Tag: Bible

When we Die — Do we Go Direct to Heaven or Soul Sleep

The Bible teaches us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Jesus told the thief on the cross, “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Jesus didn’t say today you will sleep. The confusion comes from the fact that sleep was often used as a term for death. For instance when Jesus spoke to the disciples about Lazarus: “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said,” Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead” (John 11:11-14).

At death, our spirit separates from our body. Our body returns to the ground and our spirit returns to its maker.

“and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

The apostle Paul said: “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23). “(I) would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Paul was not looking forward to soul sleep, he was looking forward to being with the Lord.

Without a body, there would be no need for sleep. Sleep is for our human mortal body to rejuvenate itself. The body is what requires sleep, not our spirit. The body will go into the ground and sleep, but our souls will be in heaven with the Lord (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Paul spoke of falling asleep instead of dying when he wrote to the Thessalonians.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15).

Notice in these verses, Paul says that Jesus will be bringing those that have fallen asleep with him, in other words, He will be bringing the saints that have died with Him. If He is bringing them with Him, then it is obvious that they are in heaven now and not in the grave.

In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Lazarus went immediately to heaven and the rich man went immediately to hell.

Finally, when John was given a vision of heaven, he described the Christians that were martyred as souls crying out for revenge, they definitely were not sleeping. In every reference in Revelation to human beings in Heaven, they are conscious, not sleeping. As Paul said, to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. The instant we die, we will be in heaven with Jesus! What a glorious time that will be!

Taken from the section on Heaven in “Things You Probably Learn in Church.” Things You Probably Didn’t Learn in Church is a book covering several subjects that are not usually not taught in church. Check out this book and my other books at: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B06XK4GJT1

The Significance of Christ Shedding His Bood on the Cross

It is God’s holiness and righteousness that demand that a sinless life should be given as redemption for man. There is life in the blood, and that blood has to be poured out for our sins. God is the one that requires it in order to satisfy His righteousness.

We have to believe the blood which is precious to God, is sufficient payment for our sins and God is satisfied. 

“18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

We are told that because of the cleansing power of the blood, we can boldly approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). We can approach God through His merit alone based on the work of the Lord Jesus in the shedding of His blood.  And never on our own merits or achievements, which fall miserably short of the perfection required to enter the presence of God. Your initial approach to God is made possible by the blood and only by the blood. This will never change regardless of your measure of attainment, whether you have consciously sinned or not. It is only by the precious shed blood of Christ that we can enter into the “holy of holies”, the presence of God. It is not and will never be by our own efforts or goodness. 

At the beginning of our Christian life, we are concerned with our actions more than we are with who we are. We are more distressed by what we have done than our inner being. We think if we could only change our actions, we would be more pleasing to God and would be better Christian. Therefore, we set out to change our actions and by doing so, set ourselves up for failure. The trouble is not on the outside but on the inside. It is not because we have done wrong, it is much deeper than that. It is because we are wrong and can never be right by our own efforts. Our only hope is in the blood of Christ that washes away our sins, cleanses us, and makes us as pure as new-fallen snow.

When we are walking in the light with the Lord, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. It is not just some sin, but every sin. Big sins, small sins, sins that appear to be very black, and sins that are not so black, even sins that we think can not be forgiven. Yes, all sins, conscious or unconscious, remembered or forgotten, are all included in those words: “every sin.” The blood of Christ makes us clean and God the Father is satisfied.

It is the blood that cleanses us from all sin and unrighteousness. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

What an amazing cleansing the blood does in our lives when we walk in the light with our Lord. Everything is exposed in the light. I cannot hide anything in my life, nor does God overlook anything. He has a perfect knowledge of me. He knows every tiny detail about me. He knows every thought I have. He knows my heart. And yet, because of the blood of Christ and His amazing grace, I stand in the presence of God, spotless, without blemish.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isiah 1:18).

This study is continued in my next post, “Satan’s most Strategic Weapon against YOU!”

What does it mean to be crucified with Christ?

To begin with, we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  We are sinners because we were born of Adam. It is not a matter of our behavior, but our heredity. I am not a sinner because I sin, but I sin because I am a sinner. It is not because I individually sinned that I am a sinner, but because I was in Adam when he sinned.

  Because by birth I come from Adam, therefore I am a part of him. What is more, there is absolutely nothing to change this. I cannot change myself to improve my behavior to be anything other than a part of Adam, a sinner. We derive our existence from him, and because his life became a sinful life, a sinful nature, therefore, the nature we derive from him is also sinful. Our trouble is our heredity, not our behavior. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners“ (Romans 5:19). We do not become sinners by what we have done but because of what Adam has done. This distinction is important. For instance, if I were to ask you who is a sinner? The most likely reply would be, “the person that sins.” Yes, that is true, but it is equally true that one who does not sin is also a sinner, because he is of Adam’s race. 

