Who are going to go to heaven?
We began to answer that question the last time we met. We saw from the Word of God that the answer is, first of all, those, all of those, but only those, who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Secondly, we saw that only those who are washed from the filth of their sin by the blood of Jesus Christ will go to heaven.
I am not going to take the time to explain some of those things again. You can study it by re-reading the above message.
I want, now, to continue with our answer. I want to go on to answer that question, Who are going to heaven? and emphasize that for one to go to heaven he must be cleansed from his sins in the blood of Jesus Christ. If you have never been given to see yourself as a sinner before God in need of cleansing, you are in a horrible state of self-deception. You are a guilty sinner. You are defiled and polluted in the sight of God. Perhaps you say to me, “Now wait a minute. You do not know me. You did not follow me around this week. How dare you say those things about me?” The answer is, “No, I do not know you, and I did not follow you this week. But God does. And He told me all about you and all about myself in His Word. He told me in His Word (Rom. 5:12) that we all sinned in Adam; that we have come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:24); that we were conceived and born in sin (Ps. 51:5); that we are gone astray even from the womb and that there is none who is righteous, no, not one ( Ps. 14); that God looked down from heaven to see if there were any righteous and they are all, He says, gone out of the way, they are all unprofitable. You are not righteous before God. You are a filthy sinner.”
Has that come home to you, by the grace of God? Do you know your need of cleansing? I pray God that it may be for you the most disturbing thing that you will ever hear: God says you are not OK, and until grace shows you that, you will never go to heaven. Do you say in your heart, “Well, I’m not so good, but I’m not so bad. Others are better and there are some who are worse. God should be, over all, satisfied with me. He’s getting a pretty good bargain with me.” Until you stand as though you were the only creature in the universe and your mouth is now closed before God and you are burdened with the question, How shall I be cleansed from my sins? you are not in touch with spiritual reality. Those who go to heaven are the ones who, by the wonderful grace of God, are removed from their delusion and pride and see themselves as sinners and, by the grace of God, have fled for refuge to Jesus Christ.
The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. There are no incantations that a priest or a preacher can say over your coffin or at the grave that are going to help you. Those who go to heaven pass through the blood of Jesus Christ.
But there is another answer to that question, Who go to heaven? Only those who have been freed from their sins by the grace of Jesus Christ. We read in Hebrews 12:14 that, without holiness, no man can see the Lord. Again, in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
In heaven we will be in the presence of God. What do the saints look like in heaven? Do they stand there bored to death? Are they nervous and uncomfortable? Are they reluctant? We read in Revelation 7:15, “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” Everyone that is in heaven is so delighted to serve God that he does not sleep, but serves Him day and night and stands in His presence.
How did they get that way? What were they like by nature? The Bible answers that we are by nature the very opposite. Romans 8:7 says that we are at enmity with God, we are not subject to His law, neither indeed can be. The attitude of our heart is the attitude that Pharaoh, king of Egypt, expressed before Moses: “Who is the Lord that I should obey Him?” “What kind of restrictions is God trying to put on me?” is the language of the human heart. Rebellion and stubbornness. “No one is going to tell me what I may and may not do!” But in heaven they serve Him. They have been freed, by the grace of the Lamb of God, so that now they want to be holy, freed from the willing service of sin. Now they look to the throne of God and, when they see the slightest glance from His eye, they dash off and do His will. Revelation 22:3, “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.”
There are going to be slaves in heaven. You say, oh, how horrible! No, not if you love the Master, not if you love His ways. There will be nothing in our minds but to obey and serve Him and to live as His slaves. We read in Revelation 14:12, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” In heaven they keep, they guard as a precious deposit, all that is revealed of Jesus Christ, His work, His graces, His name, His commandments. Obedience is the fundamental position of their hearts. They have been changed from rebels to willing servants of Christ, from the slaves of sin to the slaves of the Lamb.
Who go to heaven? Those who are freed from the power and the love of sin, by the grace of Jesus Christ. No unholy person enters heaven.
