GET ETERNAL!!!

“In order to get ETERNAL you must first get INTERNAL”

Maria Schriver’s Dad

©2013 Mark Davis

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Hell? or Heaven?

“This life is the only hell believers will ever know.
But for those who die in their sins, this is their only heaven.”
— Ray Comfort

©2013 Mark Davis

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Here’s Your Change!

Saw this on a church marquee:
Jesus paid the price; you get to keep the change.

Don’t want to stop reading yet?

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How Many Ways Are There To Get To Heaven?

Growing In Grace – Bible Study

pray, Pray, PRAY!!

The Wordless Book Presentation

Recall Notice! Immediate Attention Needed!

How To Be Saved Presentation Book

The Printed Page

What Does Your Mouth Say About You?

©2013 Mark Davis

 

Your Spiritual Wages

“There is no wage relationship with God. Spiritually speaking, you and I haven’t earned anything but death.”

—Chuck Swindoll

Romans 3:10 — “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”

Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 — “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 5:8 — “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

©2013 Mark Davis

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You’re Dead! Now What?

How Many Ways Are There To Get To Heaven?

Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Lesson

Lesson 12

KJV Bible

KJV Bible (Photo credit: knowhimonline)

KNOWING WHAT WE BELIEVE

It is extremely important that we know what we believe and why.  In this lesson we will consider the vital doctrines of the Word of God.  Doctrine simply means teaching, and we are considering what the Word of God teaches about fundamental and basic truths.  To honor the Lord, we must have convictions about these truths.  Knowing these doctrines will help stabilize your Christian life.  I recommend that you acquaint yourself with these truths.

THE BIBLE

Words

Words (Photo credit: tempestuousseas)

We believe in the Bible as the verbally (every word) and plenary (completely) inspired Word of God.  By its being inspired, we mean that the Bible is literally breathed of God.  It is God’s Word.  All portions of Scripture are equally inspired and contain no contradiction.  They are totally without error as originally given by God.  Therefore, the Scriptures are our only infallible and authoritative rule for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Psalm 119:89).  The canon of Scripture, comprised of the sixty-six books of the Bible, is complete.  Nothing shall be added to it or taken from it (Revelation 22:18, 19).

GOD

We believe in the one Triune God.  He is personal, spirit, and sovereign. He is perfect, infinite, and eternal in His being, holiness, love, wisdom, and power.  The Godhead eternally exists in three Persons:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These three are one God, having the same homage, confidence, and obedience.  God is absolutely separate and above the world as its Creator; yet He is everywhere present, upholding all things (Genesis 1:1, 25; John 1:1; 14:16, 17, 26; Matthew 3:16, 17; 1 Timothy 3:16).

THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

We believe that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1-4; John 10:30).  He became the God-man by virgin bir

THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe that the Holy Spirit is God, and therefore the third Person in the Trinity.  In Acts 5:3, 4 Peter told Ananias that he had lied to the Holy Ghost; and then he said, “Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto Godth (Isaiah 7:14).  He was begotten of the Holy Spirit, not having a human father, and is true God and true man.  He is man’s only hope of salvation, having shed His precious blood on the cross for our sins (1 Peter 1:18, 19; Hebrews 9:26-28).  He died, and buried and literally rose bodily again from the dead on the third day for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).  He is at the right hand of God today as our Mediator, interceding for us (1 Timothy 2;5, 6).  He will return for us, His church, the body of Christ, and take us unto Himself into Heaven (! Thessalonians 4:13 – 18).  He will set up a millennial reign on earth (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Revelation 20:4-6)..”  In this we see that Peter stated clearly that the Holy Spirit is God.

The Holy Spirit is a Person.  In John 16:13, 14 and in other verses, a personal pronoun is used of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:27 states that the Holy Spirit has a mind.  First Corinthians 2:11 reveals that the Holy Spirit has Knowledge.  Romans 15:30 speaks of “the love of the Spirit.” Also, 1 Corinthians 12:11 states that the Holy Spirit gives gifts according to His will.

