24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (ESV)
Wingmen, there is one question I ask every Sunday at the conclusion each message. The question is designed to make people think about what happens when they die and to think about life’s most important question. I invite you to take short test: On a scale of 0% to 100% what do you believe your chances are of going to heaven? Would it be 0%, 1%, 10%, 25%, 75%, 95%, 99%, or 100%? The only eternally-safe answer is 100%. Being 99% sure you are going to heaven is not good enough. The Bible says you can be absolutely, totally, 100% certain you are going to heaven when you die.
I John 5:13
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. (ESV)
The Bible teaches that life is very fragile, like a sigh or a breath. It’s here and then before you know it, it’s gone. Many of the things that occupy and preoccupy our minds are irrelevant the moment you die. That’s why you cannot afford to be mistaken about salvation. The risk is much too high. To know that you know that you know you are going to heaven when you die, there are Three Things you need to understand:
I. There Is Absolutely Nothing You Can Do on Your Own to Make It to Heaven—Nothing
You can get baptized, attend church, join a church, serve in some position in the church, pray, be sincere, come forward during an altar call, feed the hungry, go on a mission trip, attend confirmation classes, read the Bible, or have an emotional experience that makes you feel good. However, none of these will save you. These are commendable, but none of these (or anything else you do) will get you into heaven. When you come to Christ you come empty handed not attempting to bring anything you have done, can do, or are presently doing to add to your chances of eternal life. You come to Christ as a bankrupt sinner in need of a Savior.
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV)
II. Jesus Did Absolutely Everything Necessary to Provide for Your Salvation
Jesus is the only One Who could have secured your salvation. Jesus was born of a virgin, which means He had no sin nature since the sin nature is passed down from the father, not by the mother. He lived a perfect life. Because God loves you, Jesus died on the cross and took your place and was judged for your sin.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, (ESV)
I Peter 3:18
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (ESV)
Jesus was placed in a tomb. Three days later Jesus literally rose from the dead. After 40 days He ascended back to God the Father. Jesus took care of every detail of your salvation. That is why Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished.” God knew that no one could keep all of the 10 Commandments for his or her entire life. God’s Law was given to show us that only Jesus could meet God’s demands of perfection. Jesus Himself told us that He was the one and only way to eternal life.
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (ESV)
III. To Know That You Know That You Know You Are Going to Heaven When You Die, You Must Be Able to Say “Yes” to Five Statements:
- I have definitely had a time and place when I received Jesus Christ into my life and my Savior and Lord.
- I am not depending upon anything I have done or can do to contribute in any way to my salvation—only Jesus.
- I am not depending on people, places or feelings to contribute to my salvation—only Jesus.
- I know what the Bible says about salvation, and I believe what God said.
- I know of no areas of disobedience in my life or any un-confessed sin.
Although keeping God’s commandments doesn’t bring you salvation, if you fail to keep His commandments, it opens the door to doubt. For instance, Jesus commands His followers to be baptized. The mode and order of your baptism is very important since the Bible teaches that baptism is by immersion, and the timing of baptism is after you are saved.
If you can say “Yes” to all five questions, assurance will come. However, if you can’t say “Yes” to each of these, you are probably struggling with doubt. If there is one or more you could not check, right now, right where you are, ACT ON God’s plan for eternal life. 99% sure is not good enough. You cannot afford to be wrong about this. There is no “do-over” when you die.
Using the acronym for ACT ON, you will see God’s plan for your 100% certain salvation:
ACKNOWLEDGE you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (ESV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
CONFESS your sin to God—don’t deny it, try to justify it, or blame others.
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (ESV)
TURN from your sin and turn to Jesus Christ (Repentance).
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, (ESV)
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (ESV)
OPEN your heart and by faith welcome Jesus Christ into your life.
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (ESV).
NAIL it down by praying in faith to receive Jesus Christ.
This is your spiritual birthday—the time and place when Jesus gave you eternal life:
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (ESV)
I invite you right now, if there is any doubt in your mind about knowing that you know that you know if you died right now, you would go to heaven.
If you have ACTed ON God’s plan for salvation, it is important that you do the following:
- Tell someone about the decision you have made (family member, friend, coo-worker, pastor).
- Find a good Bible-teaching church that has an atmosphere of love and unity.
- Read the Bible every day. Get a Bible and begin by reading the Gospel of John.
- Get baptized by immersion at the earliest possible time.
- Pray every day—talk to God and listen for God’s voice.
- Serve—do something for others through a church.
- Tell your story of getting saved to someone who is not saved. Invite them to do the same. Begin with your family and friends.