Lesson #26

     Going to Heaven must be our number one priority in this short life here on the earth.  Nothing is as important.  Jesus says, "Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).  Our eternal salvation is the most important thing in this life.  It doesnít matter what we accomplish here on the earth, if we lose our souls in Hell; we lose it all.  Jesus says in Matthew 16:26, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"  There is nothing in this world that is worth the loss of our soul.  Our soul is the part of us that is going to live on forever and ever throughout all of eternity.  People are eternal beings.

     We will not accidentally go to Heaven.  Jesus says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).  Our number one priority in this life must be to go to Heaven and be with the Lord forever.  We must constantly be prepared for the Lordís coming again.  We will not have any time to get ready or change after He does come.

     Christ is coming to judge the world.  "And as it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).  We have two appointments, which we will definitely keep: physical death and judgment.  Judgment day is certain.  There is no way to escape it.  All of us will be there for this final appointment.  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of ChristÖKnowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

     Life passes so quickly.  We must live our short life pleasing to God so we can go to Heaven when this life is over.  Godís word says, "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:14).  Many people are living their lives as though they will live on this earth forever.  This life on earth is so temporary and short.

     Today, many people fail to recognize that the inheritance in Heaven is far more valuable than all the riches in the world.  They fail to realize its worth.  We must be faithful so, "that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15).  We must spare no expense or effort in this life to obtain the inheritance of Heaven.

     Christ, who is all knowing, tells us that many people are going to be lost in eternity.  In Matthew 7:13-14 He says, "Enter by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it".  According to the Bible the majority of people will be lost.  We must take this warning seriously.  The Lord says that only a few people will be saved.  There are only two roads to eternity and everyone of us is on one or the other.  If we miss Heaven, we will be thrown into the eternal fires of Hell forever.  One of the saddest things about being thrown into Hell is the fact that it could have been avoided.  The majority of people will be lost in spite of what the Lord has done.  Hell is not what God does to us, but Hell is what one does to himself.  A person who ends up in Hell is his own worst enemy and only has himself to blame.  Let us make going to Heaven our number one priority in this life.

     There will be "good people" in Hell.  The individual may have been a "good person", but being a good person is not the only requirement for one to go to Heaven.  We read in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, "When the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, 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.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."  Even though one is a good person, if he has not obeyed "the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ", he will be eternally lost in Hell.  Also notice that "those who do not know God" will also be lost in Hell.  What does it mean to "not know God"?  "He who says, ĎI know himí, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4).  To not know God is to not keep his commandments.  Those who do not know God include those who once obeyed the gospel, but fell away and quit keeping His commandments or those who are weak and keep only some of the Lord's commandments when it is convenient.  We cannot be good enough, on our own, to go to heaven.

     Man has tried to explain away eternal punishment with various false theories such as: Universalism, Purgatory, Annihilationism, etc.  But Jesus says in Matthew 25:46, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."  Everlasting punishment in Hell will last just as long as eternal life in Heaven, forever and ever.  Revelation 14:11 says, "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night."  The torment goes on day and night, forever and ever, without end.  After one has been tormented in Hell a billion years, his torment and punishment will have just begun.  Hell is permanent.  There is no way out of the place.  There is no appeal to a higher court.  It will never end.  Hell is ugly and horrible.  Heaven is wonderful and beautiful.  What Heaven is on one hand, Hell is the direct opposite.

     Our #1 enemy is Satan.  Satanís main objective is to cause each of us to lose our soul in the burning fires of Hell.  He is very dangerous!  Satan is real.  Satan can appear in many different forms.  Satan is a master of disguise.  He and his ministers can appear so innocent.  Satan knows all of our weaknesses and how to tempt and deceive us.

     As free moral agents, we all face temptation to sin.  We have all been tempted and have been guilty of sin.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).  We will be eternally lost in Hell if we continue in sin and do not repent.  If we are not careful we can "be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).  "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life" (James 1:12).  We must not give into sin.