We read in Revelation 21:7, 8, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Did you listen carefully to that verse? Who are not going to go to heaven? The very first word which described them was “the fearful.” You do not have to be a murderer, a sorcerer. You do not have to dabble in the occult and worship the devil to go to hell. But the fearful: those who are afraid, afraid to confess Christ for fear of rejection among men, afraid to confess Christ in from of their friends, embarrassed, afraid to be called “goody-goody.” Afraid because, one knows that if he confesses Christ, then he must renounce that hellish music that all of his friends are addicted to that magnifies sex and rebellion and lawlessness, and that then he will be called a “weirdo.” Afraid because one knows that he cannot simply talk of the latest stuff on MTV. Afraid because one is going to be rejected and called “holy.” God says that a person will go to hell in the way of shame and fear over confessing Jesus Christ. I did not write that. Take it seriously. The fearful shall not enter heaven.
Those who overcome. Overcome what? Overcome peer pressure. Overcome conformity to this present world. As a young person, not afraid to be called a virgin, to tell your boyfriend to keep his hands where they belong (off your body), to confess that Christ is the Lord of your body and has it as His possession. As married persons, not afraid to confess Christ as husband and wife in their neighborhoods. As a believer in the office, not afraid of the smirks from others because you have confessed Christ. That is what God wrote. The fearful shall not enter heaven. Are you ashamed of Christ?
Much of Christianity today says, “Well, you can have an attachment to Jesus Christ which is secret. Religion, you know is a very private matter. You can come to Jesus Christ and you can continue in your sinful way of life. You don’t need to deny your sinful way of life. You can have Jesus as your Savior and you can live your life the way you want, the way you always have.” They are afraid to cast in their lot entirely with Christ, afraid to give up the former life of sin. Afraid of what people might think.
God says, not the fearful! They will not enter into heaven. Those who overcome, in the blood of the Lamb. Those who are freed from the power of sin by the grace of Jesus Christ. Not those who continue willingly to give their body over to sinful ways, who live simply for the lust of the moment. But those repentant sinners, transformed by grace from rebellion and the love of sin by the Spirit of God.
Those who go to heaven have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit of Jesus Christ has broken the chains of their sins.
There is one more answer to the question of who is going to heaven. Only those who overcome and persevere in the strength of the Lamb. In Revelation 2:7 we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” We read in Revelation 3:5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” Revelation 21:7, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things.”
Could the Word of God be plainer? No one goes to heaven who does not go on the path of overcoming and persevering. That overcoming and persevering in faith is not the reason they go to heaven, but it is the way that God takes them to heaven. In the way of overcoming. Overcoming what? Overcoming everything that the world would use to draw your heart away from heaven and away from Christ, everything that would draw you back to the chains of a life of sin and the service of the devil. Overcome anything and everything against the Word and the will of Jesus Christ.
We do not do that in our own strength. In the Christian life we do not overcome the forces of sin by our strength. Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And in II Corinthians 12:7-10 we read, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
But, you see, if you are not convinced that you must overcome by the grace of God, you will not seek the grace of Christ by which alone you can overcome. Do you know why a Christian plays with his sin? Because, at that moment, he does not believe that he must overcome. He really does not believe it. God says to those who are His children: Overcome! The way to heaven is not the way of capitulating to our weaknesses and to say that it really does not matter anymore, I’m forgiven. No! The Word of God says, Overcome! Do you trifle with your sins? Do you trifle with the reading of the Bible, do you let that go? Do you trifle with church attendance and say, “Oh, that’s not so important”? Do you trifle with your prayers? Do you let those things go? If you do not overcome, you will not go to heaven. When you believe that, you will not play games with your sins. You will not play games with the means that God gives you to be strengthened in your faith. You will come to church, you will hear His Word, you will pray. You will use the means that God gives to strengthen you in the Christian walk of life.
Overcome in the strength of Christ.
Who goes to heaven? Those who are made sincere and eager to go there, ready to face and overcome whatever stands in their way.
Are you going to heaven?
You heard God’s answer in the last two weeks. Not my answer, but God’s. The answer of God is this: Those who go to heaven are those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life; those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb; those who are freed from the power of sin by the grace of the Lamb; and those who overcome and persevere in the strength of the Lamb.
The answer is this: Those who are chosen in Christ alone; those who are saved by the cross of Christ alone; those who are freed from the power of their sins by the love of Christ alone; those who persevere in the Christian walk by the strength of Christ alone.
Do you know the way to heaven? The way to heaven is through Jesus Christ alone.
Let us pray.
Our Father, we pray for that grace of Thy Spirit that we may trust and believe in Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life, through whom alone we may come to Thee. Amen.