If I Really Want To Go To Heaven
Every week I ask people "Do you want to go to heaven or to hell when you die?" Everyone says, "I want to go to heaven." The gospel is the great news that Jesus died for sinners. So now it is possible for you to go to heaven. Will you accept this wonderful news that Christ Jesus died for your sins and be baptized into Christ to put Him on so that all your sins will be forgiven? (Hebrews 2:9, Galatians 3:27)
Jesus wants all His followers to be in heaven. "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:24) Heaven is a place prepared for every true Christian. If we have not started the Christian life "Today is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) To become a Christian hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16) Your attitudes and actions will determine whether you will go to heaven or not. Do you really want to go to heaven?
If I really want to go to heaven I will study my Bible in order to gain a deeper knowledge of God's will: A lack of knowledge leads to spiritual destruction. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." (Hosea 4:6) An increase of faith leads to spiritual growth and to heaven. "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." (I Peter 2:2) If I really want to go to heaven I must grow in knowledge of God (John 17:3), of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), of God's word (Hebrews 5:11-14), and of the Devil and his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
If I really want to go to heaven I will be faithful and steadfast at the assemblies of the church: The Christian has both present and future blessings. Among the present blessings is the fellowship of other Christians. "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." (Acts 2:42) A vital part of our Christian fellowship involves being faithful in attending the gathering of the church. "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-31) Those that really want to go to heaven enjoy and appreciate the fellowship of other Christians. (1 John 1:7)
If I really want to go to heaven I will be faithful in my prayer life. Prayer is the opportunity and privilege of talking to God. Let us never fall short in our prayer life because this will have an effect on everything we do or say. What an honor to be able to speak to God in the name of His Son! God desires our prayers. "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." (1 Timothy 2:8) Are you praying "without ceasing"? "Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18) Prayer is one of the greatest blessings that God has given to His children. We are weak and always stand in need of prayer. Always remember, God answers the prayers of His faithful children. John 9:31 teaches us that God does not hear sinners. "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him."
If I really want to go to heaven I will always put God first: The Lord challenges Christians to trust, faith, love, and obedience. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) It takes our very best to be what the Lord would have us be. Many have come to expect a cheap religion which requires nothing. God expects more! "Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26.) Christians must never fail to put God first.
If I really want to go to heaven I will be liberal in my giving: It is difficult to have right attitudes toward people, toward ourselves, toward pleasure and material things. Many, otherwise good people, have spiritual problems when it comes to the matter of giving. "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) Souls are not lost for a failure to give, but for a failure to love God enough to give. "Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38) If I really want to go to heaven I will give liberally as God has prospered me.
Christians must never fail to develop the character, attitudes and actions that will help them go to heaven. Christ has shown us the way. Let us follow His example. If we have failed we must repent and return to God. (Revelation 2:5) If we have not started the Christian life we should become a Christian today. To become a Christian hear the gospel (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37) and be baptized to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16) Do you really want to go to heaven?
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P. O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA