Jesus Believed What?

Examining The Question, "What Did Jesus Say About Himself In The Bible?".

Tim Lundy
Nov 14, 2021    47m
We are often asked what we believe about Jesus, but more importantly, we should be asking, what did Jesus say about himself in the Bible? He let us know that he is God, that he, himself, was the only way to eternal life, and that both heaven and hell are real. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Jesus Believed What?
Tim Lundy: [00:00:37] Venture, as we continue this series on resilient faith, we're looking at issues that build a resilient faith, or maybe specifically issues that people struggle with that keep them from having one.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:50] Now, last week I looked at how can you trust the Bible? And we really looked at a broad overview of how could you actually trust this as God's word, that it's inspired, that it's without error? And so if you didn't get that message, I'd encourage you to go back and look at it because I think it is a core issue.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:08] Now some of the response from some of you this week, you know, as we talked about it, if you're my generation, several people said, well, aren't these just fundamental things that people believe? And I think that's the key point, with every generation, we're seeing less belief in some of these fundamental things. And so I thought it was really important instead of just looking at the practices, of addressing some of the core questions.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:34] Now the message this week should not be controversial, honestly, because really, we're just going to look at some of the things that Jesus believed. And so even as I say that most people on the planet, if you ask them, man, does your belief system line up with Jesus? Would you agree with Jesus? And I think most of us would say we would, especially in the church. I mean, in the church, most people say, I love Jesus.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:02] Now I want us to be careful, and that's what last week's message was so important. We want to make sure that we line up with the Jesus of the Bible, and do we actually agree with him? But I just want to walk you through three things that you see in scripture that Jesus believed and really look at it, is this part of my core belief system as well? Might not be controversial at all to you, but on the other hand, you may find yourself struggling more than you realize.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:31] Look at the first one, pretty straightforward here, Jesus believed he was God. Jesus believed he was God. Now again, for many of us that have been in the church, all our lives, we go, yeah, duh, absolutely. And yet, if you look out there, especially among popular writing, a lot of scholars have come forward, and probably the most prominent is Bart Ehrman, he's a historian at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Evangelical Church, walked away from that, and it's probably one of the most vocal critics. And Ehrman attacks this statement straight on, I mean, he would say Jesus didn't believe he was God, Jesus didn't believe he was any more than a great teacher. And he would say, well, you don't see that in Matthew or Mark or Luke, he discounts John, he just doesn't consider the book of John as historically reliable, he thinks it came much later out of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:27] And then he even makes statements in a couple of interviews I've seen with him, where he says, Peter and Paul don't declare that Jesus was divine. And you've got to remember Paul was one of the earliest writers of the New Testament, some of the earliest books that were written were by the Apostle Paul. Now, as I look at that, I could spend the rest of this message pointing out scriptures where Paul points out Jesus's divinity. I mean, I would just say, I think Ehrman has completely missed the mark on Paul.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:56] But the focus of this message is what did Jesus believe? What did Jesus say about himself? What do we have in the stories and in the record? And so as you look at it, and again, these are just a few of the verses, but I just want to look in John 1:18, and again, this is John's statement. So you need to realize, the Book of John, he's very much wanting to make this point. And I think it's one of the reasons that Ehrman throws out the book of John, because John so theologically wants to show his audience, Jesus really is God. In fact, he says in John 20, I wrote this that you would believe, that you'd believe what he'd experienced. So right at the beginning, he says, "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known." So, John goes, we've never seen God the Father, but the one who was closest to Him, who is his Son, is also God. Now again, you might go, well, that was John's statement, is that really what Jesus would say?

Tim Lundy: [00:05:03] Well, look at this story from Matthew 9, several times when Jesus was doing miracles, he was proving that he was God, he's proving his power. One of the great miracles that's in Mark 2 and Matthew 9, a group that had a friend who was paralyzed, and they come, and they bring this paralyzed man to Jesus. And Jesus, as he sees their faith, it says, "And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves...". These are the ones that studied the scriptures, they said, "...this man is blaspheming." In other words, he's saying something against God. "But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?" Isn't that an interesting response to it? Jesus could have said no, no, no, no, I'm not blaspheming God, I'm not comparing myself to God, I'm not doing anything like that. Notice he doesn't correct them at all, if anything, he turns it back on him and he says, well, tell me which one is harder? Is it harder to do a physical miracle, or is it harder to give spiritual forgiveness? And by the way, who's the only one who can do both of these? And so after he asked that question, "For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6But that you may know that the Son of Man..." And Son of man is a term from Daniel, which speaks to godly authority, it's a term for the one who reigns on the throne, "That you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7And he rose and went home."

