WHAT ARE THE GREATEST THINGS OF LIFE?
If you were not here last Sunday morning, I began talking about some of the greatest things of life from a Christianís perspective. First, I said one the greatest things in life is love because love caused God to give us His Son and love motivates us to live for God. Second, I talked about how our greatest purpose in life is to glorify our Father in heaven in everything that we do. As I said last week there are certainly more things you can to my list, but I think you will agree with the ones I mentioned last week and the ones I will be mentioning this week.
I believe one of the greatest privileges we have in this life is the honor of being children of God. As John says:
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.† 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.† 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. †
I can read through my Bible from cover to cover over and over again. I can see the great love that God has always had for mankind and how mankind has failed over and over again to give themselves over to God. No matter how many times I read about Godís mercy and grace and everything He has done for us especially through His Son, it is almost unbelievable from a human viewpoint that anyone would want have anything to do with mankind because of how we are. Yet, we know that God our creator and that He continues to love us and have great mercy on us. Otherwise, He would have never allowed His Son to die for us. He would have not made a plan of salvation for us who are willing obey it.
I have said it many times before, I will continue to say it, we do not deserve the love of God or His great mercy, yet He allows us to have anyway. This is why it such a great privilege and honor to be allowed to become a child of God and have the confidence that we will be saved through Him.
As Paul said:
Galatians 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.† 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.† 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.† 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. †
Paul is saying that it does not matter who you are, what your gender is or where you live, God has made it possible for us all to become children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Paul is not talking about mere belief or faith alone as some like to teach, no he is talking about an active faith, one that will obey the gospel call. While belief in Jesus is certainly an important part of becoming a child of God, the Bible also teaches that we must repent (Lk. 13:3), confess Jesus as our Lord (Rom. 10:9-10) and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). In fact, verse 27 of text shows that the faith Paul is talking about includes baptism because he says that baptism is the point that we are put into Christ. If you are not in Christ, that means you our outside of Him. If you are outside of Christ, then you cannot children of God. You must be a child of God in order to be an heir to inherit heaven:
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,† 17 and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. †
When we choose to accept the plan God has set before us and we embrace His love by obeying His plan then we can know that once we are baptized we become a new creation and our old self is to be done away with and we are to live our lives as children of God. As Paul says:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Paul explains this in more detail in:
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Whenever we open our eyes to the truth that is found in Godís Word and we see that God is for us and not against us we can rejoice because we can take care of our sin problem by obeying the gospel. We can know that God loves us so much that He has given us the opportunity to become His children. We can know that when we obey the gospel that we can be united with Christ in baptism and become a new creature, a child of God in Christ. We can know that our past sins will be forgiven no matter how many there may be and we are to live for Christ because are now children of God. If we remain faithful to God and His Word, we can know that we live with God forever in heaven. So, being a child of God is the greatest privilege we could ever have and it could be the greatest mistake we could make if we choose not to take advantage of the wonderful privilege God has given us.††
What would you say is the greatest knowledge of this life? Some might say knowing everything that this world can offer such as obtaining college degrees in your field of study. While education is certainly helpful in this life, I can say from Christian perspective that the greatest knowledge of this life is to know God through His Word.
Jesus talking about the Father and Himself said:
John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Of course, the way we obtain this precious knowledge about God is by using His Word. Now some today will claim that they can know God by simply loving Him and listening to their heart of hearts, but the Bible teaches us a different story: John writes:
1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.† 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.† 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.† 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
I understand that sometimes our emotions can get the better of us and cloud our judgment. If we want to believe something strongly enough, we can convince ourselves that it is true and this can be deadly. In the last 10 years I have heard stories on the news where people did horrible things all because they truly thought that God wanted them to do it. While God gave us emotions and we should be thankful for them, they can be used for evil while at the same time we feel like we are doing something good.
