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Sunday, June 12, 2022 - June 12th 2022 No Other Name

Most people living today do not realize, nor understand that we are all spiritual beings living in bodies of flesh; and that there is a spiritual realm that co-exists as we live out our lives in this physical world.
Many times, what we consider as “fleshly battles” with other people, or certain circumstances, may in fact be a “full-on attack” from the spiritual forces of evil.
The scripture in (Ephesians 6:11-12) tells us and in fact instructs us to
“Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of darkness and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
Peter tells us that we need to watch out! “Because the enemy of our soul is like roaring lion roaming to and fro seeking whom he can devour”. (1st Peter 5:8)
It’s interesting that Ephesians 6 tells us to put on “the full armour of God” so that we can withstand spiritual attacks, and then, every piece of armour listed in verses 14-17 refers to “the Person of Jesus Christ”.
For example “the helmet of salvation”, is brought to us by way of Christ’s death on the cross.
“The breast plate of righteousness”, we receive from God when we identify with the death of Christ.
“The blood that was shed to cleanse humanity from all unrighteousness”, was blood that flowed from the body of Jesus Christ on the cross.
“The belt of truth” buckled around our waist refers to “the Word of God”, and Jesus who is the Word of God,
(John 1:1) says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with  God, and the Word was God”.
Having our feet “shod with the readiness of “the Gospel of Peace”,
comes by “our way of faith” in Christ, as we cleave to His Word,
trusting in Him for our protection, deliverance, and salvation.
(Ephesians 6:11-12) is basically telling us “to clothe ourselves in Christ”!
To wear His truth and righteousness as clothing for our bodies, and to exercise faith in Him to overcome and live out our days as “more than conquerors” in Christ!
In other words “living and abiding in Him”: that is where we find a defense against Satan’s attacks; and the ability to be “more than conquerors in Christ”.
This morning I want to present five ways how you and I can put on “the full armour of God” and find victory when facing spiritual attacks and the trials of this life.
Our first line of defence is found in:
1). The Name of Jesus.
(Ephesians 4:12) says “Salvation is found in [Jesus and no one else], for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Simply put, “there is power” in the name of Jesus.
(Matthew 28:18) ”Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”.
We can incorporate that authority and that power by trusting believing and praying in the name of Jesus!
Jesus said in (John 14:13-14)” Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
When you say and or “invoke the name of Jesus”, whether its through praise or a prayerful cry for help in the midst of chaos, you are enlisting all of heaven’s army, which responds to the beck and call of Jesus and His loved ones.
2. Our 2nd Line of defence is found in “Keeping a heart of praise”.
(First Thessalonians 5:18) tells us “in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”.
To give thanks in all circumstances means to praise and thank Him in the midst of heartache, in the midst of physical pain, in the midst of trial, in the midst of testing, and even in the midst of disappointment.
Your “praise-in-all-things mentality” can “ward off” the enemy’s attack, before it can get started.
We need to follow Paul’s instruction in (1st Thessalonians 5:18) and thank God that “He is greater and stronger than any force of darkness that will ever come against you”.
(1st John 4:4) says “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”!
And in the midst of the battle, trust God, thank God, praise God for how the trial or the attack is developing you spiritually and “perfecting and maturing your faith” (James 1:2-4).
Faith is like a muscle and it needs to be tried, tested and developed!
So thank God that He is making you stronger, that He is maturing you,
That he is developing you into a stronger more powerful believer in Christ.
(Psalm 22:3) says God inhabits the praises of His people, or is enthroned in our praises.
When God is “inhabiting” the person of praise, Satan’s attacks can “irritate”, but not “penetrate”.
3. Our 3rd line of defence is activated when we “Sing the scripture”.
“Music is a powerful weapon of praise”!
One thing I love about the old hymns and even some of the newer contemporary worship songs, is that many of them contain” direct quotations from scripture”, which make them easier to memorize and recite.
From the Book of Psalms (which literally mean “songs”), we are given great trutsh that were originally set to music and “meant to be sung” by the congregation.
As you sing the scriptures, you remind yourself of  “who God is in your eyes” and “who you are in God’s eyes”.
(Ephesians 5:19) tells us “Speak to yourselves with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father…
For example, (Jeremiah 31:3) says  “you are His beloved” so we can sing, “I’m my beloved and He is mine His banner over me is love”
(John 15:13-15) says “You are my friends” so we wrote a song “He’s my best friend, He’s the precious Son of God”
(Romans 8:15), says “You are His adopted child” so we sing, “I’m so glad that I’m a part, of the family of God”
(Ephesians 2:10), says “You are His masterpiece” so we can sing “I am a master piece created by God, created by love”; I am a masterpiece created by God, greater than the stars above”
When you quote scripture back to Satan, whether spoken, sung or prayed, he knows that it is Gods Word, and he trembles at the power of the written word of God.
4. Which brings me to our 4th line of defence which is activated by “Praying the Scriptures aloud”.
We tend to think of worship as singing or some other form of musical praise, but worship also involves prayer, reading the Word, and focusing on His worthiness; “Who He is”.
In fact, think of worship as a focus on God’s “worth-ship”.
(Psalm 145) is a particularly effective example to help us pray using Scripture; using Gods own promises to us.
We can read each verse aloud, then paraphrase it, and then personalize it in a prayer back to God.
For example, (Psalm 145:8) reads: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate; Slow to anger and great in mercy”.
You can pray that back to God by personalizing it: “Lord, You are so gracious and compassionate toward me.
Thank you for being slow to anger and great in mercy, when it comes to your love toward me.
Because of that, I know I can bring anything to you and have confidence that you hear me and understand what I need”.
By personalizing the Word, or the scriptures to your life and situations,
And by keeping God’s attributes and the truth of “Who He is” intact in your prayers, you are applying Scripture “Gods Word” to your everyday life.
That is how you can use it as a weapon in and during spiritual attack.
5. Finally our 5th line of defence is found in remembering “Who has all power and authority!.
There is a lie or a belief out there that God and Satan are equals, but friend I am here to tell you this morning that is simply not true.
Satan is a created being, a fallen angel, one who is subject to God’s authority!
Satan’s attacks are nothing, compared to the “Almighty omnipotent power of God” who was not created, but who Himself “created all things” including Satan.
(Proverbs 21:31) tells us, “The horse is dressed for battle but victory belongs to the Lord”
First (John 4:4) tells us “greater is He who is in you (Christ Jesus), than he who is in the world (Satan and his minions). 
(Romans 8:31) asks the rhetorical question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
These verses build our faith, in the One who has “absolute power and authority”.
Spiritual attacks often come when we are already feeling defeated — or the opposite, “when we let our guard down and believe we can do it on our own.” 
We must be careful to guard against pride and a belief that we are in control of our lives, reminding our self of God’s authority and Gods ability in every aspect of our lives.
In (James 4:10) The bible teaches us “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up”; we need to depend on His power and His authority to bring us through”.
According to (Ephesians 1:20-23), God raised Jesus from the dead and “seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And He put all things under His feet (talking about Jesus) and gave Him as head over all things…”!
Jesus, Himself said in (Matthew 28:18) “All authority in heaven and on earth, has been given to me.”
The bible says that “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of things in heaven, as well as things upon the earth”.
As believers and followers of Christ we need to realize “the authority that Jesus has and we have in Him” as His children.
We need to praise and thank Him for that authority, and we need to call upon Him and use His authority when confronting sin and standing against the works of darkness.
There you have it folks, five lines of defence that will help you  “overcome the evil one” and His attack on our lives, as we live our lives looking to that glorious hope of heaven to come.
And we must continually remember, understand, and never forget that our salvation comes from no other source; than by way of the cross, and the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
There is a plethora of ideas and “erroneous philosophies” concerning how one gets to heaven or experiences eternal life.
The bible teaches in (Acts 4:12) “there is no other name under heaven or on the earth whereby men can be saved” (or made right with God)!
To better understand what the bible means or is meant here, some background setting and context are necessary.

