THE CHOICE OF LIFE OR DEATH IS YOURS TO MAKE
“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him… This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy Chapter 30:12-20
From this passage we see how important it is to each one of us that we seek after God and His Word the Bible to us.
Without this we have no hope of LIFE, but only a future of DEATH.
This Word of God was originally given to the Nation of Israel and later it spread via the Apostles of Christ to the World, that even we today might have this same HOPE of LIFE ETERNAL.
It is UP to YOU then to seek out God’s Word, to KNOW what is the TRUTH of God’s Word so that you and your family might KNOW the way of LIFE ETERNAL and the great HOPE of living in God’s Kingdom on EARTH.
Do not let your HOPE rest upon others and most importantly on what others teach, search it out for yourself because we have been warned that the churches would be astray from God’s word in the last days.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Too much is at stake for you to not act yourself to seek out the TRUTH.
Christ himself has told us to do this when he said…
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24
Learn about God’s Promises to You Here
LIVE NOW – LIVE FOREVER…
A vital Bible message that everyone should read
We are happy to bring to you a vital Bible message, which we think, which we know, can change your life.
Do you believe in life after birth?
Do you believe in life after death?
Do you want to live now?
Do you want to live forever?
Some people are not, really alive after birth. They breathe out and they breathe in and that is usually a sign of life. But life is more than just breathing out and breathing in.
To really live now means to be happy, to be fulfilled; to enjoy life. We recently talked to a woman who was so distressed she said to me; “When I wake up in the morning, and I realise I am still alive, I’m nauseated? I want to die”. She hated life. She in fact had twice tried to take her life. She wasn’t living. She was existing. And this young lady was only in her thirties – very sad. But she didn’t live by the Bible at all. We believe the Bible tells you how to live – right now, and also it tells you how to live forever.
The person who belongs to God, who has Jesus Christ as their elder brother, is a happy person. They are free from worry, free from guilt. They have the most glorious future you can imagine because not only are they living now, they have this hope of living forever. They have “a promise”, as the Bible puts it, “of the life that now is, and of the life that is to come”. (1 Timothy 4:8)
That’s a real promise. The Bible tells us how to live now, and by really living now, we will also live forever. This is really good news, and that’s what the word ‘gospel’ means. The word ‘gospel’ literally means, ‘good news’, and the Bible has good news for you!
The good news is that you can live forever with Jesus and with all the faithful of all ages in fulfilment of the promises that God made to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.
A sick world
Now the problem with the world today is that most people are not really living now. They are just existing. They don’t live right. Crime, immorality, lying, cheating -these things are so common place – they have corrupted our society; from top to bottom, bottom to top. It’s true in every country of the world.
Today we were talking about this – one person’s house had been robbed, another person’s car had been stolen and there are places in our cities where you don’t dare walk on a dark right. This is true in every big city in the world, because people are not living right -they are, in Bible words, “doing that which is right in their own eyes”. (Judges 21:25). Now you cannot do that! You can’t do what is right in your own eyes. You must do what is right in God’s eyes! If you will do that, then you will live now and you will live forever.
I quoted you just a bit out of a verse, when we said that godliness “has promise for the life that now is, and for the life which is to come”. Those words are in 1 Timothy chapter 4 verses 7 and 8. The Apostle Paul is talking and he tells us; “exercise yourself to godliness”. And he then tells us why; he says, “bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness” is profitable for all things, and has promise for the life that now is, and for the life which is to come.” That’s life now and life forever.
Physical exercise or Godly exercise?
How do you live now, and live forever? You do your exercise. What kind of exercise? As I have been traveling around I have noticed, every time I go out, joggers, jogging. Jogging is a craze – it is popular all over the world. Wherever you go you find joggers out there jogging. Did you ever look at the faces of those joggers? I have been studying the faces of joggers and most of them don’t look happy. I am not criticizing jogging. Paul does not say that bodily exercise is no good, he says that it profits just a little bit in comparison to godly exercise.
