Heaven Coach

How To Get To Heaven

Your Death

November 14, 2015 By: alanpg Category: How To Get to Heaven

Your death

YOUR DEATH is approaching and few deny this, but the “pull” of all that the world offers or might offer for you dominates your life decisions. Nonetheless, if you continue living such a philosophy you will have a bad and apparently surprising ending. Now, is the time to come to grips with what life is all about, for indeed there is a hereafter.

Proverbs 23.17,18

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners
But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
18 For surely there is a hereafter,
And your hope will not be cut off.

One rather obvious thing is the shortness of life and it is often ignored unless of course you are “old” or ill leading to an early death. We do not know regardless of age or health if we have tomorrow.

Many older folks as well as many mid-life people are thinking about retirement. A relatively new and more affluent idea compared to the thousands of years of humankind’s existence. Modern retirement is a time to stop or reduce the everyday work and relax. A time to do what YOU really want. Oh, how life will be different then, but health concerns will be greater for you and for your friends, relatives of similar age.

You build momentum to get all you can get out of day and live for the day and set yourself up for a better future. Of course, there is no other emphasis, nothing as important than getting all you can, and all you can for those you care about. It is not necessarily selfish and sometimes very genuinely altruistic. Some are joyful just in looking good and others in acting unselfishly. The inevitable is still there and typically you are just waiting, doing all you can to delay its arrival. You may be concerned about what is next, or confident there will be nothing. The truth is there is no retiring from life, from its difficulties, from its uncertainties. However, you can know what is ahead and how you must live to be successful. You can know that with 100% certainty! Such knowledge can make for a much better life in terms of managing the difficulties by knowing there is a better place ahead, if you live faithfully.

YOUR DEATH is a very personal subject. No matter what others believe, what do you believe about the end of life? Do you care to know or is it not so personal, but you are willing to “lump” yourself into a group of people who have concluded this or that about “afterlife.” Maybe the group you follow believes 1)you go out of existence, 2)maybe the group believes there is more, but does not know what to expect, 3)maybe the group believes how you live determines your final end – good or bad.
The scriptures make it very personal, because you and you alone will stand before God in judgment. Actually, you do not want to stand before God in judgment and do not have to, in fact that would be the best possible outcome.
If you have some awareness of scripture, you might say, what about the verse that indicates all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ? This is a good example of the necessity to understand God by properly dividing the word of truth.

2 Corinthians 5.10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

There is a huge difference between those who love the truth and those who read the scriptures to find what they want. The whole of scriptures in this case tell of an exception. It is an exception that is at the very core of God’s plan inasmuch as Christ died for sinners. We see that Jesus is the propitiation or the covering for sin and those those “In Christ” will not stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Thus we see Christ returning at the end of time and taking those who are His away to be with Him forever.

1 Thessalonians 4.15-17

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

You see there is no standing before the judgment seat of Christ, but the dead “in Christ” will rise first and then those “in Christ” who are alive will be caught up to always be with the Lord.

God further clarifies this in John 5.22-24 by giving us this insight into who will be judged.

John 5.22-24

22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 
23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and SHALL NOT COME INTO JUDGMENT, but has passed from death into life.

The judgment is for the ungodly. In the verse below, there is creation by the word of God, there is the flood in which all but eight souls perished (1 Peter 3.21) and the destruction of the heavens and earth and judgment by the same word.

2 Peter 2.5-7

5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 
6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 
7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

This picking and choosing of verses we like is why there are so many different beliefs among people who claim to follow the scriptures. Highly regrettable are the doctrines of humankind, which misrepresent God’s plan for salvation. The most widespread and pathetic are those who follow Martin Luther / John Calvin and the many millions who use the word “believe” to mean a mere mental acceptance of Christ as their savior. Believe encompasses much more and is “like, if you believe in someone” (in this case, Jesus as the Son of God) you will do what that person says – thus we have Jesus being the author of eternal salvation to all those WHO OBEY HIM (Hebrews 5.9). The whole of scriptures place believing (mentally accepting) as a part of God’s plan to receive the forgiveness of past sins. The scriptures continue to demand a person, who is in Christ (who has been obedient to the gospel of Christ) to live faithfully (that is obediently) until death. There is a transformation in terms of repentance and living for Christ instead of self THAT IS REQUIRED! God defines His meanings and it is a tragedy to teach believe (mentally accepting only) as the answer for salvation.

Perhaps the most difficult thing about being lost will be the realization that without much effort you could have known the truth – just a little open-mindedness, just a desire to know the truth and accept nothing less. However, to be clear going forward from that point of knowing the truth will require considerable effort, difficult choices. The truth and its certainty will provide high motivation to live correctly. Namely, losing the life you want, to live your life for Christ and the gospel.

