Everlasting Life: Monday Monologues (podcast) April 5, 2021

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b

 By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Everlasting Life. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Everlasting Life: Monday Monologues (podcast) April 5, 2021

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Continue Reading

Prayer Day 20

Available on Amazon.com

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Holy and Compassionate Father.

We praise you for creating us in your image.

We praise you for the gift of eternal life and for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us strength for each day.

Forgive our sin; heal our hearts; reconcile us with you and with each other.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Prayer Day 20

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

Continue Reading

Everlasting Life

Cover, A Christian Guide to Spirituality

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

What is eternal life?

Our life in Christ is a journey which begins sinful and finite, but progresses towards holy and eternal.  The progress towards eternal life requires both spiritual restoration and bodily healing.

We normally think of God’s eternal nature before his holiness. This first aspect of eternal life is quantitative—overcoming death to live eternally with God. However, this line of thinking is backwards: death is the penalty for sin. In other words, sin causes death. God’s forgiveness in Christ removes the sin, removes the penalty of death, and makes eternal life possible.

Unfortunately, sin not only triggers a death penalty; it pollutes us and damages our relationships. For example, the Apostle Paul’s conversion included God’s forgiveness, but Paul’s ravaging of the church was not easily forgotten (Acts 8:2). Likewise, the murderer who is forgiven has his guilt removed, but the life taken has not been restored and his broken relationships remain broken.

Consequently, the second aspect of eternal life is qualitative—removing sin’s pollution and reconciling our relationships through Christ. The Apostle John writes: “this is eternal life that they may know you the one, true God and the one who you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3; my translation). We are a new creation in Christ and reconciled to Him, but reconciliation has two parts. The first part is reconciliation with God and it is completed with the work of Christ. The second part is reconciliation with brothers and sisters against whom we sinned (2 Cor 5:17-20). This final stage in reconciliation, which can only be completed with and through the power of the Holy Spirit, requires both sanctification of the individual and participation of the church. This is also area where the spiritual disciplines can focus most productively.

Eternal life, accordingly, begins with the work of Christ (justification and reconciliation with God), but continues in the work of the church (reconciliation with those we have sinned against). The Good News is that in Christ and through the Holy Spirit God’s work in us will be complete.

[1] Because of original sin, we are cut off from God at birth by sin and destined to die because of sin’s penalty—death. In Christ, we see the image of a holy and eternal God. Christ both affects our moral improvement (sinful to holy) and bodily healing (mortal to immortal)..

[2] John 3:36; Rom 10:9-10.

Everlasting Life

Also see:

Preface to A Christian Guide to Spirituality

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

Continue Reading

Assurance of Salvation in Jesus Christ

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Sermon given in Spanish at El Shadai DC, in Manassas, VA July 7, 2019.

Prelude

Good afternoon. Welcome to El Shadai DC. For those who do not know me, I am Stephen W. Hiemstra. I am a Christian author. I live with my wife in Centreville, Virginia.

This afternoon we begin a new sermon series on the assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ. In a world with so much uncertainty, only Jesus Christ does not change or let us down. Today we are going to start with the passage most famous for this subject, John 10, and I will focus on the nature of eternal life.

Invocation

Let’s pray.

Merciful father.

All praise and honor is yours for you hear our prayers, comfort us in our afflictions, and give us life eternal.

We confess that we not worthy of your affections and we thank you for teaching us to love.

Draw us now to yourself. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illuminate our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Scripture

Today’s text comes from John 10:27-30. Here the word of the Lord:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30 ESV)

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Introduction

Who knows someone who accepts no responsibility for themselves and is a constant pain in the neck? Unfortunately, for every one of us a different face comes into view. Normally, when I see someone who annoys me, I tell my kids: there goes another person who Christ died for (2X). This is a private joke in my family that gets frequently repeated.

This joke points to a image of Christ that is the opposite of a person who lacks fiber and is, as they say, a free spirit. By contrast, a shepherd is someone who lives with the sheep in the field and protects them from coyotes, wolves, and lions with only a rod and staff. This is respectable work, but it is also dirty and dangerous. It is an image of physical and emotional strength and is our picture of a natural leader.

Who is the perfect image of a shepherd in your life? (2X)

The First Sentence: Intimate

In the first sentence of our text of the day Jesus uses the image of a good shepherd to demonstrate that our relation with him is intimate. He simply says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Those that are saved listen and follow like sheep. This sentence is interesting because it is laconic—Jesus uses a minimum of words to describe deeply profound concepts—laconic.

In the middle of this sentence is an unexpected phrase: I know them. We expect: they know me. In context, we expect: My sheep hear my voice, and they know me, and they follow me. By means of this unexpected phrase, Jesus makes an important point.

Here we encounter unexpected familiarity—our heavenly shepherd knows us personally. God knows us sufficiently well to call us by name. This inference is credible because in real life, good shepherds call their sheep by name.

