On a scale of 1 to 10, how sure are you that you're going to heaven? Can anyone really ever be sure? Don’t all religions lead to God? In this message, we look at John 14 and what The Bible has to say about the path to heaven.
About Jonathan Pokluda
I am the leader of The
Porch and one of the teaching pastors here at Watermark. I grew up on a
farm outside the small town of Cuero in South TX. I was involved in... Read more
I want to start with a question for you. Have you ever tried out for something and had to wait to find out if you got in? You're in that waiting like, "I don't know if they've accepted me. I don't know if I'm getting in." Maybe it was a date. You go on a date, and the date's over. He's like, "I'll call you," and you're like, "Okay. When? I thought I went well. Did it go well? It seemed like it went well."
Maybe you went on a date and you texted her. It's like, "Hey, I had fun. I'd love to hang out again," and you see those three dots, and then they disappear. You're like, "What's up with that?" You're waiting to find out if you've been accepted. Maybe it was applying for a college. Maybe you apply at your favorite university. You send in your application to A&M, Baylor, or maybe UT (they accept everybody), and you're waiting to find out if you got in, if you got accepted.
Maybe it was a job interview. You finish the interview… You put on your best, you did everything you could, and you leave, and it's just that waiting period. "Was I good enough? Did I say the right things? I wonder how many people they're going to take in? Am I going to get in? Will they accept me?"
I went to an interview once. It was actually for a reality show called _The Apprentice_. I don't know if you've heard of _The Apprentice_, but I tried out for this. Tryouts were in Fort Worth. My wife and I go out there… It was a while ago, a little bit before ministry (that's why I'm in ministry).
I go out there to Fort Worth, and there are thousands and thousands and thousands of people trying out. I'm like, "I don't have a shot." I go in there, and I did everything I could. I was bold and had my best suit on and was trying to get on the show. Afterward they said, "Hey, we'll let you know today if you made it."
So Monica and I went out in Fort Worth. We went to Sundance Square. We had a blast. We went and saw a movie. I remember we went to Barnes & Noble, then we went to this comedy club, and then we were hanging out for a late dinner. I say late dinner because the sun had set, and I still didn't get a call. I'm like, "I wonder if I got in."
Then at 11:55 at night…they said they'd let me know that day…they called, and they said, "You made it to the next round." I'm like, "This is crazy," because this is life changing. This is like we're going to move to New York, and I'm going to be on this show. This could be crazy for me. So I go back to the second interview (the callback), and it was in this hotel. I remember going through the same thing. This time it was on camera, and I was answering questions.
They said, "All right. We'll let you know something." They're like, "We'll call you," and I'm like, "When are you going to call me?" I just remember that waiting period thinking, "My whole life is in their hands. My whole future is in their hands. They're going to let me know what my future looks like?" I don't know if you've ever had this experience. Maybe it was a job interview. Long story short, I didn't make it past that second round. "Aw." (I know.)
I think this is how we, at some subconscious level in the back of our minds, feel about heaven. It's like, "It's this place. Can anybody really know, if you go there, what you need to do to get there? Maybe all roads lead there, or if you follow your religion well you get there. What about the person who's never heard? If I'm saved, am I always saved? Can you lose your salvation?" All of these things…_How do I know I'm going to to get to heaven?_
We're in this series _Asking for a Friend_, and tonight is _Can Anyone Really Know They're Going to Heaven?_ So much more is at stake with this question than just the uneasiness of wondering if you got a job or not or a second date or not or into a university or not. In fact, the largest belief amongst our peers is that all roads lead to heaven.
These statistics comes from _Gen iY_. It says something like, "Although 65 percent classify themselves as Christians, 43 percent said it doesn't matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons. Of all major Christian and non-Christian religious groups say, 'Many religions can lead to eternal life,' and 68 percent say 'There's more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.' 50 percent believe all people are eventually saved or accepted by God, no matter what they do." Theology called inclusivism.