What Is Most Important In Life

If there is one consistent thing throughout all the ages, it is the misunderstanding of what is important in life. You can name just about anything that is imaginable and a person or groups of people have devoted their lives to that goal, that ideal, that knowledge, that pleasure, that thing or the things that ultimately defines their life. It might be that life for some is something where they cared about nothing and had no real value or purpose – yet living a meaningless existence was their purpose. Obviously, there are hundreds of different things most important to people and for some it might be family, lifestyle, sports, religion, pleasure of different kinds, vindication or revenge, and it would be nice to think for some the most important thing might be related to the afterlife. As the funnel of your lifetime narrows there is just one thing left and it is to die. For most, those most important things are about to disappear. The scriptures have many unique ways to say this, such as:

2 Corinthians 4.18

18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

There is nothing as straightforward as saying everything seen is temporary. Life is not about anything except the spiritual part, your soul. Imagine everything you see will be gone – no more humanity, no more earth, no more universe as this is the final fate of all physical things. The end of all things physical, and the works of the physical world and even time which was created for the physical realm will “disappear” when Jesus returns to bring an end to what God began in Genesis 1.1. Of course, everything unseen is eternal. This includes the spiritual nature of each person, God, heaven and all unseen things. We obviously know little about the things unseen, except as God has revealed them. We gain assurance from God’s word, but who cares to seek truth and live differently? Although, YOUR DEATH is inevitable the physical things dominate your every minute. Nothing is more unfortunate than people who have an inclination to seek God, but accept something that is not true. None of the religions of humankind are in any way acceptable to God.

God’s Way Versus My Way

It should be obvious that in general the world wants to do things their way. God knows the weakness of humanity in relation to “the pride of my way” and has determined this is how to test the character of each person. Thus, God can differentiate people by those who overcome “their way” in demonstrating a willingness to obey Him. As you read on we will identify large groups of people who will choose to live only for the “seen things” and never are seriously in the “race” for heaven.
King Saul always comes to mind inasmuch as he decided to do things his way in dealing with the Amelkites. Then there was Adam and Eve, Cain, Nadab and Abihu, Ananias and Sapphira and many others. Their examples are for us as Romans 15.4 indicates – there for our learning and encouragement. The world is filled with people who want to be helpful to others, but it has to be THEIR WAY. There are numerous examples from the secular world. The pharmaceuticals (known sometime as big Pharma) makes drugs that help people be better and they do it THEIR WAY. They are not interested in solutions that might even be better and less expensive products or even may completely cure certain diseases. They may even hinder such work in various ways. You see they need to make money, so it has to be THEIR WAY. The world is full of people who do good things and receive credit and praises for their products and services when in fact they hamper the development of other solutions. It must be THEIR WAY. Here we are in the modern age and the foods we grow and process are filled with harmful chemicals. It is expedient to use certain methods as harmful as they may be to increase the profits. Only when large numbers of people demand and purchase alternatives is their some changes in “THEIR WAY.”

The dominance of MY WAY is everywhere including in families, friends, and of course businesses of every size. The science of life and the beginnings of all things is also filled with doing things with certain prejudices. The most astounding thing is that people believe the “glitz and grandeur” of the pharmaceutical companies, of the “life” scientists and both receive support from the mass media not because they deserve it but because there is a monetary reason or a philosophical reason. The monetary reason may be the advertising income and the philosophical reason may be the dislike of God and religions – more specifically the rules that come from the God of the bible. Every day in every way the world demonstrates the preponderance of my way, of selfishness and greed in society.

The Most Devastating Example Of MY WAY Is Religion.

Although many people recognize the selfishness, greed in business and in general in the world, for some strange reason they fail to see the same motivation in the world of religion. One of the things associated with the history of religion has been wars, acts of extreme cruelty often done to hide their deceit or uphold the honor of their institution (or their god). The resulting damage is just as bad today if not worse. Because it still involves the souls of men and women and is often better disguised. People put their trust, their hope in various religions. Religion has value only if it comes from God and very specifically from God’s word. The variances from His standard are the core problem resulting in a huge surprise when each adherent comes to death. The magnitude of the lies in religion are hidden by various well conceived means. Such things as prepared discourses to convince, elaborate ceremonies or even purposely austere ceremonies, good works that support the less fortunate, veiled threats and just anything that will “work.”

The number of adherents in many religions is so large that a person can easily think, “certainly God is with this group.” I knew one person that believed the wealth of the members indicated they were blessed by God and this would be the true religion. The truth is all the human ideas of religion are just a failure to submit to God, the only God, the God of the bible. They are the doing things “my way” or believing “my way” and this is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what God requires.

God has defined everything in relation to how to live, how to worship and how to be successful in life. Doing everything HIS way is true religion and the only way to be successful. Yes, God’s way is narrow, difficult and few find and live His way.

