Tag Archives: eternity

November 17 – We Must… I Did

Acts 4-6

Last night my pastor shared some thoughts from Paul’s letter to Titus. He pointed out that the grace of God starts at salvation, but doesn’t end there. God’s grace instructs us to live godly lives and to look for Christ’s return. God’s grace reveals Jesus who redeems and purifies His children, who then become “zealous for good deeds.”

Then Paul says in Titus 2:15:

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

The pastor challenged us to be zealous in talking about Jesus. If we really believe what Peter said in Acts 4:12, that there is no other salvation than in the name of Jesus, that our family and friends will go to hell without Him, then how can we remain silent?

The high priest warned Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus or bad things would happen to them. Peter answered:

We must obey God rather than man. (5:29)

Then Peter proceeded to talk to the high priest about Jesus. That’s zeal!

There are some people in our world today who continue to name the name of Jesus with a black hood over their heads, and machetes at their necks. We don’t face that threat yet in this country. But I wonder if we’re allowing ourselves to be bullied into silence, anyway.

God is asking me, and maybe asking you, who it is we are obeying. I don’t face a threat on my life if I talk about Jesus. But do I let public opinion handcuff me, am I afraid of stepping on toes, do I allow Satan’s voice to stop me from talking about Jesus because he’s convinced me my friend isn’t interested, or that I won’t know what to say?

Who cares? If I really believe that Jesus is the only salvation, and that anyone who doesn’t know Him as Savior will spend ETERNITY IN HELL…

then I must be zealously sharing Him every chance I get. I must make opportunities to talk about Jesus. I must ask the hard questions of my unsaved loved ones.

I must obey God and forget what man thinks about me.  Because in the end, I won’t be accountable to the United States government on that day. I will be accountable to God, however.

And when I look Jesus in the eye, I want… because of God’s grace… to be able to say that Paul’s “We must…” became my “I did.”

 

 

 

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October 26 – I Never Knew You

Luke 12-13

Will God really send good people to hell? Certainly there won’t be preachers and Sunday School teachers there, right? Won’t people who volunteer at the homeless shelters, those who never lie or cheat, people who are kind and thoughtful, get a free pass?

I can promise you, according to Scripture, that God will not send one holy person to hell. There will not be one sinless person in that fire. Zero.

But Jesus said that some of the people who were following Him, who heard His teachings, will knock on the door of heaven only to hear God say, “You can’t come in. I never knew you.”

The World Series started last night. My brother-in-law and nephew were there, amid thousands of people wearing their Indians’ shirts and hats, and waving their red towels to cheer on the home team. Thousands of people stood at the same exciting moments, chanted the same words, praised the same players, complained about the same umps, and most of them had 100% of their attention on that field.

But I only know two of the thousands of people who were at that game. Many people dressed like my loved ones. Many acted like them, even said the same things my loved ones said. But if all of those baseball fans knocked on my door, I’d only let two of them in.

Now some of the opposition were easily detected. They were the ones in the light blue shirts. They were not Indian fans. Their clothes were different and they cheered at different times in the game. They neither looked nor acted like my loved ones. So if they came to my door, I could weed them out easily.

But it’s the rest of them, the ones who looked and acted like my loved ones that aren’t so easily detected. But not knowing them, I wouldn’t let them in, either, even if they looked the part.

Looking like a Christian, learning to talk like a Christian, doing Christian things, doesn’t mean God knows you. Jesus tells us the only way the Father can know any of us is if we go through Him. His blood. His forgiveness. His Way.

And only those whom God knows will be welcomed into eternity with Him.

Does He know You?

September 6 – It’s Not A Suggestion

Ezekiel 32-34

The last thing Jesus said before ascending into heaven was, “get out there and tell people about Me.” (Matthew 28). The Great Commission, as it is known, is a call to action for all believers.

Ezekiel tells us how important it is to warn people about the consequences for not listening to God. He calls us watchmen, we who see the sword coming to destroy, and who blow the trumpet and warn the people.

