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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Bible Facts About Heaven

Dr. John R. RiceBy Dr. John R. Rice
1895-1980

 

8 - Christ the Way to Heaven; Make Sure You Are Going There

     How to get to Heaven is the question that has burdened men's hearts in every clime and every age since Adam sinned.  Every heathen religion has its heaven of some kind, a place of blessedness hereafter, to be earnestly desired and sought for.  Whether it is called "The Happy Hunting Ground" or "Nirvana" or something else, men long for Heaven.

    To make sure of gaining Heaven men have brought gifts to witch doctors, made sacrifices to their gods, paid money to priests and tortured themselves with unspeakable pains.  Men have offered their sons into the fiery iron arms of Molech; women have thrown their babies to the crocodiles of the Ganges River, hoping to gain Heaven. 

    Pilgrims have traversed burning deserts to bow at Mecca; crusaders have fought their way to Jerusalem to gain the assurance of peace and forgiveness hereafter.  The fasting vigils of monks in their cells, the deeds of penitents who climbed stone stairs on bare knees and the millions of prayers, Ave Marias or Paternosters counted on rosary beads have been with a hope of gaining Heaven.

    Men seek a way to Heaven in the waters of baptism, in the confessional box or in the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper.  They seek Heaven by lodge rites, by giving gifts to the poor, by righteous deeds.  Every human heart longs to make sure of blessedness and peace and happiness hereafter.

    BUT NOT ONE OF THESE IS THE WAY TO HEAVEN!

    When Jesus in Chapter 14 of John assured His disciples of the many mansions in His Father's House that He was preparing for His dear ones, He said, "And wither I go ye know, and the way ye know"  I am glad that Thomas was there, for the doubt he expressed that day has clouded many another heart since.  Jesus answered us as He answered Thomas.  Thomas said, "Lord, we know not wither thou goest; and how can we know the way?"  He wanted to know the way to Heaven!  Jesus answered back, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

    Jesus Himself is the way to Heaven.  The so-called Christian Scientists (with the doctrine that denies sin, and so cannot be scientific, and denies the Bible, so cannot be Christian) calls Jesus "The Way-shower."  But that name does not give Christ His due.  Jesus is not the Way-shower; He is the Way.  No man ever came to the Father but by Him. 

    Men would like to take themselves to Heaven or like to have the church take them to Heaven.  They would like to have their good deeds or their prayers or their alms to the poor pay their way.  But that is not God's way.  Jesus Himself is the only way.  He is the "strait gate," the "narrow way."  Every other way leads to destruction.

    Jesus repeatedly said that He is the way to salvation, the way to Heaven.  He said in John 7:37, "If any man thirst, let him come unto ME, and drink."  He said in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto ME, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  True rest, true salvation, true forgiveness are not found by membership in a church nor by baptism nor by righteous living.  They are found only in Christ.

    Peter summed up the Old Testament when he said to Corneluis and his household, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).  That is what Paul and Barnabas preached at Antioch in Pisidia: "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:38,39).

    God has given salvation to men.  He has given us eternal life.  God wants Heaven to be filled with the redeemed.  But this gift of everlasting life is given through His Son.  "This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (I John 5:11,12).

    Today if you have Jesus, you have salvation.  If you have Christ, you have the way to Heaven.

    Christ died to open the way to Heaven.  His blood poured out on Calvary paid for man's sins.  When Jesus died, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom.  God the Father gave Jesus to die, and in the death of His Son every barrier between man and God was torn down.  Now whosoever will, may come for pardon and salvation and come safely home to Heaven.

    The same Jesus who died rose again.  His death paid for sin.  He is now our High Priest.  He died for our sins.  He arose for our justification.  Everything about salvation Jesus did.

    Now the same Jesus who died to prepare sinners for Heaven has gone to prepare Heaven for forgiven sinners! "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2,3).  He died and rose to prepare sinners for Heaven.  He is now preparing Heaven for saved sinners, and one day He is coming to take redeemed sinners to Himself in Heaven.  That is what He said to His disciples.

    Can't you see that there is no way any man could reach Heaven except through Christ alone? 

