Posts tagged ‘life after death’

PEOPLE NEED A SAVIOR

Are you saved?  If you were to die today, how do you know you would go to Heaven? 

When I was a kid growing up as a Baptist in a large Midwestern city, these were probably the two questions I heard the most.  Baptists then were all about evangelism.  People needed to get saved.  Period.  I truly have fond memories of joining the adults from our church to go knocking door-to-door to witness, hand out tracts, and ask those two questions.  We were people on fire and determined to win as many souls as possible for the Lord!

I don’t know if the 1970’s were a time of worldwide revival, or if that was just how Christians were…or maybe just how Baptists were.  But there is something wrong today when there appears to be none of that, or at least precious little.  Of course, the world has become a much more dangerous place.  I recognize that, so I don’t think we really need to go banging on doors.  We are just as likely to get our heads banged on in return.  But I do think we have lost the fervor, the fire to seek the salvation of souls.

During my teen years, my family switched denominations.  At some point, I recall someone telling me that “we don’t use the word ‘saved,’ it makes people uncomfortable and confuses them.  Saved from what?  People don’t think they need to be saved.’”  I was an impressionable youth and went along…for a LOT of years.  I think about that little conversation today, and I wonder, “What in the world were you talking about???”  I realize now that it was just another way that Satan has watered down the effectiveness of the Church, and in truth, of the whole Gospel message.  The whole reason Yeshua (the Hebrew name of Jesus) came to earth WAS TO SAVE!!!!  Every human being on the planet NEEDS TO BE SAVED!!!!  And the ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN IS SALVATION through Yeshua Messiah.  The Church was given one directive-  to go preach the Gospel…the message that brings the good news…a SAVIOR has come and died to SAVE the world.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says.  In Psalm 68:20, King David said that “God is the God of salvation.”

In Luke 2:11 the angel announces, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” This was the good news, of course, that was for all people.

When the Apostle Peter gave his incredible speech in Acts chapter 5, he quoted the prophet Joel and said (vs. 21), “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Yeshua, Himself, said in John 3:17 – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Titus 2:13 – “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  [Side note:  This is the reason I call Jesus by His Hebrew name, Yeshua; His given name…given before the time of His birth by God, Himself.]

Hopefully, I have given enough samples to illustrate that the word “saved,” and its derivatives have a Biblical foundation when it comes to the Gospel message.  We are saved from the power of sin over us; the slavery to sin (Romans 6:6-7).  We are saved from the punishment of death as a result of our sins (Romans 6:23).  And we are saved from the wrath of God against the non-believing/in-saved sinner (Romans 5:8-11).

Why would we think that we can express the salvation message better than the authors of the Bible?

Here’s the bottom line-.  Yeshua commanded us to go into all the world preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations.  We need to tell people they need to be saved, and explain what they need to be saved from.   We need to introduce them to the Savior, and lead them into salvation.

Look at the people in this world.  They are seeking a savior!  You and I know that drugs, alcohol, sex, video games, over-eating, excessive shopping, material possessions, etc., etc., etc. will provide nothing more than temporary escapes from the troubles of this world.

PEOPLE NEED A SAVIOR, and we have the answer! 

We know the one and only Savior who can deliver them from this world of despair, and He is not meant to be kept secret.  We were not commanded to become complacent, and slowly and carefully develop a strong relationship with someone waiting for the perfect time to tell them about Jesus.  But that is exactly what we do.

How many people do you know who have died without ever having been told about what Yeshua did for them because you were waiting for the right time to speak up.  There are four people who immediately come to my mind.  How many came to yours?  Even if it is one, that is too many.  Salvation has become the best-kept secret the world has never known—while we secret-bearers sit back in our Lazy-boys and rest in the knowledge that we are safe.

Personally, I believe that we are living in the end times, and Yeshua is standing on the edge of Heaven just waiting for the word.  When He comes back, that’s it.  Game over.  But even if He doesn’t return next week, over the summer, or for another 150 years, every single day people die, and the majority of them die without having been saved.

Paul said, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  (2 Corinthians 6:2b).

*All Scripture passages taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.

The Truth About R.I.P.

I have heard it said that celebrities die in three’s.  Recent weeks would attest to the fact that this is not true.  The latest, sadly, is Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame.  The world has lost a beloved icon, and everywhere you turn you see people wishing her well…R.I.P. Carrie Fisher.