Not long after the day of Pentecost, the Jewish rulers, elders, and teachers of the law, witnessed Peter and John healing a lame beggar sitting at the Gate called Beautiful just outside the entrance of the temple (Acts 3:1–11).
As the apostles were about to enter the courtyard, the disabled man cried out to them for help, asking them for money.
Peter answered, “Silver or gold have I none, but such as I have, give I unto you; In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”
And at Peter’s command, the man instantly rose to his feet and began walking, leaping, and praising God in the temple courts”.
Well simply put, that event got the crowds attention, and taking advantage of the moment, Peter began to preach a deeply convicting message of faith and hope that comes by no other way than at the name of Jesus
He explained to the crowd gathered there that Jesus Christ, the man they had crucified, was indeed “the Author of Life”
And in (Acts 3:15-16) He told the crowd, “you know how crippled this man was! Be it known to you that it is through faith in the name of Jesus, that this man was healed before your very eyes”!

Then Peter preached to them that Jesus was the promised Messiah of Israel.
He called the people “to repent and believe in Jesus”  (Acts 3:19–21).
According to (Acts 4:4) Many who heard the message that day were converted but the Jewish leaders were greatly disturbed by these events and angered by the apostles’ teaching, so they arrested Peter and John.
The next day, the religious rulers demanded to know how the disabled and lame beggar had been healed.
They asked, “By what power or what name did you do this?” (Acts 4:7).
Once again Peter seized the opportunity and answered them, “If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame, and we are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel”!
“It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead, it is by that name and faith in that name, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:9–10).

Peter packed a lot into his words during that confrontation with the religious elite that day.
He wanted everyone to know that “it was only by the name of Jesus Christ”  (whom God had raised from the dead), that he and John had the power to heal and preach.
And as (Acts 4:12) says “Furthermore, salvation is found only in Him (that being Jesus) because God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved”

Folks I am talking about “the name of Jesus” the only name that has the power to bring about spiritual victory in our lives today.
It’s vital to understand that a person’s name held much greater significance in biblical times than it does today.
A name represented one’s essential character and personhood.
Like a power of attorney, one’s name carried the same weight and authority as the person to whom it was given.
Jesus’ name and His power, His authority, and His personhood are one and the same.
And His name, “Jesus” embodies who He is.
That is why His name is above every name

The English name “Jesus” comes from the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name “Yeshua”, which literally means, “Yahweh is salvation” or “The Lord Saves!”
When the earliest Christians spoke the name of Jesus, they were expressing their awareness, their knowledge, their understanding, that He was the Christ, the anointed Messiah, who embodied God’s promised deliverance, redemption and salvation.

