Sermons

Summary: Heaven is for heroes only, so there will be no cowards in heaven. All cowards will be cast into the lake of fire which is the second and final death. They played it safe and took no risks for Christ, and like all safety first people, they end up as total failures.

On January 18, 1912 Captain Robert F. Scott and four companions at last reached the South Pole

only to discover that they had been beaten by another explorer named Amundsen. It was a terrible

disappointment, for they had gone through unbelievable hardships to get there. The return journey

was even worse. The blizzards were so bad, and the cold so bitter, they made little progress. This

led to their running out of food, and you can imagine the rest. Ten months later rescuers found their

bodies and Captain Scott's diary. One of the last things he wrote with his cold and weaken hand was

this: "I do not regret this journey...We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out

against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence,

determined still to do our best to the last."

Here were men who died heroes because they were willing to take risks to reach their goal. No

man can ever be truly successful without taking risks. One must risk the possibility of failure in

order to succeed. No ball player ever stole second without risking being thrown out. Progress and

advancement on every level of living demands risk taking courage. Those who always play it safe

are never the heroes in the battle of life. In fact, some studies indicate that they live in greater

danger than the risk-takers.

Dr. E. Paul Torrence, a university of Georgia psychologist, studied U. S. Ace Flyers during

World War II. He discovered that the ace flyers who took all kinds of risks actually suffered fewer

casualties in combat than the pilots who were inclined to play it safe. He discovered that the risk

takers kept testing the limits of their abilities and, therefore, kept growing and learning new skills.

The more cautious stop short of their best and were sunk in a crisis beyond their experience. Playing

it safe led to their defeat. Dr. Torrence said, "Living itself is a risky business. If we spent half as

much time learning how to take risks as we spend avoiding them, we wouldn't have nearly so much

to fear in life."

Some of you may be wondering, what does this have to do with heaven? That is certainly one

goal we can arrive at without any risk. Jesus already paid the price did He not? If He is our Savior

then we have the hope of heaven guaranteed. Certainly no one has to be a hero to get to heaven. At

least this is the common understanding among Christians. But I wonder if we do not take too much

for granted. The black Christians back in the days of slavery use to sit around their humble

dwellings on the plantation and sing,

"When I get up to heaven I'm gonna put on my shoes,

I'mgonna walk all over God's heaven."

Then they would look up to the mansion and sing,

"Everybody talkin bout heaven aint goin there."

They had their conviction about who was not going to make it. The Apostle John had his

convictions also, and he tells us by revelation just who isn't goin there. The amazing thing is that the

very first kind of person he lists as being excluded from heaven is the one who plays it safe and fears

to take a risk. John says in verse 8 that the fearful, or the cowardly as the Greek means, will be the

first to be cast into the lake of fire. In verse 7 he says that it is the over-comer, or the conqueror who

shall inherit heaven. There is no way to escape the truth of what John is saying. The principle of

success through risk taking is not just for earthly goals, but for all goals, even including the goal of

heaven.

Heaven is for heroes only, so there will be no cowards in heaven. All cowards will be cast into

the lake of fire which is the second and final death. They played it safe and took no risks for Christ,

and like all safety first people, they end up as total failures. Think of Pilate for example. He was so

merciful until it became to risky. He wanted to do what was right, but when setting Christ free

threatened to cost him his position of power he turned coward and sent Christ to the cross. He had

the chance to be one of the greatest heroes of the New Testament, but he played it safe, and lost the

key to heaven's door. All he will see of heaven is the sign saying, no cowards allowed. How many

others will there be who drew back from the challenge to take up the cross, and who will lament

with the poet who wrote:

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