We are thankful that we serve a mighty God that hears and answers our prayers, and cares for our every need. It is exciting to serve God! Being a Christian is the best life.
Today I will talk about two very different topics, one more exciting than the other. But first I would like to share with you a few interesting facts about the life span of a few different animals.
- A house mouse lives about two years.
- A cheetah lives about 10 years.
- The average age of a dog is about 13 years.
- A horse lives about 25 years.
- An elephant can live 50 years or more.
- A Galapagos Tortoise can live about one hundred years.
- A Bonehead Whale can live over two hundred years.
How long is the span of a human life? Do you know that studies show on average a human being can live about 75-79 years? But I believe that human life was created to exist forever. Not the physical body but the soul which will live forever. Our soul was created to live either with God in heaven or away from God in hell.
How would you answer someone who asks you, ” Where are you spending forever?” This is one of the most important questions in life you need to know the answer to. Young people, in general, believe life will go on forever. When we are young, our bodies can run, jump, and accomplish many difficult maneuvers. It feels as though this ability will never end. But as I’ve gotten older, I find there are some things I can’t do now that I did easily when I was young. Naturally, the human body grows frailer as it ages. Do you know where you are going to spend forever? God wants us to spend forever in heaven. If I could see you and ask, “Who wants to go to heaven?” I am sure all your hands would go up. In fact, I am sure some of you would raise both hands! Everyone wants to go to heaven!
What would you do if you were planning a trip? Wouldn’t you start getting ready? Packing your things perhaps? Maybe you will put your clothes in a bag or suitcase. The point is if we want to go on a trip we need to prepare. Likewise, if we want to spend forever with God, there are some things we need to do before going. We cannot pack a bag for heaven, we won’t need the suntan lotion but there is preparation that needs to happen.
Let us read what the Bible says about preparation for heaven.
“19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
What are these verses saying to help us prepare for heaven? Jesus is telling us that it is not what we accumulate on earth that matters. The things we accumulate are not our entry into heaven. Laying up treasures on earth will not help us but instead we need to lay up spiritual treasures, things that are important to God, so we can make it to heaven.
“14 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Jesus is telling His disciples that He is going to prepare a place, and they can come too. Jesus promised them that after He is gone, they would see Him again in this place. We know heaven is a place where God is, but Jesus will be there as well.”
“55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,”
This scripture is about a young man named Stephen. Stephen was being stoned to death because he preached Jesus to the people who were around him. He died declaring his belief in Jesus and telling people the truth about the crucifixion. The scripture shows us that Stephen as he succumbed to death looked up and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. It is a beautiful thing to know that we will see our Savior Jesus in heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:1
“5 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Here the Apostle Paul is telling the Corinthians that when this earthly body passes away or goes back to the dust, we have a part of us that is not made with hands, but it is eternal. Now let us look at the beautiful way the Bible describes heaven.
“4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Heaven is a beautiful place with no tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain! Are you ready to go to heaven? Because after this life, heaven is where God wants us to join him.
Beginning this lesson, I told you there were two places I would talk about. I have already talked about the place I love most talking about — heaven. Now I am going to talk about the second place that I really don’t like to talk about at all. This place is called hell.
Did you know in the United States, less than half the people believe in hell, and close to 40% of people attending churches do not believe in hell? I was shocked to learn this because the Bible is very clear about hell.
“41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Here Jesus is talking about the end times. He was casting people into a place of eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
“13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
We have learned hell is a place where there is fire, weeping, gnashing of teeth, and the devil is there. Mathew 22:13 teaches us hell is a dark place. Every time I read about hell; I know it’s a place I don’t want to be in.
“10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
If I were to ask you this morning, “Who wants to go to this place called hell?”, I am positive I would see no hands up. Sadly, some people’s lives are not prepared for heaven, but it doesn’t need to be so, because God so beautifully made a way for each of us.
Here in America, we buy insurance. Insurance is something that protects our homes from floods, fires, and other similar situations like this. I like to use the idea of insurance to compare to salvation. Salvation protects us from hell. In essence, salvation is insurance that protects us from hell.
My favorite verse to read on this topic, and probably one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16 is God’s promise to us:
16زیرا خدا جهان را چنان محبت کرد که پسر یگانه خود را داد تا هر که به او ایمان آورد هلاک نگردد، بلکه حیات جاودانی داشته باشد.
Did you know when you give your heart to God, you are preparing to go to heaven? The place where there is no death, no sorrow, and no crying. But if you haven’t chosen God as your personal savior, there is another place prepared, and that place is hell. Where there is fire, there is weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Have you decided where you are going to spend forever?
دوم قرنتیان 6:2
“2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”
Which have you chosen? God wants you to spend eternity with Him in heaven.