What Are You Willing To Give Up?

The world that we live in is not one of spiritual-mindedness. It is not a world of godliness or one of righteousness. The world in which we dwell is one full of sin and all kinds of evil. It is a sad thing to look at the world knowing that most people are not going to make it to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). What is perhaps even more sorrowful is looking at attitudes that individuals have in the church.
Think about all the blessings we have as children of God. Look at all the many things He has done for us and what a debt we owe that we will never be able to repay. Yet, although we understand and say, “Yes, I owe a lot to God”, we often fail to act as though we truly believe that. Why is it that we claim to understand the blessed state of being a child of God but do not put our best foot forward to be pleasing to Him? Do we not believe that only the faithful will make it to heaven? Do we not believe, as Jesus said, that only he who does the will of the Father will make it to heaven (Matthew 7:21)?
I believe a major reason why Christians are not as committed as they should be is because they aren’t willing to give up the things of the world to live for the Lord. John said in I John 2:15, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The world and God are on opposite ends of the spectrum. How can you have both? John says later in vs. 17 that the world is passing away. It’s only the one who does the will of God who will abide forever. We forget just how temporary our lives are here on this earth. We get caught up in thinking that this is most important, the here and now. It’s not!! All that we have on this earth won’t be here eternally. It is going to be passing away. Does it make more sense to concentrate on the things that will one day be passing on or is it better to put our efforts into that which will be here eternally? Most anyone will tell you, “Yes, we have to concentrate on spiritual things”, but how many are doing just that?
What are you willing to give up to go to heaven? Many in the world expect to go to heaven but do not do anything to insure it. Many Christians expect to go to heaven but do not want to give up worldliness. Paul told Timothy that times would come when men would be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God“(II Tim. 3:4). The same thing is true today. People just have too many things to do. “I’m too busy to serve God”, would fit a lot of peoples actions. Those whose busy lives interfere with their commitment to the Lord will have much time in eternity away from God to think about all the times they were too busy to be spiritual.
I ask again, what are you willing to give up to go to heaven? Are you willing to give up things that would interfere with your attendance in worshiping God (hobbies, concerts, sports, etc)? Are you willing to give up the short, tight, and low cut outfits designed only to be seen by others? Are you willing to give up talking, acting, and behaving like those of the world? Are you willing to give up worldly associations that might hinder you from being a faithful Christian? If you are not willing to give up even these few things, how can you say you are willing to sacrifice to go to heaven?
Heaven has its cost and so does the life of being a Christian, but the benefits of the sacrifice involved far outweigh the burdens of this life. Think of what Christ was willing to give up so that you could have these blessings (II Corinthians 8:9). He gave up His very life. How much of an inconvenience is it for you to live a faithful obedient life to make it to heaven? It should not be a burden at all but simply a small sacrifice for the love and kindness He showed to us. Do not let the world stand in the way of you reaping the reward of heaven!
– Shane Williams

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Going To Heaven

Someone once, “If you miss Heaven, you’ve missed it all.” Our number one priority in this life must be to go to Heaven. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
We can have a big house, fine car and money in the bank, but there is nothing that equals the value of our soul. It is the most precious thing we have. We read in Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” The answer is very easy. Nothing we have is as valuable as the soul. And whatever we have we would gladly give up to avoid losing our soul when we realize it’s value.
In today’s materialistic society, it is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of materialism, if we are not careful. Yet, Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our 401K needs to be in heaven.
In Colossians 3:2, the apostle Paul, by direction of the Holy Spirit, wrote, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Every day we need to tell ourselves that the main thing in this life is to go to Heaven.
Heaven is not just a pipe dream. It is a prepared place for a prepared people (John 14:2-3). It will be such a wonderful place, which is beyond our wildest dreams. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND WHICH HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” There is no way that Heaven can be described so we as mortal human beings can understand how wonderful it will be.
Nobody has ever gone to Heaven accidentally. It is a lifelong race. The Hebrew writer tells us in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Going to Heaven requires endurance, patience, and persistence. We must finish the race.
Have you dropped out of the race? If so, you need to repent of your sins and ask God for forgiveness. Have you ever been in the Race? No? Then you need to repent of your sins and be baptized so that your sins may be forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16).

