As a rather lengthy introduction to what I want to speak to you about today, I want to give you a fairly rapid-fire description about heaven. Jesus lived on this earth for thirty-three years, and I am going to give you thirty-three facts about heaven, the negative ones first.
Thirteen negative facts about heaven and I love every one of them. Here we go!
1. In heaven there will be no pain. Now in my work I often have to go to the hospital. I often visit people in the hospital, and sometimes I also visit them in their homes when they are sick. Many times I have visited people who are in terrible pain. Now often they are drugged up so they will not feel it quite so bad, but they still feel pretty bad. Pain. Now we could spend a long time talking just about that one that in itself. I have met many people that would love to go to heaven just for the simple fact that in heaven there is no pain. Have you ever met somebody who has endured much physical or mental pain in this world? But pain cannot exist in heaven. There is no pain there. (See Revelation 21:4.) We have thirty-two to go.
2. In heaven there is no sickness. Nobody there is ever sick. One of the things I am looking forward to about heaven is that I will never have to visit people in the hospital any more. Oh, I long for that time. I will never have to visit people who I love who are in the hospital. Why? They do not have any hospitals up there. Why? Because there is nobody sick. (See Isaiah 33:24.)
3. Another thing that happens when you have to visit people in the hospital, especially when somebody is dying, is that you meet a lot of people who are sad and crying. If you are a preacher, or an elder of the church, you have to deal with this often. But the Bible says that in heaven there is no crying. There is nobody who is crying up there. Why? Well, there is nothing to cry about up there. It says that in Revelation 21:4. There is no crying. You will never see somebody coming out of a room with tears running down their cheeks because they are sad. You will never see that. They do not have that there.
4. This is a big one. There is no loneliness in heaven. Oh, there are so many Bible texts that talk about this. The fellowship of the saints, now, that is what the church is supposed to be. The church is supposed to be a place where God's people can get together and have fellowship. Heaven is a place where there is no loneliness because there is fellowship. The redeemed have fellowship. It talks about it many places in the Bible, in Isaiah 66, Isaiah 35, at the end of Revelation and some other places. There is no loneliness.
5. There is no sadness, no sorrow. Oh, I have met people right here in Wichita and they say to me, "Pastor John, You do not understand how I feel because (and then they say something that happened to them.). You do not understand." And I have to agree, Yes, I do not understand. I know that you are very sad because of that. Probably some of you in this room do not understand what severe sadness and sorrow is because you have never been through an experience like that yet. That does not mean that you will not have one. But in heaven there is no sadness. There is no sorrow. There is nothing to be sad about or sorrowful about there. It says that in Revelation 21:4.
6. And then one of the most wonderful ones of all is also in Revelation 21:4 but it is in many other places in the Bible too. Just built down the road here, is a new mortuary. Have no noticed it? A mortuary and a crematorium, just down the road from Steps to Life. They do not have any of those in heaven either, because they do not have anybody dying up there. There is no death; so you do not ever go to a funeral and nobody ever has a badge of mourning. There is no death. Death is a terrible thing that is a result of sin. God told Adam and Eve, our first parents, "If you eat of the forbidden tree, you will die." And they ate of the tree and they died and their children died and everybody has died down to the present time. There have been two exceptions and that is all. But in heaven you will never go to a funeral. You will never see anybody die. Now several people in this room have never actually seen somebody die. I am not wishing that upon you if you have never seen it. Some of us have seen it more than once. But in heaven you will never see anybody die, because nobody will die. You will never go to a funeral. They do not have any mortuaries and they do not have any cemeteries.
7. And then in Isaiah 65 it talks about something else in heaven. It tells us that there is going to be no more trouble. Have you ever been in trouble? Several years ago I developed a very great distaste for a certain expression when different people get in trouble and I still have that same distaste. It is a very common one. I saw people getting in trouble and I saw other people say, "Well, I am sorry that they are in trouble but it is their own fault." We are kind of a hard-hearted bunch down here in this world. Listen, friend, if somebody is in trouble, you are not going to help them get out of the trouble just by telling them that it is their own fault--even if it is. Do you know that many of the people whom Jesus healed were sick, and it was their own fault that they were sick? Did you know that? It was their own fault that they were sick. What if Jesus had said, "It is too bad you are sick but it is your own fault." That would have been the truth. But, oh, friend, Jesus likes to help people even when it is their own fault, even when it is their own fault that they got in trouble. But when you are in heaven, nobody will be in trouble because it says in Isaiah 65 there is no trouble. Nobody going bankrupt, there is nobody who cannot pay their taxes, there is nobody who does not have enough clothes, there is nobody who does not have enough to eat. All the different kinds of troubles you can think of, having trouble in the family, there is just no trouble up there. Do you like that idea? I love it.
