Friday, May 13, 2016

Heaven How?

Can you know you are going to Heaven?
“Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before.” D.L. Moody…Earth recedes…Heaven opens before me. (on deathbed).

Rev 21:27 “Nothing impure will ever enter the city, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
We attended a wedding banquet recently- I was presiding. We received a beautiful invitation. I forgot to RSVP. We got to the hotel and it was on the pent house level. We needed our name on the list for the Maître D’ to let us in. We were turned away- told to go down the service elevator- Until family saw us and up we went.

For centuries countless people have been too busy to respond to Christ’s invitation to his wedding banquet... Many assume that buying gifts or giving to the church, or attending or being baptized; singing in the choir or helping in the soup kitchen will be enough to gain entry to heaven. But people who do not respond to Christ’s invitation to forgive their sins are people whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. To be denied entrance to Heaven’s Banquet (Lk 14- people too busy)- will mean more than going down the service elevator to the garage. It will mean being cast outside into darkness- HELL Away from the presence of God FOREVER. In that day no excuse will count. All that will matter is that our names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  The wedding banquet in heaven is for all of us if we except and RSVP Christ’s invitation to join Him at the feast and spend eternity with Him.

In Andy Stanley’s book, How Good is Good Enough? He answers the question, how do you get there from here? Kids would say when asked, You gotta be dead. All religions but one say, you must be good enough to get to heaven. God never tells us how good, no measures or criteria. The problem is that, “we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). None of us can keep the law and we must be sinless to go to heaven. So there is a problem. And there is a solution. Good guys don’t get to heaven, “forgiven people do.” He (Jesus) paid, because we can’t. He is the only sinless one. The solution is that we must choose Him. Good guys and bad guys, just need to realize they cannot pay. This may seem unfair, but it’s true. It is open to everyone, in the same way.

Have you ever said YES to Christ’s invitation to join him? If so you can rejoice- Heaven’s Gates are open to you.
If you have been putting off the response, or you assume you can enter heaven without responding to the invitation, one day you will deeply regret it.

PREPARING FOR THE JOURNEY
Tombstone: Pause stranger, when you pass me by: as you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. So prepare for death and follow me.
(Passerby wrote: To follow you I’m not content- until I know which way you went.

Can you really know in advance where we’re going when we die?
Apostle John (Revelation writer)- “1 John 5:13-“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
We can know for sure!! Do You??
What do You Need to Know and Do?
To sin is to fall short of God’s standards- Sin is what ended Eden’s paradise. – You and I are sinners- Sin deceives us and makes us think that wrong is right and right is wrong. (Prov 14:12).
Solution: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus  our Lord” (Rom 6:23). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, loved us so much that he became a man to deliver us from sin (John 3:16). “He became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God” (2Cor 5:21). He died on the cross as our representative- substitute.  We are declared innocent and may enter into His presence in heaven and be at home with Him there.
We can’t pay our way- “Salvation is found in no one else (but Jesus) for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Jesus died and rose again for us- Conquering death and sin on the cross (1 Cor 15:3-4). It is finished, paid in full.
Forgiveness is not automatic. If we want to be forgiven, we must recognize and repent of our sins “He who conceals does not prosper, but he who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Prov 28:13). Forgiveness is established by our confession- 1 John 1:9- If we confess…
Christ offers everyone the gift of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with Him.
Empty handed- “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8).
Joining the Body of Christ: The Church.
No one deserves forgiveness- On the cross Christ experienced the hell we deserve, so that we could experience eternity in heaven we don’t deserve.  Once forgiven, never to lose.
Not religion- but relationship-
- “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father who is in heaven. …I will say plainly I did not know you” (Matt 7:21-23).
Do not merely assume that you are a Christian and going to heaven. Make a conscious decision to accept Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross on behalf of you and me. When we accept Christ and surrender control of our life to him we can be certain that our name is written in the Lamb’s book of Life.
He who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life” (Rev 21:6).
For those who know Christ secure place is Heaven, those who don’t, Hell.
John 14:6- “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me”
Come, whoever is thirsty let him come and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev 22:17).

CS Lewis said- “All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.”

We are made for a person and a place- the person is Jesus. The place is heaven- they are a package.
We will explore the joys and wonders of heaven in this series. But make sure you are going there.
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near” (Is 55:6).

Have you confessed your sins? Asked Christ to forgive you? Place your trust in His death and resurrection on your behalf? Asked Jesus to be your Lord and empower you to follow him?  Wouldn’t it be tragic to not get there when you can?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.