There are good sinners and there are bad sinners, there are moral sinners and there are immoral sinners, but they are all sinners alike and in need of redemption. We have probably all heard the question asked; how could God send this person or that person to hell when all they have ever done is good in their life? There again, it is not what they have done, but who they are. We are all from Adam’s race and we cannot change that, no more than we can change our parentage. I am a sinner because I sin, but I sin because I came from the wrong stock. I sin because I am a sinner.

What is the answer? The second half of Romans 5:19 answers this, “so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” 

How then can we cut off our sinful heredity from Adam? There is only one way. Since we were born into sin, the only way out is by death. Death is the secret of our emancipation. Romans 6:2  “We are those who have died to sin.” How can we die? Certainly not by killing ourselves. The apostle’s next statement tells us: “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Romans 6:3

“One died for all therefore all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14). When Christ was crucified, we were all crucified there with Him. The Lord Jesus died on the cross, shedding His blood to atone for our sins. Jesus chose to give His sinless life to satisfy the righteousness and holiness of God. The Scriptures never told us that we shed our blood with Christ. In His atoning work on the cross, Christ acted alone; no other could have a part. But the Lord did not die only to shed His Blood, He died that we might die also. He died as our representative. In His death, He included you and me. “Christ died, and we have been joined with him by dying too. So we will also be joined with him by rising from the dead as he did” (Romans 6:5 ESV).

We died as a race of Adam and rose as a new race. The Cross is then the mighty act of God that converts us from Adam to Christ. 

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (Romans 6:5-8). We are no longer heirs of Adam and his sinful race but are now heirs of Christ. All we need to do to receive our inheritance is to receive Jesus into our lives.

Our crucifixion can never produce the intended results by our will or by our effort, but only by accepting what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross. Romans 6:7 & 11 does not mean deliverance from sin that no longer exists, but that we are delivered from its power in our lives in increasing measure as day by day we rely on God.

It is God’s holiness and righteousness that demand that a sinless life should be given as redemption for man. There is life in the blood, and that blood has to be poured out for our sins. God is the one that requires it to satisfy His righteousness.

We have to believe the blood which is precious to God, is sufficient payment for our sins and God is satisfied because He said it was (1 Peter 18-19). 

“18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19)

It is the blood that cleanses us from all sin and unrighteousness. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

This study is continued in my next post, “The significance of Christ Shedding His Bood on the Cross.”

Our Assurance of Heaven

Jesus is the only way.

Jesus alone paid the price for our sins and redeemed us from the death that we deserve. Because He loves us, Jesus paid for our sins with his blood, he is our Redeemer, and therefore he is our only way to heaven.  Nobody else, no other so-called god, gave their lives and shed their blood for our redemption.

   “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

   “I am the door, If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (John 10:9).

Because of Christ, we will one day be with God and the other saints in heaven. A place that Jesus said is more wonderful than it is possible for us to imagine.

   “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

  Don’t rely on your good works, your church, or your religion to get you to heaven. Jesus is not only the way to heaven, but He is the ONLY way.

   You can believe in parachutes, but unless you actually put it on, it will not save you. The same is true with Jesus. Knowing that He can save you is okay, but unless you put your faith and trust in Him, you will not be saved.

Thankfully Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. He redeemed us with his blood. Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. 

“In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). 

   “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

Jesus loves you! The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, (Jesus Christ), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  A complete life, full of purpose and joy. 

Because of His love for us, Jesus died in our place so we could have a relationship with God and be with Him forever.

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God’s guarantee to us.

When you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you will be sealed by the Holy Spirit. You can be sure you will spend eternity with the Lord.

   As believers in Christ, we are sealed until He returns.   

“The Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

   “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

    “God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come…..For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:5,7).

“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” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

   We have God’s word that He has sealed us until the day of redemption. This means that God has put His personal seal upon us through the Holy Spirit. We have His protection until the day Christ returns. The devil cannot touch us, for we belong to God. He can tempt us and he can make our lives miserable at times, but he cannot take our salvation from us. We can have that assurance that we will share eternity with Jesus. 

God guarantees us that when we become a believer and seek to live for Him, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and through the Holy Spirit we will be sealed as a child of God until we are taken to heaven.

We know that the Bible is true and is of God. Whatever is written therein, we can depend on. It is the divine word of God, and you have God’s written guarantee that you will go to heaven.