From these verses we see that the Holy Spirit has these attributes of Personality:

Intellect — mind and knowledge Emotion — love Will

You see, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not just an influence.  He is a Person at work in the world today.

His ministry is many-fold.  I will mention some of the ministries He has had in the past and does have now.

1.     In the past.  He is the Author of the Word of God.

2 Peter 1:21 — “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2.     In the past.  He took part in creation.

Genesis 1:2 — ” . . . And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

3.     Today the Holy Spirit indwells the body of the believer.

1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 — ” What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 — “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

4.     Today the Holy Spirit performs the following ministries:

a.     Conviction in the hearts of the unsaved to bring them to Christ (John 16:8-11 — The word reprove in John 16:8 means convict).

b.     Regeneration of the believer (John 3:5, 6; Titus 3:5).

c.     Baptism of the believer into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).

d.     Sealing of the believer — making each believer eternally secure (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).

e.     Teaching the believer the truths of the Word of God (John 14:26; John 16:13; 1 John 2:27).

f.     Sanctifying by developing holy fruit in the life of the yielded believer (Galatians 5:22, 23).

g.     Empowering the believer for service (Acts 1:8).

h.     Filling the believer to live and serve the Lord with power and blessing (Ephesians 5:18).

To live to the glory of God, every believer should rely on  the power of the Holy Spirit.  We need to know the truth concerning Him and then rely on His power.

MAN

The Bible teaches that all men are sinners, that they are, by nature and by choice, sinful.  Man, who was created by a direct act of God, made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27), fell in sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).  Because Adam — the father of the human race — fell, all humanity has been born with a sinful nature.  The only One ever born of woman who held no sin is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Sin and death passed upon all men.

Romans 5:12 — “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Therefore, mankind is universally sinful.

Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Read also Romans 3:9-12, Isaiah 53:6, and Ecclesiastes 7:20.

Because of his sin, man is alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18) and is outside the family of God (Ephesians 2:12).  Unsaved men abide under the wrath of God (John 3:36) and are unable to save themselves.

SALVATION

The Bible teaches that salvation is by God’s grace through the believer’s faith and is without works.

Ephesians 2:8, 9 — “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Titus 3:5 — “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23) and cannot be merited or secured by man in any way except by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:19-24).  Salvation was purchased by the blood of Christ.

I Peter 1:18, 19 — “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

Hebrews 9:22 — “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

In Christ, believers have eternal life as a present possession and are justified before God.  Believers are sons in the family of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).  The saved are eternally secure in Christ (John 6:37; 10:27-30; 1 Peter 1:5).

When a person is saved, he is a new creation.  His salvation affects his whole life and personality (2 Corinthians 5:17).

SATAN

The Bible reveals Satan to be a person, actively at work in the world today.  He is the great adversary of God and His people.  Satan is the leader of all evil angels and spirits.  He is recognized in the Bible as:

a.     Satan — Revelation 12:9

b.     The Devil — Revelation 12:9

c.     The adversary of believers — 1 Peter 5:8

d.     The god of this world — 2 Corinthians 4:4

e.     The prince of the power of the air — Ephesians 2:2

f.     The prince of this world — John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11

As a believer, you will be wise to recognize the reality and power of Satan. Thank God, though he is powerful, he is not all powerful, Satan was defeated and judged at the cross; therefore, his eternal doom is certain and believers can have victory over him.  Satan can come either as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) or as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).  The saved are able to overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11), and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4).

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

God’s people should live holy lives with good works, not to bring salvation, but because of salvation.  The good works of a Christian should be the normal fruit of a saved life (Ephesians 2:10).

HEAVEN AND HELL

The Bible teaches there is a place called Heaven for the saved and a placed called Hell for the lost.

Matthew 25:46 — “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Luke 16:22, 23 — “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom:  the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, . . . “

FUTURE EVENTS

The Bible teaches that at the close of the church age, the Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven to call out the believers.