However, John has just taught us that the only way we can know our Lord and have eternal life is by knowing, accepting and obeying the Word of God. Saul is a great example of what I am talking about. He was a smart man. He knew the O.T. and the way of the Pharisees very well. To his credit, Saul was living during a unique time when the covenants had changed. The truth had to be preached that Jesus was the Son of God. This was no easy task during those days, but it was being done and Saul would have been exposed to this new truth, but he was ignoring the things he heard and holding on to his Pharisee roots, which is why we read about his zealous nature of trying to destroy Christianity.
How do I know that Saul was hearing the truth, yet resisting it? The answer comes from his encounter with Jesus:
Acts 9:1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest† 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.† 3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.† 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"† 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."† 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." †
This expression Jesus used of it being hard for Saul to kick against the goads tells us that he had indeed been hearing the truth and resisting it with great difficulty. A goad is used by a shepherd to encourage animals move along, but these goads were also used on carts that oxen would pull. Young oxen had a tendency to kick backwards and with no goad in place could damage or destroy the cart they pulled. However, when they would kick back against the cart and find this pointed stick jabbing them, it would not take long for the Ox to figure out that is not good idea to kick backwards. So, Saul had kicked against the truth for a while, but this encounter with Jesus finally broke through his thick skull and made him realize the importance of not resisting the truth.
Thankful Saul got the message and we know what kind of man he became. The things that Saul did before he was converted would be enough to make anyone cringe, but because of the greatest knowledge a person can obtain, he was able to become a child of God, an apostle and was able to use the rest of his life to bring glory and honor to God while at the same time being confident that he had finished his race of life with heaven being his ultimate destination. As he wrote Timothy with confidence:
2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.† 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.† 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
If we want to be able to make heaven our home and be able to spend eternity there then we must realize what Saul did. We must realize that just because we were raised up a certain way and taught a certain thing does not mean that is right. We certainly cannot and should not base morality or what we think God wants based on an emotional response. No, we must train ourselves to always go to the source, which is Godís Word to find the truth. Even if ever ounce of our being says something is right, we must have understanding with ourselves that if Godís Word says it is wrong then it wrong no matter how bad we want it to be right.
We should be thankful that we have Godís Word as our guide because it take the guess work out of determining what is right and what is wrong. I am so thankful that God is not the author of confusion, but we must not take this wonderful knowledge we have at our fingertips for granted and not learn and use it because it has the power to set us free or the power the condemn us because we will be judged the Word of God because it is our authority:
John 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
We would do well to take the advice found in the Psalm 1:
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;† 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.† 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.† 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.† 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.† 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The only way that you and I can take full advantage of the knowledge that God has provided for us through His Word is by us making it a priority in our lives. Yes, there are more entertaining things to do that require little or no brain power, but nothing else in this life gives you eternal rewards like Godís Word will. Of course mere knowledge of His Word is not enough as James clearly states:
James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.† 22 ∂ But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.† 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;† 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.† 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
So, donít just read the Word of God and just know it, live it.
If I asked what your greatest vocation in life is what would be your answer? Some might say their jobs. The word vocation can mean your main calling in life. Again, someone that loves their job might say that their job is the main calling in their life. There is certainly nothing wrong with loving what you do and getting paid for it, but from a Christian perspective no matter how much you love your job, the greatest calling of any Christian is to serve God.
Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,† 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,† 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There are a lot of people that like to throw around the phrase ďthe Lord called me to doÖ.Ē This or that. That gets back into our previous point where people use their heart of hearts to determine that God is pulling them in one direction or another, but when the Bible speaks about calling you, is talking about being called by the gospel as Paul explains in:
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,† 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.† 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
When we were called by God through the gospel, God called us to be Christians and servants of the most high. Again Paul says:
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
God created us for this very purpose so that we could choose to serve Him by doing good deeds and living a righteous life. As a Christian, we should consider serving God as a privilege and one of the greatest things we can do in this life. God deserves everything we can give him because He has given so much to us besides being our Creator.
