Are You Prepared For Eternity?
Where Will You Spend Eternity?
Our soul is worth more than the whole world and everything in it. Scripture quotations are in red. Jesus says in Matthew 16:26, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Our soul is the part of us that is going to live on forever and ever throughout all eternity. Jesus says concerning the lost, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46). Everlasting punishment in Hell and eternal life in Heaven will both be forever and ever, without end. We cannot afford to lose our soul and be eternally punished in Hell.
If you were to die today do you know for certain, without a doubt, that you would go to Heaven? We will not accidentally go to Heaven. This is a question about which we cannot afford to be wrong, because eternity is very permanent. One day each of us will know the true answer to this question, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (Romans 14:10). Everyone of us have two appointments that have already been made for us and that we will definitely keep. They are, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). These two appointments: death and judgment cannot be canceled; we will keep them.
The Bible says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Our feelings are not a safe guide, but only the Bible is. We must not make an error concerning our eternal salvation in following what "seems right" to us, or that we "feel in our hearts we are saved". We will not have a second chance on the Day of Judgment to make things right. We have to get it right in this life. We are told in Amos 4:12, "Prepare to meet your God". On Judgment Day we will be either prepared or unprepared. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. We cannot hope or wish our way into Heaven.
The Lord doesnít want anyone to be lost. God "desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:4). If one is lost in Hell, he will only have himself to blame, but the majority of people will be eternally lost. Jesus warns us in Matthew 7:13-14 to, "Enter by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." This gets my attention. Jesus says the vast majority of people will end up being eternally lost in Hell and only few saved. Sadly the majority of people are walking the wide road into eternal damnation and donít realize it. We must take this warning from God very seriously.
This earthly life is so short, but eternity is forever and ever without end. Godís word says, "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).
Many Conflicting Beliefs
There is so much confusion in this world pertaining to religious beliefs, which can be traced to an ignorance of Godís word or ignoring what it says. There are more than 600 different denominational churches, all with different and conflicting doctrines, beliefs, and teachings. Confronted by so many different conflicting doctrines of religion, people are so confused; they donít know what to believe. The hundreds of different religious denominations all wear different names, teach different doctrines, practice different forms of worship, have different plans of salvation, and each has its own earthly headquarters. How could anyone conclude that scripture authorizes any of this present confusion or that God is at all pleased by the wholesale abandonment of His plan as found in the Bible? "For God is not the author of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33), but man is. If the more than 600 different denominational churches were all teaching and following only Godís word as found only in the Bible then there would only be one church, the church of Christ.
Jesus warns us against allowing the authority of the traditions of men to determine doctrine. He says, "Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your traditionÖAnd in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:6, 9). All of the many doctrines that have come from men are vain and useless. Any doctrine that teaches more or less than what Godís word teaches in the Bible is false doctrine, which is designed by Satan to cause people to be eternally lost in Hell. Any person who is interested in his soulís salvation can not afford to follow any of the many false doctrines that are being taught today, but will have a genuine interest to know the truth which is found only in the Bible.
Godís word warns us to "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheepís clothing" (Matthew 7:15), and "many false prophets have gone out in the world" (1 John 4:1). There is so much false doctrine being taught today, which many people blindly accept. On the Day of Judgment we are going to be judged only by what the Lord says in the Bible and not what men falsely teach. Jesus says, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him: the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). So, if we or any other person cannot point to it in the word of God, then please do not believe it, because there is too much at stake ó your SOUL !!
The Bible warns us "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men" (Ephesians 4:14). Man cannot be pleasing to God and be saved by dreaming up his own plan as to how God is going to save him. We must follow Godís plan and only Godís plan if we expect to be saved. Christ is only "the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). If we follow any of the many plans men have devised we will be eternally lost. Our salvation in Heaven is too great to lose, because if we donít go to Heaven we will spend forever and ever in the torments of a real burning Hell (Mark 9:43-48). We cannot afford to be wrong concerning our eternal salvation.
What Must I Do To Be Saved?
This is a very important question. Many people would answer this question in many different ways. Any way that differs from what the Bible says is false. But what does God require in the Bible for one to be saved? We must believe in God and in Christ. Jesus says in John 8:24, "For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." To believe in Jesus is to accept and do all He says.
We must repent. The Bible says, "The LordÖis longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). It is either repent or perish. Repentance is a change of heart and mind to turn away from sin. It is making up our mind that henceforth we are going to serve God with all our might and do everything He says. Without repentance we cannot receive forgiveness and be saved. We must also be willing to confess our belief in Christ to other people. Jesus says, "Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).
Jesus says, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). One needs help to misunderstand what Jesus says here. Jesus placed both belief and baptism before salvation. To reject what Jesus says is to reject the salvation He wants to give us. Also we read in Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, ĎRepent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sinsí." Notice the Bible says that both repentance and baptism come before remission of sins. Most of the denominational world laughs at Godís word when God says baptism is for the remission of oneís sins so one can be saved and go to Heaven. This is sad and will cause many good honest people to be eternally lost in Hell because they believed a lie of Satan. This lie of Satan says that baptism is not necessary for forgiveness of sins and to be saved. Satan says all you have to do to be saved is just "accept Jesus as your personal Saviour" and say the "sinnerís prayer". Satan says it is all right to be baptized to join a denomination, after you "think" you are saved because even Satan knows God saves one at the point of baptism, not before. Satan knows that being baptized to join a denomination does one no good and that if one is not baptized for the forgiveness of sins to be saved, he still has every sin he ever committed and is still lost.