What is really important? Paul wants to teach us how to live. It is good to have a healthy body, no doubt about it, but one man I know was asked what he did for exercise and he said he acts as ‘coffin bearer’ for all his friends who go jogging! So it is possible to overdo some things, isn’t it? Bodily exercise, having a healthy body may be important, but godly exercise is far more important, because not only then do you live now – you can live forever. Even the best physical exercise that you can do for this body will just help this body live a few more years, but if you practice godly exercise you can have an endless life! Jogging may be good, but I have not seen a 105 year old jogger, have you?
We have two goals to accomplish in this article:
1. To show from the Bible how to really live right now. How to live a life free from worry, free from guilt, a life filled with “the peace of God that is above all understanding”. That’s the living now part.
2. To show from the Bible that God has promised you, and those happy fulfilled people who are really living God’s way now, eternal life in His kingdom, when Jesus returns to set it up on this earth, to rule as king of the world.
God must be first
In order to live now, and live forever, we have to put God first in our lives. As long as we put our self first we are going to be miserable, and the world is proving it to us every day.
Let’s now look at Mark chapter 10, and we find a jogger, here, as we’ve been talking about. He must have been in good condition. I’ll tell you how I know he was in good condition. If you ever look at joggers and runners -they get out of breath. And this man comes running to Jesus, and he was out of breath evidently, but no he wasn’t. The better you are at jogging, the less out of breath you get. Verse 17 says that he came running, and when he got to Jesus he kneeled down. Now if you are like me when I jog, I need to stand up because I need to get all the air I can, and when you kneel down you don’t get as much air. So I’d be huffing and puffing but he could also talk.
He runs up to Jesus, he kneels down, and he says, “Good master, what can I do to inherit eternal life?” Well that is a real wonderful question.
Before answering, Jesus begins to ask him a few questions. He said, “You know what the commandments are?” and he lists them, “Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat, do not covet”. And the man replies to Jesus in verse 20, “I have done all those”.
Here is a remarkable young man! He’s in top physical condition and he has kept his body pure, which is more that we can say for most people today. I’m sure that you know people who are destroying their bodies with drugs or alcohol. It’s sad. People seem determined to destroy the only body they will ever have. You only get given one body, and many of us are ruining that body.
A fine young man, but…
This man was in good condition and he was trying to do the right thing and besides that he was rich. You know, young ladies would think, what a wonderful husband he would make. He was healthy, he was being true to his body, and he was rich. And so we are told, in verse 21, Jesus looked at him and loved him. Because of that we know the man was not lying. Many people might walk up and say, “I’ve done all these things from my youth up”, but they would be lying. He was not lying – this was the truth. So, Jesus loved him, and told him “One thing you lack, …sell whatever you have!” Just one thing – “Sell every thing, and give to the poor, …and come, …follow me…”
Well -he wasn’t expecting that. That was more than he wanted to do. He wasn’t willing to really put God first. There were things in his life that he valued more than living forever. And that is true of so many people. Is there anything in your life that is more important to you than living forever? Well, whatever it is that is your God.
We are told in the Bible that we are not to worship idols. If there is anything in your life that you love more than God, then that is your God. It could be your money, like the young man; it could be your property; it could be your job; it could be your family; it can be anything that you say – “This, God, is more important than you are”. God will not take second place in anybody’s life. That is the problem, you see, people want God on their terms.
“Oh, I want to worship you God – on Sundays – but the rest of the week is mine”; and God says; “No, that is not the way it is”.
And so this young man was not happy. How do we know he was not happy? Well the Bible tells us he was not happy in verse 22. He was healthy, he was rich, he had taken care of his body – but he was sad and went away grieved. Exceedingly sad.
Now everybody who doesn’t put God first in his or her life is sad. They don’t realise why the problems are there. People are putting wrong things first in their life and it doesn’t bring happiness.
