IS HEAVEN YOUR HOME?
There are a lot of people that believe they are going to heaven. Many believe that because they believe in God, they attend church services, or they try to live a good life. But these people only hope that they will make it to heaven, they do not know. The Bible teaches that you can know that you have eternal life.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:13
But what does it take know that you are going to Heaven? There is perhaps no greater question that could be asked. The first thing I have to tell you, I hope will ease your mind a little. You do not need to understand everything in the Bible to go to Heaven! Many people begin their path to Heaven and know very little Bible. So fear not – you don’t need to become a Bible scholar! Do you know what the Bible calls the Gospel:
You are a Sinner
This one is pretty obvious. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all know that we have done wrong. We know that we are not perfect.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” – Romans 3:23
The Punishment of Sin is Death in Hell
You might have heard this before. Perhaps you have listened as great preachers proclaimed the dangers of Hell. It is not just a bad word; it is a real place where people spend eternity.
“For the wages of sin is death;” – Romans 6:23
Jesus Died, was Buried, & Rose again to pay for your sin
Finally some good news!
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
And that good news gets better. Not only did Christ come to pay for our sins but He then offers an escape from Hell, salvation from our sins, and a home in Heaven all as a free gift to us.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
But simply knowing the facts of the gospel does not mean that you are saved. There are many people that know these things, but will not enter the gates of Heaven. Here is why:
You DO NOT get to Heaven by:
Going to Church, Being in a Christian home, or doing what Christians do.
You can sit in a garage, but that doesn’t make you a car. You can live and work around cars in a garage, and that does not make you a car. You can tote your baby brother to and from the store (doing what a car does) but that does not make you a car.
Having your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds.
Heaven is perfect. If God allowed us into Heaven, as imperfect as we are, we would destroy the perfect purity of Heaven. God cannot allow a single sin, no matter how small, into His perfect Heaven.
Asking Jesus to help you be a better person
You can beg me to train you how to do my job. I am very willing to show you and have you work alongside me, but that doesn’t mean you’re employed at my company. Learning to walk and talk like a Christian does not make you a Christian.
Wanting to go to Heaven
Everyone wants to ace the test, but not everyone does. God only accepts perfection. We fail His test of holiness miserably.
Not wanting to go to Hell
No child wakes up in the morning and wants to go to School, but they are going anyway. If they have parents that care, those parents make them attend school, no matter how they feel about it. God is a just God. No matter how much He loves us, He will not ignore our sin.
A dunk in the water cannot wash away sins. Sin is a problem of the heart. No bath can reach that deep.
Knowing that Jesus is God and He died for you.
I can stand at the top a two story building that is burning to the ground. I can see the firefighters below me and know that the firefighter has all the power in the world to save me. But if I don’t jump into his arms – I will die in the fire. Knowing all about firefighters and their training does not save me from the fire.
Let me interject the flow of our conversation and mention that many of us place far too much focus on a prayer we have prayed. Far too many people have had someone say to them, “Now just pray this sinner’s prayer and you can go to Heaven.” The fact is, there is no magic prayer that can purchase a ticket to Heaven.
I grew up in a Church that was wrong on a lot of Bible Doctrine, but they did teach me the Gospel. I learned what Jesus had done for me from a very young age. I was not saved. One day in Church during the invitation my best friend whispered something in my ear. There were people singing all around us, the music was playing – I had no idea what he said, so I simply shook my head no.
What he had asked me was, “Are you Saved?” Upon seeing me say no he immediately began begging me to go up front. I had no idea why he wanted me to go up front, but he simply would not leave me alone about it – so I finally agreed. Once we got to the alter I really just wanted to go back to my seat. My friend’s father asked why we came to the front, and my friend blurted out, “Michael needs to get saved!” Now what am I going to do? All I wanted was to go sit down – I was willing to do anything if I could just go sit down. My friend’s father asked me if I would pray a prayer with him. I didn’t want to get in trouble so I agreed. I prayed a “prayer of salvation”. I said every word of the “sinner’s prayer” he gave me, but that was it. It was just words. It was at that point that I was told I was going to Heaven. REALLY? I know that man’s heart was good, he cared for my soul, but in his enthusiasm to see me saved he made salvation obtainable through a magic prayer! My friends, Salvation is not gained by a magic prayer!
You DO NOT get to Heaven by:
Praying “this” prayer
Words never saved anybody. I can sing the Canadian national anthem… but I am not Canadian. We say a lot of things, and often we lie. The words we pray do not gain us heaven, even if we use the exact “right” words:
Asking Jesus into your heart.