1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 — “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

This event is called the Rapture and could take place at any time.  At the rapture, Christ does not set His feet upon the earth, but comes in the clouds to call the Christians home with Him to Heaven.  Following the Rapture there will be the seven-year period of tribulation, the worst conditions ever to exist on earth.  After seven years the Lord Jesus will return with His saints to set up His millennial reign.  These two appearances of the Lord are delineated in Titus 2:13 —

“Looking for that blessed hope [the Rapture], and the glorious appearing [Christ’s coming with His saints] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The Lord Jesus will reign as King for 1000 years.

Revelation 20:6b — ” . . . but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

The Bible teaches there will be a resurrection of the saved and a resurrection of the unsaved.  The saved are raised to life and the unsaved to eternal doom (John 5:29; Daniel 12:2).

It is the responsibility of Christians to be watching for the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:13 — Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Mark 13:35 — Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.”

Hebrews 9:28 — “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

<< Lesson 11 – Knowing And Doing The Will Of God – Assignments

Growing in Grace – Table of Contents

Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Assignments >>

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Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Asssignments

Lesson 12

peanuts - aboutsounddoctrine

ASSIGNMENTS

1.     Memorize 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

2.     Read Romans 1 — 8

For lessons 12 and 13 our assignment will be to read through Romans. Someone has said that Romans is a little Bible presenting a complete message of salvation and the Christian life.     Under section 2 of “NOTES” on a separate sheet, please record truths you find concerning doctrines from your reading of Romans 1 — 8.

3.     Answer the following questions in your own words:

1.     How did God give His Word? (2 Peter 1:20, 21)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     Note the three persons in the Godhead from Matt. 3:16, 17.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

What do these verses indicate concerning the working together of each member of the Trinity?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

3.     List at least four truths concerning Jesus Christ, the Word, from John 1:1-14.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

4.     What is the lost man’s condition according to Ephesians 2:1-3?

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

5.     Salvation comes by God’s _______________ and through man’s _______________________ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

6.     What part do works have in our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

7.     What two things are mutually exclusive? (Romans 11:6)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

8.     Give the descriptive names of Satan as found in Revelation 12:7-12.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

9.     Give some truths about Hell found in Luke 16:19-31.

a. _____________________________________________________________

b. _____________________________________________________________

c. _____________________________________________________________

d. _____________________________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________________________

f.  _____________________________________________________________

10.     When does a believer go to Heaven? (2 Corinthians 5:8)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

11.     What will happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:10)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

12.     What should the truth of the second coming of Christ do for us as believers? (1 John 3:2, 3)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

NOTES

1.     A blessing I received each day as I read in Romans 1 — 8:

Day 1 — Romans 1 __________________________________

Day 2 — Romans 2 __________________________________

Day 3 — Romans 3 __________________________________

Day 4 — Romans 4 __________________________________

Day 5 — Romans 5 — 6 _______________________________

Day 6 — Romans 7 __________________________________

Day 7 — Romans 8 __________________________________

2.     Notes on doctrines which we believe that I found as I read these eight chapters of Romans:

1.     The Bible ______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2.     God __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

3.     The Lord Jesus Christ ______________________________

_____________________________________________________________

4.     The Holy Spirit __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

5.     Man __________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

6.     Salvation _______________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

7.     Satan _________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

8.     The Christian Life _________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

9.     Heaven and Hell __________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

10.    Future Events ___________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

©2012 Mark Davis

<< Lesson 12 – Knowing What We Believe – Lesson

Growing in Grace – Table of Contents

Lesson 13 – Baptist Distinctives – Lesson >>

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Working vs. Receiving

chspurgeon

‎”Beloved, here is a test for us—is our religion a receiving religion, or is it a working and an earning religion? An earning religion sends souls to Hell. It is only a receiving religion that will take you to Heaven.”

