From Pastor Johnny

How Do I Get to Heaven from East Alabama Part 2

3.  TRUTH 3:  Without God’s way, you will MISS HEAVEN and stay lost in  your sin forever:  

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin  is  death,  but  the  gift of God  is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

           Dying in your sin requires one thing – ignoring the fact that you are lost and separated from God.  Many people, every day, die oblivious to the fact that they need salvation and are lost in their sin. 

          Did you know that the job of Satan is to go around blinding the eyes of lost people, so that they will not know they need salvation?   In 2Corinthians 4:4 we read, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  One of the areas of spiritual vision impairment that our enemy affects is in the knowledge of the need of salvation. 

          This type of weapon is used in military warfare. Some types of tear gases can be used to blind the eyes of the enemy.  It was first used in World War I.  When tear gas is delivered, it causes the people affected to tear up and become unable to see.  It literally blinds them to seeing or fighting. 

          A friend of mine, after going through Army basic training, was telling me about one of the experiences.  He said he and the men in his platoon were ushered into a small wooden building where they were to put on their gas masks.  Tear gas was released in the room to show them how to utilize the masks.  Then, at a given point, they were told to take off the masks to experience mild tear gas.  They began choking.  Their eyes began watering, and many of them began to throw up.  He said that he had to feel along the wall to try to get out of the building, because he was blinded by the tear gas which would normally be used by the enemy. 

          Our enemy is Satan, and he blinds our eyes with a spiritual tear gas that renders us unable to see.  What he wants to keep us from seeing is how our sin has kept us in bondage.   

TRUTH 4:  God’s way over our sin and TO HIS HEAVEN has       Three Turns. 

1.  Turn 1:  The First Turn is to Confess your Sin:  10:9  

“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  

  2.  Turn 2:  The Second Turn is to Confess Christ and Believe on Him: 10:10  

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

 3.  Turn 3:  The Third Turn is Yielding Your Life to Him: 10:13 

For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

 CONCLUDING THOUGHTS 

          If someone asked you right now, “Could You Give Me Directions to Heaven?”  Could you? I just gave you directions to heaven, are you ready to follow them.  The primary point here wraps around us being prepared – prepared to give an answer to a lost person and prepared for our own eternity. 

Are You Prepared? 

How Do I Get to Heaven from East Alabama Part 1

“POP QUIZ!”

            Whether virtual or in person, schools will be starting back again soon, and one that may strike fear into the hearts of many students is the term “Pop Quiz”.  These sudden and unexpected brief tests are unannounced by the teacher with the expectation that the students have been studying the assigned material all along and should know it.  The only question for each student to consider in these moments is, “Am I prepared?”

            From time to time, God offers Christians the opportunity to give a lost person eternal words of life on how they can get to heaven and know God. Oftentimes, these opportunities are unannounced and unexpected. These times can be, in a sense, a pop quiz of sharing our faith.

            When those times arise, are you prepared to do it?  If someone came to you right now without any of your other Christian friends around, without your pastor, your youth pastor, and without your Sunday school teacher, and they asked you “Could you please tell me how to get to heaven?”  Would you be prepared?  Or....would you have the same sinking feeling you have when a teacher says, “POP QUIZ” and you did not study the chapter the night before?

            In 1Peter 3:15 the Bible reads, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”   Are you prepared? 

          My prayer is this:  First, for those of you who are saved, I pray that you will finish this blog better prepared to show someone how to know God and get to heaven.  Second, I pray that, for those of you who are not prepared for heaven at all, that the information contained in this article would help you to finally see what needs to happen to know God and get to heaven.

Have you ever trusted Christ as your Savior, so you KNOW that you know you are forgiven of all your sins and you know you are going to heaven when you die?

            If you are a definite yes to this question, are you prepared to share it with another? Consider these following truths in answer to this question.

  1. TRUTH 1: You can’t go TO HEAVEN through your sin  Romans 3:23

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..”

             Your first direction in receiving eternal life is in understanding that you are lost and understanding how NOT to get there.

            First, you are lost, not because God hates you but because you have rebelled against an omnipotent, holy God.  You have chosen willingly to do things your way in spite of a Creator and Savior who love you.  You must realize that.  But, you are not alone.  Everyone, including me, who is a true believer must first come to this realization.

            Dr. Joseph Stowell is the president of Cornerstone University, and former president of Moody Bible Institute.  He recounts this story from when his children were young. 

            “We were on our annual Christmas trek to Chicago.  This year we decided to finish our Christmas shopping at suburban Woodfield Mall. nIn the midst of all the fun and excitement, one of us noticed that little three-and-a-half-year-old Matthew was gone.  Terror immediately struck our hearts.

