ALL OR NOTHING: CAN WE GO TO HEAVEN WITHOUT JESUS?

John 3:36 KJV

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Let’s take a second to be practical about faith.

There are many religions, yes?

And it was said that “all paths lead to God.”

So the point was made to me today on Facebook.

Again, let’s be practical.

Can 2+2 equal anything else than 4?

If I were to argue that 2+2=5 “it just depends on how you look at it, where you were born or who your parents were” – you would say that’s just not right.

It’s the same with all truth.

And think about it.

Why would it be different with the truth that means the most?

I mean, we are talking about eternity in heaven versus eternity in hell, right?

The Bible teaches “God is not the author of confusion.”

1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

He wants us to have peace. Peace with having answers to our questions. Peace in knowing God is pleased with us. Peace to know we are going to heaven.

So where does this confusion come from about which faith is true?

Man.

Not God.

God is perfect.

God had ALL power.

God created man.

God communicates with man through the bible and believers sharing their faith.

He has designed all of us to receive His truth.

But we are afraid.

What are we afraid of?

We’re afraid someone won’t go to heaven.

What if mom, dad, brother, sister, an orphan in South America, or even I don’t believe in Jesus and give him my life?

Aren’t we all good people?

Aren’t we all important?

What if someone never heard of Jesus?

I’m glad to answer these questions.

First, I want to say that we can only be responsible for our own path.

We can’t be afraid to accept the truth just because we disagree. (Remember about 2+2=5?)

It behooves us to investigate an “all or nothing” arrangement. Because being on the wrong end of that arrangement means we lose.

So if I’m in disagreement with an all or nothing truth, that’s truth I should investigate or risk consequences.

The bible is clear:

John 3:36 KJV

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Jesus is the answer to our sinful nature. Without his perfect sacrifice to accept our sin we are under God’s wrath (we are in danger of punishment) because we are innately sinful. (Ever tried not to sin? How did that go?)

So here’s Jesus offering his gift of life.

Let’s get practical again.

Why would God come down to earth and die on the cross and need to do anything else to save people in another faith?

Is there any greater extreme?

Is there any greater price to pay?

Does he need to give one truth to one faith, and an entirely different truth to another faith, and a truth that’s “similar” to another faith?

Of course not!

With Christ, it’s all or nothing. The following scripture says we are condemned without committing to Christ:

John 3:16-19 KJV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

His life was a ransom for many.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

We can’t make ourselves “good.”

Let’s face it.

God defines good.

He made everything.

So what we call good can be bad.

Jesus was perfect. He never sinned. How could he? He was God. God can’t sin.

So is the best arrangement there can possibly be to bring man back to God.

Unfortunately,  not all receive this arrangement.

The bible is true.

And in the bible God acknowledges many will not believe.

Matthew 7:13-14 NLT

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”

We all have a choice to make right?

And I didn’t forget about the question, what if someone has never heard of Jesus?

Read this.

Romans 2:14-15 NLT

“Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.

They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.”

It’s right there!

We have a conscience. Planted in us by God himself!

So when we obey God with our hearts, even when we don’t have the truth of Christ’s gospel, we are saved!

Lord, I pray for every person who reads this or doesn’t read this. Help us to find you! Thanks for coming here on us to find us! Give us grace to trust you! Bless us to give into your truth and love you more than our inward desires. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN.

IS THIS YOUR BEST FRIEND?

Proverbs 18:24

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

John 15:15 KJV

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

If you really take the time to think about it are best friends are people who we go through struggles and trials with.

Our friends who are not so close to us may not even know some of the most challenging times that we face.

With that in mind, where is Jesus in your life? Jesus in John chapter 15 calls us his friends. What a glorious exclamation! And I would imagine he’s not just calling us his friends but also he’s saying he’s close to us and he wants to be our best friend.

So how are we approaching that relationship? Do we communicate with the Lord? Are we even seeking the Lord? Do we doubt the Lord’s promises?

For a believer, the question really becomes how much time are we spending with Jesus? Do we pray? Do we read his word?

Or look at it this way, are we reading his love letter? And do we love him?

The Bible says that if we love Jesus then we will obey his commandments or a baby he is advice.

There are 2 ways to look at this. If you are not currently in a relationship with Jesus Christ, you can be his best friend in an instant if you just pray and asking for give you a few seasons and you repent And then you commit your life to love him and trust him and follow him.

If you already made this move toward salvation, you have the opportunity to dedicate your life to Jesus Christ.

Begin to set time aside to spend with him. Read his word.

Tell him about your troubles and look in his word for advice on how to take care of your problems.

Look at it this way, if you have a best friend and you’re going to a problem you’re most likely to tell them about it and ask him for advice.

If Jesus is God came to save us in created us in love this more than we can imagine, then surely we can trust him enough to tell him my troubles and seek His Word and His will for solutions.

My prayer is that you will accept him fully today!

You can hold Jesus’ his hand and trust him with everything in your life. He tells us in the Bible that he’s knocking on the door waiting for us to answer.

