God and Heaven are Perfect –
The Bible describes God and heaven as Holy. Holy just means perfect. Now it’s really important to understand that God can’t let anything imperfect into heaven, otherwise it just wouldn’t be heaven.
The Real You lives on forever –
The Bible also says that all of us have a body and a soul. At death our body is either buried or cremated, but our soul, which is the real you, lives on forever, either in heaven or hell.
Everybody has broken God’s Laws –
Do you know anyone who has never broken any of God’s laws? The answer is obviously no. So here’s our problem. All people have broken God’s laws, therefore, people have imperfect souls. So if at death your soul could either go to heaven or hell, but to get to heaven you must have a perfect record, and none of us have one, then sadly, all of us must be headed for hell.
Could a Loving God send someone to Hell? –
Now that might seem harsh and it might ask the question how could a loving God create a place like hell, let alone send someone there?
So let’s look at it this way. Think of someone you love very much. Now imagine that person is brutally murdered. The police catch the murderer and the murderer pleads guilty in court, but to your horror, the judge says, “This is a really bad thing you’ve done, but because I’m a loving judge, I’m just going to let you off.” You’d be very angry, wouldn’t you? Why? Because you know that when someone has broken the law, they must be punished, otherwise there’s no justice. So you see, hell is not a love issue, it’s a justice issue.
Have you ever lied? –
Have you ever told a lie in your life? Well, the answer is surely yes, even if only a so-called white lie. If you’ve lied once, then you’re guilty of being a liar.
Have you ever stole something? –
Have you ever taken anything that’s not yours? For example, have you ever gone to work late or left early and got paid for it? Have you ever used the boss’s telephone or photocopier without asking permission or knowingly taken an office pencil home? This is stealing, of course. Most people have taken something that’s not theirs, which makes them guilty of being a thief.
Have you ever murdered someone? –
Have you ever hated anyone? The truth is that most people have felt anger or hatred in their heart towards others, but what’s interesting is the way Jesus redefined murder. He said that if you hated a person in your heart, you’ve murdered them in your heart, which in God’s eyes makes us guilty of murder.
Justice requires Hell –
So you see, this is the bad news. For the sake of justice.
There has to be a place called hell, but there is good news, and this is where Jesus Christ comes in.
Why Jesus? –
The most significant thing that distinguishes Jesus from everyone else is that he is perfect. Unlike us, he’s not broken any of God’s laws, so he has a perfect record, a perfect soul. Picture the scene before Jesus came to earth 2,000 years ago. Jesus looked forward in time and saw you here today. He turned to God the father and asked him, “Father, I love the people in the world and I don’t want them to go to hell for breaking your laws. Is there a way for them to be forgiven?”
God the father looked at his son and said, “Jesus, there is one way. Go to earth and become a human being, but live a perfect life. Then die a cruel death on a cross to take the punishment of the people in the world justly deserved for breaking my law., When you do this, I can make it possible for them to be forgiven,” and 2000 years ago, he came to lay down his life for us to pay the price for all of God’s laws that we’ve broken.
The Great Exchange –
And there is no greater love than when someone lays down their life for another, but there is still something that we must do to be forgiven. There are three major events in everyone’s life, there’s birth and death. Ultimately, we have no control over these, but the third major event is when we ask Jesus to give us his perfect record. God’s gift of forgiveness is clear, we’re not forgiven by being christened or baptized or confirmed. Not even by praying occasionally or going to church, or by believing in God, or by trying to be good. These are all good things, but none of them give us forgiveness.
Two Things we must do –
Jesus said that there are two things that we must do to be forgiven.
- We must be willing to turn away from anything we know is wrong in our life.
- We must do is surrender to Jesus.
How to surrender? –
Now surrender means this, if God made you and the entire universe that surrounds you, don’t you think he deserves to be the central person in your life? Surrendering to Jesus is when we acknowledge him as our savior and humble our lives to him in service.
Benefits and Consequences –
When you die, you will go before God on judgment day and Jesus will say to you, “You, my beautiful child, have my perfect record, which I gave you when you turned and surrender to me on earth and I forgave you. Welcome to heaven.”
But say you never turned and surrendered. Think about what would happen. When you die, you’ll go before God at judgment and God will say to you, “I’m sorry, I can’t let you into heaven. I have to send you to hell.”
Decision Time? –
So how about you? If you die tonight, where will you go? Remember, to get to heaven you need a perfect record, which you could never have unless you ask Jesus to give you his. To receive this free gift, you have to do two things. First, be willing to turn away from the wrong in your life, and secondly, surrender to Jesus. Unless you do these two things, it’s impossible to be forgiven and at death, it’s impossible to get into heaven, which is so sad because this is the very reason Jesus died for you.