Posts Tagged ‘Heaven


The Outcome

One of the hardest things about which to preach and teach is the topic of hell. We don’t like thinking about it and we don’t like talking about it. But God’s Word talks about it and warns us that hell is real. Peter wrote:

For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” – 1 Peter 4:17-18 (NIV)

Jesus said that the road to eternal life is narrow and the gate to enter Heaven is small. The road that leads to destruction is broad and the gate is wide. In other words, few find eternal life and many are on their way to destruction. So what are followers of Christ to do? We have to sound the warning! Just because hell is real, and it is, doesn’t mean that anyone has to go there! We can warn those who are doomed that they need to fully obey the Gospel of God. We don’t do it arrogantly or with condemnation in our hearts. We’re no better for we were once on the road to destruction. We must quickly warn them out of love and compassion because Christ will return and then it will be too late.

Sticks And Stones

Peter tells us that we are blessed when we suffer for Christ. He wrote:

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. – 1 Peter 4:14 (NIV)

Jesus said the very same thing in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. He said:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

You know you’re living for Jesus when people insult you. The world mocks what it doesn’t understand. They call us Jesus freaks or they say that we need a religious crutch because we’re mentally, emotionally or spiritually weak. They say we’re all hypocrites. Maybe we are fanatical about loving our Savior. Maybe we are weak and we need Jesus to give us strength. Maybe we are hypocrites because we’re not perfect. At least we admit it. Don’t give up on your faith because you’re insulted for it. Great is your reward in Heaven.

Living Forever

Jesus commanded His followers to share the good news about Him with the entire world. He said to make more disciples everywhere we go. This way no one has to miss out on eternal life unless they choose to reject Jesus Christ. Then, they will be judged by God and condemned for all eternity. Those who accept Christ’s offer of forgiveness will live forever with Him. Peter wrote:

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead,so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. – 1 Peter 4:6 (NIV)

The reason that the good news was and continues to be preached is so that people will be saved from their sins. We will all stand before Jesus someday. We will all be judged for everything we’ve done while here on earth. Those who follow Jesus will be declared, “Not guilty.” We will go on to our reward in Heaven where we will live with Jesus forever. Amen.

Foreigners And Exiles

Good Friday morning to you! Do you ever get the feeling like you just don’t belong here? Do you ever look around and say, “There’s got to be a better place than this?” There’s a good reason for that. As a follower of Jesus, this world is not your home. Heaven is where you really belong. Peter wrote:

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. – 1 Peter 2:11 (NIV)

We are stuck here on earth for 70, 80 or 90 years, but we are only passing through. I’ve heard it said that the seven or eight decades we get on this planet are nothing compared to the trillions of decades we will spend in the presence of Jesus. We need to make sure that we don’t get too comfortable here. Otherwise the sinful desires we have will take hold and draw us away from following Jesus all the way home. These desires, Peter says, are waging war against our souls. We’re in a battle against sin. Who will win the battle today? You or temptation? Keep fighting for you are not home yet, but one day you will be.

Living In Reverence

We are only passing through this life and we do not belong to this world. We are strangers here who are headed to a better place. We are headed toward our true home in Heaven. So how should we live here on earth? Peter writes:

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially,​​ live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. – 1 Peter 1:17 (NIV)

We need to keep our eyes on Heaven while we are passing through here on earth. God will judge everyone impartially, meaning that He doesn’t play favorites. Just because you are a child of God does not mean that you won’t be judged for your actions. The fact that you are God’s child just means that the verdict is “Not guilty.” We all would do well to remember today that we will face judgment someday and we need to live our lives with reverent fear and respect for God, our Father and Judge.

Where Is Our Hope?

One of the themes of Peter’s first letter is the theme of hope. Our hope is not in anything in this world. Rather, we should be alert and ready for the return of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote:

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. – 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

By God’s grace, Jesus will return one day to take us to be with Him and live in His presence forever. Instead of getting caught up in the things of this world, we should be alert and ready for Christ’s return. That means that we renounce the sins of this world that pull our focus away from Jesus. It means that we turn away from the cares of this life that make us forget about the greater purpose to our lives. It means that we do not hope for the things of this world. Our hope is found in Jesus. Our hope is the hope of Heaven. Instead of being distracted by what’s down here, let’s be focused on the things of Heaven because that’s where we’re headed.

A Living Hope

According to the Apostle Peter, the resurrection of Jesus gave us two things: a new birth and an inheritance. He writes:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. – 1 Peter 1:3-​4a​ (NIV)

This new birth and inheritance are given to us by God’s mercy through the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead means that our hope is real. Our hope is alive because Jesus is alive! The hope we have is not some wish or a dream. It is real and it will not die or fade away. For nearly 2,000 years Christians have held on to this hope that we have in the resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ. If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope and at the end of your hope, know that Jesus is alive and because He is alive, you have a living hope in Him.

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