Summary: Salvation from sin is available through faith alone in Christ alone
An 85-year-old couple was married for 60 years. And they died unexpectedly on the same day. For the last 20 years of their life, they had been in excellent health, mainly due to the wife’s nearly neurotic interest in health food. When they reached the pearly gates, St. Peter greeted them and escorted them to their mansion. The mansion was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite, complete with Jacuzzi. As they “oowed” and “aahed,” the husband asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. “It’s free,” Peter replied, “Remember, this is heaven.” Next they went out to the backyard to see the championship golf course bordering their property. They would have golfing privileges every day. And each week the course changed to a new one resembling the great golf courses on earth. The husband asked, “What are the green fees?” “This is heaven,” Peter replied. “You play for free.” Next they went to the clubhouse. They saw the lavish buffet lunch with the finest cuisines of the world laid out. “How much to eat?” asked the husband. “Don’t you understand yet?” Peter asked. “This is heaven. It’s free!” “Well, where are the low-fat and low-cholesterol foods?” the husband asked timidly. Peter said, “That’s the best part—you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and never gain a pound and you never get sick. This is heaven.” The husband thought for a moment and then looked at his wife and said, “You and your bran muffins. I could have been here twenty years ago!”
Well, heaven is a place of complete happiness and enjoyment. And we want to go there when we die.
There was a pastor in Dublin, Ireland by the name of O’Toole. One day Pastor O’Toole decided to do some personal evangelism. So he walked into the local pub. He said to the first man he met, “Do you want to go to heaven?” The man said, “I do, Pastor.” The pastor said, “Then stand over there against that wall.” Then Pastor O’Toole asked a second man, “Do you want to got to heaven?” “Certainly, Pastor,” was the man’s reply. “Then stand over there against that wall,” said the pastor. Then Pastor O’Toole walked up to a third man and said, “Do you want to go to heaven?” The man said, “No, Pastor, I don’t.” Pastor O’Toole said, “I don’t believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die, you don’t want to go to heaven?” The man replied, “Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting up a group to go right now!”
If you ask people the question, “Do you want to go to heaven when you die?” they will probably answer, “Yes.” But if you ask them the question, “Are going to heaven when you die?” they will probably give you one of three responses. They will either say: “I don’t know;” or “I hope so;” or “I think so.” But it’s interesting to note that the Bible does not deal in terms of any of these responses. The Bible does not talk in terms of “don’t know” or “hope so” or “think so” in regard to heaven. Rather, the Bible speaks of a “know so” certainty. The Bible says this: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” The Bible says it is possible for you to know that when you die, you will go to heaven.
Well, if you can know so, then there must be a verse in the Bible that tells you how you can know for certain that you have eternal life. And there is—please turn with me in the Bible to the Gospel of John chapter 3 and verse 16. If you do not have a Bible, that’s okay. You will find one in the rack in front of you. It is the red book. And the verse that we will be looking at this morning is found either on page 1030 or 1052—depending on the edition.
Let me read that verse to you. John 3:16 reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Let’s examine this verse this morning phrase-by-phrase and discover how a person can know for certain that he will go to heaven when he dies. The first phrase reads …
1. FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD
God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. A few Sundays ago here at Shiloh we discussed how God created man in His image. And we said that that image included intellect, emotion, and will. God created man with intellect—the ability to think—so that man could know Him. God created man with emotion—the ability to feel—so that man could love Him. And God created man with will—the ability to act—so that man could serve Him.