— Charles H. Spurgeon

Bible Readings:

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

John 1:17 “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

Acts 20:32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

What Are You Wearing?

SantaDachshund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we think of Christmas right now, I see people scrambling at the malls and department stores, waiting in lines to get in first – WHY?

Oh, I understand that they are trying to save money on the early Christmas sales, or they want to get that thing before the stores run out. But is that what Christmas is all about, wearing all the latest fashions, having all the coolest gadgets, getting that thing before your friend gets it?

Everybody has to have all the latest fashions that they see the stars wearing in the magazines at the checkout of the grocery stores…

Lets stop for a second to take a look at that person;  most would be lower middle class that are scraping to get by because they have stretched their budget too tight so that they can barely buy groceries, or maybe they are lower class that have ratty clothes (the in style thing to do) and paying for their food with food stamps or government aid money.

Google Glasses Even Look Creepy on Fashion ModelsPhoto credit goes to www.theatlanticwire.com

Google Glasses Even Look Creepy on Fashion Models
Photo credit goes to http://www.theatlanticwire.com

Yet, if you look closer, you will see that the middle class person standing in line with their cell phone out and it just happens to be the latest *phone that they spent $400 on when it first came out (ok, some a little less – this is an example), and then the “shabby-schiek clothing” person is getting government aid and they can’t afford to buy food from their income but yet they can afford to buy a $50 carton of cigarettes that they will probably burn through in a week or so.

You see these people always trying to riffle through the racks of clothing to see if they can find their size in that cool looking outfit.  Or, they are in the sporting goods store/department looking for the latest style of athletic shoes.

Then you have the upper middle (and above) class that don’t worry about the money or what they are wearing because they have achieved greatness (or their daddy did), and they can wear anything they want and buy anything that they want short of a new car (for some).  They worry about what their buddies (homies?) are wearing and if they would be accepted in their group if they wore a particular brand of falling-down jeans or, for the girls, the latest brand and style of painted on clothes (if you call them that).

Why is it so important for a person to wear a particular brand or style? Why can’t people get by with a pair of jeans from your local discount department store that costs $15 or even something that they might find in a second-hand store for a few bucks?  You can find some really great things there – that’s where the rich dump their clothes after they are through with them, after all.

I’m sure that I don’t have to remind you – because we always know it all and know best, right – that God’s Word, The Holy Bible, tells us in Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.”

Where this verse doesn’t condemn having nice, good-quality things, it does remind us that we, as Christians, are clothed with the garments of salvation and covered with the robe of righteousness.  Now, I know, this is not literal clothing that we can wear out in public or anything.  We might be embarrassed or get arrested if we would try.  No, this is telling us that if we put our trust in God and not the physical things, we are covered with Godly clothes.  We will be wearing these clothes when we finally get to see Jesus in Heaven.

My concern here is not about the clothes that we wear every day – although some of them leave a lot to be desired – we forget where our heart needs to be every day.  It is not supposed to be on earthly possessions but rather Heavenly things (Matthew 6: 33;  Matthew 6: 19 – 21).  Remember the saying, “You can’t take it with you when you die”?  It is true.

Jesus tells us in the above verses that since we can’t take anything on this earth with us to the “afterlife”, we are supposed to store our things up in Heaven.  Things on this earth can/will be destroyed and will eventually go away, but if we lay up our treasures in Heaven, those things will be waiting for us when we get there.  And, if we store our treasures in Heaven our “mind”, or the things that we put the most emphasis on and effort into, here on earth, is where our “heart” will be.  What does that mean?  If we work for things on earth, our “heart” is paying attention to ourselves.  If we work for things in Heaven, our “heart” is paying attention to God.  The main focus of our existence on this earth is not to be on us but rather on God and for spreading His Gospel.  Those things are the ones that will be stored for us in Heaven.

“How do we store up things in Heaven?”, you ask.  “We can’t even see there right now, nor can we get there to deliver anything to store it?”