In my country, America, we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, which the Americans think is great stuff and in the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the U.S. Government, every citizen is guaranteed “the right to pursue happiness!” And boy do they pursue it! They are on the freeways going this way and that way and they are always chasing it. But God does not give you the right to pursue happiness, God guarantees you happiness itself. That’s better than chasing it, and that is what most people in life do – they just go around chasing happiness. The Bible tells you how to have happiness – right now! And then have it forever. Isn’t that tremendous news? That’s the news of the Bible for you.
But it takes faith – and this poor man did not have enough faith. Do you? If you don’t, don’t worry just now because you can get it – that’s the point. The apostles did not have it either. They said, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). When you ask God to do this he always will, if you mean it, and he knows whether you mean it or not. If you say, “God, I really want to put you first, I really want you to increase my faith”, then he’ll do it. He promises you he will. But if you don’t mean it, then don’t say it.
This is your life
Now we are all familiar with graphs, charts and things. We look at a map and it gives us down in one corner the scale of an inch is so many miles. Well I want to share with you a scale. This is a scale of your life.
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120
Years of Human Life
Each square represents ten years. How many reading this are over one hundred years old? Not many of us – maybe not any of us. So for the vast majority of human beings. This is our life.
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
This represents a longer life than most of us will have too. The average life span is a little over seventy years. Some reading this may be much older. But for nearly all of us, this scale up to one hundred years is more than adequate.
This is your life. No matter whether you are young, middle-aged or older, have you ever been sick? Have you ever been tired, have you ever been discouraged? Do you ever feel depressed? Do you ever have problems? These things are common. Every one has them. The only people who don’t have problems are dead. So be thankful you have a few problems – it at least shows that you are alive.
But you know you can’t have a good time when you are hurting. In the U.S. there is Disneyland. But if your big toe is swollen up and hurting you can’t have fun. Even if you are in a fun place, you can’t have fun when you’re in pain. And this life, at best, is full of pain, trouble, trials -so this is your life.
Pain, Worry, Fear, Troubles, Trials…
And God, and Jesus, are offering you a better life a longer life, a different life. This present life is going to end. But the life God offers goes on and on and on. It’s a different life, no pain, no sorrow, no troubles, never hungry, never depressed, never discouraged and it goes on, and on, and on. We can’t comprehend eternity to live forever, and ever, and ever and ever; we can’t understand it.
God is saying to you and me, “If you’ll put me first in this life you can have never ending life”.
That is what God is offering you. I am not offering it. I don’t have it to give. God is offering it. It is the gift of God if we put God first.
Now we go back to Mark chapter 10, and Peter asks the question that may be on your mind. He says, in effect, “We have put God first, what are we going to get, Jesus?” ” we have left everything and followed you…” (verse 28).
And the answer to this question is the title of this article. Jesus says in verse 29; “I say to you” (this is Jesus talking, we should take notice when Jesus talks) “there is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, for my sake and the gospel’s” (v. 30) “who will not receive…” how much? Twice as much? Ten times as much? No, it says one hundred times as much! “One hundred fold” means a hundred times as much. “One hundred times as much, now, in this life.” That’s right – now! We are talking about this life – right now – you will receive a hundred times as much now in this time, of houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers and children, and lands. You will also have some “persecutions”, because every body that is alive has that, and then, besides that “… in the world to come, eternal life.”
Isn’t that fantastic! To think that God is saying to you through Christ, his son, that if you will put God first in your life right now, God will bless you right now one hundred times over and besides that he’ll give you a place in his kingdom. And yet, would you believe that people who have only a little bit of life left, turn God down and say, “No! – I’m going to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and I choose to die rather than to live forever!”
