Summer 2013: What Will Keep You Out of Heaven?
Publish date:
Summary: Is there something that might keep you out of heaven? Learn the shocking possibility of being lost.

In our quasi-Christian North American culture, this expectation runs rampant. But what if we’re not all going to heaven or a better place?

Jesus Himself said the road to heaven is narrow and few find it. Just recently I attended a funeral for a lady who was so turned off by religion and angry at God that, when dying of cancer, she would not even permit the hospital chaplain to visit her or let her Christian friends pray with her.

Despite all this, her family held a Christian funeral for her where we were assured that not only was she going to heaven, she was already there.

We have high expectations, but what if our expectations hinge on the choices we’re making now? What if they hinge on a choice that we as Christians aren’t even considering?

The Rich Young Ruler

In Mark 10:17-22, the rich young ruler asked Jesus the question that many of us ponder today, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus responded, “You know the commandments.…”

“ ‘Teacher,’ he [the ruler] declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’

Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ He said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.’ ”

In other words, the rich young ruler’s thinking went something like this, “I’m religious, so I should be good to go. I’m a good person, yet something doesn’t seem right.”

Abram's Example

Abram, like the rich young ruler, also had everything. He was wealthy and successful. He lived in the most developed part of the world. Archaeologists tell us that he may have even lived in a two-storey home with indoor plumbing. His wife, Sarai, was so beautiful that two kings wanted her (Genesis 12:14; 20:1).

In addition, Abram had servants to spare. He lacked only one thing, a son. Despite his success, he was childless in a culture that valued children (especially a male heir) higher
than anything else. It was precisely on this point that God tried him.

God said, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you” (Genesis 12:1-2).

Decades passed and Abram had followed God’s instructions, but God appeared to not be fulfilling His promise. On several occasions, Abram attempted to accomplish God’s promises on his own. He considered adopting his most trusted servant, Eleazar, but God stepped in and said, “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir” (Genesis 15:4).

Later, Abram even agreed with Sarai’s plan that corresponded with the culture of the time and took Hagar, Sarai’s servant, as a concubine so that he could have children with her, a form of surrogate parenthood. Hagar became pregnant and their son, Ishmael, was born.

Fruit of the Promise

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him and changed his name to Abraham. Genesis 17:15-18 tells us that God told him, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.“

“Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’ And Abraham said to God, ‘If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!’ ”

God always keeps His promises, and sure enough, Sarah and Abraham had their son Isaac right on schedule, born to a mother incapable of bearing children and to a father who never thought the day would come.

Several years later, God again came to Abraham. He asked him to do something we in our culture can’t understand, but which Abraham could. The pagan culture he grew up in sacrificed children to the gods. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:2).

Years before, Ishmael and Hagar had left because of the fighting and jealousy between Sarah and Hagar, and now God wanted Abraham to give Him his only remaining child, the only child he and Sarah had, the child of God’s promise. Abraham obeyed.

Parting company with his servants before he and Isaac climbed the mountain where Isaac was to die, Abraham told them, “We will go and we will return.” On the mountain top, they built an altar, the wood was placed on it, and Isaac voluntarily became the sacrifice.

When Abraham raised his hand to slay his son, God intervened. “ ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ He said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son’ ” (Genesis 22:12).

Abraham expected God to bring Isaac back to life (see Hebrews 11:19). He didn’t know exactly what was going to happen or how it would unfold. All he knew was that Isaac would be alive when it was over. Abraham believed God would make it all work out.

Is it possible that the events in Abraham’s life were designed by God to lead up to this point? Abraham had one crucial lesson to learn, and we are no different. Abraham was successful by human standards on his own before he chose to follow God on the long journey.

He only lacked one thing. Abraham desperately wanted a son. It was the one thing he desired most, and yet he was completely incapable of acquiring it on his own.

By human standards, we too can be successful without following God. However, there is one thing none of us can do. We cannot produce a character like God’s. Just as it was impossible for Sarah to have a baby in her old age, it is fundamentally impossible for us to change our nature (see Jeremiah 13:23).