We covered universalism, this idea that everyone gets there. Some people believe you just need to be good and you're good with God. Right? "One way to heaven is too exclusive. I mean, that can't be true. Can't all roads eventually lead to God? What about people who never hear? What about people of other faith who are sincere?"
I remember when I had a crisis of the faith. God actually used this to bring me into relationship with him. I thought, "What are the odds I'd be born to the right country?" I was thinking about this. I was wresting with this. I was like, "I know there's a God, but I don't know who he is." I was agnostic.
I was like, "If I was born in India, I'd be Hindu. If I was born in China, I'd be Buddhist. If I was born in Iran, I'd be Muslim. If I was born in Israel, I might be Jewish. What are the odds I'd be born to America and that that would be the right religion?" So I really began to research it with a bias against Christianity.
I don't know if your faith is just your parents' faith. I don't know how you came to a belief in Jesus Christ, if you have, but I pray you sincerely wrestle with it, if you haven't, as we dive into this message, that you'd have a greater understanding of this way, the Scripture says. So as we move through John 14, we're going to look at how _Christianity is exclusive_, how _Christianity is inclusive_, and before you leave here this evening, how _Christianity offers certainty_ for you.
What's happening in John 14, I'll start in verse 1. In chapter 13, Jesus is saying, "Hey I'm going to go somewhere." His disciples say, "Well, where you going to go? Why are you leaving us?" Peter bows up to him, because Peter's crazy, and he's like, "Jesus, where ever you go, I'm going. You're not going anywhere without me. Take me with you."
Jesus is like, "Calm down boys. Calm down. Listen." **"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."**
Now Thomas speaks up. (This is doubting Thomas.) "Wait, wait, wait Lord. No, we don't. We don't know where you're going? How would we know how to get there?" Jesus answered, **"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."** So we're going to look at this passage and we'll work backwards. My first point from the text is…
1._ Christianity is exclusive._ That means there is one way to heaven, and his name is Jesus. To believe the bible is true is to believe Jesus is the only way to God. We really spelled this out in the series _The Afterlife_, but I just want you to hear from me… There are two eternal destinations. Everyone will live somewhere forever. There's hell and there's heaven. Those are the only two eternal destinations that exist.
Jesus came here. He lived the perfect life, and he died the death we deserve, paying the price for our sins. He rose from the grave, and if we accept that payment for our sins then we can be with him in his kingdom for ever and ever and ever, and his kingdom is heaven. In hell we suffer for our sins. We don't have to suffer for our sins if we believe Jesus suffered for our sins.
So you say, "Well, I believe essentially all religions lead to God. Different paths up the mountain. Aren't we looking at the same thing from different perspectives?" Anybody ever heard this? Anybody ever heard someone say this? "Yeah, I believe always…" I mean, if you've shared your faith you've bumped into this objection before.
You've never heard anyone say this who has actually studied world religion. This is the statement of naivety. It is from someone who hasn't looked at what the world religions teach. So let me just show you as quickly as I can. We'll start with Islam. This comes from the holy book of Islam, the Qur'an, and from two different chapters.
The first one is from the Ali 'Imran, chapter 3, verse 85. It says, "Whoever prefers a religion other than Islam, it shall definitely not be accepted from him; and in the Hereafter, he shall be among the losers." This is from the Al-Ma'idah, chapter 5, verse 72, and it says, "They have certainly disbelieved who say, 'Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary…'" It's very specific. "…Allah has forbidden him Paradise, and his refuge is the Fire." "Whoever believes God is the Son of Mary is going to hell, and Jesus is God, the Son of Mary, and they can both be true." That's nonsensical. It's illogical. It makes no sense.
This is from Krishna, the Hindu force of the universe speaking from their holy book, the Bhagavad Gita. It says, "Those who are without faith in my teaching cannot attain [Krishna or the enlightenment]… I permeate all the universe in my unmanifest form. All beings exist within me …" If you do not accept this view that you do not exist you will never achieve Hindu salvation.
