A TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO HEAVEN

A TRAVELER'S GUIDE TO HEAVENAccommodations: Arrangements for accommodations must be made in advance (John 14:2).

Passports: Persons seeking entry will not be permitted past the gates without having proper credentials and having their names registered with the ruling authority (Revelation 21:27).

Departure time: The exact date of departure has not been announced. Travelers are advised to be prepared to leave on short notice (1 Cor. 15:52).

Tickets: Your ticket was purchased by a Friend named Jesus. It should be claimed by learning the gospel, believing in Christ, confessing Jesus, repenting of sins, and having sins washed away in baptism (Romans 10:17; Matthew 10:32; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Keep its promises firmly in hand (John 5:24; Hebrews 5:8-9).

Luggage: No luggage whatsoever is needed or permitted (1Tim.6:7).

Immigration: All passengers are classified as immigrants since they are taking up permanent residence in a new country. There is no maximum quota, so all are invited to come (Hebrews 11:16; Revelation 22:17).

Air Passage: Travelers will go directly by air (1Thess.4:17).

Vaccinations: Immunizations are not required as there are no diseases there (Revelation 21:4).

Currency: Deposits may be forwarded to await passenger’s arrival. Make deposits as large as possible (Matthew 6:20-21).

Attire: A complete and appropriate new wardrobe is provided for each traveler (Isaiah 61:10).

Reservations: Booking is now open. Since departure time is unknown you should apply at once. If you delay, it may be too late (2nd Corinthians 6:2).

To learn more, please consult the Scriptures.

Arthur Pigman, adapted

DO SOMETHING GREAT

Flump_1953_640If you had a painful, life-threatening disease, what measures would you be willing to take to be cured? What if you could be guaranteed a complete removal of the disease from your body as well as a full recovery – would you be willing to do whatever was necessary to achieve this outcome? I believe any reasonable person would say “Yes, of course I would!”

We read of a man named Naaman who was a leper. Leprosy was a very terrible and painful disease that would spread through the body and often claim its victim. Naaman traveled to Israel to the house of Elisha the prophet of God to be healed of his leprosy. Elisha sent word for him to: “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” (2nd Kings 5:10).

Those instructions sound plain, simple, and easy to comply with, right? But Naaman became furious because the prophet did not heal him of his leprosy the way he had envisioned it (11). Further, he believed his rivers back home were better than all the waters of Israel. He angrily asked, “Could I not wash in them and be clean?” (12)

As he was leaving, “his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?'” (13)

So what would you be willing to do to be cleansed of sin? As much as we treasure our physical life, how much more should we value the eternal soul (Matt. 16:26)! If sin is not removed from our lives we stand eternally condemned (John 8:24; Romans 6:23). If sin is not removed on God’s terms we will spend eternity in hell rather than in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).

If God told you to do something great to have your sins forgiven and receive the eternal reward of heaven, would you not do it? Again, any reasonable person would answer, “Yes, of course I would!” Why then do so many resist the simple, clear instructions of Jesus and His apostles regarding salvation?

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

Thankfully, for Naaman’s sake he could be reasoned with, obeyed God’s instructions, and was cleansed (2nd Kings 5:14). What about you? Can you be reasoned with from the Scriptures? You are not being asked to do some great and difficult thing to be saved. You are simply being asked to obey the Lord’s instructions to be saved for all eternity (John 14:15; Hebrews 5:9). Don’t allow pride or your own thoughts to prevent your salvation!

Jesse Flowers

PRACTICING RIGHTEOUSNESS

file000125780080_640“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1st John 3:7 NASB).

This is much more meaningful than it appears at first. Our initial impression is that it’s kind of a “duh” passage: “Well, of course only people who practice righteousness are righteous!” Upon closer inspection, however, the passage becomes much more significant.

After all, one of the prevailing religious impressions in modern American society is that you don’t have to practice righteousness to be righteous. To people like this, outside the Lord’s church and even within it, grace is all that matters. They believe that this grace applies even to the so-called Christian who dedicates his life to the practice of willful sin.

Divorce and unscriptural remarriage are perfectly fine, as long as you’re willing to regret what happened and put it (and your lawful spouse) behind you. Unabashed greed and materialism are perfectly acceptable, as long as God gets His cut when the plate is passed on Sunday morning. People flock to churches where such things are tolerated, precisely because they desire a veneer of righteousness without having to change their lives.

In reality, only the one who practices righteousness is righteous. Only the one who dedicates his life to God, in word and action alike, can hope to please Him. If we believe that we can skate by on the basis of assembly lip service, we could not be more mistaken.

M.W. Bassford