Tim Lundy: [00:06:57] Now, these stories are all throughout the gospels, where Jesus is healing and he's constantly doing it, comparing himself to God. Look at it in John 5, "This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God." They wanted to kill him for it.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:27] John chapter 8, there's this long debate with Jesus and the Pharisees, and in it, he throws out this line at the end of it that just sends them ballistic. Because you've got to remember the name, Yahweh, especially for the Jewish people, is the most holy name of God. I mean, it was so holy they wouldn't say it out loud. And it goes back to the burning bush when Moses said, who should I say sent me? And God, says Yahweh, I am the great I am. So this group that's questioning Jesus, they say, who do you say you are? You act like you've been around forever. And Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was..." Before the founding father of this nation, and notice what he throws out here, it's a Yahweh, I am.". He's using the name of God. And they know exactly what he's doing because look at their response, "They picked up stones to throw at him." See, this is blasphemy in their mind that anyone would compare himself to God, "But Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple."

Tim Lundy: [00:08:38] See, here's part of what we need to realize with this, Jesus' declaration of divinity seems at odd with the monotheism of the Jews. This is a context; you've got to remember one of the core beliefs of the Jews and the people of God is that God is one and there's only one God. Now there were polytheistic religions all over the world, especially going to the eastern part of the world, they have no problem believing in many gods, they have no problem believing somebody becomes a god. But for the Jews, and later for the Muslims, I mean, monotheism is at the core, there's only one God. And now you have this human being who's walking on the planet, who's claiming to be God, claiming to be the Son of God, an equal with God.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:29] Now, C.S. Lewis rightly points out, I mean, this is very troubling coming out of this context, but it also marks one of the signs of authenticity. Because if you were a group and you were going to make it up later, the last people who would make up having another God equal with their God would be monotheistic Jews, unless something happened in their interaction with him that changed their mind, that literally broadened their theology. Because now they had to come to their theology of, wait, we have a God who's one, but now we see him in two persons, later, we'll find out he is three persons, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, three persons, eternally existing, that's one God. Guys, there's a mystery about this that we still don't understand. And so I just come back to it to say, when Ehrman and others would go, well, followers just made this up later, it wouldn't come out of a context of monotheism, it so broadened or even violates the way they approach life, it's why his disciples struggled with embracing it, but Jesus clearly presents it.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:44] And so as you look at it, John 10 is probably the clearest, Jesus makes the statement, "I and the Father are one." I mean, he's pointing to this theology of recognizing that God in separate persons, but we're one. "The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” He said I've been doing the works of God, is that why you're going to stone me? "The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:23] Here's the point that I want you to embrace is, regardless of your approach or what you think about it, it's undeniable when you read the records of Jesus's life that he made the claim he believed he was God, or at the very most he stated that he was God. This in a context in a world of monotheism, and the response that it produced, and furthered His persecution. I mean, it's one of the reasons that the Jewish people to this day will reject him is he's not God, he may have been a good man, he may be a good leader, he may have been a good prophet. Muslim people will recognize Jesus as a prophet, but when you assign divinity, that's a line that can't be crossed.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:10] And here's the reality for us, I mean, just at a basic level, and Lewis probably said at the most, it's been used throughout history. But if Jesus truly stated he was God, then he was one of three things: he was either a liar, or a lunatic, or he's actually Lord. And now here's the thought on it, and again, I'm not talking to you, maybe as someone who's embraced him as God. But at the very least you need to recognize if Jesus made the claim, and if you look to the records, you're hard-pressed without doing severe injustice to the text, without having to throw out whole books of the Bible, if you accept those as record at all, Jesus stated he was God. And so he's either a liar, he either came with this deceptive plan that he's declaring he's God to the world, knowing that he's not. And if he's a liar, you certainly aren't going to follow a liar. In fact, I would say you shouldn't even call him a good man, and don't even call him a good teacher, if he's that deceptive. Or maybe he's a lunatic, I mean, maybe he was deluded, maybe he thought he was God, but he never was. And again, that's a pretty grand scale delusion, and should we really call people to follow, to model life after, even teach, the ravings of a lunatic? Or he actually was who he said he was. You may look at it and you go, wait a second, there's got to be more than three categories. I'd encourage you if you can find them, please tell me. But if the record is presenting what he said, and we see what he said and what he stated, that at some point you have to wrestle with this reality.