Throwing life away
Isn’t that amazing, to think that people would put themselves first and turn God down and throw life away, Can you believe it? But it’s happening every day! It’s happening right now. There are a lot of people who choose not to read the word of God, the Bible, to which they have easy access. They are too busy doing other things that are not as important. They are playing cards, they are watching television, they are going to the movies, or some great sporting event. I’m not saying those things are sin, but are they as important as putting God first in your life? You can’t be saved by doing those things. They are a diversion away from the important things, and if you keep them in the right place, maybe they are alright. But you want to be careful if you do all that, because that’s the trouble with this world – they only want to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and they have no time for God.
I am pleased you have taken the time to consider this subject, because we believe its message is vitally important to your future, which is going to begin right now.
What does your future hold? Do you have God with you? If you haven’t said “Yes” to God, you’ve said “No”! There is no such thing as “maybe” in God’s vocabulary. You cannot say, “Maybe, God, I’ll do it.” He’s not looking for “maybe”; it is either “Yes” or “No”.
Jesus said; “He that is not for me is against me”. (Matt 12:30). Now that may shock a lot of people, they don’t really want to be against Jesus. But if you are not all out for him, then you are against him because there is nothing in the middle. If you will turn your life over to God, you’ll have the best life there is right now! And you’ll have a life forever in his kingdom.
What a marvelous offer he is making you PEACE NOW & ETERNAL LIFE instead of A MISERABLE LIFE & DEATH.
With God everything is possible
Proverbs chapter 3, verse 5 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” That’s it – trust in God. Don’t trust in your riches, don’t trust in your own ability, don’t trust in your own wisdom. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he…”, what will he do? He will take care of you; ” …he will direct thy paths”.
That’s Solomon talking – the wisest man. King Solomon by inspiration of God says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Don’t lean on your own understanding, your own wisdom. You can ‘t do it on your own. Salvation is impossible without God. That’s what Mark 10:27 says, “With God all things are possible”, but you and I can’t do it alone. Without God and Christ, the Son of God, there is no way you can live forever. No way at all.
God in control
In Philippians 4:6 one translation puts it –“Don’t worry over anything whatsoever”. Do you know that the number one killer in the world today is worry? Most of the people in the hospitals are there because of worry. Worry can cause ulcers, it causes heart attacks, and even some kinds of cancer. Worry causes all kinds of problems. Many of the people who are sick and dying, are dying because of worry, and they are miserable worrying, and then they are going to die. We are talking about being happy now and living forever.
So Paul says, “Don’t worry about any thing whatever, just tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer.” Isn’t that beautiful! Don’t worry, just tell God every one of your needs in prayer and “the peace of God that transcends human understanding will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus”. That is the way to live now – turn your life over to God, put him first in your life. He’ll take control of it, he’ll direct your paths, you’ll have no worries because you know that he is in command and that everything that is happening to you from that moment forward, is working out for your good. Because “all things” (not some things) work together for good to those who love the Lord and are the called according to his purpose”. (Rom 8:28). Is that you? Are you one of “the called according to his purpose”? If you haven’t said “Yes” to God, your answer is “No”. “No, I want this life. No, I don’t want to live forever and be happy, happy, happy. I’d rather be miserable”; is that your choice? There are people who love misery. I hope they are happy being miserable, because there are a lot of them.
God is offering you happiness and salvation right now. No worries, don’t worry over anything. But what you have to do is put him first in your life – and that is the hard part isn’t it? We don’t want to put God first. We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it.
Now we want to look at that second part. We now know how to live now. The way to live now is to put God first. He’ll take over your life, he’ll direct your paths. Whatever you want to do, he’ll help you I do it, providing it is according to his will. For example, you can’t ask God to help you rob a bank. But if you want to do right, and you ask God to help you, then he will. God and Jesus will always help you. Paul says: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). You can, I can.
The same Christ that helped Paul is as alive and well today as he was when Paul said that.