Matthew 7.13,14

13 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. 
14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

The way is very narrow from the point of view of humankind due to God’s definition of sin and the associated severity of His punishment. In the view of many the God of the bible cannot be God. Indeed, it is not the God THEY WANT for they have envisioned how God should be. That is, God should be to THEIR WAY of thinking. So God devised the perfect way to test people and it includes humility, the opposite of the pride people have in THEIR WAY. Now, YOUR DEATH is in your future and from all perspectives life is really short. God refers to your life as a vapor, it is there then disappears. Something over 93 billion people have died and they all still exist. You can do the right things in life and achieve heaven. We have a single communication with God, namely, the scriptures and therein lie the answers to your successful future. God wants you to succeed and provided the One who said, He was the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE and there was NO OTHER WAY. God does not in any way hold back the terrible result of a live lived differently than His way. He says, the fool has said in his heart there is no God. He has pointed out the foolishness of those who do not see the preaching of the cross as the power of God to save. Then in the same verses says, He will destroy the wisdom of the wise (meaning those who are wise in their OWN WAYS) and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. The prudent are those who dissect the word of God (sounds good), but often with a motive of incorporating THEIR WAY. God is speaking in the scriptures and as you study the scriptures you realize there is no need filter it. Simply, accept the message, accept the commands and live as He prescribes. The reason a logical person, who loves the truth can do this is because God’s word is perfect in every way and that person learns that everything and I mean everything fits perfectly together. So many people look for excuses, point out the inconsistencies, talk of all the translations and essentially do everything possible to undermine the scriptures. They all have the same problem, inasmuch as they do not understand the scriptures and therefore do not understand God. God’s design of His word and how it has been delivered allows all those who want the truth about life to find it and to be confident.

Summary: Respect God’s Word In Your Life

If a person does NOT filter God’s word they would have the truth. The correct approach to scripture is to recognize God could and did deliver the truth His way and because it is from God it is perfect and that means perfectly consistent. Thus the truth you need is something that will fit together perfectly with all that God has revealed. God within the context of His message to humankind defines the meaning, even the meaning of words. God indicates that to those who look so hard to find some problem with scripture, will indeed find issues and in fact He will even provide strong delusion. This is another example of how you cannot understand God correctly unless He reveals Himself, His intent. God will achieve His purpose of getting those who have certain characteristics for eternity with Him. Those who oppose Him, by choosing sin and specifically had pleasure in unrighteousness will be sent delusion by God and have confidence in the deceit that supports THEIR WAY.

2 Thessalonians 2.10-12

10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

God will have exactly the kind of people that He wants for heaven and interestingly it will be the choice of each person. It is amazing how we can see the wonders of God’s creation and yet fail to realize that He could deliver His way with similar, even greater precision. Why greater precision, accuracy because “WE” are the reason for creation, WE are His purpose.
So with all that God has done to provide each person with the possibility of heaven, it comes down to the end of your live, YOUR DEATH. Then suddenly, when you realize you have nothing, it will THEN be important how you lived in relation to God’s way.

The Motive For My Way

We have reasons for what we do and God’s word makes it clear that the right thing is to align our thoughts and actions with His will. God in His consistency from Genesis to Revelation, from Adam and Eve to the “New Covenant in Christ” clearly depicts that only God’s way is acceptable. There is always choice and the results of those choices meet with a good or bad result. Adam and Eve made a bad choice, Cain made a bad choice, Abraham made a good choice, Nadab and Abihu made a bad choice, Ananias and Sapphira made a bad choice, Felix in putting off a decision to do the right thing made a bad choice and throughout the scriptures there is God’s way and “their” way. The motive for YOUR WAY is simply choosing WHAT YOU WANT versus what God wants. We do the wrong thing because “we want to.” We do God’s will because He wants us to and it is the only way we can have a successful life.

What Are You Living For?
Is There Any Real Purpose To Your Life?

Is it necessary that you die in order to know the truth? Certainly, regrettably that will be the fate of most and we know this because God says few will take the narrow way as it is difficult. It is difficult because many of the things we “see” are strongly desired and living God’s way requires that we live for Christ and the gospel. It is the test, life’s test. There is a “wall of things” in the world that support the idea we can do whatever we wish, what ever is good for us and there will be no consequence. We can choose to kill the life in the womb, we can love whom we wish, we can steal out of our need or speak poorly of someone because they deserve it and so-on. God’s test allows us to do anything we wish, but there is a consequence, namely you fail the test. There appears to be such a possibility for joy and happiness in our physical existence, albeit acknowledged as temporary. Some will attain their vision and it might be grandiose or it might be quite simple. Most will fall short of their vision, but find solace in what they do realize. In all cases, out there in the future is the concern of losing what we have and at some point YOUR DEATH awaits. Nothing is more strange, more nonsensical than to live without trying to find out if there is more, if there is a God and indeed a final and wonderful existence better than this physical life. Yet, bewildered by a world that offers confusion in relation to the truth about life, you give up and live out your existence numb to anything, but what you “know.” God’s terminology says that such, “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” You live your way and God so wants you to live His way. Once again, God’s test is perfect and results in God finding the people who indeed love Him and these will be those who receive heaven. They will see beyond the “SEEN THINGS” realizing there is no other explanation for anything except as God indicates in the verse below:

