Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sermon Excerpt: HEAVEN IS FOR REAL

By:  Min. Angela Lee Price
I had the tremendous opportunity to speak on Good Friday at a Seven Last Words service at Open Door Christian Church. Host pastor, Rev. Dr. Toni Hawkins did an amazing job with the program, which included a lineup of eight preaching women. Each woman spoke uniquely on her saying of Jesus from the Cross.  I spoke on second saying, and from the topic, "Heaven Is For Real."

The release of the new movie this week, "Heaven Is For Real" is stirring a lot of conversation about heaven.  In it, a young boy says heaven is for real because he had an out-of-body experience during an emergency operation, and he went there.  There was conversation, too, about heaven up on the Cross as Jesus died on Calvary between two criminals believed to be thieves.  Suddenly, one of the thieves abruptly does an about-face and stops following the crowd who mocked, scorned, and humiliated Jesus.  He asks Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom.  Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." 

The Bible says, "Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it"  (Matt. 7:13-14).  If we want to go to heaven, we need to do what this criminal did.  He made an U-turn, forsaking all, and in mustard seed- size, child-like humility began to say his A,B,Cs.  He admitted his sin, believe in Jesus alone, and confessed him as Lord and Savior.  What is faith?  FAITH is Forsaking-All-I-Trust-Him.  This repentant criminal placed faith in the person of Jesus, the power of Jesus, and the place of Jesus, His Kingdom. 

I woke up this morning still thinking about the second word, and how, even as Christians, we are all in some way like thieves when we fail to acknowledge God in all our ways, and use our gifts and talents for His glory. Jesus was merciful to the repentant thief in taking him to heaven! He died not for the righteous, but so that sinners might be saved. 
Thank you, Lord for your Son Jesus who died for my sins!!! Without a movie, a vision, nor an out-of-body experience, I know by your Holy Word that heaven is for real, and I want to spend eternity there with You in Your presence!

My husband, Bill enjoyed the program, too, particularly the ending. Leaving the sanctuary in silence in the dark spoke volumes, punctuating the significance of Good Friday. 


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