The Road To Heaven. Are You Going There?
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"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
Very few people find Heaven and the road there is very narrow. But if you find heaven, you will find indescribable beauty, peace, and love. No more tears, sickness, crying, hatred, war, or suffering and pain.
The Disciples asked Jesus what a person must do to enter into Heaven? And so he told them several parables and stories to illustrate what one must do to insure that they are going to Heaven when they die.
This same question is still being asked today by millions of people. People who are close to death, or have a terminal illness, relatives of people who are dying, people who are old but know that they cannot live forever, and even people who are young but spiritually mature enough to know that there is a life beyond this life. The question is also asked by friends and relatives of people who have been killed in tragic accidents, or war, or as the victim of some heinous crime, or who have lost children or babies at birth.
What do you have to do to get into Heaven? How do you know for sure that you are going to Heaven?
Articles by Patricia Jones, M.A.
Copyright © 2006 - 2017 Dove Christian Counseling Center. All Rights Reserved
The above scripture is perhaps one of the most important scriptures in the entire Bible. This is because it lays out the way to get to heaven and it is said by Jesus. He is stating here that the gate to heaven is very small and narrow, and only a few find it. While the gate to hell is wide and broad and many enter through that gate.
Picture this analogy in your mind's eye. Evidently, getting into heaven is not as easy as we think. But it should be the most serious matter in your heart barring nothing because either heaven or hell is where you are going, for all eternity when you die.
Many people do not believe in a literal heaven or hell. Some preachers even teach that hell is "alienation from God" even though Jesus Himself said it was a "Burning lake of fire."
The Rich Young Man
16) Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
17) "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
18) "Which ones?" the man inquired.
Jesus replied, "Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19) Honor your father and mother, and 'love your neighbor as yourself.
20) "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
21) Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22) When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven
24) Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
While the above verses sound harsh, they also are very important for our day and time. In today' s society people are judged by the amount of their wealth. We are a society of have's and have not's. There are many wealthy people who do share their wealth, so for them, this Parable is already being practiced. However, there are other wealthy people who hoard their wealth and refuse to help others.
Success in our society means making $250,000 or much more per year, having a 10,000 square foot house, a three car garage, two or more children, going to the best schools, and Ivy League colleges, having several homes, and taking lots of exotic trips all over the world. Not to mention all the designer clothes, and expensive furniture, cars, and possessions.
But compared to many people in the world, most Americans are rich. So we need to put this parable in perspective. What we consider poor here in America, other parts of the world would consider rich. When you look at it that way, EVERYONE should help those less fortunate.
So, keeping the Ten Commandments is not exactly number one on our list. Materialism and "keeping up with the Jones" is what it is all about. And our morals are so low, that you can do just about anything short of murder and it is accepted in our society.
Secular counselors advise clients to not tell their spouses if they have committed adultery. People live together before marriage, they do not honor their parents, they steal in corporations as well as at the local 7-Eleven. Homosexuality and Lesbianism is accepted, and allowed in some churches, and the last thing on most peoples minds is a relationship with God, let alone remembering and contemplating what Jesus did for us on the Cross.
But you cannot get into Heaven unless you UNDERSTAND and BELIEVE what Jesus came here to do, what he did do, and what he won and accomplished for YOU on the Cross. The bottom line is He "Saved your life" so that you could not only live it now, but in the next life as well, for all eternity.
Most people do not get serious about life after death, Heaven or Hell UNTIL they are facing a crisis that could result in their death. Then they want to find out everything they can about it. Many an atheist has found God on their death beds.
If we have been blessed in this life with great wealth, and have had it pretty good, wanting for nothing that money could not buy, then we are indeed fortunate here on earth. However, in God's eyes if we do not use our money wisely and share it with others, and help others less fortunate than ourselves, then in the next life, those very riches can keep us out of heaven.
In heaven things are reversed. If we are persecuted down here on earth we will be rewarded and be loved and respected in heaven. If we were last here on earth, in heaven we will be first. But the reverse is also true. If we are were first here on earth, and became first due to our own selfishness, pride, arrogance and greed, then in heaven we will be counted among the very least.
