MAKING SURE HEAVEN IS YOUR HOME
BY: REX DUFF
The tract you are about to read contains the spiritual path, that finally led me to true Salvation.
As a child I made a decision for Christ, when I saw hell as hot and terrible and a place I did not want to be.
However, there was no conviction of sin and no repentance (Just Easy Beliefism).
Then at 17 years of age, I gave my life to Christ, turning from my sin, and becoming very religious. However, there was still no Holy Spirit Conviction of being lost, and a Hell bound sinner, at that time (Just a rededication time).
In the summer of 1996, I once again made a decision for Christ, but this time on the conviction of another person, not of God. I soon cast off this decision, as an attack from Satan, and went back to my decision at 17 years of age. Thankfully, God wasn’t finished with this lost preacher of 24 years preaching.
On July 19th, 1998 under conviction from God of being lost, (I prayed for conviction after I realized I was lost), and having come to the end of myself, there came saving faith, and true repentance towards God. (I have never doubted my Salvation since then). The peace of God of true Salvation had finally come. How about you?
The Bible declares in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." The Bible also states in Matthew 15:9, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of'men."
One of the saddest things in this life, would be to go through life, thinking you are saved, and die and go to Hell!
The Bible says the same thing in Matthew 7:21-23. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? (demons) and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Here we find people thinking they are serving God, but they are lost.
The Bible says in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it:'
In looking at the Bible it is clear that many people will think they are going to Heaven, and will go to Hell, because the way to Heaven is narrow. In an age where everyone can tell you how to get to Heaven, and they are all different, it is time we let the Bible tell us how to get there.
The Bible warns us of many false preachers, who will lead people to Hell, who even say that Jesus is the Christ. Notice that the Bible says this in Matthew 24:5, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."
The last great invitation in the Bible is found in Revelation 3:17-20. In this passage the Lord Jesus is standing on the outside of organized Religion, asking them to let Him in, so they might be saved.
Listen what the Word of God says in this passage of Scripture in Revelation 3:17-20, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
But you say, I know I am saved, the preacher told me so!
There are some things that you must consider, to make sure you are on your way to Heaven.
1) The Bible states in Luke 13:24, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
A person does not get saved when they want to. There is no easy beliefism. As to why all who want to get saved can't, the Bible states in Deuteronomy 4:29, "But if from thence thou shall seek the Lord thy God, thou shall find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul" Therefore, there might be people seeking to be saved, but can't, until they come God's way, instead of man's way. King David it seems, was a seeker before he got saved. The Bible states in Psalm 40:1-3, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord."
2) You might say my heart tells me that I am saved! The Bible states in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it"? If your salvation does not measure up to the Bible, your own heart is leading you to Hell.
3) You might say that you know that the Holy Spirit has been upon your life, therefore you know you are saved. The Bible states in Luke 1:15, that the Holy Spirit was upon John the Baptist (filled), long before he was saved. Notice what it says in Luke 1:15, "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb." I hope everyone knows that babies in the womb might be safe, but they are never saved. If lost John the Baptist can have the Holy Spirit upon his life, then so can you.
4) The Bible further states that God will gird (compass about) a person, even though he is lost. If God did not, many people would have died and gone to Hell long before they were saved. The Bible states this in Isaiah 45:5, "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me."
5) At this point you might say, but wait, I am a Bible student, I know my Bible, I must be saved. The Bible states in Psalm 25:8-9, "Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will He teach sinners in the way. The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way." It is clear that the lost may know a very lot of Bible. Surely a person can know a lot of Bible from men as well as from God, and still be lost. Just ask the Apostle Judas. The Bible states that he was even a preacher! The Bible states this in Matthew 10:5-7, "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying. Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying. The kingdom of heaven is at hand."
6) Some people may say when they have doubts about their salvation, that they settled them at a - rededication service. The problem is, that no one gets saved, who isn't lost. The Bible states in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." The Bible states further in Matthew 9:12-13, "But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."
7) It is certain according to Matthew 7:20, that s saved person will produce fruit. The Bible states in Matthew 7:20, "Wherefore by, their fruits ye shall know them" James 2:19 states, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest -well: the devils (demons) also believe, and tremble" James 2:26 states, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." You might say, well I'm just a backslider! The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new." The real question is what does the Bible mean by fruit? The Bible states in Galatians 5:22-24, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts'." The Bible states in Mark 4:20, in relationship to the saved, "And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred." In God's eyes, there is clearly a difference between the saved and the lost.
Now that maybe the Bible has shown you that you are lost, or that you need to examine your own salvation, what then are the Bible steps to Heaven?
According to the Bible, God starts working upon the lost sinner through Conviction. The Bible states in John 16:8-11, "And when He is come. He will reprove (reprove with conviction) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
The first thing we see is conviction from God about SIN. The Bible tells us in Romans 5:12, that all are lost sinners. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
The Bible states further in Romans 3:10 and 23, "As it is written. There is none righteous, no, not one." "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." The Bible shows us the Judgment of these lost in Revelation 20:15, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.'
