According to the World Health Organization, over 153,000 people die each and every day. Countless souls are unaware that today their heart may stop and this could be their last day on earth. Millions die each year in an unexpected manner, unready to face eternity. Just before President Teddy Roosevelt charged up Kettle Hill in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Captain William “Buckeye” O’Neill, one of Roosevelt’s famous Rough Riders, was casually standing, puffing on a cigarette, and telling jokes to the troops. Roosevelt recounted O’Neill’s sudden and unexpected death:“The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. Bucky O’Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit … As O’Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, ‘Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you.’ O’Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, ‘Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn’t made that will kill me.’ … As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness.” (Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders (New York: Dover Publications, 2006), pp. 72-73)
The most important decision that we will ever make is where we will spend eternity, heaven or hell? The question for you is, “If you die today are you ready to go to heaven?” Everyone is on one of two roads: one leading to heaven and the other to hell. Jesus Christ described hell as a place of eternal punishment characterized by outer darkness, loneliness, despair, fire, and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus described heaven this way:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new’” (Revelation 21:3-5a)
God’s Word says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
To get an idea of how wonderfully breathtaking and exhilarating heaven will be, when God transported the apostle John to heaven the beauty was so incredibly striking that John, not once, but twice, fell on his face to worship the angel who was guiding him. On both occasions, John was rebuked and warned to worship God alone. (cf. Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9)
If you are to make it into heaven you need to make sure you are on the right road. Jesus warned:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13).
Jesus made it clear that He Himself is the only road to heaven and all other ways lead to eternal death:
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full … I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 10:9-10; 14:6).
The Bible gives us specific instructions regarding how to get on the “Jesus Road” to ensure that those who want to be saved will be with Him forever. Sometimes this is called the “Romans Road to Salvation” because the steps along the way are spelled out in the biblical book of Romans. These steps are as follows:
Step Number 1
We must acknowledge that we are sinners in need of a Savior.
Romans 3:10 – “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
God is Holy and righteous. His Word declares that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Even if we break just one of God’s commandments, it’s as though we have broken just one link in a chain that suspends us over hell and is enough to damn us forever. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).
Dear friend, each of us is guilty of breaking many of God’s laws, whether it is His commandments against idolatry, which is putting anything before God, or lying or stealing, etc. We are lawbreakers and must admit our need for forgiveness.
Step Number 2
We need to be aware that our sin separates us from God in a state of eternal death and separation from God.
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death…”
If you have a job, wages are what we earn and we are paid our owed wages at the end of the week or on our given payday. Death is what we earn because of the evil of our sins. Because God is a good judge He must punish evil. The just and righteous penalty for sin is death and this is why we all die.
Step Number 3
We must recognize God’s provision for our sin problem in sending His Son to pay our sin debt on the cross so we could be saved.
Romans 5:6-8 – “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Dear reader, are you aware that your Creator is not only all-powerful, but defined in the bible, in His essence, as love? The bible declares twice “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Because God is love, He loves you and does not want you to go to hell (2 Peter 3:9), but wants you to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). This is why Jesus died in your place on the cross!
Step Number 4
Because God loves us, and does not want us to go to hell, He calls us in His kindness to repentance.
Roman 2:4 – “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
Repentance is a change of heart and mind, which eventually leads to a change in actions. When we repent we turn from the broad road that leads to destruction to follow the narrow road of Jesus, which leads to eternal life. The result of repentance is “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Mathew 3:8) and “deeds in keeping with their repentance” (Acts 26:20). It is important to distinguish the root from the fruit. The root is repentance itself, a change of heart and mind about following Jesus. The fruit is the subsequent result of God’s gracious work in our repentant hearts, which progresses as we grow in the Lord and walk the “Jesus Road” to heaven.
Step Number 5
We must confess Jesus as our Lord and believe the gospel.
Romans 10:9-10 – “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
The term “Lord” simply means master or owner. When we confess Jesus as Lord we acknowledge that we will follow Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and as our rightful owner and master. Jesus gave a very solemn warning to His disciples about the vital importance of confessing Him as Lord:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell … Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
When we “believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead,” we recognize that it is through faith in Jesus and His glorious Gospel, which is His death for our sins and His glorious resurrection over the grave, that we are saved (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Step Number 6
We are told that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
Romans 10:13 – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
When we come to repentance and faith in Jesus, we confess Him as Lord and call upon the name of the Lord. God answers our cry of faith by applying the precious blood of Jesus to our lives and cleansing us from the sin that would otherwise damn us for eternity in hell.
Step Number 7
We are called in the book of Romans to stay on the narrow road to life and not return to the broad road to destruction.
Romans 11:20-22 – “Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.”
While Jesus promised that the road to salvation leads to eternal life, He also warned that the road would be rough, because we live in a world that is hostile to God and His followers. It is for this reason that He warned repeatedly that we must remain on the road to life to the very end if we are to inherit final salvation:
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:21-22).
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).
Dear reader, we would love to see you in heaven. Jesus paid the most horrible price through His death on the cross. He did this to keep you out of hell and to get you into heaven. It is up to you now to choose to leave the broad road that leads to hell and to get on the road less traveled that leads to the heavenly kingdom.
We encourage you to repent of sin and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior through faith in Him! If you turn to Jesus Christ and get on the narrow road that leads to life, in time we “will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” (2 Peter 1:11) and hear the blessed words of our Lord:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:23).
If you have turned to Christ, we would like to welcome you into the family of God. We encourage you to develop your relationship with God by seeking Him in prayer, reading His Word, and finding a Christ-centered, bible teaching, uncompromising church. It is important that you find other members of the body of Christ so you can be encouraged in your faith and encourage others. It is also important to develop your relationship with God through your prayer life, which hopefully just began when you called upon the name of the Lord in prayer for salvation. May the Lord richly bless you as you seek Him and live for His glory!
Pastor Joe Schimmel
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