Romans 1.18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 
19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse

Your trip to truth begins by realizing there is a God or their may be a God, then by understanding that God chose to communicate with humankind by His word. That word has been carefully delivered and is perfect in every way. You can know that, if you love the truth because you will find the word of God to be perfect in every way. This is not something you should accept because someone says that God is the God of the bible, but YOU need to understand for yourself. Amazingly, not a single proud or selfish person or closed-minded or cowardly or lying or envious or hateful or unforgiving person will find success because of their own choices. Those who die in God-defined sin will be lost. The exception can be that YOU WERE one or more of these and you overcame evil and turned to God and lived for Christ.

1 Corinthians 6.9-11

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

The Natural Versus Spiritual View Of The World

Then, as mentioned God wants those who love Him and thus a person needs to provide God evidence of their love. In the simplest way, God makes it clear how this is done.

John 14.15

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

This theme of obedience in terms of pleasing God is found throughout the scriptures. It a choice you make in opposition to doing things your way. The following chart is a depiction of some aspects of how the natural man/woman sees the world.

natural person

The natural man/woman is a person who lives for the world, we might say lives for what they see and thus their actions correlate to that vision and their character is in agreement with that vision.

The next table depicts some aspects of how the spiritual man/woman sees the world.

spiritual person

The spiritual man/woman was of course originally to some extent a natural man/woman who sought truth, and found and obeyed the truth and as an outcome became a spiritual man/woman. The bible would say, a new creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Such a person views the world differently and sees life as being about the soul, that is about the next life and lives accordingly. Their character is dramatically different than the natural man/woman, for instance where there is pride, greed and selfishness in the natural man/woman there is humility, moderation/generosity and unselfishness.
The natural man fails to achieve heaven and in fact, being true to their character never even cares to search for such things. Of course, the word of God can awaken even the natural man and the transition is possible. The challenge for the natural man is to change. It is very much like the young man who had many things and Jesus said to leave them and follow Him. It was too difficult and he walked away. Today the natural man becomes hardened in heart about what they understand about God and spiritual things and in their pride “walk away.”

In the charts above, many “fall or would say they fall IN BETWEEN” these two groups. It is true in some things your character might be like the natural person, but in others your attitude is more like or desires to be like the spiritual person. However, to be a spiritual person you must obey the gospel and having put away sin from your life take on the characteristics of a person who loves God, truth and others.

As the natural person does things to move away from sin this is very good, after all Jesus came to “rescue” sinners. That is, to seek and save that which was lost. One might say all are sinners and that is true, however the distinction is some seek God and face up to sin in their life and others don’t accept they have done anything wrong. The latter often do not believe in God and thus of course, reject the idea of sin.
It would be foolish to think the natural person can easily move from an anti-god or an uncaring/”live for the day” position. Quite often, the longer living in one of those attitudes the more difficult it can be to move away. The natural man/woman usually has support for their godless, selfish position. There is reinforcement, strong peer pressure and potentially loss of friends or even jobs making it difficult to change. To be acceptable to God you must be a spiritual person.

The natural person is open to compromise and often at the cost of some currently held principle, which was once of importance. There can be a downward spiral in the life of a natural person, because everything is negotiable. Abortion has been the center of on-going compromises in relation to how many weeks into the pregnancy can the baby be murdered. Compromise is fine in business and leads to many good benefits in relation to win-win agreements. In moral issues, in things where God’s word is to be compromised there can be no “middle ground.” There can be no compromise when it comes to the directions from God.

You cannot achieve heaven with some middle ground of how you view life. You either have your past sins forgiven in Baptism or you do not. You either choose to repent of your past sinful problems or you do not. You either choose to live for Christ and the gospel or you do not. The spiritual life and its scriptural advice are there to help you succeed. You need to live aggressively doing the will of God to meet His standard.

One of the most important things for humankind to realize is that God is looking for QUALITY, not quantity. The whole of scriptures point to choices that people with certain characteristics will make, we might call them the more noble characteristics. “Noble” is not a bible term used to define a group of those characteristics, but it is used in the bible as a good thing, such as in Philippians, Luke and Acts.

Philippians 4.8

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are NOBLE, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Luke 8.15

15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a NOBLE and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

Acts 17.11

11 These were more NOBLE than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Note: Noble defined as used in THESE VERSES: “of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence: a noble thought.”

Clearly, the QUALITY associated with those who succeed will be noble in relation to looking into God’s word and following His commands. The person who loves God is not trying “to get by, by doing the least” in relation to God’s directions, but wants to do ALL the risen savior requires to the very best of his/her ability. This includes going beyond what a person might think themselves capable of doing – it is all about pleasing God. We realize our best is barely sufficient and in fact it should NEVER BE, “look at what I have done for you Lord.” It is more like being thankful for the opportunity to serve and being appreciative of the knowledge God has provided, and the wisdom we have prayed for and received.