Remember in (Matthew 1:21) when the angel appeared to Joseph,
The angel told him “you will call Him “Jesus”, because He will save His people from their sins”!
Only the name of Jesus can offer salvation because it is the only name that has received “power of attorney” from God, to give salvation to humanity.
Peter asserted that God Himself had assigned that role of salvation to Jesus.
He did this by sending His Son “to become flesh and live among us”. (John 1:1–3, 14),
To pay the penalty for sin through His own death on the cross, (Romans 3:25; 5:9; 8:32; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 4:10)
So that we, “who believe in Him” might be saved “to eternal life”, (John 3:15; 1st John 5:11).
The name of Jesus, carries in it, the power, and the authority of God,
The “person of Jesus” was given to humanity, as a sacrifice by God, so that we could be saved.

Simply put folks, there is “no other person”, nor “any other name” nor is there “any other way” that humanity can be saved from our transgressions and impending judgement for sin.
(John 3:16–17) tells us the good news: “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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
Folks as I close this morning let me remind you that though we live in fleshly houses of clay, we are not just physical beings,
But we are spirit first, given these fleshly bodies to live in, until God calls us home to be with Him.
Our struggle to live, and survive and overcome in this life, is directly tied to our spiritual walk.
That’s why Paul writes as I read for you earlier, “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.
Our victory, our ability to overcome and be more than conquerors in this life, is found in and only thru the name of Jesus.
“For there is no other name above the heavens or on the earth where by men can be saved”.
“That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, both on the earth and in the heavens”

