Summary: This sermon explains God's grace and its implications.
In June 2006 Warren Buffet, the world’s second-richest man at the time, announced that he would donate 85 percent of his $44 billion fortune to five charitable foundations. Commenting on this extreme level of generosity, Buffet said: “There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way.”
Many people think like Warren Buffet. They think that there is more than one way to get to heaven.
But, is that what the Bible teaches?
Today I want to explain God’s grace and its implications.
Mark says at the very start of his Gospel, in Mark 1:1, “The beginning of the gospel [i.e., the good news] of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” We have started to explore exactly why Mark describes Jesus as “good news.” We’ve seen who Jesus is: that he has the power and authority of God himself. We’ve seen what he came to do: to rescue sinners like you and me by dying for us on the cross.
This week let me begin by asking you to answer the following question: “If you were to die tonight and God asked you, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ what would you say?”
I don’t mean to be morbid, but if you were to die tonight and you found yourself standing before God and he asked, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” what would you say?
According to the Bible, answers to this question always fall neatly into one of two categories: “the right answer” or “the wrong answers.”
I. The Wrong Answers
Let’s look at the wrong answers first.
The wrong answer is one that places confidence in what I am or what I have done. So if you said, “God, you should let me in to heaven because I. . .,” I’m afraid you’re on the wrong track.
Perhaps you said something like, “Let me in God because I’ve been pretty good on the whole. . .
• I’m a good person.
• I don’t steal.
• I don’t lie (well, not unless I absolutely have to).
• I give to charity (not as much as Warren Buffet but I still give what I think is a lot of money to charity).
• I’ve certainly never killed anyone. (Actually, there are lots of people worse than I am.)
• I pay my taxes.
• I don’t drive through red lights.
• Other people like having me around, God, so I imagine you will too.”
They sound like reasonable answers. But I can assure you that none of these things are of any use at all when it comes to entering heaven.
Another wrong answer is the religious one. You may be relying on your religious habits to get you into heaven. So perhaps you said something like this: “God, you should let me in because. . .
• I go to church.
• I never take your name in vain (and when others do, I strongly disapprove).
• I do good things in the community.
• I’ve been baptized.
• I go to communion.
• I sing in the choir.
• I pray daily.
• I read the Bible regularly.