Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How Does Someone Get To Heaven?

The question was once asked by a CNN reporter who was interviewing people after the death of the Pope John Paul on how does someone get to heaven? The answer was be just like the Pope. It is sad to think that is the correct and truthful answer. It takes me back to the Bible for clarification to a man who was much greater than the Pope. and his name was Nicodemus, a great religious leader of his time, who asked Jesus the same question and Jesus answered, "You must be born again to see the kingdom of heaven." Does that mean that the Pope won't be in heaven? I don't know, but if he is not born again according to Jesus the answer is No.

You must be born again, spiritually. Not by riding your bike and logging in miles to work yourself into the kingdom of God, but by placing all your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and what He did. This is not a membership club or an option. This is required to get to heaven and is the only assurance we have. It is those that are in heaven as we study Revelation 19, that are praising and worshiping God that we find here.

We left off in our study yesterday about how those people got to heaven. We know that these in heaven are the church age believers. These were those who put their trust in Jesus from the day of Pentecost until the rapture of the church that happened in Revelation 4 that we studied yesterday. This is the pre-Tribulation Rapture view and the only one that makes sense without having to bend scriptures to fit the other Rapture viewpoints of Mid-Tribulation or Post Tribulation. These are not Tribulation believers that we see here, those will be waiting under the altar for their time. Each age has had their own set of believers. We have the Old Testament Saints from Creation to the Pentecost, The Church Age Saints, from Pentecost to the Rapture, and then you have the Tribulation Saints, those that die during the Tribulation Period for their faith in Christ.

How do we know? It's what Jesus Himself spoke of.

John 14:1-3 ~ "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."

It's what the prophet Isaiah spoke of.

Isaiah 26:19-21 ~ "Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by. For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain."

Its what the apostle Paul spoke of.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 ~ "For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words."

There is a grand connection between Revelation 4:1 and Revelation 19:1. The 24 elders which we know are representatives of the saints are in their office. What are they doing? They are worshiping. Where are they at? In heaven!

These church age believers have not been heard from during the entire Tribulation since the letters to the seven churches. The churches of Jesus Christ, they left at Revelation 4:1 and we never hear about the church again until Revelation 19. We have been in heaven during this entire time and the only believers on earth are the Tribulation Saints. We have been in heaven waiting to come back with Jesus Christ, during the Second Coming. We can't confuse the Second Coming with Rapture of the Church. They are two very distinct events.

The number one reason they worshiped the Lord was His salvation. Heaven has been given to us as a gift by the price Christ paid at the cross. Salvation warrants absolute devotion. Are you devoted to the Lord? We believe in the grace of God, not in works to get to heaven and some religious groups do not agree with that approach, but it is the approach Jesus gave. You can't save yourself and get to heaven by anything you do, its only in what Jesus did.

The number two reason they worshiped the Lord was His faithfulness to His glory. We have to understand the word "doxa" in the Greek means to praise, the worship, the adoration, the respect, the focus. This faithfulness of His requires our human response. They follow Him with devotion. "Worship Him" says the Bible because He only is our glory!

The number three reason they worshiped the Lord for His faithfulness by His honor. Time = the value of, the price paid, the ransomed. We need to thank Jesus for paying our bills, our sins, Jesus paid for it all. As believers you can try and backslide with a willful intent to do so, but it will lead to misery and unhappiness. You can't even sin right anymore. That is the sign of a true believer in Christ, the Holy Spirit convicts you while you try and sin. You've been exposed to Jesus.

The number four reason they worshiped the Lord for His faithfulness to His power. This is God's power to perform. God is the Creator. It ties together Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. He is the One in control. He is the Alpha and Omega; The First and the Last. We belong to the Lord our God!

Romans 8:14-17 ~ "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit himself bear witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."

We are suffering in this world. Nature is groaning. The question is, are you a child of God? Will you be with us in heaven?

If you have ever seen a police light in a helicopter illuminate an area of darkness and even stood beneath it, you feel completely exposed. Even if you did nothing wrong, you feel guilty as if you did something wrong. God's glory is like that. It exposes the sin that you have hiding in your life. Nothing is hidden from God. He knows it all.

One day, as believers in Christ, a grand entrance will be provided for us. We have that assurance when we get to heaven, our sins will be paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Only those who put their faith and trust in Jesus now, will have that assurance than when this life is through our eternal life in heaven begins.

I would ask you that if you are not a believer in Jesus, make that decision today. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow and nothing you can do will get you there. It is only through what Jesus did that will but you have to believe it and ask Him into your life today. 

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