Archive for the ‘Bus to Hell’ category

Letter To a Friend Who Attends Church And Believes He Is Going To Heaven

August 31, 2020

male icon image Hi,

I just wanted to clarify about our chat on Wednesday.

I wasn’t attempting to judge you by what I was saying.  As we are both well past the proverbial three score and ten (70 years of age), I was only expressing concern as to whether you were going to exit in the right direction (Heaven) when your time does come. Let’s face it, for either of us that could be any day!

Think of it in terms of a little friendly loving concern, which is what it was intended to be. If I put it across badly, please accept my apologies. I’m a work in progress!

man looking at a rock formation

Photo by Tobias Bju00f8rkli on Pexels.com

Imagine I was out walking on a foggy night, and you saw me near where you knew there was a 500 foot drop over a cliff edge.  I am sure you would want to make every effort possible to warn me of the potential danger I was in, wouldn’t you?  Similarly, if there is ANY possibility that you could be heading in a dangerous direction spiritually, you likewise would surely want me to make every effort I can to let you know dangers to avoid, based on my own experience and what I’ve learned through that.  If you had terminal cancer and I had discovered a cure for cancer, would you thank me if I kept silent and you were denied the benefit?  Eternity is even more important, since our personal outcome lasts for ever.

picture of a churchFrom my own personal experience I know that a person can attend church every week, hold an office as Church Elder and be a Sunday School teacher and yet not be a Christian pursuing a personal relationship with God, as was my situation some years back. Had I died at that time I would most certainly have gone down and not up.  My Christian life was merely an outward sham, with no interest in the spiritual life of a Christian, nor did I pray or open a Bible at home from one week to the next – perhaps a clue to my non-Christian state that I somehow missed!  I had no experiential knowledge of God (as opposed to head knowledge) nor was I interested in submitting to a personal relationship with God either. I was boss of my life and that suited me fine.

The Chief Priests and Pharisees in Jesus time were experts in the scriptures. They tithed faithfully their 10 per cent, fasted twice a week and observed scrupulously every commandment as they saw it. Nevertheless they were blind to recognising Jesus as God in their midst. If church commitment, intellect and obedience to God’s commands were the standard, then they were heading for heaven, effectively home and dry. Except, as we know, they weren’t. They were proud and refused to repent, both at the teaching of John the Baptist and then Jesus.  In fact Jesus pointed out to them that Satan was effectively their Lord, not His Father in heaven.  They weren’t best pleased! So scrupulous, regular and sincere religious observance clearly doesn’t get you over the line into heaven.

On the other hand, the disciples Jesus chose were quite the opposite of the Priests and Pharisees who referred to them as “ignorant and unlearned men!”  I guess Jesus chose them because he saw  they were open and honest men, with teachable hearts. As Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Little children have simple trust in Daddy, that Daddy knows best and that what Daddy promises he will fulfil.

In the gospels, we read that that Jesus “breathed on the disciples” and said “receive the Holy Spirit.  Subsequently, on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were again filled with the Holy Spirit. Paul’s letters in the New Testament exhort us to “go on being filled with the Spirit” (the tense in the original Greek is present continuous, so not just a once only event)).  Without the Holy Spirit within, we are “running on empty” since the unregenerate human heart and spirit cannot please God.

bus going to hell  You recall I said “think of how we are all born, live and die using this example of two buses”.  We are all born on Bus Number 1. That bus is going to Hell and Satan is the driver. If we spend our life on Bus 1 and never change, we die in our sins and end up in Hell. We therefore need to change buses. The way to do this is to repent of our sins to Jesus Christ. That allows us to change to Bus Number 2, headed to Heaven and driven by Jesus. Both the Pharisees and myself were on Bus No 1 (being driven to hell), and were totally unaware that Bus No 2 even existed. Likewise I didn’t know I had to disembark and climb aboard Bus Number 2, driven by Jesus. As you know, it’s rather difficult to get off one bus and on to another without knowing it. It’s a conscious choice.

The key to changing buses is recognising the need within ourselves for personal repentance. Repentance is a fundamental change of thinking and direction as regards our propensity for sin. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit – who comes in when we truly repent – we cannot change our sin nature. Asking for forgiveness does not change us on the inside the way true repentance does.  Jesus didn’t preach “Ask for forgiveness”. His cry from the outset was “Repent of your sins!”, Repentance equates to “open heart surgery” compared to the “bandage/sticking plaster” of forgiveness. foot with bandage on it

Forgiveness doesn’t change the human heart towards God, it merely applies a temporary covering that constantly needs replacing. Forgiveness has its place, but not as a substitute for the heart surgery we all need, to change our love of our own way to love of God’s way as our number one priority in life.  This begs the question: “do we want God as the number one priority in our life, before self and even family?” God reminds us in the Book of Revelation: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline, so be earnest and repent”.  God has spoken to me a few times over the years about me getting back on track with my life. That’s part of His love relationship with us.

