I was licensed into the Gospel Ministry in 1976 — so I have been “in the ministry” now for 38 years. It sure does not seem like it has been that long. Beth and I were talking the other day and some people can work for 20 years and retire, while others can work for 30 years and retire. I’m ready to retire, age wise, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
I think about Rev. Billy Graham, at age 96, still writing books and still influencing our country for godly values and holy living. I wonder what will change in this world when he is gone? I know his son, William, will continue the ministry, but he will probably not have the influence that his father has had. Many, many, people know Billy Graham. He has preached for almost eight decades. Kings, Queens and rulers of many countries have heard the Gospel message presented by Rev. Graham. Millions and millions and millions of people have heard that same Gospel message. And, many have been receptive of what his message has been. Some have heard and turned their backs on the message and the message made no difference in their lives. One day, they will wish they had listened, and received his message.
Now, I have a question for you to think about this week. First of all, have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain where you will spend your eternity when you die? I am not even going to give discussion of whether there is a Heaven or a hell because the Bible says there is and that is good enough for me. Now, if you are smarter than God who wrote the Bible and you believe there isn’t a Heaven or a hell or an after-life, then I guess when you draw your last breath, you will find out you were wrong. The only problem with that is it will be too late.
Do you know where you are going to spend your eternal life? Some will say a person cannot know. I beg to differ because, once again, the Word of God says you can. “These things have been written that you might know that you have eternal life because you have believed on the name of the Son of God.” (I.John 5:13)
Unfortunately, many people continue to believe you cannot know, but the Bible says you can. If you do not know, why do you not know? Is it because you haven’t thought about it? Is it because you haven’t planned for it? Is it because you haven’t prepared for it? I read the obituaries every week and see that people still die. And age is not a factor. People die when they are young and people die when they are old. And we do not know when we are going to die. Are you ready? Do you know for certain where you will spend your eternity?
I talked with someone this week and asked them the very same question. They gave me their answer and it was not the answer someone will give who truly knows where they are going to spend their eternity. I asked them this question, “If what you believe is not enough to get you to Heaven when you die, would you like to know what the Bible says is necessary?” They replied they would, and about 20 minutes later, they did what the Bible says must be done in order to spend an eternity in heaven with God.
You see, you only have one opportunity to get it right in this life. If it’s not right, you will not spend your eternity in Heaven. Period. (You can trust that period.) I would ask you to read John Chapter 3: verses 1-10 in your Bible this week. Jesus says to Nicodemus (a ruler of the Jews, a very smart man and someone who knew the scriptures and the law) that even he needed to be “born again.” Nicodemus replied, “How can an old man be born again, can he enter again into his mother’s womb and be born again?” And Jesus told him, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh (first birth) but that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit (second birth).”
I am not trying to confuse you, but if you’re only born once (first birth) you will die two times, but if you are born two times, you may only die once (natural death). Unless Jesus comes again while you are still living. I know, I know, it gets deep. But here is the bottom line: Unless you receive (by asking) the free gift of eternal life, you will not go to Heaven when you die. You will not.
Now, if you’d like to talk to me about what I have just written, I will be glad to meet you and show you, in the Word of God, what the Bible says about this topic. We can use your Bible too. (I don’t use a “trick” Bible.) If your Pastor or Spiritual Leader is not telling you this, you are going through the motions on Sunday and may not spend your eternity in Heaven. Given the choice, I am sure you would rather spend your eternity in heaven. Right? Why not be sure. Why not trust the Word of God and be sure?
And, that’s Something To Think About for this week.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at (740) 852-7800, e-mail him at m.thad.gifford.com or at their website www.3c-church.org.