Imagine, you are driving down a smooth road in your dream car. The scenery is relaxing. Green open fields dotted with beautiful colors of the various, sweet smelling flowers along the road. There are large, beautiful, shade trees to relax under. A stream running through the meadows where deer are grazing. You play your favorite music so you can feel it in your heart and soul. You breathe in the fresh air, “Ahhh.” You think to yourself, “This is awesome! I love it out here.”
You are moving along a flat, straight piece of road and you see a hill ahead. You pick up a little speed to keep you moving over the hill. As you get over the top, you are moving at quite some speed. Your heart races as you see that there is no more road! In fact, there is a 500 foot cliff that you are going over! There is absolutely no way you can stop in time. You think to yourself, “Oh no. It’s over.”
How many people has this happened to in one way or another? There is another car coming on the wrong side of the road. Maybe it is a train coming at you that you did not see. Maybe it is just old age. Maybe you are in the midst of playing your favorite sport. It could be some disease. I am not sure. But, the fact is, at some time, the ultimate statistic will hit you, 10 out of 10 people die, your life will be over.
Wouldn’t you appreciate it if someone told you the truth about a situation so you could prevent disease or disaster? Wouldn’t this be a true friend? So, why do Christians want to tell people about God or Jesus?
We tell people about God or Jesus because we care about YOU. Sometimes we don’t even know who you are, but, we still care. I heard of a man who committed to passing out at least ten pamphlets, every day sharing about God because God cares about people. But, how do you know God really cares about you?
Imagine that you have just been told that the person that you care about most had just been kidnapped! You try to call them to no avail. You contact people you know that care about this person. They don’t know what to do either. Suddenly, you get an urgent message saying this person is being put on the slave market and if you don’t come up with money they are demanding, you and their family will never see them again.
The police can’t help you because of the relations with the country they have been taken to. You have the money. This group has been heard of and they have a reputation of getting people back to their loved ones if the ransom is paid.
Would you pay for that person to come home? Maybe more important to you, would someone do that for you? Can you imagine being in that situation? Did you know that God paid a ransom for you because you are in a worse situation?
“Who gave Himself
a ransom for all.”
Did you know that the average person commits three felonies a day? Can you imagine, the FBI picks you up and says, “We have been watching you over the last year. We are charging you on the felonies you have committed.” That would be absolutely crazy! What kind of fines or jail time would that involve?
Just as our government has its laws, God has His laws. We all have broken His laws (the Ten Commandments). Let’s look at a few of His laws.
Have you ever lied? The size or importance of the lie does not matter. What do you call someone who lies? A liar.
Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever stolen time from someone? The value does not matter. You call that person a thief.
Have you ever used God’s name without honor? For example, OMG or “Jesus Christ” as an expression of disgust. That is called, blasphemy.
If you have ever done these things, you are a liar, a thief and a blasphemer. And we have only talked about three of the Ten Commandments! There are seven more to go!
Can you imagine every sin in your life being brought up before God? When these charges are laid out before the Judge who sits on the throne in Heaven, will you be innocent or guilty before God? If you are honest with yourself, you will have to say, “Guilty.”
In our world, if we break the law, we must pay the penalty. With God, it is the same, if we break His law, we must pay the penalty He set up, eternity away from God, or as we know it, Hell.
Did you know, Jesus is the One who warns the most about eternal punishment? I want to warn you to do what’s necessary to stay out of Hell.
The Bible gives some description of what it is like, eternal, eternal fire, complete darkness, a place where the worm never dies (Mark 9). (To learn more about Hell, click here.)
It may not seem fair, but, it is not a decision for us to make. God must treat each person the same in order to be fair and just. He set up His rules and He will judge by those rules, whether it be the mother Teresa, Hitler, or you.
There are several religions that baptize. Some baptize infants as a way of “salvation.” Unfortunately, the Bible does not give any example of baptizing infants.
Anytime you see baptism in the Bible, you see someone who has made a conscious decision about why they are being baptized. In the Gospels of Matthew (3:2) and Luke (3:3), they are being baptized to renounce their ways and to change to following the Lord. This is called repentance.
In our day and age, there are a lot of churches that will ask you if you want to go to Heaven. Maybe at a crusade, they ask you if you want to receive Jesus then tell you to come down to the field or altar. If you do, then they have you say a little prayer and sometimes they pronounce you a “Christian.” But, none of this matters unless there is a repentant heart, a changed life.
Jesus said, "Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand."
To repent is to change your mind from your ways to God’s way and as a result, your actions will follow. Real recognition of one’s sinfulness and guilt will lead to genuine sorrow, shame and even hatred for one’s sins against God. This will lead to a changed life of living for God and not against Him.
In order to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, as a part of repentance from your ways to God's way, you need to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. First, He is your Savior because He shed His blood and died in order to pay for your sin against God. He offers you the gift of salvation and you must receive it from Him.
1. You and I have sinned according to God’s law, the Ten Commandments.
2. God is righteous and must judge sinners based on their works.
3. In order to be saved, or go to Heaven, you must repent (change your mind about your sin and see your sin how God sees it), and you must receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. He lived a perfect life in order to suffer and die as payment for your sin. He offers this gift to you free of charge (but it did cost Him His own life).
1. Read your Bible daily. As food is to our physical bodies, so is the Bible to our spiritual bodies. Eat/read daily! For a Bible Reading Plan, go to http://tinyurl.com/ReadMyBible .
2. Pray always. Just like you talk to a friend about anything, speak to God the same way. He is always listening. Then listen for answers via the Bible, in situations, or through others. Always test it against the Bible.
3. Church/Fellowship. Gather with other Christians/believers who take the Bible seriously and want to obey what God says. It could be an established church or a small group.
4. Share. Share with others! People have questions, seek God for answers. He will answer through His word or other Christians.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation;
old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new.
When you become a Christian, or saved, your desires should change. Your desires should begin to line up with what God desires for your life.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.
How can one be assured salvation and going to Heaven? Assurance is based upon self-examination in the light of Scripture. Ask yourself these questions. Look up the verses following the questions and see if you are in Him (Galatians).
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to confirm these things in your life or to bring them into your life so that you will be assured of your salvation.