Be warned, this is one area of your life that Satan will attack you over and over again. He will try to destroy your belief in a home in heaven. He will sow seeds of doubt in you. Doubts of being worthy, doubts in God’s word, doubts that God is real. Satan will use anything that will cause you to have doubts about your salvation and an eternal home. 

Not sure you are a Christian? 

You can be sure. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty. You can pray the following prayer or something similar to accept Christ as your Savior:

“Dear God,

I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.

I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died

for my sin and that you raised Him to life.

I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,

from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.

I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer and meant it, then you are a child of God. It really is that simple. 

See you in Heaven!

God’s Word – The Life Blood of the Christian

By Pastor Neil Kenyon, Salem, IN.

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. (Hebrews 4:12)

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

When I first entered the ministry, as a pastor, I had a talk with my dad who had been a preacher for many years of his life. I was wondering how I should answer the call to preach. He said, “As long as you stick to the Word of God you can’t go wrong.”

“Stick to the Word of God.” That struck a chord with me and has been a guide to me since that conversation with him in 1990.

I was saddened, therefore, when I recently read that it was suggested that the Sunday Sermon be relegated to a short devotional or addendum to the music or some sort of drama presentation. Or, that it be done away in favor of some form of entertainment!  God’s word should never be excluded (or watered down) from worship! It must be essential, and central, to the worship. Genuine, reading, and commentary of God’s Word is what confronts the listeners with nothing less than the living and active Word! Such confrontation shapes and guides individuals as The Holy Spirit opens eyes and applies the Word of God to human hearts.

Thus, like the Apostle, Paul wrote to Timothy, and as my father warned me,

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2,3,4)

The Thief on the Cross, entered Heaven with Jesus

How does the thief on the cross, fit into your theology?

As Christians, we all have our idea of how we should worship God, what we need to do to secure a place for ourselves in heaven, and what we need to do to be saved. Some of us worship very simply, while others worship very ritualistically. 

But what about the thief on the cross?  He wasn’t baptized. He never took communion. He was never confirmed. There was no speaking in tongues, no special prayers, no volunteering, and no special church clothes. He didn’t say the sinners’ prayer. He couldn’t kneel to pray. Jesus didn’t take his pain or heal his body. He was just a naked dying man on a cross that couldn’t even fold his hands to pray, yet he entered heaven along with Jesus, simply by believing. The only thing he had to offer was his belief in Jesus, that He was who He said He was, as the Scriptures show us:

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

There is nothing that we have to do before coming to Christ! There is absolutely nothing we can do to pre-qualify ourselves for Christianity. The one and only thing required of us is to believe. Many times we try to make Christianity more complicated for ourselves and others than we should. It is really very simple. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for our sins, that He rose again and is alive today; then seek His forgiveness. That is all that is required. Do that and you will be a child of God and you will secure your place in heaven. 

All God wants is for us to love Him as He loves us.

It Only Takes a Little bit of Faith

We will never behold the glory of Christ by sight in the next world if we have not in some measure beheld it by faith here in this world.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

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. (Hebrews 11:6)

The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews lists many examples of men that had great faith and the things they accomplished.

Yet, it is not the quantity of faith that saves us. A little faith is just as real faith as the person with the greatest faith. A drop of water is just as real water as the whole ocean. A spark of fire is as real fire as a whole forest fire. A sickly man is just as real of a human being as a healthy man. So it is not the measure of your faith that saves you, but the blood of Christ. We all start out with little faith, but as we grow and see the hand of God in our lives and the lives of others, our faith increases astronomically. So if your faith is small, yet you seek Christ, He will not let you perish. The weakest hands may take the gift as well as the strongest. Christ is that gift, and a little faith is all it takes to begin a journey that will lead to a life of triumphant joy in our Lord.

Earthquakes Fulfilling the Words of Jesus

Jesus said that in the last days there would be an increase in famine and earthquakes (Matthew 24:7-8).

Earthquakes have greatly increased in the last century and are increasing each year. There are now 55 earthquakes per day in the United States. The USA used to average 21 quakes of a magnitude of 3.0 or larger in its central region. In 2011 there were 134 events of that size, but in 2014, there were 659. This is a massive increase of 31 times more that were seen during the 20th century.

Before 2009, there were on the average, 2 earthquakes a year in Oklahoma of a magnitude of 3.0 or greater, last year there were 907.

Earthquakes are not only getting much more numerous but are also getting larger. Worldwide from 2007 to 2017, there were 146,635 earthquakes of 6.0 and larger.

You would think that in our modern world that famine would be a thing of the past. However, just the opposite is true. The very worst famines in history have occurred within the last century.

Jesus said, these would be the birth pains to the end. “Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” (Matthew 24:33)

The End Times Signs and Prophecy