If you really love God with your whole heart, mind and soul then there is no greater vocation in this life than serving God in every way that we can. Please understand, I am not saying we should quit our jobs or stop doing things that we enjoy, but I am talking about having our priorities straight. Too many times, we lose our focus on serving God and we end focusing on ourselves and on life in general. It is easy to do, but we need to wake up and a look at that person we have become.
We need to have the attitude expressed in:
Psalm 100:1 A Psalm of Thanksgiving. Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!† 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.† 3 Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.† 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.† 5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
This Psalm is full of enthusiasm and thankfulness for the Lord. Notice, it said serve the Lord with gladness. Imagine if all Christians would take those few words to heart and have the zeal of serving Lord as expresses in this Psalm. Imagine how much work would get done for the Lord and how people would be praising God for the opportunity to do so. But what do we find ourselves doing sometimes when it comes to serving the Lord? Sometimes we complain or drag our feet. Sometimes we make excuses of why someone else should do the work. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of doing the work by saying it will never work or maybe we are so lazy sometimes, we will actually try to hide or even run away when work for Lord needs to be done kind of like Jonah did.
We should not be this way. We should have a better work ethic when it comes to serving God. We do all kinds of things we would not normally do for our loved ones, and we are supposed to love God more than everyone else, so why would we not try new things or continue to look for ways we my serve our God? I believe everyone in this room including me knows we can do more for the Lord than we have been doing. If we can focus ourselves and have this positive thankful attitude that we just read in this Psalm, then we will find great joy in serving the Lord and have no problem doing so.† I can say without doubt that every Christianís vocation should be serving the Lord. Let it be your number 1 priority and then let everything else come in second and third and so on.
In conclusion, there are certainly more things I could add to this list of the greatest things in life because we only looked at three of them in this lesson which were: the greatest privilege in life is† being children of God, the greatest knowledge in life is to know God and His Son through His Word, and the greatest vocation in life is to serve God.
WHAT ARE THE GREATEST THINGS OF LIFE?
Tonight will be our final lesson on this short series of what are the greatest things of life. In the last two lessons we have looked at 5 of the greatest things and they were:
2. Our greatest purpose in life is to glorify our Father in heaven in everything that we do.
3. The greatest privileges we have in this life is the honor of being children of God.
4. The greatest knowledge of this life is to know God through His Word.
5. There is no greater vocation (main calling in life) in this life than serving God in every way that we can.
We ended our lesson last week with the greatest vocation in life, which I just said was serving God in any way you can. One of the ways that we can serve brings us to our first point tonight that I believe is the greatest work a Christian can do, which is winning souls for the Lord.
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.
Notice what is written in the Book of Daniel:
Daniel 12:1 "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.† 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.† 3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
This is a prophecy that points to the destruction of Jerusalem, but also talks about the general resurrection at the end of time, but I want mainly want to focus on the beautiful language used in verse 3 because it compares those who are able to reach the sinful and turn them to God as being like stars forever and ever. There is one thing you can always count on. As long as the sky is clear, you will be able to see the starts shining brightly in the night sky. In the same way, a faithful Christian will continue to shine until he dies and his memory has faded away because when we as Christians serve our Lord with all heart, mind, and soul and we reach out to the lost and offer them hope through Jesus, we are like a star that shines brightly and is always there.
A lot people find solace is working with their hands. The farmer enjoys seeing his labor produce a field of corn, wheat, or whatever he planted. An artist loves to see the final product of hours drawing, sculpting or painting. The builder likes to sit back and admire whatever he has taken the time to build from scratch. The cook loves to see the joy that his food brings to those who eat it. More could be said, but you get the idea. We take great joy from the things we do with our own hands, but I can promise there is not greater joy than when you can you turn a sinner that is destined for hell toward God.† Not only does it make you feel good that you were able to make difference in someoneís life, you know that you were able to rescue them from the eternal abode called hell. You also know that you were doing Godís bidding and it make you feel good when think about how you played a part in making all the host of heaven rejoice as Jesus points in these 2 parables:
Luke 15:3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying:† 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?† 5 "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.† 6 "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'† 7 "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.† 8 " Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?† 9 "And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!'† 10 "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
As a Christian, we understand what God did for us. We understand that He gave us His best, His only begotten Son. We know that He loves us and is always there for us. We know that continues to watch out for us and takes care of us through His providential care. We know that He wants us to be with Him in heaven. If we did not understand such things, we would not be a Christian. Since we do, His great love and sacrifice for us should motivate us to win as many souls as we can for Him. Yes, His Word and His will are carried out by us.
