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"ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR JOURNEY INTO ETERNITY?"
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. If you were to die today, would you know for certain that you would
   be with God eternally?
 
2. The Bible tells us we can know for sure - 1 Jn 5:13
   a. If it is possible to know, I'd want to know, wouldn't you?
   b. May I take a few moments of your time to share what the Bible says
      about receiving eternal life?
 
3. Before I do, let me ask you another question...
   a. Suppose you come before Jesus and He asks, "Why should I let you
      into heaven?"
   b. How would you answer Him?
 
4. Some might answer...
   a. "I kept the Ten Commandments"
   b. "I attended church regularly"
   c. "I was a good moral person"
   d. "I was a good neighbor"
   -- These and similar answers imply an understanding that salvation is
      earned
 
5. Yet the good news (gospel) of the Bible is that eternal life is a
   gift...!
   a. "...the gift of God is eternal life..." - cf. Ro 6:23
   b. As a gift, it is not something we earn or deserve!
 
[Why is eternal life a gift?  The answer lies in understanding man's
problem with sin...]
 
I. THE NEED OF GRACE
 
   A. THE BIBLE TEACHES ALL HAVE SINNED...
      1. Sin is violating the law of God - 1 Jn 3:4
      2. Sin is failing to do what is right - Ja 4:17
      -- Everyone has sinned in some way - Ro 3:23
 
   B. THE BIBLE DESCRIBES THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN...
      1. The wages of sin is death! - Ro 6:23
      2. What kind of death?  Everlasting separation from God! - cf. Re
         21:8
         a. Have you done any of these?
         b. Just a few?
      -- Even if just one sin, we are still guilty! - Ja 2:10-11
 
[While everyone is guilty of sin and deserving of death, there is hope
in...]
 
II. THE SOLUTION OF GRACE
 
   A. GOD OFFERS THE GIFT OF LIFE...
      1. In mercy God offers the gift of eternal life - Ro 6:23
      2. He does this through the death of His Son - Ro 5:8
      3. Out of love, God sent Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sins
         - 1 Jn 4:9-10
         a. On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins!
         b. Through His death, Jesus made eternal life possible!
      -- What wonderful love, what a wonderful gift!  Yet sadly...
 
   B. FEW RECEIVE THE GIFT OF LIFE...
      1. Because many will not look for it - cf. Mt 7:13-14
      2. Because many will not have done the Father's will - cf. Mt 7:
         21-23
         a. Though they may do many things in the name of Jesus
         b. Remember, doing good things does not merit eternal life
      -- Only those who do the Father's will have eternal life! - cf.
         1 Jn 2:15-17
 
[What is the Father's will that we might receive the gift of eternal
life...?]
 
III. THE RECEPTION OF GRACE
 
   A. BELIEVE IN JESUS...
      1. We must believe in Him whom God has sent - cf. Jn 6:28-29,40
      2. Believing in Christ involves more than mental consent - e.g.,
         Jn 12:42,43
      3. A faith which does not express itself in action is a death
         faith - cf. Ja 2:26
      -- How are we to express our faith in Christ?
 
   B. REPENT OF SINS...
      1. Jesus requires repentance - cf. Lk 13:3; 24:46-47
      2. True repentance is:
         a. A change of heart which will result in a change of life
         b. A change brought about by sorrow for our sins - cf. 2 Co
            7:9-11
      -- In repenting, we decide to turn from sin and turn to God!
 
   C. CONFESS FAITH IN JESUS...
      1. Together with faith, confessing Jesus leads to salvation - Ro
         10:9-10
      2. Confessing Jesus means to acknowledge Him as the Son of God
         - cf. Ac 8:37
      -- Confess Jesus before others, and He will confess us before God!
         - Mt 10:32-33
 
   D. RECEIVE CHRIST IN BAPTISM...
      1. Note first these spiritual truths:
         a. All spiritual blessings are IN Christ - Ep 1:3
         b. Salvation is IN Christ - 2 Ti 2:10
         c. There is no condemnation IN Christ - Ro 8:1
         d. Eternal life is IN Christ - 1 Jn 5:11
      2. All these blessings are IN Christ
         a. It is one thing to believe IN Jesus, quite another to get
            INTO Jesus
         b. How does one get INTO Jesus?  The same way you get into a
            coat (you put it on)
      3. We get INTO Jesus by putting Him on in baptism - cf. Ga 3:26-27
         a. As many as are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ
         b. Those not yet baptized into Christ, have not yet put on
            Christ
         c. If we have not PUT ON Christ, we are not yet IN Christ
      4. What is baptism?
         a. An immersion (burial) of the believer in water - Ac 8:35-38
         b. Administered to the penitent for the remission of sins - Ac
            2:38
         c. In which we are:
            1) Baptized into the death of Jesus - Ro 6:3
            2) Buried with Him into His death - Ro 6:4a
            3) Raised with Him that we might walk in newness of life
               - Ro 6:4b
         d. A working of God in cooperation with our faith - Co 2:11-13
            1) In which our sins our cut away (circumcised)
            2) In which we are made alive, forgiven of all sins
      -- Not a work of righteousness done to earn salvation, but an act
         of faith submitted to in order to receive God's grace and mercy
         - cf. Ti 3:5-7
 
   E. REMAIN FAITHFUL TO JESUS...
      1. Jesus expected us to learn and follow Him after baptism - Mt
         28:19-20
      2. Jesus promises the crown of life to those who remain faithful
         - Re 2:10
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. Though deserving of death because of sin...
   a. We can receive God's gift of eternal life!
   b. By expressing our faith in Christ through repentance, confession,
      and baptism!
 
2. Two examples confirm this is how God's gift of grace is extended...
   a. Peter on the day of Pentecost - Ac 2:36-42,47
   b. Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch - Ac 8:35-39
   -- Note what people were told to receive forgiveness of sins (the
      gift of eternal life)
 
3. Does this make sense...?
   a. Is there anything I have said you do not understand?
   b. Have I taught you anything other than what the Bible teaches?
 
If you are willing to place your faith in Jesus, repent of your sins,
confess your faith before others, then let these words move you to
respond in the proper way...
 
   "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
   away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Ac 22:16)
 
Yes, why wait, when you can put on Christ in baptism and prepare
yourself for your "journey into eternity"?

 

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