          “We split up, each taking an assigned location.  Mine was the parking lot.  I’ll never forget that night—kicking through the newly fallen snow, calling out his name at the top of my lungs.  Unsuccessful, I trudged back to our meeting point.  My wife, Martie, had not found him, nor had my mother. And then my dad appeared, holding little Matthew by the hand.

          “Our hearts leapt for joy.  Interestingly enough, Matthew was untraumatized.   He hadn’t even been crying.  To him, there had been no problem.  I asked my father where he had found him. ‘The candy counter,’ he replied.   ‘You should have seen him.   His eyes came just about as high as the candy.   He held his little hands behind his back and moved his head back and forth, surveying all the luscious options.’   Matthew didn’t look lost.   He didn’t know he was lost.  He was oblivious to the phenomenal danger he was in.

            Many people have failed to consider their need of salvation, because they are unaware that they are lost.

  1. TRUTH 2: God provides a way TO HEAVEN past our sin.

Romans 5:8

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

          God provided a way of rescue over our sins before we even knew that we were sinning against Him.  We cannot get to God through our sins, so God provided a way to forgive them and bring us to Himself.  In fact, God came to earth in the person of Christ, lived a sinless life, and was willingly crucified on a cross as a payment for our sins. He did this long before we ever knew that we would be alive.

            Did you know that doctors can do surgery on babies before they are even born?  This is called “in utero” (in the womb/uterus).  Doctors can actually go inside the womb and do surgery on an unborn baby.  They can do life-saving surgery that will rescue the life of that child before the child is even aware that he or she has life.

            Jesus, when he died on the cross for us, was offering us a life-saving sacrifice for our sins before we were even aware that we needed life.  The only reason a person ever gets saved is because they realize they are dead in their sins.  Yet, Christ provided salvation before we were even aware of our need. 

 

 

 

 

 

A Worship Definition

          Not long ago I went to a worship gathering.  As the music played, people stood and raised their hands in the air.  They sang along with the words.  At certain times they even shouted in response to the service.  As messages were shared over the sound system the crowd responded with heads nodding, shouts, and even hands clapping.  It was certainly an exciting worship service.  In fact, it was a very good football game.  

          Ladies and gentlemen, we will worship someone or something.  Our lives and attention will be used to worship.  It is critical that we understand the biblical definition and description of worship.  God defines and describes true worship for us in Romans 12:1. 

          In the Book of Romans Paul wrote to the church in Rome to inform them of his intent to travel there some day.  His plan was to spend time with the Roman Christians, then utilize that church as a support to launch the Gospel into what is modern day Spain but was controlled by Roman Empire at that time.   He wrote ahead to them to clarify the Gospel he preached. 

          His letter contained two major sections.  First, was laying out the Gospel and doctrine of salvation that he preached that covered Romans 1-11. Second, was making practical application 12-16. 

 LOOK  (I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God...) 

           The Apostle Paul begins Romans 12:1 by exhorting and passionately urging the believers to consider God’s mercies.  Some true believers may have had shortcomings in their worship, so his calling to Christians was to fix their worship by first viewing the full mercies of God.  Paul knew that seeing this full expression of God’s mercies for any believer would have a powerful impact. 

          There is something remarkable about looking truly into the mercies of a phenomenally merciful God.  When I look into something that is overwhelming, no one has to tell me to be overwhelmed.  When I see something that is awesome, no one has to tell me to be in awe.  The reason many Christians have trouble yielding their entire lives to God is that they have never really looked into how merciful He is.   

          One day Jesus was walking down the road with people all around him.  People were calling him, wanting him, and following him.  It was like a parade route as he walked down the street. 

          At one point, a wealthy, despised, short, tax collector named Zaccheus sought to see Jesus in person.   Because he was short, and had no one who liked him enough to let him into the parade route, he climbed up in a tree.  Zaccheus saw Jesus, and Jesus saw Zaccheus.  Jesus called Zaccheus down, and they went to Zaccheus’ house.  Somewhere along the way, Zaccheus was converted and became a follower of Jesus Christ.  

          His reaction to conversion and seeing Christ was dramatic, and he began giving money away and ministering to others in a remarkably generous way.  No one had to tell Zaccheus to be excited about being loved by the most popular man in town.   Nobody liked Zaccheus and everyone hated him.   Jesus loved him.  When Zaccheus got one look at this, he went nuts.  No one had to tell him to do that. 

          The drastic behavioral change for Zaccheus came out of his view into Christ’s mercies.  When Zaccheus saw fully God’s mercies, it changed everything. 

          Some might have a hard time having any real excitement about preaching, singing to God, or obeying God because they have seen all of God’s mercies.   Ask God to help you see all of God’s great mercies. 

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