Heaven bound — are you sure?


Pastor Thad Gifford - Contributing Columnist



“If you are just a church member, you are probably not going to Heaven.” That’s a very bold and direct statement and you should probably read it again. Let me explain.

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says these words:

21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

22) “On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’”

23) Then I will announce to them, “I never knew you! Depart from Me, you evildoers!”

Notice who said these words. It was Jesus. And I would imagine that Jesus would know who is going to Heaven and who is not.

These are going to be people who probably went to church because they talk about “preaching in Jesus’ name and casting out demons in Jesus’ name and doing many miracles in Jesus’ name.” However, there is one thing that they didn’t do. They didn’t know Jesus as their Savior. They hadn’t been “born again” like Jesus told Nicodemus he had to do in John 3:1-7. Three times, Jesus tells Nicodemus (a leader of the Jews, a learned man, a wealthy man and a man who knew the Word of God very well) that he had to be born again. Also in Romans 10:9-13, we are told that we need to be born again (saved). There are numerous places in the Bible where God tells us that we must be born again in order to live out our eternity in Heaven. And if we fail to be born again, then we will spend our eternity in hell.

I lived my life for 25 years believing my pastor that if I was “good enough” and was a member of the church and was baptized and if I treated others around me as if I would like to be treated, I would probably go to Heaven when I died. In other words, “If my good works outweighed by bad works, then I would be allowed into Heaven, but I would not know until I actually stood before God and He told me. But one day, after being out of church for about eight years, another pastor told me that if I wanted to go to Heaven, I had to be born again (saved). Well, who doesn’t want to spend their eternity in Heaven?

Anyone in their right mind would choose Heaven over Hell. So I told him that I did want to go to Heaven and he shared with me something I had never been taught before and it came right out of the Bible. That was the difficult part for me to accept. For all that time, I had been taught unbiblical principles, that even though I had been through three years of catechism and was a confirmed member of the church, was an Acolyte, went to church every Sunday, etc., if I would have died in my present state, I would have gone straight to Hell for all eternity. I have to tell you, I was pretty mad. I think they call it “righteous indignation.”

Here’s my question to you for you to think about this week. “If what you were taught and what you believe about eternal life was wrong, would you want to know the truth?” I can take any Bible that you want, and show you scripture after scripture where God tells us what is needed for us to have eternal life, and yet, in way too many churches today (London and Madison County included) a “false or social gospel” is being preached on Sunday mornings.

I believe there are many (read that word many) people who are fully expecting to go to Heaven, and they are going to hear the words, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” Do you know why Jesus is going to say that to some people — maybe you? Because if you are just a church member, you are probably not going to Heaven when you die. I know that I have just upset the apple cart in your life, but wouldn’t you rather find out the truth now, while you have time to do something about it, than when you stand before the Lord and He says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

Here it is in a nutshell:

1) Everyone is a sinner. (Romans 3:23)

2) God loved us and sent His Son to die for our sins (Romans 5:8)

3) If we will accept Jesus as “the only way to Heaven” (Not: church membership, baptism, good person, religious lifestyle, etc.) and receive the free gift of salvation (notice I said receive — you have to reach out and accept it just like you would a free gift) then you will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13)

Has anyone ever shared this with you? In many churches, this is not taught. I know from experience. I was raised in a “religious” church for 25 years, and spent a number of years in several other churches until I heard the truth and the Bible says, “The Truth will set you free!”

Do you know for certain that when you draw your last breath, you will spend your eternity in Heaven? You can. (Read I. John 5:13) The Bible says that we can “know” that we have eternal life. Do you? Listen, I have made this offer before and I will make it again. If you want to bring your Bible and sit down with me — one on one — I will show you exactly what the Bible says you need to do in order to spend your eternity in Heaven. And it is not being a member of a church or anything else that man tells us we need to do in order to go to Heaven. What do you have to lose? I’m available give me a call.

That is Something to Think About for this week.

If you are on Facebook, you can watch our service live on Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. Simply like our Facebook page at crossroadslondon and watch.

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Pastor Thad Gifford

Contributing Columnist

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, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.

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, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.