The hope of resurrection
Now, the same Christ, died for you; and he wants you to believe in him so that you can live with him forever. Because he is not dead; he is alive. But Jesus was not alive while he was dead. You know what happened to Jesus. He lived for 33 years and a little bit, and then wicked men killed him. Then what happened? The whole world knows what happened – he was placed in a tomb. Three days later he was out of that tomb. He was alive. He rose from the dead. “He was the firstfruits of those who sleep” (1Cor 15:20) we are told. That means he came out of that grave to live forever. Paul says that what happened to Jesus could also happen to us. So you don’t need to worry about dying because if you die when you belong to Jesus, you will live again. But the Bible teaches life after death, not life while you’re dead, and there is a big difference. It is a sad thing that many people believe in life while you’re dead, and the Bible does not teach that at all. Paul, in a beautiful chapter, many call ‘the Resurrection Chapter’ (1Cor. 15), says (v. 51) “We will not all sleep” The Bible throughout its pages calls death “sleep”. What happens when you go to sleep? You are unconscious and don’t know anything until you wake up. That’s what death is. It is a peaceful sleep. “But we will not all sleep,” says Paul, “But we will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”. (verse 51). Christ is going to return to this earth. If you have died before he comes, then don ‘t worry about it; he’ll wake you up. If you are alive, wonderful, then you will be one of those who don’t sleep but in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, you’ll be changed. “Because this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, so when this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, then the saying will be fulfilled that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. ” (1Corinthians 15:53-54)
Immortality a future gift – not something we are born with
The Bible teaches you that the faithful are going to receive immortality. They do not now have immortality. That’s the Bible message. That is different than the message you would get in many churches. They tell you that you already have an immortal soul and that you will still be alive when you are dead. But you will not find that in the Bible at all.
I just want to read you a sad commentary from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. You can look this up for yourself under the heading, Eschatology. You will read these words: “The traditional concepts about the resurrection were combined with Greek notions about the soul and its immortality.” Isn’t that interesting, that the Encyclopaedia Britannica would say that the traditional conceptions, the Bible’s teaching, about resurrection, were combined with Greek, not Bible, notions about the soul and its immortality. If you go back into Greek philosophy, you will find it teaches that you have an immortal soul. Plato said so. But Plato did not believe in Jesus, he lived before Jesus so he could not, but he didn’t believe in God either. And Plato did not invent this doctrine. We find from history that it came from the Egyptians, and that Greeks like Plato adopted it from the Egyptians.
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Egyptians were the first people to believe in the immortality of the soul. And if you go to Egypt, you can go down into the beautiful pyramids and look at all the places where they put their Pharaohs, and then you can go to their museums and see the boats that they built and the jars of fruit that they left; and all sorts of other things for the Pharaohs to use after they were dead. But they never used them. I wonder why? Because the Bible teaches that when you die, it is like a deep sleep, you can do, think or know nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:10). And Paul says, in 1Corinthians 15, if there is no resurrection there is no hope. If you are alive while you are dead, you don’t need a resurrection. But the Bible says there is no hope without a resurrection. Would you like to look up every place in the Bible where the word immortal is found? You think that will take you all night? No it won’t. It is only found once in the whole Bible. That’s a fact. The word “immortal” is only found once in the entire Bible. That verse says that only God is immortal. (1 Timothy 1: 17) Now the word “immortality” is found in five places in the Bible. We have looked at two of them right here in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54. In the other places it says that immortality is something we must seek for. You don’t seek for something you already have, do you?
Now what about Jesus? In Paul’s ‘Resurrection chapter’, 1 Corinthians 15, we are told in verse 20 that Jesus is “the firstfruits of those who sleep”. Now if I have an apple tree, and autumn comes and apples come on the tree, what are the first fruits? Apples! Now what are the second fruits? Oranges? No way! The first fruits of an apple tree are always apples, the second fruits are apples, the third fruits are always apples. Never mangoes, oranges, lemons or any other fruit! Jesus is the first fruits of them that slept.
