HOW DO I GET TO HEAVEN?
Everyone has a longing in our heart for something more. How many of you have bought that car, that house, that boat thinking "this is it" or thought "now that I have this I'll be happy". You buy that "thing", and find that the hole is still there.
God made humanity for His eternal purpose, and only God can fulfill our desire for eternity. All religion is based on the innate desire to “connect” with God. This desire can only be fulfilled by God, and therefore can be likened to a “God-shaped hole.” The problem, though, is that humanity ignores this hole or attempts to fill it with things other than God. Jeremiah 17:9 describes the condition of our hearts: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure."
Sadly, too many spend their lives looking for something other than God to fill their longing for meaning—business, family, sports, etc. But in pursuing these things that are not eternal, they remain unfulfilled and wonder why their lives never seem satisfactory.
Folks, only the God of the Bible can fill that heart. Through scripture we can find answers to how this hole can be fulfilled, but ultimately scripture shows us how we can spend an eternity in a place where God will forever fill that God shaped hole.
So, the questions is, how do we get there?
All of us know and understand the concept of Sin. All we have to do is turn on the TV, read a facebook post, etc. There is sin, death, and suffering everywhere. The Bible says, Sin separates us from God. The Bible also says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory." Romans 3:23 It also says, "For no one is righteous, not even one." Romans 3:10. Think you are a good person... Think again. The Bible says, "Our righteousness (good works) are like filthy rags." Isaiah 64:6. That word "Filthy Rags" is actually the word "Used Menstrual cloths". That means, even our good works aren't good enough to get us a ticket to heaven.
So, then, how do we get there?
1. . UNDERSTAND THERE IS A PUNISHMENT FOR SIN- There is a punishment for sin. The Bible says it's eternal death. A place called hell. A place of separation from God for all eternity.
2.. RECOGNIZE- Recognize that all of us deserve that punishment for violating God's laws.
3. CONFESSION/REPENTANCE- Understand your sin separates you from God. Realize your sin is an offense to God and as a result of that offense, we fall short of God's standards for eternity. As a result, confess that sin.
4. REALIZE- Realize that instead of putting that punishment on you, Jesus took that punishment for you by dying on the cross.
5. ACCEPT- Accept his free gift of salvation. The Bible says... "23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed," This means, Jesus died so that you could have everlasting life. He took the punishment for you. As a result, you have to accept that Gift. It's free.
6. TURN- The word REPENT- means TURN. The idea is to walk away from that lifestyle of sin. God understands that no one is perfect, but he also asks us to turn from our sinful ways.
7. PURSUE- So often people think that repenting, and walking away from sin is enough. The Bible very clearly says "It's not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy that he saved us." Titus 3:5... However, In Matthew 7 it says, 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23... So many people want to accept this free gift of salvation, then go about their life as if nothing happened. Understanding God's grace is like getting hit with a semi-truck walking across an Interstate. You'll never get up, walk away, and be in the same condition you were before you got hit. Your changed. In the same way, when we realize the magnitude of God's grace and mercy, we will never be the same. It calls us to pursue God with our whole hearts.