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If You Were To Die Today, Would You Go To Heaven?

If you were to die today would go to heaven and be with the Lord forever? Do you know for certain, without a doubt? Jesus says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Our number one priority in this life must be to go to heaven. Nothing is as important as this. We simply cannot afford to miss Heaven.
The Lord tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 that only few people will go to Heaven, but the vast majority will be eternally lost in the burning fires of Hell. This is not a pleasant thought. But all of us will make the choice as to where we will spend eternity. The only way, to even grasp how long eternity will be, is to think that after we have been in Heaven or Hell a billion years, eternity will have just begun.
Our soul is the most precious thing we possess. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matthew 16:26). Our soul is worth more than the entire world put together. If we lose our soul in Hell, we lose it all.
Jesus wants us to pay attention to what He is trying to tell us. He says in Matthew 13:41-43, “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” Our Lord is trying to warn us if we will only listen. He has already paid the awful price for our salvation and He doesn’t want to see it wasted.
For a child of God, sin in our life will keep us out of Heaven. Because of unrepented sins, our name will be taken out of God’s Book of Life. Revelation 22:19 says, “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Has your name been taken out of God’s Book of Life? If it has then this is a very serious matter. Revelation 20:15, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” God wants to forgive us. As a Christian, how do we get our name put back into the Book of Life? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Jesus has promised “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
If you are not a Christian, how do you get your name into God’s Book of Life, so you can be saved and go to Heaven?  Our Lord says in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Jesus also says, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).  Our Lord then tells us, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).  If a person misses Heaven, he will only have himself to blame.

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Misunderstanding “Legalism”

What is this awful “ism” called “Legalism”? Whatever it is, it must be pretty bad. The very use of the term automatically pictures one who has no love for the Lord, no understanding of His matchless grace, and no concern for a right relationship with God based on faith. This concept of “legalism” pictures one who claims salvation based on his own works by which he supposedly puts the Almighty in his debt. It cannot be denied that some religious individual may view things this way. But there is ample evidence that there is an equally dangerous misunderstanding of legalism on the opposite end.
In a series of articles on “The Gospel of Romans,” an installment entitled “Legalism” has the following:
“I have heard preachers admit that they were legalists but I’m sure they had no idea what constitutes legalism. These are those who will say that salvation is not based upon works, but turn right around and say that justification is based upon obedience to a set of commandments. They both say exactly the same thing. To say that salvation is ‘conditioned’ upon one’s obedience to the commandments, and then deny salvation by works is a contradiction. Whenever a reward is offered for meeting certain requirements, the reward is EARNED whenever the requirements are met! Reward is based on ‘doing.’ Justification is based upon faith and it is not a ‘reward’. It is a ‘state’ — a righteous relationship.” — Ensign, May 1991, page 82.
The presumption that obedience to commands of Christ in the gospel and salvation by works “say exactly the same thing” is incorrect. “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). The New International Version reads, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” “What he does” in this passage is not “faith alone” but not devoid of faith. It is a simple formula. Belief is always alone when stripped of obedience to Christ. Faith is not alone when expressed in obedience.
The real question is whether salvation is conditional or unconditional. The drift of the above quote leaves one with the definite impression that salvation is conditioned upon nothing at all. The anti-legalist presumes salvation by works and salvation by conditions are equal. Since salvation cannot be by works (of any kind at all) it cannot be conditional. Therefore, salvation is the unconditional gift and responsibility of the Almighty God. One who is saved became the sole object of God’s intent to save someone. This is the end result of this misunderstanding of legalism.
That salvation is conditioned upon faith cannot be questioned. But faith cannot save one who will not obey Christ (Hebrews 5:8-9). To the contrary, faith will only save when it is expressed through obedience (Galatians 5:6).
Legalism may be bad — but salvation by faith that obeys the commands of Christ is good — it comes directly from the one source of all that is good. By the way — it is never very good to base a theory on a complete misunderstanding of something like “legalism.”

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