James 1.5

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Indeed, God’s criteria is high and few will live up to His standards – but you can, depending on how badly you want heaven. Your character can be as God requires, but you cannot “fake it” for God knows the heart.

Hebrews 4.12,13

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

The Religions of Humankind
So Ridiculous – So Deadly To The Soul

How far are the teachings of God from the doctrines of Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism and the others? They are “millions of miles” from the truth you need. The scriptures tell of the quality person that God seeks. The religions of the world neither teach the pattern of salvation or the seriousness of God in relation to being the “noble” person God seeks. YOUR DEATH approaches and your life has been lived in opposition to God or lived frivolously, carelessly and without the truth you need. If God is as serious about dying in sin, about losing your life to gain it (living for Christ and the gospel), about the effort needed in support of the cause of Christ, about the love of the truth then you might think, I will not be successful. You might think that very, very few will succeed – find heaven. This is God’s message and although God wants all to succeed, the fact is very few will (Matthew 7.13,14). One might say, “why try.” You are still alive, thus there is still hope. Heaven will be filled with some of the most unlikely people as the world views people. I now understand better when the scriptures say “not many.”

1 Corinthians 1:26

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that NOT MANY wise according to the flesh, NOT MANY mighty, NOT MANY noble, are called.

note: The word “noble” here refers to a class distinction, like nobility, royalty.

This is different than used in referring to the noble (exalted moral character of a person).

Many believe they are Christians, but have never obeyed the gospel. Actually, many who have obeyed the gospel will not be found acceptable. The verse below points out how many will claim Christ as Savior, but the Lord will tell them that He never knew them. Certainly, one apparent application is to those who would claim fellowship with God’s Son via mentally accepting Jesus as their personal savior. Jesus emphasizes DOING the will of God. One might ask do we have to continue to do the will of God throughout our lives? A child of God continues to do God’s will everyday for it is not how long you are in the kingdom, but what you do with the time you are there.

Matthew 7.21-23

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

This is the test, will you believe the scriptures or some person who twists the word of God – such a person might say, “what is really meant here is this.” Thus you have a choice to respect God or the many varied voices of humankind. Indeed, the human version of God’s word is frequently more comforting and full of human wisdom – like, “God is love” intimating that means all will turn out great.

The “narrowing” of those who will succeed includes those who believe they have great wisdom (wisdom of the world) and those who do not take seriously what God says and the way He says it, but filter the word of God to reach the meaning they want.

1 Cor 1.18,19

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 
19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

A Remarkable Conclusion

There is difficulty in overcoming the world due to the apparent value and desire for “seen things” AND due to the many false religions that dominate the world’s landscape. Yet, it is amazing how many can overcome those things. The gospel is being preached by hundreds of people and those with good hearts are responding and continue to live for Christ. The number of people headed for heaven might seem insignificant to the world. The world looks at the religions of humankind and marvels at the numbers within different groups. Some religious groups approaching or even exceeding a billion members. This may be impressive as humankind judges’ success, but God is the God of the bible and the God of truth. God’s design and purpose for humankind is not a game of numbers, but God seeks those who will be obedient to His word and that may be one or a billion. He absolutely WILL NOT ACCEPT ANYONE for heaven unless they meet His criteria. How dramatically different is this from the idea that humankind has of most achieving heaven. All the members of these large religions are not even in the race for heaven, because they do not teach the truth or do their religions have any valued reason to exist. They often have a practical, physical and social reason to exist, but they lead billions of people to a failed life. God is just as severe with those who are His children, since they hold the key to helping the lost. They need to be teachers and examples and be dedicated to living for Christ and the gospel.

1 Peter 4.17,18

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 
18 Now, “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

The scriptures are clear: Achieving heaven is difficult and will take every ounce of your dedication. If you are living first for all the seen things of life, then you are not in the race for heaven and your hope of going to an existence such as God promised to the faithful saints is not possible. You will “open your eyes” into a failed life at YOUR DEATH. You can have heaven as described below reserved for you ready to be received at YOUR DEATH or if you are alive when Christ returns in the last time.

1 Peter 1.3-5

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 
4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 
5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

YOUR DEATH comes and you receive your inheritance as a faithful child of God.

1 Peter 1.9

9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

You see this short life is not about anything except your soul and thus it should not be surprising that living for everything under the sun except for what is eternally important will bring you something different than heaven. God is not shy in telling you what awaits. No one can say, God did not reveal His wrath for those who fail.

1 Thessalonians 1.7-9

8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

In order to help the reader understand the seriousness of God and the certainty of the few who will succeed, that is, the few who will live for Christ and achieve heaven, I am providing the following differentiation.
For clarity I am lumping people into four different groups. THE FIRST THREE WILL FAIL IN LIFE and the scriptures are clear in this matter.