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:10] Now, for many of you, you may hear this and you go, I don't have a problem so much, ok, Jesus was God, and especially if you've grown up in the church, that's not very controversial. Let me go to the second thing that Jesus believed, and this is the second one, Jesus believed he was the exclusive way of salvation. Jesus believed he was the exclusive way of salvation.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:31] Now again, you would think, OK, that's pretty straightforward, but this is where we start getting into some controversy, especially with younger generations. I mean, in everything you read, we live in a more tolerant age, and we need to be open, and everybody likes a way of salvation. I mean the most popular verse in the world is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

Tim Lundy: [00:15:05] Everybody's fine with that as a way of salvation, but this is where Jesus just goes to that next level. John 14, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father..." And just to make sure it's absolutely clear, "...except through me." I mean, do you hear what he's saying in that moment? First, the definitive article there, I am not a way, I'm the way, I am the truth, I am the life, life itself comes from me. And unless you're mistaken in any way, he restates it again, not one person is going to make it to God, not one person gets there, except through me.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:01] And lest we think, well, that's just a one-off, if you read what his followers taught, post his life, you see the same message. I mean, one of the first sermons that Peter taught was in Acts 4, he says, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” I mean, he's saying there's literally no other way. Now again, this is where we hit that point, and it's surprising if you start looking at the numbers, a lot of people even in church or around religion would say, man, I like Jesus, I respect Jesus, I respect you, I respect your belief system, that's where the language goes a lot of times. I respect what you believe, but, you know, one statement is, my God is big enough for all religions. Or maybe you've seen the coexists bumper sticker, and it's got all the symbols of religion on it. And basically, what it's just saying is, look, don't get so exclusive. We live in a big tent, it's a big world. And again, as you hear this, let me just remind you the words we're going off over Jesus's own words. And so if you're going, yeah, my God is big enough for all religions, who you need to say that to is Jesus, Jesus is the one that made that claim in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:38] And a lot of people have embraced kind of you hear the parable, it's actually an Indian, it's an eastern teaching, the parable of the blind men and the elephant. And basically what the story goes is there's a group of blind men who come across an elephant, and each of them only can touch one part of the elephant. And so one of the blind men, he's touching the trunk, and he describes it. He says, oh, it's a snake. Another blind man is touching one of the legs, and he feels a strength, he goes, oh, it's a tree. Another one touches the body of the elephant says, oh, it's a wall. Another one has the tail, and he says, oh, it's a rope. One of them has the ear and he says, oh, it's a fan, I can feel it, I know what it is. And the teaching is, that that none of them has the whole, but all of them have just enough, and from their perspective, they would go, this is what it is. And what it's teaching out of that is, well, that's what all the religions of the world are like. All of them have their corner of it, they've got their part of it, and all of it's leading to the whole, all paths go to the same place, and so we just should be more tolerant and more accepting of all, because each only has their part.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:00] Now, as you hear that there's a part of it very much fits the culture tenor of the age, and maybe you hear that and you go, yeah, that just feels right, it feels more tolerant, it feels more respectful to other religions. And again, hear me, I don't think we should live in an age where we're disrespectful to others. But let me ask you a question, do you realize one hidden presupposition about anyone who would espouse that? In the story, if you're looking at it and you go, yeah, here's all the blind men and they don't know it's an elephant, do you realize there's this arrogant assumption that I actually can see the elephant for what it is. And all these poor blind men, which, by the way, represent all the different religions or perspectives, all these poor blind men, they only have their part of the truth. But I, since I'm outside of it, I see reality for what it really is, it's really an elephant. And all of you who are in your religions, you're just kind of fumbling around in the dark. I mean, when you put it in that way, it really is pretty arrogant. It's this assumption that all of us who have a belief system, whether we're Muslim, or Jewish, or even atheist, all of us have our little piece, but it's all leading to the same place. And let me remind you, when you cast it in that way, you're putting Jesus in the same camp. You're saying, Jesus, you're no different than any of the other religious leaders, and you just have your peace and part.