The Second Sentence: Secure

In the second sentence of today’s text, Jesus promises eternal life and explains that our relationship with him is secure. He says: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” It is impossible to understand this security without understanding first eternal life. Permit me to focus the rest of my time on this concept of eternal life.

Eternal Life

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul uses his famous metaphor of the body of Christ. (2X) Listen for the word of God:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free– and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. (1 Cor 12:12-14)

Here Paul is speaking about the nature of the church, but a second interpretation is possible.

In Christian thought, we frequently speak about the soul that today we refer to as our identity. In Hebrew thought, this word soul implies the body, mind, spirit, and the people that we are in relationship with. (2X) When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit enters our life which is the means by which we come into relationship with God. Our souls change forever. Much like we become the body of Christ (as the church is described), we also become united with God, who is eternal.

Being one with God implies that our identity is now held in common with other believers from the past, present, and future. Because God is eternal, being one with God implies that our identity is also eternal. It is also complete because God knows us just as much internally as externally whereas our family and friends only know us from external things (2X).

Example

For those not accustomed to this notion of a shared identity and the soul, what happens to your identity when your mind becomes taken over by a disease such as Alzheimer’s? Do you stop being a person? Do you lose your identity because you no longer remember who you are? No way. When you encounter a person with Alzheimer’s, their identity is retained by the people around them who care for them, order their favorite meals, and tell their stories to other people.

It’s no different when we die. When we die, our identity is retained not only by the many people who have known us, but, in the case of Christians, by the Holy Spirit, who is eternal. God who created us from dust can easily re-create us complete with our identity, our souls, because we have a complete relationship with God.

Parting Words

In this explanation of eternal life, our relationship with God determines if we experience the assurance of salvation or not. When Jesus said: “no one will snatch them out of my hand.” It is clear that no one can interfere in our relationship with God. But, we must accept Christ into our hearts and give him priority in our lives every day. Everything else has been made possible by the blood of Jesus. (2X)

Amen.

Final Prayer

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, Good Shepherd, Holy Spirit,

All honor and glory are yours because you love us and value our lives more than anyone else.

We confess that we do not deserve this attention and love.

Thank you for the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us a faith that will persist loner than any stress in this life. In the previous name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Assurance of Salvation in Christ Jesus.

Also See:

Value Of Life

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Pentecost_2019

Continue Reading

Monday Monologues: Salvation and Eternal Life, September 24, 2018 (podcast)

Stephen W. Hiemstra, www.StephenWHiemstra.net
Stephen W. Hiemstra, 2017

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

In today’s podcast, I pray for salvation and talk about Salvation and Eternal Life.

After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on the link below.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Monday Monologues: Salvation and Eternal Life, September 24, 2018 (podcast)

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2018_Lead

Continue Reading

Salvation and Eternal Life

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Simple FaithBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

A lot of people scoff at the idea that salvation and eternal life are real because of skepticism about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul, for example, writes about the importance of the resurrection for our faith in these terms:  “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Cor 15:14) The resurrection of Christ implies that Jesus lives and will return in the future to bring us home to our true residence in heaven.

The Mechanics of Resurrection

Knowing that the future is in Christ, through faith we know that the future is secure and is good, because we serve a God who loves us and is himself holy and good. Jesus is our rock, as he reminds us:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matt 7:24-25)

But not everyone is convinced. How do we know the sequence of events in our salvation and the path to our eternal life?

The Apostle Paul, who met the Risen Christ on the Road to Damascus, answered this question this way:

“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:10-11)

In other words, I know that I will be raised from the dead because I have shared in Christ’s suffering and death.

Faith and the Soul

In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul writes again this subject:

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body– Jews or Greeks, slaves or free– and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” (1 Cor 12:12-14)

Here Paul is talking specifically about the nature of the church, but a second interpretation is possible.

In Christian thinking, we often talk about the soul, which today we might refer to as our identity. In Hebrew thinking the word soul implies body, mind, spirit, and the people who will are in relationship with. When we come to Christ, we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, which means that we are also from that point forward in relationship with God. Our soul has forever changed. Much like we are one body in Christ (the church), we are also one with God, who is eternal.

Being one with God implies that our identity is now held in common with the people of the church and with God. Because God is eternal, being in union with God implies that our identity is now eternal.

Example from Alzheimer’s Disease

For those of you unaccustomed to this notion of shared identity and the soul,

what happens to your identity when your mind is taken over with a disease, like Alzheimer’s? Do you stop being a person? Do you loose your identity because you no longer remember who you are? Not at all. When you meet a person with Alzheimer’s disease, their identity is retained, at a minimum, by the people around them who order their favorite foods and tell their stories. 

It is no different when we die. When we die, our identity is retained not only by all of the people that knew us, but also for the Christian by the Holy Spirit, who is eternal. God who created us from dust can easily recreate us, complete with our identity, our souls, because we are in relationship.

Salvation and Eternal Life

Also see:

A Roadmap of Simple Faith

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2018_Lead

Continue Reading