of life.  You are now walking with the Lord, seeking those things, which are above.

Now, this is John 3:3 and 3:5.  John 3:3 is talking about being saved or being born from above.  Then, in John 3:5, it says, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.  This is talking about entrance into and involvement in the things pertaining to the Kingdom of the Heavens.

No one that has not been baptized will be qualified to enter in; to refuse baptism is direct disobedience.  That’s the reason the children of Israel couldn’t enter Canaan; they were living in disobedience.  John 3:5 deals with qualifications of entering in to rule and reign with the Lord.

Now, look down in [John 3:14-15].  If you remember, this raising up of the serpent was drawing upon a story from the period when the children of Israel were in the wilderness.  Turn with me to Numbers 21, so we can review. [Numbers 21:4]  “They” are the children of Israel; these are God’s people.  They are not lost people. These are the ones that came out of Egypt, all being baptized in the sea and in the cloud unto Moses.  [Numbers 21:5]  They were discouraged and they began to hate what God provided them.  If you look at the manna they were loathing, it was a type and picture of the Word of God.  They loathed the Word of God.  Think how you would feel if you invited someone over to dinner every day for several years, then one day they stood up and said, “We loathe this food”.  [Numbers 21:6]  They perished. 

Keep in mind that those who fell in the wilderness did not enter into Canaan.  They lost their life.  I know it’s hard to take, but even though Moses did not fall because of a serpent bite, he did perish in the latter end of his life because of unbelief.  He fell just like those who were bitten by the fiery serpents fell in the wilderness.  1 Corinthians 10:9 says, “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents”.  “Destroyed” is “perished”; they were perished by serpents; (apollumi)

This passage is talking about the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness.  That’s what I want to emphasize:  the fact that this fiery serpent that Moses lifted up was the means where the children of Israel who had murmured against the Lord could keep from perishing.  All they had to do was to look at the fiery serpent.  Change where they were looking.

[Numbers 21:7-9].  We noticed last week that Moses made the serpent of brass, and he lifted it up on a pole.  Throughout Scripture, brass is a picture of the judgment of God; God had already judged the Lord Jesus Christ when he raised him again into the heavenlies.

Right now, the Lord Jesus Christ is raised into the heavenlies; he’s exalted.  He is our high priest today.  So, to keep from perishing, to keep from losing our life, we have to appropriate the high priestly office of Jesus Christ in the heavenlies.  We need to gaze upon him.  That gives you some background on the story. 

[Philippians 3:10]  Paul wasn’t interested in knowing the Lord on just a casual basis; he was interested in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the resurrection, because he goes on to say in [Philippians 3:11].  Literally, the out-resurrection from among the dead ones; from among those who perish.  Paul was interested in being raised from among the dead ones.  Now, let’s go back to [John 3]. 

While you’re turning there, I want to remind you that the word “lifted up” is translated also as “exalted”.  Luke 14:11 says, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”.  Moses exalted the Lord Jesus Christ in type when he lifted up the serpent on the pole.  Acts 2:32-33a says, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted…”  That’s where Jesus is today; He’s at the right hand of God, exalted.  God raised him up from among the dead.

[John 3:14-15]  This has reference to what Paul is saying in Philippians 3 when he says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.”  Think back to 1 Pet 1:3.  It says, “We have been begotten again, how?”  By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from among the dead.

That’s how we can realize our living home.  Through, and by means of, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  [John 3:16]  In the first part, God loved and God gave.  “For God so loved the world that he gave.”  Both of these verbs are active, indicative.  God was active in loving and giving, and the indicative means there is no doubt about his loving and giving.  God loved and God gave.

Then it says, “Whosoever believeth on him;” literally, “..the one that is believing…”  this verb is a present, active, participle.  The individual is active in the believing and it’s durative in action; it’s ongoing action.

The reason I want to review this is that I want you to keep it in your thinking that for someone to be saved, it’s not present, active; it’s aorist.  Aorist means that it’s punctiliar action; it’s an event.  In Acts 16:31, it’s aorist, active.  The jailer had to be active in the believing and he only had to do it one time.  That’s all you have to do to be saved.  That forever settles your family relationship to the Lord.  You’re in the family.

Now, whether or not we are faithful after we believe is a different story.  Because we all know we have times of unfaithfulness to the lord.  We all experience times of laxness with the Lord.  We’re not steadfast.  We’re not unmovable.  We fluctuate.  That’s why the Lord put in 1 John, that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us.  Thank God that even though we’re unfaithful, he’s not!  We can have a new start.  We get to go again.

Here in John 3:16, it says, the ones believing (present, active, participle); the ones believing should not perish and may have everlasting life.  Both of these verbs are in the subjunctive; there’s the possibility that we might perish and that we might not have life for the coming age.  It’s contingent upon our faithfulness; believing in the present tense.

[Matthew 7]  Let’s look at some passages that deal with “everlasting life”.  I want you to appreciate that this expression pertains to life for the coming age.  The word “everlasting” is from “aionion”, from which we get “age”.  The word “life” is “zoe”.  [Matthew 7:13-14]  This passage shows the word “life”.  “Strait” means constricted, and here’s the word “life”.  This passage is dealing with the walk of a believer.  A believer who is interested in life for the coming age is going to enter in at the pressed in gate.  The word strait means narrow or constricted.  The broad way is the easy way to go in our life; but when we want to enter into battle with satanic forces, we’re going to be pressed in; have conflict; have opposition.  But, this will lead to life for the age.