Category 1:Deny or Doubt God’s Existence or Do Not Care

Category 1 consists of those living in sin and having no concern about God or eternity – likely because they believe in neither sin, God or eternity.
This is a large group of people and growing and they may or may not be atheists, but in any case God or the idea of God just has no interest. The things of the world dominate in a way that God is non-existent to them.

I also include in this first category:
Those who believe in God or the possibility of God, and this group of course, includes agnostics.
This is also a large number of people and only slightly discernible from the group mentioned above. These people are open to the idea of God, but do not intend to have God in their everyday lives. They may have some occasional, more social involvement with religion, but are personally distant from God.
In the parable of the seed, the sower of the seeds has seeds fall in different locations. We learn that the seed is the word of God and the ground is the hearts of humankind. The first seed mentioned falls on the wayside and
it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. The word of God is out in the world for all and in the case of this first category, it is rejected by these people. They just do not care as the world has them enticed. The word of God never grows in the hearts of these people and only in death do they regret rejecting God’s word for what it is, the word of truth.

Category 2:Religious People, But Not God’s People

The next group consists of those who follow the religious traditions in which they were raised or perhaps have been converted. They do not investigate their belief system or do so very casually. They never change (very much) from that initial religious “up-bringing” or the doctrine used to convert them. In some cases that belief system is attractive because it is not very demanding (Protestantism, Catholicism and Mormonism) and gives some assurance of heaven to its members. In other cases, the religion is demanding (Islam), but provides the same promise of heaven. The lack of demands or the excess of demands can both be made to be appealing. This is not the issue, but truth and error are the issue.
An exceedingly large group of people fall into this category. Their names include Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism and many others. Billions of people are in this category and billions have died believing these doctrines.
In the parable of the sower some seeds fell on rocky soil; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. At first, people in these religions (and it varies with the group) are excited to hear about God, but shortly being in a soil that cannot sustain them they also reject God’s truth. The word of God, in our case never takes hold, but is replaced by a different teaching. That teaching can be more appealing and is usually much more physical, that is much less spiritual. Unfortunately, if it is not the word of God then it is of no spiritual value. In the end, the word of God is rejected and often remains in fragments mixed with error, which is effectively no longer the truth. All of these human-made religions can easily be seen as “invented” if a person has a love of the truth. The book, “What Is Life All About?” can be helpful in general and specifically for given religions to help uncover the errors.

Category 3: Children of God, Who Fail To Be Faithful Unto Death

Then there are those who seek God and the truth and find it and obey God’s word. They obey the gospel and receive forgiveness of past sins. However, the world overcomes them as they fail to live as God requires. They may or may not fall back into sins of commission, but perhaps as the scriptures teach, “to him who knows to do good and does it not, it is sin.”
This is the seed that fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. Specifically,these people are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. The scriptures give us the example of Demas, who was doing God’s will in the company of Timothy.

2 Timothy 4.9

9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world

Those who fail after knowing the way and obeying it face an angry God.

2 Peter 2.20,21

20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

Typically, their problem will be rooted in an effort to live with one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world. However, God is also clear about those in the middle, the lukewarm of His church are not acceptable.

Revelation 3.16

16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Category 4: God’s Children, Who Remain Faithful Unto Death

Then finally, there are those who are obedient to the gospel and continue to live faithfully and achieve heaven. This is the seed that fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold. This group is quite small in number and consistent with how God uses the word FEW. The good news is there are some very dedicated people and devoted to the truth and that is encouraging. The other good news is that you are alive and there is still hope. Heaven is in the reach of every person, but it will not happen in groups, but one soul at a time a person chooses God’s way.

So what does this say? It says, there will many surprised at the end of their life’s. Why should it be surprising that God wants the best? God always wanted the best in terms of the Old Testament sacrifices, God always expected things to be done His way, and in order to have sins forgiven it took His Son to be the perfect, sinless sacrifice. If you look at the first group of people, they are not in the race or we might say they do not even know there is a race.

The second group has been deceived by the cunning inventions of humankind’s religions. God will never accept those who follow after false doctrine.

2 John 1.9

9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 

The thing that makes religion true is the doctrine. We might say the doctrine of Christ, the word of truth of the gospel, the doctrine of your salvation, or simply the word of God, but in any case it is what God intended and has been delivered by the Spirit of God.

2 Peter 1.20,21

20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 
21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

To become a child of God you need to obey the truth and the doctrine of Christ is the truth.

1 Peter 1.22,23

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever

God’s message is clear. These “religious” people need to become truth lovers. Each of these varied religions have many problems like a very sore thumb it can be covered up, but look closely and you will find many problems.

Those in the next (third) group are so close and are definitely in the race, but try to live in the world AND in the kingdom (God’s spiritual church to which they were added). If they are not alert they can be mislead as Paul warned the church of Ephesus.