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:47] Now, part of the reason we like to embrace that, and especially you've seen a lot of younger generations kind of embrace that form of tolerance, is we're reaching an age where we feel like to disagree, means that I'm intolerant or I disrespect you. And here's what I would say, respect all people, but you can disagree with beliefs, you can disagree with systems. In fact, I consider it personally a sign of respect that if you tell me enough that you think I'm wrong. Because in that you're respecting me enough that you go, hey, I think you have a brain that you actually could come to the truth, I think we could reason over this, I think we could talk over this. To me, that's a higher form of respect than standing back almost patronizingly saying, oh, those poor people who have their piece of the religion, they don't see it as a whole as I do. Guys, that's not respectful, it's patronizing.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:52] Here's what you need to realize, then with Jesus in this, that Jesus claims are actually respectful and even kind, and here's the key, if they're true. Now, if they're not true, we got other issues, we go back to the fact that he's either a liar or lunatic, totally deluded. But just take for a moment, if Jesus claims are true, if he really is the way, isn’t it the kindest, most respectful thing he could do, to share with that form of exclusivity. Let's put it this way, let's say we were traveling by plane, and we crashed in the desert and a group of us survive, and we're in the desert and we desperately need water. Now I know where we are, I know this region well, in fact, I know for a fact the only way we're going to get water is if we go due East, that's the closest water that's there, otherwise, it's desert in every direction. And I come to you, and I go, we have to go due East. And you go, oh, well, the wind's coming from the East, I mean, the sand will go in our eyes, that's a terrible way to go. No, we have to go due east. You go, yeah, but look at the dunes, because of the wind, it's built it up. We're going to have to go up and down, that's a much harder journey, we should go west, we should go north. You could say any direction, at some point if I know the only way, we're going to survive is that we go east, shouldn't say it in the strongest terms as possible. In fact, wouldn't it be the kindest thing I could do in that moment, to make sure that you understood there literally is no other way and it's life or death.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:51] Guys, when Jesus talks in terms, when he's willing to be that exclusive, it's not because he disrespects people, it's because he loves them and he knows how important it is in that moment, that's why he speaks to him in a way. And as he says it, I know it sounds exclusive because he says I'm the only way. I think that's part of what rubs us wrong, we don't like exclusivity, we don't like anybody being left out. But that's the reality, and this is the point I would say, the exclusivity of Jesus is narrow in location, but it's broad an invitation. Do you understand when he says I am the only way, he is, he's making it very narrow, he's saying there's no other way. He describes it in one way, it's like a narrow path, it's like a narrow gate, it's like one door, I am the door. And so when he says that, he says, I'm the only door. But here's the great news, it's exclusive in location, but it's so inclusive in invitation. I'm the only door, but anybody can come through it. I mean, that's the good news of the New Testament, is that anyone can.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:08] I love how Romans 10 puts it, "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." It's so inclusive, later it says it doesn't matter if you're a Jew or Greek, it doesn't matter what country, or race, or nationality you're from, you're invited. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, you're invited. It doesn't matter if you're slave or free, socioeconomics, wherever you are on the scale, you're invited. It literally is the most inclusive invitation on the planet, to the most exclusive means of salvation. It's like this exclusive door that everyone's invited to come through, but it's the only way. And the reason is, in the same way, if we were in the desert and I'm looking at you and you want to go that way or that way or that way, and I know that's the only way there's life, I've got to speak to you in those terms, I've got to be strong.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:12] And as you look at it, "For God, so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever..." See that inclusive invitation, "...believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." See, I know it's the way of life. And that leads to that last belief, and maybe this is the one that we struggle with the most, but it's one that Jesus believed. And the last one is, Jesus believed in eternal judgment and hell. He actually believed there's an eternal judgment, that each person will be judged, and he actually believed in hell.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:54] And as you say, that, I mean, there's probably a few topics we're more uncomfortable with. And you don't like it, maybe even as I say that you go, oh yeah, I don't like church, and hell, and fire and brimstone in that. But you're hard-pressed if you just read through the Gospels, and even as I studied this week, how many times Jesus brings it up. And he just talks about it in different ways, sometimes in stories, sometimes in analogies.