It is true that Christ lives within us when we are saved. But that is the result of salvation – not how it is obtained. This is like telling someone that they bake a cake by heating it inside and out. You are missing a huge step. First you must tell them how to heat the cake – by putting it in the oven. You don’t get saved by asking Jesus to give you the results of Salvation.
Asking Jesus to forgive your sins
That’s like asking your Mom and Dad to pay for the presents under the Christmas tree, they have already been paid for!
Asking Jesus to Save you
You don’t need to believe in Santa Clause to write him a letter and ask him for presents. There are many kids that really don’t believe in Santa, and yet write him a letter because – Hey, it couldn’t hurt. Sadly many people pray a “sinner’s prayer” because – Hey, what harm could it do.
SO HOW??? What magic words must we use to obtain salvation? There are none! Let us finally get to that one simple thing you find in scripture that will let you know that Heaven is your home:
You DO Get to Heaven by BELIEVING!
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” – John 6:47
God told us very clearly that someone gets saved when they believe on Jesus. I already told you how I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” – which by the way I prayed a lot growing up because it never seemed to stick with me like I thought it should have. Now let me tell you how I really got saved. I spent a few years trusting in that prayer, that experience, those “magic” words.
The next part of my salvation story was quite unique. I was in a special preaching service when the preacher said, “I am not done preaching, but I really feel I need to have an invitation right now.” So he did. I went forward, prayed a pretty little “sinners prayer”, using a lot of the fancy words we already discussed. Then I asked God to help me be a better boy.
You see, I was trusting that I could be good enough to get to heaven. That is where my true belief was. And if I perhaps wasn’t good enough – I had said the “magic” prayer, so I was covered either way. We all went back to our seats, and the preacher began preaching again. I have no idea what he was preaching about, but I clearly remember the Holy Spirit dealing with my Heart. One thought pounded my conscience – You will NEVER be good enough for Heaven. Nothing you pray, and nothing you do will ever work. You are a sinner, and unworthy of Salvation.
At that second invitation I almost ran to the alter. God was working in my heart, and I really needed to do something about it. But as I knelt down to pray – I couldn’t figure out what to pray for. Do I ask God to help me be a better boy again? I already was coming to a realization that I would never be good enough. Do I pray my “sinner’s prayer” again? I was also understanding that my fancy words could not save me – I was that bad!
I knelt there not saying a word. Not knowing what to say. My heart ached with my realization of sin and guilt. The knowledge that there was nothing I could do to earn Heaven pressed heavily upon my soul. God was Holy, and I was not. I remember thinking, I wonder if it is even possible for me to go to heaven. I distinctly remember wondering if Jesus even could save someone as worthless as I. Finally I prayed the only thing I could come up with.
“God, I Give Up.”
That was it! That is when my soul’s destination changed! That is when I was gloriously saved! That is when Heaven became my eternal destination. With the world’s worst sinners prayer I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior.
You see it was not my words – It was my heart! In my heart, I repented of my worthless belief in my own righteousness. I placed my trust in Jesus as the only one who could save me from my sin. It was not what I COULD DO, but only what JESUS HAD DONE that could save me.
Could I have articulated that to you at that moment – not a chance! All I knew is that something happened. The burden of my sin that was weighing so heavily upon my heart was lifted. I gave up on me, and believed in Jesus. That is when I was saved!
I would never encourage anyone to pray my sinner’s prayer. It made no sense to anyone but me and my Savior. But that is the point. Your salvation is going to be between you and your Savior. You will not get saved the same way I did, just like you were not physically born the exact same way I was.
Everyone’s salvation story is going to be unique. It’s the start of a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Every relationship is going to be special. Every single married couple has a special story of how they met, and fell in love. Every single saved person has a special story of how the God of the universe brought them unto Himself. There is only one simple truth that binds every single saved child of God together. As some point we all place our faith in Christ, and believed on Jesus!
May I ask you my friend, what do you trust to get you to Heaven? If it is anything but Christ, then it will fail you. The only way to Heaven is through an honest hearts belief in what Christ has done to pay for your sins. That is the only way to know that Heaven is your eternal home. Remember this:
People do not go to Hell because they are sinners. They go to Hell because they never have believed on Jesus.
If you have never placed your faith, your trust, your belief on Christ – would you do that today? There are no magic words you must say, it is a simple hearts cry out to the Savior that loves you so dearly. Would you call on him right now?
If you have chosen to do that today, I would love to rejoice with you. You can simply contact me by clicking here. I look forward to hearing what God has done in your life.