I received a lot of feedback from last week’s article which I had entitled, ““There’s Nothing More That You Can Do.” And … it was all good feedback; letting me know that what I said was appreciated, the information was right to the point, and that salvation was clearly defined. I’d like to say “Thank You” for the feedback. It helped me realize that what I am saying each week is, first of all, appreciated, and secondly, applicable. However, sometimes I wonder if the topic is really something that people are interested in? For the most part, I will typically use a life circumstance (mostly mine) and then I will circle back to make the point that God wants us to spend our eternity in heaven with Him and He has provided the way for us to do so through His Son, Jesus Christ. However, what I say could be written with the supposition that the reader — you — wants to spend their eternity in Heaven with God.
I mean, given the choice, heaven with God or hell with the devil, I believe the majority of people would want to go to heaven. I have had people tell me they will just spend their eternity in hell with the rest of their friends, sitting around the poker table, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. I hope they are kidding me, but if that’s where they want to spend their eternity, they are certainly kidding themselves. There will not be any beer drinking, poker playing or good times in Hell. There will be smoking, but it will be the eternal bodies of unbelievers being tormented in the fires. The Bible calls hell a “place where the worm never dies, outer darkness, a place of screaming and unbearable pain and a place where people chew on their tongues for relief from the pain they are experiencing. It is also a place of no escape. Once a person is there, they are there forever.
So here’s my question for thought this week: “Do you want to go to heaven?” Many of you will respond with a simple “Yes, that’s where I am going” while there will be some who will say, “I hope so, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens” or something like that. So I am going to be straight with you again this week no “fake news” but only the “good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
First of all, if your pastor or spiritual leader is telling you that you cannot know where you are going to spend your eternity, they are wrong and they are a false prophet. I know that is a pretty straight forward remark and for me to call another preacher or spiritual leader a “false prophet” is probably going to get me some “hate mail” this week. That’s OK. I have my “big boy” pants on and I can take it. The Bible clearly tells us that we can know where we are going to spend our eternity. Please read (I. John 5:9-13). Once again, if your pastor or the church you attend is expressing church membership, baptism, good works, etc., and not accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord as the only requirement for heaven, you need to leave that church immediately.
God’s Word tells us three basic things about man, God’s love and eternal life. First of all, in Romans 3:23 we have all sinned. Period. Every one of us is a sinner. Then God tells us that He loved us so much that He provided the free gift of salvation (eternal life) to every one of us. Romans 5:6-9. The Bible uses the word, “saved” here meaning we will be saved (rescued from our sins and the debt of sin). Then, the Bible tells us “how” we can be saved. Please see Romans 10:1-13. The Apostle Paul is saying in verses 1-3 what many religious leaders are tells us we need to do — work out our own salvation and trust that our good works will be enough to get us into Heaven. I don’t know about you, but my eternity is way too important to let someone else other than God and His Word tell me how to be saved. God says we have to do it “His way” and His way is by accepting what His Son, Jesus, did on the cross. Jesus’ death paid the debt of sin which is death (Romans 6:23) and God gave us the “gift” of eternal life.
Now … here’s where many religious leaders stop. If eternal life is a “gift” and Romans 6:23 says it is … then it has to be received. How do we do that? Read Romans 10:9-13 again. We ask Jesus Christ to come into our life (our heart is our life) so Jesus comes into our hearts and we confess Him as the Son of God, crucified, buried and risen and because we have accepted Him, He is now our Savior too. Do you understand this? It is of utmost importance that you do, because once you draw your last breath on this earth, your eternity has been sealed. There is no purgatory or holding place for those who have died without Christ. You cannot pray anyone into Heaven. (If you believe this, please show me chapter and verse where it is taught in the Bible. I’d be interested in seeing it.) There is not a second chance after death. The decision has to be a right decision that you make while you are alive and of sound mind on this earth.
This is one of the main reasons Crossroads Community Church is growing. We believe the Bible to be the Word of God and we teach it and we preach it without “fear or favor of man.” And because of our faithfulness to God’s Word, He is blessing us and we are growing. Our growth is not a “transfer” growth … people coming from other churches. No! Our growth is because people are hearing the Word of God and faith comes by hearing and they are finally understanding what God says about the here and now and also about the hereafter.
Do you want to go to heaven? Do you know that you are? I offer my assistance to meet with you and to use the Word of God to show you how you can know that you are going to heaven. Leave me a voice message, send me an email. Let’s talk.
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
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Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.