Summary: sharing the right and wrong ways people try to get to heaven

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Intro: in the last two weeks I have shared Jesus Christ with two young ladies, one a 22 year old girl who works at a food mart near our church, and a 10 year old girl at a bowling center outside of Atlanta. In both cases you would have thought I was ministering to someone in a foreign country, they both were oblivious to how to make it to heaven. I will share both stories, one at the start of this sermon, the other at the end.

I was paying for my gas and the 22 year old girl working the register had a northern accent, so I asked her if she was from the New England area, but she was from Virginia. She had just moved to Alabama so I asked her if she had found a church yet. What she said is typical of today’s generation, my family aren’t much into church. I asked, how do you plan on making it to heaven? She responded, because I am not a bad person. I said, but that isn’t the right answer, no one gets to go to heaven because they are not a bad person, you get to go to heaven because you have Jesus Christ in your heart. It is shocking in America, with the gospel 24/7 there are so many who don’t have a clue how to be saved.

The Right and Wrong Ways To Heaven

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Jesus used people’s desire to go to heaven as one of his favorite tools for evangelism. He shared the right and wrong ways to heaven. Today, we will do the same.

Wrong ways to heaven:

· I am a good person—of all the responses you will get in witnessing for Christ, this is one of the most used ones you will hear. I am a good person, so surely that will get me into heaven. Romans 3:23-says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No one is going to get to heaven on their goodness, if people could make it to heaven on their goodness, Jesus would never have died on the cross.

· I am a hard worker, I do a lot for other people, I treat people they way I want them to treat me. This is a big one, I do a lot of good things, I would give the shirt off my back to help others. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that by grace we are saved through faith, not of ourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. If you could work your way to heaven, if you could earn a spot in glory, then we wouldn’t need grace. But we are saved by what God has done for us, not what we have done for God.

· I belong to the church---Matthew 5:20—unless your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees you will in no wise enter into heaven. Jesus now moves to religion and of all ways to offend people, tell them their religion won’t work. The scribes and Pharisees were the most religious people in the world, and Jesus states, you won’t make it to heaven unless you do better than that.

A membership on the roll of the First Church won’t get you into heaven, your name being written down in the Lamb’s book of life is the only way you will ever get in.

· Don’t judge me, no one can judge me. Hebrews 9:27—it is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment. People in our society know their rights, and one is that no one else can judge them or their life. But God is the righteous judge, and He will judge us all. Revelation says, both great and small stood before the throne of God.

Right Way To Heaven:

· If any man be in Christ he is a new creature—old things are passed away, behold all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17—to have your past in the past it takes the blood of Jesus Christ, it takes the grace of God, we cannot change our old nature, so in Christ we are given a new nature. We are born of the Spirit of God into a new life.

· Romans 10:9-10 if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Faith is the key that unlocks heaven’s doors. You have got to believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ, you have got to believe He is the Son of God and conquered sin, conquered the grave and defeated Satan.

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