A professional football player, a superstar who had set a record for rushing, was once asked by a magazine interviewer what he feared. In his own words, “Dying and going to hell. But I hope I don’t, because I’ve been a good person.”
Chris Farley, a successful comedian who starred in Saturday Night Live and many movies, died at 33 years old in 1997. Farley once admitted, “Lust, gluttony, booze and drugs are most of the things I confess to. I can’t help it. I hope to God that God will forgive me my sins. I don’t know.”
A confident and cool high school student, in a private conversation was once asked if he gave any thought to spiritual things. He answered, “You know, I often stay up nights just wondering if I’m going to Heaven when I die.”
All three of these people have at least one thing in common, all were unsure about where they would spend eternity, that is, what happens when they die. The simple truth is, that these people were willing to voice out loud a concern that many people only keep to themselves.
So, is there a way to know for certain where we will spend eternity? I believe that the Bible teaches there is and that there is no equal to the sacrifice of Jesus and that because of His sacrifice, He deserves to be the hero and leader of your life. There are three facts that help us to understand the impact of this truth.
FACT #1: God loves you and created you to know him. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Psalm 139:13, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
There was a ship sinking in the middle of a storm and the captain called out to the crew and said, “Does anyone here know how to pray?” One man stepped forward and said, “Yes sir, I know how to pray.” The captain said, “Wonderful, you pray while the rest of us put on life jackets — we’re one short.”
The world’s idea of love is quite often different from God’s and seldom does it involve sacrifice. God’s love is all about sacrifice.
FACT #2: Our sins keep us from knowing God. In the Old Testament of the Bible, the Prophet Isaiah tells us what sin is, Isaiah 53:6, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul tells us who has sinned, Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
A guy goes into a fancy lounge wearing a shirt open at the collar, but the bouncer tells him he needs a necktie to get in. The guy doesn’t have a necktie handy, so he goes out to his car and gets his jumper cables. He ties them around his neck, manages to fashion a fairly acceptable looking knot, and lets the ends dangle free. He goes back to the lounge. The bouncer looks up and down and then says, “Well, OK, I guess you can come in — just don’t start anything.” A dress code may keep some people out of certain places, but it is sin that keeps us from God and knowing God.
FACT #3: You can only know God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus came and died for your sin and mine. Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us.”
What this verse and many others in the Bible tell us, is that God opened the way for us to know Him. 1 Peter 3:18a, “For Christ died once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” Romans 5:6, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
Many years ago, country singer Garth Brooks sang about having “Friends in Low Places.” We might be able to relate to some of the lyrics of such a song, but by far more importantly, we have a Friend in a very high place and His Name is Jesus and what a great benefit it is to know Him. Our biggest problem is that we’re lost and need forgiveness, so God sent us a Friend, a Savior.
What will you do with this Friend? Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”