In summary, I’ve learned that being a Christian is not about regular church attendance and church service, and what goes with it, since if it’s only that it doesn’t change your heart towards God. The Bible says we are by nature rebels towards God, and only repentance can change that. In my case I literally got down on my knees and repented for having been Lord of my own life instead of handing that over to Jesus. As God says through Jeremiah in the Bible: “Cursed is the man who trusts in his own strength… ..  God goes on to say a couple of verses later: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.……..”  You could liken the curse and the blessing  to a hell or heaven consequence.

Repentance brings about a love relationship in your heart with the heart of God. That’s why the First Commandment commands us to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.”  That’s impossible for unregenerate human flesh to even attempt, since our flesh nature is at war with God. In my case there was no relationship, not even of the cerebral kind.  I had no idea I had to humble myself before God, despite the Bible saying “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”.  According to the First Commandment, if God is not the number one priority in our lives, then there is something wrong with our heart attitude towards Him.

Because I’m a slow learner, after realising that I was lost spiritually, it took me about a year of searching spiritual things. I then repented of going my own way and gave over my life to trust in Jesus for the future.  Effectively, I gave him control of the steering wheel of my life, and have never regretted it.

But God is a perfect gentleman and never compels us to do anything, which is why He gave us free will. So choosing him as Lord is all about our free will choice.  Someone once said: “Hell is populated by people singing the Frank Sinatra song: “I Did It MY Way”, which just about sums up our natural desire to live without Jesus interfering in how we live.

I hope the foregoing has helped to put my side of the conversation into the context it was meant to be in – a concerned and loving enquiry with your eternal future in mind. Who am I to judge anyway?

I remember someone pointing out that in John Bunyan’s book “Pilgrim’s Progress” there was a pathway leading off to hell right next to the entrance door to Heaven. So none of us are safe till we’re over the threshold! All the more reason to encourage one another on the journey.

I know there’s a lot to digest here, but feel free to come back to me on anything you like on this topic in due course.

“Why Should I Become a Christian?”

June 17, 2016

After the man had received some practical help from us, I said with a smile:”don’t forget to thank God in your prayers tonight!”

He responded in a positive way so we chatted further about God and Jesus. He actually raised the question of repentance and we discussed what repentance and faith in God meant.

I gave him a booklet called “What Is  a Real Christian?” and he read a couple of pages. He then said:”the question should be “WHY should I become a Christian?”

I gave him God’s view of sin: all sin – even theft of something from a friend – is primarily a sin against God. So God is the one you need to repent towards. Without repentance (a turning away from all known sin in your life) you will have to give an account of your sin on Judgment Day – and Jesus is the Judge. Becoming a Christian wipes the slate clean because your trust in Jesus and his ability to forgive your sin makes you a new person, hence “born again”. He had heard of “born again Christian” so I explained why we need to become born again, using the illustration of the TWO BUSES.

bus going to hell   In this illustration all of life happens on the two buses. Bus #1 is the one we are all born on. Its destination is Hell and Satan or the Devil is the driver. The Bible tells us Hell was made for the Devil and his angels (actually demons). However, if we remain on Bus#1 we are headed for Satan’s destination, whether we realise it or not. We therefore need to get off Bus #1 and on to Bus #2. Bus#2 is driven by Jesus and His destination is Heaven. All mankind is under the power of sin and only Jesus can change our sin nature. This process is known as being “born again”. When we are born again (recognise our need of the Saviour Jesus as the only one who can forgive our sin and set us free from it) we are transferred onto Bus #2 whose destination is Heaven.

He took the booklet away and said he’d read it.

 

 

 

Gospel Shared and Discipleship Encouraged

July 6, 2013

can of white lightning  A young guy aged 20 came in for food and in discussion told me he had a drink problem, having been hitting the bottle hard with horrible cheap stuff (“White Lightning”) for the last 5 years. He got alarmed when he started to get bleeding from his back passage, so has been to get help and is on tablets to curb the desire for alcohol. He was homeless and living in a tent until recently, but was now in acommodation. We chatted about faith and it became clear to me he wanted to turn his life around. I shared the gospel with him in some detail and he listened quite keenly.

He seemed to understand what I was saying as I illustrated the spiritual need for a change of direction. I shared a picture of how it’s like there are two buses, with different destinations. One is heading to Hell and Satan is the driver. Since the world  bus going to hellis under Satan’s influence, we are in a sense all born on Satan’s bus. Satan is heading to Hell, since the Bible tells us that is the destination of Satan and all his fallen angels. Hell was not designed for people, but if we remain on Satan’s bus we end up at his destination. We therefore need to get off Satan’s bus and get on the one driven by Jesus – destination Heaven. I gave him a tract called “The Missing Peace” with my email address and website details as he was leaving.

Afterwards, an older guy came in looking for “the 3 ladies I shared some of my testimony with last week”. It was not our team, but I sat him down and listened to his story. He’d been in care for 10 years as a child, had a pretty rough life and ended up on the drink for many years. He finally got saved in a church in Brighton, England, and had drifted a bit recently. He clearly still had his faith, and occasionally attended church, but his spiritual life was pretty low according to how he described it. He also shared several temptations he had experienced. He had 3 bibles, so I encouraged him to read one every day and build himself up spiritually. I prayed with him before he left.

dusty Bible with read me