A Subtle Deception

The delusion of religion is that it lowers the standard of what God’s character is actually like. (Note the contrast between the religion of the religious elite in Jesus’ day, and the exalted walk to which Jesus called them in Matthew 5.) And then, after having lowered the standard, the delusion leads us to believe we can make it on our own.

The undertone of most religions is that you cannot even get to God or the gods until you first become good. Herein lies the failure of religion and the subtle deception many Christians find themselves laboring under.

Abraham desired to have a son and had the will and determination to make it happen at any and all costs. He even wished God could be satisfied with Ishmael. We may have the desire to be good, and may even try everything to achieve it. Recognizing that even our best efforts fall short, we hope God can be satisfied with less than perfect.

The root of this deceptive thinking is unbelief. We simply do not believe that God can do what He says He will do. It is this unbelief that causes us to make choices we think will make us “better” faster.

Unbelief will even make things opposed to God’s clear instructions appear logical—like taking a second wife to have a child. Unbelief is what keeps us out of heaven.

Christ will Lead Us

How do I know if I believe or not? If my opinions and views don’t agree with God’s Word and I default back to my personal views and opinions, I’m an unbeliever.

What must I do to be saved if I find myself an unbeliever? I must let go of all my baggage, ideas, and opinions in order to follow Christ.

He will lead me on a journey that will end with a mountain top realization that despite all the odds and impossibilities: Jehovah Jireh—”The LORD Will Provide.”

Do not worry about your imperfections. Worry about what path you are on. Jesus bids you, “Come and follow Me” (Matt. 4:19). And you can be “certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).

It’ s a lot more frightening to follow God into the unknown than it is to be religious, but the results are infinitely better. Heaven is not for everyone. It is only for those who believe God can do anything, and then demonstrate this belief by following Him anywhere He leads.

These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4).

Science Deceptions
Media Deceptions
Spiritual Deceptions
A Basis for Conflict
Is there evidence for Creation science? How does it compare to evolution? The following articles give insight in to these questions and more.
Conforming Under Pressure Evolution Is Not Science—It's Religion Creation and Evolution: Is Compromise Possible? How Can We See Stars That Are Billions Of Light Years Away? Understanding the Creation Week The Rise of Evolutionary Thinking Geocentricity: It's Time to Face the Facts Earth's History: Conflicting Paradigms Lamarck Proposes Natural Selection Where did the Universe Come From? Age Of The Earth Evidence for a Young Universe Is Carbon-Dating Accurate? Flood Chronology
Evidence in Stone
Can we understand the age of the earth by the rocks? What theory does the evidence support?
Soft Rock Evidence for Rapid Washout
The Fossil Record
What does the fossil record show us? Is it all random or a defined science that we can understand? Where does evolution fit? Uncover mysteries in the history of the Earth.
Evolution of the Horse Evolutionary Sequences Order in the Fossil Record Explosive Evolution Fossils prove a Flood Fossil Footprints Dinosaurs and the Flood Petrified Trees The Biblical Flood Reasons For Extinction Fossil Reefs The Post-Flood World Human Evolution
Genes of Genesis
