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Sunday February 18th
Heaven or Hell

Welcome to The Journey Church. I'm Pastor Ben Tims.

We all make choices, every day. Some are more significant than others, but we make many of them. Today’s message poses what I feel is the most important choice you can possibly make. Do you want to spend eternity in Heaven or in hell? Which will you choose?

 

The choice you make determines whether you will live in Heaven with God or in hell without Him. There is a Judgement Day coming, this will be the day where every person will be judged (by God). When that day arrives, there will only be two groups of people. Those who belong to God and those who do not.

 

Revelation 21:27 NIV Nothing impure will ever enter it (Heaven), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. HEAVEN.

 

Every person who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, has their name written in the Book of Life.  If you don’t believe, if you choose to reject Jesus, your name won’t be found in that book.

 

Revelation 20:15 NIV Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. HELL.

 

How do you look at these two final destinations, Heaven and hell? Do you believe they exist? A recent poll taken of people who self-identify as “Christians” hold onto many beliefs that are not in harmony with biblical teaching. These include: 72% argue that people are good.  66% say that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue. 64% say that all religious faiths are of equal value. 58% believe that if a person is good enough, or does enough good things, they can earn their way into Heaven. 57% believe in karma and good luck.

 

In the same poll, people who are called “Integrated Disciples” born again Christians: 99+% believe that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful and all-present Creator of the universe who still rules today. 99+% believe that the Bible is the accurate and reliable words of God. 96% claim that every moral choice either honors or dishonors God.

 

Are there really two different kinds of Christians? NO One of Satan’s names is “the deceiver”. He keeps many preachers and churches living in deception and false teachings. He likely attends services more regularly than many people who claim to be Christians. He tries to deceive pastors, churches and Christians into believing that either he doesn’t exist or that he can’t harm them because I belong to Christ.

 

Satan will lead as many CINO’s (Christians In Name Only) into hell as he can and he will lead their families too. You can claim the name of Christ, get all emotional and even be baptized, but if it isn’t real all the way down to your heart, soul, and spirit, then you are not a Christian.

Do you think more people will go to Heaven or to hell? Jesus answered this question in one succinct passage. 

 

Matthew 7:13-14 NIV  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

 

The narrow gate isn’t for those wanting a cheap and easy way to slide into Heaven, while continuing to live their own selfish lives on earth.

 

John 14:6 NIV “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

What are these two gates we just read about in Matthew? They are the entrance to two different “ways”. The narrow gate is the way of the Godly, the broad gate is the way of the ungodly.

 

The wide gate leads to the broad, well-traveled road. The broad way is the easy way. It’s attractive and self-indulgent, it’s permissive. It’s the inclusive way of the world, with few rules, few restrictions, and fewer requirements. Self and flesh are primary, before God. Tolerance of sin is the norm where God’s Word isn’t studied, and His standards are not followed. This broad way requires no spiritual maturity, no moral character, no commitment, and no sacrifice. If you choose the broad way, your destination is hell.

 

The narrow gate is the hard way, the demanding way. It’s the way of recognizing that you can’t save yourself and must depend on Jesus Christ to lead and save you. The fact that few find this narrow way implies that it should be sought diligently.

 

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

No one will stumble into the kingdom or wander through the narrow gate by accident. The narrow gate is an intentional chosen path.

 

Luke 13:23-24 NIV Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.

 

MANY will seek to enter that narrow door, the door of salvation, but “will not be able.” They are unwilling to pay the price; it costs too much for them to give up the world’s trappings. When you enter the “narrow way” you can’t carry the baggage of sin and self-will and materialism. The way of Christ is the way of the cross, and the way of the cross is the way of self-denial.

 

Luke 9:23 NIV “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

 

If you choose the narrow way, your destination is Heaven. After looking at these two “gates”, the broad gate and the “narrow” gate, there is no doubt that more people will go to hell than to Heaven.

The question today is, which road are you on? Which will you choose?

 

Satan doesn’t care about you or your eternity, but he will lie to you about it to get you to choose the wrong gate. Jesus is on the complete other end of the spectrum, 

 

John 3:16-17 NIV 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

Satan isn’t in hell yet! He has 2/3 of the world worshiping him in one form or another and is tormenting others, through disease, war and murder. Satan is roaming around earth with us!

 

1 Peter 5:8 NIV Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

Deception is Satan’s job, it’s always been his job, he’s had thousands of years to perfect his craft. He’ll steal your health, your job, your home and everything that means anything to you, especially your marriage and family. How can we defeat him? Through the power of Jesus Christ in your life. It’s not an emotional feeling, but a true broken heart knowing that you are a sinner and that the only way to salvation is through confession of your sins and giving your life and your heart to Jesus.

 

Because of what Christ did for us on the cross, we can live victorious over the power of the enemy.

You must realize that you are not good enough to be allowed into Heaven without Him! This is the only way, this is the narrow way, which leads you to an eternity with Him. If you can’t or will not believe this simple truth, then you can tell God why you refused His Son’s sacrifice on the cross, why you believe you are worthy without His blood covering your life.

 

Many people think it’s an intellectual problem of living up to the “standard” of Jesus Christ when in fact, it’s belief in Him and our faith and trust in Him which changes you from the inside out. Once you accept Jesus, and believe in your heart, your spirit is alive, and you are a changed person who can follow Him. It’s not a question if you can live up to it or not, the Holy Spirit will strengthen you and guide you into a life which will be able to serve Him.

 

It’s your choice whether you will believe Jesus and follow Him, but once you do you will be changed from the inside out.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 

From that point on, every action that you do can be in service to God. Praying for friends and family who haven’t made the commitment to give their lives to Jesus, attending church, loving others, reading your Bible, studying His Word, living the way He wants us to live. All of this will become second nature to you after you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and continue to walk and serve in obedience to Him.

 

John 1:12 NIV Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

 

Nobody knows when they will die. Our world is full of hatred and violence. Life can go from quiet and normal to chaos in a moment’s notice. I remember my dad’s response to the question that many people have regarding their final destination. The question was, how do I get ready? His response was, you don’t get ready, you stay ready.

 

Matthew 24:36 NIV “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

 

God loves us and watches over all of us, and He does have a plan for your life and mine. Seek Him out with an open mind, don’t close your heart off to the only One who can give you eternal life.

Jesus spoke of an eternity in hell or in Heaven when we die. We do have an immortal soul which will inhabit one place or the other. It’s your choice to choose which destination you will be in for eternity.

 

Joshua 24:14-15 NIV  “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Closing Thought:

 

When our time on this earth is over, you will spend eternity in one of two places, Heaven or hell. When you stand before God and the Judgment Seat, you will give an account for yourself.

Which one of these two responses would you like to hear?

 

Matthew 7:22-24 NIV Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

 

OR

 

Matthew 25:23 NIV ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

 

Jesus came to give us life, to die for our sins, and to heal our broken hearts. He gives us hope beyond the grave and a purpose for life here on Earth.

 

The choice is yours to make, what will yours be?

CHOOSE LIFE!

Next week Pastor Ben speaks about Jesus coming back for us

      Message Questions

  1. Discuss why so many people are confused about Heaven and Hell.

  2. What did Pastor Ben mean about two types of Christian.

  3. What does the narrow gate refer to?

  4. Why do you think God made the gate so narrow?

  5. Why do you think God doesn’t tell us when our life is going to be over?

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