You might ask what is sin? Probably a good answer tc this is anything against God. According to Exodus 20:1,3-17, the following sins are listed, "And God spake all these words, saying. Thou shall have no other god before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and forth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (It is interesting to note that this Verse teaches that there is no such thing as a Christian Evolutionist). To set the record straight, all who deny the Word of God, are lost. Therefore, all evolutionists, whether professing Christians or not, are lost. The Bible states in Rev 22:19, "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy. God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
Continuing in the book of Exodus 20:12-17, the Bible states, "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shall not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass (donkey), nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." The Bible tells us further what sin is in Matthew 5:21,22, 27-48, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you. That whosoever is angry without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say. Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast "into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said. Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you. That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Again ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shall not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you. Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King, Neither shall thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black, But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than'these cometh of evil. Ye have heard that it hath been said. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you. That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy. But I say unto you. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust, For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
The Bible further list sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fomicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
The Bible also list sins in Revelation 21:8, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
At this point, it is clear to see that everyone is a lost, hell bound, deserving sinner. When conviction from God, about your sin, brings you to the end of yourself, then this brings us to the place to where we look for a solution for our sin.
The second thing that the Bible convicts us about is the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ. Jesus is the only solution for our sin.
The Bible states in Romans 5:8-9, "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." The Bible states further in Hebrews 4:15, "For we have not an high priest (Christ) which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Having seen that everyone is a sinner, but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible explains why the Lord is without sin. In 1 John 5:7-10, the Bible states, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, (Jesus - John 1) and the Holy Ghost: (Spirit) and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of His Son." Hebrews 1:8 states, "But unto the Son he saith. Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
From these scriptures we see that Jesus is God that came in the flesh. He is the second person in the trinity. That is why in Genesis 1:26 the Bible declares, "And God said. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and" over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
The Bible declares in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him."
The Bible further declares ia John 14:6-7, "Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him."
The Bible states in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.”
The third thing that the Holy Spirit brings conviction about is JUDGMENT. The Bible declares in Matthew 25:41, "Then shall He say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." The Bible states also in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." However, there is hope in Christ from Hell, the Bible states in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord "
The Bible even warns us of the danger of not being saved. Once the Lord returns for His own in the air, all that have put off salvation, cannot be saved. The Bible declares this in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Now that we have seen conviction about sin, righteousness, and Judgment, it is time to get serious with God. Spurgeon stated that, "God always humbles the sinner whom He means to save." Hopefully, conviction from God has brought you to the end of yourself, so that you might be saved. The Bible states in Matthew 16:25, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
God wants you to know that you must have FAITH. The Bible states in Ephesians 2:8-10, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself: it (Salvation) is the gift of God:'Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." God expects us to have Faith in Christ. Believe that Jesus came by a virgin birth as the God-man. That He lived a sinless life. That He went to a cross, shedding His blood, so that sinners might be saved. That He died, was placed in a tomb, but rose from the grave the third day. That He is now in Heaven, waiting to return for His own. That the Bible, God's perfect Word, reveals to us all about Christ. Therefore, anyone that denies a literal Bible is not saved. Now this is the essence of the things of Faith, Hebrews 11:1 states, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Besides Faith, there must be Repentance. Too many believers cut short salvation, and stay lost, thinking they are heaven bound, but are actually Hell bound, because there was no repentance. The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 7:10, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." The Bible states in Luke 13:3,5 "I tell you Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." The Bible states in Acts 3:19, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." The Bible states further in Acts 26:20, "But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance." What then is repentance? Repentance is a sincere and thorough changing of the heart and mind regarding sin, and it is accompanied by a heart abandonment of sin, and a commitment to Christ as your Lord. A changed life is evidence of true repentance. But you say, the Bible in many places just uses the word believe. This word can be properly translated commit. To understand the importance of repentance for Salvation, notice what the Bible declares in Matthew 16:24-26, "Then said Jesus unto His disciples. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?."
Clearly, giving ourselves to Christ is the only choice that makes any sense at all.
Finally, there must be action on your part. The Bible states in Romans 10:9-13, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, (literally Jesus as Lord) and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed, For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." As the Bible clearly shows there is much power in prayer to God.
If a person truly gets saved, there are some things to know.
The first thing is that you can't loose your Salvation. Th Bible states in Romans 8:38-39, "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus 'our Lord."
The second thing is that the Holy Spirit bears witness that you are saved, and seals you. The Bible states in Romans 8:16, "The Spirit itself (Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." The Bible also states in Ephesians 4:30, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
The third thing that you need to know is that all who are truly saved will experience chastening. The Bible states in Hebrews 12:7-8, "If ye endure chastening. God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."
A person gets saved when he comes to Christ under conviction, as a lost, Hell bound, sinner, deserving Judgment. When he puts his faith in Christ as Saviour, and he surrenders his life to Christ as Lord. Isn't it important to know whether you are saved or not?
New Hope Baptist Church
Phone: (270) 527-3864
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|| General Editor: Rex Duff | Webmaster: Charles Felts | Updated: 03/01/2008 ||