Ephesians 4.14,15

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

There is plenty of work to be done and thus no time to live in the world and still please God. Those in groups one and two ARE THE WORK to be done and yet this third group bears no such fruit.

Finally, of those who are in the kingdom some will keep themselves unstained from the world and bear fruit in the process. In this last age, God left the eternal fate of humankind in the hands of His church (those added by Christ to His body and the the local church where they worship). Because He left the church with “that which is perfect” – the word of God, there CAN BE many successes.

Remove Any Idea Of Achieving Heaven
As A Result of How You Compare To Others

How incredibly different is humankind’s assumption that their comparative goodness will allow them to achieve heaven versus what God defines as needed for heaven. So often, people think or say they are as good as this or that person and perhaps as good as anyone they have met – thus their chances of heaven are pretty good. However, the standard is not any other person, but how did you do in relations to what God requires.

It was mentioned the dedication needed for a person to achieve heaven, but it is a dedication to the truth, not to some religion of humankind. It begins with seeking God with your whole heart, soul and mind (verse).

Matthew 22.37

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

A successful life ends having dedicated YOUR LIFE (after becoming a child of God) to Christ and the gospel.

Mark 8.35-36

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

These two verses above along with a reasonable understanding of the world past and present can lead one to believe that FEW will succeed in life. How many people seek God with the effort described and then how many are willing to give their life’s to live for Christ as opposed to how they want to live?
It helps people if they realize life is not about this life, but life is about the soul, about eternity. Life is about the battle between good and evil, but this is not a world conflict of warring groups or organizations. It is a very personal battle between YOU and SIN.

Is It Really Surprising That The World Has It All Wrong?

Look at all the variety in religion, so many groups exist all doing their own thing, which are numerous different doctrines. It is as though there are many God’s or that God accepts just about anything. The world concludes that one religion is as good as another. This is one of those compromises in relation to God’s way that is a terribly serious mistake. We are given the right to believe what we wish, but understand the God of the bible is one God and has one way – His way. God reveals there are seven ONES and they are: one God and Father of all, One Lord, One Spirit, One Faith, One Baptism, One hope of our calling and One Body. These are explained in detail in the seven ones of God. God’s ways are substantially different than how humankind views God and the world. The world including the world of religion have the basics/foundation wrong and therefore create doctrines very distant from the truth. Thus, it is no surprise that the world is confused about the purpose of life and the existence of God and how to be successful.

The human mind cannot see into the mind of God without the scriptures and God has graciously provided the answers. Some religions kill, torture, and maim others who oppose them and even do so to their own members “who question.” Other religions are gentle and seek peace and are not apparently threatening. Some religions have strict practices, while others are very liberal in their beliefs. Some constantly change their practices to fit the times, while others only rarely move from their long cherished doctrines. All offer some sort of positive end result for those who follow their instructions. Most, if not all become involved in the secular matters that surround them, i.e. the politics, particularly the politics of morality. Many if not all to some extent use the bible or parts of the bible to support their beliefs and the ones who do not, will be found referencing certain aspects of the scriptures. The “religions of the world” in their teachings, in their hunger for power and or numbers, even in their supposed service to God have brought the worst of unfair judgments, superstitions, cruelties and murders. This is done as though they carry some banner claiming authority from God. Despite all the non-science about how existence and life occurred, people for the most part are not comforted and uncertain of the future, fear what comes after death.

The Fear Of Dying

Quite a number of people die by accident or homicide or suicide and they do not experience this prolonged fear of dying. Most go through the process of dying naturally and very slowly death nears and some will fear it and others just accept it. If the death is coming due to age, then there is less to live for or so people think and it is often welcomed by a worn out body and a worn out mind. The vast majority of people fear dying simply because all they know will disappear. The natural man who is exceedingly selfish is now going to lose everything and even in the belief of non-existence there is trepidation of death. If nothing else is certain in life, death is inevitable and for most that is fearful. The spiritual man, living as God requires sees no sting in death.

1 Corinthians 15.54,55

54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

The writing is to the saints at Corinth and IF THEY REMAIN FAITHFUL then death has no sting. It is essential that they remain faithful, perfecting the holiness (that is having been set aside for God) in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7.1

1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

There certainly is a sting to death for those not in Christ and Paul indicates so in the Corinthian letter when emphasizing the seriousness of persuading the lost.

2 Corinthians 5.11

11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men

It is the fear of God that is the key to life’s success. The person of God comes to God in fear and remains fearful as Paul writes:

Phil 2.12

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

People frequently tell me that they know they are going to heaven and there is something powerful about having that confidence, but it is worrisome. Paul just indicated that those in Corinth needed to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Paul had a concern that he could become disqualified for heaven and was always cautious.