8. Isaiah 60. In heaven there is no violence. We live today in a very violent world. We have both mental and physical violence to deal with. And by the way, if we are Christians, we are to overcome those things. Some of the disciples had very violent temperaments when they first met Jesus. But after they were around Jesus for a while, they started changing. If we study the life of Jesus and meditate upon His life, it will change us, too. As Christians, in the church, we are never, ever to be violent with each other. I am not talking about clubbing somebody over the head, I am talking about the way we talk and the way we act toward each other, the way we think and the way we feel toward each other. We are to overcome all violence. In heaven there is no violence. Nobody ever deals with somebody else in a violent way. Nobody ever picks somebody up and shakes him. Have you ever seen a parent do that to a child? Just pick them up and shake them! I do not know what they are shaking in or out, but they do not do that in heaven. No violence up there. Nobody pulling on somebody's ears, kicking, saying harsh things. They do not have any of that up there.
9. Now some people cannot relate to this one but to some people it is one of the most wonderful things in the world. In heaven there is no war. War is one of the most awful effects of sin, in my opinion. Now it is not the only awful effect but it is one of the most awful. We will not dwell on that, but if you have done much study of history, you know about the awfulness, the terribleness of war. In heaven there is no war. The text is Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 60.
10. There is no strife or discord in heaven. No strife or discord. Do you like that idea? There is nobody in a debate, in an argument, in a verbal fight. That is so common in this world, even husbands and wives do that, do they not? They get into a verbal fight. They may not hit each other, but they get into a verbal fight. That is strife and discord. They do not have strife and discord up in heaven. It gives us something to think about if we want to go up there. We have some getting ready to do.
11. Isaiah 54. In heaven there is no censuring. Do you know what censuring is? It is when somebody is finding fault with somebody else. What we almost always do, I hear it so often, we say, "But it is true. It is true." Did you know, friend, that there were many things that were true that Jesus did not say? Did you know that? There is no censuring up in heaven.
12. Psalm 45 is the text for this one. In heaven there are no unloving words, no unkind words, no unloving words. Would you like to be in a place like that?
13. And then another that is most wonderful. This is also Psalm 45. In heaven there is no sin, There is no sin.
Well, we went over thirteen negative things that there are not going to be in heaven and every single one of them is wonderful is it not? But let us look at about twenty positive things that are going to be in heaven.
1. In heaven there is harmony. Would you like to be in a place where everybody is in harmony with everybody else? Everybody is a friend of everybody else. There, all are friends. There is harmony there. There are many, many texts on that one. (See Isaiah 35, 1 Corinthians 13, and Isaiah 60.)
2. In heaven there is peace. Not just an external peace like we have down here. You know that right now we are negotiating. We try to negotiate peace. But in heaven they have the kind of peace that is on the inside. They do not have to negotiate. They already have it. It is on the inside. See, true peace that God gives is in your heart and everybody has it so they do not have to negotiate to get the peace. They already have peace. They have peace inside and they are at peace with each other and at peace with the Lord.
3. One of the awful things that we meet in this world is people who are unfulfilled. In their hearts they want somebody to love, to be in sympathy with, to have fellowship with and they do not have it. But in heaven the loves and sympathies that God placed within the human heart are going to find sweetest and truest exercise. Oh, that is made very clear in John 17:24-26. Jesus prayed to His Father. He said, "That the love that I have had with You, that You have put in My heart, that that love may be in them, the same love that there is between You and Me that it may be in them, My followers and I in them." Heaven is a place where love is constantly being expressed, given and received. So for that very reason it is a place where people are in bliss, ecstasy all the time. We cannot imagine that, can we? We cannot imagine something like that, but that is really the way it is.