Sunday, June 5, 2022 - June 5th 2022 Until I Come

One of the great expectations or hope that we as believers have,
is found in the message of “The Rapture” or, “the catching away of the saints”, that Paul talked about in (1st Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Here is what he wrote to believers of his day, as well as for believers to come, thru out history and the future, even to this very room this morning.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be “uninformed” about those who sleep in death, (In other words He is saying we don’t want you to worry or be anxious) so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again: and we believe that God will bring with Jesus, those who have fallen asleep (or already passed away or died in faith) in Him. 
According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep (or died in faith). 
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 
After that, we who are still alive and are left (here on earth) will be caught up together with them (the dead in Christ) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
And so, we will be with the Lord forever. 
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The subject of the “rapture” is often argued by some because it is a word that is never specifically used in the Bible.
This does not mean however, that it is not an event that is going to take place, on the prophetical timeline of biblical prophecy.
In verse seventeen of our text we find the words “caught up,” which means, “to snatch or catch away”.
A Latin word is used to describe this event called which means to “to seize or to carry off”, which is where we get our English word “rapture.”
The Rapture may be a rather mysterious or vague event to many people.
However, the Scriptures conclusively points out “the certainty of this event” and those that follow it; and the message of the “Rapture”, is meant to be a great encouragement to believers in Christ!
Though we are not told the exact time of the Rapture, Biblical scholars and theologians of all evangelical faiths agree, that it is “the next great event” on the “eschatological agenda”, concerning prophecy and end times.
As certainly as you are sitting here this morning, or watching and listening to me on the live stream this morning,
The events, which I have just read are going to take place; and this preacher believes that it is not very far off in the future.
My question and concern this morning however, is not so much the certainty of the Rapture, but, “Are you ready for the Rapture?”
Saint and sinner alike, we must all address this question.
And this morning, I want to discuss some reasons why everyone needs to seriously consider this question today; “Are you ready for the Rapture?”
And so I challenge all of us this morning with the following statement.
We must be ready for the “Rapture” because of “the suddenness of the rapture”!
The “rapture” or the “catching away of the saints” is going to happen with out warning.
(1st  Thess. 5: 1-2) “But of the times and the seasons brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that “the day of the Lord” so cometh as a thief in the night.”
No one knows when a thief is going to target your home.
It is often an event unexpected, an event that takes you without warning.
And so we need to take appropriate measures to protect ourselves.
Folks, understand that “The Day of the Lord” that Paul mentions here is immediately following the “Rapture of the Church”.
This term, “The Day of the Lord” is used to refer to that period of time beginning or following the Rapture of the Saints, the Church, the Bride of Christ.
It is a time of “Jacobs trouble” as Jeremiah prophesied in (Jeremiah 30:7).
Its a time when Gods wrath will be poured out on the stubborn, the rebellious, the unbelieving Jewish nation of Israel, as well as those who reject Gods love, those to whom have chosen to walk in darkness and rebellion, to the light and saving grace of Jesus Christ.
The occurrence of the rapture and the outpouring of Gods wrath cannot be specifically fixed because it is a time “known only to the Father in Heaven”, as Jesus said in (Matthew 24:36) “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
However Matthew 24 gives us some events to watch for that will be “a sign of events to come”, like those signs we see, with the changing of seasons.
Just prior to this dialogue concerning end times, Jesus said in (Matthew 16:2-3) “You know the saying, red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.
You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky but how is it you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times”!
Those signs He was speaking of are as follows;
a. The appearance of false Christ’s (Matt. 24: 4-5).
b. Wars and rumors of wars (Matt. 24:6).
c. Famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in divers places (Matt. 24:7).
d. The gospel of the kingdom must be preached to all the world (Matt. 24:14).
e. The budding of the fig tree (Matt. 24:32).
f. The sign of the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37-41).
People often mistakenly refer to the dialogue Jesus gave in Matthew 24 as being the message of events following Christ’s return, and the new age of eternal life that we have heard about and been taught that will be heavens wonderful experience.
But if we carefully read (Matthew 24:3-35), we will find that most of it describes the conditions during the Tribulation period. 
That period that begins right after the church is caught away to be with Jesus at “the Marriage supper of the Lamb”.
(Matthew 24:36-51) speaks of “a second event” which follows the rapture 7 years later, and that is “the Battle of Armageddon” and “the Millennial Kingdom or reign of Christ”.
The Gospel of Matthew was written primarily to the Jews so that they might understand that Jesus Christ was their promised Messiah and coming King.
All of the signs described in Matthew 24 were given so that the Jews, the Nation of Israel, would know that “Messiah’s Kingdom” is about to be set up!
However concerning “the rapture”, or “the catching away of the church”, there are no signs given in scripture concerning when it will take place
We are merely told to watch and wait for Jesus.
(Hebrews 9:28) “…and unto them that look for Him shall He (talking about Jesus) appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
(1st Thessalonians 1:10) Paul says, “And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, whom has delivered us from “the wrath to come.”
We are told that it will happen suddenly and with out warning!
Paul writes (1st Corintians15:51) “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
The fact is folks that Jesus could come today; He could come before I finish this message.
But the question is, “Are you ready for the Rapture”?
I love this old poem I found that challenges us with its dialogue:
There’s a man in yonder glory I have loved for many years,
He has cleared my guilty conscience and has banished all my fears.
He is coming in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
And no time will be allotted for you to utter, one good-bye.
No time to kiss the husband or embrace the loving wife, if they are united in the bonds of holy life.
Are you ready Christian ready, for shout and trump and voice?
Will His coming make you tremble, or cause you to rejoice?
Are you walking, talking with Him daily, taking Him your care,
Do you live so close to heaven that a breath would waft you there?
There are five distinct events that are going to take place with the rapture, when we are caught up and away to forever be with Jesus.
1st) The Believers In Christ Will Be Raptured.
(1st Thess. 4:15) “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then, we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
NOTE: Only believers, those who have given their hearts to Christ by faith, will be raptured.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
Saving faith is defined as a voluntary turning away from “mans efforts” to please God based on “self merit” or good works!
We are saved only by assuming “an attitude of expectancy toward God”, trusting Him to do “a perfect saving work” based only on the merit of Christ and His death on the cross.
(Ephesians 2:8) “For by grace are ye saved thru faith, and that is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.
2nd) Only the Bride of Christ will be raptured or caught away.
In (Ephesians 5) Paul illustrates the relationship between Christ and the Church with “the marital relationship” between a husband and his wife.
Paul likened the church to a virgin engaged to her husband.
(2nd Corinthians 11:2) “For I am jealous over you with Godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
3) Only the Church will enjoy “the marriage supper of the Lamb”.
(Revelation 19:7) “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.”
The “Marriage supper of the Lamb” takes place before “the Judgment Seat of Christ” and the Millennial Kingdom that follows.
The Church will not go through the Tribulation or “The Day of the Lord” (Gods wrath) that will be poured out upon the wicked and the unbelieving”.
(1st Thessalonians 5:9) “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”.
(Revelation 3:10) “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
The church, believers from history past until the rapture, is not appointed to wrath or the judgment of God that will come upon this sinfully wicked ungodly world.
After the rapture or the catching away of the saints that are here on the earth, then and only then will tribulation be poured out on the unbelieving and the wickedness of this world.
4) The Judgment Of Saints or Believers Will Take Place.
The saints will be judged according to their works immediately after the Rapture.
(2nd Corinthians 5:10) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, (or the things they did) whether it be good or bad”.
This judgment will not determine our salvation, but only our reward.
(1st Corinthians 3:13-15) “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”
Knowing that the Rapture could take place at any moment, is not cause to sit and wait, but it should inspire all of us to remain faithful to Christ.
During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives:
 On May 19th, 1780 the skies over Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared that the end might be at hand.
Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, “Gentlemen, The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment.
If it is, I choose to be found “doing my duty”. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought and we continue.”
Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns doing our duty.
Instead of fearing the dark, we’re to be light in the darkness, as we watch and wait.
5) After the rapture, “the wrath of God” will be poured out upon this unbelieving world that is filled with people whom rejected the Savior, the Holy Spirit and the Father.
(Zephaniah 1:14-22) describes those events, “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hastens greatly, even the voice of “the day of the Lord”: the mighty shall cry there in bitterly.
That day” is a day of wrath”, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness; a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in” the
Day of the Lord’s wrath”!
But the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.”
(Matthew 24:21-22) “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
(Revelation 6-19) tells of the many horrors that will come upon the earth during the Tribulation.
Among those horrors mentioned are wars, famine, pestilence, persecution, and catastrophic convulsions of the earth.
Considering together “the Rapture”, “the four horsemen of the Apocalypse”, “the many judgments of God”, and “the martyrdom of the believers” that do get saved, who do turn to God during the second half of the Tribulation,
Some theologians estimate that it is unlikely that half a billion people will still be living on the planet when Jesus Christ returns to set up His reign on the earth.
Billions will die of the plagues.
Others will die from wars, earthquakes, changes in nature, and the other judgments of God.
Unsanitary conditions will be everywhere during that time, doubtlessly fueling the many infectious diseases that will be running rampant and out of control.
One of the specific purposes of the Tribulation period is the judgment of The Nation of Israel, Gods chosen people.
The Old Testament refers to this period as “a time of Jacob’s trouble” according to (Jeremiah 30:7).
Before Christ returns to earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom at the end of the tribulation with the “Battle of Armageddon”, Israel will finally realize that Jesus Christ was and is their Messiah.
Because of their refusal to accept Christ as the long awaited Messiah; Jews as well as Gentiles will be forced to endure the Tribulation.
Because of Gods mercy, some will realize their mistake and will become believers and many will be saved during that time,
But countless millions will die in their sins without Christ.
I know this message this morning is not a message of great joy that will cause people to jump shout and dance; but it is a message that we all need to soberly accept and act upon.
In closing I leave you with these three thoughts concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus:
1st is THE SUDDENNESS OF THE RAPTURE; we don’t know exactly when it is going to happen, but like the changing of the seasons we experience each year, winter, spring, summer and fall; we can see the signs of His coming as well.
2nd is THE SUBJECTS OF THE RAPTURE; they are not pretty for those that don’t get caught away to be with Jesus when He comes for His bride.
Tribulation will come upon the unbelieving world and those left behind.
But for the church, we will be with Jesus at the great “marriage supper of the lamb” which will be an ecstatic outpouring of Gods love and blessing upon those that have been “caught away to be with Jesus” in Heaven.
If there was ever a hell to be experienced, it will be revealed during the 7 years following the rapture leading up to the great battle of Armageddon when Christ will return with the armies of Heaven and set up a 1000 year reign of “Theocratic Government”.
Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord
It will be a time when the lion shall lay down by the lamb, a time when no tear will dim the eye, a time where there will truly be “peace on the earth” with Gods “good will” to all men.
Then at the end of a 1000 years of “peace on earth and good will toward all men”, the bible says Satan will be loosed for a season to once more tempt the earth and lead astray those that have not truly given their allegiance, their heart, their trust and faith in and to God, the reigning King of Heaven.
After that 1000 years, will come “The Great White Throne Judgment” where Satan and his followers will be thrown into the lake of fire or hell.
Anyone, whose name is not found in “the Lambs Book of life”, will also be banished to join Satan and His followers in “the Lake of Fire.
Then at that time, “the new heaven and the new earth” will be revealed for those that have chosen to follow God and are the chosen of God.
As believers in Christ, this is our great hope and expectancy for tomorrow and our future.
Sing I wish we’d all been ready.