I have said it many times before, God expects to water and plant His Word and He will give the increase, but His way and His Word cannot do what it supposed to do if we do not actively water and plant it. I am very thankful that we are not going to be graded on how many people we actually reach with His Word because for some of us may not see the results of what we have done, but I can promise you this. The more you plant and water Godís Word in the heart of man, the greater the chance will be that you will see the fruit of your labor. Remember the parable of the soils? One out of every four seed that was planted fell on fertile soil but the other three seeds did not make it because they were rejected or chocked out. †
Just like a farmer knows that all his seeds he plants and waters will not grow, we must realize that that same principle, but at the same time realize how important is it that we roll up our sleeves daily by taking advantage of opportunities in our life to reach the lost with the love of God.
When I talking about reaching out the lost, I am not just talking about those who have never obeyed the gospel, I am also talking about those who have known the truth and have forsaken by living like the world once again. Peter says:
2 Peter 2:20 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.† 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
I have used the section of Scripture many times in my sermons because it clearly points out just how destructive it is when a Christian knows the truth and then turn back to a life of sin. As Peter, it worse for them when they do this because they knew the truth, they knew what they had and they threw it all away to go back to lifestyle they know will lead them to eternity in hell.
People who do this can be harder to reach because they already know what God has to offer and they turned their back on it already. Though people like this are harder to reach then one who has never tasted the grace of God, it is still a great work that we are to do. As Paul says:
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
There are all kinds of ways a person can get a job done. However, there is a right and wrong way to do it. For example, if you and your buddy were paid to move someone from one house to another, you could take all their furniture and just shove it into the truck scratching and breaking things along the way. Did you get the job done? Yes, you did. Do you think the people you moved are going to happy with your work? No, they will not. Now if you took the time to carefully move everything and you protected the furniture and moved everything with care, you get the job done, but you also will make the people that hired very happy. †So, while you can accomplish a job, there is a good and bad way to do it.
Same thing is true when it comes to restoring a falling Christian. You could go threaten to kill them if they do not come back to the Lord or you could destroy them with harsh words until they give in. Sure, that might get the job done at least for a short while, but Paul says we are to restore a sinner like this with the spirit of gentleness. As we go out and do the greatest work of winning souls for the Lord, let use wisdom of how we approach people in the best way that we can. Just like with any job, you learn from experience. You will probably mess from time to time and if you do learn from it and do it better the next time. Just keep reminding yourself who you work for and what you are trying to accomplish because souls are on the line and we know that one soul is worth more the all the world. We should have the same attitude as Paul as read in:
2 Corinthians 5:9Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.† 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.† 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;
So, let us never forget that one of the greatest works we can do for the Lord is planting and water His word in the hearts of men and women so that their souls can be saved from eternal punishment in hell.
Now letís talk about the greatest victory we can have in our personal lives. I have already said that one of the greatest privileges we have in this life is being sons of God. However, I believe one the greatest victories we have in our lives is when continue overcome ourselves and the world.
As Christians, we are in a constant struggle with ourselves and how we deal with the temptations the world throws our way. There is a reason Jesus said the following:
Matthew 7:13 " 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.
We all have our weaknesses and we know what they are. Some have no problem with letting others know what their weaknesses are, but I guessing that many of us have some weakness that only we know about it because we are good at keeping them hidden from everyone else. Even our spouses or siblings probably do not know some of the weaknesses that some of us deal with inside our heads. Since we all have our weaknesses, the devil has no problem exploiting those weaknesses by trying to get us to sin.