Not only is the path different, but the destination's different in that Hindus don't believe in heaven but reincarnation; you would come back as a person of nobility or a rat or some sort of animal in between. You not just have different paths, but different destinations. You say those are both right, both true. Well, hold on. Am I going to heaven, or am I going to come back to life as someone else? What's true?
Buddhism…but that's inclusive, right? Buddhism is inclusive. "This is the only path; there is none other for the purification of insight. […] Walking upon this path you will make an end of suffering." This is from the Buddhist holy writings, oddly enough, called _the way._ In the Jewish tradition exclusivity manifests in the concept of the chosen people, in which anyone who does not accept the teachings of Jewish monotheism is excluded from the messianic world to come. They are exclusively God's people.
So what I want you to see, friends, is Christianity is, indeed, exclusive_._ Every world religion is, indeed, exclusive, so say they're all right out of love, is really to say they're all wrong. Anyone who says, "They're all right," hasn't looked at them. It's to say that they're all wrong. It is a statement, as I said, of naivety.
Why do we get to this place where we're like, "I think everyone gets to God someday"? I'll tell you why. You've been sitting on the back of a tailgate, after a couple shots of Patrón… You've been drinking. Everybody becomes a deep theologian at 3:00 in the morning, okay? That's when it's like, "I love you, man."
"I love you too. I know we just met, but man I love you. You know who else loves you? God loves you, man. He wouldn't send you to hell. Nope, not you. I think everybody gets in. Everybody. It just seems right." That's what we do. What's it birthed out of? What book are you pointing to, what ancient writings? What person came from heaven, came here, and told you that?
Your feelings. "Well I just feel…" "I just think…" It's all in the statement of higher education. No, it's not. It actually doesn't make sense. The problem with these feelings is Proverbs 14:12, which says, "There's a way that seems right to a person, there's a way that feels right to a person, but in the end, it leads to death."
Where else can you give somebody instruction, and… They're like, "How do I get to your house?" and you're like, "Oh, just pick a road, man. You'll get there. There's one way." That logic doesn't stretch to anything. David and I both were in London recently. We didn't rent a car; we took the Tube. The Tube is the subway in London, the underground railway in London.
We took the Tube from the airport to the hotel. That's how we navigated London. Now, this subway is very complex in London. I don't know if you've been there, but I think it's more complex than New York because there are layers. You go underground, and there are stories upon stories upon stories upon stories of trains. So you have to know what floor to be on first.
Then when you choose the right floor, you have to know which train to go to to take you to the next stop to get on the next floor to take you to the train. There just escalators upon escalators underneath the ground where you're trying to find the right floor. I'm with David. We're trying to figure out what's the right floor, because now we've been in London for several days, and it's time to catch our plane to go home to see our families.
We have to find the find the right train to take us to the airport so we can go home and see our families and we can make our flight. So I'm there with him… I'm not very smart. I'm like, "I don't know what floor." David is pretty smart though. He didn't know what floor. So we walk up, and we're looking at this map.
We finally think we found the right floor, but then there's this map here. I'm looking at it… I just gave up. I'm like, "Dude, I don't know man. You figure that out." He's looking at it. We're a little bit stressed because the flight… We're supposed to be there ahead of time. It's international. I'm like, "We're going to miss our flight. I want to see my girls."
Now, imagine if you came up to me and you loved me. You really, really cared about me. You saw I was distressed, so you said, "JP, any of these trains will get you to the airport." You know what I'm going to say to you? I'm going to give you a hug. If I believe you, I'm going to be like, "That's amazing truth. Thank you so much. That really helps me because I was distressed. I was thinking I wasn't going to see my wife and my kids, and I miss them. Thank you so much."
I get on the next train, because any of them are going to take me there, and some of these trains are straight shots to rural England. I get on it, and it has no stop. It just takes me way, way, way out in the countryside of England. I get off, and there's no train back until the next day, because that's how this works.