The cold, hard truth is that there isn’t any “rest in peace” for her or anyone else who has not received Jesus as their Savior. 

Right at this moment, I have just infuriated probably every person reading this.  You are thinking, or probably saying, that I am a cold-hearted _________, fill in the blank.  The truth is exactly the opposite.  I am absolutely devastated that Carrie has gone.  I have cried my heart out, and will again.  But I don’t cry because she was Carrie Fisher, superstar.  I cry because she was Carrie Fisher, sinner, not saved by grace, and not in Heaven with Jesus right now, and there is nothing anymore that can be done about it.

She is not resting at peace. 

Instead, she is tormented.  And I am sorry to say all this.  But the truth is, I don’t care that you may be offended.  If that is what it takes to get your attention, then so be it.  The cold, hard fact is that if you don’t ask Jesus to be your Savior, then your soul will live in torment for eternity, too.  There is no peace in that.

 

60 years is too young, and so is your age, whatever it is- whether you are 15 or 90.  Death can come at any time.  What tears at my soul is that Carrie was willing to hear the truth about Jesus.  I remember reading a couple of years ago that she claimed to be an agnostic, but she said she was a “hopeful agnostic.”  Hopeful because she would love for someone to prove to her that God exists.  I have prayed for her ever since.  I prayed that someone would talk to her, show her.  She needed to know how very much God loved her, so much that He sent His own Son to die to take the punishment for her sins.

I could have done more.  That is why I’m angry with myself.  Today, with ready access to just about anyone through social media, I could have at least attempted to contact her, to share God’s love with her, but I didn’t.  And now it is too late.  But by golly, I am not going to let it be too late for you.  I don’t know who you are.  I don’t know your story.  But I do know that every person on the face of this planet is loved by God, including you.  And I know that He wants every person to receive His salvation so they can go to Heaven, including you.  But I also know that every single person that has ever lived, or ever will live, is sinful.  Because of that sin, none of us can be in the presence of God in Heaven without some miraculous intervention.

What I have just told you won’t be enough, so here are the facts from the Word of God, the Bible.  Before you read any further, pray.  Even if you don’t believe in God right at this very moment.  I don’t care.  Do it anyway.  Ask Him to help you see the truth and understand.  What I am about to write is it.

This is your chance to get in a right relationship with God.  Please.  Please, do not reject Him.  He will not poo-poo your rejection when you die.  He will not say, “Oh, I know you didn’t mean it.  Come on in.”  No. 

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

You think I’m being harsh about what happens after you die?  Read the story Jesus told about a poor man named Lazarus, and the unnamed rich man who decided to believe in God only when it was too late.

Luke 16:19-2619 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[a] from the rich man’s table. Moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you, there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’”

There is a Hell.  Whether you want to believe it or not.  There is a HeavenAnd there is a God who made both.  He will send those who reject Him to Hell.  Why?  If He is so loving, why would He do that?  Because He is also fair and just.  He would not be fair or just if He left wrongdoing unpunished.  Wrongdoing is sin.  Ever tell a lie?  Ever disobey your parents?  Ever been jealous of someone?  Ever stolen?  Twisted the truth?  Used the name of God in a way that was not respectful?  Ever hit your brother?  Cheat on homework?  Knowingly take a pen, paper, whatever from work without paying for it?  The list goes on and on and on.  Even the best of people have sinned.  We can’t help it.  It is our very nature.  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

God is just.  What is the punishment for our sin?  Death.  Spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God and all that is good.  Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell.  2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

I said that God loves you and wants you to be with Him in Heaven. 

John 3:16 – “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Jesus is God’s Son.  We just celebrated His miraculous birth.  He was fully human, and at the same time fully God.  He lived 33 years on this earth in the body of His own creation.  He had his diapers changed, sneezed when He had a cold, vomited when He had the flu, and winced in pain when He stubbed His toe.  But He never, ever, once in all those 33 years from the day He was born until the day He died, sinned.  Not ever.

God’s justice for sin demands punishment by death.  He took on human form, took the blame for our sins when He had no guilt Himself, and allowed Himself to be brutally sacrificed.  That’s right.  For you.  He did what no one else could.  He saved us from the power of sin over us, and from the punishment for our sins.