Sunday, May 29, 2022 - May 29th 2022 If Any Man Be In Christ

If Any Man Be In Christ, He Is A New Creature:
(Romans 6:23) tells us “that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
Folks no matter how young we are or how old we are, there is a truth that pertains to all of us and to all of humanity.
That is that we have all  all sinned.
In fact we were born in sin and sin has held mastery over humanity since the Garden of Eden, and the horrific actions that took place because of Adam and Eves desire “to be as gods themselves”,
A lie that was presented to them by the father of lies the devil”
Because of Adam’s disobedience, every human being born since that time has a tag of sin over his or her life.
Sin causes separation between man and our holy Creator and Father, and it makes it challenging to access Him, come before Him or be in relationship with Him.
Nevertheless, God still desires to have a relationship with His creation (you and I), and that relationship begins to take place the minute we come to Him in repentance and sorrow for our sin.
It begins the minute we lay down our pride and wilfulness and our desire to be in control, laying down our desire “to be as Gods ourselves”.
Repentance is acknowledging that you’ve gone against the commandments of God.
Through repentance, God forgives us of our sins because he is merciful.
(1st John 1:9) says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.  
God is compassionate.
He wants us to come closer to Him.
He wants us to repent from all our transgression.
This simply means no matter the type of sin you’ve committed; God is willing to give you a new start when you ask for forgiveness.
For example, you may have committed murder.
Taking the life of someone is a grievous crime, yet God is willing to accept you back into his fold and wash all your sins away.
If you’ve committed fornication, or adultery, if you’ve cheated, committed a theft, or lied,
God is willing to accept you the way you are and wash away all your iniquities.
Isaiah the prophet spoke the following words in (Isaiah 1:18) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool”.
What Isaiah was saying to the people of His day, (as well as for people of all time), is that there is a relationship available that cleanses humanity from the terrible effects of Adams sin, and the terrible mastery that sin has held over all of humanity until the cross.
That relation ship is found in Jesus Christ and His shed blood upon the cross so long ago.
Consequently, when you ask God for His forgiveness and you are willing to abide by the ways of Christ, and believe in His finished work on the cross, it means you’ve chosen a new path.
Paul knowing this said; “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”.
Old things pass away and behold (the word behold means to “watch listen and see”) old things are passed away and behold all things become new” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
Many times I have been witness to the confession of those whom have said to me, “Preacher, I wish I could do it all over again, I’d sure do things different”!
Well folks, I have good news for you today!
Though you can’t go back and do it all over again, you don’t need to!
But you can start all over beginning today!
And yes you can do things differently starting today.
And the beautiful promise that comes with that commitment is that God will put your past in the past, never remembering it any more.
(Psalm 103:1-12) tells us “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives
all your sins and heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion; who satisfies your desires with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses, and His deeds to the people of Israel:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him;

