Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Are you going to Heaven?

Life Changers International Church, Pastor Gregory Dickow

Are you going to Heaven?

I’ve asked many people in the past, “Do you think you’re going to Heaven?” and I’ve had many people say, “Yes.” I’ve asked them, “Why do you think you’re going to heaven?” They say, “Because I’m really not that bad of a person.”

Just being “not that bad of a person” isn’t going to help you. You may not be a bad as Adolph Hitler, but you also may not be a good as Mary Poppins. So you fall somewhere in the middle. You’re in trouble!

We need to realize that we’ve all sinned.
We’ve all come from Adam, and we all have an old sinful nature. Our good works cannot get us into Heaven. The only way to get to Heaven is through the blood of Jesus.

You see, when God created man, He created Adam and Eve in His image and after His likeness. He said to Adam and Eve, “I give you all of the Earth. This whole Earth belongs to you. You can rule over it. You can have dominion in it.”
However, God also said, “The one thing you need to make sure you do is to honor Me by making sure you don’t eat from one tree in the Garden of Eden--the tree of knowledge of good and evil. All these other trees you can eat from, but from this one tree I don’t want you to eat.” Well, as we all know, they ate from that tree and they sinned against God. They took on a sinful nature because Satan tempted them to eat from that tree, and they listened to Satan rather than listening to God.

When they listened to Satan, he became their lord. Satan became their master, and God had to drive them out of the Garden of Eden. From that day forward, man lost his glory, his relationship with God and his fellowship with God.
Then God said, “Alright, I’ve given my authority to Adam, but because Adam obeyed the devil, he’s given over his authority to the devil. Now Satan is the god of the world, and now he’s in control of the earth.” So all the men and women that were born to Adam and Eve took on a sinful nature, and sin kept increasing and increasing in the world.

Sin continued to increase and God said, “I’m going to destroy the world.”
So, He destroyed the world with a flood, but He saved Noah, his wife and his children because God told Noah how to build an ark. These 8 people survived, and Noah’s sons gave birth to their sons until Abraham came into the earth in Genesis 12.

At that point, God said to Abraham, “I’m going to make a covenant with you, Abraham.
You give me what you have and I’ll give you what I have.” He told Abraham He was going to make him a father of nations, and was going to give him dominion back in the earth, but He said, “One thing I need from you, Abraham. I need a way – I need the right to live on the earth. You’re a man, and you have the right to live on the earth. I’m God. I don’t have the right to live on the earth because man gave his authority to Satan so I can’t just come back and invade the earth. So Abraham, I need your seed. So I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. If you’ll believe me, and if you’ll trust me, I’ll give you a child when your wife is 90 years old. I’ll give you a child, and it will be a miracle, but that’s going to be my seed. I want you to give me your seed, and give me your child when you have that child.”

Abraham says, “Absolutely.”
So God gives Abraham riches, blessing, authority, and Abraham gives God his seed: his son, Isaac. He offers him up. God says, “Now that I know I can trust you, because you’ve given me your only begotten son, Abraham, I’m going to give you My only begotten son. His name shall be called Jesus."

So Abraham’s seed, Isaac, had Jacob.
Jacob had the 12 tribes of Israel or Jacob, and one of those sons was Judah. Judah had sons and Judah’s sons had sons and on and on it went, until a man named Joseph was born into the earth and a woman named Mary was born into the earth – both from the seed of Abraham. They became the parents of Jesus. However, Jesus was conceived in Mary, the virgin, through the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to this earth and John the Baptist describes the Gospel in one simple sentence. He says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Do you realize Jesus could never have come into this earth had it not been for God making an agreement with Abraham? They made a blood covenant, and Abraham gave God what he had. God gave Abraham what He had, and now Jesus had the right to come into this earth.

Every human being that has ever been born on this earth has sin in their life.
We’ve all sinned. The Bible says that we all have “fallen short of the glory of God.” So, Jesus comes into the earth to die on a cross. Where there is no shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Blood represents a covenant. Well, when Jesus’ blood was shed, He said, “I’m going to be your blood brother now. If you’ll put your faith in me, I’ll be your blood brother. Everything I have can be yours and everything you have can be Mine.”

Through the blood of Jesus, when blood is shed, it washed away our sin.
It washes away our guilt. It washes away all of our condemnation. We all need His blood and we all need to be saved. You can’t save yourself through your own works. You can’t save yourself by being a good person. You can’t save yourself by trying hard. You need a Savior, and His name is Jesus. You’re not a sinner because you sinned; you’re a sinner because you are a child of Adam. You’re not righteous because you’ve done everything right. You’re righteous because you now are a child of God.

It only takes one sin to be a sinner. The good news is that it only takes one act of righteousness for you to be the righteousness of God. The Bible says in Romans 5 that Jesus’ one act of righteousness makes us all righteous, just like Adam’s one act of sin made us all sinners.

The only way to become a child of your parents was to be born into this earth. In the same way, the only way to become a child of God is to be born again.

We all were children of the devil, the Bible says, but when we get born again – when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior--we become children of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. The old things are passed away and all things have become new.”

What do you put your trust in?
When you die, do you know that there is only one reason God will let you into Heaven? That one reason God will let you into heaven is because you turned from trusting anything else and put your trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

If you’ve never made Jesus the Lord of your life,
never surrendered your life completely to Him and given Him open vulnerability and said, “God take out my old heart and give me a new heart and make me born again” – if you’ve never truly made that decision, or you thought, “If I’m good enough, if I go to church, if I try these things, if I do these things then I’ll be saved,”--I want to lead you in this prayer of faith and something miraculous is going to happen in your heart. Pray this out loud:

“Heavenly Father, I invite Jesus Christ into my life as my Lord and as my Savior. I believe Jesus died for my sins. His blood was shed so that I could be forgiven and I believe that He has been raised from the dead. I declare Jesus Christ is my Lord from this moment forward. I receive the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus. Take out my old heart, Lord, and give me a new heart, a new spirit, a new life and I will follow you, with your help, by your grace, all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name.”
Now listen, that’s just the beginning. There’s something that God wants to do now in your life. He wants you to grow. He wants you to move forward. He doesn’t want you to live like you used to live. When we get born again we have a new life, but with that new life we need a new lifestyle.
If you’ve just made Jesus your Lord, contact our ministry and let us know. Call our Prayer Center at 847-645-9700 so we can send you some resources to help you grow as new believer. We want to help you. Read your Bible, talk to God. If you don’t know how to read your Bible, please read the Life Solutions article on “How to Study and Read your Bible,” and also read “The Lifestyle of the Believer.” God has a great plan for your life! He loves you and wants the best for you. You are His child now. You are in the family of God today. Your life will never be the same again!

Welcome to the family of God!
Pastor Gregory Dickow

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