We began to talk about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus inaugurated this kingdom when he came to earth and began preaching “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” We talked about that the Sovereign reign of Christ is not here yet. God’s people are to long for his coming kingdom, the time in which Jesus will return to earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords. As we wait for Jesus to return, have you ever wondered what you are supposed to do in the meantime? We are to continue spreading the good news that God’s kingdom is at hand and people need to repent and come to Jesus for salvation.
Most people would like to think that when they die they would go to a place the Scriptures called heaven. Heaven is one those topics we need the Bible to redefine our theology and misconceptions we have regarding this place everyone wants to go; we know so little about heaven because we let our ideas, presuppositions form our beliefs, rather than Scripture.
We began talking about a teaching that has also been attacked by some in the evangelical circle. The teaching of hell has been removed by some churches who professed a universal theology. (Universalism: At the end everyone will be saved) Others believe hell exists but that it won’t be eternal. We looked at what Jesus said about hell and we discovered that Hell is a real place created for the devil and his angels; we also found out that the wicked will go there. Jesus described it as an eternal place. Today we will look at other passages which will give us a better understanding about hell as portrayed in the Bible.
Today we will talk about one of the most misunderstood teachings in the Bible; hell. Most people don’t believe hell is a real place; others claim that they would not believe in a God who sends people to hell. According to Lifeway Research 60 % of Americans believe that hell is a real place but you have to be real bad to go there. 67 % of Americans believe heaven is a real place. 45% believe there are many ways to heaven. The beliefs about heaven and hell come from the Bible, but people have been making these beliefs more palatable as they continue to refuse the authority of the Bible and create their own beliefs in order to feel more comfortable. Ed Stetzer said it right. “People like to believe in a generic Christian-ish god with cafeteria doctrines”
This is why we must redefine our theology, our beliefs and in order to do so, we must go to the Scriptures. Jesus believed in hell and he spoke many times about this dreadful place.
Last week we talked about prayer. We discussed that Jesus modeled prayer and his followers were committed to it. We also learned that what most people know as the Lord’s prayer is truly a model prayer; a prayer given to his followers as a pattern or model. Prayer is not meant to be about meaningless repetitions.
Prayer is a very important discipline of a disciple of Jesus, Jesus himself modeled prayer during his earthly ministry. He taught his followers how to pray. Prayer was one of the things the first Christians were devoted or committed to (Acts 2:42)
I am sure you have heard many sermons or lessons about faith, trusting God. The Bible is filled with passages about trusting God, We all may profess to trust God but our actions don’t reflect it. Why is trusting God so hard at times? It doesn’t come naturally; it requires us to not be in control at times and most of us don’t like that. Trusting God goes against our reasoning; it goes against our comfort. Therefore it’s hard. Would you trust God even when it doesn’t make sense?
Today is what is known as Palm Sunday in our calendar. A week before Easter or Resurrection Sunday. What is significant about Palm Sunday? The story is recorded in the four gospels as the triumphant entry. The day Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem riding on a donkey; this was the day that Jesus openly identified himself to the world as the expected Messiah.
People have so many different ideas about Jesus’ identity. Today people think Jesus was a great teacher; the founder of Christianity; a Jewish rabbi. There are religious groups that have certain beliefs about Jesus. Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the arch angel; Mormons view Jesus as a god, but again everyone can become a god in their theology. They also see Jesus as Satan’s spiritual brother. For Islam, Jesus was a prophet like Muhammad.
With so many beliefs about Jesus, don’t you want to shout: Would the real Jesus please stand up?
Maybe you have heard people say that they love Jesus, but don’t like the church. There are people who think they can have a relationship with Jesus apart from his church. They would just love Jesus and believe in Jesus but don’t want anything to do with the church. Nevertheless, When we go through Scripture and study the church of Jesus Christ, we will then understand that Christ’s church matters.