Ask me a Question?
Supposing God were to ask you “why should I let you into Heaven?” … how would you answer him? What is it that qualifies you for Heaven? What is it that identifies you as deserving of a Heavenly Reward and Residence? On what guarantee have you placed your hopes for eternity?
These are vitally significant and equally important questions, and need to be answered if you are ever to be truly “at rest”
over your eternal destiny. Of course, there are multitudes in the world today who simply have no belief in the reality of an eternity beyond this life and such folk rarely give it a thought.
Yet the fact that many don’t believe in it, does not automatically erase its reality from the pages of the Bible nor from the consciousness of mankind in general, and the belief of Christians in particular. Moreover, it is true that many non-Christian and other faith traditions hold to an eternal hereafter, even though they don’t accept any Biblical authority?
So then, my Sermon today entitled “Ask me a Question”
is a focus on what is perhaps the greatest Question we could ever ponder? What qualifies us for Heaven?
Jesus said: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22-23
This remarkable condemnation shows us unmistakably that “good works” alone are not sufficient for our Salvation or our eternal well-being. These of whom Jesus was speaking had obviously been unashamed to confess him and speak of him, and offer help to the demon possessed in his name, and by their own
testimony, clearly had done Many Wonderful Works for Him? Yet Jesus will not be impressed even by such things? This tells me that I personally will not be able to use my “ministry” or my “preaching” as a key to unlock Heaven?
Even the clergy and religious are not qualified by their works,
… that’s what Jesus says.
I spoke with a man a short while ago who informed me that he was a decent sort of chap, that He had never defrauded anyone, that he has been fair and friendly towards all and sundry, that he had been generous and kind-hearted, truthful and honest in all his dealings with others, and that he fully expected God to welcome him at the last with open arms. It seems clear that this man had not however “read the Bible”? He was comfortable with others calling him a “Christian” and even called himself Christian, but I knew he was not a Christian, and God knew it too. Now I applaud his efforts to be neighbourly, kindly and honest, unselfish, loyal and religious, as I’m sure most of you would … yet this man like so many others while sincere
is sincerely wrong.
Somehow or other many have gotten it into their minds that we can come to God at the last with a list of our “good qualities” our “self righteousness” and our “human efforts” and be eternally acceptable in His sight – but what folly what foolishness this is! God says “no flesh shall glory in my presence” 1 Cor 1:29
What then is the ANSWER to such a Question?
So today I want to consider three things.
1. The Answer on the Heart of God
2. The Answer on the Mind of God
3 The Answer in the Will of God
and we find that answer in what many call, the Golden verse -John 3 verse 16
First of all then let us consider
The Answer on the Heart of God
John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world.” Gods answer as to why He should let any of us into Heaven is a matter of love! Gods Heart is a Heart of Love, for God is love and Jesus came as love personified – to show us the dimensions of that love, its height, its depth, its width and its length. It is because God loves us that He has prepared a place for us, an eternal rest, where all the labour is a labour of love and not the labour that brings sweat to the brow.
Heaven is not as some expect, a place where we sit on damp clouds and play harps all day? Rather Heaven is a real world,
a new world, a wonderful world where there are no limitations and no disappointments, where there are no tragedies or traumas, no sin or sickness and no sorrow or death. A place where every hearts desire is met and where every joyful experience is without end. A place of worship and worth-ship, where Gods children live as one in harmony with each other and with their creator. Heaven is not like Earth without sin or the Devil, heaven is not the earth restored to its pre-fall Eden Garden state? It is a place of Reward and Rejoicing, a place of Light and Life eternal. It was created out of love and will be eternally sustained by a loving Father for his Children, all of his children. It is not given to the human mind to imagine its glories nor its greatness, its treasures nor its trophies, but in the human Spirit regenerate by the Holy Spirit, it can become a place so real, that one can sometimes feel its breeze and smell its fragrance. Only the Holy shall enter it, only the pure shall walk its streets of Gold, only the “over-comers” shall walk with God in white robes there. So, because He loves “the world” God made a way, God found an answer, God provided a solution.