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us”.
Again Paul writes to those whom come to the cross, to those whom will bow their knees to the Lordship of Jesus Christ
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”. Old things pass away and behold, old things are passed away and all things are become new” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
So the question might be asked, “what does it mean to be a new creature”? 
And this morning I want to dissect and analyze just what this verse is actually saying.
This verse of the Bible reminds us that there is a “new realm of living” “a new life available”, to all whom will come to God by way of the cross, by accepting Jesus Christ into our lives.
If and when we make the decision to give God control of our lives, God is happy and willing to accept us into His family, and in fact,
Paul says that “God adopts us into His family” according to (Ephesians 1:5)
But in order for that to happen, we must be born again as Jesus spoke of in (John 3:16)“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again”.
When we are born again, we take on a new nature,
We take on a new source of power,
We now have the Holy Spirit living within us, who helps us, strengthens us and guides us, in our ongoing daily lives.
The task at hand now is to “yield” to the Holy Spirit rather than the dictates and mastering of our old nature of sin.
The more we yield to the Holy Spirit that lives with in us, the more spiritual strength we develop; and the more victory we gain over sin and our old nature.
(2nd Corinthians 5:21) “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.  
“If any man be in Christ”: I want to look for just a moment at these words and ask the question what did Paul mean, “If any man be in Christ”?
Think for a moment if you would about the life of Jesus.
He is an example of humility and holiness, power and forgiveness
To “be in Christ” means that you’ve decided to follow Him and His ways!
For example, if you’ve been involved in any form of immoral sexual activity (fornication, adultery, homosexuality), that must cease!
Likewise, if before Christ you regularly lied or cheated or stole you must stop doing so.
Most importantly, “if any man or woman is in Christ” It means a decision must be made.
A choice takes place.
We have a decision to make.
God is never assertive over our lives.
He never forces us to submit to His ways or His will.
But He invites us to be obedient and to walk according to His will.
He wants us to make the right decision on our own.
To make the right choices,
When we make the right choices, He is right there, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, to help us walk in those right choices.
Therefore, “if any man decides to follow Christ”, God is willing to accept them into His fold and to make them into a new creature.
What does Paul mean, “Be a new creature”?
As previously mentioned, we’ve all sinned.
However, by accepting Jesus Christ, we become “children of grace”.
Through the grace and love of God, He sends the Holy Spirit into our lives. 
The Holy Spirit is the miracle working forceful power of God.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we become a new person, and are given a new nature.
The Holy Spirit enters our body, soul, and minds.
We now become fearful or respectful of the power of God.
This means we avoid sin by all means possible, putting away the old person, and following Christ with all our hearts.
Look for a moment if you would at the story of the Apostle Paul:
The life of Paul is an example of how to be in Jesus Christ.
Paul was previously called Saul in the Bible.
He was a Pharisee and a firm believer in keeping the law of Moses.
Saul did not just believe in the Mosaic laws; he enforced them.
He continually chased the early Christians and persecuted them.
On his way to Damascus to cause more harm to the early Christians, Jesus Christ appeared to him.
(Acts 9:1-9) tells the story of how Saul fell to the ground and heard the voice of Jesus saying; Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Immediately after the encounter with Jesus Christ, he lost his sight.
Then, through Ananias, an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul experienced a miracle, he regained his sight and received the Holy Spirit. 
Instantly, his life, his thoughts, his purpose for living was transformed, and he stopped or ceased what He was doing driven by sin.
He immediately found a new purpose in life and began endorsing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.  (Acts 9:20)
Paul’s life was immediately changed.
He became a new creature in Christ.
If we say we’ve accepted Jesus, then we too need to let the Holy Spirit live within us, converting us into new creatures in Christ.
We must be swift and obedient to change our ways and always run away from evil.
From Paul’s experience, I’ve compiled a description of what it is like to be a new Creation in Christ
From (Colossians 3:9-10) we read “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him”.
If we lie, we are obviously not following the ways of Christ.
God is truth and He can never lie, therefore, we must cease to lie!
Not just lying, we must avoid all things of the flesh.
Paul said that if we let our flesh lead us, we will not enter God’s kingdom
(Galatians 5:19-21) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelling, and such like:
Of which I tell you as before, and as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 
Therefore, we must stay away from sin and cling to righteousness.
To live righteously, we must allow the “Spirit of God” to direct our paths.
This means we put on a new character that is pleasing in the sight of God.
Here are qualities that show you’ve put on Christ: 
1) (Galatians 2:20) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”
2) (Galatians 3:26-27) “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ and have clothed yourselves with Christ”
3)  (Galatians 5:22-23) “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance” 
4)  (Colossians 1:27) “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
5) “Ephesians 4:22-24) “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”
6) (Ezekiel 36:26) “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.
And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a new heart of flesh.
Paul continually challenged the early church, and his writings challenge each of us today to strive to put on the attributes of the Holy Spirit.
With the help of the Holy Spirit you can change, you can be transformed, not in your own strength but by the miracle working power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 10:8-16) says  “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 
As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 
for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. 
For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 
But it begins with desire.
A desire ignited by the message of the cross.
A desire to be a child of God.
A desire to be part of the kingdom of God.
A desire to leave the old life of sin behind us and pursue a new life a new identity found in Christ.
Yes we have all sinned at one time or another.
Yes we have all stumbled and fallen.
But the bible says even though we stumble even though we fall.
God is not willing that any should perish and that all should be saved by coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said “I am come that you might have life and that more abundantly”.
“Him whom the Son sets free is free indeed”.
I invite you to set your faith in Christ today, to invite the Holy Spirit to come into your life today.
How about you?
Are you looking for a second chance at life, are you willing to do things different and begin to experience a joy that is indescribable, and peace so comforting that words can’t explain?
Then please open up your heart and invite Christ into your heart today!
Jesus It’s me again