4. This one is Isaiah 35. Heaven is a place where there is wonderful music. One Christian writer described it like this, she wrote that there is music there such as no mortal ear, except for those who have heard it in the visions of God, has even heard the kind of music they have up there. Do you like music? Oh, what would it be like to hear angels sing? You will get to, if you get there. There is going to be music there.
5. Heaven is a place where everybody is gentle. (See Matthew 11:28-30.) There is nothing harsh or severe there.
6. Heaven is a place where everybody is humble, and that means so much. The opposite of humility is pride. And Pride causes people to want to put on a display and to lord it over other people. But in heaven there will be nobody who is trying to lord it over you, to exercise authority on you and make you do this and make you not do that. They do not have any of that up there. Everybody is humble so everybody is free. Everybody is a law-abiding citizen so they do not have any jails there. They do not have to have armed forces to keep the peace, to keep people from breaking the law. They are gentle and humble.
7. In heaven everything is pure. Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart because they will see God." You will never have to be exposed to impure pictures, music, thoughts, words, anything impure like you live with in this world. Everything there is pure.
8. This is a hard one to describe. Let us read the text on this one. This is Isaiah 35 again. In heaven everything is joy and happiness. I do not know how to say it better than this verse. Look what it says in Isaiah 35:10. "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Does that sound wonderful? They will obtain joy and gladness. Sorrow and sighing will flee away. It will be gone forever. So it is a place of joy and happiness.
9. Another characteristic of heaven that is a favorite with many, many people, is social activity. God made both men and women to be social creatures and one of the most severe punishments that you can give to a criminal (and I have visited people in this situation and I know a little bit about it.) One of the most severe punishments you can give to a criminal is to put him in what is called solitary confinement. That means he has no contact or association with any other human being. After a while it can become like a form of mental torture. But in heaven, heaven is a place of fellowship. In fact the Bible says we will know as we are known. We will know others and they will know us. Now many of us are going to have to get reacquainted with some people. I plan to get reacquainted with Brother Andrews whom I knew in North Dakota. And the reason I will have to get reacquainted with him is because I did not get acquainted with him until he was in his eighties and I was in my twenties. In heaven he will be a young man and he will look different and I will have to get acquainted again with his appearance so I will know who he is. His voice will be the same. But heaven is a place of fellowship. People whom you knew in this world who are saved, you are going to know them up there and they are going to know you. You are not going to be going to some strange place where you do not know anybody. You will be going to a place where you will know many people and many people will know you. A place of fellowship. Is that not exciting?
10. Heaven is a place; not only a place of fellowship with each other, but it is a place where we have fellowship with God. How do we have fellowship with God? One of the ways we have fellowship with God is by worshipping Him. And in heaven--you can read this in your Bible in Isaiah 66:22, 23--it says there "From Sabbath until Sabbath." From Sabbath to Sabbath, every Sabbath the Lord says all flesh is going to gather together. They are going to have one big church and we are going to worship the Lord. Oh, especially on Sabbath I just love to think about that. In my own mind I believe it will be different than our churches down here. I believe that we will have assigned seating. Everything that God does is orderly and I believe that we will have assigned seating and that we will be associated together in families and we will be seated in our own generation with our own families and people that we know. People that we knew down here. I do not know whether the people from our generation will be in the front or the back. The Lord has not told us those things. If we are at the back, we will be able to look down, way down and see people like Adam, Noah, Enoch and Abraham sitting toward the front--if it is arranged that way. We are all going to get together and we are going to worship the Lord. Friends, we do not understand yet how wonderful worship can be. Do you know, even here right now, if you are here to worship the Lord today, do you realize that the Holy Spirit is here and He wants to bless you. He wants to if your mind and hearts are open. The Lord wants to bless you. We do not worship the Lord so that we can do something for Him; we come and worship because He wants to do something for us. The Lord wants to bless you. The Lord says, "From Sabbath to Sabbath they are going to come and worship before Me." And what is going to happen? The Lord is going to bless them all, just like the Lord would like to bless you now. When you come together on God's Holy day, the Lord meets with you and He says, "I am going to bless you." That is going to be one of the privileges in heaven. Here we worship God by faith, because of sin. We cannot see the visible presence of angels, or the Holy Spirit, or any of these things because of sin. But up there you are not going to worship by faith. You are going worship by sight. You will see the One whom you are worshipping. Oh, it is going to be wonderful. Do you not wish you could go to heaven and worship Him right now in that big group?