1 Corinthians 3: 11 – 15
 11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
 12 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
 13 “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
 14 “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
 15 “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

When we make decisions here on earth, we can make them to please our own desires or we can choose to please God.  When we choose to please ourselves, those things are the things that will be burned up. If we make the choice to trust Jesus for salvation, and yet we never do anything for Him afterward, that is what is talked about in v. 15 where all of a person’s “works” will be burnt up and he will be left with nothing, no “reward“, but yet he will still be there in Heaven, “saved; yet so as by fire”.

You know one thing that really wakes me up when I think about this is v.13 where it says that “every man’s work shall be made  MANIFEST”.  WOW!!  Right here I picture a huge jumbotron T.V. in Heaven.  Jesus will call each one of us up to a stage where everyone could see everything I did during my life after my salvation.  I think that I would feel about a centimeter tall about then when everything is shown that I did wrong. But, for all of those things that I did right and for Jesus and in His name, I would get some kind of reward for that.  Thankfully God is a forgiving God and when we ask forgiveness for our sins after our salvation, He “forgets” about those sins and just remembers those things which I’ve done for Him.

John 14: 2 – 3
2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” 

What I see here is that everything that I truly do for Jesus’ sake and not my own, will be shown in the mansion that He is preparing for me.  I’m sure that there will be huge mansions in Heaven and there will be “shacks” for mansions all due to the “works” that a person does in Jesus’ name and for His sake and not our own.

You notice that I say “not my own” or “not our own” here.  I say that because it is difficult to determine at times that the things that we do that look like they should matter for Christ can sometimes be done selfishly.  Our motives MUST be pure.

Sometimes we do things because we have to or we made a commitment to do it so “I am fulfilling that commitment, not because my heart is really in it”; or maybe because someone told you to do it.  Or maybe, you do something just because you are trying to lay up things for yourself in Heaven.  I know that that verse tells us to, but there is a fine line here. Are we doing it for our future self or are we doing it for Jesus?  Those things done for Jesus are the ones that will NOT be burned in the refining fires.

Christian, I hope that this has been a graphic for you of what we need to be doing for Christ and for what purpose we are to be doing them.  I’d really like to see you in Heaven with a huge mansion.

© 2012 Mark Davis

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What is it That Saves You?

Charles_Spurgeon

“The only salvation that can redeem from Hell is a salvation which comes from Heaven! Eternal salvation must come from an eternal God. Salvation that makes you a new creature must be the work of Him who sits upon the Throne of God and makes all things new!”
—Charles Spurgeon

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How Many Ways Are There To Get To Heaven?

Dear God,
It’s O.K. that you made different religions, but don’t you get mixed up sometimes?        – Arnold (age 10)

Well, dear Arnold has been just as deceived as 98% (just an estimate not a fact) of the world’s population. Last I saw, there were over 10,000 separate distinct religions in the world today. Is it really logical that a God that is totally perfect – from eternity past to eternity future infallible – could make a mistake 10,000+ times over?

Surely, if all of the religions out there led to Heaven, God would be really contradicting Himself a lot. So many of these religions have conflicting doctrines and beliefs; so how can they be right? Some of them have to be wrong, right?

What is the definition of “religion” first?

Noun:

      1.) The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
      2.) Details of belief as taught or discussed.

Synonyms: faith – belief – creed – denomination

Which ones are right and which ones are wrong?

When you consider this question, you have to think about what you would consider to be the “gold standard” of thought. What can you compare all else to that would be unfailingly right (correct)? How do you go about trying to figure that out? Wow, what questions…

Most people would boil it down to morals.

Q: Well, where do people get their morals?
A: Their parents and the people around them and they just figure right from wrong from there.

Q: Where would they have gotten their standards and ways of thought from?
A: What/who gave them the morals that they have now (or had)? And it goes down from generation to generation. Back to the beginning of time.

It all leads back to the first man and woman; and even before that. God is the only “gold standard” that you can look at that is totally unfaltering and unwavering and infallible and the only One that can be considered “perfect” without refutation.