1 Corinthians 9.27

27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

The scriptures indicate one should not be over confident in this matter, but work everyday in service to the Lord and understand how easy it is to fall. Your confidence needs to be exactly where God indicates it should be, namely in your continual obedience.

And as the wisest person, Solomon concluded

Ecclesiastes 12.13

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.

There is quite a difference in how death is viewed depending on your state in life. Those who are lost look at death as an unknown, despite the belief that they go out of existence – they are not 100% certain. They will face surprise and face God in judgment. God’s children know what is coming and indeed are working out their salvation in fear and trembling. They remain alert and wary of sin and in service to God every day.

The Role Of The Church Belonging To The Lord

The world of religion plays a visible role in the morality of a country and that of the world. The voice of “churches” is heard through their various leaders and members. The various churches frequently take different stands on each issue. On the subject of homosexuality there are various views held by churches with some allowing it and others condemning it. There has been a gradual process of acceptance during the latter part of the 20th century. The subject of homosexuality has impacted the everyday life’s of citizens, soldiers and touched almost every organization.
The church belonging to Christ DOES NOT ACT politically in terms of taking a position on any social issue or we might say social sin. It is not the job of the Lord’s church to fight against the public morality. The local church is not authorized to campaign for or against any social issue. They know this because of what is specified, authorized in the scriptures by commands, apostolic example and/or necessary inference. God does not have to mention everything the church cannot do, just what has been authorized by the Spirit of God. That eliminates all the other things. Simply said the mission of the local church is evangelism and not surprising since that is God’s purpose for creation, namely determining those who will spend eternity with Him.

Note: Understand the church as designed by God and then this will help you to understand why the church has no involvement in social issues. The Lord adds an obedient person to His church and they become part of the universal spiritual church. These are the ones who in their obedience have had their past sins forgiven and remain in that state as God’s children as long as they continue to be faithful. God defined a local body consisting of those in His spiritual body to work together and are authorized as a body to do a single thing and that is evangelism. There are two sub-categories authorized that support evangelism and they are the edification of members and benevolence to typically only to the members of the local body as needed.

God is exceedingly wiser than the world, than the human designed religious organizations. The local church does not have a mission of keeping THE WORLD from sin. The bible clearly defines sin and evangelism is the conversion of sinners. One the aspects of the conversion process is to repent of sins and that means to leave those sins – forever. Campaigning against any one sin would be futile, but getting a person to abandon their sins as part of salvation, as the thing that gets a person on the road to heaven is something SOME are willing to do. The “religions of the world” place themselves in the position of condemning the world of sin and in some religions place themselves in the position of executing God’s judgment on certain people and groups. Of course, judgment belongs only to God, but people get carried away and do all sorts of grievous things in the name of God.

To clarify, although the local church belonging to Christ will not publicly represent itself as a protagonist group on any social, moral issue. INDIVIDUAL Christians will, as the opportunity arises speak out against sin or perhaps in a referendum oppose sinful things. Similarly, the Lord’s local church is not a benevolent group for the world in terms of doing social works such as building hospitals, orphanages, developing organizations that feed the poor. This idea of the church as the world sees churches has become known for such things and it is now an expected activity by people of all churches. God, in His wisdom gave the local church and individual Christians the responsibility of souls – the greatest possible responsibility. The churches of the world teach the wrong message, but give the appearance to the world of this great benevolent, caring institution that seeks and promotes social morality and this can be attractive. People wrongly conclude that this is what God wants. In fact, God wants and demands obedience. Individual Christians in the Lord’s church have the dire responsibility to help the needy, feed the hungry and so-on, but IT IS NOT the mission of the local church. As it turns out God’s definition of the church is first universally spiritual with spiritual directions from God’s word. There is a local church consisting of those in Christ and nothing larger than the local body. The direction is not from different bodies or committees, but the rule is the word of God. The local church has God authorized activity and the many humanistic ideas of “churches” have no part. In the wisdom of God, His purpose to have people succeed spiritually was the prime motivation for the local church. As people have rejected God’s wisdom and made the church out to be hundreds of things it should not be, the truth has been lost and indeed there is another gospel message. As Paul said in the first century as error was creeping in, it is not another gospel; “But there are “SOME” who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.” The “SOME” today are the hundreds of so-called Christian churches that do about everything except what God intended. This new gospel is readily accepted for many reasons, but primarily because it is what people want to hear. It was invented by people, for the people and thus very acceptable to the people.


Now, what does this have to do with YOUR DEATH? Many people live their lives in one of the religions of the world and come to believe they are doing the right thing and consequently headed for heaven. In a sense every person has a short lifetime and for most the truth about life will not be all that important. The truth is important to God and at the end of your life (YOUR DEATH) every person will know just how important. The things you believe and the subsequent actions of those beliefs will determine your success or failure. YOUR DEATH is important for one reason as it marks the end of your opportunity to be successful as the scriptures indicate:

Hebrews 9.27

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment

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