How can I get to Heaven?

INTRO:

1. When someone is asked, "Do you expect to go to heaven when you die? the answer, (unless it's an unqualified "Yes" or "No") is usually, "I hope so," "I'm not sure," or may honestly say, "I don't know."

2. The Bible clearly states the alternative to heaven is "hell," described as "outer darkness," a "Lake of fire," a place of "eternal suffering--torment." Surely, no one wants to end up in hell.

3. The important question is: "Where will I be?" Faced honestly and seriously, the answer will be determined by the choice we make now, while we are still alive.

I. Is there a heaven?

1. Jesus taught that there is: "Our Father which art in heaven" (Lk.11:2). He spoke of going back to His Father in heaven (Jn. 14:28).

2. Jesus ascended to heaven. "He...was ...carried up into heaven" (Lk. 24:51). --"Jesus Christ: who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God" (1 Pet.3:22).

--"He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens" (Eph.4:9,10).

3. King David believed there is a heaven. "Whom have I in heaven but Thee?" (Ps.73:25). "Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens" (Ps. 123:1).

4. King Solomon prayed to God: "Hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place" (1 Kgs.8:30).

II. What is heaven like?

1. Paul said he was, "Caught up to the third heaven...to paradise, and heard unspeakable words...not lawful for man to utter" (2 Cor. 12:2-4). -- Human terminology is unable to describe what he saw.

--Three heavens: 1, Sky as we see it; 2. Area of planets; 3. Abode of God.

2. Heaven is a place of holiness, perfection, "Holy, holy, holy," sung by angelic choirs (Is.6:3; Rev.4:8).

3. Heaven is a place of super-beauty and grandeur. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard...the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Cor.2:9). (Rev.21:1-5, 18-21; 22:1-9). Beyond compare.

4. Heaven is a place of utmost discipline and order: angelic hosts serving.

5. Heaven is a place of love, peace, joy, contentment. "To be with Christ is far better" (Phil. 1:23). -- Continuous adoration and worship of God.

6. Heaven is a place of fellowship with God, with the saints and angels.

7. Heaven is devoid of all pain, suffering, sorrow, and death (Rev.21:4).

III. Who lives in heaven?

1. It is the abode of the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

"Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne" (Isa. 66:1).

"The heavens opened...the Holy Spirit descended...and a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son." (Mt. 3:16).

"Thou that dwellest in the heavens" (Ps. 123:1).

"Jesus... being by the right hand of God exalted" (Acts 2:33).

2. Angelic beings and heavenly creatures described in Dan., Ezek., Rev.

3. An innumerable number of the redeemed of the Lord (Rev.7:9).
--"We know that...we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Cor. 5:1).
"I beheld...a great multitude, which no man could number" (Rev. 7:9-17).

4. God wants all of us there.

"Come...all ye" (Mt.11:28);

"That ye may be where I am"(Jn.14:2,3).

"God is not willing that any should perish" (2 Pet.3:9).

IV. How can we be sure to get to heaven?

1. The Bible states the wicked and unsaved will not enter heaven.
--(Mat.25:56) "These shall go away into everlasting punishment.
--(Jn. 3:3) "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
--(Rev.20:15; 21:8) "Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

2. Negatives:

--Not by philanthropy or good deeds. "Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph.2:9).
--Not by being a member of a Christian family.
--Not through church membership.
--Not because of popularity or self-determination. "For by grace are ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Eph.2:8).

3. Positives:

--Only God's way. "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh to the Father but by Me' " (Jn.14:6).
--Only by being born again. (Jn. 3:3) "Except a man be born again..."
--Through repentance "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Lk.13:5).
--Only by faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
--By making a personal declaration to receive Christ. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 9:10.
--By becoming a disciple of Christ. "For me to live is Christ" (Phil.1:21)

4. There are no other alternatives "There is only one God, and there is only one way of being accepted by Him." (Rom. 3:30 NLT).
--Heaven is entered only through Jesus. "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by Me" (Jn.14:6).
--It's either heaven or hell. "Choose" "I have set before you life and death...choose life." (Deut.30:19).

Conclusion

1. Heaven is not a myth, nor a fantasy, but the eternal abode of God, of angelic beings, and the redeemed of God.
2. Do you want to go to heaven? Make the arrangements now
3. Keep heaven on your mind. "Set your affection on things above" (Col. 3:2).
--Seek ye first the kingdom of God" (Mt.6:33).

4.. If you wait, it may be too late. (Mt.25:13).