Summary: One of the most common questions people ask is, "Is it possible to know where I am going to go when I die?" The Bible says that we can know for sure that we have eternal life. "Knowing Where You’re Going" spells out what the Bible says about how to secu
The Crossing Community Church
“Knowing Where You’re Going”
Pastor Jim Botts
September 15th, 2002
This past week we were inundated by the images and memories from the tragedy of 9-11. Last year we were asking, “where was God on September 11th?” But this year we’re asking a different question, “Where do we go from here?”
I want to suggest three things we should have learned from the events of 9-11-01…
1. Men are capable of committing unspeakable acts of evil. We have learned not to underestimate the evil choices people can make in the name of religion.
2. God can bring good out of evil and comfort those who suffer. We’ve heard so many stories of God touching lives and bringing hope out of the ashes of destruction.
3. Our lives are frail and there is no guarantee of tomorrow. Our self-assured September 10th mindset has been challenged by the sudden and irreversible events of September 11th.
Our post 9-11 thoughts about evil, God, and our own mortality drove many people to attend religious services like never before. The same nation that kicked God out of the public schools, suddenly rallied together in prayer, proclaiming the words “God Bless America,” and we are “One Nation Under God.” But we seem to have come full circle, as evidenced by recent attempts to remove the words “One Nation Under God” from our nation’s pledge of allegiance. How quickly we forget!
The Barna research group released a study on September 3rd, 2002. They interviewed 6000 people in 48 states and concluded that…
· Immediately after the attacks, church attendance rose for several weeks, but fell back to normal levels by November.
· There were no changes in levels of individual Bible reading, church attendance, prayer, small group and/or Sunday school attendance.
· “What we saw was people who attend every once a month or two suddenly returning on a consistent basis for a month or two before falling back into their regular pattern.”
· Barna said that, “The fact that we saw no lasting impact from the most significant act of war against our country on our own soil says something about the spiritual complacency of the American public.”
We heard the wake up call, but many have reached for the snooze alarm. But that doesn’t change the reality of our human mortality…
· A total of 56,000,000 people died in 2001. That’s 106 people every minute.
· The past 5,600 years of world history have seen only 292 years of world peace. During that period there were over 14,300 wars killing 3.6 billion people…and counting.
· In the USA alone 2,400,000 people died last year. That’s 1 person every 13 seconds.
· Regardless of what you own, how smart you are, or how you look, death knows no partiality and knocks on every door. Death is not about IF but WHEN. One out of every one people will die.
The new TV show “Worst Case Scenario” is becoming very popular because it shows how to be prepared for potentially life-threatening situations. Today I want you to be prepared for life’s ultimate worst case scenario…death! Let’s start with this verse…
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test (NLT).
I have a two question self test to begin with…
1. Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you KNOW FOR CERTAIN that if you were to die today you would go to heaven? It is a yes or no question; circle the appropriate answer in your notes.
2. Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to ask you, “Why should I let you into MY heaven? What would you say? Fill in the blanks with your gut response! PAUSE!
You might say, “How can anyone really know for sure?” Here’ what the Bible says:
1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you…in order that you may know that you have eternal life (NASB).
Circle the words “know” & “eternal life” [write “I can know for sure!”]
There are five truths to embrace in order to KNOW you that have eternal life…
1. IT’S A FREE GIFT (write down the word grace)
Eternal life was God’s idea. It begins & ends with Him, not us. The same God, who granted physical life to everyone in this room, also offers the free gift of eternal life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (NNAS). Circle “free gift”
Surprise: Eternal life is a free gift. Most people believe that all religions are the same. They all teach the same thing in different ways – WRONG. Anyone who says that all religions teach the same thing is not revealing their intelligence, but their ignorance. Eternal life offered as a free gift based on God’s grace is unique to Christianity.