     Paul tells us "that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to GodÖAnd do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2).  Giving ourselves as "a living sacrifice" requires that we "do not be conformed to this world".  If we do conform to this world, the living sacrifice of ourselves becomes polluted and unacceptable to God.  We are to "Put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man" (Colossians 3:9-10).

     How do we continue to be forgiven of our sins after we become a Christian?  1 John 1:7 says, "But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."  This verse says we must be doing two things, so that the blood of Jesus Christ will continue to cleanse us of all our sins.  1) We must "walk in the light", that is we must be walking in the light of Godís word in the Bible.  2) Also, we must "have fellowship one with another", that is we must be regularly worshipping God in His church and be faithfully working with other Christians.  The original Greek word, "KATHARIZO", that is translated "cleanses" in this verse means that there is a continual cleansing going on.  Herein lies the problem with those who have become unfaithful or weak in their worship and service to God.  Due to one not walking in the light of God's word and not having fellowship with others and with God, they are not longer receiving forgiveness of their sins.

     Satan doesn't want the unfaithful Christian to come back to the Lord and be faithful.  Satan's best argument has always been tomorrow.  If he can just keep the unfaithful Christian waiting for "a more convenient season" to come back to Christ, he has won the battle.  Oh, yes, the unfaithful Christian plans to come back "some day".  But if Satan has his way that "some day" will never come.

     We are instructed in Godís word, "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away" (Hebrews 2:1).  We must pay close attention to the things written in Godís word, the Bible. Jesus says there are those, "who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away" (Luke 8:13).  Why do Christians, who were once saved, fall away?  Because they didnít give the more earnest heed to diligently study Godís word and make it a part of their lives.  Godís word is the spiritual food that all Christians need.  If we donít partake of it regularly and apply it to our lives we will spiritually starve ourselves to death, which is what Satan wants.

     As faithful Christians we have a great and wonderful salvation that is waiting for us.  We cannot even begin to imagine how wonderful itís going to be.  "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).  We have "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4).  We cannot afford to lose our inheritance.

     Christ only established His one church, the Church of Christ, on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 in 33 AD.  Since Jesus did not build any of the denominational churches, they all stand under His condemnation.  It does one no good to belong to and worship in denominational churches, all of which are counterfeits.  A counterfeit is made to resemble the genuine in many ways, but the resemblance does not make it genuine.  Counterfeits are illegal, useless and worthless.  These counterfeits will cause one to lose his soul in eternity!!!

     Christians, who make up the Lordís one true church, are the bride of Christ.  Paul told the church at Corinth, "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.  For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2).  When we are baptized for the remission of our sins so we can be saved it is then that "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).  It is then that we were cleansed from all our past sins and purified.  "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth" (1 Peter 1:22), we must continue to keep ourselves pure.  Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).  Only if we stay pure will we get to be with God in Heaven.

     Worshipping God is a privilege only children of God have.  There are many blessings we receive from faithful attendance in worship.  God has commanded us to assemble regularly to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  Hebrews 10:25-27 says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.  For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation."  The command is not to forsake the assembly as some were doing then, and as some are doing today.  When one forsakes the assembly of the church, he sins willfully, and there no longer remains a sacrifice for those sins.  He will be eternally lost if he stays in that condition.

     As we are living a faithful Christian life we will face opposition in various ways.  Paul says, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).  The things we suffer are temporary while we live here on the earth, but we have a great eternal reward reserved in Heaven for us.  Jesus says, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12).

     We must study Godís word daily to sustain our souls.  If we donít, we will become weak and will be in danger of losing our souls.  God says in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge."  If we fail to study Godís word, we will be destroyed for a lack of knowledge.  People will be lost because they did not care enough to read and study Godís instruction book on how to go to Heaven.

     How do we make sure that we are among the few who are saved and not among the many who are lost (Matthew 7:13-14)?  Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23, "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."  Many people want to do the bare minimum and still go to Heaven.  But does God allow a bare minimum?  Jesus says, "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30).  If we really love God, we will want to do all we can.