That then is the “Answer on His Heart, but what is
The Answer on the Mind of God
Returning to our text in John 3:16, we read that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.”
God cannot change his mind or alter his word. So because He has preordained that no sinful flesh would ever, or could ever find glory in HIS presence, for (“all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”) He sent His Son, to be Sin for us. He who knew NO sin, came to suffer bleed and die on the cross, to take the penalty for sin there, so that we trusting in his substitutionary sacrifice might be made, might become the “righteousness of God” in him, that is Jesus. (2 Cor 5:21)
In essence, God was showing us that He had made up his mind to rescue a fallen humanity, to restore relationship and renew fellowship which had all been lost through Adams Sin. This is why SELF cannot succeed. As I said a moment ago, good works are very commendable and applaud-able, but if you and I could get into heaven by our own efforts, then it makes a nonsense of the “Cross” and the “Crucifixion” and the very coming of Jesus to Bethlehem 2000 years ago? Gods mind is made up,
it is HIS way, or NO way.
Now it is important to point out that while “good works” are not a means to Salvation, they will necessarily be the results, or the end results of Salvation. When one acknowledges and accepts that Jesus has paid such a “high price” for our Salvation, one is indebted to him, and will make every effort to love him in return. Unrequited, unreturned love is the saddest thing in all the world. Jesus loves you, bled for you, suffered for you, died for you, … and it ought to be the very least to offer him in return a life of love and devotion. This is where relationship begins, and such a relationship has its beginnings in love.
“We love him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19)
This leads me back to our text in John 3:16 and to
The Answer in the Will of God
The verse says: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
It is the WILL of God that we should live for ever, and not only that, but that we should live for ever with HIM! God made us for himself! He did not create you for your Wife, or for your Children, or for your Friends, … (they may benefit greatly from knowing you), but essentially, God made you for himself. God wants to see a reflection of himself in you, God wants to fellowship with you, to love you, to care for you, to protect you, to provide for you, to cherish you to treasure you, to honour you, and to put his glory on you and to adopt you as HIS. It is not His will that ANY should perish, but that all might come to everlasting life. That’s why the Gospel is good news, and that’s why I am here sharing it right now. In fact its what a lost and dying world needs to hear, and the reason why I am aiming at 100,000 listeners this year on this station and other radio stations country-wide!
I hope you will want to help me and pray for me. This Gospel, this good news must get out. Now while it is Gods will that we should have and enjoy “life eternal” it is not merely that such a life is for Heaven only? This eternal life does not begin when you die, but rather it begins when you accept Jesus as your Sin Bearer and Saviour, and life eternal and abundant begins right away. Jesus said:
“I am come that they might have and enjoy life in abundance,
to the full, till it overflows” (John 10:10 amp)
This is the normal life for the Christian, and it can be yours today, right now if you will but open your heart to the truth of God and receive by faith what Jesus has done for you.
Faith is not just believing it, Faith is taking hold of it and running with it. Faith declares
” God says it, I believe it, … its mine”
Some might think it is presumptuous to declare that “one is sure of heaven” or “that one is saved” … but it is never presumptuous to take God at His word. Bearing all this in mind and Supposing that God were to ask you now “why should I let you into Heaven?” … what would your answer be?
Let me tell you what mine will be; it would be the same as the Hymn writer who summed it up so clearly when he said…
“I have no other argument, I need no other plea,
it is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me”!
If you or I come home to God at the last with confidence in anything or anyone else, other than Jesus, then we have no hope of Heaven, and no hope at all.
But I have yet another question for you, not perhaps of the same magnitude, but important nevertheless and only you will know the answer. “Where will you spend Eternity?”
Some of you will be thinking “I don’t know” or “I don’t know yet… ask me when I have died.” But I can’t ask you when you’ve died, for you will be in eternity one second after you have died. My question is, where will you spend it? … and even to ask this question (important though it is) implies that “eternity” can be “spent” when it cannot! You can spend money and it runs out, spend a holiday abroad and it will end, spend an afternoon with a friend and it passes, spend a moment in reflection and it pleases, but all of these will have their end, while eternity will not. I’d be better asking you, “Where will you be in Eternity” which in itself raises yet another question,
“When will you be in eternity”?
