ONLINE CHURCH BULLETIN
Heaven Is Four Steps Away From any Place on Earth
We must give Him our wills (Romans 12:2b). The mind controls the body, and the will controls the mind. We need both "will-power" and "won't power." We will say a good word; we won't backbite. We will speak the truth; we won't lie to about brothers and sisters. We will be honest and pure; we won't he, curse, and steal. We will talk about Christ; we won't be afraid to tell the world that we've been born again. Christ will give us all the power that we need to be victorious in Christ (Philippians 4:13).
Christians must first "count the cost" (Luke 14:26). God expects us to go into it with our eyes open. "A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing." Every person should determine what Christianity is going to cost him before he becomes a Christian. When the spiritual comfort zone of some would-be disciples was threatened, they walked with Him no more. Yet when Jesus asked the remainder if they would leave also, Peter jumped in with the response of a true follower. "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68-69). "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" (John 8:31). The Greek word translated "continue" is also translated "abide, dwell, remain."
If you asked a thousand people on campus or at your workplace this week, "what things are most important `to you," what answers would you get?
- •Having fun
- Within the proper context, there is nothing wrong with any of these, but any list that leaves out "Going to heaven" is foolish.
After counting the cost, Christians must then "pay the price" (Luke 14:31-32): Of course Jesus bought heaven for us with His blood (Acts 20:28), but He requires sacrifice from us. There are no free rides to heaven. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and give it to the poor, but the rich young ruler went away sorrowful. To test our commitment, let us ask some pointed questions:
- •Is my commitment great enough to bring me back tonight? Is it great enough to prompt me to visit the sick or shut-in?
•Have I "girded on the towel" of service lately?
•When was the last time 1 helped the fatherless?
- We need constant encouragement to be more committed because it is so difficult to remain dedicated in our "crooked and perverse" generation.
Rocky Marciano said, "To win takes a complete commitment of mind and body. When you can't make that commitment, they don't call you champ any more." We could paraphrase it to, To win Christ takes a complete commitment of mind and body. When you can't make that commitment, they don't call you Christian any more."
Step 4: Transmit our life into Christ's image. A butterfly is not a pretty, creature in the beginning. He does not begin with beautiful colors or even with the capability of flying. He begins as an ugly caterpillar. But then a change takes place - a transformation, a metamorphosis - and from the cocoon emerges one of the most beautiful of God's creatures.
This figure is used of a Christian who begins with ugly old habits and character and is slowly transformed into Christ's image. He has experienced a metamorphosis! Romans 12:2 says we are to be "transformed," which comes form the root metamophoo. It means to "change, transfigure, transform" This slow process is never finished in this world (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:5; Colossians 3:1-15; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17). But progress is made day-by-day (2 Peter 3:18).
The focus of a Christian is transformed. Most have seen the wonderful images from the Hubble Space Telescope. From the far reaches o e, we're able to see God's most breathtaking creations. Some may remember that the Hubble Space Telescope was not always the wonderful-machine it is today. After lots of excitement, the telescope was launched l several years ago, but the first images were blurry. The mirror had a flaw. That problem was later corrected, but at the time there was a joke making the rounds that said the only thing NASA learned from the Hubble 3 Telescope was to never name a project with a word that rhymed with "trouble." It was a huge embarrassment. A self-centered life makes everything blurry. Christ can help us move away from self and be transformed into one whose knows why he/she is in the world: to bring glory to the Savior (1 Peter 2:5, 9).
The affections of Christians are transformed: No longer do we love this world and the things of this world. Our hopes, desires, and hearts are on spiritual things and, ultimately, heaven (Philippians 3:20; 1 John 2:15). Christ is our perfect example in having affections in the right place (Luke 2:49; John 17:4, 6, 25). He never owned a house, so far as we know, and at His death He had only the clothes on His back. Yet no one else ever loved the Father so much.
David once admitted, "there is but a step between me and death" (1 Samuel 20:3). We are all a few missed heartbeats and a few untaken breaths away from that end ourselves. We are all now closer to judgment and eternity than we have ever been. Each of us is going to stand before? the judgment seat of Christ to be sentenced according to our lives (2 Corinthians 5:10). Those who hear the sweet words, "Come; enter in to the joys of thy Lord" will be those who have taken four steps toward heaven.
Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 11 (May 25, 2006), page 2