Heaven isn’t for ‘good’ people – Greg Laurie –
Greg Laurie notes, ‘I don’t want to become a religious person’
A retail chain commissioned a survey by a team of psychologists to try and crack a key demographic: millennials. Their research revealed something so startling that they tested 800 more people because they thought they had made a mistake. The same answers came back, however, and researchers found an alarming picture of an increasingly lonely and lost generation. The average social media use for millennials is six-and-a half hours a day. The researchers concluded that people in this demographic have a large number of friends but an increasing sense of loneliness. Loneliness can drive you to despondency. When the lead singer of a well-known rock band committed suicide, he left a suicide note that said, “I am a lonely soul.”
Not only are we empty and not only are we lonely, but we are afraid to die. The Bible speaks of those who are held in slavery by their fear of death. Of course, death is the fear of the unknown. It has been said there are two things that are true of every person: Everyone wants to be happy, and everyone is going to die. We are all going to die one day, but I want to tell you that when you leave this earth, whenever that may be, there is a way you can know with absolute certainty that you will go to heaven.
The gospel of John, chapter 4, tells us about a woman from Samaria. We do know this much about her: She had been married and divorced five times, and she was living with a guy as well. She was trying to fill the hole in her heart with relationships with men and even with sex. She had no faith to speak of, but she had her life changed by Jesus Christ.
So when Jesus saw her one day sitting by a well at noon, he looked at her with great love and compassion. She would go there to draw water at that time of day because none of the other women wanted to have anything to do with her. She would come alone to the well, and little did she know that she had an appointment with Jesus that day.
He was waiting there for her, and he asked her for a drink of water. The woman said, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” (verse 9 NLT). Jesus answered, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (verse 10 NLT).
Jesus was using the well using as a metaphor, saying, “If you drink of this water, you will thirst again.” You could write that over many things in life. If you drink of the well of materialism, you will thirst again.
Maybe you’ve thought, “When I get this one car, I’m going to be happy.” Then you got that car. You were so excited about it. It had the new car smell. You promised yourself, “I will never eat in this car, ever.” But then you were late for work one day. You went through a drive-thru and got a burrito. While you were eating it, you dropped it. You found it three weeks later, in the process of becoming a new life-form. Then you got your first dent in the mall parking lot. Everything that is new is cool at first, including cars. But then they get older. They get dented or something else happens. That is the way it is with things.
If you drink of the well of so-called experiences, you will thirst again. The Bible says, “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6 NKJV).
Some people think, “If I could just be famous, I know I would be happy.” Would they? I read an article that pointed out there have been 21 suicides over the last decade by people who have been on reality shows. One reality show contestant said, “You go off the show and back to your job at Target or bartending, and all of a sudden you’re depressed. It’s just inevitable.” Of course. That’s because fame isn’t going to satisfy us. As comedian and actor Jim Carey said in a Sept. 10, 2017, tweet, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
If you drink of the well of religion, you will thirst again. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. Even reading the Bible doesn’t make you a Christian. There has to be a moment when you believe in Jesus. I am not a religious person. I don’t want to become a religious person. Religion, simplified, is man’s attempt to reach God. Religion effectively says, “If you do this, you will reach God one day. … If you do that, you will find inner peace. … If you do this other thing, you will find satisfaction.” It is do, do, do.
Christianity, on the other hand, is God’s attempt to reach man through Jesus Christ. It is not what we do for God. It is what God has done for us in sending his son, Jesus, to die on the cross. It is done. It is finished. And it is a gift – a gift you can reach out and accept as your own.
Conventional wisdom says that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. But here’s something that may surprise you. There are going to be some “good” people who will not make it to heaven, because no one is good enough to get there on their own. And there are some “bad” people who will be in heaven because they realized they were bad, and they called out to God for forgiveness.
Heaven isn’t for good people; heaven is for forgiven people. You must say, “God I’m sorry for my sin,” and turn from it. Your life can be changed by Jesus Christ. He is alive. He is standing at the door of your life and knocking. And he is saying that if you will hear his voice and open the door, he will come in.
No matter what you have done, don’t despair. God will forgive you of any sin you have committed – if you will ask him for his forgiveness.
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