The truth about hell
Whatever happened to Jesus, the same is what is going to happen to us. He died. He was buried. The Bible says that “his soul went to hell” (Acts 2:27). That is what the original Bible text says. Don’t be shocked. The word ‘hell’ is translated ‘grave’ and ‘pit’ as well as ‘hell’. The same words ‘Sheol’ (O.T. Hebrew) and ‘Hades’ (N.T. Greek) are sometimes translated by the translators ‘hell’, and sometimes translated ‘grave’ and sometimes ‘pit’. So Jesus body, his being, (or “soul”) was put in the grave, in a tomb.
Three days later he was out of the tomb alive. That is the way it was with Jesus. And the Bible says that is the way it will be with you too, if you belong to him. You will be the second fruits. Don’t expect your conditions to be different from Jesus.
Jesus died, and was buried, and rose and was given immortality. Three days after he was buried in the garden, Mary saw Jesus and said “Master”, and Jesus said “Don’t hold on to me, because I have not yet gone up to my Father”. Jesus had not been in heaven for three days, he said he wasn’t. Jesus was in the grave for three days. So don’t expect to go to heaven when you die. Yes, forty days later Jesus did go up to heaven but the Bible also says no one else went there, except Jesus. That’s interesting, isn’t it? Just check that out in John 3:13. “Nobody has gone to heaven,” except Jesus.
Which church is right?
Now maybe this will shock you a little bit. Actually we have to shock you, because we want you to know the truth. There is no use lying to you. Most Protestant churches look to Martin Luther, but he and men like him left their churches because of wrong doctrines. That’s why they were called Protestants – it means protesters, they were protesting against the wrong doctrines being taught by their churches.
Martin Luther did not believe in the immortality of the soul. He said so, and he wrote it in his books. Lutherans today are embarrassed by that and do not want it quoted; but it is there in his writings. You can go to a library and look it up. So either Martin Luther was right and the Lutherans are wrong today, or Martin Luther was wrong and the Lutherans are right today!
So how are you going to know what is right? 8Look at them – everywhere you go – churches, churches and more churches. What are you going to do? How are you going to pick out the right one? Will you pick the one with the grandest church building, or the one with the most dramatic preacher, or the one with the nicest music and choir? Or the nearest?
That is the way that many people pick their church.
Have you ever thought of carefully reading the Bible? This is God’s book. He wrote it. Did he write it simply to pass the time because he had nothing else to do? If God thinks enough of you and me to write this book, we ought to think enough of him to read it.
Now I want to tell you a little bit about True Bible Students. You may not be familiar with us. When it comes to the reading of God’s book, True Bible Students, as a community, have a pretty unique policy. Every True Bible Students goal is to read the Bible right through every year. We follow a little chart called “A Bible Companion”. It takes about twenty minutes a day. If God is not worth twenty minutes of your time a day then he’s worth nothing to you. And if you will read the whole Bible for yourself, then you will know what it says. Yes many people read bits of it here and there, or they read what someone tells them is in there, and they don’t even know, but you should try to read the Bible through every year.
I am in my sixties now – I’ve read the Bible through I don’t know how many times. I’ve been doing it since I was a child. My parents taught me to love the Bible and I am grateful for that, because the Bible is what God said. Not what man said; what God said. So everything we True Bible Students tell you has to be checked out by this book, the Bible. If we tell you something that is not in this book, then we are wrong. But we try our best to go by what the Bible says. The Bible says that you can live forever, but that you are not alive while your dead. The Bible says that the hope for the righteous is resurrection. The Bible says that Jesus is going to return to this earth to raise the sleeping believers who are unconscious in the grave waiting for his coming. And all the faithful are going to get the same reward on the same day.
The hope of the faithful
God gave Abraham a promise almost four thousand years ago and do you know that you can have the same thing Abraham’s going to get the very same day that Abraham gets it. He doesn’t get it one second ahead of you; because he is named in the list of great men and women which ends “All these died in faith, not having received what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that without us they would not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11: 40).