Jesus offers that salvation to every person, but He won’t force it on anyone. 

I can’t make you read this, listen to it, and respond to it.  As much as I would like to.  Jesus won’t make you respond to Him.  He wants you to come to Him because you want to, not because He made you.  There is only one way to get to Heaven.  That is to accept the salvation that Jesus offers.  If you don’t acknowledge that you are a sinner, then you won’t believe that you need Jesus.  You will think you can get to Heaven all on your own power.  Good luck. Remember the verse up above?  The one that says didn’t we prophesy in your name?  Didn’t we cast out demons in your name and do many wondrous things?  But Jesus said, “I never knew you.”  Why?  Because they were trying to do it on their own.

John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”  No.  Other.  Way.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  You can’t work your way into Heaven.  You can’t believe there is a god somewhere out there, but not accept the salvation offered by the One and only True God, and get to Heaven.  There is one way, and only one way.

Acts 16:31 – “So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.’”  Jesus is the way.

Are you ready?  Have you opened your heart to hear and understand what God is trying to tell you?  Don’t reject Him today.  Instead, confess to Him that you know you are a sinner.  Tell Him you are sorry, and ask Him to forgive you.  Then ask Jesus to be your Savior.  Do it today.  Don’t wait a moment longer.  I guarantee you Carrie Fisher did not think she was going to have a heart attack when she boarded that plane in London, and she certainly did not think she would be dead days later.  Can you foretell your future?

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Be cleansed from your sins today.  Let Jesus take the load of your guilt.  He has already paid the penalty.  Now let Him lift the weight off your shoulders.  Accept His salvation, and He guarantees you a reserved spot in Heaven.  Please.  This chance may never come again.

Jesus said, (Revelation 3:20) “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

HEAVEN

A couple days ago I took a look at what Hell is. Bottom line? Without the presence of God, and all the goodness that He is and brings, it is not a place I want to be…ever, and certainly not for eternity. All people are spiritual beings, and will live eternally somewhere (even though our physical bodies die). The question, then, is where? Is Hell the only option? When we die, are we all just doomed to eternal life in Hell? If that is the case, it is no wonder people flee death with fear and trembling!

I have good news, though. The best possible news ever. Hell has a counterpart! It is called Heaven. Just as Hell is pure darkness, evil, and everlasting torment; Heaven is pure light, goodness, and everlasting joy and contentment. It is the complete opposite.

The book of Revelations, in the Bible, tells us a little about what is in Heaven. Chapters 21 and 22 talk about a new Heaven and a new earth, the new holy city of Jerusalem. There will be no darkness, so no night, no fear of the bad things that can happen in cover of darkness. There will be no sun or moon, because God will be present right there, and the light that comes from Him will light the entire city. Hey, guess what? No sunburn!!!!

Revelation 21 & 22 also talk about the city being made of gold so pure it looks like glass. Streets of gold. The walls of the city decorated with any number of precious jewels (you think they are pretty in this world, imagine them in Heaven with absolutely no impurities!). The River of Life that shines like crystal. Trees that produce fruit every month, 12 times a year. And the gates to the city will never be closed because nothing evil will be allowed to enter in.

Since God will be physically present in this new earth, what will come with that? We know that no sin or evil can be in His presence. That is why Jesus died for us, to redeem us from the sin that permeates our lives now. When God looks at us now, He looks through Jesus’ sacrifice to see a righteous you and me (provided you have accepted Jesus as Savior). So what does no evil or sin in the new world look like? We already talked about no darkness. There will be no pain, no sorrow, no sickness, no fear, no death. Angels and people will sing continuous praise to God, beautiful music filling the air.

I think of Heaven in terms of the Garden of Eden. There was no death before sin entered the world. That means animals did not eat each other, or people. Which also means there was no need to fear them. I can’t imagine not being afraid of spiders and snakes, but I won’t be. The earth was new and wasn’t going to get old. There would have been no earthquakes, volcanoes, deadly storms. No hail to ruin crops, no bugs that destroy them. And no weeds!!!! Work was fulfilling and enjoyable, not a thing to be dreaded. Because there was no sickness, and work was not laborious, Eve didn’t worry about Adam having a heart attack while he was slaving away. Trees and plants didn’t die. Mosquitoes didn’t bite. Skunks didn’t sting, and porcupines didn’t shoot quills. The color of everything was vibrant and pure beyond what any of us can imagine today. All of the Garden of Eden and more, so much more, beyond what our feeble minds can embrace, will be in Heaven.