Well, ok, if God boils down to being the only One that can be considered; then God it is. Now, how does He give us morals? How does He even talk to us? The way He talks to us is through the Bible. The Bible is the only history book ever written that has never had any contradictions to itself. There might be some oxymorons in there but when you get down to the original manuscripts and the true meanings of those texts, we find that they really don’t contradict themselves.

2 Timothy 3:16 KJV
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

So, the Bible (God) gives us morals or at least He is the “gold standard” in which we can look to and compare anything else to find out if it is right or wrong.

The concept of “right” has been around since before creation because God is inherently “good”. So then, what is the source or beginning of “evil” or “sin” or “wrong” (all being the same thing)?

When Adam and Eve were created, they were originally sinless. They had never done anything wrong at that point. God told Adam and Eve that they could do anything that they wanted to do EXCEPT eat of the fruit of only one of the trees that were in the Garden of Eden. Out of all the different trees that were there, they could only NOT eat of ONE of them. Well, I think we all know human nature well enough that, eventually, when someone tells us not to do something, it only makes us want to do it even more.

Eve was in the Garden wandering around one day when she was approached by a serpent. This serpent was the incarnation of Lucifer (Satan, the Devil, etc). Mr. Serpent told Eve that she should eat of the fruit of the Knowledge Of Good And Evil which God had told them not to eat. Oh, the fruit looked so good. Mr. Serpent said “God only told you not to eat it, because if you did, it would make you just as smart as God. Now, you want to be as smart as God don’t you”? Well, Eve thought that that sounded pretty good. She wanted to be smarter, after all, Adam had been the one that named everything not her. She wanted to be as smart as God. She went to Adam and told him about the proposition that she had been given by Mr. Serpent and, with the lures that she had, tempted Adam and they both ended up eating from the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  (**Color added for readability**)

Well, they sure knew Good from Evil at that point. They immediately knew that they had done wrong in the sight of God (yes, God saw them – He sees everything at all times-did then and still does today) and they realized that they were naked and they hid from God. Just like a parent playing hide and seek with their child, knowing right where they were hiding all along, God went looking for Adam and Eve.

One thing led to another and God threw them out of the Garden of Eden, never to return again. He took it a step, or really a bunch of steps further and cursed; the animals (primarily the Serpent); the land would, from then on, have weeds; woman would have pain in childbirth; and man would now have to labor. Couldn’t you just hate Adam and Eve about now?This story can be found in The Bible in Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:1-24. I’ll not post it here since it is rather long. I have a feeling that this post will be long enough as it is.

Right and wrong were conceptualized from that point on. It has been passed down from generation to generation and none were skipped. It went through Cain and Able, Jacob and Esau, Noah and the Ark (that God told him to build) and so on and so forth down to you and I now.

You know, life would have been a whole lot better now if Adam and Eve had not sinned. We wouldn’t have sickness or disease or have to pull weeds out of the garden and our wives would actually look forward to having children (just kidding ladies). I don’t think that we could really be able to imagine life in a perfect world.

I regress; we wanted to know about how many ways there were/are to get to Heaven.

Looking through the Bible, I have never read anything about any “religions” besides idol worshiping, maybe. Then to top it off, the idol worshipers in the Bible were always on the wrong side of God. God commanded that there be no other gods before Him and no graven images – idols. Well then, if “religion” isn’t the way to Heaven then how does it work out that we can all have the opportunity to go to Heaven?

The Bible tells us through history that there would be a “savior”*, someone to come to earth – a King that would deliver us from all oppression and the penalty for doing wrong. Oops! Did I not say anything about a penalty? Hummm. *There are many prophecies about that in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Jesus’ coming to earth.

Looking through history, when someone did something wrong, there has always been a penalty. The first five books of the Bible are filled with rules and laws that God’s people were supposed to follow but, there, along with the laws are also the penalties for breaking the laws. Most of the penalties are really severe – the most severe was/is, obviously, DEATH! Yikes! That’s pretty bad!