That’s a frightening question for those who have made no preparation. Because they know well that they could be in Eternity at any moment, this hour, this afternoon, this evening, this night, today, tomorrow, this week, or this month.
To have made no preparation for something that is sure to happen, yet uncertain in its timing, is utter foolishness.
Jesus taught the self same thing. He told a story of ten virgins who awaited the arrival of the Bridegroom for a wedding celebration. All of them expected the wait to be a lengthy one had brought oil lamps, so that they might have light for the evening celebrations. Yet only five of them had brought oil, five were wise and five were foolish. The Groom delayed and while the night drew in, the five foolish had to leave to get more oil.
In their absence the Bridegroom came, and the party started and the door was shut, and they were left out in the cold.
Jesus said at the end of that story, “neither will you know at what hour I may come”
My Bible tells me that our passing from time into eternity is an “appointed” time, that God has set. There are none of us, none of us I say, sure of any moment but this one, the next minute is uncertain, we have no guarantee that we will see it through. When will you be in eternity?
This does not mean that we should live in such a morbid way expecting “death” to visit or call us at any time, rather it means that we should make careful preparation, so that if and when death does come, and come unexpectedly as it does in most cases, we are ready, prepared and insured. Life insurance is available in most of our “High Streets” but Death Insurance, Insurance for Eternity is only available in Jesus Christ, and for that you need to get to His Cross right away.
The kind of Insurance that covers us for eternity is not cheap, because it is FREE. The Free Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ His Son. Therein lies another problem, for:
for most of us we have this notion that it could not be free, there must be a catch, there must be a hidden cost, an extra charge, something in the “small print”. But it is in the small print of the written word of God (the Bible) that I find that
“JESUS has Paid it all, and all to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow”
Our Salvation is a gift, but you can only give a gift to one with an outstretched hand. Have you reached out for God, have you taken his gift, the gift of life eternal all wrapped up in Jesus?
For if you have not made room for Jesus in Life, how on earth can you expect HIM to make room for you in Death?
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
The Psalmist reminds us that “Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” Psalm 144:4
Every time I fly over a large body of water, I imagine myself (if
I could) opening the window of the jet and pouring out my coffee into the immense body of water below. I imagine the time that I spend on this earth compared to eternity is no more than that cup of coffee. The incredible size of the ocean compared to one small cup of coffee is what our life is like compared to eternity. Why then do we invest so much in temporary pursuits when we know that our investment here can have so much impact on our eternity? It is the great paradox of human behaviour, for us all and especially for the Christian.
May I ask you Christians a question?
Does your business life have an overall ministry objective to it? This does not mean we must be constantly involved in “Christian activity.” It only means that we should be about what God has called us to do with the motive of being obedient to his mission. Do not let the worries and cares of this life keep
you from having an eternal impact on the lives of those you meet every day. Eternity is a reality for the Christian too, and we should always walk in the light of it. Satan has a way of keeping our focus on the problems of today rather than the spiritual opportunities before us.
He is the master of the urgent, not the important.
Paul could say
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain”
(1 Corinthians 15:58).
The Hymn writer could add…
“Only one life ’twill soon be past
only what’s done for Christ will last”
and the question is …
What will you do about eternity today?
If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your personal Sin Bearer and Saviour, and you have faith do it now, that too is a gift from God, so wait no longer, and join me now in this simple prayer of acceptance. … let us pray
Lord Jesus. I believe that you are the King of Kings
and Lord of Lords
And I bow before you now.
Thank you for dying for me, and thank you that you have spoken to my heart today.
I know that I have done many things that have displeased you, there is much wrong that I am sorry for.
I ask you to forgive me
Clean and heal my life.
I invite you into the driving seat of my life.
Come in by the power of your Holy Spirit.
Fill me with your presence and your power
And help me to validate my faith
by being courageous to share it with others.
For your Glory and my eternal Good,
I ask these things in the name of Jesus