What Keeps People Out of Heaven

Since my “You and God” blog hit your “inbox” last Tuesday more than three quarters of a million babies have been born worldwide! Some “guesstimate” that of that number, ninety percent of them will live, die and go out into eternity without having embraced the faith “once delivered,” the life-saving, soul-saving gospel of Jesus Christ, the “Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Every snap of the finger more than two persons die somewhere in the world. That’s every 10 seconds that 26 people go out into eternity and of those twenty-six people 2 are Buddhists, 4 are Hindu, 5 are Muslim, 8 are secularists and 7 are Protestants. The truth is that of the 26 people who die somewhere in the world every 10 seconds, one could only hope that maybe four or five of them have truly heard the gospel presented and by faith have trusted Jesus Christ as personal Savior. His name alone, is the name whereby souls are saved. (Acts 4:12)

Many people simply have never heard a clear presentation of how to be prepared to meet God. “How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

Most of us can understand why someone who has never seen a Bible, never been inside of a church, never heard a gospel message would die and go to Hell if salvation were through Jesus alone who said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

But it is beyond understanding why men who have had every opportunity will refuse the gospel and go out into eternity with no hope. But they do and they will. What keeps people, we might ask, from going to heaven? God surely is not willing that any should perish, but that all men should come to the truth. He wants NO PERSON to be separated from Him and from Heaven eternally. He has done everything possible to keep souls out of the place, Hell, that He originally created for the Devil and his angels.  Yet men will choose Hell over Heaven.  Why?  Let me suggest a few reasons in answer to that question:

  1.   The fear of what others will say. (John 12:42,43) We are told in John’s Gospel that when many heard the message from Christ and saw His miracles, they still did not believe on him; but many others who saw and heard the same miracles and messages did believe but STILL did not confess Christ and it was “because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 12:42) Jesus had warned these people that they should not fear people who can kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; “but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.” (Matt. 10:28)

Billy Sunday, before He became a widely heard evangel for Jesus Christ, was a professional baseball player for the Chicago White Sox. He was with a group of his ball buddies one Sunday afternoon and as they emerged from a Saloon, they heard a group of people playing instruments and singing gospel hymns and testifying about how Christ could save from sin. Those songs and testimonies triggered in Sunday’s soul memories of a log cabin in Iowa, an old church and a godly mother. Tears flooded Billy Sunday’s eyes and when he could speak, he said, “Boys, I’m through! Going to turn to Jesus Christ. We’ve come to a parting of the ways.” Some of his companions mocked him while others remained speechless; only one encouraged Billy to go with God. But Sunday turned from the ball buddies and entered the Pacific Garden Rescue Mission and cast his life upon God. He would later put it this way: “I became instantly a new creature in Him.” The ballplayer became one of America’s noteworthy evangelists holding massive meetings in some of America’s largest cities as thousands joined him in turning from sin to salvation. He refused to let the fear of man keep him from faith in God.  Many however do not make that life-saving decision.

  •  The love of money. Paul warned young Timothy that “they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (I Tim.6:9) A rich young ruler once engaged Jesus about eternal issues and when Christ told the wealthy man to let go of the security of his money and material possessions, and to follow Him, “he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.” (Matt.19:22) He made a bad choice for his eternal destiny and did not go to heaven because he chose riches over righteousness. An eternally bad decision.
  •  Religion, ironically, will keep people from going to heaven. A sincere scribe, schooled in all things religious, having agreed with Jesus on matters of the Old Testament concerning what the law taught, but not confessing Jesus as Lord (Mark 12:28-34) went away having not chosen heaven, as Jesus commented, “thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven.” But as one aptly said, “To miss heaven by an inch is to miss it by an eternity.” King Agrippa would later tremble at the preaching of the apostle Paul as he said, “Almost thou persuadeth me,” but almost will not avail. People have and will miss heaven with “form over faith,” with a creed but not Christ, as a member of a church but not a member of His Body, His Church; as baptized in water but not by the Holy Spirit, as having to the inth degree all the trappings of that which is ritual but lacking that which is righteous.  This is why some will miss heaven.
  •  One more thought:  Pride will keep multitudes from missing heaven, because it will keep people from acknowledging they that are sinners and from accepting Christ, and Christ alone, apart from any good works that they can do, as Savior. “Pride goes before destruction,” and it, pride, was the original sin that caused Lucifer to lose heaven and multitudes to follow him.  Pride keeps prospective Christians from humbling themselves and becoming as “little children.”
  •  I must include just one more reason:  procrastination. In Acts 24:25, having heard a powerful appeal from Paul to accept Christ, Felix, a governor, responded, “Go thy way for this time. When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”

What is keeping you out of heaven?  Nothing I trust! But if one of the above reasons, or some other stumbling block, has kept you from believing and receiving, read Luke’s account of a rich man who missed heaven but out of Hell begged Abraham to send someone to tell his still earthbound brothers to accept God and heaven and to miss Hell.  It is a sad and sobering story. (Luke 16:19-31) Do not let anything keep you from missing heaven!

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

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