[Mark 10]  In Mark 10:17, there’s one who runs up to him and kneels and say, “good master, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”  The word “inherit” right away puts him in the family.  He’s worried about his inheritance; he’s not worried about whether he’s in the family or not; he knows he’s in the family.  But he is concerned about his inheritance; his life for the age to coming.  This man is rich and his riches cause him to forfeit.  [Mark 10:21-22a; treasure in heaven]  This is talking about rewards.  Inheritance of life for the age has to do with treasures in heaven.  “And come take up thy cross and follow me.”

Dying to self is the cross and “following me” is service.  That was the problem.  He was serving his money rather than the Lord and he wasn’t dying to self. 

In verse 28, Peter says, “We gave up everything”.  Mark 10:30 tells us that he shall receive an hundred fold.  In other words, the exhortation in [Mark 10:29-30a; persecutions.”  That’s what I want you to get.  “With opposition.”  With trouble.  “And in the age to come or literally, the age, the one coming, life age-lasting.”  In the coming age, life age-lasting.

Well, what is the life in the coming age?  We’re living in the age of grace or the age of the church; the age to come is the millennial age or the age of the glory of the Lord.  So, here is, “And in the age, the one coming, life age-lasting”.  It’s life for the age to come.

[Luke 18]  This is a parallel passage.  [Luke 18:28-30; in the age to come, life age-lasting.]  This has to do with inheritance; this has to do with works; this has to do with rewards.  It pertains life in the age to come; life in the millennial age.

[1 John 5]  I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered about this passage or not, but let’s look at it.  [1 John 5:11-13]  “Believe” in 13 is a present, active, participle.  It’s durative; its not aorist.  These are the ones who are faithful.  “That ye may know” is subjunctive.  This book is written to believers who are faithful in their walk, so that you may know that you have life for the coming age and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

If you look at this passage as referring to common salvation, or being born from above, [1 John 5:13b].  Well that verse includes those that he is writing to.  They are already believers.  Why would he put “that ye may believe” in the end of that verse?  If I were trying to get people saved, I would put that in the front of that verse.   But, what he’s talking about here is this, “These things have I written unto you who believe are believing on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life (life for the coming age), and that ye may (continue to) believe on the name of the Son of God”.  This verb is a present, active, subjunctive; that you may continue in your faithfulness and your confidence in the lord.  That’s the exhortation here.  [1 John 5:13] and add, “as far as the coming Kingdom is concerned”.

[Titus 1:1-2; Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect (this is written to the called out ones), and the acknowledging (deeper knowledge) of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;]  In hope of agelasting life…  Promised before the world began.  What is the promise of God?  Life for the coming age.  He’s not willing that any of us should perish, but that we all come to repentance that we might experience and enter in to that promise.

Here we find that the word “hope” is used.  As far as our salvation is concerned, we don’t have to hope that we are in the family of God or that we will see the Kingdom of the Heavens.  That’s given to us because we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you try to apply this passage to common salvation, you’re going to have to make it fit your preconceived theological positions.  To do that, you’re going to have to twist and distort what it says.  You’re going to have to twist and distort the very meaning of the word “hope”.  To hope for something means, “to look forward to something, with implication of confidence about something coming to pass, or to look forward to something in view of the measures one takes to ensure fulfillment”.  And you don’t hope for your salvation.

But, entrance… there is hope associated with entrance or ruling and reigning.  [Titus 3:7; “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to… what?  The hope of eternal life”. Life age-lasting.]  Being justified, we might be made heirs; it’s subjunctive.  Our inheritance is based on the hope.  The word “according” is the greek word “kata” and it means “in the dominion of” and in this case, it’s in the dominion of the hoe that we have as far as life for the coming age is concerned.

[Romans 2]  What I want to show you is that there are works associated with life for the coming age; that there is hope associated with life in the coming Kingdom.  [Romans 2:6-10; after deeds - here we find works]  “Immortality” is “incorruption”.  These are believers, not lost people.  This is works.  It’s those “that by patient continuance”.  This is the same thing that we find in that present, active verb in John 3:  believing; faithfulness; steadfastness. “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality incorruption, life in the age to come.”

But, again, works are involved.  It’s the individual’s responsibility to seek after these things and to do it with faithfulness and obedience to his Word.

[James 1]  One more thing, and we’ll close.  We were going to look at some passages in Timothy in which we are exhorted to hold on for the age to come, but here in [James 1:12].  “Temptation” is “testing” or “trials”; “tried” is “dokimos” or “approved”.  “Crown” here is “stephanos” or “victor’s wreath”; this is not a sovereign crown.  It’s something we obtain.

1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”  We run to obtain a victor’s crown, and James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (testing; trials): for when he is tried (approved), he shall (not may; indicative) receive the victor’s crown of life (in the coming age), which the Lord hath promised to them that love who are loving (present, active, participle) him. 

If you love him, you’ll keep his commandments.  You’ll be obedient.  Keeping them is obedience.  If you don’t love him, you won’t keep his commandments; you’ll be a disobedient servant and therefore you will not have a crown of life and you will not rule and reign with him in the heavens and you will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ; you will lose your life at the Judgment Seat.

The exhortation that you are give is to lose your life now that you might have it in the coming age.  If you realize our life today, your life will perish at the Judgment Seat and you will not enter in to that life for the coming age.

I hope this explains about the word that is often translated as “eternal” or “everlasting” life; it’s aionion life or age-lasting life or life for the coming age.  (The words for “eternal” and “everlasting” are different words entirely.)  As far as the security of the believer as far as heaven is concerned, it’s the same security the lord Jesus Christ has; he is God’s son, he’s in the family and I think that we should appreciate the fact that we are in the family; we cannot be unborn.