This is the sermon for Sunday, October 2nd, 2011.
Unless noted, all Scripture references are from the ESV.
Bless God part 10
Will only a select few make it to heaven
and the many burn forever in hell?
This is the 10th sermon in our series entitled, “Bless God.” In this series we are looking into God, hell, heaven, and the chief end of man.”
We are in the question portion of the series – endeavoring to answer many questions that are being asked in the Church today.
Today the question that we are tackling is, “will only a select few make it to heaven and the many burn forever in hell?
Many people feel like they have earned heaven. They feel that they’ve done enough good things that give them access to heaven in the after life. And the blame for this type of belief falls on many church congregations and their pastors, mainly because they preach the law wrongfully. They preach the law as keeping it in order to earn favor with God, as opposed to the truth that the Law is a school master that points to Jesus Christ. This idea of earning heaven is a false belief. It is true that only a select few will actually make it to heaven; with the rest being tormented in hell forever. Let’s look at this subject and a number of Scripture passages for a few moments.
Only perfect sinless people make it to heaven.
Psalm 24:3-4 – 3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
Matthew 5:48 – You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
After Jesus gives His teaching of His demand on Law-keeping found in the sermon on the mount, He states that we must be perfect in our keeping of it. But this would leave each of us out, sense we are all imperfect sinners. Well, here is the good news found in our Lord’s prayer in John 17.
John 17:22-26 – 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Here Jesus prays that we might share the glory He shares with the Father. Christ in us makes us perfectly one (verse 23). In other words it is Christ in us that perfects us to enter into heaven.
Jesus is the only select way to heaven.
John 14:1-6 – 1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus Himself claimed being the exclusive way to heaven in this passage here. His claim is not one of many ways, but the only way.
Those who go to heaven are the elect of God.
Some truths concerning election:
- The Father gives the elect to the Son out of the world.
John 17:6 – I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
John 6:39-40 – 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:44 – No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
- Those the Father appoints to eternal life believes.
Acts 13:48 – And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
- Election is not dependent on human will and effort but the merciful God.
Romans 9:16 – So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Romans 9:11 – … though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls…
Ephesians 1:11 – In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.
- Election is because of God’s foreknowledge.
Romans 8:29 – For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
1 Peter 1:2 – … according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
- Election is God’s Sovereign choice.
Romans 9:15 – For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
1 Corinthians 1:27 – But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.
The unrepentant wicked are excluded from heaven.
Galatians 5:19-21 – 19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 5:5 – For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Revelation 22:15 – Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – 9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
What is the only hope for the wicked? Repentance and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:11 – And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. All other ways lead to hell. The only answer to those on the other false roads is to repent, turn from that false road and trust in Christ as the way to heaven.