Another lie of Satan says infants are born sinners and must be baptized in order to be saved. This again contradicts Godís word. God says in Ezekiel 18:20, "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son." God says children do not inherit sin from their parents, grandparents, or any of their forefathers all the way back to Adam. Infants and little children are innocent and have no sin. Jesus says, "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). When one who was "baptized" as an infant matures and becomes accountable, he doesnít think he needs to be baptized again to be saved. Satan knows when people, who were "baptized" as infants, become accountable and begin to sin, they will be eternally lost if they themselves do not obey the Lord in baptism.
Our word "baptize" is transliterated from the Greek word baptizo, which only means to immerse. Letís look in the Bible to see how people were baptized. "Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there" (John 3:23). Scriptural baptism, which is immersion, according to the Bible requires much water, at least enough to immerse a person. Sprinkling and pouring are unlawful substitutes made by man that will cause many people to be eternally lost.
Just as Satan has deceived many people down through the ages, he continues to deceive the vast majority of people today with his lies. Anything that contradicts or is different from Godís word in the Bible is another lie of Satan. God offers salvation to all people, but He conditions that salvation with obeying His requirements which He has set forth in His word, the Bible. If one is eternally lost in Hell, he will only have himself to blame.
The Lordís One Church
The fact that the Lord has only one church is unpopular with many people who want to belong to one of the many differing denominations of their choice. Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, "I will build My church". The word "church" is singular, meaning one and only one and the word "My" is possessive, meaning it belongs to the Lord. The Lord began His one church more than 1900 years ago. Christ "loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus Christ did not die for or establish any of the more than 600 different denominations which men have begun during the past 500 years. Denominations are of human origin and have no scriptural authority to exist.
How does one become a member of the Lordís one true church? Jesus says, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). One must believe and be baptized in order to be saved. Once people are saved, the Bible says, "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). The Lord adds only the saved to His church. Since those in denominational churches do not believe the Lordís requirement, that baptism is necessary for salvation, they remain unsaved. And since the Lord does not add unsaved people to His church, the unsaved have to join a denomination.
The one church that Christ purchased with His own blood belongs to Him and the name it wears must honor Him. We read in Romans 16:16, "The churches of Christ greet you". This name glorifies and honors Christ who died for it and built it. Even by the names the denominations wear, they do not claim to be the Lordís church. Christ has only promised to save His one church (Ephesians 5:23).
What is going to happen to all of the many different illegitimate counterfeit denominational churches that men have started? Jesus says, "Every plant My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted" (Matthew 15:13). Since Jesus did not build any denominational church, they all stand under His condemnation. Today, there are many people laboring in vain in their man made churches. Godís word says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalms 127:1). It does one no good to belong to and worship in a denominational church. One is wasting his time and will lose his soul in eternity !! Jesus says, "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). Vain worship is useless.
If people really want to go to Heaven, they must come out of their denominations and be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38) so they can be saved (Mark 16:16). Then the Lord will add them to His church (Acts 2:47), the church of Christ (Romans 16:16), where they can worship God "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Jesus promises "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10). Letís make going to Heaven our number one priority in this life.
What Is Your Destination?
Each person determines in this life as to where he will spend eternity. Where will you go when this life is over: eternal life in Heaven or eternal punishment in Hell? Do you know for sure? We must make sure because we will not be given another chance to make things right. The Bible says to "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 21:15). Tomorrow may be too late. Satan wants us to wait because he wants us to be lost. Godís word says, "Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). Do you really want to go to Heaven?
If I can help you find a congregation of the Lordís one true church, the church of Christ, then email me your city, state, and ZipCode to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help you. They will be glad to study with you and baptize you for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16) so you can be saved (Mark 16:16), just as the Bible says. Then the Lord will add you to His one true church, the church of Christ (Romans 16:16), of which He is the saviour (Ephesians 5:23). There in the church of Christ you can worship God "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Please become a member of the Lordís one true church so you can go to Heaven when this short life here on earth is over. Truth is at stake and your soul is precious. I deeply care for your soul. Ron Boatwright
If you would like to study the Bible on the internet, the following two interactive Bible studies should help. In these two courses we have tried to point to what the Bible says and not what we think.
"Are You Really Sure Of Your Eternal Salvation?" A 25 lesson Bible study course concerning our eternal salvation with interactive questions at the end of each lesson. In these lessons you will learn the truth of what God says in the Bible that we must do to be saved so we can go to Heaven.
"Are You Worshipping God In Spirit And In Truth?" A 24 lesson Bible study course concerning our worship to God with interactive questions at the end of each lesson. We must worship God in spirit and in truth, otherwise our worship is vain and will cause us to be eternally lost.
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