First Baptist Church of Jackson, Missouri
Friday, May 24, 2013
Where the Word of God Becomes a Way of Life
Will You Go to Heaven?
Infinitely more important than questions of membership in any church is the question, "Will I go to Heaven when I die?" The people in Acts, Chapter 2, asked, "What must we do to be saved?"
Most simply, the answer is "have faith," but, "In what? Whom?"
We Must Believe ...
1. We are sinners, in need of forgiveness.
If we think we are good enough, or that we can do enough good, we are not ready to receive the gift of forgiveness. To receive the gift of forgiveness, we must repent - feel sorrow for our sin and turn away from it (Luke 13:3).
2. Jesus, God in the flesh, loves us.
We must believe that Jesus is God, the second Person of the Trinity ("One God, Three Persons" - the ancient Christian belief common to all historic denominations). He came to earth because He loves us and wants to free us from our sin.
3. Jesus, Eternal God, died on the cross to pay for our sins.
Jesus took all our sins on Himself and died on the cross, purchasing our forgiveness.
4. Jesus returned to life, was physically resurrected the third day.
This is the cornerstone of faith, that Jesus Christ arose from the dead, an event celebrated each year at Easter. This resurrection is a guarantee that, through Him, we also can win a victory over death.
We Must Receive ...
Head knowledge of these truths alone is not enough. Saving faith is a choice. We must choose to love God. Though there is nothing we can do to earn Heaven, we must open the door of our hearts when the Lord knocks, asking Him to come in (Revelation 3:20).
How? A simple prayer of commitment can bring eternal life to you. Like a marriage ceremony, we make a vow of love and commitment. We receive forgiveness for past, present, and future sins. We receive Jesus Christ Himself into our spirits, becoming new persons.
But, doesn't this seem too simple? Pray a prayer, and we are saved eternally?
He Must Call ...
Jesus Christ must come to you, speak to your heart, and invite you to receive Him. You must be issued an invitation from the Lord to be saved. This prayer of commitment is a deep, utterly sincere, and truly humble request to God to save us. No one could pray such a prayer and make such a commitment unless the Lord was helping them.
How could we know when He is calling us?
There will be conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit will show us we have sinned. We will feel drawn to God. We will see that the things outlined above about Jesus are true. There will be a hunger for God. These things will help us to pray, not just a simple prayer, but a life-changing vow which God will honor by saving us, forgiving us, and giving us a new spirit!
If you are not conscious that He is calling you, these words or the testimonies of other Christians will seem foolish, unimportant, or simplistic. But when you become aware that He is calling everyone, and you in particular, then these words will burn deeply within you, igniting a fire you may not really understand.
What Do I Do?
If you understand that the Lord is speaking to you about being saved, you may make your commitment right now. If He is knocking at the door of your life, let Him in. Pray this prayer, or something like it:
Did you pray that prayer? If you were truly sincere, you have been saved! Regardless of what you feel right now, salvation is not about emotions. It is about the promises of God.
There are some things you should do.
A Prayer of Gratitude
Lord Jesus, I thank You for dying on the Cross and I am grateful that You rose from the dead. Thank You for saving me and for always being with me. Help me to live for You every day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.