I've missed my flight, it's cost me thousands and thousands of dollars to rebook, I don't get to see my family, I don't know when I'm going to get home, and all of a sudden what I thought brought me relief was incredible deception, and it wasn't loving. It was _not_ loving_._ You did not care well for me, and what you said didn't make sense. It was birthed out of your own emotions, and it put me in a bind.
You can imagine when we're talking about an eternal bind. Somebody who says, "I believe all religions will get there," you just respond to them like this. "Really? Which one have you chosen?" If you think all religions will get there, you're going to research them all and try to find the easiest one.
Anyone who truly believes all religions will get you there, they're going to choose Christianity, because all the other ones are like, "Do _this_ and do _this_ and do _this_ and do _this_." Christianity is like, "God did _this_." You're like, "I'll take that one. God loved me enough to allow his Son to die for me so I can be with him forever? I'll go with that one."
_Which one have you chosen?_ Anyone who says all religions will you get there hasn't chosen one. That's what you see. That's the truth. The reality is all religions lead to hell except one that takes you home. His name is Jesus. I have given my adult life to researching this. I found that to be true.
I've looked at the archaeology, the history of religions where they originated, but don't take my word for it. You do your research. You look into it. You come to a place where you've found it to be true. Jesus says, **"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?"**
2._ Christianity is inclusive_. That contradicts that it's exclusive. The reason I say it's inclusive is because everyone is invited. We've already determined that all religions are exclusive, but here's what you need to know. Christianity is the most inclusive. Christ says, "Hey, come." **"** [God] **is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to** [eternal life] **."**
Christianity through Christ is an invitation. In fact, if you go home tonight and you can do this, Google, "How do I convert to…" Google's going to autofill Hindu faith, Islam, Jehovah's Witness, any religion that's out there. The Jewish faith, Buddhism. What you're going to see, friends, is strive, strive, strive… Strive to achieve Nirvana, strive to achieve enlightenment, strive to not want, strive to do enough good deeds so you can come back as a person of nobility, strive to follow the law of the Old Testament, strive to comply with the Five Pillars of Islam.
Strive, strive, strive, strive, strive. You work your way up to God for a chance to get in. You don't know if you're getting in or not. You do everything you can. You take a hajj to Mecca. You pray several times a day. You do everything you can for a chance to get to God, and yet Christianity says God has loved you so much he came here.
Every other religion, you're working your way up. In Christianity God says, "I'm coming to you. I'm going to save you." He came to the earth in the form of a man, Jesus Christ, 2,018 years ago in an event that reset the calendar. You acknowledged it. Every atheist in the room acknowledges it by the date they put on their checks today or the day in their Microsoft Outlook.
We know this because of this book that's been passed down, written over 1,500 years with one central message…66 books, really, 40 different authors… telling one story of God coming to save us. By the way, it's been the best seller this year, last year, every single year, and the best seller in the history of history. The second place is a far distant margin.
This book. That God. You research it. You look into it. You grow your confidence in it. God said he loved the world. The most famous verse in the Scriptures, John 3:16. **"For God so loved the world…"** The Greek word there is the _cosmos_. It's translated as the universe and its inhabitants.
**"For God so loved the** [_cosmos_] **that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever** [or whosoever or anyone who] **believes in Him, shall not perish** [not go to hell, not die an eternal death] **, but have eternal life."** That's what I want from you: eternal life.
I was at birthday party a couple of weeks ago. Here in Dallas there's a restaurant called Javier's in Uptown. We were there, and we're sitting on the patio with a lot of friends…big table. One of the couples had to leave early, so he left a wad of cash on the table, and he said, "Hey, I have everyone." He said, "I'll pay for everyone," which I was like, "That's kind. Okay. I'm not going to argue with you."