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:22] I mean, I just pulled a few of the times he mentions it. He talks about a parable about two men who died, a rich man and Lazarus, and one goes to this place that's like hell, and the other one is Abraham's bosom, a place like heaven, it's kind of representative of that time before the final judgment. But as the one calls out, he says, hey, hey, can you bring me some water? And notice just this line, "And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us." As he describes that place, he says, no, once you're there, you're there, you can't cross over.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:04] Look at his description in Matthew 25, he talks about a final judgment, and the sheep on one side, and the goats on the other. And when he says to the goat, "Then he will say to those on the left, the goats, depart from me you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." If you've got some picture of hell that Satan's down there and he's having a party in it, the devil doesn't want to go there more than anybody else, it's a place of punishment. "And these will go into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life look."

Tim Lundy: [00:28:34] Look as he describes it in Mark 9, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell." And look how he describes it here, it's an unquenchable fire, it just doesn't die. Later you see in it, "The Son of Man will send his angels..." This is a pretty sobering passage, he's talking about the end, he says, "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Do you feel the horror of it?

Tim Lundy: [00:29:15] See, as we look at this, he says, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." It's a place where both die, it's a place of eternal death. Now, guys, as I say this, there are many things that we don't know about hell. Here's all I want you to grasp, Jesus taught it as a reality. There's a lot of things with it, and so we never want to make too much conjecture about it. And some of these things, we don't know how much of it is imagery, we don't know how much of it is just trying to describe a situation we can't fully describe. Much in the same way, we've got imagery about heaven that we don't fully understand.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:57] I do know there are levels of punishment, Jesus talked about that, that based on how much truth you are aware of, there are levels of punishment in hell. And I think if you took it to its simplest terms, the description of hell really goes, if you think about God as the source of goodness, God is good, God is love, and you take a person and you totally remove them completely from all of that. If you think about everything good in your life, and that was stripped away. I mean, you think of the goodness of waking up in the morning and seeing the light, how many dark nights are we thankful when the sun rose because there's light? And yet, hell is described as a place of darkness, there's no more hope and light. You think of any sense of comfort, you think of people and relationships, it says it's a place of loneliness. You think of our core wanting to be loved, and knowing love, and mercy, and kindness, and all of that's been stripped away.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:09] Guys, I don't know how to describe it completely, but I know that Jesus talked about it as a reality. I mean, you can't go through the New Testament, and you can't go through his writings without talking about it. And I think it's one of those realities, and this is where, and I hear from several of you, and maybe you have this question, that you go, yeah, but Tim, it just seems so unfair that if I don't believe you're one system about Jesus, or if I don't hear about him, or people that lived on this planet and they never even heard about Jesus, they never got the chance, and they end up in this place totally away from God. They totally are experiencing what you're describing, and what Jesus describes, that seems really unfair.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:55] Here's what I would say in it, the Scripture points out, and Paul makes a great case for it in the first chapters of Romans. That he said when people are judged by God, those who've never heard they're not going to be judged based on that, someone who's never heard about Jesus is not going to be judged on the fact they never heard about Jesus. If anything, Paul says, here's what God's going to judge them on, two things, they had two forms of witness. One, they lived on a planet, and as he describes the creation, at the very least, the creation, as you look at this world, as you think about all the goodness of God. Did they look at it and go, OK, there is a God above this, and I want to accept him on his terms? Or did they create their own terms, create their own gods, or worship the creation itself, determine there is no God because we can figure it out just with the planet and this is all there is? Or create a religion where they put their own God in place. I mean, Paul says, I'm not going to judge them what they didn't know, but what did they do with what they had of just the revelation of what's here? And then the second thing, what did they do with their own conscience? There's not a person on the planet who truly believes I've lived up to my conscience, I've done life exactly as I should, and what did they do with that? See, that's what they'll be judged off of.