     God expects our best to be offered to Him and not our leftovers.  God in asking the Jews in Malachi 1:8 says, "And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil?  And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?"  It is also evil and sinful when we donít give our best to God.  God demands our best be given to Him today.  We are to "present your bodies as a living sacrifice" to the Lord (Romans 12:1).

     As Christians we must be both convicted and committed to the Lord if we are to be pleasing to Him.  Paul says, "For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day" (2 Timothy 1:12).  We must be convicted by Godís word and never compromise our conviction.  We are to be "fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform" (Romans 4:21).

     Godís word to us says, "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ĎBe holy, for I am holyí" (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Godís word says, "that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (Ephesians 1:4).  To be holy is to be dedicated to God with reverence and adoration for Him.  If we are holy we will be faithful to the Lord until death and we will receive the crown of life.  Jesus promises us in Revelation 2:10, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life".  From this day forward, let's make going to Heaven our number one priority in this life.  We can only do this by faithfully doing the will of God in Heaven (Matthew 7:21).

Questions Lesson #26
(Click on the button of the answer of your choice)

1)  (Matthew 16:26)  What is our soul worth?

      Not very much.

      More than the whole world.

      One billion dollars.

2)  (Matthew 6:33)  To go to Heaven we must seek first the kingdom of God.

3)  (Hebrews 9:27)  What two appointments do we have that cannot be cancelled?

      Doctor and dental.

      We can cancel any appointment.

      Death and the Judgment.

4)  (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)  Not everyone will have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

5)  (James 4:14)  The length of our life here on the earth

      Is quite lengthy.

      Is like a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

      Will never end.

6)  (Matthew 7:13-14)  The majority of people will end up in Hell.      

7)  (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)  The vengeance of Hell will be taken on

      Just the bad people.

      No one.

      Those who don't know God and that do not obey the gospel of Christ.

8)  (1 John 2:4)  Those who do not know God are those who do not faithfully keep His commandments.

9)  (Matthew 25:46)  How long will Heaven and also Hell last?

      Not very long.

      Forever and ever.

      One billion years.

10)  (Hebrews 3:13)  People cannot be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

11)  (1 John 1:7) How does a Christian continue to receive the forgiveness of his sins?

      He can't continue to receive forgiveness of his sins.

      By walking in the light of God's word and having fellowship one with another.

      By not repenting.

12)  (Hebrews 2:1)  We must give the more earnest heed to God's word, lest we drift away.

13)  (Hosea 4:6)  Why are people eternally destroyed?

      A lack of knowledge of God's word.

      By studying God's word too much.

      By trying to be obedient to God.

 14)  (Luke 8:13)  There are some who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.

15)  (1 Peter 1:4)  Heaven

      Will eventually fade away.

      Will become defiled and corrupted.

      Is an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that does not fade away.

16)  (Acts 2:47)  The Lord also adds the unsaved to His church.

17)  (1 Peter 1:22)  How do we purify our souls?

      By joining a denomination.

      By doing nothing, because our souls don't need purifying.

      By obeying the truth.

18)  (Hebrews 10:25-27)  If we continue to sin willfully and will not repent, there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins.

19) (Hebrews 10:25-27)  When we forsake the assembly of the church

      We sin willfully.

      We do not sin willfully.

      It is alright to forsake the assembly as long as we don't do it too often.

20)  (2 Timothy 3:12)  All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

21)  (Matthew 7:21)  Who will go to Heaven?

      Those who faithfully do the will of God in Heaven.

      All people.

      The majority of people.

22)  (Romans 4:21)  We should be fully convinced that God is able to perform what He has promised.

23)  (Revelation 2:10)  To receive the crown of life

      We must be faithful until death.

      We don't have to do anything.

      No one will receive the crown of life.

24)   Those who are not faithful until death will not go to Heaven.

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