Along with the laws and the severe penalties, God also made a way that they can have forgiveness by Him for their sins, restoring favor in His sight, or restoring their “friendship” so to speak. It used to be that the penalty was a sacrifice of a lamb but, we don’t seem to be doing that much anymore, right?

When God created us, He wanted to spend time with us (in our perfect state). He still wants to spend time with us, it’s just that there seems to be omething in the way. We have a barrier between Him and us. The barrier is called “sin”. While we are sinful we can’t be in God’s presence.

Isaiah 59:2 KJV
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

If you look at God as Light and Sin as darkness; when you bring light into a dark room, it is no longer dark. Light cannot be in the same place as darkness. The above verse indicates that God has hidden His face from you because your “iniquities” or the sins that are in your soul – all the way back to when we were born and started sinning to the present time.

John 8:12 KJV
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Romans 3:10 KJV
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”

Romans 3:23 KJV
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Being sinners, we are in need of a way to pay the penalty for our sins, which would be eternal death without a payment.

Mind you, I said Eternal Death. That is different than just death – being dead at the end of your life here on earth, buried and six feet under the ground. Eternal Death is what happens when we die and our soul continues on into eternity without any salvation.

Since sin cannot be where God is in Heaven, there is another place for sinners to go and that is ultimately into the Lake of Fire – a place where the fire never goes out and those there will be in excruciating pain but unable to just die and get it over with. Such PAIN and AGONY! They will have to stay like that for the rest of eternity.

Any idea how long eternity is? It Never ends! Eternal Death is separation from God – in the Lake of Fire. The alternative is eternity WITH God, in Heaven.

Matthew 25:30 KJV
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Mark 9:42-48 NASB
42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.
43 “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
44 “where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.
45 “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,
46 “where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.
47 “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,
48 “where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.”

Romans 6:23 KJV
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The alternate payment for our sins is only something that God can give. He gave His only Son so that we can have Eternal Life:

John 3:16 KJV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

His only Son’s name is Jesus. He came down to earth to live as a man. He was born of a virgin (Mary) – conceived of the Holy Spirit (God the Spirit). He lived a sinless life – unlike anything that anyone else could do. No one else has done it before or since. He did many miracles and cast out evil spirits (demons) and raised some dead people. He did things that only God could do. Because ONLY He is God. Only God could take our sins away or pay the penalty for our sins.

Jesus was crucified on a cross – one of the most excruciating deaths that they had for people in that day. When He went to the cross, He took with Him all of the sins of everyone that had ever lived and even all of the sins of everybody that would live from that day on. He paid the price, or redeemed us, from our sins. We were convicted of being sinners and sentenced to eternal death, and He, God, through Jesus Christ’s blood, paid the full price for our pardon. His blood was the only thing that could ever forgive our sins and remove them from the sight of God so that we can go to Heaven and so that we can have that continued fellowship with God.

Colossians 1:14 KJV
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

Psalms 103:12 KJV
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Wait, it doesn’t end there. I know I am boring to listen to and I like to ramble on and on, but you have got to hear this.  Jesus took it a step further because, you see, anyone could say that they are going to die and take away our sins but if it stops there, that person is no different than you or me and, in reality, couldn’t take away my sins or anyone else’s.

Jesus died. They buried Him in a tomb and three days later He was gone from the tomb. He rose from the tomb and was alive again. Not just any man could do that. Only God can do that.

John 20:11-18 KJV
11 “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 “And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne
him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

John 20:24-29 KJV
24 “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
29 “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

A short time after He rose from the grave, He ascended back into Heaven. He stood and started raising into the sky until He couldn’t be seen any more.

Acts 1:9 KJV
“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”

Before He left, He promised that He was going to prepare a place in Heaven with Him and He would come back and get us and take us home to be with Him.

