I Just Want To Go To Heaven

If you walk up to people and ask, do you want to go to heaven? In general, you’ll likely get a positive response. With that said, I want to be clear. They may not desire a relationship with God. They may not pray to God or attend worship. They may not understand what it means to be a Christian. They may not understand what the Bible says about salvation and eternal life. They may not have even read what the Bible says about heaven.  In any case, they express a desire to go to heaven when they die. But, all things considered, that shouldn’t surprise anyone if the other choice is hell, right?
 
Besides those that are ignorant about the afterlife and fearfully wish for a good ending, even some who consider themselves Christians aren’t much different. In fact, I’ve heard some say, “I just want to go to heaven.” What they mean, in many cases, is that they don’t want “going to heaven” to cost them anything and they don’t want to give up anything or change anything but in the end they just want to go to heaven. In other words, they want Jesus to save them but they don’t want Him to be Lord. You might say, they want the benefits of a relationship with Jesus without the relationship.
 
Chip and Joanna Gains are the stars of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper.”  They live in the Waco, Texas area and make their living by fixing up homes.  Chip oversees the construction part of the business and Joanna does the design and decorating.  They make a great team in transforming worn, damaged, inadequate and outdated buildings into beautiful homes. In addition to that, they often use reclaimed wood and materials and incorporate these products back into the home. The reclaimed materials may go through a planer or get a good sanding with a fresh coat of paint or stain, but nonetheless, it is reused in the renovated home. Likewise, when we find Jesus, we are worn and damaged by sin and rebellion and Jesus begins the transformation process of making us beautiful. He reclaims us by redeeming us from the slavery of sin, paid in full by the blood He spilled on the cross, and gives us life, hope and a new purpose. It is more than a fresh coat of paint or stain. It is a total overhaul starting on the inside.
 
First, I’d like to say that a relationship with Jesus is everything. Jesus, in fact, is the only way to heaven and much more.  JN 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Second, it is a privilege to know Jesus even if our relationship with him costs us everythingLK 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” Third, I’m bewildered that anyone would want to miss out on the benefits of a personal relationship with Jesus.  JN 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Fourth, I’m not sure why anyone would want to attempt to go through life without God’s help. JN 16:24 “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
 
You see my friend, when a person accepts Jesus as their Savior, Jesus is also LordRO 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. You don’t get a little bit of Jesus or just enough of Jesus so you can get your wish to go to heaven, you get all of Jesus. Similar to the type and quality of the renovations that the Gains do on a house, Jesus comes into our lives and reclaims everything and makes us new. 2 CO 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. We don’t just get the promise of heaven through faith in Christ but we get a relationship with the living God and all the benefits. In fact, Jesus reclaims us from the heap of condemnation and hopelessness and establishes us as His people. 1 PE 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
 
In case you haven’t figured it out, you can’t just “go to heaven.” It is not a resort vacation or the result of wishful thinking. Heaven is the abode of God along with all of those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Moreover, you can’t have Jesus as Savior minus His Lordship. Jesus is Savior and Lord. And as Lord, He demands His will and His way now and forever. He doesn’t use a hammer or crowbar but allows trials (James 1:2-4) so that you become complete in your faith, suffering (1 Peter 1:6-7) so that your faith will be tested and purified and discipline (Hebrews 12:7-11) so that you produce a harvest of righteousness. In fact, Jesus is doing a complete renovation project on your heart and mind as to transform you into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. 2 CO 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
 
A Work in Progress,
 
Pastor Gene

Gene StocktonComment