IN WHAT ARE YOU TRUSTING TO GET INTO HEAVEN?

From the Personal Evangelism Kit by Jim McCarthy Adapted Edited by NiteOwlDave niteowldave@gmail.com There are many ideas floating around about how we get to Heaven. Many are thought provoking. Many are hunches. Few are rooted in Biblical truth. Let’s examine a few. 1. Believing in God. In order to go to Heaven, what must we believe? The Bible teaches that merely acknowledging certain facts about God means little. (See below for the real truth.) “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble,” says James 2:19. Also see Matthew 7:21-23. So Satan and his demons also believe in God but, of course, are Hell-bound. 2. Being Baptized. How does baptism help us get to Heaven? Nowhere does the Bible teach that baptism makes a person right with God. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:17, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. 3. Going to Church. How does going to church or being a member of a particular church help us attain salvation? The Bible teaches that the church is not a place, but a people – God’s people - also known as the Body of Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “(The Father) ... gave Him (the Son) to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body.” Also see 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 and Colossians 1:18. 4. Receiving the Sacraments. How does receiving the sacraments, especially the Roman Catholic Eucharist, contribute to your salvation? The Bible does not speak of a series of rituals as being necessary for salvation. The biblical purpose of taking bread and wine is simply a reminder of Jesus’ death.

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He said in Luke 22:19, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Also see 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. 4. Praying. In what way does praying help us attain eternal life? Jesus taught that repeating prayers over and over is of no value. Matthew 6:7 says, “When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Also see Matthew 7:21-23 5. Keeping the Commandments. Are we able to keep the Ten Commandments to God's standard? No way. The Bible teaches that anyone who does not keep the ALL the commandments perfectly will be judged unworthy of Heaven: James 2:10 says, “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Also see Galatians 3:10-12, Romans 3:20,23-28 and 7:7-12. 6. Loving Your Neighbor. Do we love our neighbor with the kind of love that God requires? Hardly. Jesus taught: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 22:39).” Also see Luke 10:25-37, 1 John 3:16-18, and James 1:27. 7. Doing Good Works. How many good works do we have to do to earn eternal life? The Scriptures teach that even the best that we do is tainted with sin and are unworthy of God. Isaiah 64:6 says. “All our righteousness (good deeds) is filthy rags.” Also see Romans 3:12,23 and 4:4,5, Ephesians 2:8,9, Titus 3:5 and John 6:28-29. 8. Dying With No Unconfessed Sin. Does the condition of one’s soul at the moment of death affect one’s eternal destiny? Jesus said that those who belong to Him would never be condemned to Hell. John 10:28 says, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Also see Romans 5:8-10, 8:33-34 and 1 John 5:11-13. The above are noble concepts but these things do NOT qualify anyone for Heaven. What does, then? Simply, we must be “saved.” Jesus taught that the only way to a right relationship with God was through Him.

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 John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Also see Acts 4:12, John 8:24, and Matthew 7:13-20.  The Bible teaches that those who are trusting Jesus to save them will spend eternity in Heaven. John 3: 16 says, “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.” Also see John 5:24, Romans 10:9,10 and Acts 16:30-31.  Salvation is a gift of God that cannot be earned, says Ephesians 2:8-9.  Salvation is offered on the basis of what Jesus, the Son of God, has already done. On the cross, Jesus took the guilt of our sins upon Himself and paid the penalty of our sins for us, dying in our place, says Mark 10:45 and 1 Peter 3:18. According to 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4, His resurrection is proof that His sacrifice was acceptable to God as the just payment for our sins.  God's instructions are, "Repent ye, and believe the gospel," says Mark 1:15. To repent is to change our mind to agree with that we are a sinner and cannot save our self. To believe the gospel is to place our complete trust in Jesus as our Savior. How do we link to God or get saved? Pray something like this and mean it, THEN begin doing good stuff to exhibit our faith and new focus. Dear God: I am a sinner. Others have sinned greater than I have. Nevertheless, I stand before you now as a lost sinner deserving of Hell. I choose to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who became a man. I choose to believe that He allowed Himself to be put to death, that He arose again on the third day and is alive today. The Bible says the blood of Jesus Christ washes our sins away, and I believe that. Father, I want to be cleansed of all my sins right now. I know I am not right with God, and I want to be forgiven. I want to go to Heaven when I die. Right now at (time and date)______________, I bow at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, and I am dumping all of my sins there. And I mean ALL of them! I ask that the blood of Jesus Christ wash away all my sins - past, present, and future.

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I am sorry for my sins, God, and I accept your forgiveness. Right now, I declare that I am a Christian. I ask, Father, that you will make me aware of when I want to sin, and give me the courage to say no. I ask, too, that you will help me understand the Bible, and to make the rest of my days on earth count for eternity. I pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ - my new Lord and Savior - amen.