Sunday, May 22, 2022 - How do I Get to go to heaven

Heaven is the dwelling place of Almighty God.
It is where His Holy nature shines, unveiled in its full glory and majesty.
It is where the angels dwell in service and worship.
It is a place of peace, beauty, and joy.
The Book of Revelation describes Heaven as a beautiful place with streets of gold, and gates of pearl,
A place where there will be no suffering, no sorrow, and a place of infinite beauty.
But as the writer of Revelation describes it, all of these wonderful attributes pale in comparison to the joy that will be experienced being in the “eternal presence of God” once more.
This wondrous place called Heaven, is where man’s heart yearns to be.
The Bible says that God loves His people, and wants to be in fellowship with them.
However, because of the sinful nature of humanity, man can not stand in the presence of God, and cannot be in the Lord’s holy presence while cloaked in sin.
The search for the road to heaven has been a quest that man has aspired to, all thru out history, ever since he was expelled from the Garden of Eden because of the sin he entered into thru an act of disobedience.
As a result of that disobedience, he was banished from the Garden of Eden, separated from the presence of God and fellowship with His Creator, afficted by the disappointments and discouragement of life,
There has been a longing and a desire deep within the heart of mankind, to ensure that whatever comes next, the experience of Heaven will be far better than what happens in this life.
But do we understand that the fulfillment of our experience in Heaven, will not be because of its beauty or all that it offers that appeals to our carnal senses.
But the fulfillment of heaven will be manifested in our “reunited fellowship” in the everlasting presence of God once more.
Thru out history many religions, teachers, and spiritual gurus have offered their take on paradise, or heaven and how to get there, ultimately thru supposed good works.
However, “good works” or “being good” is not how we heal the gap or the separation humanity has experienced since Adams disobedience and expulsion from the Garden so long ago.
When the world was created, Adam - the first man - and his wife Eve lived in harmony with God experiencing the presence of God.
In the Garden of Eden, there was a tree that could give man the knowledge of good and evil,
God specifically told Adam and Eve, they could eat of every other tree in the Garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they must not eat!
However the master of deception, the great deceiver, the Devil, spun a lie and set temptation before them saying that “the only reason God said they should not eat of the tree is because in that day they would become as Gods themselves knowing good from evil”.
With that temptation before them, they both disobeyed God and ate the fruit of that tree, despite being told not to do so,
And from that moment forward, cloaked in disobedience and sin, man could no longer be in God’s presence,
Because of sin, man cannot even look at God’s glory let alone stand or be in His presence.
It is impossible to stand in the presence of God clothed in sin.
The holiness of God is like a consuming fire that destroys any thing that is unholy.
In fact Moses desired to see God’s face, but for His own good, God would not let him.
The Bible records in (Exodus 33:20-23) “‘But,’ God said, ‘you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.’
And the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen’”
The bible goes on to record that just a glimpse of God caused Moses countenance to be changed and altered so much so,
that when he went back down the mountain to where the people were gathered waiting the outcome of His meeting with God, they were shocked by his appearance.
Folks, sin can not co-exist in the presence of holy God!
Human beings are by nature clothed in sin.
And the only way to be washed clean from the stench of sin, from the grip of sin, from the impurities of sin, is by the shedding of blood.
(Hebrews 9:22) tells us that “almost everything is purified with blood; indeed, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins”.
Isaiah the prophet records the longing of Gods heart towards humanity saying, “'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. '” (Isaiah 1:18)
The divide created between God and man by sin is so great, that only the blood of Jesus Christ - God incarnate - could bridge the chasm.
Because of this fact, no one is good enough to go to heaven.
Because man’s sin separates him from God, he cannot go to heaven on his own merit.
Good works or being good does not earn us an entrance to Heaven.
If it could then Jesus Christ would not have had to die on the cross shedding His own pure and sinless blood for our cleansing from sin.
In the Bible, God laid out His “one way plan” to spend eternity with Him.
To rectify the issue of man’s sinful nature, God sent His Son Jesus to die and bear the punishment for the sins of the world.
If one is wiling to acknowledges their sin, repent of it, and accept Jesus as the Lord of their life, and His substitution for us on the cross, placing their faith in Him, that person can spend eternity with their Savior in heaven.
Just before going to the cross and giving His life as a ransom for the sin of the world, Jesus is recorded saying, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me”.
The Bible makes it clear that every person since Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden is inherently wicked, and they violate God’s law and will;
(Ecclesiastes 7:20). “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins”
Paul quotes the writer of the Psalms who says “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands;
There is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless;

