Heaven is NOT a Right. It is a Privilege.
Acts 13:44-52 New King James Version (NKJV)
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (all who were disposed (inclined or willing) to eternal life believed, in light of v. 46)
49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Paul continues to try to reach the Jews with the gospel. The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them until the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was only on their first mission.
Wherever they went, they proclaimed the kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached to establish faith and that men must prepare for that kingdom.
They preached repentance and forgiveness of sins, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile- for the Jews were God’s chosen people from all the people of the earth.
But now, they have rejected the gospel and Paul has been directed how to act toward them who refuse his words.
Matthew 10:14 (NKJV) And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.
As a sign of indignation, the very dust of a heathen land brought defilement with it- treat that place as a heathen land that has been polluted, possibly like grave dust.
To the Jews- theirs is no longer the kingdom of God. It has been given to those who will receive the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Jews thought that heaven was their right. A RIGHT is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by citizens or all humans from the moment of birth. As Americans, we have unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that cannot be alienated by government.
But heaven is not a right. It is a privilege. A privilege is a certain entitlement to immunity granted by an authority to a restricted group, on a conditional basis.
Heaven is a kingdom to a restricted group, ONLY those IN CHRIST, on the condition of love and obedience to Him- this is the foundation of Christianity.
Acts 4:12 (NKJV)Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The servant of Christ is an ambassador to where ever he is sent our message is to the vilest of sinners and to the most upright and seemingly moral person. We do not get to decide heaven’s citizens. All lives are at sake.
We are to pray for all and to conduct ourselves courteously to all. The whole counsel of God must be declared, and to those who will not receive this gracious message, must be shown that their state is dangerous. This should be seriously laid to the heart by all that hear the gospel.
Hebrews 2:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 Therefore we must give [a]the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just [b]reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts[c] of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
We are also directed how to act to those who refuse the whole counsel of God: “shake the dust off your feet”
What does this mean to you?
- Heaven is a real place and so is hell.
Revelation 21:4-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said [a]to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” 6 And He said to me, “It[b] is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes [c]shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
What a beautiful passage of Scripture and promise for the one who dies in Christ. Ex: Rich’s death, “tell me heaven verses” AND the opposite is true
Matthew 25:30(NKJV) And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
This phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is referenced 7 times in the NT, its a place of torment and pain, for the unrighteous ones at the conclusion of this age.
You better believe it and you better live like it, and you better share it. Why? Because #2
- Heaven is not for everyone.
The kingdom of God is Christ’s kingdom. It has restricted access. It is not a place of marshmallow clouds and riding your Harley. IF Christ is not your Lord, there is no sense in going to His kingdom. In His kingdom, He rules and reigns. There are things that will shut you out of heaven:
A continual disobedience and living in sin.
1 John 2:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God [a]is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
John tells us, that we should not sin- Two works of grace
BUT IF we should sin, we have an advocate in Jesus- there’s still hope if we fall into sin. The difference is in sin being your lifestyle.
1 John 3:6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
6 No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains [a]in communion with and in obedience to Him—deliberately, knowingly, and [b]habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].
You must crucify your flesh- here’s the problem with continual sin, it leads to you being deceived and once deceived, you harden your heart and once your heart is hardened, you can no longer receive God’s Word.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, [a]unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
You must use the gifts/talents that has been given you: In Matthew 14-25 The parable of the talents Jesus called the “unprofitable” servant, wicked and lazy or idle. It carries with it the idea of a person who has a do-nothing, lethargic, lackadaisical, apathetic, indifferent, lukewarm attitude toward life. (synonyms for lukewarm) Unprofitable means “useless”. Jesus used this parable to tell us what He expects from us- we are to use what He has given us.
Revelation 3:14-17 14 “And to the [i]angel of the church [j]of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither [k]cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
- Our first response is to Jesus, not man.
Preach the WHOLE Word and counsel of God with boldness.
Acts 24:24-25 (NKJV) And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”
THIS means you must KNOW what God’s Word says. And yes, God holds YOU responsible to do what He asks. EX: Muslim lady at Target, so faithful to a pagan God and religion. I thought, WOW. We cannot even get a Christian to show up to church. We are so afraid of what others will think about us.
Proverbs 24:11-12 (AMPC) Deliver those who are drawn away to death, and those who totter to the slaughter, hold them back [from their doom]. 12 If you [profess ignorance and] say, Behold, we did not know this, does not He Who weighs and ponders the heart perceive and consider it? And He Who guards your life, does not He know it? And shall not He render to [you and] every man according to his works?
We do not write law. This is God’s job
We do not enforce the law. This is the Spirit’s job.
We are to share what the law says and the blessings for obedience and the consequences of disobedience. We are ALL free to make a choice. BUT you are not free from the consequences of that choice. We want to be able to give someone ALL the information so they can make a wise choice.
- You better guard your heart and your salvation. Your eternity depends on it.
“shake the dust off your feet” There are people that you are to NOT be in relationship with:
Titus 3:10-11 (AMPC)10 [As for] a man who is factious [a heretical sectarian and cause of divisions], after admonishing him a first and second time, reject [him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him],11 Well aware that such a person has utterly changed (is perverted and corrupted); he goes on sinning [though he] is convicted of guilt and self-condemned.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NKJV)9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to [a]keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV) 3 But know this, that in the last days [a]perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, [b]unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (shake the dust off your feet)
I get asked this question, how do we know?? You must have discernment. Ps Steve preached on this Yes, there is a gift of discernment, but it also comes through the Word of God.
Hebrews 5:14 NKJV But solid food belongs to those who are [a]of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (exercise implies training, Gk practicing for the Roman games) Some people will train harder to run a marathon or some Tough Mudder than they will for eternity.
Hebrews 4:1(NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
A discerning person is disciplined in the Word. You will never have discernment w/o discipline.
They have applied the Word so much to their life, exercising their senses, lining up thoughts and emotions, uncovering their heart and applying and obeying the Word.
Where the Word says, “do this”, you do that, crucifying your flesh. Where it says, “Do not do this”, you do not do that. Crucifying your flesh. If you are young in the faith, it is IMPORTANT to sit under tried and true Christians. You need instruction. Baby Christians and children need instruction and training. If you are expecting them to just “figure it out” you are doing this whole parenting thing wrong. I regulated who my kids associated with at all times. Just because you said a prayer one time…..
EX: 20 items or less, your app told you, the sign told you, the lady told you.
You’ve been told. You know. Through the preaching and the Word- you are responsible. ON that day, you will not get a pass.
John 3:36 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
36 And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life. But whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the wrath of God abides on him. [God’s displeasure remains on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.]