Sunday, May 4, 2014

Will I go to Heaven?

I think there was a time, maybe 500 years ago, when everyone in the Western world asked this question. Death was ever present and the church was ever present! Not so today.

But in the last month the subject of Heaven has come up repeatedly. First, the grandson of a high school friend plays Colton Burpo in HEAVEN IS FOR REAL. Second, I keep watching advertisements for the movie. Third, my brother in law, whose heart recently stopped more than once, says he wants to see the movie! Finally, my niece's son (who is undergoing treatment for leukemia) asked her if he would go to heaven. She asked me how I would answer him.

Okay, here goes.

God created you and me, Peter, and wants us to live with him now and  forever in a perfect place. Wait! Something's wrong here. We can't even see God . . . and there is nothing perfect about this place! Everyday we see sickness, death, or hatred somewhere. And you have seen more sickness than most people your age. So what is wrong?

We can actually know what happened to mess things up and what will happen to make things right . . because God spoke to his servants who wrote God's WORD for us.  When we look at the Bible - God's Word - we have to remember that it answers the most important questions, but not every question we have. The Bible says that your question "Will I go to Heaven?" is one of the most important questions. God gives a very clear answer because he made us and he made Heaven.

Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory, honour and power, because you created all things, and by your decision they came to be.
Revelation 4:11

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

The mess this world is in is because of you and me. I think you are a good person, Peter,  and you probably think I am a good person. I actually think you are a pretty awesome person. But God has a different way of measuring GOOD. Instead of praising and thanking and obeying our Creator . . . and letting him be KING  - we say 'No' to him by not praising, thanking, and obeying him as KING. We do what we want, instead of what God wants. We pretend to be the king. That is what the Bible calls 'sin'.

All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory.
Romans 3:23

No-one is acceptable to God. No-one understands or searches for God. They have all turned away.
Romans 3:10-12

The Bible tells us that God hates sin and will not let us keep saying 'No' to him. He will not allow us to keep pretending to be our own king. One day he will show everyone that he is the only true KING. On that day, everyone who has been saying 'No' to him will be shut out of his perfect place - Heaven - forever. That is very sad news.

We will all die once, and then face judgement. 
Hebrews 9:27

But there is Good News. Because God is loving, he did something to rescue us from the punishment we deserve. He sent his own Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus didn't say 'No' to God and always did what God wanted him to. He didn't deserve to be punished like the rest of us.

But Jesus was punished. He was killed on a cross. God punished his own Son Jesus instead of us. Now we can be forgiven for saying 'No' to God. That means that we will be welcomed into his perfect place - Heaven - forever.

God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who trusts in him will have eternal life.
John 3:16

Christ died for sins once and for all. An innocent person died for the guilty, to bring you to God.
1 Peter 3:18

Even though Jesus died, God brought him back to life again, and lots of people saw him and even touched him. Then Jesus left this world and went back to be with God, his Father. God made Jesus the king of the whole world.

One day Jesus will come back to our world and punish everyone who still says 'No' to God. But he will welcome his forgiven friends into his perfect place - Heaven - forever.

Everyone who trusts in the Son has eternal life. But everyone who rejects him will never share in that life.
John 3:36

When I was exactly your age, Peter, I said sorry to God. I asked him to forgive me for trying to be the king. I thanked him for sending his son Jesus to die and take the punishment for me. I told him I wanted to make Jesus the KING in my life.

Until I die I will have to ask God to help me live with Jesus as my king and to keep on forgiving me. BUT the Bible tells me that I am on my way to Heaven.

Are you?

1. God Rules.  The Bible tells us God created everything, including you and me, and He is in charge of everything.
Scripture – Genesis 1:1, Revelation 4:11, Colossians 1:16-17
2. We Sinned.  We all choose to disobey God.  The Bible calls this sin.  Sin separates us from God and deserves God’s punishment of death.
Scripture – Romans 3:23, 6:23
3. God Provided.  God sent Jesus, the perfect solution to our sin problem, to rescue us from the punishment we deserve.  It’s something we, as sinners, could never earn on our own.  Jesus alone saves us.
Scripture – John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9
4. Jesus Gives.  He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again.  Because Jesus gave up His life for us, we can be welcomed into God’s family for eternity.
Scripture – Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 2:8-9
5. We Respond.  Believe in your heart that Jesus alone saves you through what He’s already done on the cross.  Repent, turning from self and sin to Jesus.  Tell God and others that your faith is in Jesus.
Scripture – John 14:6, Romans 10:9-10, 13

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