GPS stands for Global Positioning Satellite and it is a worldwide navigation system utilizing 24 satellites and their ground stations. It is capable of a host of different functions, but we probably use it to get us from one place to another using our smartphones or a GPS unit.
GPS can also stand for “God’s Plan of Salvation.” God tells us exactly how we can get to Heaven in His Book called the Bible. Unfortunately, too many people are relying on what someone else tells them about Heaven and they are not reading the Bible for themselves. I was that person for 25 years of my life. My pastor told me if I took three years of Catechism, was baptized as an infant, became a confirmed member of the church, and lived a pretty good life I would probably go to Heaven when I died. Well, I did all of the stuff but later on in life, the word “probably” began to cause problems for me. I didn’t want to have to wait until I died to know if I was going to spend my eternity in Heaven. How silly was that? What if I didn’t “measure up” and I missed out on Heaven? I surely didn’t want to spend my eternity in Hell.
So, I began to read the Bible for myself and I ran across I. John 5:13 that says, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.(Holman Christian Standard Bible). John says we can “know” where we are going to spend our eternity. My pastor of 25 years said I would have to “wait and see.” Strike one. Then, I read in Romans 10:13, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” My pastor had said nothing about being saved. He simply said I had to do “good works” while on earth and if my “good works” outweighed my “bad works” I would be allowed into Heaven. That’s not what the Bible says. Strike two. And then, I read in John 3:1-7 (for space please look it up in your Bible) Jesus told Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a very smart man who knew the Scriptures, that he had to be born again. My pastor never told me anything about being “born again.” Strike three.
Listen, do you want to trust your eternity to someone else, or do you want to know for yourself? Please answer that question before you read any further. Do you want to trust your eternity to someone else, or do you want to know for yourself? If you don’t care where you are going to spend your eternity, you can stop here and I’ll see you next week.
However, if you want to know, and you are not sure where you are going to spend your eternity, I can help you with that today. I have been a pastor, studied the Bible and tore the Scriptures apart for 40 years now. I guess if you went to a doctor or a dentist or a lawyer who had practiced their profession for 40 years, you would trust them, wouldn’t you? I mean, they aren’t fresh out of school and in-experienced. Neither am I and I want you to know what God’s Word says and then — and then — if you want to choose to not believe, your eternity will be on you and not me. Fair enough?
God’s plan of salvation is found in the following scriptures. (I know there are more, but more would confuse you right now, so let’s take just a few, OK?) First of all, in John 3:16, God loved us so much that He allowed His Son, Jesus to die on the cross to pay the debt of our sin. Sin always has a debt. Someone has said, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.” There is always a debt to sin. But Jesus paid that debt for us.
Now, God lives in a perfect Heaven (no sin) and He will not permit sin (us with our sin nature) to be part of Heaven as sinners. So, look at Romans 3:23 and you will see that everyone of us has sinned. Right? I have and you have and that’s all that matters right now. You and I are sinners. We cannot and we will not go to Heaven when we die. But God. (Oh, how I love those words.) But God says if we will ask Jesus to save us (be born again — same meaning) Jesus will save us from our sins. Read Romans 10:9-10. As a matter of fact, God reached out to us while we were yet His enemy. (Read Romans 5:8. You could read till the end of chapter 5 if you want but I don’t want you to become confused.) And, as I said, there is a paycheck for sin (Please see Romans 6:23) and you will see that sin’s paycheck is death. We are all going to die one of these days. But, the “gift” of God is what? Eternal life. How do we get the gift of eternal life? Through and by Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Has your pastor ever shared this with you? If so, what have you done about it? Have you received the free gift of eternal life? (Think about this — eternal life is a “gift” from God. A gift has to be received. In other words, you reach out and receive it or take it and then the gift becomes yours.) That is why so many people are going to miss Heaven. They didn’t believe with their hearts but only believed with their minds. And they will miss Heaven by 12 inches, which is the distance from your head to your heart.
If you have never heard this preached in your church, or if your pastor has never shared this with you, why do you think he hasn’t? This is one of the most important chapters in the entire Bible and your church or your pastor has not shared it. Why? Why? Why? I’ll tell you why. Your church and your pastor preach and teach a social gospel and not the true Gospel of Christ. And until you hear the Truth of the Word of God (you just have) and until you receive the free gift of eternal life, and until you invite Jesus Christ into your heart to save you from your sins, you stand guilty before God and you are already doomed to an unbeliever’s hell for all of eternity. (I’ll start here next week.)
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.