Mark 8:36 -
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Hebrews 9:27 -
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment...
Revelation 2l:l -
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first
earth were passed away; and there was no more
What does it mean to "gain the whole world"? To each individual person it means something different. It can mean anything from a decent job, a house, a family, to owning and controlling a huge business conglomerate. The "whole world" means each individual's goals, dreams, aspirations, desires in life. You can gain the "whole world" of what you want, and wind up in eternal prison when you die. All are appointed "once to die". Meaning, everyone has all their life to make their decision.
God's mind is something we cannot fathom. First, He sets Man up for a fall in the Garden of Eden. Then He offers paradise to those who let the spirit of the God of the universe into their hearts, and eternal prison to those who don't. THE CHURCH makes this so complex. First, you must understand the death, burial, resurrection of Christ. You must understand the sin question - that sin separates you from God. You must understand that you need a Savior because of your sin. And on and on they rant and rave. Then, you must lift your hand in the sanctuary and admit that YOU ARE A SINNER. And then, you must come to the front of the church and kneel and pray, or perhaps stand and pray. AND DON'T FORGET TO PAY YOUR TITHE.
In order to drive a car it is not required to be a mechanic. A person need not understand the inner workings of an automobile before he, or she, can get a driver's license. Knowledge of the transmission, drive line, engine, etc. is not required, just rudimentary driving skills. So it is with paradise. THE CHURCH wants you to have a full understanding of all the doctrines that surround heaven. The problem is that by the time you figure it all out, it's too late - you're already dead. Then THE CHURCH rants and raves over another "lost soul". Millions of people in America refuse to come to God because the church makes it so complex. And the church loves it.
What actually is the case? There is a paradise and there is an eternal prison. GOD is a benevolent dictator. Some argue, what about Hitler and all those Jews that died in the Holocaust or what about the starving multitudes in Africa. What about your soul frying in the pit. To those who doubt, look at the accurate prediction of thermonuclear war, and etc. in Revelation. What separates Christianity from other religions is this. Buddha said, "I am a Teacher come from God." Mohammed said, "There is only one God, and Mohammed is his prophet." Jesus said, in so many words or less, "I am God."
John 8:58 -
...Before Abraham was, I AM.
John 5:l7-l8 -
But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
Daniel 7:9-l0,l3-l4 -
And I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days (the Father), and they brought him near before him. And there was given him (the Son) dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
John l0:33 -
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
Many in the American church today look down upon other nations and peoples in the world as being "on the road to hell". Matthew 8:ll-l2 -
And I say unto you that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven;
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The "children of the kingdom" today are church people. "Many shall come
from the east and west", today, refers to other nations and peoples. In
words, an individual can attend an American Christian church, sing
in the choir, pay his or her tithe regularly, attend weekly, teach a Sunday
school class, or
even be a church leader, and yet in eternity "be cast out into outer
darkness". Furthermore, a Buddhist monk living in the middle of nowhere
in Tibet, who
has never seen a Bible, can "sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and
Jacob," in the kingdom of heaven. The American church person DID NOT let
of the God of the universe into his or her heart, ever, while the Buddhist
monk living in Tibet allowed the spirit of the God of the universe to enter
or her heart. Therein spells the difference. The concept is given to
us in Revelation 3:20 -
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man (or woman) hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me.
The principal and proof that involvement in the church is not necessary for salvation is the thief on the cross. He did not have the opportunity to read a New Testament, he did not have the opportunity to attend a church, be baptized and take communion. Yet he was told, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Why? He broke all the rules. Apparently, people that do not have access to these things are still given a chance.
Coming to God is a form of blackmail. Basically, God says, "If you let me into your heart, I will let you into paradise. If you don't let me into your heart, I will lock you up forever." While God never forces anyone to come to Him, He will not tolerate those who don't. A lot of people say, "If that be the case, we don't want to have anything to do with God." God's attitude is, He doesn't care what you do.
Pilgrim's Progress tells a story of "Mr. Fearing" who, like so many, are frightened of heavenly things. They just cannot seem to understand the unseen.
Everything frightened him that he heard anybody speak of, that had but the least opposition in it. I heard that he lay roaring at the Slough of Despond for above a month together; nor durst he, for he saw several go over before him, venture, though many of them offered to lend him their hand. He would not go back again either. The Celestial City - he said he should die if he came not to it; and yet was dejected at every difficulty, and stumbled at every straw that anybody cast in his way. Well, after he lain at the Slough of Despond a great while, as I have told you, one sunshiny morning, I do not know how, he ventured, and so got over; but when he was over, he would scarcely believe it. He had, I think a Slough of Despond in his mind, a slough that he carried everywhere with him, or else he could never been as he was. So he came up to the gate, you know what I mean, that stands at the head of this way, and there also he stood a good while before he would adventure to knock. When the gate was opened, he would give back, and give place to others, and say that he was not worthy. For he got before some to the gate, yet many of them went in before him. There the poor man would stand shaking and shrinking; I dare say it would have pitied one's heart to have seen him. Nor would he go back again. At last he took the hammer that hanged on the gate in his hand, and gave a small rap or two; then one opened to him, but he shrunk back as before. He that opened, stepped out after him, and said, Thou trembling one, what wantest thou? With that he fell down to the ground. He that spoke to him wondered to see him so faint, so he said to him, Peace be to thee; up, for I have set open the door to thee; come in, for thou art blessed.
Many shrink at the thought of God.
What is required to get into paradise? John 3:l8 -
He that believeth...is not condemned.
Revelation 3:20 -
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him...
John 3:3 -
...Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 8:5l -
...If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
#l - let the spirit of the God of the universe into your heart.
John 5:29 -
And shall come forth (from the graves); they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
3 John ll -
...he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
Matthew 7:22-23 -
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out demons? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (victimize).
Isaiah 5:20 -
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
Matthew 23:l4 -
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees (religious leaders), hypocrites...ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Hebrews l0:26,29 -
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins...Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who...hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.
Jude ll -
unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain...
#2 - live by a proper moral code.
Matthew 25:34-40 -
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Luke l0:30-36 -
...A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his clothes, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest (Baptist?) that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side (late for church). And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan (Mormon?) as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?
#3 - show a little compassion to your fellow beings.
There is a reward system in eternity. I Corinthians 3:l2-l5 -
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss...
"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward," i.e. a position. If you do things for God, He will do things for you. Paradise is like a football game: a good seat costs, but to sit in the bleachers is free.
Matthew l9:28 -
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon the twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Apostles got to be judges over the twelve tribes of Israel. I Corinthians 9:24 - "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." "The prize" is the position to be obtained through faithful service.
2 Timothy 4:8 -
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day...
The "crown of righteousness" is the reward, i.e. position, obtained
by working for God, i.e. regarding God as your employer and yourself as