    Now the way to Heaven is open.  The blood has already been shed.  Jesus did it Himself.  When He died, He said, "It is finished."  The way to Heaven is finished.  The price for sin is finished.  Soon the preparation of Heaven itself will be finished, and Christ will come for all His blood-bought and blood-washed ones.

    How can a man today make sure of Heaven?  Not by his good deeds, for that is not the way.  Not by joining the church and being baptized, for the church is not the way.  Rites and ceremonies are not the way.  Being good is not the way to Heaven.  The only way to make sure of Heaven is to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, receive Him as the One who died for you, the One who is the way to Heaven.  Salvation is a free gift.

    You remember that Jesus said in John 6:37, "Him that cometh to ME I will in no wise cast out."  Won't you today come to Him in your heart?  The Bible says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13).  Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in" (Rev 3:20).  You have only to open the door and let Jesus in; then you are sure of Heaven.

    God meant the same thing in John 1:12: "But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."  If today you will receive Him, simply open your heart and trust Him to come in; then He will give you the power to become the child of God and guarantee you a home in Heaven.

    You can be sure of Heaven.

    Yesterday evening I sat on the front porch of a very humble little home.  There live an elderly couple, their only support a few dollars a month.  Yet they sat and praised God with me.  As I sang, "No Disappointment in Heaven," they wept for joy and praised God aloud. 

    They are perfectly content to stay, yet eager to go.  The man, a saint of nearly eighty years, told me of the glad assurance he has that Heaven is his home.  In the midst of His praises he placed his hand over his heart and said, "I have talked too much.  My heart is weak."

    One of these days very soon that old heart will stop beating, and the angels will carry my dear brother straight to Heaven.  Yet as he talked about it there was no grief, no doubt, no fear, only a glad faith, a glorious expectation.

    You, too, can have that perfect assurance by simply trusting Christ for forgiveness.  Receive Him into your heart; then rest your soul upon Him who said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

    Jesus Himself is the way to Heaven; and if you will trust Him to take you there, your soul will be safe for eternity.

    Perhaps some reader has lost a little baby by the hand of death.  It may be that you are troubled, wondering whether the little one is in Heaven. 

    I am glad to tell you on the authority of the Word of God that every little child who dies while he is an unaccountable sinner, dies before conscious sin, is taken immediately to Heaven.  It is true that every child born into the world is tainted by the sinful nature he inherits from all preceeding generations.  But the Lord Jesus Christ has made atonement for even that sinful nature.  All that a little baby has lost by Adam's sin and the curse on the whole race, Christ has purchased back for him.  Read I Corinthians 15:22: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

    No one goes to Hell because of Adam's sin.  Christ has paid for that for every unaccountable baby.  It is only by conscious sin, sin by choice, that children become lost sinners.  How early in life that is, we do not know.  Doubtless it is much earlier with some children that with others.

    Five of my six girls claimed Christ and gave sweet evidence of a real change of heart before they were six.  If carefully taught and trained, children may be led to Christ while very young.  But all who have not yet come to know themselves sinners, and so have become accountable to God, are kept safe.  And when a baby dies, dear Jesus takes the little one to Heaven at once.

    King David's baby died, but God revealed to David that he could see his little one again in Heaven.  David said, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (II Sam. 12:23).

    Dear mother with the empty arms and aching heart; dear father who has followed the hearse out to the silent City of the Dead and buried the mortal body of the baby you loved so well, and with him, perhaps, buried your dreams, air castles and plans that only the dear God knew - beloved and troubled ones, you can see your baby again if you will only trust Christ as your Saviour.

    Near Hastings, Minnesota I was taken by a good man to visit his neighbor on a big island in the Mississippi River.  The bereaved man was said to be calloused and hardened, even claiming to be an infidel and a denier of the Bible.  Then I learned that his little one, not over two or three years old, had fallen into the waters and drowned.  When I began to talk about the little one, his hard heart melted and eagerly he began to ask me if God had sent his baby to Hell!  He had a Catholic background, and the little one had not been sprinkled.  Was she, then, lost forever?  

    But I showed him II Samuel 12:23 and I Corinthians 15:22, making plain that all the sins of the world must be borne by Jesus Christ on the cross and showing how God is anxious to forgive them all.  I showed him that God does not charge them against unaccountable babies and is so anxious for every poor sinner to trust Christ for forgiveness and a new heart.

