Only Hope – Pt. 1
Religion doesn’t save you in the end.
Living a good life and doing good things doesn’t save you.
Going to church every Sunday does not save you.
All roads DO NOT lead to Heaven.
There is only ONE God.
Truth is still truth whether you choose to believe it or not.
The Bible tells the past, the present and the future and has NEVER been wrong – You can trust it.
There is still right and wrong. There is a judgment. Hell is real. Jesus is our ONLY way out.
Our spirits are eternal – we don’t just cease to exist when we die. We will either live in Heaven or in Hell for all of eternity.
Jesus Christ came to save us from Hell.
This is literally life OR death – there is no 3rd option – despite what the world tells you.
Hell is real, it isn’t a fairytale. It is not a party with your friends… You are completely alone – forever.
The Bible describes Hell as a place of eternal destruction, in the fire of a blazing furnace, in total isolation and in complete and outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched. Worst of all, once someone is there they are forever separated from God and it is too late for them.
There are no second chances.
Life was your chance.
He is the same God yesterday today and forever and as surely as we live and die we will all answer to Him one day and give an account for our lives.
This is not about religion – it’s about relationship with the God who gave us life.
God is love. He is good. He isn’t just some mean guy sitting up there in the clouds waiting to punish people for every little thing they do wrong.
However, He is also a just God and will eventually punish the guilty for their wrong doing if they don’t repent and turn to Him for the forgiveness of their sins through Jesus Christ. We are all guilty of wrongdoing – every one of us… but those who harden their heart towards the truth will eventually find the destruction of their very lives and the loss of their soul in the end.
The Bible says that those who turn to Jesus Christ will find grace, mercy and forgiveness for their sins.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.
We were planned. We are no accident. All the days of our lives were already written down before they ever happened – He thought of us ahead of time.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Before we go any further, can we trust the Bible? Here are some scriptures regarding the validity of God’s word.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
2 Peter 1:20
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.
2 Peter 1:21
For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
2 Peter 3:16
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction
Not only is the Bible God-breathed, He set it apart from all the other religions of the world, proving it’s true by telling the past, present, and the future – and it has NEVER been wrong. Only God can do that. This is how you know you can trust it.
Christ says if we choose to do God’s will, we will find out whether He’s real or not…
*Truth: You weren’t here 100 years ago and you won’t be here 100 years from now.
*You are going to die. I am going to die…. Everyone we know will either die in our lifetime or we will die in theirs.
*What happens after we die is determined while we are still alive on earth.
– Right now there are 2 roads we can choose from; when we die there will only be one road, and our life will have already chosen it for us.
Nobody is born a Christian.
It doesn’t matter if you are born into a family that goes to church every Sunday or across the world in a different religion…
If you were born into a Christian family you might say: “So I just happened to be born into the right religion out of all the other religions and places on earth? How do I know I don’t only believe it because it’s all I know? Doesn’t every religion believe that theirs is the right one?”
I have an answer for you…
The bible says that God put everyone in their times and places so that men might seek Him out. You could go to church your whole life and never really know or care about God. You might even be able to quote scriptures from memory that you learned as a kid. You may think you already know it all… However, there is a difference between head knowledge and actually believing it in your heart.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
– What we truly believe is lived out by the actions of our very lives.
You could be across the world and God call you to Him and you will find Him. The point is that no matter where you are born, if you really desire to know God and the truth you will seek Him out.
Truth will always be truth no matter where you were born, and those who seek the truth don’t stay neutral anyway – even if they are born into the right place – because truth requires action. If you can stay neutral, then you have to ask yourself whether or not you really believe God’s word in the first place.
Let’s look at the religious Pharisees in the Bible as an example. They were actually born in the right place, but they could not see Jesus for who He really was. Although they knew the Scriptures since birth, their hearts were not really for God.
Being born in the right place does not mean you will see Jesus for who he truly is… You have to seek God with all your heart in order to find Him.
Religion does not save anyone, a relationship with Jesus Christ does.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
You have to turn to God with your whole heart and pray He opens your eyes to the truth of the Gospel so that you may truly believe. Let Him into your heart as he draws you to Himself by the power of His Holy Spirit, and ask Him to help you overcome your doubt and unbelief.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
There is a HUGE warning though… There are actually those that can hear the Word of God and then the enemy comes and snatches from their hearts what they heard so that they cannot believe and be saved!