There is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips, “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.
In the beginning, God’s design was for man to be with Him, to have fellowship with Him, intimate personal fellowship.
and his love for humanity moved Him to institute sacrifices, where the blood of an animal was given as a substitute, atoning for or covering the stench of sin.
But this system only highlighted how wicked people were, as they continually had to offer up sacrifices for their in ability to abstain from committing sin- it seemed like a never-ending cycle.
These sacrifices did not have the ability to wash away sin, they could only cover it.
And the bible says God wearied of the continual sacrifices of animal blood tainted by sin.
So God instead provided the perfect sacrifice of blood,
blood that was not tainted by sin, the blood of His own royal lineage, by way of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
God paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and I to be able to have fellowship with Him, as was His plan in the very beginning.
In order for man to have a perfect way to get to heaven, God the Son - one of the persons of the Trinity - came to earth, grew up living a sinless life, and died as the perfect sacrificial lamb.
Three days later Jesus was resurrected, proving (by the power of God) the gift of new life that is available through Him,
and one day Jesus will return for His people and because of Jesus Christ we will get to go to heaven.
In order to receive salvation, a person must first understand they are a sinner, unable to justify themselves before God on their own.
To be saved, all one needs to do is believe that Jesus is Lord, that He died as the perfect sacrifice for their sins,
Once someone has faith in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit secures that person’s salvation until Jesus returns.
Paul writes (Ephesians 1:13) “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit”
In addition to sealing believers for salvation, the Holy Spirit strengthens those who have faith, helping them to turn from sin and grow in faith.
Salvation through Jesus is the only way to go to heaven.
Jesus claims absolute authority over this path, saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
No good deeds, no chanting, no sacrifices are enough.
Only the blood of Jesus has the power to wash away someone’s sins forever.
Once Jesus paid the price for man’s sin, and rose again from the grave assuring forgiveness and new life for His people, it became possible for anyone and everyone to get to heaven, simply by faith in Jesus Christ.
Again Paul writes, “For by grace are ye saved thru faith and that not of yourselves but it is the gift of God”
Because of man’s wicked tendencies and sinful nature, he could not be good enough to be with God in heaven by way of his own merit.
Even Christians, who will go to heaven, are not going there because they have been good enough, or because of an open-door policy at the pearly gates.
Only those who turn to Jesus Christ, putting their faith for redemption in Him, will be saved, and able to go to heaven because they accepted that Jesus paid the debt for their sins, and that it is paid in full.
Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not come to make bad people good!
No! He came to make dead people live! (Ephesians 2:1) “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”
God is life, and those who sin reap the natural consequences of that sin, which is death.
It is not just physical death, but spiritual death.
Those who die apart from Jesus Christ die not just physically, but spiritually as well,
without accepting that their debt was paid by Christ, they will pay the penalty for their sinful nature themselves.
For them there is no hope of Heaven, and Hell is their only destination.
In the Book of Revelation, it speaks about those who will stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment. “And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
Not everyone will be in heaven, because not everyone is willing to lay down their pride and put their faith in God for their redemption.
Even before Jesus came, people were redeemed and justified before God by faith, and faith alone.
“For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
And to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:2-5).
What Paul is saying here is that the hope of heaven is only granted to those that trust God, those that come by way of faith in Gods plan.
Ultimately, God wants all people to come to Him by faith in the work of Christ, and no one can get into heaven by being good or doing good works.
Jesus said to one religious man named Nicodemus, “for God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
In fact, everyone in heaven will be a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ,
Not because they were good, or that they earned their way in by doing good works.
The only way we get to go to heaven is because of faith or belief in Jesus Christ and His redemption that came by way of the cross.
One of the most comforting accounts in the Gospel is found in the account of the thief on the cross who was crucified the same day as Jesus because of his crimes against Rome.
The bible records that when Jesus was crucified, two thieves were executed at the same time.
One of them mocked Jesus, and rejected Him, the other had a different experience.
In ” (Luke 23:42-43) this story is recorded for us, “And [the thief] said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise’
This thief had done nothing prior to this moment to earn eternal salvation.
It is commonly agreed among scholars that these two thieves had not 
just stolen from others, but they had committed murder in the process.
In that moment, the thief believed with all his heart that if he entrusted his soul to Jesus, he could be saved from his sins, which he freely admitted to having committed.
Jesus confirms this fact, by telling the thief they would be together in heaven by the end of the day.
This passage confirms that someone can sincerely repent at the end of their life, even in the hours before death, and still be saved.
It’s not by our works that we go to Heaven, its by faith in the work of Christ on our behalf.
The image of the two thieves also acts as a symbol for all of humanity.
There are those who will reject Jesus, and those who will accept him.
In (Acts 16:32) the warden of a prison was about to take his own life because of situations beyond his control.
The prison that He was charged to control and run had collapsed in an earth quake brought about by God, and He thought that his prisoners had all escaped and for that He knew he was accountable and would be killed as punishment by his superiors.
But Paul cried out to him “do yourself no harm, we are all here”!
On the brink of forfeiting His life because he thought that the prisoners under his watch had escaped, He despaired of life.
But with Paul’s words, hope sprang anew and He called Paul and Silas before him saying what must I do to be saved, to have this life everlasting that you have been talking about.
In answer Paul said, “simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
Believing in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross is what gains entry into Heaven.
As I bring our time to a close this morning I invite you to take a short walk with me down what is known as the Romans Road.
In these select verses form the Book of Rmans, the Apostle Paul concisely explains the issue of man’s heart and how Jesus is the solution.
- (Romans 3:23) “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
- (Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- (Romans 5:8) “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- (Romans 10:9-10) “...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.
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
- (Romans 10:13) “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
God created humanity with love, and gave His only Son so there was a path to redemption a path to heaven.
(1 Timothy 2:3-6) puts it like this; “...God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all”,
Trusting in the love of Jesus, having faith that His death and resurrection covers our sin and secures our souls, is the only way to heaven.
Going to God in humility, confessing and repenting of sins, is the way to approach the Lord.
Even though sin keeps people from God, and out of heaven, Jesus provides the way to be free from it, and to an eternity of joy with Him. 
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosever would believe in Him, would not perish but would have ever lasting life”.
Close with the Ray Price Medley.

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