So Abraham has not gone to heaven. Even David has not gone to heaven (see Acts 2:34). They are waiting for resurrection. Heaven-going is not Bible teaching; it is not true Christian teaching; it is just Egyptian belief mixed up with Greek philosophy, and then worked into Christianity in the early centuries after Jesus time.
Do you ever dissect verses? Look at the best known verse in the New Testament –
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
There are two groups of people in that verse. There is a group that perish. There is a group that have everlasting life. They don’t all already have everlasting life, and some go up and some go down! No, only one group gets everlasting life, and the other group perishes. If you don’t believe in Jesus, that verse says that you will perish. Now maybe you don’t like reading that. Back in the days of the children of Israel in the Old Testament, they said to the prophet Isaiah -“Don’t tell us the truth, lie to us”. “Tell us smooth things”. Yes, you can pack more people into a church today if you tell them smooth things. But the Bible doesn’t lie to you. So we urge you to check out whoever you hear, whatever you read – compare it with the Bible.
“Almost” a Christian?
Paul once gave a Bible lecture. He was on trial, really. He was speaking to a very important King, and as he talked and reasoned with that King about the things you have been reading about, the apostle Paul finally looked the King in the eye and said,
“King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets”– do you believe the Bible, do you believe what God says? Do you know what King Agrippa said? (I hope you don’t say what he said!) He said: “Paul, you almost persuade me to be a Christian”. (Acts 26:28).
If we “almost” persuade you to be a Christian, we have failed you, because “almost” is not enough. You have got to go all the way for Christ, or don’t go at all. You can’t “almost” be a Christian. King Agrippa perished, unfortunately. Paul did not want him to perish. We don’t want you to perish. We are grateful you have taken the time to go through this article. Thank you for your time. But we don’t want it to end here. If you have read this article and then put it down and forget everything you’ve read, well we have probably wasted your time. If you say, “Well, you almost persuaded me to be a Bible-based Christian”, then we’ve failed you. You’ve got to go all the way, only then can you live happier than you’ve ever been in your life. You don’t know what happiness is until you turn your life over to Christ. It is the greatest life in the world – right now! Besides that you have the promise of the life to come – eternal life in his kingdom.
But you have to believe, and before you can believe, you’ve got to know. We want to help you ‘know’. But if you just say ‘almost’, you haven’t said enough.
“Enter in by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go that way”. (Matthew 7:13).
There is a traffic jam going to death. All the people steering their own way through life, zooming down life’s freeway, are headed for death.
They are pursuing happiness. But God’s way to happiness is a little narrow road off to the side, and there is no traffic on it, because; “strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and there are few that find it”. (verse 14).
It is not that God is not willing for everybody to be saved. He is willing; “God wants everyone to be saved” (1Timothy 2:4). But God is not going to force you to be saved. God will not grab any of us by the feet and drag us kicking and screaming into his kingdom. If you don’t want to live forever, then you are going to get your wish, you won’t. It would be a foolish decision, but most people make it. Most people turn God down.
We hope that among the readers of this little article, there are honest and good hearts that say: ‘Tell me more’. We don’t ask for you to make a commitment this minute. We don’t expect lightning conversions because we believe that true religion is a combination of knowledge in the head and desire in the heart. It takes both.
Some churches only go with the head, some only go with the heart. It takes a combination of your heart and your head for Jesus. Then you can really live now, and you can really live forever.
So the challenge that Moses gave to the people of his day, we leave with you:
“I have set before you, this day, life and good, death and evil.” (Deuteronomy 30:15).
That is what we have done in this little book – we have set before you life and good, death and evil. But Moses goes on: (verses 16 & 19).
“I command you this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his way, to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, in order that you may LIVE!”
“I call heaven and earth as witness this day before you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing – SO CHOOSE LIFE.”
By Robert J. Lloyd