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:25] And the reality, and hear me in this, I think C.S. Lewis points it out so well in his book The Great Divorce, everyone in hell who's there, it's based on the free will choice of their life that they said, God, I don't want you on your terms. I want life on my terms. I'm going to create religion my way, I'm going to do life my way. Whatever way they filled it, they filled something there other than God. And there was an ongoing choice, even to the point in, as he describes it, the people in hell aren't sitting there debating it, they know their choice in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:05] And that's why Jesus came, and by the way, that's why he talked about hell as well. I mean, if you look at it, and this is what stood out to me, he knows the horror of hell because of what he experienced in the cross. If anybody knows the horror of what we're describing, and we only have these metaphorical terms, but Jesus actually experienced hell on Earth. People use that, he's the only one on this planet who experienced, and he did on the cross because in that he experienced the eternal damnation, the eternal judgment of God on him. And we just get a glimpse of it when he cries out and he says, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why am I in a place, why am I in this experience, where the goodness, the love, all that I've experienced, I'm not experiencing, if anything, I'm experiencing the wrath that's poured out on me? And when he cried out in that, he gives us this window that he was willing to go through hell, to experience hell, to experience the punishment and all of it, so that we didn't have to because he loved us that much.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:17] And he loved us enough to actually talk about it. I mean, as you look at this, Jesus didn't teach about hell as a means of intimidation, you're never going to find this hell and brimstone sermon in the gospels. And notice when he talks about it, he's not sitting there trying to scare you to death and scare you into a decision. I'm really, I'm not advocating that at all, but he did talk about it in order to point to salvation, he was so matter of fact about it.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:50] You know as I read through it, I got to be honest, I was convicted, and I thought about it as a pastor. And here's what I realized, Jesus talked about hell a lot more than I do, he just did. I mean, even the references, I just read you a few. And I had to ask myself, why is that? Why is there something Jesus would talk about that I don't? And to too, my chagrin, I just, honestly with you, I think it's because I care more about what you think about me, and Jesus cares more about you. As much as I'd like to say, well, I don't talk about it because I don't want to make people uncomfortable, and I don't want to, you know, put that on someone. Here's the reality, I'm thinking about me, I'm thinking about the perception of me, I don't want to be characterized a certain way. And then I look at Jesus, and he talked about it in a very straightforward way because he's thinking about you and he's thinking about others, and he cares about their eternity, and he doesn't want anybody to experience that. He came to save.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:19] See, that's the good news, even in this bad news. Peter even says it to this day, he still has that attitude, the only reason Jesus hasn't come back yet, the only reason we haven't faced the final judgment, the only reason all of that's been held off. Look, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." He wants everyone to have the opportunity to notice this word, reach repentance. He wants every single person who's made that choice to say, no, God, I'm not going to accept, no, God, I'm not going to live by my conscience, no, God, I'm not going to take that way, to come to a place instead of saying I'm going to live life on my terms, you'll be able to look at him and go, do you know what, I'm going to take it on your terms. That's what repentance is, it's exchanging my terms of life for his terms of life. And I'll just tell you right now, every person in hell, they're not there because of some unjust condemnation that was put on them, they are there because they made a conscious choice throughout life that they want to do life on their terms all the way to the end. And Jesus, in patience and in love, just don't do that, accept my terms, come to repentance.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:49] John 3:16, we read that verse earlier, it's the most famous verse in the Bible, but do you know, you ought to read the whole context of it. He says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." And then notice what he said, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world." His whole coming here was not for condemnation, "But in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes..." That inclusive invitation, " him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already." Do you see what he's saying in that moment? He's not coming to a neutral world that's going to be judged one day, he's coming to a condemned world. He says you're already condemned; he came to save you. You're already locked in that choice of life on your terms, he came to disrupt it, to point you to life. He says, "Because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil." People would choose their life, their way, instead of what Christ offers, and what he's offering you today.