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
There are also those that hear the Word of God and receive it with JOY! But when testing comes they fall away because they have no root. (Basically, they never cared enough to spend time with God and really get to know Him.) Others can be choked by the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth… BUT then – there are those that hear, understand and produce a harvest for The Lord. (They are the ones that get it.)
Pray and ask God to give you wisdom and understanding.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Belief is not just some random expressed words of an unsure faith. Faith that is literally the absence of doubt, being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.
Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see.
In the beginning it’s normal for people to have some doubts as their faith is being tested and they are learning to persevere, but as their relationship with God grows, so does their faith.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
So where does faith come from and how do you get it? Faith comes by hearing the word and spending time with God in prayer.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
– True belief in God is also trust, and real trust is not only believing in God Himself but believing in Him enough to trust Him at His word as we live life by faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
– If we really believe it, then we will live a life of faith unto God in obedience to Jesus Christ and learn what it really means to take up our cross and follow Him. God says if we love Him we will obey what He commands.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
– Anyone who desires to know Truth will eventually find themselves at the feet of Jesus Christ because He IS Truth.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
-The way we live our life proves what we really believe.
Truth isn’t always what we want to hear either. Sometimes – in fact, a lot of times – the truth offends us because it goes against what we have been taught or what we want to believe… but that still doesn’t make it any less true.
Other religions might have some true things about them, but that does not make them the absolute truth. There cannot be more than one absolute truth anyway regarding how we all got here, where the earth came from, and what our purpose is for being alive out of nowhere.
God tells us the truth plainly so we can all come to know Him. He isn’t willing that anyone should have to perish but rather that they would come to repentance and receive the eternal life through salvation in Christ Jesus. The reason people perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:10
… They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Truth itself can only originate from God Himself because He is the author and creator of all things – including truth.
Besides, how would mankind even know what truth was supposed to be in the first place if God hadn’t have told us?
Some people don’t like the truth – but it’s still the truth either way. Not liking or not believing in truth doesn’t make it not true. It’s still something we will all face eventually – whether we like it or not.
Many world religions even have principals that actually agree with the Bible as far as doing good to others, helping those in need, etc…
However, just because they may include these things or even true historical timelines and events does not mean their doctrine is sound or that they are teaching the actual truth.
One of the most common statements people say when they are asked how they believe you get to Heaven is:
“Well I believe you just have to live a good life and do good to your fellow man.” – Sadly, this has everything to do with human efforts.
We can’t earn our way to Heaven by being “good enough.”
– We aren’t saved because we are obedient, we are obedient because we are saved.
We obey God because we love Him – not because it saves us. Our own efforts to save ourselves will never ever work.
Doing good works doesn’t save us either… It’s only through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross that we are saved and have eternal life.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
God tells us what stops the people in the world from being saved:
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
If anyone would just stop and think for a moment, they should be able to come to the rightful conclusion that ALL of these religions can’t ALL be right… There can’t actually be more than one absolute truth, as far as who who made the earth and why we are here… etc.
God actually gives us the answers we are looking for in His word, The Holy Bible, and tells us the reason we are here and what purpose He has for our lives.
For those who are into “finding themselves:” Our real identity is found only in Jesus Christ and who He made us to be.
If people would just trust in what God says about who He created them to be, this would clear up a lot of confusion regarding the identity crisis we have in the world today.
For those who just ignore God altogether and tell themselves there is no God because in their eyes, they have already become their own god: Well, they can try that, but eventually they will still have to face Him and give an account for their life and then come to the realization that they are eternally lost.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”
It’s just too late to be saved once you die. However, those people will still bow before Him at the Judgement, but the Bible says they will be cast into the lake of fire immediately afterwards.
God says that everyone – all of us – are without excuse. So whether we accept it or not, still, something inside of us knows…
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
There is also an unseen spiritual world that co-exists within our own. The Bible talks plainly about this because He wants us to be aware of and prepared for the devils schemes. The ultimate battle over sin and death was won at the cross – yes, but there is still a spiritual battle for souls here on earth.
1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms.
Yet, the primary purpose of our lives is to be focused on God and yield to His Holy Spirit.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
The world has been going astray since the beginning when He first made mankind. The Old Testament is full of stories about this. God was always sending prophets to warn the people to turn away from false gods and idols, to repent of their wrongdoing, and to turn their hearts towards God.
But most of the people rejected the loving relationship that God the Father wanted to have with them and didn’t want His truth, mercy or grace. Sadly, it eventually led to the destruction of their very lives. Today, the same is still true.