11. Heaven is a place where the inhabitants will be blessed. The inhabitants will be blessed, it says in Isaiah 62; they are going to call them "The holy people." They are going to call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, a city that is not forsaken. They are going to be blessed.
12. This is one for the young people especially. Sometimes when people are children or very young, they say, "Oh, heaven is a place for the grown-ups. I want to live some time later in this world so I can accomplish or achieve or get something in this world." Do you know that you will never accomplish or achieve anything in this world compared to what you will be able to achieve up there. Because heaven is a place of enterprise. What kind of enterprise? Well, what kind of enterprise do you want? It says in Isaiah 65 "They are going to build houses." Are you interested in building? It says they are going to plant vineyards. Are you interested in agriculture? What are you interested in? It is a place of enterprise. Grand and lofty enterprises will be engaged in that the people have never even imagined in this world. Actually in this world when we build buildings, we use inferior materials. This is the house of God here. It was built as a chapel, a church, but actually if you have built buildings in this world, you are aware of the fact that we build out of junk down here. Have you ever cut a piece of sheet rock? It is junk. We are not going to be building out of sheet rock up there, I will tell you. We are going to have a lot better material. Heaven is a place of enterprise. That is Isaiah 65.
13. This is for the young people especially, too. Maybe some of the older ones, too. Heaven is a place of adventure. Now some of us think that we have already had enough adventure because we have traveled so much in our life we think that when we get to heaven we will just stay home and let the other people go adventuring. But if you are interested in adventure, heaven is the place where you want to go because you will be able to travel anywhere in the universe that Jesus goes. It says in 1 Thessalonians 4 that after the resurrection, those who are raised from the graves, are going to go up in the clouds with the Lord, and we who are alive are going to be changed and then we are going to go up in the clouds. Then it says in 1 Thessalonians 4 that we are always going to be with the Lord. So we will go anywhere He goes. Anywhere in the universe! And Jesus superintends everything in the universe. So it is going to be a place of adventure. If there is somebody here who has not gotten their fill of travel, let me tell you, it is going to be a lot better than any jet plane that you go on in this world--a lot safer, too.
14. I do not know if this one will appeal most to the men or the women. Heaven is a place of beauty. It is a place of beauty. Do you like beautiful things? Do you like beautiful houses? Do you like beautiful clothes? Do you like beautiful flowers? Do you like beautiful trees? Do you like beautiful landscapes? Heaven is a place of beauty. In fact, it is so beautiful that the Bible says that in this world eye has not seen or ear heard of a place like this. When we were in India, I was asked if we would like to go see the Taj Mahal. By the time I got to India, I was so tired of traveling; I really did not care whether I went to the Taj Mahal, because it was several hours away. But heaven is a place that I want to see because it is beautiful. It is beautiful. Do you love beautiful things? Do you know what the most wonderful, beautiful thing is in heaven? It is the beauty of character. It is the beauty of character that the people have there. In Psalm 45:13 it says, "The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; Her clothing is woven with gold. She shall be brought to the king in robes of many colors." The royal daughter it is talking about here is the church. Remember a woman is a symbol of a church in Bible prophecy. This is a woman used as a symbol of a church who is all beautiful inside, beauty of character. Heaven is a place of beauty both on the inside and on the outside.
15. Now this one is one that should appeal to all of us who are older. Heaven is a place where you will have a perfect body and mind. When Jesus comes, what are you going to do with your glasses? Throw them away, as far as you can throw them. It says in 1 Corinthians 15 that we are going to be changed in the twinkling of an eye. The Lord is going to give you a new set of teeth. You cannot take your teeth out, most of you, and throw them away but the Lord is going to give you a new set of teeth. It will happen that quickly, your body will be transformed. Isaiah 35 says that the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap like a deer. You will have a perfect body and a perfect mind. Does that sound attractive to you? Do you like that idea? Now maybe if you are six years old and you think your body is perfect, maybe it does not appeal to you right now, but let me tell you that to all the older people it has great appeal. You will have a perfect body and a perfect mind.