Ezekiel says if the people don’t heed the warning, their destruction is on them. But look at 33:6. If the watchman (that’s you and me) knows there is danger ahead and doesn’t warn the people…

that man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. (33:8)

Ezekiel repeats that fact in verse 9. God is that serious about holding us responsible for telling our family, neighbors, friends about the Truth. We have the Good News, that Jesus paid the price for sin and offers forgiveness as a gift.

But the flip side of the Good News is really bad news! That is eternal hell, separated from God, in agony and regret.

The Bible is clear, if we  don’t warn people about the consequences for rejecting God’s grace, the forgiveness of sin, they will die in their sin…

and it will be our fault.

 

September 4 – I’ve Got Confidence

Ezekiel 24-27

All the cities Ezekiel is pronouncing God’s judgment over were cities that had things going on. They were successful merchants and traders, or they housed mighty warriors. They were sailors. Bakers. Jewelers. People living in comfort.

But they denied God, and God was going to demonstrate what the consequences are for sin. Nothing they had placed their confidence in would be able to save them.

Where have I placed my own confidence? Is it in myself? In having a healthy body? Career advancement? My family? My possessions? What about my reputation, or my generosity?

God would have me see that anything I think I have or am cannot stand against God’s holiness. He is the ultimate authority, the final Word. If I’ve placed my confidence in anything other than God Himself, I will be as devastated as the people I read about today.

Oh, I’ve got confidence. But it isn’t in me! I have confidence in God. I believe He is who He says He is, and means what He’s said. I’ve got confidence that God is going to carry me right into eternity because I have accepted His gift of grace through the blood of Jesus.

I have confidence to face today because God has promised to go with me. God is my confidence.

 

August 30 – Think Again

Ezekiel 13-15

You all know who Noah, Daniel, and Job are, right? These men had testimonies that rivaled no one. They were godly, obedient, trusting men who had close relationships with God Himself.

But Ezekiel tells us that even if these three were alive, they wouldn’t be able to deliver their sons or daughters from God’s wrath.

Dear one, if you are counting on your parents’ relationship with God, or your spouse’s relationship with God, to get you into heaven, think again. It’s your relationship with God, your acceptance of His grace, that will make the only difference when you see Him face to face.

Not even your godly grandmother can prevent you from God’s wrath against your sin. Only Jesus can do that.

So the next time you start to think you can ride your dad’s coattails into heaven…

think again.

August 3 – The Flip Side

Isaiah 64-66

The books of prophesy contain so much hope for God’s people. Christian, there is joy ahead. There is peace. Our longings met, and our hunger and thirst satisfied. We won’t be haunted by memories of past mistakes. We’ll enjoy a new heaven and a new earth forever in God’s Presence. The reality is beyond our imagination.

But the flip side of that coin is so much worse than we can imagine. God, through Isaiah, is talking about the redeemed who “will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed Me. For their worm will not die, and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrent to all mankind.” (66:24)

That’s hell. A fire of regret and agony caused by memories of missed opportunities. A thirst that can never be satisfied, knowing for eternity that you are the lowest of the low, abhorrent, disgusting, defeated, wrong. And the worst part of that is that you will truly be separated from God with no hope of ever seeing the light again.

Ever.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, rest assured you have a glorious future ahead of you. If you haven’t accepted Jesus, the flip side of that truth should scare you out of your mind.

August 1 – Vindication

Isaiah 54-58

Sometimes I think we read passages like these in Isaiah and forget that God’s ultimate plan is not the downfall of a disobedient USA, or the rise of the Jewish nation, but rather the end of the spiritual battle between God and Satan. I read how God promises to vindicate His people, to condemn accusers, to defeat the enemy, to establish His people in righteousness, and I realize He’s talking about something greater than planet Earth.

The ultimate vindication is when all of God’s enemies will bow before Him and admit He is who He says He is. Everything that happens up to that point happens in preparation of that great day. God wins. Satan is defeated. We who belong to God will see our accusers admit that they were wrong.

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord. (54:7)

Vindication. Eternity. Done.