As we study the genome, the molecule, and the atom, we see a vast network of intricate systems beyond our understanding. Were these systems really formed by chance?
Built-in Variation in the Gene Pool Why So Many Species - Glossary Is the Gastraea Hypothesis Viable? Mechanisms For Variation Creating Life in a Test Tube? Post-Flood Distribution Answering Questions "Species" versus "Kind" Molecules That Began Life Natural Selection Reproductive Exchange Natural Selection as a Creative Force Transposable Elements Recombination of Chromosomes The Evidence of Things Not Seen Ernst Haeckel's Theories Dinosaur Extinction and Global Catastrophe Variation and Classification Jesus Christ—All Things Become New Why So Many Species? Evolution: Miracle of Miracles Is The Grand Canyon Proof of Noah's Flood? Spiders and the Creative Genius of God Things That Negate Evolution: Snake Legs Wrong Assumptions in C-14 Dating Methods Rapid Cave Formation The Australian Problem Synesthesia: Mystery of God’s Creation
Creation to Restoration
How did this world change from the perfection depicted in Genesis to a world full of thorns, thistles, parasites, and death? If God made everything perfect, how could it have all been so changed?
A Good World Gone Bad An Imperfect Planet Evidence For Design Evidence For Transformation Rapid Transformation Clean and Unclean: The History of the Human Diet The Dawn Chorus and Life Forces
Archaeology and the Bible
Archaeology and prophecy have proven the Bible to be true. But what's so special about the Bible that makes it a point of so much controversy?
Tyre and the Bible Archaeology Confirms the Bible Petra and the Bible Egypt and the Bible Babylon and the Bible The Lost Books of the Bible
Crossing Musical Boundaries
Music is a powerful emotional motivator that crosses cultural and language barriers. Its message can be understood by every culture and people across the planet.
The Philosophers Talk Music Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Christianity The Beat The Pursuit of Pleasure Music and Worship The Rave Can You Feel the Music? Whose Music? The Bible and Rock Music: Are they Compatible? The Ear The Last Great Contest – Worship Classical Music Therapy Music and the Frontal Lobe From the Horse's Mouth: The Rock Industry Condemns Itself
Hollywood and the Movies
What is the system of worship found most often in our society? Does it glorify God?
Hollywood's History Gnostic Themes in the Movies Hollywood and Gnosticism
Brain Closed—Please Come Again
Research has shown that our sensitivity to stimuli reduces itself yearly by about 1%. Is your brain hibernating?
The Dangers of Television
Beware of the television's abilities to hypnotize, alter moods, and even cause depression.
Violence and Video Games
Like music and movies, video games are addictive and can cause behavioral problems.
The Origins of Halloween
What is the origin behind this popular festival celebrated every October 31?
Introduction to the Reformation
What started the Protestant Reformation? Was the Reformation a success? Does it still matter today?
The Pope Claims to be God on Earth
Read proof that throughout the Roman Church's history, the Papacy has often claimed that the Pope is divine.
The Bloody History of Papal Rome - A Timeline
The oppression of Protestants is widespread and consistent throughout history.
The Bloody History of Papal Rome - Quotes
It was once written in America's oldest Catholic newspaper, the Boston Pilot, that "No good government can exist without religion, and there can be no religion without an Inquisition, which is wisely designed for the promotion and protection of the true faith.”