However, when we are rooted and grounded in Godís truth and we have ourselves focused, we are more than capable of resisting Satanís preverbal carrot he dangles in front of us. Every time we resist the temptation of the world especially those temptations that pull at our weaknesses we are experience a great victory in our lives because we did not give in.
Though we may win many battles in this life, let us not become over confident in our victories because we are fighting a war that will not end for us until the day we die. There is no time for us to let our guard down because I can promise you the world will never stop throwing temptations your way. However, you can be victorious in the end by aligning yourself with God and strengthening yourself daily. Every battle that you will over self and the world will make stronger and more capable of defeating whatever your adversary the devil throws at you.
I know all of have experienced how good it feels to say no to a sin that has overpowered us in the past. We do not have to let those weaknesses we have in lives to have control over us because we can control ourselves we apply ourselves keep our eyes on the goal of heaven.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.† 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.† 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith.† 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 2:14 ††I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.
If want to experience the wonderful victory of overcoming your weakness and the world, then you must be strong in the Word of God. The more you put Godís Word into your heart and live by it, the more victories you will have. So, let us never forget that we are fighting a war and the only way that we can win the battles of this life is by fighting with fight of faith because with God on our side who can stand against us.
As Jesus proclaimed:
Revelation 3:5 "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
So far in our series, I have focused on positive things, but now letís take look a few negative things. The greatest lost in life is to lose one soul. Jesus said:
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?
As Christians we know what God has done for us and has made available for all, but many do not care. They just want to live their lives for themselves and enjoy the passing pleasures this life can offer. They are rooted and grounded in their carnal nature and they are blinded by what their future holds. As Jesus said, gaining the whole world is not worth losing your soul. Eternity is forever and it will not end.
We all have a choice of what path we will choose, but only one path leads to heaven. Many people will travel the other path that leads to hell. This is a horrible place to go. Notice a few things about it:
Mark 9:47 "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire --† 48 "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'
So, the worm does not die and the fire will not be quenched.
Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,† 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,
It is a place of destruction, but not annihilation because the torment will continue for eternity.
Matthew 8:12 "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."†
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:† 42 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;† 43 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'† 44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'† 45 "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'† 46 "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Those who will be cast into hell will be there forever and will face everlasting punishment. Can you think of a greater loss than this? I cannot. Hell is a real for real people. I wish people would wake up and realize the choice they are making when they choose to live a life of sin. It is not worth it to have to face this horrible place that is called hell. However, it is worth living for God and embracing the love He has for you. It is worth making sacrifices of not indulging in the sinful pleasures this world has to offer. Even if you have to face persecution or death for standing up for the truth it worth the temporary pain and heartache knowing that eternal life in heaven will be yours to have. Paul certainly understood this idea when he said:
2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 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.†
So, donít ever buy into what the world is selling because it is only temporary, but eternal life heaven only comes to those who live for the Lord.
There are many more points I could make, but I want to make one last one. The greatest prize that we can have is enteral life with God. That should be the goal of every Christian. As the writer Hebrews said:
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,† 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You cannot possibly make it to heaven without running the race. Again, Paul said:
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.† 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
Unlike the many infomercials on TV that offer us easier ways to do things and tells us that we can accomplish great results with little effort on our part, living for God takes complete dedication. You have to keep your eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward. There are no shortcuts or secret ways to only spend a short time fighting your way toward heaven. Everything we do and say is important as Paul says:
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.† 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.† 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Living the Christian life is not easy, but is worth the fight as Paul said:
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Paul did not give this advice to Timothy or to us alone. He lived by this very principle and when it came to the end of his life, he was confident in the end that he had finished his race and fought the good fight of faith:
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.† 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
We can all say same thing that Paul did when we keep our eyes on the goal of heaven and fight the good of faith everyday by winning as many battles as we can against the devil so that we can win the war by crossing the finish line of our lives with the confidence that greatest prize to be had will be ours, which is eternal life in heaven.