To me, the very best thing will be the presence of God Himself. God walked in the Garden of Eden. I don’t know if He did it every day, or only once, when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. But He did it. Adam and Eve hid because they knew they had disobeyed God. But He spoke to them face to face…for the last time. Remember when Moses asked to see God’s glory (Exodus 33:18-23)? God told Him he could not see His face because He would die. The full glory of God would be so great that Moses, in his sinful humanity, would not be able to tolerate it. So God covered his eyes, and passed before him. Moses was then allowed to see the back of God and His glory. And even then Moses glowed like a lightbulb for days afterward! In Heaven, we will see God face to face, in all His glory. We will not only be able to live through it, we will rejoice in it. We will glory in it. We will bathe in it. And we will live in the presence of it for all eternity!!

The question is, which do you choose? You have to make a choice. There is Heaven or Hell. By choosing not to choose, you simply choose Hell by default. If you are going to go to Heaven, then you must choose Heaven. You must choose Jesus. How do you do that? Believe that He is the only way. He is the only Son of God. His death on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins, and His resurrection back to life after 3 days, made the way for you to go to Heaven. But you have to believe it. When Jesus hung dying on the cross, 2 thieves hung on crosses on each side of Him. Luke 23: 39-43 tells how one of them recognized Jesus as God. He asked Jesus to remember him when He entered His kingdom. That is all he did. And Jesus’ answer? Verse 43: Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

What do you choose today? Paradise with Jesus, or Hell? There is no other option.

HELL

Have you ever thought about Hell? No, really. More than just a passing thought. Have you ever really thought about it? What is it like? Where is it? Is it real?

The Bible doesn’t tell us a whole lot about it. But it does tell us that it exists. Matthew 13:50 tells us it is a “…blazing furnace, where people will cry and grind their teeth in pain.”

2 Peter 2:4 says that angels who sinned were sent to hell and put in caves of darkness.

Mark 9:48 says that in hell the worm never dies, and the fire is never put out.

Revelations 14:10-11 say that the smoke from the pain of those who are in hell will rise forever. And also that there is no rest day or night.

Already it doesn’t sound like a pleasant place. Let’s consider it further. I know you may not want to, and your heart may be uneasy, but this is important.

Consider this one fact. God is not in hell. What, or who, is God? He is love. He is light. He is goodness, comfort, peace, truth, righteous, holy, pure, to name a few. If God is not in hell, then none of His attributes are there either. Take away love, and you have hatred. Complete hatred. Take away light, and you have utter darkness. Take away goodness, and you have unadulterated evil. Take away comfort, and you have discomfort. But not just discomfort, pain, sickness, sorrow that never ends. With no peace, there is war, all the time, between all the people. Without truth, there can be only lies, and thus not a single person to trust. No righteousness, holiness, or purity means no good, clean anything. Recall that Revelations said their is no rest, day or night. Without God in the picture, there is torment for all eternity, and not a single break from it…it never ends.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:46 (NCV) – “These people will go off to be punished forever, but the good people will go to live forever.”

Notice the key word? Forever. It applies to the good and the bad. Those who accept Jesus as Savior and those who don’t. The difference is where they will spend forever. I don’t want to scare you, but I want to scare you! Heaven is real, but so is Hell. God is just as real as you and I, and Jesus is coming to earth again one day soon. He will take those who believe in Him to Heaven. Those who denied Him while living here on earth will be sent to Hell. That is a place I don’t want to be. I don’t want my loved ones to be there. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, although I can’t say I can think of a personal enemy.

Tonight, for the first time, I did not pray for Jesus to come quickly. I asked Him to wait. I want no one to go to Hell. God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell either, but He is a just God, and He will punish those who sin by rejecting Him. Turn your heart to Him now. He is waiting for you. He has been waiting since the day you were born. He loves you! If you are ready to choose Jesus, and secure a place in Heaven for eternity, see my previous post, “Do You Have The Luxury Of Waiting?”

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

hisimagenme

It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightest weapons. ~ William Gurnall

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