Read several authors' thoughts on papal Rome's history.
Catholic Councils
What happened at the Council of Trent? The First Vatican Council The Second Vatican Council
The Jesuits
Learn what people throughout history have had to say on the reputation, history, and political nature of the Jesuit Order.
An Introduction to the Jesuits Jesuits and the Hippie Movement Ignatius of Loyola and Martin Luther "Caring" and a New Morality Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises Ignatius Loyola and Spiritual Formation Protestantism Destroyed The Jesuit Superior General
Cross and Crown
This book "Cross and Crown" is a powerful and thrilling recital of the most romantic and dramatic incidents in history to be found on record, told in the simplest, most graphic, and entertaining form.
The Aggressive Intentions of the Papacy
The historian Ranke says this about Protestant-Catholic relations: "In the year 1617, everything betokened a decisive conflict between them. The Catholic party appears to have felt itself the superior. At all events it was the first to take up arms."

This article highlights quotes from historical and Catholic sources proving the Papacy's aggressive nature.
Christianity and Violence
Would the world be a safer place without Christian fundamentalism?
Stories of the Reformation
Dive into history to uncover the remarkable stories of faith and passion in early Protestantism.
An Italian mystic. A minister to a British king. An Augustine monk. A Swiss farmer's boy. What do these men have in common? They were used by God in powerful ways to bring about the Protestant Reformation. Enter into the lives of these ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Inspiration for these articles comes from Gideon and Hilda Hagstoz' Heroes of the Reformation
John Laski Jerome of Prague John Wycliffe Louis De Berquin Gaspard De Coligny Philipp Melanchthon
Religious Doublespeak
Language can be used to communicate both truth and lies. Learn about the religious doublespeak being used to pull the wool over the eyes of the world.
Hegelian Thinking and World Politics
Hegelian dialectic thinking is applied in many situations in world politics. Often the ordinary people are used as pawns in the game of Hegelian psychology played by those who pull the strings of world control.
The Great Controversy
Read this classic work by Ellen G. White.
The Destruction of Jerusalem Persecution in the First Centuries An Era of Spiritual Darkness The Waldenses John Wycliffe Huss and Jerome Luther's Separation From Rome Luther Before the Diet The Swiss Reformer Progress of Reform in Germany Protest of the Princes The French Reformation The Netherlands and Scandinavia Later English Reformers The Bible and the French Revolution The Pilgrim Fathers Heralds of the Morning An American Reformer Light Through Darkness A Great Religious Awakening A Warning Rejected Prophecies Fulfilled What is the Sanctuary? In the Holy of Holies God's Law Immutable A Work of Reform Modern Revivals Facing Life's Record The Origin of Evil Enmity Between Man and Satan Agency of Evil Spirits Snares of Satan The First Great Deception Can Our Dead Speak to Us? Liberty of Conscience Threatened The Impending Conflict The Scriptures a Safeguard The Final Warning The Time of Trouble God's People Delivered Desolation of the Earth The Controversy Ended
Who is Jesus?
Is Jesus really who He says He is?
Did Jesus Ever Exist? Was Jesus the Messiah? Is Jesus God? Jesus: The Mercy Seat Is What Christianity Teaches True? The Godhead and the One True God Movement Why Did Jesus Have To Die? Six Purposes for Christ's Life and Death on Earth The 70-Week Prophecy What Day Did Jesus Die? Jesus, the Recycled Redeemer Names of Christ in Revelation
How will Christ return, and what will it mean for His people?
The First Beast—Comparing Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 Revelation Identifies End-Time Babylon Identifying the Antichrist The Second Beast of Revelation 13 The Final Confederacy Walking Through Daniel The Seven Plagues Walking through Revelation
Religious Trends
What are the trends in the religious world today? Sun Worship, The UN and the One World Religion, Eastern Mysticism and Spiritism... Just what do all these things mean in light of Bible prophecy?
Sun Worship Babylonian Religion Politics and the Papacy Paganism and Mary Wealth Redistribution The Charismatic Movement Unity at All Cost? Sustainability Spiritism throughout Religions Catholic Pentecostalism Paganism and Christmas Pentecostalism The Charismatic Movement and Spiritual Gifts Manifesting the Charismatic Spirit The New Age Movement Paganism in our Culture Secret Societies The United Nations' Global Government The History of Tongues Signs and Wonders Revival and the "Power of God" What’s So Bad about Spiritual Formation? Zionism
Most people can understand the reasoning behind nine of the Ten Commandments—don't kill, don't lie, don't steal. But what about the Sabbath Commandment? Why would God give such a law? Why should we follow it?
What is the Seventh-Day Sabbath? Creation and the Sabbath The Weekly Cycle Why Sunday? Sabbath FAQ
The Second Coming of Christ
How will Christ return, and what will it mean for His people?
Signs of The Second Coming of Christ The Second Coming of Christ Viewpoints How Christ will Return What will Happen to God's People? What will Happen to the Rejecters of God? Will there be a Secret Rapture? The Millennium of Peace
The Bible
Can the Bible be trusted to provide answers to our questions? Does it contain truth? Learn about the evidence that proves the Bible's authenticity.
Choosing the Books of the Bible Archaeology Confirms the Bible Studying Scripture Scripture is Inspired by God Testing the Gospel of Thomas Testing the Gospel of Judas The Spirit in Scripture The Lost Books of the Bible The Gospel Story Spiritual Gifts
Christian Living: Sin and Salvation
Consider the crucial points of the Christian life.
Christian Living Good God, Bad World. Why? Salvation By Faith God's Plan to Eradicate Sin The Ceremonial Feasts Pointed to Christ
Is there more to death than the fact that it is the opposite of life? What are the false doctrines involving the immortality of the soul?
Death: Understanding the Terminology A Biblical Understanding of Death The Resurrection of Lazarus Spiritism Hell and Purgatory An Immediate Afterlife? The Parable of Lazarus