Sunday, December 15, 2013

Are You Going to Heaven When You Die?

My other blogs are:

Are You Going to Heaven When You Die?
Are You "Truly" A Christian?
24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
Am I a Christian?
Mark 10:21
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Luke 12:32-34
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
-Notice he says to give up everything for him and then to follow him? The ordering of the sentence indicates that in order to follow Christ in the way he wants, a person must **first** give up everything simply to be able to follow him at all. This is a little scary since the vast majority of people think they are Christians and yet have not even met one of the first requirements of following Christ written above, Everyone is called to give up all their earthly treasures and to lay down their lives, however not everyone are expected to actually do it. So while the Lord wants us all to be ready to do this in our hearts, not all of us are told to. A good rule of thumb is that if you read what I'm trying to help explain but hope God doesn't call you to surrender everything then your heart might not be in the right place. It's better to give up all for Christ because you want to, rather than by command. Just remember that Lazarus and Matthew had nice houses and all of their things still even after surrendering it all to Christ, but were never told to sell it all to the poor as the rich man was told (this is because the rich man idolized his possessions).
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21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[c] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
People may be in danger of hearing the dreaded words Christ will speak to so many when they enter heaven..."I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, you evildoers!" In Luke 12:32-34 (listed toward the top), Christ reiterates that all followers must give up everything they have and helping the poor (poor in money and poor in Spirit). What is special about these verses in Luke is that Christ points out how where a person's treasure is, there his heart will be also. So is your heart set on that new TV. or that sport's car? Do you love sex or money? A true follower of Christ thinks non-stop about Christ, because their hearts are dead set on him, for Christ is their treasure. Peoples' hearts reside where their loves reside, and if you cannot say that Christ is your sole treasure in life, then you are in great danger!
21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

So, the questions you need to ask yourself are:
-Are you making EVERY EFFORT to enter heaven by serving Christ here on earth?
-Do you pursue the knowledge of the Lord Christ with fervor and daily try to satiate your unending desire to be made perfect in Him?
-Is it your joy to give to others in any way you can?
-Does reading your Bible (assuming you do) revitalize your heart and strengthen your desire to follow Christ's exact will?
-When you read your Bible, do you feel great passion, sadness, and joy as you read?
-Do you spend much of your time each day wondering how God might want to use you?
-As the days go by, do you feel restless that you wish you could do more for Christ?
-When life gets hard and terrible events assail you (like homelessness, poverty, sickness or death), do you feel scared or do you remain confident that the Lord is good and will provide for you?
-Are you afraid of dying or do you look forward to it with great zeal?
-If the Lord whispered to you, would you obey a command that seemed crazy?
And the most important question of all:
Have I given up everything I have for Christ like my house, family, friends, possessions, even my life?
The thing is, for this last question, if you did not immediately think "Heck yeah!" without hesitation, then you may not be as strong of a Christian as you thought you were, or even a Christian at all. Reason being, is that Christians are called to give up everything they have and lay down their very lives without doubt, and to live a life of faith in Christ. There are no last minute or half-hearted Christians, for it says:
29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
....(Luke 12:32-34 above)
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
In this long paragraph Christ states that we should be dressed and ready to serve Him. He's depicting a story-like scenario of how servants are hired by wealthy people to cater to them, and this means being great hosts, which includes things like preparing food, opening doors, cleaning, and so on. The illustration focuses on how a worthy servant is "ready" to immediately serve his master's needs, and will not be caught dilly-dallying when he arrives unexpectedly. Christ uses this depiction to illustrate a real Christian from a fake one, where a real Christian is like this dedicated servant, who is prepared at a moment’s notice to serve his master. This takes great effort and care since the master is not always on time, he may call on his servant at random times, or even inconvenient times, and the servant must still be ready!
Christ calls us in this same way, but are you a dedicated servant? When he, the master, calls you his servant, will you tarry or be caught by surprise?
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Take His hand!!

This is the most fact-like statement Jesus makes to separate the true disciples of Christ with those who are not true Christians. He says it quite matter-of-factly that only the followers who obey Christ in full obedience will enter heaven. This is difficult to accept, and after reading this you may feel very frustrated and scared, or even attempt to try to find areas of the Bible that conflict with this statement, but it has been said and you have read it. You will be held accountable when you die and stand before Christ bearing the responsibility of true discipleship, for better or worse. When Christ asks you, "Who are you?" and you cannot respond as a disciple, he will say "Away from me! He will not embrace you, but instead cast you out of heaven to the place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (hell), and there are no second chances in hell. Hell is forever, regardless of what Catholics try to say (I go into this in other articles with Biblical support). Just remember this to help you figure out if your heart is in proper place: Do you wish only for heaven and to serve Christ, or do you worry about jobs, money, food, bills, and desire more earthly things? Is your heart set on Christ, or your life?
Do not be afraid to answer these questions, "No," because it's what you do after gaining this knowledge that makes a Christian a real disciple or not. Now that you have read this, Satan will attempt to cloud your head with doubts, fears and eventually drain you until you give up and put this knowledge out of your head. Retain this knowledge and pursue it right now! Do not let it fade away and be lost! This short life is not worth spending away from Christ even for a moment, for at any moment you can die and all will be lost. Let all of this nag at you and bother you because your original thoughts about Christianity have been challenged. It's good that you're bothered or scared or confused by this article. Now that you know these things, you need to keep finding more answers to your questions found in your Bible. It is important to find these answers yourself because Christ demands so much more of us than what the common Christian wants to admit. Who would want to give up their lives, after all? But you must! It's up to you now to learn and to investigate your faith. Or you can put this out of your head and try to forget it...I mean, how else can you love your life when you know that it's a hollow pursuit?
Give up your life for Christ! Pursue knowledge in the Lord with fervor and passion. It's up to you whether you enter heaven or not, and this life is far too short to worry about wants and needs, especially when Christ promises them to you if you just believe! It is Christ's greatest desire to love us and share a deep friendship! Serving Christ is the same as serving your spouse, you don't look at caring for your spouse when s/he's sick as a chore, you love to help because you are filled with love for that person...the same goes for Christ! Give it time and hold strong! It's not hard or sad or boring or scary to serve's a passionate, heart-warming pursuit that will grant you treasures in heaven and peace, security, and joy on earth.
Be strong in the Lord and continually read that Bible!!! Pray each day for more faith and a heart that loves Christ! You must ask for these things to become stronger in Christ!