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Sermon No: 1489-The book of life



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SERMON TOPIC: The book of life

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 3 August 2014

Topic Groups: BOOK OF LIFE, SALVATION, JUDGEMENT

Sermon synopsis: God’s prophet Moses says that God has written a book:
Exodus 32:32 “… if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”

The apostle John tells us that the book, called the book of life, belongs to the Lamb (Jesus):
Revelation 13:8 … the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

The book of life will also be opened at the judgment.
Revelation 20:12a And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life.

Those whose names are not in the book of life will be condemned.
Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
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THE BOOK OF LIFE

God’s prophet Moses says that God has written a book:

Exodus 32:32 “… if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”

The apostle John tells us that the book, called the book of life, belongs to the Lamb (Jesus):

Revelation 13:8 … the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

GOD’S BOOK

The names of the wicked are not in that book:

Revelation 13:8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Psalm 69:28 May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.

But the names of the righteous are written down:

Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honoured his name.

THE BOOK OF LIFE

So God has a record of those who belong to him:

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’…

Paul’s fellow workers had their names in the book of life:

Philippians 4:3 Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

THE BOOK OF LIFE

And so did Jesus’ 70 evangelists (Luke 10:20).

However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

In fact, all those who belong to the true church of Jesus (i.e. not the organisation or a denomination) will have their names in that book:

Hebrews 12:22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.

THE BOOK OF LIFE

Every tear we have cried is recorded in God’s book.

Psalm 59:8 (NLT) You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

RECORD OF TEARS

But God promises deliverance to those whose names are in the book.

Daniel 12:1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.”

And so Jesus said that having your name written in that book is reason to rejoice. (Luke 10:20)

“… but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

DELIVERANCE

GOD'S

FOREKNOWLEDGE

CREATION

CRUCIFIXION

THE PRESENT

ETERNITY PAST

ETERNITY FUTURE

GOD

God exists outside of time and sees the future as clearly as the present. (Isaiah 46:10)

I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times, what is still to come.

In his foreknowledge God has written down the names in the book of life since the creation of the world:

Revelation 17:8b … The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

Q: Does that mean that God has predetermined those who will be saved?

GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE

A: No - While God knows who will be saved, he does not decide or predetermine their salvation or destiny.

1 Peter 1:2 says we are “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”.

Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…”

So the fact that God’s foreknowledge means he already knows an outcome, does not in any way imply that he causes the outcome. He created us with a free will and choice to serve him or not.

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15)

GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE

Amazingly even the length of our life, including every day ordained for us is already recorded in God’s book.

Psalm 139:13, 16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

So God has already recorded every day of our lives including the day of our death!

GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE

Moses also mentions the possibility of a name being removed from the book (Exodus 32:32).

But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.

NAMES BLOTTED OUT

But God tells Moses that he only removes the names of those who sin against him from his book (Exodus 32:33)

Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.

If anyone distorts the word of God, their name will be removed from the book of life.

Revelation 22:19 (NKJV) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, 1 from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

David too mentions his enemies whose names will be blotted out of the book of life:

Psalm 69:28 May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.

1 Note: The KJV and NKJV use the Textus Receptus rendering, which utilized the Latin Vulgate’s “book of life” here, while most Greek manuscripts render it “tree of life”.

NAMES BLOTTED OUT

And so John Wesley taught that “if any who are saved make shipwreck of the faith, God will blot them out of his book, although they were written therein from before the foundation of the world.”

But if we remain faithful to God and are overcomers, Jesus has promised that our names will never be removed from that book.

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

NAMES BLOTTED OUT

Those who teach eternal security battle with these verses and their take on Revelation 3:5 is that since all who are truly saved are overcomers, this is actually a promise that no name can be blotted out. Charles Stanley writes, “The good news is, God’s pencil has no eraser”. 1

But for Jesus to make such a promise implies that the possibility exists of having your name blotted.

Robert L. Thomas writes, “The promise to the overcomer is an empty one unless the possibility exists that such blotting out could occur. What incentive is furnished by being promised deliverance from something that could not happen?” 2

1 Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure? 2 Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), 261, p. 182

NAMES BLOTTED OUT

J. William Fuller comments, “A command that everyone keeps is superfluous and a reward that everyone receives for a virtue that everyone has is nonsense”. 1

And Howard Marshall writes, “The possibility of failure to endure is mentioned. Christians who fail to persevere will come under judgment and their names will be blotted out of the book of life. There is no reason to suppose that these warnings are purely hypothetical, directed against non-existent dangers; the reverse is the case. Moreover, the reference to the book of life indicates that John is addressing his warning to believers”. 2

1 “I Will Not Erase His Name” p. 299 2 Kept by the Power of God, p. 175

NAMES BLOTTED OUT

THE OTHER BOOKS

There are also other books mentioned which will be opened in the heavenly court on the Day of Judgement before God.

Daniel 7:10 “The court was seated, and the books were opened.”

These books record every deed we have committed and the judgement is based on the contents of these books:

Revelation 20:12b-13 The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

THE OTHER BOOKS

In fact Jesus says we will have to give account for every “empty word” we have spoken:

Matthew 12:36 “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”

THE OTHER BOOKS

THE JUDGE

Daniel mentions a heavenly court present when the books are opened. “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat… Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” (Daniel 7:9-10)

And into that heavenly court one “like a son of man enters” who is given all authority: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him.” (Dan 7:13-14)

Jesus referred to himself as that “Son of Man” spoken of by Daniel (Matthew 26:63b-64)

I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.

Yes, it is as you say. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.

And the Son of Man will be the judge (Matthew 19:28)

I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus will judge all the nations.

Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world… Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels… Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

THE SON OF MAN JUDGES

Presently Jesus acts as our advocate.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

But as the Son of Man, Jesus has been given authority to judge by the Father:

John 5:26-27 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

JUDGE OR ADVOCATE?

Will you have Jesus as your advocate (attorney) …

or your judge?

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…

The book of life will also be opened at the judgment.

Revelation 20:12a And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life.

Those whose names are not in the book of life will be condemned.

Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

JUDGEMENT

The verdict will be based on whether or not we chose to follow Jesus - the Son of God.

John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

There are 2 choices and 2 destinies. We can chose to accept God’s way of salvation through his Son, Jesus - or to reject it and face the consequences:

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.

1 John 5:10-12 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

JUDGEMENT

Those who reject the Son of God face a terrible fate:

Hebrews 10:26-31 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

JUDGEMENT

Although universalists believe that everyone will be saved, the Bible says that if your name is not in the book of life you will never enter the New Jerusalem, which is God’s abode on earth.

Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

JUDGEMENT

Is your name written down in the Lamb’s book of life?

How can the record of my sins be erased from those books and ‘forgotten’ by God?

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Then God removes, forgives and forgets our sin:

Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

FORGIVENESS

Q: How is it possible that my sin can be removed without the penalty being paid?

A: Jesus took your sin on himself on the cross and paid the penalty himself.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Isaiah 53:12 … he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

FORGIVENESS

Jesus gave his life to redeem you from sin.

Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 26:28 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

My friend - have you chosen to follow Jesus and accept him as Lord of your life so that your name can be written in the Book of Life?

FORGIVENESS

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COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)




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