Then he leaves, and he texts and says, "I left money there. Everyone is covered." The money is there on the table. The guy starts bringing the checks, and you're faced with a decision. Is my meal paid for or not? There's more than enough money to cover you. This is the same predicament, the same dilemma, you face with Jesus.
Jesus died to pay for your sins, and you get a choice: _Do I accept his payment or do I reject his payment?_ Do I say, "That was for me, for my sins, past, present and future…everything I've done wrong"? Or do I reject it and leave it on the table and say, "No, I choose to willingly suffer for my own sins?"
Christ's payment was enough. What I want you to see here is _Christianity is not about what you do but, rather, what Jesus did._ The way Jesus paid invites us all to be saved. What about the one who has never heard? The infamous Bushmen in Africa. This used to be a big hang-up for me. I really struggled with this, because I'm like, "It just doesn't seem fair. There are people out there who've never heard the gospel." This was a big stumbling block for me.
Until I went to Africa. I went to the Maasai Mara…literally, the African jungle. Those people are not in uniform. That's where they live. That's who they are. They live out there in the African bush. I'm out there with them, and this lady sees me from across the way. She has this big, beautiful smile. She comes up to me, and she says in broken English, "Can I ask you a question?"
I say, "Yeah. Ask me anything." She says, "Are you saved?" I said, "Well, what do you mean by _saved_?" I'm thinking she doesn't mean what I think when somebody says, "Are you saved?" I'm like, "Am I saved from lions?" or what? I don't know. She says, "Are you a Christian?" I said, "Yes, I am a Christian." She said, "Oh, me too. I'm a Christian too." I said, "How did you become a Christian out here?"
She said, "Well, I've always believed in God, and God has always spoken to me in my dreams. One day he told me, in my dream, "This is my Son, Jesus Christ. He has died for your sins, and he has risen from the grave so you can be with me forever." I looked her in the eyes, and I didn't flinch. I said, "Oh, I understand. A missionary came here and shared the gospel with you, and then you had a dream about it."
She looked at me like I was crazy. She said, "No missionary came here." I said, "Well, how did you know his name was Jesus?" She said, "That was his name in my dream." I said, "I'm done worrying about the Bushmen in Africa." Can I tell you something? Now I've been in ministry 12 years. I've heard the same story from Iran. I was on a show once. I was sharing my testimony, and a 12-year-old girl called in from Iran and said, "That guy he's talking about. I dreamed about him last night. What do I need to do to accept him as my Lord and Savior?"
I've read an entire book, from an author I trust, all about people coming to the faith through dreams and visions. So to the person who says, "What about the one who's never heard," they're just trying to get a pass for themselves, right? #ImAskingForAFriend. What about the one who has never heard? What about you?
What about the ones who never heard? Go tell them. Spend your life telling them, finding them and telling them, sharing the truth of eternal life with them through Jesus Christ. Why wouldn't you tell them? You say, "Well, how do I know? Can I know I'm going to heaven?"
How do you know anything? What do you trust in? How do you gain information? What do you look at? Where do you find your facts? Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, so also believe in me. **"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."** I'm telling you the way.
3._ Christianity offers certainty._ You can be sure. If you've been here long at all, you know I like to share the gospel by asking two questions called the _Kennedy questions_. This first question I want to ask to you. Between 1 and 10, 10 being certain, 1 being not so sure, if you were to die today, how certain are you that you would go to heaven?
If you're taking notes, go ahead and write down your number. If you have your phone, why don't you punch it in there. I'd love for you to identify your number. How certain are you? You think. You don't have to share it with anyone. Right now, how certain are you that you would go to heaven? I'm going to ask you to do something.
I'd love for everyone to close their eyes for just a minute. I'm going to ask you to raise your hand. If you were 1 to 5, would you raise your hand? Okay, I see a lot of hands. Several of you are 1 to 5. If you were 6 or 7, raise your hand. Okay, a lot of 6s and 7s. I see you. Thank you. If you were 8 or 9 raise your hand. Wow. Okay. A lot of 8s and 9s. You can come back with me now. Thank you for humoring me with that. I'm going to come back to that in just a minute.
