Bro. James Orhosere
In Matthew 16 we read,
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. (16:24‐27).
A profit and loss statement is made in verse 26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? ” The question we are asking in this lesson is “Where will it – where will you – spend eternity?” Many questions are being asked today, but none can compare with this one.
DEATH IS NOT THE END
When our bodies die, our souls live on. Long ago, Job asked, “if a man dies will he live again?” Job 14:14a. The resounding biblical answer is yes. Death is not the end.
A simple definition of death is separation. Physical death is separation of the body and the soul/spirit. “…The body without the spirit is dead” – James 2:26, See Genesis 35:18, Ecclesiastes 12:7, Luke 23:46, Acts 7:59, Revelation 6:9, 20:4.
It is interesting to consider varied proofs of life after death, but as we do so, we need to remember that the only completely reliable source of information is the bible. The bible speaks clearly on the subject: Death is not the end. It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment – Hebrews 9:27. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, when Lazarus died, he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom – Luke 16:22. Job – the same man who asked, “if a man dies,
will he live again?” – Job 14:14a later declared, “even after my skin is destroyed… I shall see God” – Job 19:26.
The question again is “where will you spend eternity?”
A Pathway We Will Travel
We all have a pathway we travel and that pathway has divine appointments – “…is appointed for men to die and after this comes judgment” – Hebrews 9:27. Even if we are not good at keeping appointments, we will keep these.
The first of these appointments is death. Some will still be alive when Christ returns, but most of us will probably die before He comes. In Ecclesiastes, it is said, “we all must die, and every living should think about this… A wise person thinks about death, but a fool thinks only about having a good time” – Ecclesiastes 7:2‐4. In the unseen world, Hades (Luke 16:19‐31), we will await the second appointment: the judgment. The bible teaches that Christ will return: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a [a]shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16, See John 14:3, 2 Peter 3:10. At that time, all the dead will be raised – John 5:28,29.
All who are raised and those still alive will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:21,52, Philippians 3:21). Then at last, we will stand before God to be judged – 2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 9:27.
The New Testament presents two vivid depictions of the judgment day: in Matthew 25:31‐46 and in Revelation 20:11‐15. Both accounts emphasize that people have only two possible destinies. All mankind will be divided into two groups: the lost and the saved. According to Matthew 25, the lost will go to the left, while the saved will go to the right. We ought to ask ourselves, “on that day, will I go to the right or to the left”.
What will determine where we will be? Each person’s destiny in “the life to come” will depend on what he or she has done in this life. In the last verse of our text, we read, “for the son of man is going to come, and will then repay every man according to his deeds” – Matthew 16:27. Paul noted that God will render to each person according to his deeds – Romans 2:6. He wrote of what will happen on “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God” – Romans 2:5‐8.
Let us reflect on Luke 16. What the rich man and Lazarus did while they were alive affected how they were treated after death. Too many are like the boy who said “I would rather be rich man while I live, and Lazarus when I die”. It does not work that way. Each person’s destiny in the world to come depends on what is done in this life.
Then again, we must not misunderstand this important truth: we do not and cannot save ourselves. We are saved by the grace of God – Ephesians 2:8‐9, Psalm 103:10. However, we decide whether or not to accept God’s grace and we do that by being obedient or disobedient to the Lord. Failure to take action on the word of God indicates that a person does not really care where he spends eternity. Who Will Be In Heaven?
The final question for us to address in this lesson is “who will be there?” In responding to that question, we must first emphasize that this will be God’s decision. Since we are not God, we cannot know another person’s heart. We do not know what opportunities an individual has had. Our responsibility is not to judge, but to reveal what God has said. Then, in the day of judgement God will make all final decisions – and He will not make any wrong ones.
That brings us to this vital question: what has God said regarding this matter? Here is a short list of those He said will be saved:
(a) Those who did His will: Jesus declared that, in the day of judgment, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will my Father who is in heaven will enter” – Matthew 7:21.
(b) Those who live faithful and godly lives. Jesus said “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” – Revelation 2:10, Revelation 21:7,8.
(c) Those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. When we become Christians, our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus – Acts 22:16. Then as we walk in the light of God’s word, the blood of continues to cleanse us of our sins – 1 John 1:7‐9. Our hope actually lies in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
(d) Those who have loved His appearing – 2 Timothy 4:8. Paul was telling Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7. The great apostle had lived to glorify God, in anticipation of receiving a crown of righteousness. However, he emphasized that this reward would be given “not only to him”, but also to all who live with a view toward seeing Jesus and spending eternity with Him.
(e) Those in heaven will be those who have a right relationship with the Lord. After declaring that He is preparing a place for us – John 14:2,3, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me”
– John 14:6. The only way to Heaven is through Christ. If we want to go there, we must accept Him and His sacrifice.
The More Important Question
People puzzle who will be in Heaven and who will not. The more important question for each person to ask is “Will I be there?” “Remember Jesus asked for what will it profit a man if he gains the world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
One truth is certain: The Lord wants us to spend eternity with Him. “The spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’. And let the one who hears say, ‘Come’. And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost (Rev.22:17).