Wow, this is really starting to sound like an alien movie or something. I assure you that it isn’t. Have you ever read a book or story that was so crazy and outlandish that there was no way that anyone could have made it up? None of this story is made up and can all be corroborated from the Bible, as you can see by the scriptures listed.

John 14:1-4 KJV
1″Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”

John 11:25-26 KJV
25 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this”?

1 John 5:12-13 KJV
12 “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 

If God went to all the effort to make a way available to us to get to Heaven through His Son, why would He let there be more than one way to get to Heaven? Let’s take a look at some of the things that Jesus said while He was still on earth:

John 14:6 KJV
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

John 10:9 KJV
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

John 8:24 KJV
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

John 1:12 KJV
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

John 3:36 KJV
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Revelation 20:15 KJV
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 3:20 KJV
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

You know, God made it so that there was only ONE way to get to Him for one reason and one reason ONLY!

That reason is that “man” has a real bad problem with pride. So much so that, if it were possible, we would do anything and everything that we could to be able to get to God/Heaven by doing any imaginable thing, such as: going to church, donating money to charities, volunteering at the homeless shelter, being baptized (yes, that’s what I said – I’ll touch on that in another post), becoming a missionary to another country to propagate a “religion”, being a pastor or employee in a church, being born/raised in a Christian home, and the list could go on and on.

Why are these things so bad? They aren’t. But none of them together or by themselves will do anything to repay the debt we owe to God for our sins. Many of the “religions” out there today will try to lead you to believe that one or more of those things are required for salvation. NOT TRUE!

The reason that He made it impossible for us to do special things to get to heaven is very simple – and if you try to make it more than that, you are trying to legitimize and justify your own well-doings – God wants ALL of the credit for you getting to Heaven. He wants you to go there because you love Him; because you would give your life to be with Him and to make Him pleased with what you do (for Him). He wants us to give Him the glory for the things that He has done for us, not for the things that we do to try to get to Him by earning His good favor.

Someone once explained the difference between “religion” and “true Christianity” as this: True Christianity is God trying to get to us, whereas, Religion is us trying to get to God.

The people that tried to build the tower of Babel in the Old Testament were trying to make it so high that it would reach God. Remember that that was when God got very upset with them and scrambled their words (creation of different languages) so that no one could understand each other (hence the word babel). The tower was destroyed as will anything else be that we use to try to get to God.

Isa. 64:6a KJV
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness (good works) are as filthy rags”

Romans 5:8 KJV
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV
8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Romans 10:9-10 KJV
9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Friend,

If you have never received God’s gift of salvation before today, I trust that you won’t hesitate to do it now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, nor for that matter, another breath. Take care of this ASAP! Hell is a very real place and I’d really hate to find out someday that you had the chance to receive His gift and didn’t take it.

If you would like to receive God’s free gift NOW, please pray the prayer below and let me know that you did so that I can rejoice with you for your new-found hope (promise) of ETERNAL LIFE. I would really love to hear from you by email to let me know of your decision. My email is listed at the bottom of the right hand column of this page, please write to me. 

“Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner and I know that I don’t deserve to go to Heaven. But, Your Word says that if I ask You to forgive my sins that You will forgive me and let me become Your child so that I can go to Heaven. Lord, I ask You to forgive my sins, right now, and take them away. I want to become Your child so that I can please You and so that You can become my best friend. Lord, thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins to take them away and to enable me the right to become Your child and go to Heaven to spend eternity with You. Thank you for forgiving my sins, Lord. I ask you this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.”

Christian, new or old, thank you for reading this far. I will be posting follow up articles relating to different things that the Bible teaches us and what it tells us that we should/n’t believe and do. Become a reader/follower at the top and keep up to date on my postings. You can also keep up to date by subscribing to my updates via email on the right side of the page as well. 

If you have gotten anything out of this post or if you have a comment (please keep them nice), please leave them in the space provided at the bottom. By all means, feel free to pass this article along.

©2012  Mark Davis

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