    Then all the suspicion of preachers, all the rebellion against the churches, all the doubt about God and the Bible were gone!  With a contrite heart and trembling lips, the man who had lost his baby girl agreed to pray. 

    We bowed our heads by the car, and he confessed his sin to Christ and trusted Him for mercy and forgiveness! 

    Who knows but that God took your baby in order to turn your heart to Heaven also?  Anyone who is capable of reading this is mature enough to realize himself to be a sinner.  You are not an unaccountable infant.  You have CHOSEN wrong when you knew what was right.  You know you need a Saviour.  Jesus is the One who can take you to Heaven.  Trust Him today to forgive your sins and change your heart and make you sure of Heaven!

    Some of you have lost loved ones.  Perhaps they were not perfect - who ever was, save Jesus Christ alone?  They did not keep all the commandments, just as you have not and as I have not.  Were they saved?  Can you have assurance of seeing them in the glad land where sin never comes, where people never grow old, where there is no dying and no parting?

    I tell you gladly that if you are saved you can see them again.  They are safe in Heaven if they committed their souls to Jesus Christ in simple faith and accepted Him as Saviour.

    Perhaps the one you have in mind did not do what God said about baptism.  The dying thief was not baptized.  Perhaps you think of many things they left undone.  So will our loved ones have to admit when we are gone that we failed.  No one ever got to Heaven by deserving it.  The only way to Heaven is this way:  Christ died for sinners, and all who trust Him have salvation and everlasting life! "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

    Those who love Christ and have trusted Him for salvation ought to try to please Him every day.  When we see Jesus, we shall be ashamed of every bad influence or motive, and we shall miss a reward.  Oh, it is important to live for Christ earnestly, and He will gloriously reward us for our labors.

    But rewards are one thing and salvation is entirely another.  The way to Heaven is not by good works but by trusting in Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness and eternal salvation.  Not one single person was ever worthy of salvation.  You must accept salvation as a free gift, undeserved, or never saved.

    God is ready.  Christ has prepared a home for you in Heaven.  He wants you there.  I believe you want to go there.  Then put your trust in Jesus Christ now and have it settled forever that you will expect Him to take you to the mansion He has prepared for you.

    Suppose you shut the door and get down on your knees and tell Jesus Christ that you will trust Him now to be your Saviour, trust Him to forgive all your sins, trust Him to change your heart and risk Him to take you Home to Heaven.  Or sitting in that chair or lying in that bed - wherever you are, right now trust Him with all your heart.  The moment you wholly depend on Him you have everlasting life.

    Now if you would make sure of Heaven today and will receive Christ as your Saviour and trust Him to forgive all your sins and take you straight Home at last, suppose you write it down here.  Can you sign this statement honestly?  If you can, it will be a witness to you and to others and will give you assurance of heart.

My Decision for Christ and Heaven

    Here and now I confess myself a sinner.  I trust Jesus Christ to save me as He promised to do.  I have read this book on Heaven.  I want to go there, so I now solemnly commit myself into the keeping of Jesus Christ and trust Him to take me safely Home to Heaven when Jesus comes or at death.

Signed  __________________________________________________________
Date  ____________________________________________________________

    Others may also sign if they, too, sincerely trust Christ for forgiveness and salvation and for a home in Heaven.

Signed  __________________________________________________________
Signed  __________________________________________________________
Signed  __________________________________________________________

    If you have trusted Christ as your Saviour and would like to let us know, why not write in a letter or a postcard about as follows:

Sword of the Lord
P.O. Box 1099
Murfreesboro, TN 37133-1099

Dear Sword of the Lord:

    Since reading your booklet on Heaven, I have confessed to Christ that I am a sinner and have trusted Him to save me.  I believe He has saved me and I expect to meet you in Heaven.

Your brother (or sister) in Christ,

Signed  __________________________________________________________
Address  _________________________________________________________

For a complete list of available books, write to:
Sword of the Lord Publishers
P.O. Box 1099
Murfreesboro, Tenessee 37133-1099.

(615) 893-6700
(800) 247-9673
www.swordofthelord.com

 

     

     

 

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Published 1940

 

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