Don’t doubt that you’re not important to him. Because you are. He is your daddy. He’s your best friend.

He wants to be closer to you than a brother!

THIS IS WHO YOU’RE LOOKING FOR!

Luke 19:1-10

“And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchæus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchæus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchæus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

This fellow Zacchaeus had a funny name and he was short. But his story is huge.

He was a sinner.

He stole.  He stole from the poor. He oppressed them. He was hated.

Yet he was rich.

There came a time in his life when the money and pleasure and “fun” wasn’t enough.

He was empty.

He knew something wasn’t right.

Sure,  there was guilt. But he wanted to live well because he just knew what was right.

So he heard about Jesus. People talked about him. He was a miracle worker.  He saved people from their sins.

Zacchaeus had never met Jesus, only heard about him.

But when he learned there was hope, h3 jumped at the chance.

He was just so empty. He couldn’t ignore it anymore.

What would it hurt to try Jesus?

If it didn’t turn out that the witnesses were true, he could always back out, right?

So he made a decision to go all out. Anything to relieve this emptiness.

He had to be on earth for something more than this, right?

So he paid back those poor folks he stole from – four times what he stole. He gave half his wealth to the poor.

Money wasn’t making him happy anyway, right?

What the heck?

And when he heard he could actually meet Jesus, he jumped at the chance!

The crowd was too big.  He was too small.

But he didn’t let lies in his mind tell him he was insignificant.

He didn’t care what people were going to say about him. That they were going to judge him.

He was just so empty.

He had to out his whole heart into it. No regrets.

He climbed a tree because he had to get close.

He heard so much. Why can’t he experience it himself? He was just like everyone else, after all.

And when Jesus saw him – the sinner, the thief, the oppressor – Jesus didn’t say anything about that.

He wanted to sit with Zacchaeus, to share God’s love with him. He even wanted to go to Zacchaeus’ house!

Oh how the people judged him. “Why would Jesus want to spend time with HIM?”

Jesus answered their question simply and common sense.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

No one is beyond saving. We all need a savior.

It’s just so empty without him.

Seek him with all your heart.  I guarantee you, it will bring Jesus into your house – even your heart.

Father, in Jesus’ name I thank you for loving us no matter what. If only we could be like that! Lord, I pray for my brother who is looking for relevance in his life. I pray for my sister who wants a fulfilling relationship for a change. Bring them into your bosom. Show them they’re not ugly or worthless. Help them to accept your abundant and free love. Amen!

WHO IS PRAYING FOR YOU?

“And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

This was the prayer from one of Jesus’ disciples as he was being stoned to death.

I love the tenderness of his words. He chose not anger and frothy vitriol.  Instead he chose grace and mercy toward his misguided and merciless attackers.

Who is praying for you? If you are in meed of mercy.

Who prayed for you already? If you’ve since accepted God’s free gift of salvation.

Who are you praying for? If you know God’s call to all believers to spread the good news of the gospel.

The truth is, no one comes to the Father unless they are the recipient or beneficiary of prayer.

Jesus prayed for all who would believe. This proves that it’s a requirement that someone stand in the gap for us when we are unaware of our destitute nature. When we don’t know we NEED God.

So I encourage you to ponder if you should respond to the love and prayers of those who love you.

Or ponder if you’ve embraced the power and privilege of praying for some one else.

It worked for Stephen, the disciple.

His prayer we just read?

It was prayed as a man named Saul was leading the assassination against him.

Amazing, since not even three chapters later, Saul is bombarded on the road to Damascus by Jesus himself and presented with the awesome gift of salvation.

If it worked for a Jew who hated Christians to the point wanted them extinguished. It will work for all of us… whether we are sure of our salvation or not.

Are You Willing To Hurt To Fulfill Your Purpose?

1 John 3:16 NLT

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

The principle is this: love hurts.

Think about it this way, what is a friend who is only around when times are good?

I encourage you to be a true friend, to shine the light of Jesus.

He loved by giving everything!

The scripture implores us to love and live the same way.

If you have a friend or an aquaintance who is down and out, give.

Give your time, your energy, your listening ear, your heart – and their situation will change.

Love until it’s uncomfortable.

It’s what Jesus did.

And think about it.

What if God told you He loves you and He never did anything for you.

He’s not like that.

Neither should we.

And that goes for serving the Lord as well. The truth is, God is going to ask you to give up some things (personal dreams, relationships, job, money) in order to put you on His path to peace and fulfillment.

We all have a choice. We can choose the short-term satisfaction of doing it our way (which leads to ultimate disappointment and pain) or we can choose short-term to be in return for long-term and lasting joy.

It’s the same struggle we have with salvation.

Do we live how we want at the cost of eternal life?

Or do we choose Jesus, and the short-term discomfort of transitioning to a life ordered by God’s design and His word.

If we can make the initial choice to accept Jesus Christ at a cost, we have already been empowered to give up anything else it takes to live out our purpose.

I’m chasing after God as I chase after my life’s work.

Will you join me?

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