16. This is also a wonderful one. Heaven is a place where you will be reunited with your loved ones who have died in Christ, and you will never part again. Oh, it is wonderful to think about. Do images of a number of people come to your mind? You cannot visit with them right now because they have fallen asleep in Jesus. You cannot talk with them right now, do not try! Do not try to talk to the dead, the Bible condemns it, that is very, very dangerous. But in heaven you will be able to talk to them because the Lord is going to bring us all up there together. You are going to be reunited with your loved ones who have died in Christ and you will never, ever part again. You will never, ever have to really say "good bye." Now you may be separated for a few days, different people do different things. That can happen, but you know you will never be separated more than a week because everybody is going to get together every Sabbath. So you will never really have to say goodbye.
17. This is a special one for scholars, and it might befall the rest of us, too. We might not understand how wonderful it is yet, because down here in this world sometimes we get very sick and tired of going to school and studying all the time. Even people who are brilliant. Solomon was very brilliant. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, "Reading many books is a weariness to the flesh." So even he figured out and got tired of it evidently. But in heaven you will not get tired reading and studying. It is a place where you will be able to study all the arts and sciences, whether you want to study plants, animals, astronomy, history. Oh, if you are interested in learning things, it will be the most exciting development in your life. One of the frustrating things that happened to me when I was young was that I had several different advisors who were advising me to do different things. One time a man spent a good part of a day trying to convince me that I should be a physician. Another man tried to convince me that I should become a teacher. A lady tried to convince me that I should be a musician. I had a good friend, we were both in the same class in school, we were talking about these things and he had a similar problem because there were different people who thought he should do different things. We were talking about it and he said, "You know, you cannot do all of these things because you only live one lifetime. So you cannot do all these things." Now there are a few people like Leonardo de Vinci and Albert Schweitzer who have done a lot of different things, but most of us are not going to have a half a dozen specialties or occupations in this world. Most people are not going to be a physician, a lawyer, a historian, a teacher, preacher, an auto mechanic and a farmer all at the same time. Most people just are not going to do all those things. You may enjoy them all, but you are not going to do them all because you do not have time. But in heaven you will have time. I am not a musician in this world but being a musician is one of the things that I want to be up there. I want to study music. Another thing that I want to study up there is flowers. I have a lot of things I want to study. Do you? Oh, it will provide the most wonderful opportunities for the study of what God has made and, of course, music is one of the things that God has made.
18. This is one especially for the old people. Young people cannot listen to this one because you do not understand it yet. This is just for the old people. Heaven is a place where you will always be young and full of energy. Young people do not understand what that means yet because they are young and full of energy right now. There is a difference, though, even young people have to sleep. In heaven you will not even have to sleep. You can go twenty-four hours a day if you want. You will always have energy and you will always feel young. You will always feel like it is the freshness of the morning and it is a long time before it is going to close.
19. The last two are the most wonderful of all to me. Heaven is a place of complete fulfillment. What do I mean by complete fulfillment? Well, we run into people all the time in this world who have had terrible tragedies happen to them that they cannot get over. In fact, some of them have become so sad and so grieved that they do not even know how the Lord will get them over these things. I met a lady, I have met more than one like this, and I met a lady right here in Wichita. I studied the Bible with her and her husband. Finally one afternoon I found out what was really on her heart and on her mind. Do you know what it was? She had a little baby and that baby had died and she could not get over it. Sometimes a woman in this kind of a situation wonders, "How will I ever get over this? How will I ever…?" Do you know what the Lord is going to do for people in that kind of a situation? Let me read it to you. Jeremiah 31:15, 16. It says, "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachael weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. Thus says the Lord; 'Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy." Oh, this woman is saved. Her baby is going to be given back to her some day. She is going to get it back. She is going to have it forever. It is not going to be sick or die either. It is going to grow up. So heaven is a place where the things that seem to crush you and make you feel like your whole life is just a disappointment, your whole life is just like one broken purpose. Everything is ruined. Nobody can ever make you whole again; the Lord will. He is going to give these women back their children. Oh, there is somebody else who says, "But, Pastor John, you do not understand. I never even got that far. I am living a life of loneliness I have never even had children. I wanted some but I did not have them." The Lord talks about that, too, in Isaiah 54. We will not take time to read that one, but in Isaiah 54 the Lord talks about the people in this world who are desolate and forsaken and they say, "Oh, my purpose in life, I have never ever been able to have children." There could be a hundred reasons.