I know I said the vast majority of world religions teach a striving, a working your way up to God, but also an uncertainty, that after all of your striving you're left with a question mark. You don't really know if you got in or not until you die. This fear allows religious leaders to rule you. I can say, "I don't know if you've done enough. Maybe you need to give more to the church. Maybe you need to do a little bit more. Maybe you need to be nicer to me."
This is what happens within cults. You see cult leaders do this and use this fear against people. Christianity is the only religion, certainly the only world religion, I know of that offers assurance of salvation. It says you can know.
It's in 1 John 5:11-13. **"And this is** [God's] **testimony…"** This is the story of God. **"…God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."**
I want you to look at word K-N-O-W.That word, _know_, there. You can _know_ you have eternal life, that you can be certain. In Greek, this word translates to know as a fact as though to see it. You can be a 10. You don't have to leave here a coin toss away from hell; a 50 percent chance I'm going to go and burn from hell (suffer in hell) forever. A 20 percent chance, a 10 percent chance is no way to live.
You can leave here and be certain you're going to be with God for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever. You'll be in his presence and his kingdom forever. That is worth celebrating. That brings joy to our hearts. That gives us a reason to live and a purpose to move forward. It allows us to see past our struggles.
It allows us to lean into him. It allows us to seek him. It allows us to know him that we would move toward God and study his Word. It should bring a peace that transcends all understanding. To guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Without it we're left with an uncertainty. "I just don't know." That's no way to live tomorrow. "I just don't know."
My kids are always asking for stuff. "Can we buy this? Can we go here? Can we do this? Can I get this?" I try to answer them straight all the time. They learned what an RV is. We're driving down the street. They're like, "Daddy, what's that?" I'm like, "Well, it's a house on wheels." Mind blown. House on wheels? "Daddy, we have to get one of those." I'm like, "Yeah, pray." They schemed on me. That's what they do. They get together, they talk, and they come in a unified force. It's hard to say no to these cute faces.
They're like, "Daddy, here's what we did. We all picked a state. We would like to drive there. We would like to get an RV… So you buy an RV, Dad. That's your part. You're going to buy the RV. Then we're going to drive. We'll each go to our states, and that will be our vacation. Daddy, can we do it?"
I'm like, "I don't know. I don't think so. Probably not." They're like, "So, maybe? You're telling me there's a chance?" They come at me every day. They're like, "Daddy, I'm going to go Alabama, and they're going to go to Kentucky." I'm like, "Why? Why would you do that?" They're scheming on me, and they're left all summer with this uncertainty. They're excited about an idea, but they don't know if they can really celebrate.
That's very different if I look at them and I say, "Hey guys, listen. I got the RV. It's in the driveway, and we're going to go tomorrow. God willing, if he gives us tomorrow, we're all jumping in that RV, and we are going to Alabama and Kentucky. It's going to happen." That's a different celebration when they know that. It's a done deal.
This is what Christ said to you. He looks at you from the cross, with his arms stretched wide. He says, "Come. I've prepared a place for you. Would you come? I've suffered and died for you so you don't have to suffer. You can have eternal life. I've defeated the grave for you. Would you come? It's as a good as done. It is finished." Indeed.
So you say, "Can I lose my salvation?" I don't know. What did you do to get your salvation? You can't lose something you didn't do anything to earn. If you didn't do anything to earn it, then how can it be taken away from you? It was given to you freely in spite of you. **"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."** It's Ephesians 2:8-9. If you did nothing for it then how could you lose it? What would you do to lose it?
In summary, _there is one way to heaven, and his name is Jesus_. Everyone is invited, and you can be sure. If you wanted to know how to get to London, you could ask me. I was just there. The reason I know the way to London is because I was just there and I came back here. If you want to know how to get to heaven, find someone who's been there and came here. Look carefully at what they've said.
