How can we get to heaven?

If God is completely good (which He is)… Jesus the man was sinless (which he was) … and we are far from perfect (which we are) … how can we enter heaven where nothing bad or impure is allowed?

Heaven has a notice outside: NO ENTRY to sin!

  • In other words, how can we have our sins forgiven and become ‘perfect’ like Jesus, so that we are at one with God?
  • Jesus said we must first believe in God and also believe in Him. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth (Greece)…

For God was in Christ, reconciling [bringing back in harmony] the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them… We speak for Christ when we plead [to people], “Come back to God!”

That’s the first step… to come (back) to God.

  • When we believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be… the Son of God and Saviour of the world, we need to accept that we are sinners and cannot get right with God by our own efforts…
  • Once we accept that we are sinners, we must believe that although we cannot get right with God by ourselves, we can get right with Him through Jesus
  • Jesus died that we might have eternal life… it’s a free gift… you can’t earn it! But you need to accept it and make up your mind to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ
  • When you do so, God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life in a special and wonderful way.
  • You are still a sinner but Jesus’ death on the cross pays for our sins and in God’s sight we are ‘covered’ (protected) by Jesus

And our lives will never be the same again!

  • If we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in our lives (and we have the choice as to how much we allow Him to do so) we are gradually changed to become like Jesus (‘Sanctification’)
  • In becoming more like Jesus, we become His representatives / witnesses / living testimonies in the world

The Holy Spirit is not in the business of just improving our existing habits, ideas and priorities… He wants to completely reorder them into the likeness of Jesus. It’s replacing our old lives with the life of Christ. We all need to consider the implications for our lives if we submit to this transformation process!

The question we all need to answer is this one: “Am I prepared to totally submit my life to God?”

We must keep moving forward… Someone once said that in the Christian life, we move forward or backward but never stand still!

But we must move forward in step with the Spirit of God, as He leads and guides us… so prayer, reading the Bible, paying attention to Spirit-filled teaching and taking time to listen for God’s voice are essential

David Livingstone apparently once commented: ‘I will go in any direction… as long as it’s forward!’

The Apostle Paul writesBut one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.

So press on to win the prize!

Being Resolute

  • New Year Resolutions… How many have you broken so far?

According to surveys, the top eight New Year resolutions that we may have already failed to keep are as follows…

  1. Have more exercise
  2. Lose weight
  3. Get better organised … God is a God of order not disorder!
  4. Learn a new skill or hobby …
  5. Live life to the full… Which Jesus offers us!
  6. Save more money / spend less money
  7. Stop smoking
  8. Spend more time with family and friends

BUT WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY about ‘being resolute’? There are 4 instances in the Bible when ‘resolved’ (determined/ resolute) is used:

  1. Jehoshaphat resolved to enquire of the Lord…‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’
  2. Daniel resolved not to defile himself… To remain holy… resisting sin
  3. (God speaking) You have not resolved to honour me…
  4. For I resolved to know nothing…except Jesus Christ & Him crucified

When we think of being resolute (determined), we must consider how Jesus behaved. In Hebrews 12: 2, we read that because of the joy awaiting him, Jesus endured the cross, disregarding [setting aside, ignoring] its shame.

His disciples tried to dissuade Him from going to Jerusalem. The devil tried to tempt Him away … but He resolved to take the Calvary Road, not the easy one.

And we need to follow His example… to be steadfast / determined / undeterred in following the path set out for us by God today, tomorrow, this year and in whatever time we have left on earth.

Children & young people make resolutions…not just new year ones!

  1. To keep my toys/games/room tidy
  2. To make my bed each day
  3. To say please and thank you
  4. To work hard at school/college
  5. To brush my teeth twice a day
  6. To share my sweets and tweets with my friends

These are useful… but even better…

  1. To say thank you to God every day for His love and care
  2. To think about Jesus every day
  3. To pray to God every day
  4. To read some Bible verses every day
  5. To show the love of Jesus to my friends & family every day
  6. To invite my friends to church

I’ve also heard younger children say that they will try to be GOOD!

Some men came to Jesus and began by saying: “Good teacher…” But Jesus interrupted them: “Why do you call me good? Only God is good!”

None of us can claim to be good all the time!

  • ONE WAY STREET…No Entry, yet people ignore it to take a short cut!
  • SINKING SAND … yet some people ignore it and become stuck!

There are things in life God has warned us about… NO ENTRY… SINKING SAND!

  • SMOKING can KILL … yet people still smoke
  • GOSSIP hurts and poisons relationships… yet people still gossip
  • JEALOUSY can lead to violence, yet some people allow it to control their behaviour

Jesus referred to this type of wrong behaviour (thoughts, words & deeds) as SIN

  • Sin is conceived (formed) in our MINDS as THOUGHTS… our thoughts are created through what we see and hear… So be wise!
  • What we think is then expressed through our lips… (By what we SAY) … and then through our actions… (By what we DO!)

Yet the greatest sin is to ignore or reject God’s offer of forgiveness and eternal life after we die through Jesus Christ

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