So, it is VERY IMPORTANT how we live our lives here on earth, ESPECIALLY if we have been greatly blessed by God and are more fortunate than others. Many people do not realize that everything on this earth belongs to God, even our money and our possessions do not belong to us. They belong to God. God has entrusted some of us with great wealth, but He says: To Whom Much is given, must is required." Along with great wealth comes great responsibility.
God is the one who gives us the very talents that we have used to become successful in this life. ABUNDANCE and RICHES in this life are a GIFT FROM GOD, that HE expects us to use wisely and compassionately.
Give to the poor, Jesus said. If someone asks you for your coat, give him not only your coat but your other coat as well. If someone asks you to walk with him one mile, then walk with him two. If someone asks you for a loan, give it to him and don't ask him to pay you back. Do not let your left hand know what you right hand is doing. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. For great is your reward in heaven.
We need to remember that whatever we give to the poor is really God's , not ours, because He gave it to us, and He wants us to pass it on to others. In other words, share what you have with those less fortunate. Pass it on.
Because Jesus says that whomever you help, it is as if you are helping Him.
In the last days, at the Second Coming Jesus said there will be many who come up to Him and ask Him to give them eternal life, and put them in Heaven. And He is going to say '" I knew you not" Here is the scripture that addresses this:
The Sheep and the Goats
31) "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32) All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33) He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34) "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35) For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36) I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37)"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38) When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39) When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40) "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41) "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42) For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43) I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44) "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45) "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46) "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
You can’t read the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats without being just a little bit nervous about your eternal destiny. Now without a doubt, the Bible teaches that we are saved by faith in Christ and even that is not our own doing but a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes this abundantly clear.
8) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9) not by works, so that no one can boast.
10) For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We are not saved by our works. Yet, there is a incredibly important role that our good works play in relation to our salvation.
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus tells of sheep and goats who are separated at the judgment. The sheep are welcomed into eternal life and the goats are sent to eternal punishment. When they ask why one group goes to heaven and one does not they are told that one group, the sheep, visited the sick, fed the hungry, clothed the naked. As a result, they really did those things for Jesus. The other group, the goats, failed to do so and as a result failed to do so for Jesus. What is amazing is that Jesus said to the goats, "away from me, I never knew you." Incredibly, these goats called him Lord in the story. They claimed to know who he was, but he denied knowing them.
Is this saying then that Jesus is teaching that we are saved by works? Is he saying that we can earn our way to heaven when other parts of the Bible clearly say otherwise? Is he saying that we can loose our salvation if we don’t do enough good works?
The answer can be found in James2:14. “What good is it brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?”
The answer that James gives is no, it can not. What we need to be clear about is this. James is talking about a certain kind of faith, not saving faith. In essence what he is saying is this, can a faith that does not manifest itself in a changed life, that shows no evidence of doing the works of God, that does not forgive people, serve people, love people as ourselves, really be a faith that saves? True saving faith will demonstrate itself by how we live or more precisely, how we LOVE. If we love God with all we have and all we are, we will love our neighbor. We will serve them and care for them. That is what Jesus says the sheep did. That kind of faith will save you. Faith that does not show up in loving others is really no faith at all. That kind of faith will not save you.
That is the issue with the sheep and the goats. The goats thought they had faith. They thought Jesus was their Lord. But their faith was pure lip service. It was not people service. They talked a good game. They did not walk the talk. What the Bible teaches is that if you have a faith that is guided by loving God and loving your neighbor, then you will show people your faith by how you serve them in their time of need. Those good works do not save you. They are evidence of the faith that you have that saves you. Failure to love your neighbor and love God would be an indication that saving faith is not present. People who show no evidence of loving God by serving others may be shocked to find out that Jesus does not know them as his sheep.
So, if we know someone who is in need and we do not help them, and we have been blessed by God with the ability to help them, but instead we look the other way and do not help them, then according to Jesus we have not helped Him. Likewise, if we do help them, expecting nothing in return, then by helping them, we are helping Jesus. And we will be among the sheep and inherit heaven and eternal life.
This is what the Bible means when it says " To whom much is given, much is required."
I think a perfect example of a famous person who has done this is Danny Thomas and now his daughter Marlo Thomas. They founded the hospital at St. Jude for children with cancer. Danny Thomas took his great riches and helped the sick, the poor, the hurting and his hospital continues to this very day. Without a doubt, Danny Thomas is in heaven.