If you trust me and you trust I was there recently and you trust my sanity, then you trust I know how to get there. You'd better believe the queen of England knows how to get to London. She lives there. You'd better believe the King of heaven knows how to get to heaven. He lives there. He reigns there. He is King there.
Everything you see and everything you know, he created. If you're going to trust something, why not trust his Word? There's some crazy language in this text, some really strange language. I don't know if you've listened this whole way and you haven't questioned what it says. It says some crazy things. He says, "In my Father's house are many rooms."
** ** If you're the disciples and you're listening to this, you're like, "Dude, okay. Your Dad is rich. I get it. Why are we talking about your Dad's crib right now? What's going on?" He's like, "He has a big house, a lot of rooms." You're like, "I'm confused." He said, "I'm going there to prepare a room for you."
I have to show you something beautiful. This always stirs my heart. Jesus here, he's using a really intimate language. It's the Jewish wedding language. You have to hear me on this. Stay with me. We see it so clearly in this text. What would happen is when a Hebrew boy (a young Jewish boy) was of age and ready to go get married, he would leave his land and go to a foreign land in search of a bride. He would leave his father's land and go to a foreign land in search of a bride, someone to take as his wife.
When he would find her, he would pay what was called a _dowry_. He'd put down a down payment. It was a heavy sum to show, "I mean business. I'm coming back for you," because he'd have to leave. The reason he would leave… He would go to her father, and he'd pay this dowry saying, "Hey I'm purchasing the right to take your daughter as mine forever."
Then he would leave, and he'd go back to the land he came from. He would begin to build a room on his father's house that they would live in. His father's house was one day going to be his house. Inheritance was everything in this culture. He would begin to build this room for him and his new bride to live in forever. At a time and an hour when no one knew he would go back, and he would return for her.
People would run in front of him…his bridal party, if you would. His groomsmen. They'd blast trumpets and they'd say, "He's coming." The word would spread from town to town. It would go in front of him until it reached her. She would hear, "Your groom is coming. Your groom is coming for you." She would quickly scramble and get her wedding dress and her bridal party. He would come. He'd look at her, and he'd say, "You are now mine forever. Come. Let's go back to my land, back to my home, and back to this room."
What Jesus is saying to you is he's saying, "I've paid for you. I've put down the dowry for you, my bride, so I can take you home to be with me forever. I've purchased you with my own blood, poured out for you, to cover your sins. Now I'm going to go home to my Father's house and prepare a place for you, for all of you."
For anyone who would like to dwell there. For anyone who would like to accept the payment of the blood he shed for your sins. You can be with him for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever. I'm going to ask you to shut your eyes again. Hundreds and hundreds of you said, "I'm not sure. I'm not a 10."
If you're a place right now where you would like to be a 10, to move from a 5 to a 10, a 9 to a 10, a 7 to a 10, would you raise your hand? Would you put it up so I can see it? I see it. That's amazing. Praise God. That's incredible. Praise God for you. Wow, that is overwhelming. Okay, you can look at me.
I'm not trying to be manipulative. I don't need anything from you, but we're going to sing a song. My prayer, you don't have to, but my prayer is if you just raised your hand…so many of you did…that you'd have to courage to come up here, I'd come back up after this song, and I would pray over you. During this song you just come forward. Just come to the altar. Come up here and know he has prepared a place for you. Would you do that? Let me pray.
Father, thank you so much for those who said, "I want to be sure. I know what Christ did for me. I know what he paid for me." Lord, would you stir in them the courage to tell somebody of the power of your Holy Spirit? Would you work into their hearts? Surround them with men and women who love them and know you and who know them and love you.
Father, thank you for the gift of salvation that comes to us by way of your Son, Jesus Christ, and your Holy Spirit who seals us and preserves us and carries us home so the enemy can't snatch us away. Father, we sing to you now; we worship you now. In Jesus' name, amen.