Summary: Where are you going, you deside. You can listen to this message at www.preaching.co.nr (April 2008)
Determining Our Destination
Despite what some people teach, and irrelevant of what people want when some one has passed away, Heaven is not an easy place to get into.
Unlike the setting on a new computer Heaven is not our Default Destination.
Jesus made this so clear when he stated the following;
Matt 7: 13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
What keeps us out of Heaven is a universal problem; Romans 3:23… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Eternal destiny must be determined in this life we can’t ‘wait and see,’ we can’t ‘cross our fingers and hope for the best,’ nor will ‘touching wood’ help establish whether we go to Heaven or Hell.
Life is too short and no one knows what tomorrow will being,
James 4:14…..you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
So the Bible’s message is Now is the day of Salvation (see 2Cor 6:2) and everyone must Chosse today whom they will follow and serve (see Joshua 24:15)
Heaven’s alternative is Hell. Hell is not how popular culture portrays it; ‘a place where sinful pleasures continue in excess’ Hell is where the consequences of Sin in this life are suffered for all eternity. (see Matt 13:42, 50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luk 13:28)
Heaven’s alternative, Hell, should be taken seriously for the simple reason Jesus says more about Hell than any other person in the Bible. (see Matt 8:12, 10:28, 13:40-42, 25:46, Mark 9:43-44, Luk 16:19-31) Jesus clearly speaks about hell as a real, physical place of continuous misery and torment.
Jesus only spoke about Hell because he loved people and didn’t want any one to go to Hell (see 2Pet 3:9) However, Jesus never takes away our choice to follow and serve him as Lord and Saviour.
Good News and Bad News
“Do you want the good news first or the bad news?” Either way you are going to hear the bad news. Hell of course is bad news and nobody wants to hear bad news, so do we keep quiet about Hell? It would be sinful for us to hide or withhold the bad news about Hell.
Sometimes when Christians hear about Hell the response is “phew thank God I am not going there.” That is an ok response, but there must also be the response that says “how can I stop people going to Hell.” Hell must be our motivator to tell others the way to Heaven.
It was Paul’s desire that we should not be ignorant about Heaven;
“do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope”
and any discussion of being Heaven Bound brings encouragement to our lives “encourage each other with these words” (see 1Thess 4:13-18)
Heaven is Not Eternal!
The Heaven we go to when we die is not our Eternal Home, it is a temporary or intermediate place between life on this earth and eternal life on the new earth.
It is not “Purgatory” which is a Roman Catholic teaching that grants entrance into Heaven after purification. Purgatory was and still is used to get people to buy indulgences to get people out of Purgatory and into heaven.
Read Rev 21:1-4
Notice verse 1 speaks of a first heaven and a first earth and then a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven being the heaven that Jesus spoke of in Luke 16:22-31. The second Heaven or a new eternal Heaven is when the New Earth and the New Jerusalem are amalgamated.
First Heaven means it is the first one that God created, when Paul speaks of being caught up to the “third heaven” (see 2Cor 12:2-4) he is speaking of Heaven’s location as being beyond the sky and universe.
Life After Death
When a person dies they face a Judgement of their faith. Did they believe in Jesus as Lord, Savour and Forgiver of their sin. (see Eph 2:8-9) This is not the Judgment seat of Christ when Christians will be Judged for their works, (see Rom 14:10-12 2Cor 5:10) works do not determine our salvation, works determine our rewards. (see 1Cor 3:13-14, 2Tim 2:12, Rev 2:26-28. 3:21)
Born Again Christians who have died have gone to the first Heaven, to be with Jesus in Paradise, believers who die before Christ’s return will also go to the first Heaven. Those in the first Heaven are waiting for their Resurrection, the Judgement and the descending of the New Jerusalem to the New earth.