The past two weeks I have shared my thoughts about the importance of what we believe and who we believe. The answers to both of those questions – What? and Who? are critical.
What do you believe?
Hopefully you believe every word written in the Bible. The Bible is a book filled with the rich and amazing history of this world we live in. But it is also a book inspired by God. We learn by reading it that He loves all of us so much that He sent His own Son – Jesus Christ – to offer us an eternal life spent with Him in heaven.
How was that accomplished? He was born to a virgin – His seed placed by the Holy Spirit, in a young woman chosen to be the mother to His son. This makes Jesus fully God and fully man. He lived a sinless, perfect life. Then He became a stand-in for all of us, receiving the gruesome, cruel punishment we all deserve because of our sins. He was wrongfully accused, then after being beaten and tortured He was hung on a cross with nails in His hands and feet, then died a horrible, painful death. The blood He shed on that day was as a substitute as the perfect lamb – required for forgiveness of sin.
But His enemies did not defeat Him. He died, was put into a tomb and three days later He arose from the dead. Because of this, if we make the right decision, we have the assurance that when our time on earth is done, our spirit will also arise and go to spend eternity in the presence of God – a beautiful, perfect place. Your option if you chose to reject this? Spending eternity in hell in the presence of Satan – an ugly, horrible place where you will be subjected to an eternity of torture and pain. To me the choice is a no-brainer.
Who do you believe?
We cannot allow the hateful, demeaning, negative words of our enemies to defeat us. Ephesians 6:12 (TLB) warns us of what we are facing daily: “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.” We learn more of Satan’s character in John 8:44 (TLB): “For you are the children of your father the devil and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and a hater of truth—there is not an iota of truth in him. When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars.” Satan will employ anything and anyone he can to whisper lies to us, as children of God. The lies can cause us to question our beliefs, have doubts and create fear. That is not any way to live our lives.
We will never live a problem free, perfect life as long as we are on this earth; but, we can learn to keep our faith strong, look for the good, believe and speak the good that we can depend on that is given to us in the Bible. Stay focused and do not allow anyone to come between you and God.
The culmination of the what and the who leads us to the when, where and how of all this.
It is a known fact of life that we will all pass from this earth at some point. We do not generally know when that will happen. There are those that pass as infants and those that live very long lives. There are those that are taken very unexpectedly and suddenly while others linger for varying periods of time. This unknown “when” factor is what makes it critically important that we have an understanding about our life choice – heaven or hell. The Bible tells us that Jesus is going to come again at some point. No one knows when that will be. (“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Matthew 25:13 NKJV) This fact emphasizes the importance of making that life choice sooner – not later.
When Jesus returns, there will be a taking away of His followers, while others are left behind. There will be hell on earth after that, for 3½ years; and, the people that remain will have the opportunity during that time to turn their lives over to God, but not without a price. However, at the end of that time, your place in eternity will be sealed forever. Personally, if I am still alive when this occurs, I want to be among those that are taken away with Jesus. I would not want to be left behind to live through that hell on earth – not even for a few short years. It truly is a simple choice that should be made NOW.
Where will you be when Jesus’ return occurs? If you have already passed from this earth, will you be waiting in heaven or in hell? Hopefully you will have made the right decision and be waiting in heaven to enjoy a wonderful reunion with your family and friends that were believers and passed before you. However, this is a reminder of how we should not forget to share with others the joy of salvation. If not you, then who will tell them? Hopefully someone. But, what if no one does? The idea they would not be joining you for eternity in heaven should be impetus enough to urge you right now to share the hope with them.
How does all of this happen? The salvation and assurance of eternity in heaven comes simply by believing and confessing – faith is the key. The confidence comes from seeing and hearing the good news and tuning out the lies whispered in our ears by the evil ones roaming around trying to discourage and deceive us – we need faith. The transition from earth to heaven (or hell) happens as your spirit leaves your body at death – unless you are still alive when Jesus returns, then you are just moved on to glory. Again, the answer is simple – faith.
Because I am very far from being knowledgeable about the end times and Jesus’ return, I want to encourage you to do one of two things – or both if you prefer. Pastor Jimmy Evans – recently taught a 4-week series on this topic, titled “Tipping Point.” He has studied this for many years and I trust he is a good person to listen to and believe. If you would like to listen to those 4 sermons you can click on the following link and it will take you to the site so that you can watch them: https://gatewaypeople.com/
After you click on this link, at the top of the page click on “watch”, scroll down to “weekend sermons” & to the right of that click on “view all”. Then scroll down until on the left you see “Tipping Point” – click on that and you will have access to watch the sermons.
If you would prefer to read instead, or in addition to the sermons, he has written a book titled Tipping Point. You can google it and find several sources for it. I believe that if you will take some time to listen and/or read this teaching, you will have a much better understanding and will grasp the urgency of this important life decision.
Even with all of my many imperfections, I firmly believe that when my time here on this earth comes to an end, I will join my heavenly Father for a beautiful eternity in heaven. My hope and prayer is that I will see all of my loved ones there as well. If any of you, my followers, are strangers to me, I hope you will be there as well and will search me out. Amen.
Written by Karran Martin – October 23, 2020