Do you know what the Lord says to those people when He takes them to heaven? He says, "Listen, the person who never had any children down here, you are going to have more children up there than the people who had children down here." I have tried to do some imagining how many children these people are going to have. I do not have time to explain to you how that is going to work out. I could explain to you where the children are going to come from, but we do not need to get into that right now. But people, who have wanted to have children their whole life and never had any, are going to have more than the others in Heaven. The Bible says so. Read it yourself in Isaiah 54. It is very clear. Heaven is a place of fulfillment.
What is it that you wanted desperately down here in this world that you never got? The Lord is going to give it to you. Heaven is a place of fulfillment.
20. The last one of all, in addition to being a place of perfect satisfaction, a place where we will be constantly praising God, heaven is a place where we will be with Jesus. What is so wonderful about that? Well, what is it that gives you pleasure by being in the association or company of your father, or mother, or wife, or husband, or children? What is it that gives you pleasure in being in their society? It is because they love you. The more they love you, the more pleasurable it is to be in their society. Is that right? Jesus says, "Nobody loves anybody more than if he lay down his life for his friends." (See John 15.) What would it be like to be in His physical presence? None of us can comprehend how wonderful that is going to be. Whatever you have endured in the way of sorrow, disappointment, trouble, pain, sickness or awfulness down here, it will seem like nothing when you are with Him. You will be with Jesus. The Bible says we will always be with the Lord.
Does heaven sound like a place to which you would like to go? Do you want to go? Now in closing I have some hard questions for you because before we leave we need to face some very hard facts in the Bible. There are many texts that I have written down here but we are just going to read one.
Turn in your Bible to Luke 18:7, 8. It says, "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"
What is Jesus saying here? When He says, "When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?" What is He saying? He is saying that most of the people in the world will not be ready to meet Him. The vast majority will not be ready to go to heaven and they will not be going. They say, "Pastor John, how can that be if heaven is such a wonderful place, why does not everybody get ready to go?" Well, that is a good question. Why does not everybody get ready to go? And that is what we want to know.
Do you know why most of the world, the vast majority of the world, even most of the people that claim to be Christians, will not get ready to go and they will not go? Why? There are many texts. I have several written down here. We could read a lot more texts. We could spend the next fifteen minutes reading texts in the New Testament explaining clearly that the vast majority of the world's population will not be ready to go and they will not go, even though it is such a wonderful place and they will all want to go then.
The time is coming, friend, when every single person in Wichita will want to go. They will want to go, but they will not be going. Why? Because, like anything else that is valuable, and remember heaven is worth more than anything in this world is, you have to pay a price. Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"
The reason that the vast majority of people in the world will not be going, and they will want to go when they realize how wonderful it is--but they do not take time to read the Bible now to realize how wonderful it is--they will want to go. Then when Jesus comes they will want to go. Why will they not be going? Simple. We read it in our Scripture. They were not willing to pay the price.
Do you realize, friends, that there is a price to be paid if you are going to go to heaven? Oh, somebody says, "Pastor John, I thought that salvation was free." Well it is true that salvation does not cost any money. You do not have to pay any money to be saved. That is true. But Jesus taught, very clearly, that if you wanted to go to heaven, there was a price.
Do you remember what we read in our reading about the man who found treasure in the field? What did he do? He went and sold everything he had to get it. What about the man that was seeking for a goodly pearl? What did he do? He went and sold everything that he had to get it. What does that mean?
Oh, friend, if you want to go to heaven, you have to surrender everything you have to Jesus Christ. He has to be your Saviour from sin. You have to be obedient to Him. You have to surrender yourself to Him. Jesus said, "He that forsakes not all that he has, He cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:33.
You have to surrender everything to Him. That is what people are not willing to do. You see, people today want to go there, but they do not want to pay the price. Are you willing to pay the price? It seems one of the most awful things about our world today as I look around, as I see people all over (And actually I may meet one someday but I have never met a person yet that told me that they did not want to go to heaven. I have never met one yet.) Maybe some of you know somebody, but I have never met one. But even though they want to go, they are not willing to pay the price and nobody is going who is not willing to pay the price.