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:07] Because I know these are some heavy concepts, you can't even say the word hell without knowing that there are some feelings and maybe you have some strong feelings today. Maybe as I go into a message where I declare unequivocally, man, Jesus is God, maybe you're OK with that. But then when I say he's the only way, he's exclusively it, well, I know that you may struggle with that. And then when you talk about that Jesus believed in hell and eternal judgment. Some of you maybe you go, this is my problem with church, this is my problem with the message, this is my problem with preachers, is my problem with you. I'll take all that, but hear this, the core of your problem is actually with Jesus because whether you like it or not, we've been looking at his words, and his statements, and what he believed. And so if you have a problem with it, I'd encourage you, do you know the great thing about Jesus? He's still patient with every person, he's still patient with you. But I think you owe it to yourself to actually wrestle with him in that, to actually come to a decision one way or another.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:30] You know, my greatest fear is not so much the people that really flare up and have a problem. I'm probably more concerned, and I say this especially to younger people who kind of hear this, and you hear the invitation of Jesus, and you see it and you go, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's fine, that's good, and you just put it off. You know, Rebecca McLaughlin has a great illustration, it's from Pushkin's Russian novel Eugene Onegin, and in it, Onegin, is this a Russian aristocrat, wealthy aristocrat. And this young, simple woman, Tatyana, sees him and falls in love with him, and she writes a letter declaring her love and says that she wants to make a life with him, she wants to marry him, and he doesn't respond. In fact, she sees them a little time later, and he's kind of almost is amused by her. He says what you wrote was lovely, and your lovely, but here's the reality if we married, I would get bored with you, I don't need the constraints of marriage, and so he denies her. As the novel goes on many years later, Onegin goes into a huge gala in St. Petersburg and he goes in and he sees Tatyana and now she's a gorgeous woman, married, and he's immediately smitten. And he goes to her and he tells her, you remember your letter, remember your offer? Yes, I want that, I want that relationship. She looks at him, she says, that time is over, I'm committed, I made an offer and you rejected it and now that's closed.

Tim Lundy: [00:43:35] It's a great picture of what I think is going to be the horror for a lot of people. And especially, and I want to say this lovingly as I can, those who've been raised in the church and those who have heard this message a lot. That you've heard the message of love from Christ, and like that young woman, Tatyana, it's been expressed to you, but you look at it and you go, I don't want to be committed, I'll get bored with that, I don't want to do that on my terms. And then one day in eternity, you're going to see Jesus in all of his majesty, in all of his glory, in all of his beauty. In fact, it says in Scripture, literally every knee will bow. We can't help but worship, no matter our heart when we see him. And in that moment, to know that the offer of love that was extended to you, but that you felt was too constraining, that you denied, and you stayed on a lifetime of rejection. There's a lot of people, that you can even stay around a church, but never receive the offer.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:54] I want to challenge you today, Jesus made some hard statements because he loved you, because he doesn't want that day to come, and today's the day when he's offering, he says, hey, here is this offer of love, receive it, receive it on his terms, receive it that he's your savior, he died for you, he took hell on Earth for you, and he's your lord. The one that will lead your life, that will love your life, that will look after you for the rest of your life and in eternity. I'd encourage you, if you've never made that choice, if you've never made that step, receive it today. It's as simple as confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart that Jesus Christ is Savior who died on the cross, and, Lord, he really is the God he says he was.

Tim Lundy: [00:45:58] Let's pray. Father, I thank you, I thank you for Christ, I thank you that he is so straightforward, I thank you that he speaks of reality, and he doesn't care what people may think about him because he loves them too much. Lord, I pray that I would be like that, I don't want to scare people, but I want to be straightforward. And if there are topics, if there are things that Jesus spoke to, we should speak to and we should embrace. Lord, I pray for anybody, maybe they're hearing this, they don't like this message, I pray they'd wrestle with it, knowing that you're a god who allows us to wrestle with you. And I pray if there's anyone who needs to take that step today, I pray they wouldn't put it off. That today they would confess, even right now, they would confess, Jesus Christ is Savior, that they would confess, Jesus Christ is Lord, that they would follow him the rest of their lives. We pray these things in Christ's name, Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032