What is the price? The price of heaven is Jesus. The Jews wanted to go to heaven but they were not willing to pay the price. They were not willing to accept Him as their Saviour from sin and as the Lord of their lives.
Are you willing to pay the price? Or is heaven just a wonderful place that you are going to hear about, talk about, hope, wish and never go to? Oh, friend, it is something that you need to think through very carefully in your mind, because the Bible teaches that the great majority of people in our world are not going because they are not willing to pay the price.
Not because they cannot be saved. The way has been made so that every single person in this world can be saved. Not a single person in this room needs to be lost. But you cannot be saved unless you are willing to pay the price. Let me read to you a statement from the book, Our High Calling, 288. It says, "Many would be followers of Christ if He would come down from the cross and appear to them in such a manner as they desire. If He would come with riches and pleasure, many would receive Him gladly and would be in haste to crown Him Lord of all. If He would only lay aside His humiliation and sufferings and cry, 'If any man will come after me, let him please himself and enjoy the world and he shall be My disciple,' multitudes would believe on Him. But the blessed Jesus will come to us in no other character than the meek and lowly Crucified One. We must partake of His self-denial and suffering here if we would take the crown hereafter.... How easy would be the way to heaven if there were no self-denial or cross! How worldlings would rush in the way, and hypocrites would travel in it without number! Thank God for the cross, the self-denial. The ignominy and shame our Saviour endured for us is none too humiliating for those saved by the purchase of His blood. Heaven will indeed be cheap enough."
But does Jesus say to anybody, "If anyone will come after Me, let him please himself and enjoy the world"? That is what the devil tells people, but does Jesus say that to anybody? Notice the way Jesus put it: "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up His cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24.
"Oh," Jesus said, "if you want to follow Me, if you want to go to heaven, deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Me." What was the cross when Jesus said that? Oh, in those days, in the days of the apostles, you could lose your life for acknowledging that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, that He was the Messiah. We do not have time to explain right now why that was so.
The reason it was so was because of the kind of character that Jesus had. The Jews did not want a meek and lowly God like that. In every generation since then there has been a cross to be borne if a person wants to follow Jesus. This has been true in every generation. There was a cross in the time of John Wycliff; there was a cross in the time of John Huss; there was a cross in the time of Martin Luther; there was a cross in the time of William Miller; and there is a cross today.
Do you know what the cross is today? The cross is something to put you at variance with the world. Paul says, "The world is crucified to me and I am crucified to the world." The cross is something to put you at variance with the world. Do you know what it is that puts God's children at variance with the world today? It is the law of God, specifically the fourth commandment.
We meet so many people. They want to go to heaven, they want to be saved, they want to read the Bible until they find out about what it means to keep the law of God and then they do not want it any more. They say, "No, Jesus, I do not want to do that. I do not want to lift that cross." But, friends, there is no way to be saved without lifting your cross.
There is no crown without the cross first. The people who go to heaven are going to be people who will say, "Lord, I will live by whatever your tell me in this Book." God can depend on them. When He tells them to do something, they will do it. If He tells then not to do something, they will not do it.
By the way, as you think that through, would you want to go to heaven if it were not that way? Would you? You would ruin it, would you not? But the Lord is pleading. He is looking for people to say, "Yes, Lord, I am willing to take up the cross. I am willing to take up the cross and be different from everybody in the world in order to follow what it says in Your Book, In order to obey what You told me in Your law."
I want Jesus to be the only Lord of my life as well as my Saviour from sin. Is that what you want. Oh, friend, if that is your decision, you are not going to be in this world very much longer. The rest of the people in this world are going to be in this world for over a thousand years yet. They are going to be dead most of that time, but they are going to be here for over a thousand years yet.
But if you choose Jesus as your Lord and you say, "Yes, Lord, I will obey anything You tell me to do, I will do it. Anything You tell me not to do, I will not do it," you are not going to be in this world very much longer because in a little while you are going home. For the Christian this world is just a stopping off place, a sojourning place. Our home is up there.
Do you want to go? Do you want to make a commitment with the Lord and say, "Lord, I am surrendering my heart and everything to You? I will obey. Lord, by Your grace and power, I will obey. I will do what You tell me to do." That is the only way to go to heaven. If that is what you want to do, let us just kneel together, as many as can, and let us pray about it and ask the Lord to help us.